Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Life Serial

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Life Serial
Life Serial
Season 6, Episode 5
Airdate October 23, 2001
Production Number 6ABB05
Written by David Fury &
Jane Espenson
Directed by Nick Marck
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All the Way
Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Six

Life Serial is the fifth episode of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the one-hundred and fifth episode overall.

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers), James Marsters (Spike)

and Alyson Hannigan (Willow)

Special Guest Star: Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles)

Guest Starring: Danny Strong (Jonathan Levinson), Adam Busch (Warren Meers), Tom Lenk (Andrew Wells), Amber Benson (Tara)

Co-Starring: Paul Gutrecht (Tony), Noel Albert Guglielmi (Vince), Enrique Almeida (Marco), Jonathan Goldstein (Mike), Winsome Brown (Woman Customer), Christopher May (Male Customer), David J. Miller (Rat-Faced Demon), Andrew Cooper Wasser (Slime-Covered Demon), Richard Beatty (Small Demon), James C. Leary (Loose Skinned Demon), Jennifer Shon (Rachel), Jabari Hearn (Steve), Derrick McMillon (Ron), Clint Culp (Bartender), Mark Ginther (Horned Demon), Alice Dinnean Vernon (Mummy Hand)

Uncredited: Marcia Ann Burrs (Professor Bellamy)


Plot Overview

Buffy is presented with the question of the future of her life. From there, she audits classes with Willow and Tara, attends Xander’s construction site, and tries to work in the Magic Box. However, each time, she experiences weird phenomenon. Little is she aware that she is being tested by the Trio to test her abilities as an upcoming adversary to their plans.


Monster of the Week

  • No monsters of the week appear with enough screen time to be considered a Monster of the Week.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Demon Buffy Stabbed with a shovel Construction Site
2 Demon Buffy Snapped Neck Construction Site
3 Demon Buffy Crushed by a Skyjack Construction Site

Arc Advancement


  • The Trio: The trio's plan goes into effect, but it doesn't seem like they have much of a plan besides being annoying.



  • Tough Love: Although Buffy says she quit school when her mother got sick, she actually quit school following her mother's death. This occurred in the referenced episode.


The Show

  • Guest stars Mark Ginther and David Meunier both previously appeared in episodes of Angel.

Behind the Scenes

  • Writing Split: This episode was evenly split between the two writers. David Fury wrote the teaser and the first two acts of the episode. Jane Espenson wrote the final two acts.

Allusions and References

  • Gidget: Gidget was the title character of a television series Gidget, which aired between 1965 and 1966. The series starred Sally Field as Gidget, a teenager growing up in Southern California with her widowed father. One can draw parallels between the two series on a base level, like Buffy and Gidget both growing up in California and losing their mother. Also, the way Buffy wore her hair in the scene was the same way that Gidget appeared in the series.
Tony the Foreman: ...and now I'm supposed to babysit Gidget.
  • Monty Python: Several references are made to the Monty Python's Dead Parrot Sketch from 1x08 - Full Frontal Nudity during Buffy's timeloop. In the sketch, John Cleese is attempting to return a dead parrot to the pet store he bought it from where the clerk insists that the parrot is only playing dead.
Woman: This hand is dead. The power is gone. I'm not giving you money for this.
  • Star Trek: The episode which Andrew refers to in the episode is :Cause and Effect:. In the episode, the Enterprise is stuck in a "temporal causality loop" which ends with the destruction of the ship. The loops is broken by managing to send a message between the time loops in order to change the ending in such a way that the ship doesn't explode. This same plot was also used in the Sealab 2021 episode "Lost in Time".
Andrew: I just hope she solves it faster than Data did on that ep of TNG where the Enterprise kept blowing up.
  • The X-Files: The episode which Warren refers to is "Monday", from the sixth season of the series. The episode centered around a woman perpetually repeating the day as she attempts to stop her boyfriend from blowing up a bank with Mulder and Scully inside it.
Warren: Or Mulder, in that X-Files where the bank kept exploding.

Memorable Moments


  • Warren picks up the bone with his right hand, but is holding it with both hands in the next shot.
  • When the camera cuts to Buffy and Spike clearing away the smoke left by Jonathan (disguised as a demon), you can see James Marsters smiling for a bit.


  • Buffy: I guess I could have been blacking out. But there was this thing on my sweater, you know? And then it just blew away or went poof. Maybe it was lint. Maybe it was evil lint.
Xander: Okay, first tip of the day: when I introduce you to Tony the foreman, you might want to leave out stuff about blacking out and evil lint.
  • Warren: Got visual on subject. 4 o'clock.
Jonathon: That's not 4 o'clock.
Warren: Well, it is if you're facing the front of the van.
Jonathon: But we're not facing the front of the van. We're facing out that way. That's twelve so she's at 2 o'clock.
Warren: Look, she's over there, okay?
  • Jonathan: I need you to hold hands.
Andrew: (recoiling) With each other?
Warren: Well, you know what homophobia really means about you, don't you? (picks up bone)
Jonathan: Stop touching my magic bone!
  • Giles: Buffy, a word in your ear. If you think of the store as a library it'll help you to concentrate on service rather than selling.
Buffy: Yes. And then I'm going to marry Bob Dole and raise penguins in Guam.
Giles: (not listening) Yes, uh, you're quite right. Yes.
  • Warren: This mummy hand has ceased to be!
Andrew: It is an ex-mummy hand!
  • Spike: What's wrong, luv?
Buffy: What's wrong?! You were gonna help me. You - You were gonna beat heads and - and - and fix my life. But you're completely lame. Tonight sucks! And look at me. Look at - Look at stupid Buffy. Too dumb for college. And - And - and freak Buffy, too strong for construction work. And - And my job at the magic shop? I was bored to tears even before the hour that wouldn't end. And the only person I can even stand to be around is a neutered vampire who cheats at kitten poker.
Spike: Oh, you saw the cheating, did you?
Buffy: Also, I think you're drunk.
  • Warren: Connery is the only actor of the bunch.
Andrew: Timothy Dalton should get an Oscar and beat Sean Connery over the head with it!
  • Buffy: I don't really know how to say this... but it's a little like having mom back.
Giles: In this scenario, I am your mother.
Buffy: Want to be my shiftless, absentee father?
Giles: Is there some sort of, um, rakish uncle?