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Recap / Buffy the Vampire Slayer S2 E7 "Lie to Me"

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"Things used to be pretty simple. A hundred years, just hanging out, feeling guilty. I really honed my brooding skills. Then she comes along."

Directed by Joss Whedon

Written by Whedon, Rob Des Hotel, & Dean Batali

Hey, look! It's Ford, an old friend (and flame) of Buffy's from Hemery High. He surprises Buffy with news that he's just transferred to her school. Ford regales everyone with embarrassing stories about Buffy, to Willow's delight and Xander's deep irritation.

Later at the Bronze, she introduces Angel to Ford, whom Angel obviously doesn't take a shine to. As Ford and Buffy leave, Buffy hears a suspicious clattering in an alleyway. She asks Ford to go back and fetch her fallen purse, then runs toward the sound. Ford pretends to backtrack for a second before tailing Buffy around the building, where he witnesses her stake a vampire. She makes up a lame story about cats, but Ford reveals that he already knows she's a Slayer. Buffy is relieved that he knows.

Ironic segue time. Ford knocks on the heavy metal door of a nightclub. He's let in, and tells a group of teens inside that in two days, they will be immortal.

Meanwhile, Angel pays a visit to Willow and asks to do a background check on Ford. Willow does a search and finds no record of him enrolling at Sunnydale High. The rest of the Scooby gang tracks Ford's whereabouts to a place called the Sunset Club. They notice everyone inside is Pro-Vampire.

Night. Buffy and Ford have just finished a walking tour of Sunnydale. (They don't look particularly spent.) Seeing a pair of vampires prowling the school, Buffy hands a cross to Ford, who draws a stake of his own. Buffy looks askance at that, but tells Ford to stay frosty. In the resulting melee, Ford grabs the second vamp — a female — and menaces that he'll let her live if she tells him what he wants to know. Buffy stakes her foe, and comes running back to Ford, who's now alone. She asks where the other vamp is, but Ford says he dusted her. In the library, the blonde vampire that Ford set free barges out of Giles' office with one of his volumes and escapes through the stacks. Buffy recognizes the vamp and realizes Ford lied to her.

Spike's lair. Ford crashes the place and geeks out, saying that the place is "so cool," to which Spike rhetorically asks if he has anyone on watch. Ford knows who Spike is, and he's offering a token of goodwill. Cue the female vamp handing Spike a book, which he admits will be very useful (as groundwork for a later episode). Ford offers him a deal: "You make me a vampire, and I give you the Slayer."

The next day, Ford catches Buffy and tells her he had a blast the previous night. They make plans to meet at this spot at nine. Ford returns to his club to finish the arrangements, but Buffy's already lying in wait. Ford signals his toady, who sidles away and locks the door. Ford quickly spills his entire scheme, gloating that the club entrance is "rigged up special," and can only be opened from the outside. Privately, Buffy works out that the rest of the kids aren't going to be changed; they're just fodder. When she pleads that these kids don't deserve to die, Ford blurts out that neither does he— but he has terminal cancer and vampirism would save him (though without a soul "he'd" be dead in either case). Buffy looks stunned; had no idea. Ford bitterly goes on that he's got at most six months to live. Buffy apologizes, but doesn't buy into his solipsistic diatribe. If Spike's gang comes in and starts feeding, she promises she's going to kill Ford before he gets to reap his reward.

At sunset, Spike and his vamps spread out and start chowing down. Buffy knocks Ford out when he tries to stop her warning the others, and spies Dru on the balcony observing the feeding frenzy. Buffy leaps over the rail, grabs Dru and holds a stake to her heart. Spike is alarmed and orders everyone to halt. At Buffy's order, he orders his crew to let the humans go, which they do. Buffy sidles over to the exit, then pushes Dru into Spike's arms and runs out, slamming the door shut again. Spike attempts to pursue her— then stares at the door in bemusement. Oops. "Where's the doorknob?"

Outside, the kids limp off as Angel, Willow, and Xander arrive. Buffy knows that the vamps will get out eventually, so she'll come back when they're gone. Xander wonders why, and Buffy clarifies, "For the body." Ford regains consciousness locked in with the vamps, and points out that he fulfilled his end of the bargain by delivering Buffy and the others; it was Spike who failed to keep them there.

Sure enough, Buffy reenters the club the next day and finds Ford lying dead at her feet.

At the cemetery, Buffy and Giles lay roses on Ford's grave, waiting to see if he'll rise or not. Ford pops out from his grave, now a vampire. Apparently, Spike kept his promise. He barely gets to blink before Buffy matter-of-factly kills him. As they walk off together, Buffy asks Giles if life gets any easier, and Giles endearingly lies his ass off.

But she sounds grateful, anyhow.

Tropes featured in this episode:

  • Abandoned Playground: A lonely swing set in the Cold Open, with the usual Rule of Symbolism in an episode about leaving your childhood illusions behind.
  • Above Good and Evil: Buffy calls out Ford on his double-crossing lies, but he merely shrugs, "Everybody lies."
  • Acting Unnatural: When Willow investigates the past of Buffy's newly-arrived old friend and early crush, she feels guilty about it and tries to act naturally around Buffy - failing spectacularly, but Buffy shrugs off her squeaking high-pitched panic as the result of too much coffee.
  • All There in the Script:
    • The script refers to the blonde vampire as "Julia".
    • Chantarelle's name before changing it was stated to be Joan Appleby.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Buffy lecturing "Diego" and the other cultists. "You're going to die! And the only hope you have of surviving this is to get out of this pit right now and my God could you have a dorkier outfit?"
    Ford: Gotta back her up on this one, D. You look like a big ninny.
  • Back from the Dead: In the epilogue Ford rises from the grave, a vampire just like he desired. Buffy quickly dusts him.
  • Bad Date: Jenny dragging Giles into attending a monster truck rally.
  • Baddie Flattery: As Buffy scurries around the shelter looking for an exit, Ford marvels at her determination. Once she demolishes his deluded rationale for the things he's done, Ford sadly replies that he really did miss her, which is tantamount to admitting that her analysis is spot-on.
  • The Bait: Trapping Buffy is the only way the kids could get any vampires to hang with them.
  • Batman Gambit: Ford knows Buffy will work out he's lying to her, and has prepared his trap accordingly.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Chantarelle's first indication that vampires aren't very nice is when she comes face-to-Game Face with Spike.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality:
    Buffy: Nothing's ever simple anymore. I'm constantly trying to work it out. Who to love or hate. Who to trust. It's just, like, the more I know, the more confused I get.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • While getting drinks, Buffy runs into Angel at the Bronze. She pointedly asks what he did the previous night, to which he answers that he stayed in and read. Uh huh.
    • An Invoked Trope by Giles at the end of the episode.
  • Book Ends: Ford arranging a date with Buffy is eerily reminiscent of the scene between Angel and Drusilla at the beginning of the episode, and conveys the same sense of battle lines being drawn.
    • Buffy refuses to be lied to anymore, but Angel tells her that some lies are necessary, which is a nice setup for the end of the episode. (See "Title Drop" below.)
  • Broken Pedestal: The vampire wannabes believe vampires to be gentle and misunderstood creatures. When Spike and his men attack and nearly kill them, they discover how monstrous vampires are the hard way.
  • Brutal Honesty: Buffy poses some questions about Drusilla to Angel, and it's a sore spot for him. He admits that he terrorized Drusilla by killing her family and friends, which drove her to a convent, and on the day she was slated to take her holy orders to become a nun, he intentionally drove her insane and made her a vampire. This naturally creeps Buffy out a bit, though she admits she needed to hear it.
  • Building Is Welding: The entrance to the Sunset Club.
  • Came Back Wrong: Buffy tries to dissuade Ford from seeking to become a vampire before he dies of cancer.
    Well, I’ve got a news flash for you, brain trust. That’s not how it works. You die, and a demon sets up shop in your old house, and it walks, and it talks, and it remembers your life, but it’s not you.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Buffy lays it all out for Ford, explaining that he's what they in the trade call "the bad guy." Ford giggles and reckons she's 100% correct. Played for Drama, as Buffy later realizes that she was just playing into his B-movie fantasies.
    Buffy: It'd be simpler if I could just hate him. I think he wanted me to. I think it made it easier for him to be the villain of the piece. Really, he was just scared.
  • Cargo Cult: Buffy lampshades this by shouting "This is not the mothership" at the club-goers.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Angel, Willow, and Xander arriving just as the threat's ended. Buffy remarks they're "just in time." (Though her weary tone suggests she's glad to see them, nonetheless.)
  • Cheap Costume: The episode features a gang of (literal) vampire wannabes, all of whom dress to emulate movie vampires. While some of the teens are fairly convincing, about half are sporting cheap Halloween getups. Confronted with the ringleader Marvin cum Diego (who is wearing a blue polyester cape and ruffled cravat), Buffy quips, "My God—could you have a dorkier outfit?" Also subverted, rather humorously, in the same episode: as Angel enters a Goth club, he scoffs that the clubgoing teens are completely ignorant of how real vampires dress; almost immediately, he comes face-to-face with a young man dressed identically to himself!
  • Chekhov's Gag: Ford saying that he knows all of Buffy's dark secrets, to which Xander smugly adds, "Care to make a small wager on that?" The fact that Ford does in fact know Buffy's darkest secret is a subtle irony.
    • Buffy mocking Ford's total ignorance of vampires, calling him — ironically in light of his imminent revelation — "brain trust."
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • On his way into the club, Ford walks by a guy doing some welding.
    • Spike's stolen book.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Chanterelle encounters Buffy again in "Anne", and becomes a minor recurring character in the Angel spin-off TV series and comic series.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Buffy notices a photo of Drusilla among Giles's research materials.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Cordy giving her own spin on the French bread famine.
    Cordelia: I just don't see why everyone's always picking on Marie Antoinette. I can so relate to her. She worked really hard to look that good, and people just don't appreciate that kind of effort! And I know the peasants were all depressed...
    Xander: I think you mean oppressed.
    Cordelia: Whatever. [..] And-and Marie Antoinette cared about them. She was gonna let them have cake.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Oreos in apple juice.
  • Consummate Liar: He's a smooth operator, that Ford. Watch him pretending to cough after supposedly 'dusting' the vamp he was interrogating.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Angel visited upon Drusilla every mental torment he could devise, ending up with.... well, a pretty deranged supervillainess, all told.
  • Creator Cameo: The fake vampire who greets Willow when she comes in ("'Hi' Vampire" in the credits) is played by Todd McIntosh, the show's makeup supervisor, in a brief cameo.
  • Crowbar Combatant: Ford's weapon of choice..
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Chantarelle asking Buffy if she can't see that it's a beautiful day for them. Time to duck, because Buffy's not pulling any more punches: "What I see is that, right after the sun goes down, Spike and all of his friends are going to be pigging out at the all-you-can-eat moron bar."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Time between vampire Ford rising from the grave and Buffy dusting him = a whopping six seconds.
  • Curse That Cures: Ford wants to be turned into a vampire because it would cure his cancer. Sadly, it would also "cure" him of a soul.
  • Deal with the Devil: If Spike had really wanted Ford to live forever, he could have taken the body with him.
  • Death by Irony: Ford wanted to become a vampire and be immortal because his cancer only gave him about six months to live. As soon as he becomes a vampire, he's immediately killed by Buffy, ending his life even faster than he estimated from what the cancer was doing to him.
  • Death of a Child: Averted. It looks like Drusilla is about to chow down on a young boy, but Angel shows up in time to rescue him.
  • Death Trap: The Sunset Club. The handles have been cut off the metal doors, and the walls are three feet of solid concrete.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Buffy's deadpan expression when staking Ford.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Ford's flunky, Marvin. ("Diego! C'mon, man, it's Diego now!")
  • Double Meaning: Buffy asks Giles if it gets any easier, then has to stake a vampire. Buffy then explains she means does Life get any easier, but the subtext of her being a Slayer is obvious.
  • Do You Trust Me?:
    Angel: Do you love me?
    Buffy: What?
    Angel: Do you?
    Buffy: I love you. I don't know if I trust you.
    Angel: Maybe you shouldn't do either.
  • Dresses the Same: Angel and a vampire groupie, to the former's embarrassment.
  • Driven to Villainy: The injustice of his life ending so early was the impetus to Ford's evil. Contrary to what he says, however, Buffy insists that he does have a choice (albeit not a good one), and that nothing he says will make mass murder okay.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: Ford sticks his chin out and declares he fulfilled his end of the bargain, and Spike sneers that that's true. This is one of the series's most ambiguous moments.
  • Emergency Transformation: Ford believes that it would be better to live as a vampire than to die riddled with tumors.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: During the vampire feeding Buffy recovers, captures Dru and holds a stake to her heart. She forces Spike to let the humans go; rather than let his lover be staked he does as the Slayer demands.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Most of the wannabe vampires help Ford in his plan to become a vampire. When Spike arrives, he allows his minions to eat them. Averted with Ford, whom Spike turns.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Recognizing that if Drusilla and Spike remain in Sunnydale, a fight with them is inevitable, Angel tries to persuade her to leave town, to no avail. While Dru and Angel are talking, Buffy spies on them from a rooftop, sparking her curiosity and jealousy.
    • Marvin overhearing the Scoobies in the club.
  • Exact Words:
    • The lost boy telling Dru that he's not supposed to talk to people. Dru starts to snarl that she's not a person, but Angel spoils her hunt.
    • Ford makes a deal with Spike to turn Buffy over to him in exchange for being turned into a vampire. When Buffy ultimately escapes, Ford points out to Spike that even if Buffy got away, he still technically fulfilled his end of the bargain by delivering her to him; Spike agrees and turns him. However, when the vampires break out, they leave Ford's body to be found instead of taking it to their lair, thus he doesn't survive long as a vampire and they probably didn't expect him to.
  • Facepalm: Xander sitting next to Cordy in class, wearing with an expression that's somewhere between "If I look into your ear real hard, I can see the 'for rent' space in your brain" and "Decapitation would look real good on you right about now."
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Spike's reaction to Ford knowing his name ("Yeah I know who I am too, so what?") underlines how unimpressed he is with the twerp's opening gambit.
    • Angel's lookalike walking down the stairs just as Angel is making a very serious and important point about poseurs.
  • False Reassurance: Chantarelle getting jittery on the eve of the big night. She asks if Ford really thinks the vamps will "bless" them. Ford smiles that he knows they will.
  • Flat "What": Buffy trying to sell a story about two cats fighting, and Ford shrugging that he thought she was "just" slaying a vampire.
    Buffy: What? Whatting a what?
    • Later, this is Giles's reaction upon learning that Ford knows the secret. At first, he thinks Buffy has been using her Slayer status to impress cute boys, then she explains that Ford already figured it out on his own.
    • Also, Spike's reaction to Ford's fanboy behavior. Ford gets this a lot from people.
  • Forgotten Friend, New Foe: Practically spelled out in neon over Ford's head, particularly his knowledge that Buffy is the Slayer. It all seems too convenient, so the story is quick to unmask the character's evil intentions.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: While Buffy is sympathetic to Ford's plight when he reveals his brain cancer, she still points out that he's willing to sacrifice innocents to Spike in order to become a vampire, and nothing will make that okay.
    Buffy: Isn't this exactly how you imagined it? You tell me how you've suffered and I feel sorry for you. Well, I do feel sorry for you, and if those vampires come in here and start feeding, I'll kill you myself!
  • Get Out!: Angel offering Drusilla a one-time only opportunity to take Spike and clear out of town.

  • Giggling Villain: Ford, though he ends up hacking and coughing from the illness.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Buffy has no problem with leaving Ford to die and later killing vampire Ford.
  • Grave-Marking Scene: Buffy laying roses on Ford's grave while waiting to see if he rises.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The female vampire knocks Giles into Buffy, enabling her to escape the library with the book she's stealing. Later Buffy throws Drusilla into Spike to give her time to duck out the door.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: All over the place; Ford incites jealousy in Xander and Angel. Xander is alarmed on hearing Angel was in Willow's bedroom. Neither Spike nor Buffy is happy that Drusilla met with Angel, while the female henchvamp appears to be jealous of Spike/Dru.
  • Gut Feeling: Angel admitting that he does get jealous sometimes, but that his "gut" tells him Ford is a bad dude.
  • Half-Truth: Ford observing that Angel looks older than Buffy, to which Xander answers, "You're not wrong." Buffy introduces them, and Ford exclaims that Angel's hand is cold. Xander: "You're not wrong."
    • Buffy apologizing for beeping Giles during his date, and Giles telling her she did the right thing, a little too enthusiastically. Miss Calendar picks up on that, and says she thought monster trucks would be a change of pace, to which Giles mutters, "It was a change."
  • Hey, Wait!: Willow very-obviously acting jumpy around Ford. Buffy tells her to "'fess up", then accuses her of drinking too much caffeine. Willow gives a strained fake laugh.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Spike and his gang get trapped in the bomb shelter, so he can't chase after Buffy and the others.
  • Honor Before Reason: Buffy refuses to kill Ford, who betrayed her, until after he becomes a vampire.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Angel railing on about how these kids don't know anything about vampires. "What they are, how they live, how they dress!" At that moment, a dude dressed in exactly the same outfit as Angel walks by. Angel ahems, and Xander and Willow share a smirk.
  • I Gave My Word: Ford challenges Spike to turn him into a vampire in exchange for the Slayer. Well Ford delivered, and when Buffy threatens Dru and escapes he again brings it up. The episode ends with us finding out that Spike did indeed keep his word.
  • I Have to Iron My Dog: Buffy covering for a vamp attack by asking Ford to fetch her purse, which she "left back at the Bronze."
    • "I-I-I'm gonna do work in the computer lab on school work that I have, so I cannot hang just now. Hi, Ford."
    • Giles saying he's going out that evening, and giving Buffy Miss Calendar's beeper number, in case she needs "study help."
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Spike tearing off Chanterelle's choker, presumably for Dru to wear instead.
  • I'll Kill You!: Buffy to Ford after he reveals his full plan; she does feel for him, but she'll still kill him if he throws all those people's lives away.
  • Immortality Immorality: Ford is dying from a "nest" of brain tumors, and thus makes a deal with Spike to hand Buffy over to him, as well as the Vampire Vannabes in the Sunset Club, in exchange for being turned into a vampire and becoming immortal. While Buffy is sympathetic to his plight, she states outright that Ford's motivations and desperation to live do not excuse his actions.
  • Implausible Deniability: Chanterelle noticing that Willow and her friends are newbies at the Sunset Club.
    Willow: "Oh, no! We come here... often."
    • Poor Giles. The extremes he'll go to for love.
      "Uh, honestly, I've always been interested in, trucks."
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Diego seems to be aiming for "Man of Wealth and Taste", hence the bowtie, frilled shirt, and cape which looks borrowed from a failed LARPer.
    • Lampshaded by Buffy.
  • In-Series Nickname: Billy "Ford" Fordham.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Drusilla slinks up to a child left unattended, but Angel steps between them and sends the boy packing.
  • It Has Only Just Begun:
    Angel: This can't go on, Drusilla. It's gotta end.
    Drusilla: Oh, no, my pet. This is just the beginning.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Giles is unsure about Jenny's "surprise" for him, but finally stammers, "Alright, I put myself in your hands."
    Jenny: That sounds like fun.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier:
    Buffy: Does it ever get easy?
    Giles: You mean life?
    Buffy: Yeah? Does it get easy?
    Giles: What do you want me to say?
    Buffy: 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 we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.
    Buffy: Liar.
  • It's Probably Nothing: Willow discovering that Ford isn't actually registered at Sunnydale High.
    Willow: I-it's probably nothing.
    Angel: That'd be nice.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Ford kneeling over Julia and menacing her with a stake and cross.
  • Joe Sent Me: Angel knocking on the entrance door to the club. The viewport slides open, and Angel gain entry by claiming they're friends of Ford's.
  • Kirk Summation: Buffy tries to convince her friend that vampires are nothing but demons inhabiting corpses, but Ford does not care and says it's better than nothing. When she turns to warn the others, Ford shuts her up by hitting her in the back with a crowbar.
  • Late to the Punchline: Willow finally figures out what the song "I Touch Myself" is about.
  • Leave Him to Me!: When the vampires burst into the Sunset Club, Spike orders his mooks to kill the others, but to leave the Slayer for him.
  • Lies to Children: Giles on life. In fairness, Buffy asked him to do it.
  • Linked List Clue Methodology: Willow expositing that all her searches on Ford turned up was an address, the "Sunset Club."
  • Logical Weakness: Ford knew he couldn't defeat a Slayer with strength and so devised a way to lock her in his club. Once the doors are shut, not even someone with supernatural strength can break out.
  • Love Confession: Although it's been apparent for some time, Buffy actually says outright that she loves Angel when he asks her before telling her Drusilla's history.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Buffy breaks the news that Ford knows she's the Slayer.
    Giles: You are not, by any chance, betraying your secret identity just to impress cute boys, are you?
  • May–December Romance: Lampooned by Ford, who half-jokes that he wouldn't compromise his sixth-grade status by dating a fifth-grader.
  • Mid-Season Twist: Angel sired Drusilla. And he not only sired her, he also drove her insane.
  • The Movie Buff: Ford mapped out his entire story as if it were a movie, from the cheesy lines he makes Spike recite, or in his expectation that Buffy will completely understand and perhaps even accept his plan once she learns of his condition.
  • Murder by Inaction: When Buffy beats Spike and saves the teens, she locks an unconscious Ford in the club with the vampires.
  • Must Be Invited: Willow has to invite Angel in before he can enter her bedroom. He asks Buffy's permission too, and explains he's just being polite, given that she gave it to him back in Season One.
  • Neck Lift/Perp Sweating: Buffy starts to tell Ford that vamps are kind of picky about who they sire — then realizes that Ford meant to offer her up in exchange. None to happy with that she hoists him by the throat and shoves him against the wall.
    Ford: I don't think I wanna talk anymore.
    (Buffy grabs him by the throat and shoves him up against a pillar)
    Buffy: Yeah, well, I still feel awfully chatty!
  • Nerves of Steel: Secretly Dying has given Ford some balls. He doesn't show any fear of Spike, which is either bravery or deep, deep stupidity.
  • No-One Could Have Survived That: Giles identifying Drusilla as a "sometime paramour of Spike's" who was killed by an angry mob in Prague. Buffy notes that they don't make angry mobs like they used to.
  • Noodle Incident: The Oreos. Also, Willow slyly saying that Ford was telling them about the "ninth-grade swimsuit competition."
    Buffy The more people you tell, the more people I have to kill.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Chantarelle welcoming the Scoobies to her posse, saying it's cool they're interested in "the Lonely Ones." Willow isn't familiar with the term, but a bored Angel reappears and says that she's referring to vampires.
    Xander: Oh! We usually call them the 'nasty pointy bitey-ones'."
    Chantarelle: So many people have that misconception. But They Who Walk With the Night are not interested in harming anyone!
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Invoked by Ford. Buffy isn't buying it, though.
    Ford: Too many people, they just lay back and take it. But us...
    Buffy: Us? We have something in common now?
    Ford: More than you think.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Buffy spying on Angel and Drusilla, whom she assumes are sharing some sort of tryst.
  • Oh, Crap!: Buffy roughs Ford up, saying he must have known she would figure it all out. He brings everyone onto the same page by laughing that he was "counting on it."
    • "Where's the doorknob?"
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Chanterelle wears one for her vampire outfit.
  • Orbital Shot: When Ford is inviting Buffy to come into his trap.
  • Parrot Expo-WHAT?:
    Ford: [walks up behind Buffy, who has just slain a vamp] What's going on?
    Buffy: Um, uh... there was a-a cat. A cat here. And um, uh, then there was a-another cat. And they fought. The cats. And... then they left.
    Ford: Oh. I thought you were just slaying a vampire.
    Buffy: What? What-ing a what?
  • Passing Notes in Class: Buffy and Willow are amusingly passing notes in class discussing what Buffy saw on the roof.
  • Pet the Dog: Spike is willing to give up the giftwrapped opportunity to kill Buffy and allows the humans to walk free because Buffy points a stake at Drusilla's heart.
  • Political Overcorrectness: Angel flatly calling Chantarelle stupid. Hurt, she chides him for being "confrontational" and says that "other viewpoints than yours may be valid, you know."
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Dru reciting her "Run and Catch" nursery rhyme for the first time. "What will your mummy sing when they find your body?"
  • Pretender Diss: Angel is investigating a club full of vampire wannabes, bemoaning the fact that these teenagers don't know anything about vampires, from the way they act to the way they dress. Cue a wannabe brushing past him wearing exactly the same clothes as Angel.
  • Promise Me You Won't X: Angel asks Willow to check Ford's background. Willow asks not to be bitten for saying he's just being jealous.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: "Now you let everybody out, or your girlfriend fits in an ashtray."
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: The original airing included a song by The Sisters of Mercy which was removed for subsequent re-airings and the home versions. The exact reason has never been made clear, it's been suggested that it was either a licensing issue or the band objecting to the use of their music.
  • The Reveal: "Couple more days, and we'll get to do the two things every American teen should have the chance to do: die young, and stay pretty."
  • Rewatch Bonus: You can see Beljoxa's Eye on a mural behind Ford and Buffy. Beljoxa's Eye plays a pivotal role in season seven's "Showtime".
  • Rule of Symbolism: As Buffy talks with Angel over coffee, the camera switches to a view from outside the open window, with both characters separated by a table. We're to understand here that when Angel warns that Buffy shouldn't trust Ford, he's also referring to himself.
  • Saw Star Wars 27 Times: Ford lip-syncing along with Jack Palance.
  • Secretly Dying: Ford's been in constant agony from "nest of tumors" in his brain the whole time.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: To Buffy's confusion, Ford already knew she was the Slayer, having figured it out when they were at Hemery.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Jenny keeping the details of her date with Giles a "secret."
    Giles: (suspiciously) What kind of a secret?
    Jenny: The kind that's secret. You know, where I don't actually tell you what it is.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ford's line "die young and stay pretty" is a reference to the line "live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse" from Humphrey Bogart's 1949 film Knock on Any Door. James Dean also quoted the line in an interview shortly before his death.
    • Xander calls Angel "Bossy the Cow", one of the characters featured in a Sesame Street sketch.
    • The movie playing at the Sunset Club is Dan Curtis's 1973 television adaption of Dracula, starring Jack Palance. Ford is able to quote along with it from memory.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Ford is going to hand Buffy and a bunch of innocent people over to Spike in exchange for being made a vampire. He gives Buffy a long speech about how he's dying and in pain. Buffy listens, and tells him she feels sorry for him... but if he goes through with it, she'll kill him herself. Commence ass-kicking.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Buffy tells Ford that becoming a vampire isn't what he thinks it is, that the real him will die and a demon will possess his corpse, but Ford tells her he doesn't care, since he's already dying from brain cancer and has nothing to lose either way.
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: Xander and Willow contrasting their own colorful duds with the gloomy club atmosphere, and determining that they stick out like sore thumbs.
    Willow: Do they stick out? I mean, have you ever seen a thumb and gone, 'Wow! That baby is sore!'
    Xander: You have too many thoughts.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Ford being thrown into the group dynamic does make for some interesting tension.
    Xander: (as Buffy) This is Ford, my bestest friend of all my friends! (as himself) Geez, doesn't she know any fat guys?
  • Smash Cut: Buffy sadly making plans to retrieve Ford's body. We cut back to the club interior, where Ford lies dead and the vamps have flown the coop.
  • The Social Darwinist: Ford, gesturing below the catwalk, says that the "others" are just sheep, and want to be vampires because they're lonely, miserable or bored. He, on the other hand, is on the precipice of becoming immortal.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Angel shows up at the Bronze and even claims that he was hoping Buffy would show despite the fact that Buffy often attends with Xander and Willow.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Angel.
    Willow: (to Xander) See, you made him do that thing where he's gone.
  • Stealth Insult: Ford asking if he'd be imposing on the gang at the Bronze. Xander, mock-sweetly: "Oh, only in the literal sense."
  • Stealth Pun: After Giles’s monologue about good guys and bad guys, the screen goes to dark and Joss’s executive producer credit pops up, and we hear Buffy reply "liar."
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: Spike bemoans his poor security when he discovers Ford gawking at his "cool" lair.
    • When Buffy crashes his party, Ford mutters to Diego that it's "drafty." Subverted, as this is code for "seal the doors."
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Subverted with Ford. To his surprise, Buffy astutely grits out that his confession is just another phase to his "fantasy drama," and refuses to play along.
  • Tap on the Head: Buffy grabbing Ford's crowbar arm in mid-swing, sending him into a wall.
  • Tempting Fate: Willow thinks it's "neat" that Ford kept her secret, and Buffy agrees, because now she can relax around him. In a lovely ironic transition, we fade to Ford knocking on the door of the Sunset Club.
    • Ford searches for a word to describe the town, and Buffy suggests "dull." He agrees, but upon seeing two vampires hurrying near the school, he changes his mind.
  • There Are No Coincidences: It is a pretty big coincidence, Ford knowing that Buffy's the Slayer and then "moving" to Sunnydale.
  • This Means War!: The way the Cold Open is framed gives a sense of two emissaries having just discussed terms for war.
  • This Is the Part Where...: Ford blathering about some action movie convention where Spike is supposed to "take out a watch" and give Ford thirty seconds to convince him not to kill him.
    Ford: Oh, c'mon! Say it! It's no fun if you don't say it.
    Spike: What...? (exasperated sigh) You've got thirty seconds to convince me not to kill you.
    Ford: Yes! See, this is the best.
    • "It's already happening."
  • Title Drop: Giles and Buffy in the epilogue.
    Giles: What do you want me to say?
    Buffy: Lie to me.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Billy Fordham. 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. Somewhat justified in that he was dying anyway and had nothing to lose, but his plan was flawed and ultimately he ended up staked.
  • The Triple: Xander saying Buffy needs cheering up, and suggests a "crazed dance party at the Bronze." Buffy doesn't reply, and he downgrades that to "very calm dance party at the Bronze," finishing with "moping at the Bronze."
  • Trouble Entendre: Ford inviting Buffy into his trap. He says he has a surprise for her, and she neutrally says she likes surprises. They agree to meet at the school at nine. He leans in and tells her it will be fun, and walks away. After a beat, she does the same. (We later discover that Ford already knows she's onto him.)
  • Unwanted Assistance: Giles picking up on Buffy's somber mood and offering her the night off, which causes her face to brighten. He immediately undoes his good work, however, by suggesting that she spend some time with Angel.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Buffy starts to say what will happen to the kids, but they pipe up that they'll be changed, and it's what they want.
  • Vampires Own Night Clubs: Or their fans do, at least.
  • Vampire Vannabe: Ford, Diego, Chantarelle and the rest of the "true believers," though only Ford knows what vamps are all about.
  • [Verb] This!: Spike says he's known Ford two minutes and he already can't stand him, and that he doesn't "feature" Ford living forever. Ford shoots back, "Feature this," and offers Spike a trade.
  • Wakeup Makeup: When Angel comes over to Willow's, she's wearing freshly-applied lipstick, even though she was just about to go to bed.
  • Walk-In Chime-In: Ford is reassuring his followers that the vampires will turn up as planned. "It's gonna be fine." Buffy suddenly appears at the top of the stairs. "No. It's really not."
  • Would Hit a Girl: Ford swinging a crowbar at Buffy, knocking her down the stairs. He advances on her and hits her again, but is interrupted by Spike at the door.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Drusilla: "What will your mummy sing when they find your body?" Fortunately, Angel intervenes.
  • You Have Failed Me: Simultaneously subverting this and an "I Lied" moment: Spike detests Ford and he has no reason to honor his agreement and very good reasons not to.
    Ford: (dazed) What happened?
    Spike: We're stuck in a basement.
    Ford: Buffy?
    Spike: She's not stuck in the basement.
    • That he did in fact turn him after all is only revealed at the very end when Ford rises and is immediately staked.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Angel pulls this on himself when complaining about vampire fanboys, saying that they can never get the right look to appear genuine. Right on cue, a fanboy dressed identical to Angel walks by.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: During his Motive Rant, Ford reveals his brain cancer, and he has, at best, six months left to live.
  • Your Vampires Suck: Angel grouses at moderate length about the kids' misapprehensions about vampires, including how they dress...only to have one of the groupies push past him wearing his exact outfit.