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'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' fan recap: Fever dreams

Season 2 | Episode 18 | “Killed by Death” | Aired Mar 3, 1998

A touch of the flu can’t stop Buffy from battling a fear of hospitals, traumatic childhood flashbacks, and a monster that’s draining the life out of sick children.

It’s a good thing Willow, Xander, and Cordelia show up at the cemetery to offer backup for an under-the-weather Buffy; when Angelus arrives for another round, he has the advantage. They scare him off, but the fight—and the flu—sapped Buffy’s strength and she passes out.

They rush Buffy to the hospital, and wait nervously for more information, along with Giles and Joyce.

The doctor reports Buffy will be okay, but she needs to stay a few days to rest. Joyce explains that Buffy has hated hospitals since she was 8—when her cousin, Celia, died at a hospital with Buffy by her side.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Der Kindestod - Joyce and GilesJoyce thanks Giles for looking out for Buffy. She also offers condolences for the loss of Ms. Calendar. It’s a sweet, if not slightly awkward, moment between the two adults who care most for Buffy.

Buffy wakes in the middle of the night, sweaty and with perfect lip gloss. She sees a boy in her doorway, followed by a ghoulish man with wrinkly skin and a major underbite.

Woozy, she wanders the hallway looking for them, but is overcome with memories of her cousin’s death.

It was all just a dream. She wakes up, this time for real, and again leaves her room, walking the halls, wigged by the sick patients she sees. She overhears doctors arguing about how to treat a roomful of ill children. She meets two kids who tell her about a man invisible to grown-ups, who was right next to a girl who just died.

Who’s the man? She asks. Death, they answer.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Der Kindestod - Angel and XanderAngelus shows up to visit Buffy. Hospital = public building = vampires welcome. Xander tries to stop him, and Angelus mocks Buffy’s “white knight.” It’s a wonderfully tense exchange between two men harboring very intense feelings for the Slayer.

“You still love her,” Angelus taunts. “It must just eat you up that I got there first.”

“You’re gonna die,” Xander replies. “And I’m gonna be there.”

Angelus leaves to avoid causing a scene with the orderlies and security guards.

Buffy dreams of playing with her cousin when they were kids, then of seeing Celia sick and dying in the hospital.

When she wakes, her fever is down, and the doctor is surprised to see the fractures and swelling from hehr fight with Angelus are gone. Slayer benefits.

The Scooby gang arrives with get-well gifts and wheel Buffy outside, where she tells them what she saw. Cordelia accuses her of imagining monsters so she can fight them and stop feeling helpless. Buffy insists something is up and asks them to dig around.

Cordelia and Xander start in the records room (pre-electronic medical records laws) to figure out what killed the girl. A security guard, who was also lurking when Buffy wandered the halls the night before—is he a suspect?—interrupts. Cordelia flirts and sneaks in a question about the kids, while Xander sneaks out with Tina’s file.

Willow and Giles try the library. Giles wonders whether they’re on a wild goose chase. Death and disease are the only things Buffy can’t fight, so it makes sense she’s be off her game. They do live on the Hellmouth, Willow counters. And Giles recalls small children can sometimes see an adult’s “true side,” meaning the big bad could really be a regular human.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Der Kindestod - Ryan and BuffyBuffy stops by the children’s ward to visit Ryan, the boy from the other night. He’s drawing Death, the same thing Buffy saw in her dream (was it a dream?). She tells him she believes him, and not to worry—she fights monsters.

Willow discovers the doctor who’s giving the kids experimental treatments is in trouble for all kinds of things. Is he their guy?

Nope. As he checks on the kids that night, something invisible claws him to death and drags his body down the hall. Ryan, horrified, sees it all from his bed—and so does Buffy, until the invisible creature knocks her out.

Giles reports his findings to Buffy the next morning: the girl died of a fever. The strange thing is her health was improving, and then suddenly declined. Buffy explains why it can’t be the doctor, and shows them Ryan’s drawing.

Buffy fakes sick so she can stick around one more day. She and Willow check the doctor’s office, and discover he really was trying to the help the kids.

Cordelia bugs Giles at the library, and ends up finding the answer: The monster is Der Kindestod, who feeds by sucking the life out of children, making it look like illness killed them. Horrified, Buffy realizes Kindestod killed her cousin.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Der Kindestod - Der Kindestod

How can she fight what she can’t see? Answer: give herself the virus and induce another fever.

She checks on the kids, but they’re missing: Ryan led them to the basement to hide. Der Kindestod is also searching for the kids, and grins at Buffy with his giant teeth before disappearing.

Willow distracts the security guards, and Buffy and Xander hurry to the basement, where Kindestod has already found the children and started draining the life out of Ryan with his sucky tentacle eyes. Buffy stops him, and fights through her fever, while Xander herds the kids to safety. Kindestod almost gets Buffy too, until she snaps its neck.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Der Kindestod - RyanEveryone winds up sick, but Joyce is there to take care of them with snacks. Buffy opens her mail to find Ryan sent her a drawing of the murdered monster. Kids are so sweet.

Big Bad of the Week: Der Kindestod, who preys on ill children.

Quote of the Week: “Tact is just not saying true stuff. I’ll pass.” —Cordelia

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

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