Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Selfless

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Season 7, Episode 5
Airdate October 22, 2002
Production Number 7ABB05
Written by Drew Goddard
Directed by David Solomon
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Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Seven

Selfless is the fifth episode of the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the one-hundred and twenty-seventh episode overall. When Anya steps too far over the line, Buffy resigns herself to killing her to stop any more damage from occurring.

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

and Alyson Hannigan (Willow)

Guest Starring: Abraham Benrubi (Olaf), Andy Umberger (D'Hoffryn), Kali Rocha (Halfrek), Joyce Guy (Professor), Jennifer Shon (Rachel)

Co-Starring: Taylor Sutherland (Villager #1), Marybeth Scherr (Villager #2), Alessandro Mastrobuono (Villager #3), Daniel Spanton (Viking #1), John Timmons (Viking #2)


Plot Overview

Anya finally gets back to her legendary vengeance ways by killing a room full of frat boys. While Willow and Xander try to reach out to help her, Buffy takes it as her duty to slay Anya.


Monster of the Week

  • Crimslaw Demon: Crimslaw demons are giant green spider monsters, completely with a webbing like substance that it uses to build webs and attack its victims. In addition to the normal spider stuff, the demon also has a mouth in its abdomen which it uses to tear the heart out of its victim.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Crimslaw Demon Buffy Axed Woods
2 Halfrek D'Hoffryn Sacrificed UCS Frathouse

Arc Advancement



  • Willow: Willow returns to UC Sunnydale after her brief stint of evilness. In this episode she also reveals that she used magic to cheat on her exams and falls back into Evil Willow mode briefly.
  • Spike: Although Spike's sanity is clearly devolving into hallucinations and rambling, he appears to be completely aware of this and is lucid during his hallucinatory moments.
  • Anya: The majority of this episode is spent exploring Anya's past. This is shown in the form of three flashbacks: to her origin as a vengeance demon, to the Russian Revolution and to "Once More, With Feeling".


  • 5x11 - Triangle: Olaf first appeared in the present day when Willow accidentally let him loose from a crystal he was trapped in. Olaf and Anya's relationship was briefly mentioned in that episode, but is shown in a flashback in this one.
  • 5x22 - Becoming (2): Buffy was forced to kill Angel in the second season finale. In the episode, Willow was attempting to find a way that would return his soul to him, but Xander would have rather seen him dead so he didn't delay her. Xander's lie is revealed for the first time in this episode.
Buffy: I killed Angel! Do you even remember that?
  • 4x09 - Something Blue: D'Hoffryn offered Willow a position as a vengeance demon when she impressed him with a complex spell. She declined, but he left her an amulet to contact him with in case she changed her mind.
D'Hoffran: I figured I'd be hearing from you soon. The flaying of Warren Meers? Oh, truly inspired.
  • 6x07 - Once More, With Feeling: Anya's third flashback takes place after she and Xander had an argument that turned into the breaking out into song. Also referenced in this episode is that man who sang about his dry-cleaning, who can be heard before Anya starts her song.
Anya: Honey? Was that weird? That thing earlier with the singing... and the coconuts.
  • 6x14 - Older and Far Away: Buffy witnessed Halfrek get stabbed with a sword in a previous episode. This is why Anya says that she should know better.
Anya: You know better than that, Buffy. It takes a lot more to kill a vengeance demon.


The Show

  • Casting Recall: Rachel, the girl who accidentally wishes all of the frat boys dead in this episode, previously appeared as a girl in one of Willow's classes at UC Sunnydale in "Life Serial".

Behind the Scenes

  • Songwriting: According to Drew Goddard, Joss Whedon wrote the entire song from this episode in one night. In a post on Bronze Beta, Goddard explained: "Joss wrote the song (it's called 'Mrs.'). I can’t take any credit for it whatsoever. We were on the set of Firefly when he was directing "The Train Job" and we were talking and he said something like, 'What if we flash back to the musical...' And then the very next morning he walked in and said, 'I’ve got the song.' Sometimes I think you can start car batteries with his brain."

Allusions and References

  • Montresor: Montresor is the main character of Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado who walls his friend into a wine cellar after chaining him to a wall. At one point towards the end of the story, Fortunado screams "For the love of God, Montresor!"
Spike: Scream Montresor all you like, pet.
  • Russian Revolution of 1905: The 1905 Russian Revolution was the precursor to Lenin's communist revolution that would occur about a decade later. It was instigated by Russia's failed war with Japan and a lack of faith in the tsar, as well as his unsavory advisers like Rasputin. The revolution was ended when the tsar made some compromises with the revolting peasants, but after his promises were broken, revolution occurred again.

Memorable Moments

  • Anya sings her song about becoming Mrs. Harris after Xander has fallen asleep.


  • Dawn: People may say something to you you don't understand. Just don't be afraid to keep your mouth shut and pretend like you know what they're saying.
Willow: You know, Dawn, I've been to college before.
Dawn: People may say something like "My protein window closes in an hour." Just nod and smile. Mm-hmm. Turns out it has something to do with fitness.
  • Xander: Hopes? Oh, no, no, no, no, no. There are no hopes. Anya and I are done. I love being single. I'm a strong, successful male who's giddy at the thought of all the women I will no doubt be dating in the near future.
Buffy: Strong, successful males say "giddy"?
  • *Olaf: Ha, ha, ha! Sweet Aud! Your logic is insane and happenstance, like that of a troll. It is no wonder that the bar matrons talk of you.
  • Olaf: I've told you a thousand times, I have no interest in this Rannveig. Her hips are large and load-bearing, like a Baltic woman. Your hips are narrow, like a Baltic woman from a slightly more arid region.
  • Willow: What are you doing here? Walking out of the fraternity house in the middle of the day?
Anya: Oh, um... I have a new boyfriend now. He lives here.
Willow: That's great.
Anya: Yeah, we just had lots and lots of sex.
Willow: Okay.
  • Village Woman: It's the largest troll I've ever seen!
Village Man: Run! Hide your babies and your beadwork!
Olaf Troll: Stop! It's Olaf!
Village Man: The troll is doing an Olaf impersonation!
Olaf Troll: I am Olaf!
Village Man: Hit him with fruits and various meats.
  • Aud: I don't talk to people much. I mean, I talk to them, but they don't talk to me, except to say that, "your questions are irksome," and, "perhaps you should take your furs and your literal interpretations to the other side of the river."
  • Aud: What would I have to do?
D'Hoffryn: What you do best: help wronged women punish evil men.
Aud: Vengeance.
D'Hoffryn: But only to those who deserve it.
Aud: They all deserve it!
D'Hoffryn: That's where I was going with that, yeah.
  • Buffy: She had to go pretty quickly. I think she had to sign up for classes or something.
Xander: Ah, yes, there is little that can distract the Willow when she's on the hunt for the mighty syllabi.
  • Buffy: Xander. It's okay. She didn't tell us for a reason. She didn't tell us because she knows what I have to do. I have to kill Anya.
  • Xander: There are other options!
Buffy: I've considered them.
Xander: When? Just now? Took you all of ten seconds to decide to kill one of your best friends?
Buffy: The thought that it might come to this has occurred to me before. It's occurred to you, too.
  • Buffy: Xander, I know this is hard for you to hear, but it's what I have to do.
Xander: Hard for me to hear? Buffy, you want to kill Anya!
Buffy: I don't want to.
Xander: Then don't! This isn't new ground for us. When our friends go all crazy and start killing people, we help them.
  • Buffy: I killed Angel! Do you even remember that? I would have given up everything I had to be with — I loved him more than I will ever love anything in this life. And I put a sword through his heart because I had to.
Willow: And that all worked out okay.
Buffy: Do you remember cheering me on? Both of you. Do you remember giving me Willow's message: "Kick his ass"?
Willow: I never said that!
  • D'Hoffryn: The flaying of Warren Mears? Oh, truly inspired. That was water-cooler vengeance. Lloyd has a sketch of it on his wall.
  • Xander: I want to help you.
Anya: Everyone is so considerate today! I should've slaughtered people weeks ago.
  • Xander: You don't understand. This isn't an intervention. Buffy's coming to kill you.
Anya: She's coming to try.
Xander: Did everybody have their crazy flakes today? You guys are friends. How could you talk like this?
  • Anya: This is getting to be a pattern with you, Buffy. Are there any friends of yours left you haven't tried to kill?
  • Buffy: Anya, I'm sorry.
Anya: You're apologising to me? What fight are you watching? Or is this like one of your little pop culture references I don't get?
  • D'Hoffryn: (about the dead bodies in the frat house) Oh! Breathtaking. It's like somebody slaughtered an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue.
  • D'Hoffryn: Isn't that just like the Slayer? Solving all her problems by sticking things with sharp objects.
  • Anya: You should've killed me.
D'Hoffryn: Oh, I wouldn't worry about that. From beneath you, it devours. Be patient. All good things in time.

"Mrs." Lyrics

Mr. Xander Harris.
That's what he is to the world outside.
That's the name he carries with pride.
I'm just lately Anya.
Not very much to the world, I know.
All these years with nothing to show.
I've boned a troll, I've wreaked some wrath,
But on the whole, I've had no path.
I like to bowl, I'm good with math,
But who am I?
Now I reply that
I'm the Missus
I will be his Missus.
Mrs. Anya Christina Emanuella Jenkins Harris.

What's the point of loving...
I mean except for the sweaty part.
What's the point of losing your heart?
Maybe if you're lucky
Being a pair makes you twice as tall.
Maybe you're not losing at all.
No need to cover up my heart,
Plus see above RE: sweaty part.
So maybe love is pretty smart
And so am I
I found my guy!
And I'll be Missus
I will be his Missus
Mrs. Anya Lame-Ass-Made-Up-Maiden-Name Harris.

We'll never part
Not if we can
And if we start
Then here's my plan
I'll show him what bliss is
Welcome him with kisses
'Cause this is a Missus who misses her man
He's my Xander
And he's awfully swell
It makes financial sense as well,
Although he can be—I'll never tell—
Just stand aside
Here comes the bride
I'll be Missus.
I will be his Missus
I will be—