Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

dec
04
2002

buffy 7x09 - “never leave me”

Exposing my true inner geekiness: I’m a rabid fan of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. I’ve seen just about every episode, I tape all the new ones, and I like to gab and read about it online.

And I love the shooting scripts (archived by the stupendous Psyche).

The cool thing about reading the shooting script for a particular episode is that you can get a glimpse of how the episode evolved from shooting to airing, and get a better idea of what the writer(s) intended to show in various scenes.

Psyche just posted the shooting script for the most recent ‘Buffy’ episode, “Never Leave Me,” which aired last week. Some of the notable differences between the episode as written, and as shot:

From the scene in the teaser where Buffy ties Spike to a chair to keep him from getting free. The omitted/changed parts are struck out. What was said instead is in italics.

BUFFY

We just can’t take the chance —

SPIKE

Don’t…

She stops. Looks at him. He nods at the ropes.

SPIKE (cont’d)

You’re doing it wrong. Make it tighter. The knots’ll give.

They share a look.

SPIKE (cont’d)

(grim)

Pull me tight. I get free, someone’s gonna die.

They stare at each other. Then Buffy YANKS the ropes as tight as she can.

BLACK OUT.


There’s a line omitted in Principal Wood’s talk to the delinquent kids in his office. The omitted/changed parts are struck out.

PRINCIPAL WOOD

Okay, I was bluffing… I hadn’t really thought that through.

(beat).

The whole “permanent record” thing is a myth anyway. Colleges never ask for anything past your SAT scores and it’s not like employers are ever gonna check how many days you missed of high school.

(points)

Those file cabinets are filled with old Sears catalogues.


Later, in Buffy’s room, with Spike going through withdrawal… The omitted/changed parts are struck out. What was said instead is in italics.

SPIKE (PRE-LAP)

It’s worse than I thought…

INT. SUMMERSHOME - BUFFY’S ROOMDAY

Spike sits tied to his chair. He’s going into serious blood withdrawal. He’s sweating, breathing hard, half-lucid. Buffy sits across from him.

BUFFY

Can I do anything?

Spike shakes his head. Tries to keep himself under control.

SPIKE

You should probably —

He’s unable to finish, jaw clenching. He presses his face into his shoulder. Buffy mistakenly thinks he’s trying to wipe the sweat off his face.

BUFFY

Here —

She leans forward to help him, and as she gets close, Spike VAMPS and bites violently at her.

When Spike “presses his face into his shoulder,” it looks more like Buffy has decided she can’t help and is turning away from him to fold a towel she’d brought in with her. It doesn’t look like she’s about to wipe sweat off his forehead.


Buffy and Willow talk outside the door to Buffy’s bedroom about Spike’s blood withdrawal, and Willow offers to get some animal blood. The omitted/changed parts are struck out. What was said instead is in italics.

WILLOW

I need to get out of this house. Xander’s putting in new windows and he keeps giving lectures on proper tool maintenance. Not exactly my

area of expertise. Tool talk. Not my thing.


There are some big changes in the Willow/Andrew confrontation outside the butcher shop.

From the script:

ANDREW

Warren did it. I didn’t do it. Warren shot her.

Willow, who up until this point has been mostly confused and suspicious, becomes hurt, angry. We see pain on her face.

WILLOW

(softly)

What are you doing here?

As it actually aired:

ANDREW

Warren killed Tara. I didn’t do it. And he was aiming for Buffy anyway.

WILLOW

Not making it better.

ANDREW

And you got your revenge. You killed my best friend. We’re even.

WILLOW

Even? You think I get satisfaction from what I did?

ANDREW

Maybe not. But let me keep my skin, okay?

And Willow’s speech is markedly different as well.

As scripted:

WILLOW (cont’d)

I am a she witch. A very powerful she-witch.

(beat)

Or… “witch” as is… more accurate.

(beat)

I am not one to be trifled with.

Though she’s bluffing, we see real anger shine through in her speech.

WILLOW (cont’d)

You think you frighten me? With your dress-up? With your cribbed speech?

(pause)

I destroy souls.

Andrew stands there, eyes wide in terror

WILLOW (cont’d)

You want to play games? I’m begging you to play games with me.

(pause)

When I’m finished with you, you’ll be on your hands and knees praying for Warren’s fate, pleading for Warren’s fate.

It’s hard to tell if she’s bluffing anymore.

WILLOW (cont’d)

I am Willow. I am Death. If you don’t do exactly what I say, I will bring your nightmares to reality.

(pause)

Now what say you to that?

And as it aired…

WILLOW

I am a she-witch. A very powerful she-witch.

(beat)

Or … witch … as is more accurate.

(beat)

I am not to be trifled with.

ANDREW

But I—

WILLOW

Stop talking! Don’t interrupt me! Insignificant man.

(beat)

I am Willow. I am death. If you dare defy me, I will call down my fury, exact fresh vengeance, and make your worst fears come true.

(pause)

(perky) Okay?

The shooting script makes it sound more like Willow is channeling “Dark Willow,” and making Andrew think that she’s still evil. This scene, as aired, makes reference to Willow’s remorse, and, with the perky “okay?”, makes it a little more obvious that Willow is trying to intimidate Andrew by adopting the Dark Willow persona (but is still “Willow” throughout).


There’s a slight change in Anya’s “interrogation” of Andrew:

ANYA

You think this is a game, junior!?!

She grabs him, starts shaking him.

ANYA (cont’d)

People are dying, our friends‘ lives are in danger —

Andrew whimpers in fear.

It’s a slight difference, but maybe it’s significant that she omits the danger to other people, and instead focuses on the danger to the Scooby group.


And they changed Xander’s “pumping” line a bit.

XANDER

He’s primed. He’ll be ready to pump in no time. I’ll be pumping him in no time.

Anya and Buffy look at each other. What? Xander looks at the ground.

XANDER (cont’d)

He will give us information soon.


SPIKE

Well, s’all relative, innit?

BUFFY

Meaning?

Spike hesitates, then decides to say it.

SPIKE

Meaning I’ve come to redefine the words “pain” and “suffering” since I fell in love with you.

Spike’s hesitation, his momentary deliberation, isn’t very obvious in the aired episode.


There were some changes to Xander’s “Heart of Darkness” speech to Andrew, too… (There’s a more obvious Xander/”Heart of Darkness”/”Apocalypse Now” reference in Season 4’s “Restless” … I wonder if that means anything.)

The omitted/changed parts are struck out. What was said instead is in italics.

XANDER

Well, there was this one guy…

(thinks about it)

There was this one guy… he broke her heart he hurt her real bad … so she paid him back.

He adjusts, thinks about it.

XANDER (cont’d)

She killed him. But she did it real slow. See, first she stopped his heart. Then she replaced it with darkness. Then she made him live his life like that. He still had to go… do his job and see his friends and get up in the morning and go to bed at night but he had to do it all … empty.

(beat)

With nothing to look forward to. Ever.

ANDREW

(unsure)

Sounds… bad…

XANDER

(snapping out of it)

Well, then she tore his intestines out and rubbed ‘em in his face and took pictures of it.

ANDREW

(horrified)

Oh my god.

XANDER

But she’s downstairs now. Don’t worry about her.

ANDREW

What —

XANDER

See, the thing is, we’ve all been a little on edge lately. Some bad things have been happening, and the girls are all looking for someone to blame.

ANDREW

I didn’t do anything.

XANDER

I know. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I get that.

(beat)

But they don’t. They need answers. It does seem suspicious, you know, you buying blood.

ANDREW

That blood wasn’t for me. I was just buying meat.

From outside the door:

ANYA (O.S.)

YOU LYING SON OFBITCH!

The door flies open. Anya comes CHARGING into the room like a bull. Andrew starts yelling in fear.

Following some of the fan spec about this season, I’m thinking that maybe Xander is a sleeper, too, working for The First. He worked on the Sunnydale High reconstruction all summer (and continues to work there) and has had full access to the campus. Who’s to say that The First hasn’t somehow influenced him, too? (He makes a comment to Buffy in “Lessons,” the first episode of the season, that he’s checked out the campus and that there are no pentagrams — although, as we saw in “Conversations with Dead People,” there is, in fact, a huge pentagram seal buried in the school basement.)

Xander’s had a number of “coincidental” appearances on the scene at key moments this season — finding Nancy just after her worm-boyfriend attacked her in “Beneath You,” correctly guessing the source of RJ’s sex appeal and finding Dawn in tears on campus in “Him,” the way he subtly seemed to be able to sense Willow in “Same Time, Same Place,” his understanding the “trigger” controlling Spike and saving Dawn from the cloaked dude in this episode, etc.

There’s also the matter of all the magical energy Willow fired at him in last season’s finale, “Grave.” I wonder if there will be any fallout from that.

At the very least, I hope that Xander gets some kind of significant play this season. He’s been largely relegated to the sidelines for a few seasons now.


The scene where Buffy returns to her room to find Spike “possessed,” as written, omits the cutaway, just before Spike asks Buffy to give him more blood, to Anya’s continued berating of Andrew. The cutaway, incidentally, sets up Andrew’s leaning against the wall, where Spike can later reach through and grab him.

ANYA

Now you can talk, or I can keep hitting you. Believe me, I’d love to keep hitting you.


Some other small changes in the scene downstairs, after they rescue Andrew from Spike. The omitted/changed parts are struck out. What was said instead is in italics.

BUFFY

I don’t know.

(beat)

Spike and I were talking having a conversation, and he was fine — well, he wasn’t fine, but he was… Spike I mean, you know, as fine as Spike can be — and then I went to check on you guys and when I came got back it was like he was…

(thinks)

..a completely different person…

And an odd bit of trivia omitted…

XANDER (cont’d)

It’s a brainwashing term. It’s how the military makes sleeper agents. They brainwash operatives and condition them with a specific trigger — like a song — to drastically change their personalities that makes them drastically change at a moment’s notice.

(beat)

I’m fairly certain it’s how Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated.


From the “I’m glad they didn’t show us that much detail” files…

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH BASEMENT - ANTECHAMBERNIGHT

Principal Wood walks into the antechamber, looks down and sees Jonathan’s decaying body (not too decayed — just a little rough around the edges) sprawled out on the Seal of Danzaithar, exactly where we left him in Episode Seven.


The Buffy/Spike basement scene, as aired, was trimmed a good deal from what it was as written. The omitted/changed parts are struck out. What was said instead is in italics.

INT. SUMMERSHOME - BASEMENTNIGHT

We’re in the basement. It’s dark, moonlight casting harsh shadows. Spike’s on the ground, somewhere between conscious and unconcious. He’s been chained to the wall, manacles attached to each wrist and ankle. His face has dried blood on it from his encounter with Buffy.

Buffy comes down the stairs carrying a rag and a bowl of water. She crouches down next to Spike, sets the bowl on the floor, and begins washing the blood off Spike’s face with the rag.

Spike starts to regain consciousness, looks around a little, shame, fear on his face.

He doesn’t say anything for a while, just looks at Buffy, watches her wash him. Then:

SPIKE

(softly)

Did I hurt anybody?

BUFFY

Well, you took a good bite out of Andrew —

SPIKE

Who?

BUFFY

Tucker’s brother.

SPIKE

Ah.

BUFFY

But he’ll live. He’ll be okay.

Spike thinks about this. He’s scared, not in control.

SPIKE

(softly)

I don’t remember…

BUFFY

It’s okay.

Buffy stands up, walks across the room.

SPIKE

Buffy — I don’t know… why…

BUFFY

We think we know what’s wrong with you. We think we do.

He stops her from washing him, becomes a little more coherent, tries to sit up.

BUFFY (cont’d)

Something’s messing with you. Something’s playing you. Some ghost, or some demon — we’re not exactly sure what — has figured out how to control you.

Spike’s mind starts racing. Spike sits up.

BUFFY (cont’d)

I’ve got the gang researching it right now. Xander’s got this theory that you’re being triggered —

SPIKE

Kill me.

BUFFY

What?

She looks at him. He’s serious. No emotion. Just cold hard logic.

SPIKE

Buffy, you have to kill me.

BUFFY

No, you don’t understand. When I left the room earlier, I heard you talking to —

SPIKE

Do you have any idea what I’m capable of?

She starts to understand what he’s saying, grows somber.

BUFFY

(nodding)

I was in the cellar with you. I saw what you did.

SPIKE

I’m not talking about the cellar. The people in the cellar got off easy. I’m talking about me.

(pause)

See, you don’t know me. You only met hamstrung-Angel-Spike. You only met conditioned-chip-Spike.

(pause)

Buffy, You never met the real me.

BUFFY

Believe me, I’m well aware what you’re capable of.

SPIKE

You got off easy, too.

(pause)

Spike stands up.

Do you know how much blood you can drink from a girl before she’ll die? I do.

(pause)

See, the trick is, if you to drink just enough … if you to know how to damage them just enoughyou can keep them alive for weeks.

(pause)

You can make yourself a plaything.

Spike steps forward until the chains are taut.

SPIKE (cont’d)

I used to set up shop in their houses … I used to be so good at it — I knew how to damage them just enough so that they could still cry when I…

(pause)

Because it wasn’t worth it if they couldn’t cry. Because it’s not worth it if they don’t cry.

BUFFY

Something is playing with you, Spike. This isn’t your fault. You’re not doing this. It’s not your fault. You’re not the one doing this.

SPIKE

I already did it. It’s already done.

(pause)

Do you know what I used to do what I’ve done to girls Dawn’s age?

He rattles her.

SPIKE (cont’d)

This is me, Buffy You have to kill me before I get out.

BUFFY

(softly)

We can keep you locked up. Give us time and we can — We can figure out—

SPIKE

Have you ever stopped to think about why you can’t kill me? why you can’t do it? Off me?

(pause)

After everything I’ve done? To you. To the people around you.

(pause)

Have you ever wondered why you keep me alive?

(pause)

It’s not love, we both know that.

BUFFY

You fought by my side. You’ve saved lives, helped —

SPIKE

Don’t. Don’t do that. Don’t rationalize this into some noble act.

(pause)

You don’t get to do that.

He paces back and forth (as much as he can in the chains.) He falls in and out of shadow.

SPIKE (cont’d)

We both know the truth, you and I. We both know the truth of it.

He falls into full shadow.

SPIKE (cont’d)

You like bad men.

He begins to pace again.

SPIKE (cont’d)

I don’t mean troubled men. I don’t mean brooding men.

(pause)

I mean, you like men who hurt you.

BUFFY

No…

SPIKE

You need the pain we cause you. You need the violence inside. You need the hate.

(pause)

It gives you the strength to do what you have to do. You need it to do your job. To be the Slayer.

(pause)

But it’s killing you.

BUFFY

You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.

SPIKE

You have to let it go.

Spike RAGES at his chains.

SPIKE (cont’d)

You have to kill me.

(pause)

I am destroying everything around you. I am killing off every piece of you that is good and pure.

(pause)

And in the end, after everything is gone and you have nothing else… I will come for you and I will —

BUFFY

I don’t hate myself, Spike. I don’t hate like that. Not you. Or myself. Not anymore.

(pause)

You think you have insight now because your soul’s drenched in blood? You don’t know me.

She begins to pace.

BUFFY (cont’d)

You don’t even know you. Was that you who killed those people in the cellar? Was that you who waited for those girls? Was that you who tried to rape me?

SPIKE

There’s no one else —

BUFFY

That’s not true. Listen to me. You’re not alive because of hate, or pain. You’re not alive because of hate. You’re alive because I saw you change. Because I see saw your penance.

Spike leaps toward Buffy.

SPIKE

Window dressing.

Buffy gets close enough to him so that when he strains as hard as he can against his chains (as he will when he says his next lines) he’s only inches away from being able to touch her.

BUFFY

There’s a man in there underneath that monster. A man who — even when he had no soul — It’d be easier, wouldn’t it? If it were an act? You faced the monster inside of you, and you fought back. You risked everything to be a better man—

SPIKE

— It’s window dressing — Buffy—

BUFFY

— struggled to find redemption. You’re alive because I know he’s in there —

SPIKE

— I’m killing you —

BUFFY

— and I believe in the man he can be. — and you can be. You are. You may not see it, but I do. I do. I believe in you, Spike.

Buffy’s words take Spike by surprise. He falls back, his chains go slack. We see it play out on his face, a brief flicker of hope, and then the lights go out and —

The “I believe in the man he can be.” reminds me of the morning-after scene in “Jerry Maguire,” when Renee Zelweger’s character tells Bonnie Hunt, “I love him for the man he wants to be. And I love him for the man he almost is.”


Willow’s use of magic in the fight scene at the end was omitted. Maybe they’re setting her up, after “Conversations with Dead People,” to be trying to avoid using magic as much as possible?

INT. SUMMERSHOME - LIVING ROOMNIGHT

Chaos unfolding.

A Bringer rushes Willow while another one goes after Dawn.

ANGLE Willow. The Bringer swings his staff at her, Willow dodges, does a spell.

WILLOW

Propel.

She BLASTS the Bringer across the room.

ANGLE Dawn: Bringer charging her, she drops to the ground and flips him with his own momentum, sending him crashing into the wall.

ANGLE Willow: wheeling to help Dawn when CRASH! Another Bringer comes in through the window. Before Willow has time to react — WHACK — he hits her with his staff, two-handed, across the throat.

She flies back, hits the wall, drops to the ground.

And, in the aired episode, Willow was hit over the head, not at the throat.


INT. WATCHERSCOUNCIL BOARDROOMNIGHT

The place has been RANSACKED. Maps are torn off walls, file cabinets are emptied, overturned.

The Watcher’s HQ didn’t look in that much of a disarray in the episode. Some stray papers here and there, but not that much of a mess.

The script also mentions a watcher named Blake. In the aired episode, they use the female watcher Lydia (from S5’s “Checkpoint”) instead to read Blake’s lines.

And a stereotypical comment in the script about Quentin’s words of encouragement:

Winston Churchill’s words give Blake resolve, as they do all British people.

The writers on this show have to be aware, to some degree, of just how much they stereotype the British.

Also, given the different building shots used in the CoW building establishing shot and explosion shot, there was some discussion as to whether, in fact, it actually was the CoW HQ blowing up. I guess this settles it. (Omitted bit struck out.)

QUENTIN (cont’d)

My friends, these are the times that define us. Proverbs, 24:6. “For by wise counsel, you shall make your war.”

Everyone seems strengthened, resolved.

QUENTIN (cont’d)

Now let’s get moving. We’ve got work to —

As he talks, he turns and opens up the map cabinet behind him. As he does so, we hear an audible CLICK and —

EXT. WATCHERSCOUNCILNIGHT

BOOM! The Council Building EXPLODES in a big fiery mess.


Also, some differences in the Spike bloodletting scene at the end:

INT. SUNNYDALE HIGH BASEMENT - ANTECHAMBERNIGHT

OVERHEAD SHOT: Bringers throw Spike’s shirtless, battered body down onto a carved, wooden/metal symbol.

FIRST/SPIKE

You’ll have to excuse the imagery… spectacle…

We’re in the basement antechamber. Torches light the space. Bringers work industriously over a contraption they’ve assembled around the Seal of Danzalthar.

We don’t get a clear look at it yet — we see wood, chains. Whatever it is, they appear to be fastening Spike to it.

The First, in the form of Spike, surveys the scene with pride.

The Bringers pull Spike’s arms out at his sides and tie him to the wooden contraption with leather straps.

FIRST/SPIKE (cont’d)

But I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for the ol’ classics.

Bringers place large metal nails up against Spike’s wrists. Other Bringers raise hammers…

WHAM! They nail Spike’s arm to the symbol.

Spike SCREAMS in pain.

Instead of crucifying Spike, the Bringers stab him — just offscreen — with various sharp objects.

FIRST/SPIKE (cont’d)

Hey, don’t look at me that way. I wanted to do this more subtle like. My Harbingers have a tendency to call attention to themselves.

WHAM! They nail Spike’s other arm. Spike SCREAMS and SCREAMS.

The Bringers again stab him — just offscreen — with various sharp objects.

FIRST/SPIKE (cont’d)

You’re the one who couldn’t hold his end of the bargain. You’re the one who couldn’t take care of what’s-his-name, you’re the one who had to make breakthroughs and learn something about himself.

First/Spike circles around. Shrugs.

FIRST/SPIKE (cont’d)

So now here we are. So now, fittingly, you’re the one who gets to do the honors.

He MORPHS into Buffy. She smiles, kneels down close next to Spike on the ground.

FIRST/BUFFY

I have to admit, though. This way’s much more fun. I’m glad it worked out this way. I was going to bleed Andrew, but you look better with your shirt off.

The Bringers working on Spike pull out knives, begin to cut down his chest (we don’t see exactly what they’re doing, we play it mostly off Spike’s face.) Spike screams, his terror reaching crescendo.

The Bringers pull chains and begin to HOIST the symbol up into the air.

Spike is lifted upright and then begins to rise as the Bringers pull the chains tight. He rises up, up. This should end with Spike (and the symbol he’s attached to) hanging high up in the air, directly above the Seal of Danzalthar.

We see that the Bringers have cut symbols into his chest. Blood begins to flow from his wounds.

First/Buffy looks up at him. Smiles.

FIRST/BUFFY (cont’d)

To be honest, I’m getting a little tired of subtle.

Spike’s blood begins to drip down onto the Seal. As it does, the Seal begins to ILLUMINATE, as it did in Episode Seven.

FIRST/BUFFY (cont’d)

I think it’s time we brought some authority to our presence. Now, Spike, you want to see what a real vampire looks like?

The Seal, illuminated, begins to SHIFT (like the box in Hellraiser) and then OPENS UP.

There seems to be nothing down there but a deep, black hole…

The Bringers begin to CHANT.

MAGICAL LIGHT begins to shine up through the hole in the ground. The Bringers continue their chant.

And then from the depths rises a horrible, terrifying UBERVAMPIRE (details TBD.)

The Ubervamp comes fully out of the ground, and we’re left with a final shot (let’s get as much of this as we can — it should look epic): Spike, nailed to the symbol, bleeding, broken; the First/Buffy looking evil; Bringers spread out, chanting, looking scary; and a crazed, animal Ubervamp standing in the middle of it all.

The Ubervamp ROARS in fury.

BLACK OUT.

Credit-type stuff: ‘Buffy: The Vampire Slayer’ was created by Joss Whedon, and belongs to him, Mutant Enemy, and 20th Century Fox. “Never Leave Me” was written by Drew Goddard and directed by David Solomon.