April: True love.
Directed by James A Contner
Written by Jane Espenson
Buffy rants about her problems with Spike while pounding away at Xander, who is wearing a sumo-sized bodysuit. Xander consoles the Slayer about her love life, blaming the Hellmouth for her not being able to find a decent guy. A young woman arrives in Sunnydale, searching for her boyfriend. Joyce nervously prepares for a date with a man named Brian with the help of her daughters.
Anya and Tara discuss the Internet and Anya's knowledge of online stock trading and websites. The woman, calling herself April, approaches them, asking if they know where Warren is, but when the girls can't help her, April moves on to another person and asks the same question. That night, Buffy and Xander dance at a campus party while Anya, Tara and Willow watch. After dancing, Buffy locates Ben at the party and casually catches his attention. They chat briefly but awkwardly, and Buffy asks Ben to dance.
Anya admires the Chex Mix with Xander when April arrives at the party, still searching for Warren. Warren just so happens to be at the party and escapes with his date before April discovers him. April questions the people at the party, offering that Warren is her boyfriend and he lost her. Tara is mildly concerned about her relationship with Willow when Willow remarks, "Yeah, a pretty girl like that won't stay lonely for long."
Spike approaches Buffy while she's waiting, but she tells him off before Ben returns. Ben offers Buffy his number for a possible coffee date and isn't scared off when Buffy warns him of her bad history. After seeing Buffy with Ben, Spike is inspired to hit on April, but his suggestive comments only anger her and lead her to throw the vampire through a window, much to the crowd's show. Both amused by Spike's pain and shocked at April's behavior, Buffy tries to talk to April, but April throws her aside and leaves.
Later, at Xander's apartment, the gang quickly deduces that April is a robot, and while they don't view her as an immediate threat, they do realize that they have to track down Warren and get him to April before someone less durable than Spike rubs her the wrong way. Buffy returns home, and Giles suggests he not watch Dawn alone anymore because he can't take much more exposure to the habits of a young teenager. Joyce returns from her date in an extremely good mood, shocking her daughter with the joke that she left her bra in Brian's car.
April goes door to door, searching for Warren's residence. Willow finds Warren Mears on her computer and the house where he could be living. The gang talks about Warren and how he made April to fill a void in his life. Buffy finally gets up the nerve to call Ben, but the phone rings at Glory's place. She morphs into Ben to answer the phone, and a date is made for coffee.
Warren rushes to get packed and move away with his current girlfriend, Katrina, but she doesn't understand why. Buffy shows up at Warren's in search of answers relating to April, while Katrina finally walks out, upset about being kept in the dark. Warren reveals to Buffy that he made April to be the perfect girlfriend, but rather than falling in love with her as expected, he instead grew bored with how predictable she was and how easy things were with her. He then met and fell in love with Katrina, and, instead of "breaking up" with April, cowardly left her in his dorm room to let her batteries run down. Buffy asks if April is dangerous, and Warren tells her that she's only programmed to be in love with him—which confirms to Buffy that she is dangerous.
Meanwhile, the Scoobies are meeting at the Magic Box, when they receive a visit from Spike. When he enters, however, he receives open hostility and disdain from the gang, including Dawn. Spike attempts to win some acceptance by giving a somewhat embellished explanation of what happened previously, but the Scoobies are not fooled. Giles takes command, roughly shoving him against a wall, informing him that the Scoobies are not his friends and that he will never be able to get into a relationship with Buffy, and finally ordering him to get over his feelings for Buffy and leave the Magic Box. After a brief hesitation, Spike departs.
Katrina encounters April at a park, and April uses force to make Katrina admit that Warren is her boyfriend. Warren finally tells April that he can't love her — because he's in love with Buffy! A fight breaks out between Buffy and a furious April, which only stops because her batteries start running down. After talking with April in her final moments, Buffy realizes that she doesn't need a man in her life. Buffy leaves a message for Ben on his answering machine, canceling the date, but Glory listens to the message, not Ben.
Spike confronts Warren about making a robot for him, one based completely on Buffy. Warren refuses, but Spike won't take no for an answer.
Buffy returns home to find that Joyce has been sent flowers from the man she recently had a date with, as well as a card saying he had a lovely evening and he hopes to see her soon. After all day dealing with a skeezy guy and his sex-bot, Buffy remarks how nice it is to see that there's "Still a couple of guys gettn' it right."
Buffy calls upstairs to see if Dawn needs picking up. Receiving no answer, Buffy heads into the sitting room to see her mother sprawled across the couch... with opened eyes and pale skin, not breathing. Buffy soon realizes something is wrong...
Tropes in this episode include:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: April does function exactly as programmed, but Warren neglected to include any nuance in her devotion to him, leading her to stalk him when he leaves her and react violently to any suggestion that she and Warren are not together.
- All Men Are Perverts: Xander says that a Sex Bot is every guy's dream. Faced by the disapproving looks of the other Scoobies, he says there's too many girls here. "I miss Oz. He'd get it. He wouldn't have said anything, but he'd get it."
- An AesopBuffy: She devoted everything to making this one person happy. And then it was like, with him gone, there was just... no reason for her to exist any more. [...] I mean, look at me obsessing about being with someone. It's like... I don't need a guy right now. I need me. I need to get comfortable being alone with Buffy.
Xander: Well, I'll say this, she's a pretty cool person to be alone with.
Buffy: [smiles] Thank you.
- Badass Armfold: Tara and the Little Bit show solidarity in their disapproval of Spike.
- Bear Hug: April gives the Heimlich Manoeuvre of Death to Katrina.
- Beautiful All Along: Buffy is upset over her inability to attract a decent guy.Buffy: Maybe I could change. I could work harder. I could spend less time slaying, I could laugh at his jokes; I mean, men like that, right, the, the joke-laughing-at?
Xander: Or maybe you could just be Buffy, he'll see your amazing heart, and he'll fall in love with you.
- Blatant Lies: When Spike drops by the Magic Box, he attempts to win some favor from the gang this way by giving an embellished version of what happened with Drusilla, claiming that he and Buffy actually worked together to fight Drusilla back and anything he said to hint at an attraction to Buffy was accidental. None of the Scoobies buy it for a second.
- Buffy Speak: Buffy calls pad-wearing Xander "Puffy Xander".
- Buxom Beauty Standard: April, obviously (she got self-proclaimed "breast girl" Willow's attention anyway).
- Call-Back: Dawn mentions the Ted affair and how she always said there could have been more than one of him. note
- Casual Kink: Averted; only Xander seems to appreciate the idea of a Sex Bot.Buffy: She growls? You made her so she growls?
- In her Robo Cam, we see that Warren programmed April with Fetishes 1-3 and Positions 1-6 (indicating he's fairly casual and limited in his kink).
- Character Development: Xander is shown enjoying the practical aspects of carpentry, an indication that he's putting aside his Butt-Monkey image for a steady job that he's good at.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Warren returns as a Big Bad Wannabe in Season 6. Katrina returns in the Season 6 episode "Dead Things".
- Code Red: Willow says that April is dangerous but doesn't appear to be out to kill anyone. "Is there a Code Pink? We need more codes."
- Cut the Juice: Buffy only survives her final battle because April's batteries run down.
- Dating Catwoman: Subverted. Ben, who is Glory's alter ego, asks Buffy out, but she ultimately turns him down.
- Death Glare: Buffy running into Spike at the Bronze.Spike: Oh dear. If looks could stake.
- Destination Defenestration: Happens to Spike when he whispers something dirty in April's ear. Our first clue that she's not just some ditzy airhead.
- Distinction Without a Difference: Warren didn't dump April, he just walked off and left her, figuring her batteries would run down.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Xander and Willow by April.Anya: Xander got hypnotized by the strange girl. I am remaining calm, however.
- Downer Ending: Buffy comes home to find her mother dead.
- Dynamic Entry: Spike bursts into the Magic Box in daylight with his blanket on fire.
- Everybody Knew Already:Warren: Uh, there's something you need to know about her.
Buffy: I know.
Warren: No, wait, this is important.
Buffy: Believe me, I, I worked it out.
Warren: No, this is something, uh, that you can't possibly know.
[Buffy folds her arms and nods to him to continue. Zoom in dramatically on Warren taking a deep breath.]
Warren: She's a robot.
- Fatal Attractor: Buffy wangsts over her inability to attract a nice, normal guy.
- Filler: Having nothing to do with the Glory story arc, the episode looks like one, and wouldn't work if it didn't.
- Foe Romance Subtext: Glory finds Buffy has refused Ben's offer of a date. After initially suspecting Ben of plotting against her, she then pouts and says, "She turned us down?"
- The self-centered amorality and misogyny that leads to Warren gleefully skipping across the Moral Event Horizon in Season 6 is shown. April is designed to experience pain if she doesn't respond to Warren's voice. When Warren finds a real girlfriend, he just leaves April to run down without even bothering to deactivate her. Under stress he snaps at Katrina to Stay in the Kitchen, and in the end he just sics his malfunctioning robot onto Buffy and flees.
- Warren avoids April's wrath by making Buffy the target instead. Warren has the same solution when he has to deal with the M'Fashnik demon and the police in Season 6.
- April's last words, "Things are always darkest before..." is a nice nod to the upcoming season finale.
- Warren is packing to get out of Sunnydale when Spike turns up with a box of stuff from his Stalker Shrine and demands Warren build him another Sex Bot to Buffy's specs. This sets up "Intervention".
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: April's Robo Cam shot includes a file menu listing such things as fetishes and sex positions, which is funny enough, but an even briefer shot when she shifts into "Protect Warren" mode includes actions including Taking the Bullet and I Know Kung Fu.
- Get Out!: The Scoobies' general reaction when Spike shows up at the Magic Box. Giles actually manhandles him and orders him to "clear out of here."
- Good Name For A Rock Band:Xander: I think I've actually turned into someone you want around after a crazed robot attack.
Buffy: And if you ever start your own business, you have your slogan right there.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Tara gives Willow the hairy eyeball when she catches her girlfriend checking out April.
- Groin Attack: Buffy is SLAMMING on some training pads, like she did when Scott broke up with her, up to eleven which even hurt Faith, where she finishes with one of these because of her disgust at Spike's attraction. Turns out it was on Xander wearing a giant padded suit and even with this he's lucky to still have his willie, and Buffy is so apologetic to how crippling her overreaction was.
- Hug and Comment: Xander gives his Beautiful All Along speech to Buffy, which earns him a hug—unfortunately, Xander is strapped into a huge padded suit which makes him totally immobile, causing him to moan, "Great, today's the day you chose to hug me."
- Hugh Mann: April's mannerisms are so stilted and bizarre, along with her Super-Strength, that the Scoobies quickly deduce that she's a robot.
- Hypocritical Humor: Anya commenting on April's Spock Speak.Anya: She speaks with a strange evenness and selects her words a shade too precisely.
Xander: Some of us like that kind of thing in a girl.
- Improvised Weapon: April breaks off part of a playground see-saw with her Super-Strength.
- Innocuously Important Episode: While on the surface this seems like a slight Breather Episode in the midsts of the Glory arc, it marks the first appearance of the man who would become responsible for the single most infamous and heartbreaking moment in the entire Buffyverse. To say nothing of the last scene. And as Spike sets up near the end, the idea of a humanoid female robot (in this case, one modeled after Buffy) isn't going anywhere any time soon.
- Ironic Echo Cut:Buffy: Okay. We'll track down Warren tomorrow. Tonight I better go rescue Giles. He's been watching Dawn while my mom's out on her date, and I have a feeling there's only so much he can take.
Tara: Oh, Giles and Dawnie? I bet they ended up having a blast.
[Cut to] Giles: Dear god, Buffy, there's only so much I can take.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Spike enters the Magic Box, trying to win some favor with the Scoobies, but they're not having any of it; when Giles, in full Papa Wolf mode, roughly shoves him against the wall and orders him to leave, Spike wisely shuts up and departs.
- Layout of a Season: As per the formula, the 15th episodes have a tendency to pull a mid-season shift of major proportions. In this episode, Buffy's ill mother, Joyce, suddenly collapses.
- Let Them Die Happy: As April runs down, Buffy sits with her and assures her that Warren cares about her and will come back for her.
- Mood Whiplash: Buffy shares a Friendship Moment with Xander, comes home and smiles at the bouquet of flowers sent by Joyce's date, walks into the living room... and finds her mother's pale, unmoving body on the couch.
- Must Be Invited:
- When Spike shows up at the Magic Box, Willow claims that they're attempting to find a way to un-invite him from the Magic Box, even though it's a public place, meaning Spike can enter and exit at his leisure. Xander, however, says they might as well let him in... so they can toss him right back out.
- Warren wants to know how Spike got into his house. Spike replies that Warren's mother invited him in.
- Neck Lift: April to Katrina.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The original promo makes no mention of April, and instead sets it up to look like Buffy is the one who throws Spike out the window.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Discussed; the Scoobies don't initially see April as much of a threat, since she's just looking for her boyfriend, and actually approve of her tossing Spike out the window. When Buffy talks with Warren about April to confirm it, that's when it hits her that April is a threat:Buffy: Warren, this is important. Is she dangerous?
Warren: She's only programmed to be in love.
Buffy: Then she's dangerous.
- Noodle Incident: The story of how Joyce ended up on her first date with Buffy's dad even though he brought another date is a much funnier story (than the date itself) that Buffy will never get to hear.
- Oblivious Mockery: Buffy tells Xander that dancing with him is much more fun than trying to hook up with some good-looking guy. Given his former crush on her, she was probably just poking fun.
- On Second Thought: Buffy tells Giles that her night didn't go well, what with Spike being thrown through a window. Buffy then decides she wouldn't exchange that night for anything.
- Operation: Jealousy: Seeing Buffy with Ben, Spike chats up April to make her jealous. All it does is lead April to toss him out a window.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Anya makes a deliberate effort not to be jealous around Xander, Tara surprises everyone by swearing, and it is probably the first time we see Willow openly checking out another girl. This was deliberate on the writer's part, as the theme of the episode was women attempting to change themselves.
- Parental Sexuality Squick: Buffy kids her mom about the lack of apparent passion between Joyce and her date. But Joyce has the last laugh. note Joyce: Oh dear. I left my bra in his car.
Joyce: I'm joking.
Buffy: [sighs] Good God, that's horrible. Don't do that.
Joyce: I left it in the restaurant.
[Buffy puts her hands over her ears and starts running up the stairs]
Buffy: No more! No more! No more!
Joyce: [yelling up the stairs at her] On the dessert cart!
Buffy: [offscreen, faintly] I can't hear you!
- Papa Wolf: Giles lets Ripper out to warn off Spike.Giles: [softly] We are not your friends. We are not your way to Buffy. There is no way to Buffy.
- Percussive Therapy: Buffy pounding on Puffy!Xander while venting about Spike.Giles: Buffy, I think you should perhaps calm down.
Xander: Me too.
Buffy: Oh! Puffy!Xander, uh, I'm sorry, I got... guess I got carried away. Are you okay?
Xander: I'm alive. I can tell 'cause of the pain.
- Precision F-Strike: Well, by Tara's standards.Tara: She practically had "Genuine Molded Plastic" stamped on her ass.
[Everyone gives her very odd looks]
Tara: Just... tryin' a little spicy talk.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Buffy to Spike: "Get... away... from me."
- Pygmalion Plot: Averted; Warren thought he'd fall in love with his creation, but she turned out to be boring, as compared to his real-life unpredictable girlfriend.
- Rage Judo: Faced with a pissed-off robot, Warren claims that Buffy is his girlfriend so it will attack her instead of him.
- Remember the New Guy?: Warren is mentioned as having attended Sunnydale High with the Scoobies, and he clearly knows who Buffy is, but he never appeared during the first three seasons.
- Reveal Shot:
- Buffy appears to be pounding a punching bag, but it turns out to be Xander in a huge padded suit.
- A sweat-stained Glory appears to be having sex, but she's actually morphing into Ben.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: April, but subverted in that the Scoobies are quite quick to realize that she's a robot.
- Robo Cam: With drop-down menus showing Fetishes 1-3 and Positions 1-6.
- Robotic Reveal: Though only for Katrina, as everyone else already knows. April starts sparking when Buffy hits her in the stomach with a board.
- Sex Bot: With a bit of tech-school know-how, Warren built April as a fully functional (and fanatically loyal) robotic girlfriend.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Warren's response to seeing April is to pack his bags and flee, but things don't go according to plan.
- Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Glory morphs into Ben, who belatedly realizes he's wearing a red silk dress.
- Sick and Wrong: Buffy's reaction to the previous episode's events.Buffy: [pounding on Puffy!Xander] I feel gross, you know, like, like, dirty.
Giles: That's ridiculous, you can't be responsible for what Spike thinks or, feels.
Buffy: [stops punching] Well, aren't I responsible? I mean, something about me had to make him feel that, right? Something that made him say, "woof, that's the one for me!"
- Soft Glass: Averted; Spike gets some cuts on his face after getting thrown through the window.
- Spectacular Spinning: Buffy and Dawn make their mother spin around in her dress. Repeatedly.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Warren tells Katrina to wait in the kitchen while he talks to Buffy. When he tells her to shut up instead of explaining what's going on, Katrina loses her temper and walks out on him.
- Stay with Me Until I Die: When April finally runs out of gas, Buffy stays with her as she goes. Ironically, this causes Buffy to lose an opportunity to save Joyce's life, or at least be there when she died.
- Stylistic Suck: Pay attention to April's Robo Cam as she prepares to attack Buffy. We see she's trained in things like judo, and has been programmed to remove "obsticles".
- Sudden Downer Ending: "Mommy?"
- Sunnydale Syndrome: Averted. Warren attended Sunnydale High. When Buffy shows up at his door and asks, "Do you know who I am?" he knows shit just got real. This would fit the events of "The Prom" where it's shown the students do in fact know weird things are going on, and that Buffy is involved in fighting them. Warren also seems to know who and what Spike is—perhaps he saw him during the events of "School Hard", though given his actions in Season 6 he may already know something about the demon world.
- Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: April is programmed with great strength and a combat mode. Given that Warren is portrayed as a nerd in Season 6, it's possible he made April that way simply because Ridiculously Human Robots always have these abilities in TV and movies.
- Sympathy for the Devil: While the others mock Warren for resorting to creating a robotic girlfriend, Tara expresses sympathy for him that he felt he had to make a robot because he was unable to get a human girlfriend.
- Titled After the Song: The title could have been inspired by the KISS song "I Was Made for Lovin' You".
- Tranquil Fury: Giles pulls this off in Papa Wolf mode towards Spike, warning him to back off Buffy in a very cold and collected voice and a cool glare. Spike takes a breath to retort, but ultimately decides not to push his luck.
- Trauma Swing: April 'dies' on a swing, waiting for Warren to return.
- Uncanny Valley: April Walker is an in-universe example, as the main characters all slowly realize there is something wrong with the super-cheery way she talks, the way she walks, and eventually her huge amounts of strength.
- Verbal Backspace: Giles says he can't see why Spike is attracted to Buffy, only to add quickly that it's not because Buffy is unattractive.
- Victory by Endurance: April puts up a hell of a fight against Buffy, and is only stopped from choking her to death because her batteries finally run down.
- Waif-Fu: Buffy is tired of getting beat up by strong, tiny girls who aren't her.
- Wall Glower: The Scoobies are unanimous in showing their distaste for Spike after the events of "Crush".
- Wham Episode: The episode itself, not so much. The last scene though...
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?Warren: I made it so that if she heard me and she didn't answer, it causes this kind of feedback.
Buffy: Wait, if you call her and she doesn't answer, it hurts her? [he looks embarrassed] You're one creepy little dweeb, Warren.
- Whole-Plot Reference: The plot of the episode is somewhat similar to that of the 1985 horror novel Friend in which a teenage girl is killed by her own father, only to be resurrected by her science-loving friend by having a robot chip implanted in her brain. Initially, the friend is able to control her, but she becomes vengeful when flashes of her past memories re-surface and ultimately kills her father and the people who humiliated her and her friend. In 1986, Wes Craven turned the novel into a film, Deadly Friend, starring Kristy Swanson.
- Yandere: April is a surprisingly sympathetic and tragic one, considering the way this trope usually goes.