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Recap / Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 7 E 19 Empty Places

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Clem: "Maybe you should just get out of town this time."
Buffy: "Yeah. I probably should."

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screenshot_20190219_065627_video_player.jpg
"I need you to leave. I'm sorry, but this is my house, too."
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The residents of Sunnydale flee and everyone has lost confidence in Buffy's leadership.

Tropes Are:

  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Buffy Passing the Torch to Faith after being given the boot.
    Faith: Hey. Look, I swear I didn't want it to go this way—
    Buffy: (sternly) Don't.
    Faith: I mean it, I—
    Buffy: Don't...be afraid to lead them.
  • Buffy Speak: Faith is not "In Charge Chick". The police have gone all Hellmouthy.
  • Brand X (In-Universe): While Xander is in the hospital Willow says "Let's order some cherry-flavored, off-brand gelatin". Justified Trope because that is what most hospitals actually serve.
  • Call-Back: To "Dead Man's Party" where the Scoobies publicly criticize Buffy for her actions. Unlike in that episode, all the listeners are in on the Masquerade and there's no conveniently-timed attack on the house to remind them of their Fire Forged Friendship, so the crisis is not resolved in Buffy's favour.
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  • Character Development: Faith doesn't return Buffy's punch because "other things matter more."
  • Conflict Ball: Just about every line of the confrontation at the end is contrived to both have Buffy kicked out of the house, and have us still sympathize with her despite her massive screwups.
  • Continuity Nod
    • Clem talked of how delicious kittens were in his first appearance ("Life Serial").
    • After losing his eye, Xander suggests wearing his pirate costume from "All The Way".
    • Spike's liking for the flowering onion ("Crush").
    • Faith stops Anya going on about her sex life by reminding her she had Xander first. Faith took Xander's virginity in "The Zeppo".
    • Buffy accusing Faith of coming into her house and taking everything she has is a reference to the Grand Theft Me in Season 4 (plus her general Always Someone Better anxiety re Faith).
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  • Cool Aunt: Faith acts as cool aunt to the Potentials, playing against Buffy as the stern matriach.
  • Creator Cameo: Nerf Herder, who provided the series' iconic theme tune, are the final band to play at the Bronze.
    Kennedy: What kind of band plays during an Apocalypse?
  • Death Glare:
    • Dawn to Rona when the latter gets bitchy. If looks could kill she would be dead, dead, D-E-A-D dead and buried in the ground.
    • The look Andrew gives Faith after she eats the last hot pocket. Faith, on the other hand, doesn't even see him and being, well... Faith, likely didn't give a damn.
  • Dramatic Irony: Giles arguing with Buffy that the girls need time off at the Bronze — in the first few seasons it was always Buffy arguing with Giles that she needed time off from slaying.
  • Doomsayer: The Sunnydale police beat up a crazy guy who is shouting, "From beneath you it devours!"
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Buffy shows this reaction multiple times as Willow, Xander and Dawn turn on her.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Faith eating the last Hot Pocket. Which Andrew had clearly labelled as his.
  • First-Name Basis: Spike pointedly addresses Giles as "Rupert".
  • Foreshadowing: Willow winces as she hears the police beating the homeless guy. After Giles and Willow walk off, two other cops arrive with a fax they've received on an unnamed fugitive.
    • Faith and Wood meet for the first time, and make a connection that leads to their having sex in the next episode.
    • Caleb appears to have been searching for something important in the Mission.
    • Buffy realises that Caleb's presence at the vineyard means he is guarding something there.
    • Anya notes that the Turok-Han can be killed by sunlight, but that it's moot since they won't come out into the sunlight. In the Grand Finale, Spike brings the sunlight down to them.
    • Kennedy starts warming to Faith of all people over Anya's teaching techniques. Faith would end up working for her in the comics.
  • Funny Background Event: While Anya gives her briefing to the Potentials, Andrew is behind her writing key words from her speech on The Big Board, plus some not-so-key ones like "break-up sex".
  • The Glomp: Dawn to Xander when he returns home from hospital.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: The priest at the Mission gets the treatment, with Spike as good cop and Andrew as a less-than-convincing bad cop.
  • Gun Kata: Kennedy with a rather nifty move in flipping an evil cop's shotgun in his face, flipping it over and aiming it at him, before handily discarding it.
  • A House Divided: Buffy argues that there can be only one leader; unfortunately the Potentials are challenging her leadership while the Scoobies believe she's lost her objectivity.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Andrew with his arms around Spike on his bike, discussing the delights of the flowering onion.
    Spike: (to Andrew) Tell anyone we had this conversation, and I'll bite you.
  • Humiliation Conga: Buffy has to deal with her guilt over the disastrous raid on the vineyard, then she gets beaten unconscious by Caleb, then deposed as leader of the Scooby Gang.
  • Idiot Ball: Our heroes running out of ideas to kill Caleb or the ubervamps. Over the years the Scooby Gang has used Outside The Box Tactics against impossible-to-kill enemies including a rocket launcher (which Buffy is shown to still have in "Him"), luring the target into a building primed with explosives (the Mayor in "Graduation Day"), an Enjoining Spell combining the essence of the Scooby Gang (Adam in "Primeval"), and a whole Chekhov's Armoury against Glory in "The Gift".
  • I'll Kill You!: Buffy tells Caleb, "I will end you." He's not impressed.
  • Indy Ploy: For once this doesn't impress anyone.
    Rona: You're being reckless.
    Buffy: What?
    Rona: You are! I don't even know you, and I can tell! You are so obsessed with beating Caleb, you are willing to jump into any plan without thinking.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Willow makes a police officer think that she and Giles are from Interpol; unfortunately the cop gets stuck in a loop and keeps asking Willow who she is.
  • Leader Wannabe: Anya calls out Buffy on her assumption that she's the only one who has the right to lead them. (Who's the wannabe? How about both?)
    "We don't know if you're actually better. I mean, you came into the world with certain advantages, sure. I mean, that's the legacy. But you didn't earn it. You didn't work for it. You've never had anybody come up to you and say you deserve these things more than anyone else. They were just handed to you. So that doesn't make you better than us. It makes you luckier than us."
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Spike threatens to bite Andrew if he ever mentions their flowering onion conversation.
  • Neck Lift: Caleb lifts Buffy up with both hands, then throws her through an internal office window.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure
  • My Way or the Highway: Buffy says they need to be united, and she's not going to stay and watch Faith lead everyone into disaster. Dawns calls her on that statement.
    Dawn: Then you can't stay here. Buffy, I love you, but you were right. We have to be together on this. You can't be a part of it. (Buffy blinks her eyes in disbelief) So I need you to leave. I'm sorry, but this is my house, too.
  • Older and Wiser: Before Faith had murdered, served as The Dragon for a Big Bad, started Bar Brawls, tortured people and used a Grand Theft Me — now she looks out for the underage girls and stop them from drinking alcohol, doesn't retaliate when Buffy hits her, and is genuinely upset for Buffy when the others turn on her.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: "It is not for thee. It is for her alone to wield."
  • Off to See the Wizard: Rona says, "Ding, dong, the witch is dead" when Buffy is ousted from the house.
  • Police Brutality: Justified as The First is influencing them; it sends the police to kill Faith.
  • Sign of the Apocalypse: The Potentials point to the band playing in the Bronze (Nerf Herder, who provided the theme tune throughout the series) as a sign of the Apocalypse.
  • Single Tear: After Buffy is thrown out of her own home by her friends.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying!: Faith realises the Potentials need to chill out, so she takes them to the Bronze.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Clem talking to Buffy.
    "You can't swing a cat without hitting some kind of demonic activity. Not that I swing cats, or eat—nope. Heh. Cuttin' way back. Cholesterol—morals. I mean, morals."
  • Sunnydale Syndrome: Finally averted as virtually the entire population decides Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
  • Talk to the Fist: Buffy punches Faith when she mentions those killed on the vineyard mission.
  • Tranquil Fury / Silence, You Fool!: Giles telling Andrew to shut up about the stolen Hot Pocket.
  • Too Soon (In-Universe): Willow and Xander try to treat his missing eye with their usual Gallows Humor. It fails utterly.
  • Too Much Information: Anya revealing that she had break-up sex with Xander in the basement. The Potentials sitting on the bed immediately remove themselves.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: No-one takes notice of Clem the Loose Skinned Demon driving his red VW Beetle in broad daylight.
  • Verbal Backspace: Also Clem.
    "We've seen some bad stuff in this town before but, you know, this time, it's like it just seems different, more powerful. I don't think anyone's gonna be able to stop it. (catches himself) I mean, I'm sure you'll do fine. Complete confidence in you. Heh. Uh, if anyone can do it, you can, because you...rock! If you save the world, I'll come back, we'll have drinks. When! When, I mean...when you save the world."
    • Kennedy musing on finding out how Caleb can render a Slayer helpless with one punch, when she thinks that's exactly what happened to Buffy she apologizes profusely for it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A number of events come together to ensure Buffy is deposed. The failure of the vineyard assault means the Potentials have lost confidence in Buffy's leadership and ass-kicking ability. Xander's trauma over losing an eye means his support (along with Willow's) is muted. Buffy's staunchest ally Spike is out of town. Wood and (most importantly) Giles also withhold their support, as they still resent Buffy favouring Spike over them. The Potentials resent their Red Shirt role and want some say in how they're going to risk their lives. Buffy makes matters worse by insisting they attack the vineyard again, but with no idea of how they're going to do things differently. Faith is available as an alternate (and more approachable) leader in the eyes of the Potentials, who have no first hand experience of her darker side; Kennedy and some others also see themselves in a leadership role. Buffy has alienated herself with her aloof and critical management style, and Xander is no longer willing to fill the gap. After having been beaten by Caleb twice, Buffy is doubting her own abilities, fails to come up with a workable plan for defeating him, is too paranoid about Faith to realise she's trying to help, and makes the mistake of trying to discuss matters with the Potentials and Scoobies at the same time, giving everyone a chance to gang up on her. The final kicker is Dawn asking her to leave; her reasons for turning against Buffy aren't clear, but may be because she still believes First!Joyce's warning about Big Sis in "Conversations With Dead People".
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