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Recap / Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 7 E 12 Potential

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"Seven years, Dawn. Working with the Slayer. Seeing my friends get more and more powerful. A witch. A demon. Hell, I could fit Oz in my shaving kit, but come a full moon, he had a wolfy mojo not to be messed with. Powerful. All of them. And I'm the guy who fixes the windows."
Xander Harris
"Remember when you said I was special? Well, I'm not. But the thing is, you are. This is your battle, Amanda."

Buffy and Spike continue training the Potentials. When the Scoobies discover a Potential is in Sunnydale, Dawn thinks it might be her.

  • Analogy Backfire: Anya shows her usual Brutal Honesty.
    Dawn: Everything's different for me now.
    Anya: That's because you're a part of something larger. Like being swallowed. By something larger.
    [Dawn flees upstairs]
    Xander: Nice job with the "getting swallowed" analogy.
    Anya: Well, it is a mixed bag, you know. If she gets to be the Slayer, then her life is short and brutal. And if she doesn't, then it smells of unfulfilled potential. My swallowed analogy looks pretty sweet right now, doesn't it?
  • An Axe to Grind: Buffy's Noisy Shut-Up to the yakking Potentials involves an axe hurled into a target.
  • ...And That Would Be Wrong:
    Kennedy: You don't drink?
    Buffy: Sure I do... I mean, no. That would be wrong.
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  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Xander kisses Dawn on the forehead.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Willy's. It's like a gay bar. But with demons.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work / Big Damn Heroes: The Bringers crash through the window in time to interrupt Dawn's death at the fangs of a vampire. Then the Scoobies turn up in time to stop Dawn and Amanda being killed by both parties.
  • Bad News in a Good Way:
    Anya: One moment you're this klutzy teenager with fake memories and a history of kleptomania. Then suddenly you're a hero. A hero with a much abbreviated lifespan.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Willow's glowy spell shoots towards Dawn, but was actually heading through her to Amanda, who was standing outside the door having come to see Buffy.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: The Potentials fighting the vampire.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Amanda asks Counselor!Buffy if it's weird to be attracted to a boy you're always fighting with.
    Buffy: Well, it depends. Sometimes that's how people relate. Being mean to each other. Even mortal enemies... (increasingly emphatic) Then with the-- And that leads to no good, absolutely no good. And much confusion. A-and then it's over. Absolutely, seriously, definitely over. And that's confusing too. The over part. Which it is. Over! (catches herself, calms a bit) So, maybe.
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  • Black Dude Dies First:
    Spike: OK, these two [Potentials] are dead. Why?
    Rona: 'Cause the black chick always gets it first?
  • Buffy Speak: Firsty Circus. Womany Power.
  • Call-Back: Locking someone without superpowers in a room with a vampire sounds a lot like the Cruciamentum Test.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Buffy lecturing the Potentials while fighting a vampire.
  • Cat Scare: The window slamming down after Dawn and Amanda climb through it.
  • Ceiling Cling: Dawn and Amanda open the door to the classroom to find it empty; the vampire has apparently escaped. Cue Reveal Shot showing the vampire is holding itself between a couple of air ducts, waiting to ambush them when they walk in.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Buffy's lecture to the Potentials on how to fight a vampire is intercut with Dawn doing the same things Buffy is talking about.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • "Death is what a Slayer dreams about when she sleeps." Buffy has had Prophetic Dreams of apocalyptic events.
    • Andrew: "Killing pigs is just so wrong. And also hard."
    • Buffy notes that not all vampires live in dank crypts, as seen in Season 2, as well as "Buffy vs. Dracula" and Angel.
    • Buffy being regarded as a schizophrenic by the students, no doubt due to dissonant behaviour like intimidating students, then having sex with them on tables.
  • Cowardly Lion: Vi appears to be the Xander (Season 1) of the group.
  • Deadly Dodging: Buffy tells Spike to charge at her, stepping aside (with her back to him) and letting him crash into a tombstone.
  • Distinction Without a Difference:
    Amanda: Do people ever think you're weird?
    Buffy: Well, I guess, sure, in a charming, endearing, lovable... yes.
  • The Evils of Free Will: Andrew whines because Buffy won't let him join in with the training. "Spike's killed more people than I have, and he gets to come along." Buffy points out that Andrew committed his murder of his own free will.
    Andrew: (sulkily) I hate my free will.
  • Fake Action Prologue: The Potentials being stalked by Spike in The Teaser.
  • Faux Symbolism: In-Universe:
    Andrew: It's like...well, it's almost like this metaphor for womanhood, isn't it? The sort of flowering that happens when a girl realizes that she's part of a fertile heritage stretching back to Eve, and—
    Xander: (covers his face with his hands) I'll pay you to talk about Star Wars again.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • "I see more than anybody realizes." Just as well he can't see what's coming.
    • Giles is in Shanghai getting a new Potential — this turns out to be Chao-Ahn, who appears in "First Date".
    • The Xander/Dawn scene takes on additional significance given what happens in the Season 8 comics.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Rona (wielding a stake): "I like the feel of wood in my hand." Kennedy: "Lost me there."
    • Dawn climbing in through the window. "I think I sprained something I'm going to need later in life."
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: After being attacked by a vampire, Amanda goes to see Buffy.
    Dawn: You know something about my sister?
    Amanda: Well, I've heard people talking. A lot of 'em think she's some kind of high-functioning schizophrenic. But I also heard that, maybe she could help with this kind of thing.
  • Idiot Ball: Going to take on a vampire because you think you're a Potential is one thing, but Dawn doesn't even have a stake!
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Dawn. To her credit when she realises she's not, she helps the person who is.
  • Improv Fu: Dawn uses a fire extinguisher, flasks of acid, a gas burner, and a flagpole to fend off the vampire.
    Buffy: Know your environment. Know what's around you, and know how to use it. In the hands of a Slayer, everything is a potential weapon.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: When Buffy is showing the Potentials the demon bar, Clem plays a particularly frightening joke on them, causing Vi to say, "I could use a shot of that yak urine right about now."
  • Insane Troll Logic: Amanda's idea of siccing the vampire onto the school marching band.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Anya's off-handed comment about the Buffy/Dawn blood connection (in "The Gift") never really making any sense, mirroring fan confusion on the subject.
  • Malaproper: The Chaka-Khan...Turok-Han.
  • Meaningful Echo: The amount of times the word 'potential' is used, outside of referring to a Potential.
  • Mentor Archetype: Buffy/Spike as Watcher to the Potentials, and (less obviously) Dawn as Watcher to Amanda.
  • Neck Snap: Buffy to a Bringer about to stab Amanda In the Back.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Dawn hears the Scoobies talking about her.
    Xander: Hey, something out there says she can handle this and a hell of a lot more. Something out there chose her.
    Willow: Sure, she can handle it. Is that why she's hiding out in her room right now?
    cue Dawn climbing out of the window.
  • Nightmare Face: Mild-mannered demon Clem is capable of showing one, while we only see the back of his head, in an obvious Shout-Out to Beetlejuice.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Buffy is talking about there's not a single demon in the Bad-Guy Bar who wouldn't rip their throats out, when Clem walks up and gives Buffy a hug.
    Kennedy: You think she dated him too?
  • Oblivious Mockery: Buffy's Rousing Speech to the Potentials doesn't make Dawn feel any better.
    "Most people in this world have no idea why they're here or what they want to do. You do. You have a mission, a reason for being here. You're not here by chance. You're here because you are The Chosen Ones. (walks upstairs, commenting on the way) Dawn, you better hurry up and eat something so you're not late for school."
    • Also her comment re vampires in front of Spike: "The animal inside, always the same."
  • Perplexing Plurals: Willow assembling her ingredients for her spell.
    "OK, I got my tumbleweed, my my chrysalises...chrysali? My butterfly transformer pods."
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Dawn enters the room where the Potentials have just received their weapons.
    Molly: (pointing crossbow at her) Halt!
    Dawn: OK, see, that's why we don't point the weapons in the kitchen.
    Vi: It's not loaded.
    Dawn: That's always the lead quote under the headline "Household Crossbow Accident Claims Teen".
  • Rousing Speech: Buffy to the Potentials, Dawn to Amanda, Xander to Dawn.
  • Saying Too Much: Buffy says that Spike's crypt was 'comfy'.
    Kennedy: Excuse me? When did you find it comfy?
    Buffy: Moving on... (Potentials smirk)
  • Series Continuity Error: It would take Faith's death - not Buffy's - to activate the next Potential. This is one of the Headscratchers that was never Jossed or anything.
  • Ship Tease: Spuffy strides again!
  • Shout-Out: When Clem shows the Potentials his Game Face, in the same manner that Beetlejuice showed the Maitland's when asked "Can you be scary?"
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Buffy and Spike lock the Potentials in a crypt with a vampire.
  • Suggestive Collision: During her demonstration Buffy throws herself on top of Spike, stake poised to dust him. She then notices Spike grimacing in pain, but Spike removes her hand when she tries lifting his shirt to look at the damage — they end up Holding Hands and trying not to exchange Longing Looks.
    Rona: That's hot.
    Molly: (taking notes) So, we're, supposed to, like... make out with him or something?
  • Super Window Jump: The Bringers crashing into the school lab.
  • Take Up My Sword: When Dawn realises Amanda is the Potential, she hands over the sharp wooden pole she's carrying without hesitation. Xander notices and congratulates her on this afterwards.
  • A Tankard of Moose Urine / I Do Not Drink Wine: The (underage) Potentials immediately beeline for the bar at Willy's, but change their minds when Buffy invites them to "Down all the yak urine shots or pig's blood spritzers you like."
  • Tempting Fate / Twisted Echo Cut: Dawn and Amanda barricade themselves in the school lab.
    Amanda: Think we're safe?
    [Vampire starts to break in. Cut to Buffy lecturing the Potentials while facing off with a vampire]
    Buffy: No one's safe. Not here, not ever.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Buffy and Spike; obvious even to the Potentials.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: The day after, the Potentials talk excitedly about their defeat of the vampire.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Xander and Dawn re the fact that they will never have special powers like Buffy or Willow.
    Xander: They'll never know how tough it is, Dawnie, to be the one who isn't chosen. To live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes, 'cause nobody's watching me. I saw you last night, I see you working here today... You're not special. You're extraordinary.

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