Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Choices

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Season 3, Episode 19
Airdate May 4, 1999
Production Number 3ABB19
Written by David Fury
Directed by James A. Contner
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The Prom
Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Three

Choices is the nineteenth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the fifty-third episode overall.

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase), David Boreanaz (Angel), Seth Green (Oz)

and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Guest Starring: Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), Harry Groener (The Mayor), Alexis Denisof (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce), Eliza Dushku (Faith)

and Armin Shimerman (Principal Snyder)

Co-Starring: Keith Brunsman (Vamp - Lacky), Jimmie F. Skaggs (Courier), Michael Schoenfeld (Security Guard #1), Seth Coltan (Security Guard #2), Jason Reed (Vamp - Guard), Bonita Friedericy (Manager), Brett Moses (Student)


Plot Overview

With Graduation Day on the horizon, Buffy's college admissions give her the opportunity to leave Sunnydale. However, the Mayor's Ascension is also looming. To free herself, Buffy decides to make a preemptive move and steal a valuable piece for his Ascension. Unfortunately, Willow is caught and the Scoobies have to make the choice between stopping the Mayor now or getting her back.


Monster of the Week

This episode deals entirely with the Mayor's attempts to acquire the Box of Gavrock, a box which collects and harnesses demonic power. When the box is opened, beetle-like creatures escape and kill anyone who they can latch onto. The Mayor claims that there are billions of the bugs in the box.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Vampire Angel Staked Cemetery
2 Vampire Buffy Staked Cemetery
3 Courier Faith Shot with an Arrow Airport
4 Vampire Buffy Staked (off-screen) Road
5 Vampire Willow Staked City Hall
6 Guard Beetle Mauled Cafeteria


Arc Advancement


  • Big Bad: The Mayor acquires the Box of Gavrock, which he considers to be a crucial component of his ascension. However, Willow also manages to steal several pages from the Books of Ascension which she thought seemed interesting and possibly relevant to stopping the Mayor.


  • Cordelia: Despite her usual attitude, it's shown that Cordelia is having money problems and is employed at a fashion store where she's performing laborious tasks. Previously, it was assumed that all of her money came from her rich father.



The Show

Behind the Scenes

  • International: Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been dubbed into many different languages and the title translated for each different international version. Some international translations of this episode's title are:
    • French: "La boîte de Gavrock" ("The Box of Gavrock")
    • Italian: "Scelte" ("Choices")
    • German: "Die Box von Gavrock" ("The Box of Gavrock")
    • Japanese: "選択" ("Sentaku" - "Choice")
    • Spanish: "Opciones" ("Options")

Allusions and References

  • On The Road: The book that Xander is reading early in the episode is On The Road by Jack Kerouac. The novel is a semi-autobiographic account of Kerouac's spontaneous road trips taken with his beat poet colleagues, particularly Neal Cassady (or, in the context of the story, Dean Moriarty). The book convinces Xander to have a road trip of his own after graduation.

Memorable Moments


  • Snyder: Okay, what's in the bag?
Student: My lunch.
Snyder: Is that the new drug lingo?
Student: No, it's my lunch.
  • Willow: Faith, wait. I want to talk to you.
Faith: Oh yeah? Give me the speech again, please. "Faith, we're still your friends. We can help you. It's not too late."
Willow: It's way too late. You know, it didn't have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life. I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo! Poor you. You know, you had a lot more in your life than some people. I mean, you had friends in your life like Buffy. Now you have no one. You were a Slayer and now you're nothing. You're just a big selfish, worthless waste.
(Faith hits Willow)
Faith: You hurt me, I hurt you. I'm just a little more efficient.
Willow: Oh, and here I just thought you didn't have a comeback.
  • The Mayor: Well, this is exciting, isn't it? Clandestine meetings by dark of night. Exchange of prisoners. I just, I... I feel like we should all be wearing trench coats.
Buffy: Let her go.
The Mayor: No. Not until the box is in my hands. So you're the little girl that's been causing me all this trouble. She's pretty, Angel. A little skinny. Still don't understand why it couldn't work out with you and my Faith. Guess you kind of just have strange taste in women.
Angel: Well, what can I say? I like 'em sane.
  • The Mayor: Well, I wish you kids the best, I really do. But if you don't mind a bit of fatherly advice, I, uh, I - I just don't see much of a future for you two. I don't sense a lasting relationship, and not just because I plan to kill you, but you have a bumpy road ahead.
Buffy: I don't think we need to talk about this.
The Mayor: God, you kids, you know. You don't like to think about the future, you don't like to make plans, but unless you want Faith to gut your friend like a sea bass, you'll show a little respect for your elders.
Angel: You're not my elder. I got a lot of years on you.
The Mayor: Yeah, and that's just one of the things you're going to have to deal with. You're immortal, she's not. It's not easy. I married my Edna May in ought-three and I was with her right until the end. Not a pretty picture. Wrinkled and senile and cursing me for my youth. Wasn't our happiest time. And let's forget the fact that any moment of true happiness will turn you evil. I mean, come on. What kind of a life can you offer her? I don't see a lot of Sunday picnics in the offing. I see skulking in the shadows, hiding from the sun. She's a blossoming young girl and you want to keep her from the life she should have until it's passed her by, and by God, I think that's a little selfish. Is that what you came back from Hell for? Is that your greater purpose?
  • The Mayor: There are about 50... billion of these happy little critters in here. Would you like to see? (lifts lid on the Box of Gavrok) Raise your hand if you're invulnerable.
  • Principal Snyder: You... All of you... Why couldn't you be dealing drugs like normal people?