Recap: Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 4 E 22 Restless

You think you know who you are, what's to come. You haven't even begun.

The spirit of The First Slayer tries to kill The Scoobies in their sleep.

This was the last appearance of Oz and Principal Snyder.

This episode provides examples of:

  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Tara in Buffy's dream, speaking for the First Slayer.
  • And Show It to You: The First Slayer rips out Xander's heart.
  • Arc Number: 7-3-0.
  • Blanket Fort: The ineptitude of the government's attempts to fight the supernatural are mocked in Buffy's dream, when Human!Adam and Riley react to the news of the demon breakout by building a pillow fort.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Giles as a theatre director in Willow's dream.
  • Anxiety Dreams: Willow dreams that she's turned up for a play and doesn't know her lines ("Your whole family is in the front row — and they look really angry!"). Later she has to deliver a talk in front of a classroom of jeering friends.
    Giles: [to the cast of the play] Now, everyone Willow's ever known is in the audience, including all of us.
    • Xander realises the entire Initiative is taking notes while he takes a leak.
  • Bad Bad Acting: Milkmaid!Harmony
    • Cowboy!Riley pulls an Large Ham heavily mid-west accented cowboy, while Flapper!Buffy spews out her lines overwhelmingly fast.
  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: The Cheese Man.
  • Breaking Speech: Kurtz!Snyder to Xander.
    Snyder: Are you a soldier?
    Xander: I'm a comfortador.
    Snyder: You're neither. You're a whipping boy, raised by mongrels and set on a sacrificial stone.
  • Brought Down to Badass: The Enjoining Spell used to defeat Adam was so powerful that this episode was necessary to explain why it's too risky to use in future.
  • Call Back:
    • Joyce looking out at Buffy through a hole in the wall is a call back to her looking out at Buffy through a hole in the door at the high school in season 2's "School Hard" (the introduction of Spike).
    • Willow wearing her "softer side of Sears" clothes from "Welcome to the Hellmouth", and asking if the play is "Madame Butterfly", referring to her Anxiety Dream in Season 1's "Nightmares".
    • Xander says he was glad Snyder was eaten by a snake ("Graduation Day"). It's also a Brick Joke from when he promised to give his principal an honest retort one day in "What's My Line?"
    • Joyce snarking her daughter about (finally) introducing her boyfriend refers to how she failed to do so with Angel.
  • Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: In Xander's dream as the gang watches a video of "Apocalypse Now":
    Giles: I'm beginning to understand - it's all about the journey, isn't it?
    Xander: Well, thanks for making me have to pee! [heads for bathroom]
    Buffy: You don't need any help with that, do ya?
    Xander: Got a system.
  • Cliché Storm (In-Universe): The war movie showing on television in Xander's dream.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Anya as a stand-up comic.
    Heckler: You suck!
    Anya: Quiet! You'll miss the humorous conclusion.
  • Creepy Basement: Dream!Xander's basement becomes this.
  • Dark Action Girl: The First Slayer
  • A Date with Rosie Palms
    Xander: Sometimes I think about two women doing a spell, and go and do a spell by myself.
  • Death by Irony: The Scoobies are killed according to their roles in the Enjoining spell they performed in the previous episode:
    • Willow (the spirit) has the life sucked from her
    • Xander (the heart) has his heart ripped out
    • Giles (the mind) is scalped
    • Buffy (the hand) breaks the circle by refusing to fight.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Spike in Giles' dream.
  • Dénouement Episode
  • Dissonant Serenity:
    • Dream!Willow's friends look on indifferently as she is killed.
    • Joyce puts a brave face on being trapped in a wall.
    • Director!Giles' reaction to Harmony's attempts to bite him. "Stop that, it's very annoying."
  • Does Not Like Men: In Willow's dream, Flapper!Buffy delivers a long tirade on the male sex to Cowboy!Riley.
    But what else could I expect from a bunch of low-rent, no-account hoodlums like you? Hoodlums, yes, I mean you and your friends, your whole sex, throw 'em in the sea for all I care, throw 'em in and wait for the bubbles, men with your groping and spitting all groin no brain three billion of you passing around the same worn-out urge. Men! With your ... sales!
  • Don't Explain the Joke: In Giles' dream, Anya is doing stand-up comedy and is so abysmal at it that she has to explain every joke just to get the crowd to laugh.
    Anya: And then the duck tells the doctor that there's a man that's attached to my ass! You see, it was the duck and not the man that spoke.
  • Double Entendre: Between Cowboy!Riley and Milkmaid!Harmony in the play. ("Would you like me to hold those milk pails for you?") And in the same scene, Willow meeting Tara between the red folds of the curtains.
    • Also the conversation peace between Xander and Oz in Willow's dream:
    Xander: So what you been doing? Doing spells? She does spells with Tara.
    Oz: Yeah, I heard about that.
    Willow: I'm gonna be late.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come/Foreshadowing: Tons of it! For instance:
    • Count Dracula in the playground scene — Buffy will encounter him in the Season 5 premiere.
    • Tara telling Buffy to "be back before Dawn."
    • Tara telling Willow "You don't know everything about me". This relates to "Family".
    • Buffy confronts the First Slayer in the desert. In "Intervention" Buffy goes to that same place for real on a Vision Quest, and her Spirit Advisor takes the form of the First Slayer.
    • Arc Number 730 turning up again — the first time was in the season finale, exactly 2 years before Buffy dies in the season 5 finale. Now, we're told, "it's so late (...) that clock's completely wrong".
    • In Xander's dream, Spike is wearing the tweed suit he ends up wearing in the season 6 episode "Tabula Rasa", where Giles (after losing his memory) thinks Spike is his son. That episode also has "a shark with feet, and much less fins" in the form of a shark-headed demon.
    • Giles' dream that he neglected his chance at a life with Olivia to be Buffy's Watcher. At the start of Season 5 he decides to return to England in the belief that Buffy no longer needs him.
    • Adam hinting to Buffy that their power comes from demonic, not human origins. This is shown in the Season 7 episode "Get It Done". Buffy's bag of weapons turns out to contain mud and a path to the First Slayer; the same bag turns up in "Get It Done" containing exposition on the source of the Slayer power. The brief shot of the First Slayer chained to the ground is also explained in that episode.
    • The gnome lawn ornaments — the Trio use a camera hidden in one to spy on Buffy in Season 6.
    • The Sapphic poem that Willow copies onto Tara's back is a plea to Aphrodite, begging her to make another love the writer "even against her will", foreshadowing Willow's use of Lethe's Bramble to make Tara forget their fights about magic in Season 6.
    • Riley keeps calling Buffy "Killer," foreshadowing a conversation about that word in the next episode.
    • Buffy's mother is in the wall. She tells her not to worry as she likes it there. Joyce dies and is not brought back from the dead.
    • One of the poses Spike strikes in Giles' dream is a crucifixion pose. He assumes the same pose (this time on an actual crucifix) in "Beneath You." It foreshadows his Heroic Sacrifice at the end of season 7, when he gives his life (temporarily at least) to close the Hellmouth.
  • Dream Weaver
  • Dream Within a Dream
  • Driving a Desk: Anya and Xander in the ice cream truck.
    Anya: I think I've figured out how to steer by gesturing emphatically.
  • Final Boss: The First Slayer, since Big Bad Adam was defeated in the previous episode.
  • Gayngst: Subverted. Willow's dream first appears to be about this, but what she really fears is everyone discovering that underneath all her Character Development, she's still the Shrinking Violet from Season 1.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Buffy in Giles' dream, where he imagines Buffy is his daughter.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Xander fantasizes about Tara and Willow as porn-style Lipstick Lesbians.
  • Government Conspiracy: Mocked with Buffy's dream of Riley and Human!Adam, where he says the government is planning World Domination through sentient coffee machines.
    Comm Voice: The demons have escaped. Please run for your lives.
    Human!Adam: This could be trouble.
    Riley: We'd better make a fort.
    Human!Adam: I'll get some pillows.
  • Hong Kong Dub: Dream!Xander is confused when Giles and Anya try to tell him what's going on in poorly-synced French.
  • Human Notepad: Willow paints Sappho's Hymn to Aphrodite on Tara's back.
  • Jaw Drop: Xander when Porn!Tara and Porn!Willow ask if he wants to come in the back with them.
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: Tara and Willow's porn make-out is portrayed via Xander's stunned reaction and lots of lip-smacking sounds.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: During the Exposition Song, Giles says he's going to warn Buffy, Willow is to search the chronicles, and Xander is help Willow and avoid bleeding on his couch, as he's just had it steam-cleaned.
    • Willow: "This drama class is just ... I think they're really not doing things in the proper way, and now I'm in a play and my whole family's out there, and ... why is there a cowboy in "Death of a Salesman" anyway?
    • Buffy completing her Shut Up, Hannibal! by critiquing the First Slayer's hairstyle.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: There's a scene where Xander goes from Joyce's house to the college to Buffy's dorm to Xander's basement in a single take — which is easy to do as all the sets are right next to each other.
  • Like a Son to Me: In Xander's dream, Giles says that Spike is "like a son to me". Xander replies, "I was into that for a while."
  • Like Brother and Sister: Dream!Xander looks heartbroken when Buffy calls him 'big brother'.
  • The Men in Black: Riley and Human!Adam in Buffy's dream, hinting at some lingering trust issues.
  • Mind Screw: The episode itself, specially the Cheese Man
  • Mr. Exposition: Spoofed when Giles sings "The Exposition Song".
  • Nothing Is Scarier
  • Pass the Popcorn
  • The Power of Friendship: Rejected by the First Slayer.
    "No friends...just...the kill."
  • Psychic Link: Confirmed - Buffy remembers Faith's dream from "This Year's Girl".
    "Faith and I made that bed."
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder
  • Riddle for the Ages: Cheese Man.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Left out for reasons of space — just Google any review of this episode.
  • Shout-Out: Principal Snyder as Colonel Kurtz, and Xander as Willard from Apocalypse Now.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Buffy to the First Slayer.
  • Smash Cut: When Buffy wakes up from a dream.
  • Something Completely Different: From the usual action-packed season finale.
  • Talking in Your Dreams
  • Tarot Motifs
  • Tempting Fate: Giles telling the First Slayer that he can defeat her with his intellect just before she cuts his head open.
  • Vampiric Draining: The First Slayer killing Willow.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: According to Joss Whedon the Cheese Man doesn't symbolise anything; he's just one of those weird things that happen in dreams. Not that it has stopped fans from analysing him and making interpretations that actually make sense within the themes of the episode in particular and the show in general.
  • You Are Not Alone: Buffy is being haunted by the spirit of the First Slayer who is trying to show her that the life of a slayer is marked by its loneliness. She looks down at a tarot card in her hands that pictures Giles, Willow, and Xander, and replies: "I am not alone."
  • You Can Never Leave: Averted; Riley assures Buffy that the Initiative is not going to make him disappear.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Inverted; Buffy refuses to take the dream seriously and so can wake up from it.