Buffy holding a picture frame and staring at it sadly


Title: Buffy S7.E19 “Empty Places” + S7.E20 “Touched”
Released: 2003

Drinks Taken: 22
Vamps Dusted: 0


Follow the whole rewatch here!

Last week, Giles and Principal Wood cured Spike of his trigger while trying to kill him (whoops!), then Nathan Fillion showed up as Caleb, a preacher and the right-hand man of the First. He not only beat Buffy’s ass but killed a couple of Potentials in the process–at a vineyard, which is just salt in the wound. Like, he legit ruined wine for everyone, forever. RUDE.

And now I’m here, writing my last post of our Buffy Rewatch Project! It’s been such a treat to revisit this series with y’all and discover new aspects I admire while relishing the time with old friends. So let’s hoist our glasses for one last cheers to the Scoobies!  

Buffy eagerly watching a pitcher of beer being poured into her glass.

The Buffy Season Seven Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Someone uses a cell phone
The First gets up to its tricks
You love Andrew in spite of himself
Someone goes down to the creepy Sunnydale High basement
It’s obvious Spike has a soul again
Principal Wood seems shady

Drink twice every time:

There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house
There’s a callback to previous season shenanigans
You really miss Giles
A new Slayer shows up in Sunnydale
A new romance emerges (Who dates during the Apocalypse?)
Willow performs magic responsibly

Take a shot every time:

Someone says, “From beneath you, it devours.”

Now let’s get ready to head into dark territory. All I can say is, thank goodness for Andrew. 

Wood, Faith, Dawn, and Buffy standing next to each other in the house and looking stricken

7.19 “Empty Places”

In a bona fide sign of the Apocalypse, the citizens of Sunnydale have packed their bags and are clogging the roads on their way out of town. Geez, it only took seven seasons for them to get the message re: Hellmouth. Buffy spots Clem, driving his orange VW bug the hell away from there and wishing her luck. Good for you, Clem! Even the police are going batty, but at least Giles and Willow, pretending to be Interpol or whatever, manage to score some files on Caleb. The cops could care less, because they’re focused on another fugitive in town, and yeah, no duh, it’s Faith.

Xander is recovering from the loss of his eyeball (eeeesh) in the hospital, and while Willow offers that sweet Scooby affection-disguised-as-bad-jokes, Buffy has reverted to robot mode because she obvs can’t deal with her emotions right now. She’s focusing everything on bringing Caleb down, but the Potentials are still shell-shocked from the vineyard bloodbath, and Anya’s info session on the Umbervamps (who are apparently on their way) doesn’t help matters. 

While Buffy is back at an eerily deserted Sunnydale High to collect her things (including an old photo of her with Xander and Willow, which gives both the Slayer and me some feels), Caleb, clearly trying to lay some mental trap, appears to “warn” Buffy about a change that’s coming and to ask her, “Why would you want to get in its way?” “I’m guess I’m just ornery,” she replies, then he kicks her ass again, GAH. 

Back at the house, Dawn–who, dare I say, is turning out to be the MVP of this season?!–finds a clue in the police files on Caleb. He apparently spent time at a nearby monastery (Sunnydale has it all!) and left the mark of his ring on the wall. Since Andrew is being a major pain about the fact that Faith stole his last meatball and mozzarella Hot Pocket, Giles decides to send him along with Spike to investigate, and the result is my favorite Buffy buddy cop spin-off that never was.   

The fact that Andrew is riding just like Dawn in the second episode of Season Six, even wearing the same helmet, makes me EXTREMELY happy, and I love the callback to Spike’s addiction to the “flowering onion” (you may recall, they used to serve them at the Bronze before it got destroyed and remodeled).  

Meanwhile, Faith decides that the Potentials need a night away from the fear of death and takes them to the Bronze to blow off some steam. Honestly, it’s not a bad idea? Well, until the cops show up and take Faith outside–not to arrest her, but to kill her, because the good ole Hellmouth has made them crazy! 

Buffy comes home to find Giles alone, and she’s pissed that Faith took the Slayerettes out and that Giles sent Spike on the monastery mission. Girl, I get that you’re under a lot of pressure but you REALLY need to cut everyone some slack. I’m feeling for Giles at this point, and it’s not just because of his excellent turtleneck sweater. 

Back at the Bronze, the Potentials disarm the one officer keeping them inside and race out to the alley to help Faith fight the other cops. Of course Buffy shows up at the worst moment, when it looks like Faith is just beating up a cop for no reason, and she sends the Slayerettes home before launching into lecture mode on Faith. The latter argues that Buffy should have more confidence in the Potentials, and I agree, but when Faith brings up the vineyard, an obvious sore spot, Buff punches her in the face. Ouch.

Andrew and Spike, having arrived at the monastery, discover one lone remaining priest, whose face bears the brand of Caleb’s ring. He tells them that when Caleb came, the monks showed him a secret room with an ancient inscription on the wall that translates to: “It is not for thee. It is for her alone to wield.” No surprise, Caleb didn’t like that, so he killed everyone (except for this guy, who ran away and hid). 

At the house, Faith finally meets Principal Wood, and their vibe is SPICY, but amidst the flaring chemistry between them, Wood can see that Faith is really worried about Buffy, which is sweet. Xander gets back from the hospital and doesn’t mind the lack of a big party. “Parties in this house,” he says, “I usually end up having to rebuild something.”

Buffy interrupts the gathering to inform everyone that she’s had a breakthrough about the wine cellar–Caleb’s presence there means that he’s protecting something, potentially the source of his power. She wants to go back and take it away from him, an idea which sounds like a big fat NOPE to everyone else. Taking a lead from Faith, who needs proof before she’s willing to bring the Potentials back there, the entire room completely turns on Buffy, and damn, it’s hard to watch. Giles likens Buffy’s plan to chasing windmills, and even Willow questions the Slayer’s judgement. Buffy is floored, insisting they need a leader, and Anya points out that Buffy didn’t “earn” the right to lead them–she was born a Slayer, which just makes her “luckier.” I don’t buy that, because what were the last six seasons if not Buffy earning her place, but the room decides to vote anyway, and they unanimously choose Faith. GAH, that smarts. Buffy, stricken, says she can’t watch Faith lead them to disaster, and then HER OWN SISTER tells her that she can’t stay at the house–she can’t be part of the team. Dawn, forget what I said about MVP. 

Shaken to her core, Buffy walks out the door, and to Faith’s credit, she follows her. “Don’t be afraid to lead them,” Buffy tells her as tears stream down her face. “Whether you wanted it or not, their lives are yours. It’s only going to get harder. Protect them. Lead them.” And then she’s gone. Gotta say, Faith could never make that classy of an exit. 

How many times do I have to take a drink?


Vamps Dusted


Headlining at the Bronze

It’s extremely fitting that the last band we see playing at the Bronze is Nerf Herder, i.e. the group that plays the theme song! I especially enjoyed Dawn’s joke about how they might be one of the signs of the apocalypse.

Scooby Feels

Even with so much going on, I’m glad the writers squeezed in a tender moment between the oldest friends on the show, especially because Xander’s injury is so traumatic. Willow’s sweet attempts at cheering him up, and then Xander unable, for the first time, to crack a joke–gah, it squeezed my heart so hard. 

Giles for Life

Giles reading a paper and looking hot in a grey turtleneck sweater

Sorry, Love Actually, but no one rocks a turtleneck like Giles. 

Spike and Buffy holding each other, fully clothed, in bed

7.20 “Touched”

Buffy’s only been gone for what looks to be five minutes, and chaos has already descended at the house. Everyone has an opinion and wants a say, so Faith does the smart thing and tells them all to get some sleep. As if on cue, the electricity goes out–even the power company staff has fled Sunnydale. Womp womp!

After walking the neighorhood streets and watching people evacuate, Buffy heads into a house that she assumes is empty, then, when it’s not, she kicks out the owner. “It’s not your house,” she tells him with dead eyes. “It’s not your town. Not anymore.” 

The next day, Faith reconvenes the Potentials and, much to Kennedy’s dismay, steps up and claims her title as Boss Lady. They agree to set a trap for the Bringers, involving Kennedy as bait (a role she relishes), and after they successfully capture one, Willow does a spell (drink!) to communicate with him. The Bringer speaks through Andrew and informs them that they’re building weapons underground, at the edge of town.

Meanwhile, Spike and Andrew arrive back at the house, where Willow regretfully informs them that Buffy has been voted out. Spike gives a real salty speech about how they’re all “sad, sad, ungrateful traitors,” which I find *highly* satisfying, then he proceeds to pick a fight with Faith. After landing one last punch, he heads out to find Buffy. 

Faith and Giles make a plan to head out in the AM to find the weapons, and then when Faith’s alone, the First comes to her as the Mayor. HI RICHARD!!! She’s not buying it, so he tries to prove that he’s still the Mayor even while being the First, with a series of questions including: “Who was my favorite character in Little Women? Meg!” Dude, I have missed you. He’s clearly trying to undermine Faith’s confidence, so thank goodness Wood shows up to rectify the situation with some morale boosting of the emotional and carnal variety. (Drink!) It wouldn’t be the end of the world without some sexin’, so we’re treated (?) to a montage of folks getting it on: Faith and Wood; Kennedy and Willow; and, once more with feeling, Xander and Anya. 

On a less physical but dare I say hotter note (don’t @ me), Spike finds Buffy curled up in a fetal position on a bed in the “abandoned” house, and he tries to comfort her with the assurance that she was right, and the crew needs her. But girl is broken, and she admits that she’s always cut herself off from people because she feared losing them. Buffy tells Spike that he only ever wanted her because of that–because she was unattainable. Then he responds with this speech, which MOVES ME LIKE WHOA, and even if you’re Team Angel, you gotta give it to Spike here, okay?

It’s a beautiful moment, y’all. Buffy can only respond with, “I don’t want to be the one,” to which Spike perfectly replies, “I don’t want to be this good looking and athletic. We all have crosses to bear.” She’s crying, I’m crying, and then when Spike goes to leave like a freaking gentleman (drink!!!), she asks him to stay… and hold her. MY HEART! He cradles her, quietly and tenderly, and it’s such a contrast to the sex montage, as the two seem to draw on a deeper, more sacred well of emotion. 

The First sees all of this, and surprisingly, it envies them, because it wants to feel. (Cue “Walk Through the Fire.”) But, like, less in a loving way and more in a killing capacity, so we shouldn’t be surprised that the episode ends with a trap. Buffy, having left Spike a note on the pillow, arrives at the Cellar and faces off with Caleb using an M.C. Hammer strategy, a.k.a. U Can’t Touch This. She eventually dives into a trapdoor during the fight and discovers a *slick* axe buried in a stone like freaking Excalibur. But meanwhile, Faith leads the Potentials underground to find the weapons arsenal, and after a badass battle (highlighted by flashlights, Step Up 2 style) against the Bringers, Faith finds a metal box and realizes… it’s a bomb. Sheeeeeet! 

How many times do I have to take a drink?


Vamps Dusted


Season 7 Dawn Is the Best Dawn

Okay, I’ll forgive Dawn the transgression of kicking Buffy out of the house because everyone did it, and I just really adore her newfound passion for languages. Honey, you have a real bright future as a translator. 

So, gentle viewers, what do you think? Did Buffy deserve to get voted out? Are Spike and Andrew the best duo of the entire series? Is the Mayor actually the best Big Bad of them all? And did Spike’s speech melt your anti-Spuffy heart?

Join me in the comments for a spirited convo, then tune in next week for our FINAL (!!!) Buffy Rewatch with Kandis as she recaps “End of Days” and “Chosen.” 

Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.