Buffy the Vampire Slayer/The Dark Age

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The Dark Age
Season 2, Episode 8
Airdate November 10, 1997
Production Number 5V08
Written by Dean Batali &
Rob Des Hotel
Directed by Bruce Seth Green
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What's My Line? (1)
Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Two

The Dark Age is the eighth episode of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the twentieth episode overall. When a man turns up dead outside of the library, Giles' past comes back to haunt him—both figuratively and literally.

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

and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Guest Starring: Robia La Morte (Jenny Calendar), Robin Sachs (Ethan Rayne), Stuart McLean (Philip Henry)

Co-Starring: Wendy Way (Dierdre), Michael Earl Reid (Custodian), Daniel Henry Murray (Creepy Cult Guy), Carlease Burke (Detective Winslow), Tony Sears (Mourge Attendent), John Bellucci (Man)

Uncredited: Chris O'Hara (Vampire)


Plot Overview

Giles learns that he can't outrun his sins when a demon he helped summon during his rebellious youth comes back for he and his then circle of friends. With the demon now narrowing its target onto Giles, he soon finds those closest to him in danger due to the reckless past he had hoped they would never discover.


Monster of the Week

During Giles' rebellious youth, he and his group of occultist friends used possession by the demon Eyghon as a way of getting high, but they were unable to control the demon and it killed one of their friends when it possessed him wholly.

Willow managed to dig up information about the demon in one of Giles' books:

"Eyghon, also called the Sleepwalker, can only exist in this reality by possessing an unconscious host. Temporary possession imbues the host with a euphoric feeling of power. Unless the proper rituals are observed, the possession is permanent, and Eyghon will be born from within the host. Once called, Eyghon can also take possession of the dead, but its demonic energy soon disintegrates the host, and it must jump to the nearest dead or unconscious person to continue living."

The ritual in question involves being tattooed with the Mark of Eyghan, a symbol that has its roots in Etruscan. Ethan proves that the demon has no interest in those who do not possess the mark by tattooing Buffy and burning his own mark off with acid. The demon is destroyed for good when it attempts to possess Angel and he destroys it using sheer willpower.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Philip Henry Dierdre Strangled Sunnydale High
2–3 Vampires Buffy Staked Hospital
4 Eyghan Angel Dissipated Ethan's Costume Shop


Arc Advancement


  • Watcher Training: Giles mentions that he studied history at Oxford. One would assume that this was part of his training as a Watcher because he lumps it in with the pressure he felt over his inescapable destiny.


  • Giles: The "Ripper" side of Giles, alluded to during the Halloween episode, is expanded upon when Eyghon comes to Sunnydale. When he was 21, he dropped out of college and fell into a bad crowd of magic practitioners which included Ethan. Also, apparently, he once played bass guitar.


  • 1x06 - Halloween: Ethan Rayne did, indeed, open up his costume shop in an attempt to cause trouble in Sunnydale on Halloween. Giles' story about using Eyghon as an intense high indicates that Ethan causes magical havoc for the rush of it, something that was not explained in that episode. Additionally, Jenny/Eyghon says to Giles and Buffy "Be seeing you," which is the same thing that was written on a note addressed to Giles in the costume shop. It seems that Ethan knew that Eyghon was coming and that's why he was in Sunnydale in the first place.
Buffy: I know you, you owned that costume shop.


The Show

  • This is the first time we see Giles's apartment.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

  • Gavin Rossdale: During Buffy's "Anywhere But Here" fantasy, she mentions Gavin Rossdale. Rossdale was the lead singer of Bush, an alternative rock band formed in 1992 that had a slew of popular hits like "Machine Head" and "Swallowed", which was popular at the time that this episode was broadcast.
Buffy: ...and Gavin Rossdale's massaging my feet.
  • The Prisoner: Both Ethan and Jenny, while possessed, say or write the phrase "Be seeing you" between this episode and the Halloween episode. In the cult British series The Prisoner, the inhabitants of The Village used that phrase as a traditional goodbye, typically paired with an unusual hand gesture that implied that anyone on the island could be an agent of Number Two and that the administration is always watching.

Memorable Moments


  • Although Dierdre's arms and face are grotesque, when she collapses, we see that her legs are inexplicably healthy looking.
  • The closing credits spells the character as "Dierdre", but it is written onscreen by Giles as "Diedre".
  • The closing credits misspells Morgue Attendant as "Mourge Attendent".


  • Xander: Giles lived for school. He's actually still bitter that there are only twelve grades.
  • Giles: Uh, we'll meet outside the hospital at 8:30 sharp. I'll bring the weaponry.
Buffy: I'll bring the party mix!
  • Buffy: Have I ever let you down?
Giles: Do you want me to answer that or should I just glare?
  • Xander: Ooh, gang, did you hear that? A bonus day of class plus Cordelia! Mix in a little rectal surgery, and it's my best day ever!
  • Jenny: Did anyone ever tell you you're kind of a fuddy-duddy?
Giles: Nobody ever seems to tell me anything else.
Jenny: Did anyone ever tell you you're kind of a sexy fuddy-duddy?
Giles: Well, no. Actually that - that part usually gets left out.
  • Angel: Maybe he's late.
Buffy: Giles? Who counts tardiness as, like, the eighth deadly sin?
  • Buffy: Xander, how do you feel about digging through some of Giles's personal files and seeing what you can find?
Xander: I feel pretty good about it. Does that make me a sociopath? Yeah.
  • Xander: That's it! Twelve years of you and I'm snappin'! I don't care if you're a girl or not, I'm throwin' down! Come on!
Cordelia: I've seen you fight. And don't think I can't take you!
  • Giles: Bay City Rollers - now that's music.
Buffy: I didn't hear that.