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     Season One 
  • And I Must Scream: Happens at the end of "The Witch".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Principal Snyder: There are things I will not tolerate. Students loitering on campus after school. Horrible murders with hearts being removed. And also smoking.
  • Big "NO!": The Master does one of these at the end of "The Harvest," when Buffy kills Luke, ruining the Harvest.
  • Blank Book: Moloch's prison-book after he escapes.
  • Blood Bath: The Pilot episode shows The Master hanging out in a pool of blood while fully dressed.
  • The Bully: Four of them feature in "The Pack".
  • Car Fu: Cordelia plows through a horde of vampires with her car in "Prophecy Girl."
  • Chekhov's Classroom: "Teacher's Pet" features a lecture from the science teacher's substitute about the cannibalism seen in female praying mantises. Also how some bats who prey on mantises use sound to stun them before attacking. Guess what the Monster of the Week is?
  • The Chosen Zero: Giles's initial reaction to Buffy.
  • Cliffhanger: "Teacher's Pet". The she-mantis has left some eggs and they're starting to hatch. This is never followed up on, at least not on-screen.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: “I Robot, You Jane”
  • Date My Avatar: Willow once dated her nice charming chat-buddy Malcolm... who was actually a incorporeal murderous demon possessing the computer system.
  • Dead Star Walking: Joss Whedon hoped to include actor Eric Balfour (Jesse) in the title credits to shock viewers when his character dies. Unfortunately, the show literally could not afford an extra set of title credits at the time.
  • Demonic Dummy: Subversion. It seemed like the dummy was killing students, but it turned out he was actually hunting the thing that was killing the students.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Buffy originally had a fairly different, more 'Valley Girl' inspired look with big jewellry (especially rings), big hair and short skirts. In Season Two, the producers decided they wanted a different look for the character. This coincided with Sarah Michelle Gellar having her hair cut shorter, and dyed blonder, for her role in Scream 2, which she filmed in-between seasons one and two.
    • This pilot episode is the only time when we see Xander riding a skateboard, since the scene required a lot of space and was difficult to shoot. In later episodes we can see Xander holding a skateboard a couple of times, but never again does he ride one.
    • The pilot and "Harvest" are two of the few episodes that feature the upper level of the Bronze. Joss Whedon wrote the script to feature the two levels, but didn't realize how difficult it would be to shoot these scenes. Not only was it impractical in terms of filming and lighting, but it stretched their already non-existent budget. It shows up a few times in season 6.
    • When a pack of vamps chase Buffy and Angel into the Summers house, one of the pursuers gets his hand through the door before Buffy slams the door on his wrist. It is later established that, barring an invitation, an invisible force field encases the doorway to keep vampires out. The henchvamp shouldn't have been able to get his arm through like that. ("Angel")
    • In "Witch" (season 1, episode 3), Giles seems unfamiliar with magiks, saying "Pretty good for my first [spell-]casting, eh?" and such—which is totally at odds with his, y'know, rebellious Hellblazer youth period.
      • This could be one of Giles' early attempts at hiding his dabbling in magic prior to joining the Council. It could also be considered foreshadowing to the fact that Giles has, in fact, done magic before, which is why he's as capable as he is now.
  • Elite Mooks: The Three. Luke. Darla.
  • Environmental Symbolism: Angel’s statue of Kwan Yin – like a true Bodhisattva, Angel will delay his own enlightenment to ease the suffering of others.
  • Eye Scream: The Master, after making a mook apologize to him for failing, admonishes him about (SQUISH) something in his eye.
  • Face Your Fears: Xander gets to punch a clown in "Nightmares".
  • Failed Audition Plot: In "Witch", Buffy tries out for the cheerleading team but initially doesn't make the cut. Later in the episode she does get a spot on the team... which ends up making her a target for the witch who is magically injuring other cheerleaders to earn herself a spot.
  • Faking Amnesia: Xander pulls this in "The Pack", after being possessed by the spirit of a hyena. After Buffy and Willow save him, he tells them that he can't remember a thing and hopes he didn't do anything "too embarrassing". Giles, however, sees right through it.
    Giles: "I've been reading up on my animal possession and I cannot find anything anywhere about memory loss afterward."
    Xander: "Did you tell them that?"
    Giles: "Your secret dies with me."
    Xander: "Shoot me, stuff me, mount me."
  • Fanservice: On the first DVD of season 1, the menu opens with a seductive-looking Sarah Michelle Gellar crawling towards you wearing a low-cut top. Also, in "Nightmares", one gets ten seconds of a mostly-naked Nicholas Brendan. Willow's outfit in "Halloween".
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Willow and Xander's close friend Jesse. A Sacrificial Lamb in the pilot, then never mentioned again. Made more egregious by Xander making a reference made to before the two met Buffy as "just you and me." Possibly justified in that case, as he was not exactly himself at the time.
  • Glasgow Smile: Marcie intends to do this to Cordelia in "Out of Mind, Out of Sight".
    Marcie: Your smile... I think it should be wider.
  • Glory Days: A witch switches places with her cheerleader daughter because she misses being a cheerleader.
  • Grand Theft Me: See Glory Days.
  • Grave Clouds: In a first-season episode, it is always night in a graveyard that had been magically relocated next to Sunnydale High.
  • Haunted Technology: "I Robot, You Jane".
  • Hollywood Nerd: An Enforced Trope with Willow. The pilot had Willow played by a plus-sized actress but Whedon was ordered to replace her with a thinner, more conventionally attractive actress.
  • Hook Hand: One of the Master's vampires has blades where one of his hands used to be.
  • I, Noun: "I Robot, You Jane".
  • If You Can Read This: At the end of "Out of Mind, Out of Sight", a textbook on infiltrating a cult compound to assassinate its leader is readable in DVD format, and consists of the lyrics to "Happiness is a Warm Gun" by The Beatles.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Willow realises Malcolm on the internet may not be who he says he is because he mentions Buffy had burned her previous school down, to which Willow responds, "I never told you that."
  • Lonely Piano Piece: The Buffy theme plays slowly on a piano over the final scene of Prophecy Girl.
  • Mailer Daemon: Moloch the Corruptor.
  • Murder by Cremation: "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date".
  • Once Killed a Man with a Noodle Implement: In the first episode, Buffy mentions having once killed a vampire using only an exacto knife.
  • Remote Body: In "I Robot, You Jane", the demon Moloch creates a mechanical robot self he operates via the internet. Eventually he gets stuck in that body.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Jesse.
  • Second Year Protagonist: Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Cordelia are all in tenth grade at the start of the series.
  • Signs of the End Times: Mrs. Calender knows the Hellmouth is about to open based on locally occurring portents; a family's swimming pool begins to boil (with them in it), a cat gives birth to a litter of snakes and a baby is born with his eyes facing inward.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: In one of the earliest episodes, Giles initially attributes this as the cause for a cheerleader bursting into flames; it's later revealed to have been caused by a witch's spell.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Variation between the Master and a mook in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" where the Master (who could certainly kill the mook with his index finger) plucks a bug out of the air next to the mook's head.
  • Stock Scream: Shows up in "The Harvest".
  • Take Five: In "Prophecy Girl", Xander wants to get Buffy alone so he can ask her out:
    Xander: Willow, don't you have a thing?
    Willow: A thing? The thing! That I have! Which is... a thing I have to go to. See ya later.
  • The End... Or Is It?: After polishing off the She-Mantis, we see that there are still some Ridley Scott-esque hatchlings in her closet. ("Teacher's Pet")
    • The Master's skeleton.
  • Vain Sorceress: Catherine Madison
  • Virgin Power: Subversion in "Teacher's Pet", where it just seems to increase your odds of sex with a murderous humanoid mantis.
  • You Are Who You Eat: The brain-eating demon that wanted to eat Giles' brain to look human.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: What causes the Monster of the Week in "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"

     Season Two 
  • Abandoned Warehouse: Spike and Drusilla use one as their lair.
  • Above the Influence: Willow and Buffy practically strip down and jump Xander's bones in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", but Xander refuses to let them. After the Love Potion wears off, Buffy is proud of him for it, but Willow is angry at him due to her past emotional history with him.
  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: In the episode "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered", after a spell gone awry has caused every girl in the school aside from Cordelia to fall madly in love with Xander, he attempts to take refuge in the school library by moving the card catalogue in front of the double doors that serve as the entrance. Since he apparently didn't realize that the doors open outwards, a coat (and not much else) wearing Buffy calmly opens the doors and walks around the catalogue while Xander's back is turned.
  • Alien Catnip: Slayer blood and high people for vampires.
    Spike: If every vampire who said he was at the Crucifixion was actually there it would've been like Woodstock. I was actually at Woodstock... that was a weird gig. I fed off a flower person and I spent six hours watching my hand move.
  • And This Is for...: Xander in "Reptile Boy"
    "This is for the bra! This is for the wig! This is for the makeup! And this is for the last 16 and a half years!"
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Snyder: Halloween must be a big night for you. Tossing eggs, keying cars, bobbing for pathetic cry for help after another.
  • Baleful Polymorph: In "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered", Amy, under the influence of Xander's love spell, turns Buffy into a rat. She gets better by the end of the episode.
  • Becoming the Costume: "Halloween".
  • BFG: Buffy Does Not Like Guns. She thinks guns are never helpful. Apparently she doesn't think a AT-4 rocket launcher is a gun, as she uses one to kill The Judge.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Sort of with the Judge, who kills based on whether a target has humanity or not. Any vampire with sufficiently human traits—like interest in books, or involvement in romance—is a fair target to him, even if they're otherwise serving evil purposes.
  • Blatant Lies: “Lie to Me”
    Giles: Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.
  • Brainwash Residue: Xander retains some of his soldier knowledge after "Halloween". A rare positive (or at least useful) example.
  • Break-In Threat: Angelus sneaks into Buffy's bedroom while she's sleeping and draws a picture of her, which he leaves for her to find in the morning.
  • Buffy Summers Interrogation Technique: In the season 2 premiere, Buffy channels her inner Jack Bauer by pulling this stunt with a burning cross shoved down a vampire's burning throat, several years before 24 aired and discussed much the same form of torture.
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: The child-killing demon Der Kindestod from "Killed by Death" can only be seen by young people with fevers.
    • Anyone with a high enough fever, actually. But since Der Kindestod only kills children, any adults sick enough to see it pass by dismiss it as a fever-induced hallucination.
  • Call-Back: Plenty of em. When Ethan "leaves" in "Halloween" Giles finds a card with "Be seeing you," on it. Be Seeing You is what Eyghon later says while leaving Giles' apartment in "The Dark Age".
  • Carnival of Killers - the Order of Teraka sent a superstrong cyclops, a Worm That Walks and a Badass Normal posing as a uniformed cop to kill Buffy.
  • Censorship by Spelling: Famously in "When She Was Bad".
    Willow: But why is she acting like such a B-I-T-C-H?
    Giles: Come on Willow, we're a bit old to be spelling things out.
    Xander: ...a bitca?
  • Computer = Monitor:
    • Angelus is satisfied that Jenny's electronic translation of the incantation that would restore Angel's soul is gone when he shoves her computer off her desk. The problem is, while the monitor was wrecked, the actual PC received minimal damage... Justified—not like a 200 year-old vampire would really know how a computer works. His monologue before destroying the computer even makes it explicit. Later episodes also imply that her hard drive was indeed undamaged.
    • The diskette that Jenny used to back up her findings (yes, someone does back things up) falls between the desk and filing cabinet when Willow starts teaching her classes.
  • Contemplating Your Hands: Spike mentions doing this for six hours at Woodstock, after feeding off a "flower person".
  • Continuity Nod: When he asks out Ampata in "Inca Mummy Girl", Xander takes care to make sure she's not a praying mantis.
  • Deadly Hug: Buffy does this to Angel in the season 2 finale, although she has to let go of him first since she does it with a sword.
  • Dead Man's Chest: In "Inca Mummy Girl" the mummy hid the body of the real Ampata in one of his trunks.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: One episode is named "Killed by Death". Although by "Death", we mean "Death".
  • "Die Hard" on an X: School Hard, AKA Die Hard with vampires. The Bronze is also a popular location for hostage-takings ("The Harvest", "Doppelgangland").
  • Distinction Without a Difference:
    Giles: Let's not jump to any conclusions.
    Buffy: I didn't jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.
  • Doomed Appointment: Ms. Calendar.
  • Egg Sitting: Sunnydale Health Class students are given the usual "treat an egg as your child" lesson. Xander boils his to make the project easier, which saves him from the embryonic demons in the eggs. Because Sunnydale.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: The Mark of Eyghon, which Giles never gets removed (as we see it in Season 8, which leads to a conversation with Faith about how he and her are not as different as she thinks). Said conversation is even more meaningful if you know the origins of her tattoo. Both of them are the mark of a demon, in her case Kakistos (the really mutated vamp that killed her Watcher). She got it from being possessed by a dead Greek Slayer.
  • Empathic Environment: In Angelus' first episode, the lights suddenly go out on Xander and Willow inside the school. Angelus appears in a darkened hallway, his shape blocking a lit EXIT sign.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Acathla, with Angelus' motivation being to unseal him and inflict literal Hell on Earth.
  • Groin Attack: Buffy can't bring herself to kill Angelus in "Innocence", but settles for this.
  • Groupie Brigade: "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered".
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: One of the trope namers. With Buffy coming out to her mother as a Slayer.
  • Hemo Erotic: A flashback of Angel being sired by Darla.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Of the demon Acathla, turned to stone by being stabbed through the heart by a virtuous knight, Spike comments when told that if someone "worthy" removed to sword, Acathla will awaken and "wackiness ensues." Said wackiness being Acathla sucking the world into Hell.
  • If I Can't Have You...: An alarmingly common conclusion among the enchanted female populace in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered".
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Ampata, a former Incan mummy from "Inca Mummy Girl" chosen as a sacrifice to protect her people, raises herself from the dead and is determined to lead a happy 16 year-old girl's life—even if she has to kill at least one person a day to keep up the facade.
  • Impossibly Mundane Explanation: When the gang is attempting to contact Buffy:
    Xander: Well, she didn't go home. I let the phone ring a few hundred times before I remembered her mom is out of town.
    Giles: Well, maybe Buffy unplugged the phone.
    Xander: No, it's a statistical impossibility for a 16-year-old girl to unplug her phone.
    Willow: *nods*.
  • Kiss of Death: Ampata, via Life Drinker (see below).
  • Late To The Punch Line: In Lie To Me, Buffy recounts listening to the Divinyls' song "I Touch Myself", in fifth grade to help her get over Ford's rejection, and then mentions that she had no idea at the time what the song was about. Thirty seconds later Willow says, "Oh! That's what that song is about?!"
  • Laugh of Love: In "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", when Xander is walking down the school hallway after his love spell has inadvertently affected practically every female character in Sunnydale, the girls there are staring, sighing and giggling at him, while the guys are watching him enviously.
  • Life Drinker: Not the vampires, actually, but rather Ampata from "Inca Mummy Girl". She was an Andean mummy who sucked living humans' life forces dry to stay alive herself.
  • Love Confession: Miss Calendar makes one to Giles in "Passion".
  • Love Confessor: After Miss Calendar's death, Giles confesses his love for her to Buffy.
  • Magic Floppy Disk: A literal one: The spell to restore Angelus' soul is encoded on a misplaced floppy.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: Spike pulls this on the Anointed One in season two.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: In "Killed by Death", the patient Ryan draws a creepy picture of Der Kindestod. He thanks Buffy for killing the demon by drawing a not-much-less creepy picture of Buffy in the act.
  • Obfuscating Disability: In the last four episodes of season 2, Spike is only pretending to still need his wheelchair.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations:
    • In "Phases", Xander confronts Larry the bully about his secret, which Xander can understand because he's been there before. Xander's talking about being a werewolf. Larry's talking about being a closeted homosexual. Later on in the episode, Buffy and Xander chat about the day's events, and Xander says he'll have trouble ever looking at him the same way again. Buffy's talking about the werewolf, Oz, but Xander's talking about Larry.
  • A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: The college party in "Reptile Boy".
  • Pure Is Not Good: From "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered":
    Amy: I don't know, Xander. Intent has to be pure with love spells.
    Xander: Right! I intend revenge. Pure as the driven snow.
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: Buffy's dreams about Drusilla's return are mingled with dreams of opening an office-supply warehouse in Las Vegas.
  • The Remnant: The Annointed One's army
  • Romance-Inducing Smudge: A rare romantic moment passes between Willow and Xander in the season two episode "When She Was Bad", when Willow gets ice cream on her nose as the pair are walking past a cemetery. As Xander leans in to clean it for her, the two look like they are about to kiss... until a vampire pops up behind Willow, forcing Xander to attempt to hold it off and killing a Squee-inducing moment for Willow x Xander shippers.
    • Willow later attempted to invoke this trope by putting ice cream on her own nose, but Xander, now once again distracted by Buffy, simply says "You got something on your nose."
  • Scenery Censor: The Monster of the Week in The Dark Age is naked when he climbs out of his body bag in the morgue, with a conveniently placed autopsy table to cover his lower half.
  • Serial Escalation: "Hmm, Angelus certainly did a good job inflicting torture and trauma. How can we top it?" They continue this trend throughout the series.
  • Shaking Her Hair Loose: In "Go Fish", Buffy pulls a stake out of her hair and shakes it loose as she prepares to fight a vampire.
  • Shock Party: In the aptly named episode "Surprise". In something of a variation, it's actually Oz who gets the shock; seeing Buffy staking a vamp for the first time. Later in season 5 we have the organizing variation with Tara.
  • Sigh of Love: In "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", a lot of the female characters affected by Xander's backfired love spell sigh when they're around him, particularly in the scene when he is walking down the hallway.
  • Stab the Salad: Happened in "School Hard". The gang is preparing an imminent attack from Spike. Willow is fidgeting with a crossbow, Xander & Cordelia are carving stakes and Buffy holds up a machete, which she uses to slice zuccini.
  • Staking the Loved One: Several times, most notably with Angelus. In fact, most of the second season is a struggle over this for Buffy.
  • Standard '50s Father: Ted seems like one of these at first, but is actually a killer robot.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Spike is rather miffed about Angelus deciding to toy with Buffy instead of just killing her outright.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: In "Passion", Angelus not only kills Jenny Calendar, but after he kills her, he takes her body and puts it in Giles' bed and leaves a trail of romantic symbols (such as rose petals) that lead Giles to Jenny's body.
  • Sword Fight: Becoming, Part 2. Hell yes.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: In "I Only Have Eyes For You," Angel talks Buffy out of killing herself, but they are both not themselves at the time - they are possessed by the ghosts of other people.
  • This Explains So Much:
    Xander: Yes, vampires are real, there are a lot of them in Sunnydale.
    Willow: I know this must come as a shock...
    Oz: Actually, it explains a lot.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Billy Ford. Want to cure your cancer? All you have to do is ask some nice vampires to turn you into a vampire in exchange for giving them the Slayer. Nothing wrong with this plan AT ALL. Except Ford wasn't trying to 'cure' his cancer, he was dying and had nothing to lose. The plan actually worked too, except that Buffy survived (not Ford's fault) to stake Ford when he emerged from his grave. Why he was buried there while waiting for him to rise is another question entirely.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Spike, Angelus, and Drusilla form a rather twisted example.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Try an entire season's worth of Bangel UST climaxing in a single orgasmic Kiss of the Vampire.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", although most of the episode is simply the messy aftermath of a badly handled Valentine's Day between Cordelia and Xander. Angelus had some romance-themed Mind Rape in store for Buffy, but said aftermath was too distracting.
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: One of the first things Angel does when he turns evil is to go into Buffy's room while she's sleeping, draw a detailed picture of her, and leave it for her to find in the morning.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: During the first episode of the season, 'When She Was Bad", Buffy's behavior in the Bronze, toward Xander in particular, is so obnoxious that Cordelia, of all people, decides to call her on it, warning her that if she doesn't cool it, she'll "lose even the loser friends you have now."
  • With This Ring: Angel and Buffy's Claddagh rings.
  • You Never Did That for Me: While Xander and Cordelia's relationship was still a secret to the rest of the scoobies, Cordelia protested as Xander declared that he was off to help Buffy out of yet another sticky situation.
    Cordelia: "There you go, off to save the great Buffy again... I bet you'd never do that for me..."
  • Who Needs Enemies?: Spike's uneasy alliance with Buffy at the end of the second season.

     Season Three 
  • Alone Among the Couples: Discussed at the beginning, and they set out to avert it.
  • Are You Sure You Can Drive This Thing?: Buffy drives to the Bronze even though she failed her driving test, with Willow in the passenger's seat. Willow gets increasingly anxious, despite Buffy's relaxed-ness. They make it to the Bronze which they discover is full of middle-aged people acting like teenagers due to cursed candy; then Buffy attempts to drive to Giles' house, which results in a crash.
    "Wooo Summers, you drive like a SPAZ!!!
  • Artifact Title: This was the season where this set in, since it was the first one where the Big Bad wasn't a vampire. Though he did make extensive use of vampire underlings, and few vampires appeared as significant secondary antagonists.
  • Baleful Polymorph: A few times.
    • Gingerbread: In order to escape being burned at the stake, Amy turns herself into a rat. She... not so much gets better at the end of the episode.
    • The end of the season sees someone turn into a snake. Not really a big deal.
  • Bit Character: A harried teacher exhorting his students to "be somber" about the new year. He pops up again on Graduation Day, grimly making the kids play Hangman.
    "Heh heh. They always go for the 'E.'"
  • Brand X: Trick orders a "medium diet soda" at a drive-thru window without actually specifying what soda in "Faith, Hope & Trick".
  • Brought Down to Normal: Buffy in "Helpless", as part of a test by the Watcher's Council.
  • Bury Your Gays: Larry in "Graduation Day, part two. Was confirmed later.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Faith. After the accidental murder of the deputy mayor she throws herself so far into villainy that she becomes about as scary as Angelus. Justified in that her life takes a marked improvement under the Mayor, compared to the good guys, and she first wanted to corrupt Buffy by forcing her to kill her, then it turns out Faith genuinely did have a death wish.
  • Children Are Innocent: The demon from "Gingerbread" uses this to get the parents of Sunnydale to kill witches and anyone who protects them, including their own children.
  • Collapsed Mid-Speech: The Mayor starts his Ascension in the middle of his speech to the graduating students, which causes him strong pains. However, he knew that it would happen and his collapse last few moments before he turns into a demonic snake. He only complains that he doesn't have time left to talk about civic pride.
  • Continuity Nod: "Lily" and her boyfriend attempting to buy lunch at a diner by dumping a bunch of change onto the table. David Arquette and Luke Perry did the exact same thing in the Buffy feature film.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Faith takes on this role with gusto.
  • Destructo-Nookie: the overtly sexualized scene in the season finale when Buffy makes Angel vamp out and drink her blood. While he's lying on top of her, she grabs a metal object for support, and it just crumples. She also kicks a table through a wall. Angel leaves her with the most insane hickey in history through all of season 4.
  • Dissimile: It seems Buffy has Gandhi confused with Teddy Roosevelt.
    Xander: The band. Yeah. They're great. They march.
    Willow: Like an army. [beat] Except with music instead of bullets, and...usually no one dies.
    • Wilkins explains to Faith that her errand in question involves something crucial to his ascension. He brightly says that without it, "well, what would Tollhouse cookies be without the chocolate chips?" Faith regards her cookie as if she's actually pondering that zen question. He continues, "A pretty darn big disappointment, I can tell you!"
  • Dominatrix: Picture this scene: You're tied up in a cage with burn marks over your body and a cute little girl in leather bondage gear enters. From the baby talk calling you puppy it's clear she is crazy, and she reacts to the silent treatment you give her with the promise that she is going to make you bark.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted in Faith's sexual assault and attempted murder of Xander. Angel first hits her on the head with a baseball bat to stop her, and when she wakes up he dubiously asks her about it.
    "He forgot the safety word?"
  • Dumb and Drummer: Faith's list of loser ex-boyfriends goes "Ronnie: deadbeat. Steve: klepto. Kenny: drummer."
  • Enhance Button: Mocked.
  • Euphemism Buster: An un-lampshaded version.
    Mayor: No slayer of mine is going to live in a fleabag motel. That place has a very unsavory reputation. There are immoral liaisons going on there.
    Faith: Yeah, plus all the screwing.
  • Everybody Knew Already: Revealed in "The Prom" that everyone knows in school that Buffy protects them from bad stuff.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Faith. It starts in "Consequences". The sad part is, it's partially the Scoobies fault.
  • Final Boss Preview: The First is first seen in Season 3.
  • Friend to Psychos: In "Beauty and the Beasts," Debbie tries to cover for her boyfriend Pete when he starts going through a Jekyll/Hyde situation. She's not very good at it, though.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Wishverse Buffy is an even more by-the-book Slayer than Kendra, perhaps second only to the First Slayer.
  • The Glomp: Willow, courtesy of, well...everybody. The Scoobies, having mistaken her for Wishverse Willow, are elated when she turns out to be still alive.
    Willow: It's really nice that you guys missed me. Say, you all didn't happen to do a bunch of drugs, did ya?
    • Despite being accepted into Oxford, Willow announces to Buffy that she "will be matriculating with Class of 2003" at UC Sunnydale. The mischievous smile. "...Say, isn't that where you're going?" Buffy squees and tackles her to the grass.
  • Good Is Not Soft: When Angel is poisoned and Buffy learns that Slayer blood is the cure, her rather scary initial plan is to bring by force the psychotic Faith to him to feed on, dead or alive. When that doesn't work Buffy offers herself to feed on, which Angel absolutely refuses. So Buffy punches him in the face until the blows anger him enough to vamp out, then she makes him feed on her.
    • Faith actually told Buffy that sometimes innocent people get hurt because of the good guys, and Buffy throws it back in her face.
  • Gratuitous German: In the episode "Gingerbread", the newspaper article the gang looks up and the chant Giles is doing at the end of the episode qualify for this.
  • Hands-On Approach: Willow and Xander have this problem. Unbeknownst to them, Buffy and Angel are also struggling to keep their hand off of...things.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: "Gingerbread" begins with Buffy's mom finding two young children after what looks like a magical rite. She responds by organizing the other parents in Sunnydale into an organization to go after witches (and Slayers.) The episode ends with them all trying to burn their own children at the stake.
  • Held Back in School: Oz. He was supposed to go to summer school. "Remember when I didn't?"
  • Hidden Depths: Cordelia, Oz. They score surprisingly well on standardized tests.
  • High-Dive Escape: A darker variation in the lead up to the season 3 finale where a brutal fight between Buffy and Faith ends with Faith stabbed in the stomach and on the edge of a rooftop. Faith knows Buffy needs her blood to heal Angel and convinced her stab wound is fatal, she gets revenge by falling backwards off of the roof onto the back of a passing truck, which carries her now comatose body away before Buffy can catch up to it.
  • Home Field Advantage: The third season finale was one huge HFA. The mayor is giving the commencement address at Buffy's graduation, which is also where his Ascension is going to occur. In response, the Scoobies organize the entire senior class to fight off the Mayor's vampires and hold the Mayor at bay until Buffy lures him into the library, which they've already filled with explosives. He dies.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Subverted: No betrayal happens.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game
  • I Think You Broke Him: "Beauty and the Beasts" has a rare version that's not played for comedy.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Cordelia, although she survives. Also most vampires and a few other monsters.
  • Industrialized Evil: "The Wish".
  • Interrogation Montage: Done by Willow, Xander, Oz and Cordy in "Earshot."
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: In "The Wish", Cordelia unwittingly makes the demon Anyanka create a world wherein Buffy never moved to Sunnydale, which has turned into a truly hellish place where the Master and his army of vampires rule practically unopposed. The whole thing later gets a twist as Cordelia gets killed about halfway through the episode, leaving Giles to find a way to undo the wish.
  • It's Personal: Season 3 premiere.
    Oz: If I may suggest: "This time it's personal." I mean, there's a reason why it's a classic.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Spike's legendary "Love's Bitch" speech.
    ""You're not 'friends.' You'll never be friends. You'll be in love 'til it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood. Blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."
    • This is echoed by Mayor Wilkin, who doesn't foresee anything good for Angel and Buffy's relationship. He's reminded of his own wife in her last days, senile and cursing Wilkins for his eternal youth.
  • Kirk Summation: Subverted by Willow in "Choices"
  • Ladies and Germs: "Ladies, gentlemen, spiny-headed creatures..."
  • La Résistance: The White Hats (Giles, Larry and Oz) in the Wishverse.
  • Lecherous Licking: Vampire Willow does this a lot, including to regular Willow, who is understandably freaked out by it.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: In "Consequences", Mr. Trick is staked by Faith before he can drain Buffy. His Famous Last Words?
    Mr. Trick: (indignant and mildly shocked) Oh. No. No, this is no good at all...
  • Mask of Power: "Dead Man's Party" and the Nigerian zombie mask. Note a Mask of Power that does not need to be worn. Though the Mask wants to be worn by one of its zombies to unlock its full power.
  • Metaphorgotten: "Homecoming". Willow expressing her guilt about kissing Xander.
    Willow: We were so guilty about "the fluke" that we overcompensated helping Cordelia and spun the group dynamic out of orbit. Now we're just this meteor shower headed for Earth...
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: In the episode "Earshot."
  • No-Tell Motel: Faith crashes here upon coming to Sunnydale, further emphasizing the differences between her and Buffy. The Mayor upgrades her to a condo, but advises to maintain her old place as a cover.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations:
    • When Willow starts discussing Buffy's secret affair with Angel, Xander immediately deflects the discussion to their sordid tryst. This proves to be consistent behavior between Willow and Xander throughout the season; the stress of being caught cheating is so overwhelming, they keep blurting out pseudo-confessions to anyone in sight.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Vampire Willow to Willow, and vice versa.
  • Prophetic Name: Scott Hope. Now, if only his first name were Dash...
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Angel, whose Superpowered Evil Side delights in Mind Rape, was particularly disgusted with...
  • Recurring Extra: Should you be watching reruns of season 3 episodes, look for a shortish Asian guy carrying a skateboard. He's in many episodes and is referred to as "Asian Dan" by the cast. In the season 4 DVD, Seth Green, Joss Whedon, and Marti Noxon joke about his frequent appearances in the "Wild at Heart" audio commentary.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Angel, though it starts out looking like Came Back Wrong.
  • Room Full of Crazy: From "Helpless". Buffy runs into a room full of pictures of her mother taken by a really crazy vampire.
  • Rule of Three: In season three, when Angel has been poisoned by Faith and needs the blood of a Slayer to cure him, Buffy punches him to get him to vamp out. Of course, she hits him once, twice, aaand the third time does it.
  • Sequel Episode: "Dopplegangland" is this to "The Wish".
  • Shadowland: Buffyless Sunnydale to Normal Sunnydale.
  • Snow Means Love: A providential snowfall prevents Angel from committing suicide-by-sun. He and Buffy then go for a walk in the snow. This is southern California. Y'know, because snow is nearly impossible there.
  • Spoiler Opening: The 3rd season opening shows Faith before she even makes her first appearance. Averted in season 1, it doesn't hint that Angel is a vampire.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal:
    • In the episode "Earshot," Buffy talks Jonathan Levinson out of killing himself, although she thinks that she is convinving him not to commit mass murder instead.
    • Buffy also convinces Angel not to kill himself when he is attacked by the First Evil.
  • The Team: The Scoobies.
  • Tempting Fate: In "Dead Man's Party":
    Willow: No, let them go, Oz! Talking about it isn't helping, we might as well try some violence!
    (A zombie breaks in through the front window.)
    Willow: I was being sarcastic!
  • That Was the Last Entry: The first info the Scoobies have about the prophesied "ascension" is a journal entry saying "Tomorrow is the ascension, may God help us." It was the last time the town was ever heard of.
  • Throwing Your Stake Always Works: Subverted with gusto in "Anne".
    Oz: That really never works.
  • Title Drop: For the episode title in "Dead Man's Party".
  • A Truce While We Gawk: In "Anne", Buffy's fight with the demons is interrupted by the head demon holding a knife to Lilly. He announces that their fight is lost and he'll kill Lilly to make an example. Lilly kills him instead. A beat later, the main fight resumes.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Invoked by the Mayor, who was him, his son, his grandson and his great grandson (he's immortal).
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: "Graduation Day, Part Two".
  • Very Special Episode: "I Only Have Eyes For You" and "Earshot" ended with a PSA about calling the suicide hotline, which would have been useful for some fans.
  • "Walk on the Wild Side" Episode: In "Doppelgangland", Willow gets a little fed up with her reputation as Old Reliable and flirts with danger a bit by doing a dark incantation with Anya. It doesn't end very well.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: After the Mayor has just completed a dark ritual on his way to becoming a true immortal demon.
    Mayor: "This officially commences the Hundred Days. Nothing can harm me until the Ascension."
    [beat. Breaks into a fit of gleeful giggles]
    "Gosh, I'm feeling chipper! Who's for a root beer?!"
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Buffy's proposal for dealing with a vengeance demon in "The Wish".
    Buffy: "Why don't I just put a stake through her heart?"
    Giles: "She's not a vampire."
    Buffy: "You'd be surprised how many things that'll kill."
    • Also a fantastic instance of foreshadowing. A few episodes later, guess what Faith accidentally kills a man with.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Various hell dimensions, including the demon workhouse in the season opener and the realm where Angel is held after the events of season two.
  • You Got Spunk:
    Ken: "You've got guts. I'd like to slice you open and play with them."
  • Zombie Apocalypse:
    • A Nigerian mask causes a minor one in "Dead Man's Party".
    • The alternate timeline created in "The Wish" is a vampire variant.

     Season Four 
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: Professor Walsh gives a lecture on the Id. Zig-Zagged, as her other lectures indicate she's just giving a board overview of all schools of psychological thought.
  • All Take and No Give: Spike and Harmony's relationship, with Spike as Taker and Harmony as Giver.
  • And I Must Scream: The episode "Hush".
    Can't even shout
    Can't even cry
    The gentlemen are coming by
    Lookin' in windows
    Knockin' on doors
    They need to take seven
    And they might take yours
    Can't call to mom
    Can't say a word
    You're gonna die screaming
    But you won't be heard
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: The Gentlemen steal everyone's voices. Everyone freaks out, gets drunk, goes to church, resorts to violence in the streets.
  • Arc Number: 314, otherwise known as Adam.
  • Armies Are Evil: The Initiative.
  • Attack Backfire: Season four's Big Bad got a rush off of the Initiative's electricity guns.
  • Batman Gambit: Spike's plan in "The Yoko Factor".
  • Batman in My Basement: Inverted, Xander keeps Spike in his basement in Season 4 for a bit and later in his closet (which is fucking huge) in Season 7.
  • Big Little Man: "Fear, Itself" has Gachnar the Fear Demon... who is 4 inches tall. Buffy stomps him like a bug.
  • Black Hole Sue: Used for humorous effect in "Superstar", when Jonathan uses a wish spell to fold reality around himself and turns himself into an invincible, charismatic hero, admired by everyone. Unfortunately he forgot to read the fine print. In-Universe
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Inverted in "A New Man".
    Riley: Buffy, when I saw you stop the world from, you know, ending, I just assumed that was a big week for you. Turns out I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of "apocalypse".
  • California University: UC-Sunnydale
  • Coincidental Broadcast: In "The Harsh Light Of Day", Giles tells them that watching TV isn't going to help them with their problem. Sure enough the news showed a clue to Spike's whereabouts.
  • Collective Groan: In "Doomed", when the gang realized they have to prevent the end of the world again.
  • Combined Energy Attack: In the 4th season's penultimate episode.
  • Coming-Out Story: "New Moon Rising", Although there's a Fantastic Aesop twist in that many of the standard plot points are applied to Oz (as a werewolf) rather than Willow (as a "coming out" lesbian).
  • Conflict Ball: Spike deliberately passes it around in The Yoko Factor, making insinuating and subversive comments to make the Scoobies turn on each other and vent repressed feelings of anger and resentment that had been bottled up. He even lampshades the trope, pointing out that people latch onto one specific event or situation as a cause of strife, but that what really happens is that the event or situation is just an excuse to bring to the forefront issues that were there all along.
  • Conspiracy Redemption: Riley and the Initiative. Riley was a loyal soldier for the organisation and attempted to recruit Buffy as well, but eventually learned that the Initiative was using Mad Scientists (particularly Walsh), boosting its soldiers' performances with drugs and cybernetic implants, and creating a cyborg Super Soldier using demon body tissue. After Walsh tries to kill Buffy, and the Initiative captures and experiments on Oz, Riley deserts and joins the Scoobies, and the following season is headhunted by a military demon-killing unit that's less morally ambiguous.
  • Continuity Nod: Xander being called a "demon magnet."
  • Creepy Children Singing: The Gentleman rhyme in "Hush".
  • Crossover: With its spinoff Angel, which has crossed over with a few things.
  • Cut Apart: In "Hush", we see Tara knocking on one of the dorm room's doors, and Willow waking up from the noise. The door opens, and one of The Gentlemen surprises Tara. This was actually hinted, since Tara had previously found Willow's room number (which isn't the number on the door).
  • Dénouement Episode: "Restless."
  • Driven to Suicide: At one point, Spike tries to stake himself after getting the chip, only saved by Willow and Xander. Luckily, he finds that he can hurt demons, regaining his will to live.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Are we supposed to be surprised that Professor Walsh's human-demon-cyborg stabs her in the back and tries to conquer the world?
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The result of Willow's "my will be done" spell is that her metaphorical words become literally true.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Xander tries to invoke this with Buffy while undercover at the Initiative, but Buffy rebuffs him by pointing out that "This is the Initiative. Military guys and scientists do not make out with each other."
  • Fantastic Aesop: The reason why "Beer Bad" was denied additional funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
  • Foreshadowing: "I hope it's a funny aneurism."
  • For Great Justice: Parodied by Spike. "For the safety of... puppies, and... Christmas, right?"
  • Fratbro: With the setting shift to college, Fratbros show up. Notably, the Halloween episode takes place in a frathouse where they accidentally summoned a demon trying to make a haunted house.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Buffy and Faith in "Who Are You?"
  • Funny Background Event: In "The Harsh Light of Day" the Greek letters on the Frat house Buffy are Gamma Alpha Pi (ΓΑΠ) which, from the angle the shot is taken, look a bit like FAIL. The house in the background across the street bears the letters ΤΩA. Perhaps it's a sorority house?
  • Ghostly Glide: The Gentlemen in the episode "Hush" hovered inches off the ground rather than walking, adding to their creepiness.
  • Good Feels Good: Faith, when she was in Buffy's body masquerading as her.
  • Grand Theft Me: The spell Willow uses to help Buffy works like this, not only is she imbued with the power of all the Scoobies, she acts possessed.
  • Inhumanable Alien Rights: According to the Initiative, vampires and other monsters have no rights that are worth respecting. At first, Riley Finn shared this view, until one of the werewolves the Initiative captured turned out to be Oz and he realized that some of the "monsters" he had been capturing actually had normal lives.
  • Intoxication Ensues
  • Jerkass: Forrest.
  • "Join the Army," They Said
  • Lecture as Exposition: Lampshaded and subverted in "Hush", when Giles is forced to this without his ability to speak.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Giles's Temporary Love Interest Olivia. At the end of the episode "Hush," after Olivia learns of the existence of demons, she says, "Scary." Giles asks, "Too scary?" and Olivia responds, "I'm not sure." Since we never see her again after that, we can presume that it was indeed too scary for her.
    • We do see her again on the show, though only in a dream Giles has in the season finale.
  • Magic Versus Science
  • Magical Native American: Hus in "Pangs".
  • A Man Is Always Eager: That Oz is reluctant to engage in the physical act of love strikes fear into Willow's heart as a sign of infidelity. Xander lampshades it, saying she may have encountered "the seven annual minutes he's legitimately too preoccupied" to want sex.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: Gachnar in "Fear, Itself".
  • Mildly Military: The Initiative.
  • Mineral Macguffin: The Gem of Amarra.
  • The Minnesota Fats: Subverted in "Superstar".
  • Mundane Made Awesome / Wimp Fight:
    • Xander vs. Harmony. Slow motion hair pulling set to dramatic action music.
    • Done to explicitly mock the show's often unrealistic fight scenes.
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: The Initiative is reviewed, and deemed to have utterly failed, in its mission to research whether demons could be used to create Super Soldiers. So the whole thing is shut down & concreted over: "burn it, gentlemen, and salt the earth". The possibility of keeping the very successful demon-fighting side of its operation up-and-running is never even suggested — the shadowy government agency heading it was more concerned about covering up a potential scandal than public safety.
  • No Sympathy: "Xander, try not to bleed on my couch / I just had it steam-cleaned" ♪
  • Not Right in the Bed: When Faith takes over Buffy's body, she comes on to Spike, and is a lot more sexually aggressive with Riley than Buffy is.
  • Perplexing Plurals: Riley comments that, after falling in with the main characters, he suddenly finds himself needing to know the plural of "apocalypse".
  • Screaming Woman: Subverted in "Hush".
  • Self-Deprecation: Done in a unique way, with Faith insulting herself while in Buffy's body. This starts out as an imitation of the holier-than-thou attitude she considers Buffy to have, but quickly turns into Faith spilling her own self-hatred.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Meta example. Joss Whedon got so much acclaim for how crisp, funny, amazing, wonderful, and awesome the dialogue was that he wrote an episode where the entire town loses their voices completely five minutes in. It's generally regarded as one of the best episodes in the entire series.
  • Salt and Pepper: Riley and Forrest.
  • Shout-Out: Adam, the name of Frankenstein's Monster, according to Mary Shelley.
    • Giles puts on "Danse Macabre" during his silent presentation in "Hush". "Danse Macabre" is the theme tune of Jonathan Creek. Anthony Stewart Head, who plays Giles, played magician Adam Klaus in the pilot episode of that show.
  • Showing Off the New Body: Practically the first thing Faith does after swapping bodies with Buffy is take a long bath.
  • Slasher Smile: The Gentlemen.
  • The Team:
    • The Hero: Buffy. As per usual.
    • The Lancer: Willow takes center stage this season with her new magical abilities.
    • The Smart Guy: Giles. Despite feeling out of place he is still very much Buffy's father figure, mentor and teacher.
    • The Big Guy: Riley, who is a Super Soldier and Buffy's new boyfriend.
    • The Heart: Xander has really grown into this, what with the motivating speech he gives Buffy in the season premiere. He's even called this in a spell Willow performs near the end of the season.
    • Sixth Ranger: Anya and Tara, after they start dating Xander and Willow, respectively.
    • Token Evil Teammate: Spike, who occasionally stands with the Scoobies for the sake of a good fight. He's still evil, however, and just because he can no longer do the damage himself, it doesn't stop him from helping Adam during the final stretch of the season.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Buffy actually says the trope's name when Angel and Riley fight over her in "The Yoko Factor".
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: does an interesting take on this in one episode. Giles explains the ancient lore of this week's demon, while the Initiative is briefed on the nature of the same "HST" (Hostile Subterranean) in military jargon.
  • Variable Terminal Velocity: A particularly egregious example in "Doomed", where Buffy jumps into the Hellmouth after a demon and catches up to it while falling, even though she took the time to run over to Riley, grab a rope from him, and run back before jumping in.
  • [Verb] This!: When Buffy first fought The Initiative, she fired a flare gun while saying "Contain this!"
  • Video Wills: Mayor Wilkins.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Jonathan crooning a forties pop song in "Superstar". Pro athlete, military genius, star of The Matrix, and now he's Sinatra.
  • Voice of the Legion: Buffy speaks with the voices of the whole Scooby Gang after the enjoining spell combines them all in her body.
  • William Telling: In "Superstar" Jonathan alters reality to change himself from a geek into a demon-fighting James Bond-expy. One scene has him putting on a blindfold in preparation to shooting apples from the heads of several Initiative soldiers.
  • Worrying for the Wrong Reason: In "Pangs", Xander is in a panic because he has been cursed with a host of diseases. He's most stressed about the syphilis. Anya says comfortingly:
    It'll make you blind and insane, but it won't kill you. The smallpox will.
  • You Keep Using That Word: When the Scooby Gang and the Initiative become hostile towards the end of the fourth season the colonel in charge of the Initiative describes the Scoobies as "anarchists," and when Riley later defects he again uses the term, this time including himself with the group. However, the Scoobies have never advocated any sort of anarchist philosophy or mindset, and several episodes (Both before and after this event) have stressed their wholehearted belief in the need for people, even themselves, to submit to proper established authority when the situation calls for it.

     Season Five 
  • Adopt the Dog: "Intervention" is pretty much the definitive moment in Spike's change from evil to good. Despite brutal torture, Spike refuses to give Dawn up to Glory. Later Spike confesses to his adoring robotic replica of Buffy (or so Spike thinks) that if Buffy lost Dawn, it would destroy her, and he could not live with her being in that much pain. And this was before he got a soul.
  • Anachronism Stew: The Knights of Byzantium are an ancient order of Knight Templars who use medieval arms and armour for no apparent reason other than to have a cool scene involving Buffy fighting knights on top of a moving Winnebago.
  • Another Dimension: Glory's world, an H. R. Giger-ish dimension which we see bits of in the finale.
  • Arc Words: "Death is your gift."
  • Band of Brothers: After falling apart the previous season, the Scoobies eventually band together into an extremely powerful group of True Companions — even Spike by the end of the season. One of the times this is best seen is when Tara's family comes to take her home against her will. The ending of that episode sums it up.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: We never see how Glory kills the knights trying to kill Dawn.
  • Break the Badass: Buffy's reaction to the revelation that Glory isn't a demon like everyone thought. On the contrary, Glory is a god.
  • Butt-Monkey: Xander becomes the Trope Namer, yet over the next few episodes Takes A Level in Character Development by getting a promotion at work, moving out of his parent's basement and stabilizing his relationship with Anya.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: About every piece of Phlebotinum that shows up during the fifth season is eventually used to fight Glory.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Doc, the old man who gave Dawn the spell to bring Joyce back to life. Turns out he's a Glory worshipper and he is the one who opens the portal.
    • Warren will be much more important come season 6.
  • Completely Missing the Point: The PTC decried The Gift on account of Buffy committing suicide. No!!! Don't save the world!!! Giving your life for the sake of the human race is EVIL!!!
    • To be fair, this had more to do with the fact that Buffy was told "Death is her Gift" (as in death being a gift she should embrace as an end to her suffering). Her words to Dawn that "the hardest thing to do in this world is to live in it" - plus her wishful look towards the sunset before she jumps - just added to that. So really it's not the sacrifice itself that's the problem; just how it was portrayed and executed.
  • Courtly Love: Spike's Character Arc this season, with Buffy as the unobtainable princess.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The creepy old guy with the tail to Spike. Then Buffy to the creepy old guy with the tail
    • Glory curb stomps Buffy on several occassion before the final battle
  • Cosmic Retcon: Only child Buffy suddenly has an annoying little sister to butt heads with. Dawn appears out of nowhere yet everyone thinks she's always been a member of the Summers family. It takes several episodes before this mystery is answered.
  • Daydream Surprise: Used brutally in "The Body", and as a Love Epiphany for Spike.
  • Determined Defeatist: Spike in "The Gift", as shown by his "we band of buggered" line.
  • Drop the Hammer: The hammer wielded by Olaf the Troll, which becomes a Chekhov's Gun for the season finale.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: In-universe example — Harmony refuses to have a threesome with Spike unless it's boy-girl-boy. Exceptions are made for Charlize Theron.
  • Everything Is Better With Monkeys: In "Into the Woods", Anya wants to watch a movie about monkeys playing hockey because "The ice is so slippery and monkeys are all irrational".
  • Fiction as Cover-Up: Dracula got Stoker to write his book to pump up his street cred. Other vampires thought it was a really dick move, because it let the normal humans in on a lot of their secrets.
  • Ghost Story: Dawn listens to scary stories told by the monster himself — Spike in his crypt. Buffy is not amused.
  • Heroic BSoD: When Glory snatches Dawn, Buffy lapses into catatonia. Willow has to both take command of the Scoobies and make a Journey to the Center of the Mind to snap Buffy out of it.
  • Heroic Suicide: Dawn attempts one in the season finale. Buffy performs it in her place.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: Tara's family is like this. They abuse her emotionally and lie to her to make her hate herself, fooling her into believing that she's less than human. When she breaks free and makes a life of her own, they start threatening to move on to physical abuse, and would most likely have made good on their threats if it wasn't for almost the entire cast closing ranks around her and telling them that they would have to go through them to get to her.
    • Which also allows Spike to cement his Heel–Face Turn by hitting her, purposely causing an electric shock to his brain via his chip to prove she's human.
  • Hugh Mann: The Scooby Gang initially get totally taken in by the Buffybot and chalk her weird behaviour up to the recent death of Buffy's mom. Since she's still all but holding up a sign reading "I Am A Robot Impersonator" the whole time, Buffy is still not very happy that her friends were completely unable to tell the difference.
  • I Miss Mom: Buffy and Dawn
  • Instant Emergency Response: Averted in "The Body", where it takes a reasonable length of time for the ambulance to arrive.
  • I Say What I Say: The two Xanders in "The Replacement."
  • I Wished You Were Dead: The reason for Buffy's Heroic BSoD in "The Weight of the World".
  • Literal Split Personality: Cool Xander and Loser Xander in "The Replacement."
  • Love Epiphany: Spike has a Catapult Nightmare in which he realises his obsession with Buffy is something far, far worse! Inverted with Riley Finn who realises that Buffy doesn't love him, fueling his eventual decision to leave.
  • Love Hurts: Spike is tormented by his unrequited lust for the Slayer.
    Spike: "What the bleeding hell is WRONG with you bloody women?! What the hell does it take?! Why do you bitches torture me?!
  • MacGuffin Blindness: Glory searches all through the season for the key, but doesn't realize that it was Buffy's sister Dawn all along until right near the end.
  • Mind Rape: The people Glory drains to stop herself going crazy including Tara.
  • Mook Horror Show: The Dracula episode, where we see a vampire running madly through a graveyard... and then we realize he's running for his (un)life. From Buffy.
  • Must Be Invited: Buffy tolerates Spike's Stalker with a Crush behavior until she discovers he's fallen in love with her (and realizes he's getting too close to her family). She then gets Willow to bar Spike from the house. Then Spike shows himself willing to give his life to protect Dawn, so in the season finale Buffy invites him back into her home.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In every episode where Buffy fights Glory until The Gift, she gets her ass handed to her and is typically forced to flee.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: When we meet Dawn, everyone spends most of a season trying to keep the slaying away from her. They don't talk about it in front of her, except insofar as they can do so in code (they mostly fail).
  • Not So Invincible After All: Glory can be slowed by magical artifacts.
  • Only Sane Man: Spike has a major case of this in "The Weight of the World", when he is the only one immune to the glamour that prevents mortals from remembering that Ben is Glory. See also Glamour Failure.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: One comes out of the Key Portal during The Gift.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: "The Body" feels very different from a normal episode of the show, using Mood Dissonance and a complete absence of background music to recreate the sense of dislocation we feel when someone close to us dies.
  • Poisonous Friend: Giles smothering Ben to death in "The Gift".
  • Prodigal Family: Tara's family are an example of the possessive, malevolent variety.
  • Promotion to Parent: Buffy has to take over this role for Dawn, despite her desperate attempt to foist the task off onto Giles.
  • Put on a Bus: Harmony and Riley.
  • Retroactive Wish: In "Triangle".
    Willow: I wish Buffy was here!
    Buffy: I'm here!
    Willow: I wish I had a million dollars!
  • Revealing Continuity Lapse: Taken to new heights when an entirely new character appears in the first episode, treated by everyone as Buffy's sister who has been there all along. The characters even reminisce about her place in old episodes she wasn't in! Eventually, it turns out that this is because she was magically implanted there into Buffy's life because she is needed for a powerful ritual.
  • Revisiting the Roots: At the end of the fifth season, Buffy starts off an episode by killing a vampire in an alleyway. This is after having blown up a giant demon snake in season three, fought off a man-made demon-cyborg in season four, and she was presently in the battle with a demonic god trying to destroy the universe. She even lampshades this by pointing out she hadn't done something so simple in a while.
  • Robocam: April and Buffybot POV — complete with Positions and Fetishes.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Giles wears them for the magic shop's grand opening. They look ridiculous.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: 1977 Spike. DEAR GOD, 1977 Spike.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: ("Into the Woods") Buffy discovers her boyfriend Riley is visiting vampire prostitutes, so she burns down the building and kills every member of the gang in seconds. At first Buffy resists the temptation to kill the vamp-ho when she's at her mercy, but then changes her mind and spears her as she's running away. ("Tough Love") When Glory brain-sucks Tara turning her insane we see our first hint of Dark Willow as she takes on a Physical God with Black Eyes of Evil and Shock and Awe.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: Averted in that the Double Meat Burger is actually made from soy. The secret ingredient... is meat.
  • Sex Bot: April in "I Was Made To Love You", a deconstruction of the Pygmalion Plot where Season 6 Big Bad Warren creates the perfect girlfriend only to dump her as she's too boring. Spike then intimidates him into building a Buffybot ("Intervention"). Hilarity Ensues.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Spike is in his crypt smoking then we see Buffy the bot pop up should this be put, smoking him.
  • Success Symbiosis: This ends up being the case between Buffy and the Watcher's Council. Buffy points out that she needs them to identify Glory but they need her or they're just a bunch of old guys in tweed waiting for her (well, actually, they're waiting for Faith) to die because without a Slayer they have no purpose. So the Council hires back Giles (and after his prompting, gives him all the pay he would have gotten since he got fired to that moment) and in return they tell her who Glory is (a hellgod).
  • The Team: After Riley's departure.
    • The Hero: Buffy (what else is new?)
    • The Lancer: Giles is frequently at Buffy's side throughout the season, especially in the aftermath of Joyce's death.
    • The Smart Guy: Willow, although he's slowly growing into a protective force thanks to her magic vastly improving.
    • The Big Guy: Spike, motivated by his unexpected love for Buffy. Buffy even says he's the only one besides her who stands a chance in a fight with Glory (and she's correct).
    • The Chick: Anya (with some elements of The Smart Guy due to her continuing demon expertise and surprising proficiency in running a business) and Tara, who doubles as a Team Mom.
    • The Heart: Xander.
    • Tagalong Kid: Dawn, although she is very crucial to the plot, and probably the Deuteragonist of the season after Buffy.
  • Threat Backfire: Xander (under Dracula's thrall) tells Riley he'll have to go through him to get to Dracula. He is immediately punched unconscious.
  • Tonight, Someone Kisses: Willow and Tara's first on screen kiss in "The Body" in a way that anyone who thinks Girl-on-Girl Is Hot might find cheering for this inappropriate.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Riley Finn tries to make himself Darker and Edgier in an effort to appeal to Buffy. It doesn't end well.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: "Buffy vs. Dracula"
  • Wham Episode: "The Body."
  • Wham Line: "We're not supposed to move the body!!" The delivery of the line and Buffy and Giles' subsequent reactions can be one of the most chilling moments in the entire series.
  • What Happened to the Dragon?
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Fool For Love" shows Spike's past, notably how he killed two previous Slayers.
  • The Worf Effect: On their first meeting Glory inflicts a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Buffy, who only escapes because the building collapses.

     Season Six 
  • Action Dress Rip: In the The Trio's first appearance, a monster attacks a bank and Buffy initially couldn't fight because of her "stupid skirt". She does it again when fighting a demon at Xander's wedding.
  • Actually a Doombot: The Scoobies use the Buffybot to make the underworld think that the Slayer is still protecting Sunnydale. When a vampire accidentally discovers this, it provokes immediate Rape, Pillage, and Burn by demon bikers.
    • The first time Willow gets her mitts on Warren. Fizz crackle pop.
  • All Bikers Are Hellmouth Angels
  • All Just a Dream: "Normal Again" Or Was It a Dream?
  • Ambiguous Situation: "Normal Again", in which Buffy is injected with a poison that make her hallucinate... Or is it the other way around? According to a psychiatrist, who may or may not be a real person, she is in fact getting better: She has been sick all along, and now she's finally waking up from years of catatonic schizophrenia. So, the whole series is either This Is Reality or a mad All Just a Dream with a dash of The Schizophrenia Conspiracy. In the end, Buffy choses her life in Sunnydale over her life in the mental institution, but the ending leaves it ambiguous whether or not the world she settled for is the real one. Of course, when you consider the show has a spinoff full of people she never met...
  • Amnesia Danger
  • Anachronism Stew: The Trio combine magic with high technology to carry out their capers.
  • Attempted Rape: After Buffy breaks off their relationship, Spike tries to force himself upon an injured Buffy, who is barely able to fight him off. His My God, What Have I Done? reaction causes Spike to go on a quest to regain his soul.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: Larry.
    • Scott Hope, Buffy's only normal high school boyfriend. He accused every girl who broke up with him that they're gay. He came out in season 6 apparently.
  • Bambification: The first sign this season will be Darker and Edgier is when Willow cuts a fawn's throat for its Blood Magic.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: Buffy's first fight against the Trio, as they're all invisible.
  • Bitter Wedding Speech: Xander's father gives one at Xander's wedding.
  • Book-Ends / Rule of Symbolism: Buffy starts Season 6 by clawing her way out of her grave into the night, beginning a year-long Heroic BSoD. She ends the season climbing out of another grave into the light, having rediscovered the value of living.
  • The Cast Show Off: The musical episode allowed for several actors to show off either musical or dancing talent (Anthony Steward Head, Amber Benson, James Marsters, Michelle Trachtenberg). Others sidelined for the episode. (Alyson Hannigan asked to be given a smaller singing role and no dancing role.)
    • Emma Caulfield apparently surprised Joss Whedon with her singing voice, resulting in the writers giving her another song in Season 7 (in a flashback to Season 6).
  • "Cavemen vs. Astronauts" Debate: The Trio debated who was the best James Bond in "Life Serial". It got so bad that Warren and Andrew actually came to blows.
  • Cuckoo Nest: "Normal Again", very scarily played.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: Willow does this after Tara breaks up with her.
  • Darker and Edgier: Tends to be true of the sixth season compared to the others, though there are darker episodes in the other seasons and Lighter and Softer ones in season 6 as well.
    • The whole series is darker compared to the campy flick it was based on.
  • The Dark Side: Spoofed when Spike encourages Buffy to walk with him on the Dark Side — which consists of Spike playing poker for kittens while Buffy gets drunk and makes snarky comments. Things become more serious later on in the season when Spike wrongly assumes (or convinces himself) that Buffy's depression and desire for rough sex means she wants to abandon her life and join him on the Dark Side. His failure to understand the complexity of her emotions has serious consequences for both of them.
  • Death Is Cheap: People killed by magical means can potentially (though not easily) be resurrected.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The blond girl doesn't die, even after having sex — she instead turns out to be Genre Savvy and an Action Girl and proceeds to kick vampire butt.
    • Season 6 deconstructs what the show is about. The focus is on the Scoobies' foray into the real world and not the whole saving the world plot and being heroes. Only the bad guys care about that.
  • Demoted Memories: The fate the demon of the episode "Normal Again" had in store for Buffy: she would be tricked into killing all her friends and then spend the rest of her life telling herself that they never existed and that she was never the slayer. That all her memories of Sunnydale was made up in her own head while she was a psychotic living in a mental institution.
  • Destructive Romance: Buffy starts a secret relationship with Spike to combat her depression. Unfortunately this only ends up making things worse — Spike is convinced Buffy wants to come over to The Dark Side and is frustrated by her unwillingness to either return his love or abandon her friends, while their Interplay of Sex and Violence, her lust for a soulless monster who's supposed to be her enemy and her guilt over using Spike without respecting his own feelings only increases Buffy's self-loathing. At one point she savagely beats an unresisting Spike, describing him in terms that are clearly referring to herself ("There is nothing good or clean in you! You are dead inside! You can't feel anything real!"). The In-Universe Values Dissonance between the two reaches a point where after she ends the relationship, Spike tries to inflict the Loving Force trope on an injured Buffy; fortunately Buffy is able to fend him off and Spike realises that, even for him, this act is crossing the Moral Event Horizon, and motivates him to go on a quest to regain his soul.
  • Did You Die?: In "As You Were," Buffy and Riley promise to swap stories if they get a chance and see whose were more exiting/dangerous/crazy ext.. She asks if he died, and when he says he didn't, she says, "I'm going to win."
  • Disappointed in You: Discussed and subverted in "All The Way":
    Giles: We need to have a conversation.
    Dawn: This the part where you tell me you're "not angry, just disappointed"?
    Giles: Pretty much. Except for the bit about not being angry.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Rack, who gets Willow high on dark magic, looks more like a drug dealer than any Very Special Episode, Public Service Announcement and every single person in the gangland wars, combined.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Buffy reacts this way after telling Tara about her relationship with Spike — it's not out of anger, but a belief that she doesn't deserve any sympathy.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After failing college, Xander being forced to fire her from construction after a demon attack and not being able to stand working at the Magic Shop, Spike pours Buffy a scotch. They then go out to a demon bar where Buffy wants to get information, takes a bottle of Khalua handed from Spike and drinks through it and snarks when Spike plays cards to get the demons talking. Hilarity Ensues when Buffy becomes roaringly drunk off her ass.
  • Easy Amnesia: In the episode "Tabula Rasa".
  • Failed a Spot Check: Xander doesn't even notice Willow's bloody shirt after Tara is killed.
  • Fantastic Drug: Magic in Season 6.
  • First-Name Basis: To drive home that she's not kidding, Buffy calls Spike "William" when breaking up with him.
  • Fainting: The characters all faint in Tabula Rasa when they lose their memories. This seems to be an effect of magical memory loss, as it happens in the Angel episode "Spin The Bottle" where the characters are all reverted to their younger selves' memories.
  • Freeze Ray: Warren's got one.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Not played for comedy in "Normal Again" when Buffy hits Xander with one then drags him to the basement to be killed by the Monster of the Week, or "Hells Bells" where Future!Xander attacks his estranged wife Anya.
  • Gilligan Cut: In the 3rd Halloween episode, Dawn's friend Janice didn't want her and her friends to go into the creepy old man's house. Sure enough...
  • G-Rated Drug: Magic during season 6, especially during the episode "Wrecked".
  • Going Commando: Parking Ticket Lady, attempting to bribe a meter maid, sings about her lack of underwear.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: In "Life Serial."
  • Has Two Mommies: Dawn with Willow and Tara. Considering that they were really one of the only good relationships in the show (and by extension, in her life) and that they took care of her for a good year or so, it's no shock.
  • Heh Heh You Said Magic Bone
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Even after they start having sex, calling Buffy "luv" or "my girl" is a guaranteed way for Spike to get a sock in the jaw.
  • Home Field Advantage: A demon breaks into the Summers home and proceeds to trash it while attempting to kill Buffy. She slowly maneuvers it into the basement where there's less stuff to break, and also a convenient weapon (in the form of Full! Copper! Repipe!).
  • I Ate WHAT?!?: Done twice by Xander in "Doublemeat Palace".
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: Magic = Drugs.
  • I Have Many Names: The demon from "Once More With Feeling".
  • "I Want" Song: "Going Through the Motions."
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The show briefly indulges in it with the Two-Part Episode "Smashed" and "Wrecked", as well as the following standalone episode "Gone". The three names are euphemisms for being intoxicated with alcohol or drugs.
  • Important Haircut: Buffy deliberately applies this trope...but ends up at the hair salon because she made a mess of things. Also subverted in that it marks no actual change in her life or behaviour — Buffy cuts her hair after Spike compliments it (they recently resolved their UST and Buffy is regretting it) but quickly ends up in his bed for round two.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Dear god, the wedding dresses at Anya's wedding. Buffy even describes their awful green as "radioactive".
  • Incredibly Long Note: They got the mustard ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut!
  • Invisible Backup Band: Played with in "Once More With Feeling".
  • Invisible Jerkass: Buffy in "Gone."
  • Irony: Season 6 Buffy learns the value of life at a cemetery.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Willow's flaying of Warren is pretty much thought of as a concern not because of what she did to him, but what sort of person she was turning into.
  • "Knock Knock" Joke: "If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone who?"
  • Lotus-Eater Machine
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Buffy and Spike spend much of season 6 doing this. Also, in the season 3 episode "Band Candy", Joyce and Giles have sex on the hood of a police car.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: The Master > Darla > Angelus > Drusilla > Spike
  • "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop: when Andrew drops down to steal a diamond, only to have Warren and Jonathan stroll into the museum without issue.
    • Also when Buffy stole the Mayor's box containing those bugs he had to eat.
  • Mundanger: "So, we meet at last, Mister Drippy."
  • Musical Episode: "Once More With Feeling". For tropes specific to that episode see the recap page.
  • Nerd in Evil's Helmet: The Trio tried really hard, but never quite got the "evil" part down. Except Warren.
  • No Mere Windmill: Buffy stopped trying to explain the very real threat of vampires after her mother had her put in a mental hospital for believing such silly delusions.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Willow brings Buffy back from the dead, thinking she's in Hell. It turns out Buffy was in Heaven and being brought back to the real world gives her a Heroic BSoD, as well as opening the way for the First One.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Trio, but especially Warren.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Anya doesn't open the magic box for a long time after Xander left her, he is genuinely scared.
  • Power High: When Willow starts to OD on witchcraft it's explicitly analogized to being high on drugs.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Sporadically used, notably with Spike and Warren. Verges into Sci-fi with Warren as it involved Mind Control. Faith body-switched with Buffy technically raped Riley (sex under false pretense), but everyone on that one ended with everyone worse for it.
  • Red Herring: The episode "All the Way" spends the first half building up the creep factor of an old man, watching kids menacingly through his window. When Dawn, her friend, and two guys try to pull a trick on them, he invites them inside for some "treats" and then goes into the kitchen with one of the boys, and reaches for a knife. Then, it's revealed that he really is a harmless man making brownies, and the two guys are vampires
  • Rerouted from Heaven: Subverted. Her friends think this happened and resurrect her. Turns out no, she'd been quite enjoying heaven.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Buffy. Like Angel back in season three, though inverted. He spent centuries being tortured in a hell dimension and came back a savage beast. She spent her time in heaven and thought she'd been kidnapped into hell.
  • Sex Bot: April and the Buffybot.
  • She's Back: Subverted; it takes most of the season for Buffy to recover from her depression over having been wrenched back into the real world.
  • Slice of Life: Season 6 dealt with the Scoobies day-to-day foray into grown up life.
  • Spoiler Cover: The season 6 DVD has Dark Willow on the cover, and, even more inexplicably, on the first disc.
  • Tastes Like Feet: Buffy drowning her sorrows in Life Serial where she's drinking some indeterminate alcohol, though from the Slayer's reaction it must be something like tequila straight and she's not exactly a drinker.
  • The Team:
    • The Hero: Buffy, although she's become a bit of an Anti-Hero in the aftermath of her resurrection. Xander becomes one in the season's last episode.
    • The Lancer: Willow, who's also darker due to her magic addiction.
    • The Smart Guy: Anya, taking over the Magic Box from Giles.
    • The Big Guy: Spike. It's less obvious than in the last season, however.
    • The Chick: Tara, also the Team Mom.
    • The Heart: Xander, which saves the world in the last episode.
    • Tagalong Kid: Dawn.
  • Teleportation Sickness: Buffy and Dawn after Willow teleporting them from a cemetery to the Magic Box.
  • Terrible Trio: The Trio.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World:
    Jonathan: It's true, my friends. The way I see it, life is like an interstellar journey. Some people go into hypersleep and travel at sub-light speeds, only to get where they're going after years of struggle, toil and hard, hard work. We, on the other hand ...
    Andrew: Blast through the space-time continuum in a wormhole?
    Jonathan: Gentlemen... [lights cigar with flaming bill] CRIME is our wormhole!
  • The Trouble with Tickets: Marti Noxon's parking ticket aria.
    It isn't right, it isn't fair / There was no parking anywhere / I think that hydrant wasn't there
  • Unflinching Faith in the Brakes: Willow does this in the sixth season, when using magic to stop an oncoming bus.
  • Unsatisfiable Customer: The time loop of 'Life Serial' has one of these that Buffy must satisfy to escape the loop. Hilarity Ensues.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Buffy uses Spike as a confidant because he's a "dead man", so her confessions don't count. When they start having sex, she refuses to admit there's love involved or even acknowledge (to herself or others) that he's her boyfriend; Spike calling her "my girl" or "love" often drives her to fury. Spike's soulless nature is often used by her as an excuse for this behaviour. Eventually Buffy faces up to how she is using him and breaks off the relationship.
    • Buffy's killing of the guy who was cursed by Anya to be tortured in a hell dimension. He had a very legitimate grievance with Anya, and he's unconscious and helpless, and he's killed like it's nothing. Also the bank-robber demon, who hasn't really done anything worthy of summary execution, yet is executed after first being knocked unconscious. Killing humans under any circumstances is apparantly an atrocity, but demons can be killed for crimes that would only warrant jail-time for a human and it's nothing.
  • Windmill Crusader: While Buffy has The Cuckoolander Was Right as an inherent trait, the episode “Normal Again” subverts this when Buffy is drugged and hallucinates that she’s been insane all along and that Sunnydale is only in her mind. In this, Buffy was a insane Windmill Crusader before the series started, and she has been locked in a mental institution throughout the whole series.
  • Volleying Insults: Xander and Anya's duet in "Once More With Feeling."
    Xander: She clings / She's needy / She's also really greedy / She never —
    Anya [interrupting] His eyes are beady!
    Xander: This is my verse, hello!
  • Xanatos Gambit: "Grave" Giles arrives with the powers of a coven in order to defeat Willow after she does a Face–Heel Turn. If he defeats her then threat neutralized, if he loses Willow will take his power and thus giving Willow a window to her emotions, so Xander could stop her. Its mixed with Batman Gambit as he was banking on the emotional appeal.
  • Zero-G Spot: At the end of Tara's love song "Under Your Spell" in "Once More With Feeling", she levitates into the air over her bed, and it's strongly implied she's doing it so an off-camera Willow can do cunnilingus on her.

     Season Seven 
  • Achilles in His Tent: Buffy getting deposed by her own pupils, who install Faith as their new leader. One episode and bomb explosion later, and everyone goes crawling back to blondie.
  • And Then What?: The final question asked to Buffy once everything's said and done.
  • Anti-Climax Cut: "Lessons":
    Buffy: Vampires, demons... they're nothing compared to what's coming.
    Dawn: I know. I just can't believe it's back.
    Buffy: Believe me, I thought I was long past it. I guess you never are. Just a few more days til it starts, and then we'll never know what's coming next.
    (Cut to the opening ceremony at the new Sunnydale High School.)
  • Arc Words: "From beneath you it devours".
  • Back for the Finale: Some of the former regulars are in season 7 (either literally or in spirit).
    • Angel shows back up to help Buffy in the last two episodes of the series after not appearing in-person since Season 5's "Forever". It was his only time appearing in the show after Buffy moved to the UPN.
    • Faith returns (and takes on a major role) for the last 5 episodes of the series. Prior to that, her most recent appearance had been in "Who Are You?" from Season 4. The arc setting up her return was mapped out in Seasons 1 and 4 of Angel.
    • Oz gets a casual mention from Xander.
    • Cordelia appears in a piece of footage from "Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered".
    • All of the show's previous Big Bads show up as projections of the First Evil at the end of the season's first episode in a speech made to Spike, with it taking the forms of Warren, Glory, Adam, The Mayor, Drusilla, and The Master. It continues to use the forms Drusilla, The Mayor, and Warren at various points of the season to respectively manipulate Spike, Faith, and Andrew.
  • Best Served Cold: Robin Wood fights vampires in the hope of encountering the one that killed his mother (which turns out to be Spike).
  • The Big Board
  • Big "OMG!": "Oh my God! Oh, well, you know, not my God, because I defy him and all of his works."
  • Bilingual Bonus: While discussing the newly-found scythe, one name comes up: "M question-mark." Giles points out that the "question mark" (ʔ) is actually a glottal stop in the International Phonetic Alphabet. What does "mʔ" sound like? The closest English example would be "gulp."
  • Brick Joke: In Episode 9, "Never Leave Me" we see Warren (actually The First Evil) coaching Andrew on sacrificing a pig for its blood in the basement of Sunnydale High, at which Andrew fails miserably. Later in Episode 16, "Storyteller" we find Buffy and Principal Wood in that basement trying to figure out why strange phenomena are happening... when a a squealing pig runs by.
    Wood: God, I hope that's not a student...
  • Bully Hunter: For once it's not Buffy. Rather she is asked by Amanda if she should keep pounding her abusive boyfriend into the pavement. A stunned Buffy cannot answer, though if she wasn't a teacher at the time she probably would have joined in.
  • Catch the Conscience: The episode Storyteller, in order to make Andrew feel remorse for killing Jonathan.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Amanda, the first student Buffy talked to in her job as councilor was a potential slayer.
    • Andrew answers a call (for Willow) from a guy with a girly voice called Fred. In the next episode Willow comes back with Faith.
  • The Chosen Many: Buffy has Willow release the powers of all potential slayers to help fight The First.
  • Celebrity Star: Aimee Mann. "I hate playing vampire towns."
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Faith, despite smoking being a universal sign of evil. Well, the potentials acting like five year olds was a bit much for her. And Buffy still wanting her dead. And trying to reconcile with a recently evil Willow.
  • Cool Aunt: Where Buffy calls a suicide victim weak and stupid and basically says everybody sucks but her, Faith takes the potentials out partying when the stress gets too much and watches out for their welfare.
  • Decapitation Strike: Happens in the final season when the First Evil's followers blow up the Watchers' Council headquarters in London, killing almost all the leadership.
  • Deus ex Machina: The amulet and scythe that appear at the end of season 7 definitely qualify.
  • The Devil Is a Loser: Caleb, right-hand man to the First Evil, refers to Satan as a "little man" (at least, compared to his boss).
  • Dis Continuity Nod: Giles' declaration that magic is not an addiction.
  • Elite Mooks: The First Evil's Turok-Han army.
  • Eye Scream:
    "So you're the one who sees everything. Well, let's just see what we can do about that."
    • And the Bringers, the First's assassins and priests.
  • Fake Brit: The two English slayers are played by Americans with particularly bad accents. Not helped by the fact that they share a lot of there screen time with Giles who is actually played by an Englishman and a lot of the season is devoted to Spike an American that does have a good working-class English accent showing how their accent isn't either.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Sleeper", Aimee Mann sings a song called "Pavlov's Bell." During the next episode "Never Leave Me" the Scooby Gang discusses the possibility that Spike is being controlled by means of Pavlovian conditioning.
    • When we first see Amanda, she mentions having confusing feelings for a boy that bullies her, and the fact that she retaliates quie physical and effectively. Next episode we see her we find out she is a potential slayer, which is fitting considering the obvious parallels with Spuffy and the natural physical prowess of slayers.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: In the seventh season, the First falsely claims to have captured a potential Slayer, and nobody thinks to use the spell they used just a few weeks ago which can detect potentials.
  • Ghost City: Sunnydale in the second half of the season.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Inverted with Faith, who didn't smoke when evil but does now that she's reformed.
  • Grand Finale
  • Groin Attack: You can tell Buffy likes this as she delivers the ultimate one to Caleb. Buffy has super strength of course. She finds a scythe that is meant to be the ultimate weapon. What does she do with it? Why slice the evil priest in half starting with his balls. If a job's worth doing...
  • Hammerspace: At least once, Buffy pulls out a cell phone when this was the only place it could have been.
  • Heel–Face Return: Faith's appearance looks like this to anyone who wasn't watching Angel.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Willow is this. As the most powerful Witch in the Western Hemisphere, she was so strong that the writers felt the need to knock her out before major fights most of the season.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Holden pronounces this of Buffy in "Conversations With Dead People."
  • Juggling Loaded Crossbows: "End of Days", it is implied that Willow and Tara's cat, Miss Kitty Fantastico, met her demise in a tragic crossbow accident.
    Dawn: Xander, my crossbow is not out here. I told you, I don't leave crossbows around all willy-nilly. Not since that time with Miss Kitty Fantastico.
  • Laugh of Love: In "Him", Dawn and RJ are laughing while dirty-dancing together at a party.
  • The Legions of Hell
  • Let Them Die Happy: Attempted by Buffy, shot down by Spike.
  • Mobile Maze: Sunnydale High's basement. Xander notes that blueprints are no good here (and he built the place!) because the walls seem to move about.
  • Motionless Makeover: Dawn is paralyzed by a demon. Anya has fun posing her. When they have to run off to save the day, leaving Dawn sitting on the couch with her arm extended, Buffy comes back momentarily to stick a remote in Dawn's hand.
  • Multiple-Choice Chosen: We learn about Potentials, girls all over the world who have the potential to become the next Vampire Slayer once the current one dies. Buffy gathers a bunch of them together in her house to teach them about slaying for when the time comes that one of them will be chosen.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Ultimately, it's the First's attempts at taunting Buffy that give her the idea that ends the fight once and for all.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: "Everyone's talking to me! [lightbulb moment] Nobody's talking to each other."
  • One-Hour Work Week: Buffy's job as a school counsellor. Justified in that she only has the job because Principal Wood wants to keep her around in case of Hellmouth-related problems, and it's explicitly stated to be part time.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Deconstructed. When a Vampire recognizes Buffy in Conversations With Dead People he explains that they went to High School together and shared a few classes. Buffy, however, does not recognize him at all, not even when he tells her his name, and it is only after ten minutes of explaining when they met and things they had done together that she remembers who he is. To the end of the episode he never becomes a close and dear friend from her past, instead remaining a minor acquaintance that she met on rare occasions and had forgotten in the time since then because they had never been very close in the first place.
    • Done with Dawn in "Real Me".
    • A season 2 flashback showed Angel was there when Buffy was called meaning he was in the movie only we never saw him.
  • Rogues Gallery Showcase: The First Evil turns into every Big Bad from the show in Season 7, all in a row one time.
    • Angelus is sorely missed right about now; his spot is taken by Drusilla.
  • Rule of Cool: Joss has specifically cited this as the reason why, in the final episode, all of the Ubervamps suddenly start dying easier than regular vampires seem to, even when being fought by normal humans.
  • Sick and Wrong: Xander lasciviously eyes a gyrating nymphet on the dance floor ("Daddy like!"), only for her to turn around and reveal herself as Dawn. Cue facepalm.
    Willow: Right there with ya.
  • Smash Cut: Joss Whedon loves this trope, but particular mention goes to Selfless which cuts from Anya singing a happy song to her being skewed with a sword by Buffy
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Played with; Spike confronts Giles with words along these lines, saying that one of the reasons that Giles turned on Buffy was that Giles was jealous that Buffy had surpassed him in her abilities.
  • Take That!: One of the first potentials killed was an Expy of Sydney Bristow from Alias. To show that it wasn't just coincidence or a nod to the show her death would be shown in every single Previouslies'' possible, and worked into the actual episode whenever given half a chance.
  • The Team: Buffy's main crew.
    • The Hero: Buffy, of course.
    • Number Two: Faith in the final stretch of the season, serving as Buffy's second-in-command of the Slayer army and even taking over as leader when Buffy's friends turn against her.
    • The Lancer: Newly-souled Spike is Buffy's lieutenant in all but name, and is frequently seen standing at her side.
    • The Big Guy: Willow, who has become one of the most powerful witches in the world.
    • The Smart Guy: Dawn has stepped up as "Junior Watcher", learning a few languages and assisting with research. Giles, who returns mid-season to inform everyone about the impending apocalypse, also counts. And Anya, who along with occasional demon expertise, is on hand to provide much needed sarcasm.
    • The Heart: Xander, which is most apparent this season than any other, as he reminds Dawn that she's still special and rallies the Potentials to trust Buffy's lead.
    • Sixth Ranger: Andrew, The Thing That Would Not Leave and The Atoner for his actions in Season 6; and Wood, the son of a Slayer Spike killed and Faith's potential boyfriend.
  • Technicolor Death: Halfrek's fiery death in the episode "Selfless" is like this.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: That woman you might have seen chilling in prison on another show before breaking out to save a villain? Who's treated by some of the characters as so cool and nice now? Faith. Yeah, that Faith.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers
  • Trash the Set: Trash the whole town. Sunnydale is reduced to nothing but a crater at the end of the series.
  • Ultimate Evil
  • Ultimate Job Security: Buffy had this at the Doublemeat Palace and Sunnydale High and Giles had it at the old Sunnydale high. The first time for her was due to having blackmail material and the second because the principal was the son of a Slayer (the one Spike killed and got his coat from) and kept her there because of easily guessed reasons. Giles? Here's an FYI, don't fuck with someone who's nickname is Ripper.
  • Where It All Began: The final epic battle ends where the series began, Sunnydale High.
  • Who You Gonna Call?
    Spike: Who you gonna call? ...That phrase is never gonna be usable again, is it?
  • Word Salad Lyrics:
    Anchovies! Anchovies!
    You're so delicious.
    I love you more than
    all the other fishes!" ♪
    • Actually a bonus - Fishes is the correct plural when talking about multiple species of fish.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Buffy realizing (see Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!) that the first watchers invented the "one-Slayer" rule, and that Willow was powerful enough to change that rule, giving every potential Slayer in the world their power simultaneously
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Cassie's death.


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