EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ recap: Be careful what you wish for

Season 2 | Episode 6 | “Halloween” | Aired Oct 27, 1997

Less with the treats, more with the tricks when a blast from Giles’ past sets chaos loose upon Sunnydale in this Halloween episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The opening scene: Buffy brawls with a vampire at a pumpkin patch a few days before Halloween. Another vamp is recording the action, though we won’t find out why until later.

At the Bronze, Cordelia tries to charm Angel while he waits for Buffy (finally time for that cup ‘o joe?). Buffy walks in, disheveled from slaying, and leaves in a panic when she sees Angel laughing with Cordelia. Angel catches up and assures her she looks perfect, even with twigs in her hair. Dates are for girls who have time to think about nail polish and facials, Buffy argues, not ambush tactics and beheadings. She bails, leaving Angel as confused as ever. (Surely teenage girls were just as temperamental 240 years ago?)

Principal Snyder strong-arms Buffy, Willow, and Xander into chaperoning little trick-or-treaters—and in full costume, no less. Buffy was looking forward to chilling at home; Halloween is the one night a year demons stay quiet, she explains.

Bully Larry corners Xander to inquire about Buffy’s relationship status. He’s heard she’s fast (was that still the term for “slutty” in 1997?). Xander threatens to do something manly, but Buffy saves him from a beat-down, wounding Xander’s male ego.

Speaking of boys, Willow asks about Buffy’s date with Angel, and Buffy shares the details, including her insecurity about Angel’s feelings. Aha! They’ll just sneak a peek at the Watcher Diaries and see what they can learn about the brooding bloodsucker’s dating history. (Let this be a lesson to young ladies: Whether it’s breaking into Giles’ personal files or innocently browsing Instagram, this is never a good idea.)

Buffy distracts Giles while Willow sneaks in to grab the books. A sketch of a young woman dated 1775, when Angel was still human, has Buffy daydreaming about being a princess with servants, horses, and lots of gowns (though that math proves wrong in later episodes). Pragmatic Willow says while that might have been nice, she’d still rather have the right to vote.

Cordelia interrupts to gloat about keeping Angel company at the Bronze. She doesn’t believe Angel is a vampire. “Look, Buffy,” she smirks, “you may be hot stuff when it comes to demonology, or whatever, but when it comes to dating, I’m the Slayer.”

btvs_2.6_buffy-ethanWhile costume shopping, Buffy tries to steer Willow away from hiding under a ghost costume and toward something wilder instead. Xander, who’s dressing up as a soldier, forgives Buffy for fighting his fights when she promises to let him get pummeled next time.

Buffy is distracted by a bright pink Disney princess gown—just the kind depicted in the Watcher’s book. The shopkeeper is more than happy to help her with some financing options.

Turns out the vampire videographer was recording game film for Spike to study. Drusilla shares a premonition that someone is up to something on Halloween that will make the Slayer weak. That someone is the shopkeeper, Ethan Rayne, whom we later find out is connected to Giles.

Buffy convinces Willow to try on something sexy for Halloween night, but Willow chickens out and throws on the ghost costume before they depart. She literally runs into Oz at school (after he had a confusing nonconversation with Cordelia about her boyfriend/his bandmate Devon), but of course he doesn’t realize the ghost is the girl he’s been so curious about.

The trick-or-treaters won’t enjoy Halloween for long. Ethan Rayne works some magic, calling upon Janus, a god that represents the division of self; the spell transforms the revelers into their costumes, with no memories of their real identities.

Xander is a G.I. Joe hero; Buffy is the daffy princess she’d dreamed of being (complete with a terrible aristocratic accent); Willow passes out and departs her body as a real ghost—meaning she’s the only one with her wits about her, and able to save the day.


Xander rescues Cordelia from “Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy,” with her memory intact, and Willow orders them to all sit tight while she investigates.

Angel arrives to help, but when a demon sneaks into the house, he scares Buffy away when she sees his vampire face … to the delight of Spike, who’s reveling in the chaos.

Willow and Giles trace the mayhem back to Ethan’s costume shop. Giles is surprised he didn’t guess Ethan was behind this earlier. The two go way back, and Ethan hints that Giles (or “Ripper”) has shady past. Giles orders Ethan to leave Sunnydale and never come back.

Private Xander Harris saves Buffy from Larry the Pirate, and they flee to an abandoned warehouse, with Spike and his army of demon children hot on their tails. The demons fight their way in, and Spike corners a weeping Buffy. But Giles reverses the spell just in time, and Buffy gets in a few good punches before Spike runs off.

Everyone is back to normal. Willow is alive and, after bravely leading that group of nitwits, throws her ghost costume away. She confidently saunters down the street, where Oz spots her again: “Who is that girl?” (Only three more episodes until he finds out!)

Buffy and Angel debrief in her bedroom. He doesn’t understand why she thought he’d like her better as an 18th-century brainless baroness, especially after he reveals he hated those types of girls (way) back in the day: “Simpering morons, the lot of them.” They kiss and make up.

Giles returns to Ethan’s shop, only to find it completely empty—except for a note written just for him: “Be seeing you …”

Big Bad of the Week: Ethan Rayne, who “turns everyone’s insides on the outsides,” as Drusilla so delicately puts it.

btvs_2.6_willow-wideQuote of the Week: Cordelia: “That’s nice, Willow. And you went mental when?” (After Willow tries to explain to Cordelia that she’s not a cat, not realizing Cordelia escaped the spell.)

Heinous ’90s Fashion of the Week: Props to Willow for her courage, but that “wild” costume is straight out of my hometown Hot Topic: dark lipstick, crop top with long, flared sleeves, leather mini, and fishnets.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like