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Recap / Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 6 E 16 Hells Bells

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"I, Anya, want to marry you, Xander, because I love you and I'll always love you. Before I knew you, I was, like a completely different person. Not even a person, really. And I had seen what love could do to people. And it was hurt and sadness. Alone was better. And then suddenly there was you, and you knew me, you saw me, and it was this... thing. You make me feel safe and warm. So I get it now. I finally get love, Xander. I really do."
Anya Jenkins

Its Anya and Xander's Wedding Day and on top of dealing with both their families they have to deal with an old victim of Anya's who's out for revenge. Xander ends up leaving Anya at the altar out of fear of them becoming like his own parents.


  • Accidental Innuendo (In-Universe)
    D'Hoffryn: Hymen's greetings.
    Dawn: Hy— what?
    D'Hoffryn: Hymen, the God of Matrimony. His salutations upon you. May the love we celebrate today avoid an almost inevitable decline.
  • Action Dress Rip: Buffy tears her radioactive dress to fight the demon Stewart Burns. Doubles as a callback to that one time in a bank.
  • The Alcoholic: Anthony Harris
  • Awful Wedded Life: What Xander sees in his future.
  • Best Woman: Willow. After all, she does flirt with one of the bridesmaids. Unfortunately she can't wear a tux instead of the awful green dress.
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  • Bitter Wedding Speech: Xander's father about his own wife.
  • Blatant Lies / Dissimile: Buffy claiming the minister is late because he's also a doctor who had to do an emergency C-section.
    Buffy: He's half-minister, half-doctor, he's a, um, ah, um, mini...tor. Not of course to be confused with a minotaur, because he's all, you know, man, this doctor-minister-man. No bull-parts whatsoever.
  • Brick Joke: Buffy mentions that Xander's dad threw up in her purse during the wedding rehearsal. Later she hauls Mr Harris away from the bar and he says, "Didn't you own a sorta square, pinkish purse?" Buffy: "I did."
  • The Cast Show Off: Sarah Michelle Gellar shows off her juggling skills.
  • Continuity Nod: Willow hints at what happened another time she and Xander were alone in formal clothes:
    Willow: It's a good thing I realized I was gay. Otherwise, hey, you, me and formal wear...
  • Create Your Own Villain: The demon is a former philanderer Anya cursed when she was a vengeance demon.
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  • Crystal Ball: Essentially what the old man uses to show Xander the future.
  • Domestic Abuse: Future!Xander (actually the demon Stewart Burns) shows Xander he will become an abusive husband. Anthony Harris is verbally abusive of his wife Jessica.
  • Description Cut: "Sometimes two people, all they bring each other is pain." Cut to Buffy talking to Spike.
  • Double Entendre: Plenty from the Harris family. Buffy takes Xander's suggestion of a pre-marriage quickie better than that of his father.
    Mr. Harris: Hey, what do you say we slip in the back room and I show you my—
    Buffy: You finish that sentence and I guarantee you won't have anything to show.
  • Downer Ending: Xander leaves Anya at the altar.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Used for the Not So Dire moment, but also for foreshadowing.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Dawn reveals that Xander has run off, not realising Anya is in earshot.
  • Evil Is Petty
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Played seriously when Future!Xander uses one on Future!Anya.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Xander fears he'll end up an abusive drunken layabout like his father, hated by his wife and children.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: The "radioactive" green bridesmaid dresses.
  • Improvised Weapon: Buffy strangles the demon with a length of tulle and Xander crushes its head with an ornamental pillar.
  • Ironic Juxtaposition: Anya perfecting her vows against a distraught Xander walking in the rain.
  • Jacob Marley Warning
  • Love Confession: Subverted; Anya finally perfects her marriage vow when Xander has already made the decision to call off the wedding.
    Okay. For the last time. "I, Anya, want to marry you, Xander, because... I love you and I'll always love you. And... before I knew you, I was like a completely different person. Not even a person, really... and I had seen what love could do to people, and it was... hurt and sadness. Alone was better. And then, suddenly there was you, and... you knew me. You saw me, and it was this... thing. You make me feel safe and warm. So, I get it now. I finally get love, Xander. I really do."
  • Love Hurts: Buffy/Spike
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Here Comes The Bride" playing as a tearful Anya walks alone down the aisle.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Sara Harris has droppy pointed ears, indicating she's the product of Anya having an affair with a demon. By the way, Sara's ears are similar to Clem's.
  • Mundane Utility: Using Slayer strength to fasten das cummerbund!
  • No Body Left Behind: Averted, so Willow suggests covering the dead demon with flowers.
  • Not So Dire: Buffy and Willow discussing how horrible "that thing with the arms" is. It turns out they're discussing the dresses they're supposed to wear for the wedding.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Spike brings a Goth girlfriend to the wedding to make Buffy jealous. Buffy tells him that it worked and Spike, no longer angry at Buffy, just leaves quietly.
  • The Other Darrin: Anthony Harris is played by Casey Sander. In "Restless" he was played by Michael Harney. It results in an Age Lift of the character. It could be justified as Xander having dreamt with his father in a younger age.
  • Platonic Life-Partners
    Willow: Do you know how much I love you?
    Xander: Mmm ... 'bout half as much as I love you.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Both Anya and Xander pay the price for not expressing the doubts they had as far back as the beginning of the season, and which came out into the open in "Once More With Feeling". Similarly, it is never fully clear that Anya gets why Xander leaves her at the altar - not because he doesn't love her, but because he's afraid of what he might do to her.
  • Runaway Groom
  • Revealing Hug: When Xander hugs Willow.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Future!Xander appears to warn Xander not to go ahead with the wedding as it will ruin both Anya and Xander's lives. Subverted when Future!Xander turns out to be a demon seeking revenge on Anya.
  • Shipper on Deck: Buffy believes that Xander and Anya's marriage is a good omen for finding her own One True Love.
    You were my light at the end of the tunnel. Turns out it was an oncoming train.
  • Ship Tease: Willow and Tara make googly eyes. Buffy and Willow flirt with the handsome tux-wearing man of the hour. Spike and Buffy's quiet post-breakup conversation shows they still have feelings for each other.
  • Smash Cut: Xander seeing the images in the crystal ball.
  • Start of Darkness: D'Hoffryn offers Anya her old job back as a vengeance demon. "Entropy" reveals that she took the offer.
  • Tempting Fate
    Xander: Now nothing on Earth can stop this wedding.
  • Verbal Backspace: Buffy admits Spike flaunting his ho-biscuit bothers her.
    Spike: I'm sorry.....I mean: good!
  • Wedding Smashers
  • Weirdness Censor: Taken Up to Eleven with Anya trying to pass off her demonic relatives as "circus folk".
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Even the fans who accept Xander leaving Anya tend to think his leaving her to explain to the guests makes him look like too much of an asshole.

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