March 12, 2022

Buffy 2.18, Killed by Death: You Give Me Fever

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

Hello, would you like to have nightmares?

Summary: Buffy’s on patrol despite being sick. She runs into the Scoobies, accidentally coming close to staking Xander. “My whole life just flashed before my eyes,” he says. “I gotta get me a life!” The Scoobies wanted to take her place so she could rest while she’s battling the flu, but she doesn’t want to take a night off because Angelus probably won’t. Xander notes that she wouldn’t be able to put up a good fight if she did encounter him.

Angelus proves this by showing up and tackling Cordelia. Buffy’s able to fight him pretty well, but he eventually overpowers her. Willow and Xander lend a hand, and they send him away by holding up crosses. Buffy, however, has used up all her strength, and she passes out. The Scoobies rush her to the hospital, then call Joyce and Giles.

By the time Joyce arrives, Buffy’s stable, and a doctor named Wilkinson assures everyone that she’ll be fine. She does need to stay in the hospital for a few days, though. They get to see her later, but she’s a little delirious. “Shh. Hospital zone. No singing,” she tells Xander. When she learns that she has to stay in the hospital, she tries to leave, yelling for Giles to explain to everyone that she has to kill vampires. Good thing the Scoobies can blame that on her fever.

Xander notes that he’s not used to seeing Buffy scared. Joyce tells the Scoobies that Buffy hates hospitals. When she was eight, she visited her cousin Celia in a hospital and was with her when she died. Giles goes with Joyce to find a phone to call Hank, and she thanks him for looking out for Buffy. She also expresses her condolences about Jenny. Buffy’s been down since then, which may have contributed to her getting sick.

Xander’s worried about Buffy, and Cordelia doesn’t help by saying the hospital isn’t great. Her friend got her nose done there and the results were bad. Willow reminds her that Buffy isn’t there for cosmetic surgery. Cordelia replies that while she’s there, she might as well get “that thing” done. Xander and Willow don’t know what she means. They’re more worried about Angelus coming after Buffy there.

At 2:27 in the morning, Buffy wakes up to find a boy standing in her doorway. As he heads down the hall, she sees a scary-looking demon following him. She follows them, flashing back to her childhood when she went to visit Celia. It’s all a dream, but when Buffy wakes up for real (again at 2:27), she gets out of bed and goes down the hall like she did in the dream. A security guard watches her.

She sees a couple of orderlies taking away a child’s body, then hears Dr. Wilkinson talking to another doctor, Backer, in the children’s ward. Dr. Wilkinson wants them to cut back on dosages for a while. Dr. Backer argues that the patients are getting worse, so that’s a bad idea. Dr. Wilkinson objects to him raising the patients’ temperature on purpose. Dr. Backer says he has their parents’ treatment, and Dr. Wilkinson can talk to the hospital board if she has a problem with Dr. Backer’s methods. She says she already has.

Buffy turns to go and finds two kids behind her, one of them the boy from her dream (Ryan). He tells her “he” comes at night but the adults don’t see him. He was with Tina, the girl who died, and will come back for the others. Buffy asks who “he” is, and Ryan says, “Death.”

The next day, Angelus comes by with flowers, but Xander’s there to stop him from getting anywhere near Buffy. Angelus knows Xander can’t actually stop him from doing anything, but Xander notes that there are cops and security guards and various other people around who might get it done. He’d kind of like to see what happens if Angelus fights him. Angelus mocks that he’s “Buffy’s white knight.” He knows Xander still loves her. Xander must hate the Angelus got there first. “You’re gonna die and I’m gonna be there,” Xander says.

Buffy has a dream about playing with Celia – she’s a superhero and saves Celia from an avalanche. Then she returns to her memory of going to see Celia in the hospital. When she wakes up, Dr. Wilkinson is impressed by how much better she is. She still has a fever, though, so Buffy can’t leave yet. Buffy asks if she has the same flu virus the kids have.

The Scoobies arrive for a visit, Xander with balloons and Willow with completed homework that Buffy can just pretend she did. Cordelia didn’t bring anything since no one told her to bring a gift. “It’s traditional among, um…people,” Giles says. He brought grapes. Weird. They all go for a walk so they can have some privacy while Buffy tells them about what happened the night before. She’s suspicious of Dr. Backer and his experimental treatments. Plus, there’s the fact that Ryan mentioned death.

Cordelia thinks Buffy might be overreacting because of her childhood trauma and could have created a villain to fight because she can’t actually defeat death. “Cordelia, have you ever actually heard of tact?” Giles asks. “Tact is just not saying true stuff. I’ll pass,” she replies. Buffy insists that this has nothing to do with Celia. Ryan is scared of something real. If Buffy has to be stuck in the hospital, she’s going to find out what’s going on.

Xander and Cordelia snoop in the hospital’s records as she complains that Buffy’s taking advantage of their compassion. The security guard who was watching Buffy the night before catches Cordelia. Meanwhile, Giles and Willow go to the library to look into any past weird incidents at the hospital. He admits that Cordelia might be right about Buffy creating an opponent to fight. Jenny’s death probably didn’t help there.

Willow points out that they’re on a Hellmouth, so there might be an actual monster. Giles isn’t sure about them dealing with a monster that only kids see, but then again, sometimes children see who adults really are. They could just be afraid of a regular person. Willow guesses that’s Dr. Backer, so she gets started looking into him.

Back at the hospital, Cordelia chats with the security guard, making him feel better about not having a more interesting job. While she flirts, Xander finds some helpful records. Cordelia asks the guard about Dr. Backer, but the guard has nothing bad to say about the doctor. “He understands the real truth about children,” the guard says. And that is? “Sometimes they die.” Cordelia continues flirting while Xander sneaks out of the room.

When they meet up again, Xander complains, but Cordelia makes it clear he has nothing to be jealous about. Plus, she has to put up with his obsession with Buffy. He says someone has to watch Buffy’s back, but Cordelia think he really means look at her butt. He accuses her of being jealous, so she tells him to watch her back as she walks away. He does.

Buffy goes to the children’s ward, where Ryan is drawing a picture of the demon she saw in her dream. He warns that the demon will come again tonight. Buffy promises to protect all the kids – she believes him that there are real monsters. But there are also heroes who fight those monsters. “Can’t fight death,” he tells her.

Giles and Willow find a bunch of reprimands on Dr. Backer’s record, plus a malpractice suit that was dropped. That plus Buffy’s instincts that he’s a bad guy add up to a probable villain. Now they need to figure out what he’s doing to the kids. Back at the hospital, Dr. Backer is working late and Xander is playing bodyguard in the hallway. Cordelia brings him donuts and joins him for the night watch without saying anything.

Buffy follows Dr. Backer as he goes to the children’s ward and gives a child some medication. There’s a chuckle behind him, but when he turns, he doesn’t see anyone there. Suddenly he’s attacked by something invisible. Ryan watches from across the room as the invisible being kills Dr. Backer and throws him out of the room. The being knocks Buffy down when she tries to intervene, then drags Dr. Backer’s body down the hall.

The next day, the Scoobies tell Buffy that while Tina died of the virus, she seemed to be getting better before that. They share Dr. Backer’s record, but Buffy says he’s clearly not their guy. She shows them Ryan’s picture and says they have a real monster – something she can fight. Giles still doesn’t get how it’s invisible to Buffy now, but not the kids.

Joyce interrupts before the Scoobies can figure out what’s changed to make the monster invisible to Buffy. Buffy’s being discharged, but she tells Joyce that she feels worse now, so she should stay another day or so. After Joyce leaves, Buffy asks Giles to get more information on the monster. She’ll snoop in Dr. Backer’s office to see if she can find out why the monster would kill him.

Willow agrees to help with any medical stuff, since she and Xander used to play doctor as kids. He clarifies that she means that literally. (Willow doesn’t know there was any other way to play it.) Xander volunteers to keep playing bodyguard in case Angelus or the demon show up again. He sends Cordelia to help Giles with research. Giles starts to whine about having to work with her, so Cordelia calls him “tact guy.”

Buffy and Willow go to Dr. Backer’s office, where Buffy laments not being able to save him. Willow discovers that he was trying to cure the kids with what amounted to vaccines. He was giving them small doses of the virus to raise their temperatures and burn the fever out of them. So there’s confirmation that Dr. Backer was a good guy all along.

In the library, Cordelia isn’t much help with research, since she just keeps asking Giles questions about various demons. At least she’s learning stuff, right? He’s not sure they’ll be able to find a picture of their monster anyway, since only certain people can see it. But it turns out that the monster is on the cover of the book Cordelia’s reading.

Cordelia calls Buffy to report that the monster is called Der Kindestod, AKA “child death.” Yeah, I’m not typing that over and over. It’s called D.K. It feeds off children by sucking the life out of them and making it look like they died of a virus instead. Buffy guesses that D.K. killed Dr. Backer because he was curing the kids and taking away D.K.’s main food source.

Giles gets on the phone and tells Buffy that D.K. feeds by sitting on top of his victim and immobilizing them. Buffy flashes back to Celia’s death, which included Celia screaming and trying to fight off something above her. She tells Willow that D.K. killed Celia. They need to stop him before he can kill anyone else.

Buffy figures out that her fever was what allowed her to see him. That means to see him again, she needs another fever. They go back to Dr. Backer’s office so Buffy can take the medication he was giving the kids to raise their temperatures. This means she’ll be weakened again, but at least she’ll be able to see what she’s fighting.

The girls go to the children’s ward and discover that all the kids are gone. Fortunately, it’s because Ryan is leading them in a prison break to save them from D.K. Buffy’s temperature is high enough now to allow her to see D.K. in the children’s ward. He sees her watching him as he heads through a door giving him access to the basement, where the kids are.

Before Buffy can go after him, Dr. Wilkinson finds her and tries to get her to go back to her room. Buffy shoves her away and runs off with Willow. Dr. Wilkinson calls security, and when the guards catch up to Buffy and Willow, Willow distracts them by pretending she’s hallucinating a bunch of frogs crawling all over her. Buffy is able to escape before Dr. Wilkinson tells the guards they’ve been fooled. “No more frogs!” Willow says, suddenly lucid.

Buffy finds Xander, who helps her get to the basement. Ryan hides all the kids, but D.K. finds them and grabs him. On their way to the basement, Xander notes that Buffy doesn’t know how to kill D.K. “Thought I might try violence,” she says. “Solid call,” he replies. D.K. prepares to kill Ryan, which involves really gross-looking things coming out of his eyes and attaching themselves to Ryan’s head. But Buffy stops him, telling D.K., “You make me sick.”

Xander gets the kids to safety while Buffy fights D.K. Xander returns to check on her but can only see Buffy fighting something invisible. It looks like D.K.’s going to win, but Buffy’s able to snap his neck. Xander asks her to confirm that D.K.’s dead, since he didn’t get to see it happen.

Once Buffy’s recovered and home from the hospital, Joyce finds herself waiting on her, Xander, and Willow. She gives Buffy a letter Ryan sent her. It’s a drawing of Buffy standing heroically over D.K.’s broken, bleeding body. “How…nice,” Joyce says.

Thoughts: The security guard is played by the late Willie Garson.

Xander’s right, it’s weird to see Buffy afraid of something that’s not supernatural. She faces down vampires without blinking, but just the thought of spending the night in a hospital has her panicking.

Willow’s clothes usually verge on horrendous, but I would wear the purple sweater she has on at the beginning of the episode. I would also wear Buffy’s shiny pajama pants.

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