Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Nightmares

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Season 1, Episode 10
Airdate May 12, 1997
Production Number 4V10
Teleplay by David Greenwalt
Story by Joss Whedon
Directed by Bruce Seth Green
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Out of Mind, Out of Sight
Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason One

Nightmares is the tenth episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The nightmares of Sunnydale's residents are coming true, is this a plot of the Master or something else's doing?

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase)

and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Guest Starring: Mark Metcalf (The Master), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), Jeremy Foley (Billy Palmer), Andrew J. Ferchland (The Anointed One)

Co-Starring: Dean Butler (Hank Summers), Justin Urich (Wendell), J. Robin Miller (Laura), Terry Cain (Ms. Tishler), Scott Harlan (Aldo Gianfranco), Brian Pietro (Coach), Johnny Green (Way Cool Guy), Patty Ross (Cool Guy's Mom), Dom Magwili (Doctor), Sean Moran (Stage Manager)


Plot Overview

Sunnydale finds out that nightmares do come true when everyone's worst fears begin manifesting in reality. The only connection is a young boy seen around each incident who is himself being stalked by a monstrous looking man.


Monster of the Week

  • Billy: Though not actually a monster, Billy is a comatose boy who somehow crossed over from the nightmare world into reality. As a result the nightmare world starts gaining more influence over the real world and causes people to let their nightmares become real. Giles hypothesizes that Buffy can see Billy's astral projection and that led them towards figuring out what exactly happened.

Body Count

There were no deaths in this episode.


Arc Advancement





The Show

  • Nightmares: The entire episode hinges around dreams and nightmares coming to life. Incidentally, Willow and Xander both primarily fear public humiliation, while Giles and Buffy are more frightened of weightier, introspective things. The main characters' nightmares are as follows:
    • Willow's nightmares are of performing in front of a large audience without knowing the words or how to sing.
    • Xander fears showing up to class in his underpants and a clown from his sixth birthday party.
    • Giles's nightmares are of not being able to read, getting lost in the stacks and, ultimately, failing as Buffy's watcher and causing her death.
    • Buffy's fears are varied and include having a test she didn't study for, finding out her parents' divorce was her fault, the Master being free, the world ending while she's unable to do anything about it, being buried alive and turning into a vampire.
    • Cordelia only fears having a bad hair day and looking like a nerd.
  • Vamped: This is the only time in the entire series that Buffy appears in vampire make-up.

Behind the Scenes

  • Cut Lines: Two lines were cut from the shooting script due to time:
Xander: Okay, despite the rat-like chill that just crawled up my spine, I’m going to say this very calmly: Helllppp...
Giles: Are you all right? You look a bit peaked.
Buffy: Hospital lighting. It does nothing for my fabulous complexion.
Giles: Are you... sleeping all right?
Buffy: I'll sleep better when we find this guy. Nothing like kicking the crap out of a bad guy to perk up my day.

Allusions and References

  • Cinderella: While in the dreamscape cemetery, the Master references a line from the Disney animated feature, Cinderella. The line is also the title of a song from the movie, sung by Cinderella. In the song, she encourages her animal friends to never stop dreaming.
The Master: A dream is a wish your heart makes.
  • The Wizard of Oz: The first thing that Billy says when he wakes up from his coma is a line from The Wizard of Oz. After returning from Oz, Dorothy Gale awakens in her Kansas house surrounded by her family. She says "I had the strangest dream, and you were in it, and you!," referring to the fact that the characters in Oz resembled her family members.
Billy: I had the strangest dream, and you were in it, and you!

Memorable Moments

  • Buffy as a vampire.


  • In the opening scene, the Master's right thumbnail is clearly falling off.
  • When Buffy and Willow talk at the lockers, Buffy closes her locker door twice.


  • Wendell: I don't know what to say about that.
Xander: There's nothing to say. You saw two hundred insects, you gonzoed. Anybody would have.
Wendell: They're not insects. They're arachnids.
Xander: They're from the Middle East?
  • Giles: I'm having a problem.
Buffy: What is it?
Giles: I... I can't read.
Buffy: What do mean? You can read, like, three languages.
Giles: Five, actually. On a normal day.
  • Hank:: You're old enough now to know the truth.
Buffy: Was there someone else?
Hank: No. No, it was nothing like that.
Buffy: Then what was it?
Hank: It was you.
Buffy: Me?
Hank: Having you. Raising you. Seeing you every day. I mean, do you have any idea what that's like?
  • Xander: It'll be faster if we split up to look for her.
Giles: Good idea.
Willow: Uh, faster, but not really safer.
  • The Master: What's the fun of burying someone if they're already dead?
  • Buffy: This is a dream.
The Master: A dream is a wish your heart makes. This is real life.
  • Xander: You were a lousy clown! Your balloon animals were pathetic! Everyone can make a giraffe!
  • Buffy: (as a vampire) Well, we better hurry... 'cause I'm getting hungry.
  • Buffy: (as a vampire) Scary. I'll tell you something, though. There are a lot scarier things than you... and I'm one of them.
  • Willow: When Buffy was a vampire, you weren't still, like, attracted to her, were you?
Xander: Willow, how can you... I mean, that's really bent! She was... grotesque!
Willow: Still dug her, huh?
Xander: I'm sick. I need help.
Willow: Don't I know it.