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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode Guide

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 2, Episode 8: The Dark Age, Original air date: 11/10/97

by Helen 

It is nighttime in Sunnydale. A British man in a suit walks hurriedly onto the high school campus and asks a janitor where Giles is. The janitor tells him what building the school library is in. Looking nervous the man heads that way. Only a few feet from the door he hears a moaning and turns around. He sees a zombie-like woman, wearing a skirt and pearls but sporting scaly skin and eyes that flash orange, coming towards him. “Oh God, Deirdre!” he exclaims. She answers him with a malicious glee. “Philip.” Philip attempts to get away from Deirdre and through the door but finds it locked. He begins banging on the door, calling for help as Deirdre draws ever closer. No on can hear Philip’s cries because Buffy is in the library doing aerobics to very loud music. Giles objects to the “noise” as he calls it, but Buffy insists she needs a beat to exercise to. Philip continues crying for help up until Deirdre reaches him, at which point she begins strangling him. Buffy finally finishes her workout and turns off the music. Giles sighs in satisfaction, insisting, “And the rest is silence.” He is right in more ways than one. At that very moment Dierdre snaps Philip’s neck. Mere seconds after he dies, Deirdre drops to the ground as well, her body dissolving into a gelatinous puddle that flows out in all directions, touching Philip.

There is a series of distorted, grainy images. In a dark, candlelit room a group of people tattoo a symbol onto their arms, and cast a spell together. One young man cackles “Time to go to sleep.” A demon’s face with glowing orange eyes appears briefly. And then Giles wakes up, clearly unsettled by his dream.
That morning Buffy, Willow, and Xander play a game of “Anywhere But Here” outside the school. As they talk Willow notices Giles at a distance and muses over whether he ever played similar games or got restless when he was young. Buffy and Xander can’t fathom the concept. They’re convinced he’s been serious and studious his whole life. Buffy calls out to Giles and he comes over, wearing his typical tweed and talking in his typical serious manner. As the four walk into school together, Giles informs them all that there will be a blood bank delivery to the hospital that night. In other words, a vampire “Meal-on-Wheels.” Giles and Buffy will meet there to fight them off together. Giles promises to bring the weapons and reminds Buffy to not be late. Just then Jenny walks up, and Giles acts in his usual awkward manner around her. Jenny reminds Willow that she needs to be at school the next morning, since she promised to help out with the required extra help session for those who have fallen behind in computer science class. Xander laughs at all the kids who have to have class on a Saturday morning, until Jenny informs him that he and Cordelia are those kids. Jenny asks Giles to walk her to class and the two go off together. The kids think that Giles and Jenny make a cute pair, until they actually imagine them physically getting them together. Then they are disturbed.

As Jenny and Giles walk to class Jenny teases him just to see him squirm. Giles is annoyed and Jenny calls him a “fuddy-duddy.” Giles isn’t surprised, as it seems to think that about him. But Jenny’s line of thought it is slightly different. She thinks he is a sexy fuddy-duddy. She makes a date with him for Saturday night, implying she would like their relationship to become more physical. They lean in for a kiss but the bell rings, sending a flood of students into the hallway, and forcing them to pull apart.

Giles returns to the library, where he finds several police officers waiting for him. One of them, Detective Winslow, tells Giles that there was a homicide on campus the night before. The victim had no ID but he did have piece of paper with Giles’ name and address on it. Giles will have to accompany them. Just then Cordelia storms in complaining about the Saturday computer tutorial and even angrier that she has to check out and read a book on computers. Giles tries to interrupt her, but then she spots the cops she starts trying to get out of a traffic ticket. Giles finally gets mad at her and yells. She’s annoyed by this but leaves. Giles turns to the police officers and asks where they are taking him.

The answer is the morgue. Here the coroner shows Giles Philip’s body and Giles identifies him as Philip Henry. They were friends in London, but they haven’t spoken in 20 years and he has no idea why Philip would want to contact him now. Philip’s body doesn’t look good. He is covered in nasty bruises, but what draws Giles’ attention is a symbol tattooed onto Philip’s arm. Detective Winslow asks Giles if he knows what the tattoo is. Giles says he doesn’t, but he can’t stop staring at it. It is the same tattoo as the one in his dream.
That night Buffy waits outside the hospital, annoyed because it is Giles who is late, not her. She goes over to a payphone to call him but just then the blood delivery van pulls up. Two doctors come out and pick up the delivery. Buffy finds it highly suspicious that doctors would be sent on such an errand. She is right, and the moment the delivery van pulls away, a car pulls up out of the shadows. The driver and the “doctors” are all actually vampires. Buffy rushes out to fight them, with only the one stake she has brought. Things look bad for her until Angel rushes out of nowhere, and helps her defeat them. Buffy asks Angel to make sure the hospital gets the blood. She wants to check on Giles. He is never late, so his absence concerns her.

Buffy goes to Giles’ apartment and finds him looking very disheveled. Without inviting her in, he briefly apologizes for forgetting about their meeting and then unceremoniously dismisses her, insisting that he is in the middle of something very important. Back in his apartment Giles attempts to get in contact with Deirdre Page over the phone. Unfortunately Deidre has died recently. Giles is deeply unsettled by this news and turns to a glass of liquor for comfort before crossing a Deirdre name off a list he has written. Two other names are already crossed off: Philip Henry’s and a man named Thomas. Only two other names remain, Giles’ own, and Ethan Rayne’s. Giles goes over to a sink and rolls up his sleeves, revealing the same symbol from his dream and Philip’s arm tattooed on his own arm. Giles splashes water on his haggard face and then looks into the mirror, murmuring, “So, you’re back.” Over at the morgue, Philip, still in a body locker, pulls the sheet off of his face. His eyes flash orange, just as Deirdre’s did before she killed him.

The next day at the morgue, the coroner comes in to double check the contents of the body lockers against his list. When he gets to Philip’s locker, he is shocked to find it empty. Suddenly Philip comes up from behind him and throws a sheet over his heads before wrestling him into the locker and shutting the door.
The next morning Jenny, Willow, Cordelia and Xander all meet at school for the computer tutorial. They are surprised when Buffy joins them. She tells the room about Giles’ strange behavior and his alcohol breath. Jenny doesn’t like the sound of Giles home alone drinking, but Xander isn’t surprised. He’s convinced that no one can be as stodgy as Giles without a dark side eventually surfacing. Buffy asks if anyone has noticed anything weird about Giles but everyone insists he’s been perfectly normal. Cordelia does mention as a side note however that Giles was talking to the police about a homicide. Buffy decides to call him and she rushes to the library to use the phone. When she gets to the library she hears a noise in the stacks. Searching back there, she sees no one. But someone sees her: Ethan Rayne. Ethan attempts to push a bookcase over onto Buffy but she dodges it and quickly catches the fleeing Ethan. Recognizing him as the evil costume shop owner from Halloween, Buffy confronts him, and he mentions that he knows Giles. In fact, they go way back. He then asks Buffy if she knows where he is.

Giles is having another nightmare, similar to the one he had the night before, except now the tattooed symbol and the demon’s face is much more prominent. The dream has a new feature as well: Philip’s face, glowing eyes and all. The phone rings, waking Giles up. It’s Buffy, but Giles doesn’t want to talk, that is until Buffy mentions the Mark of Eyghon. Buffy tells Giles that she is in his office with Ethan Rayne. Giles tells her she is grave danger as long as Ethan is there, but Buffy refuses to go anywhere until Giles gives her some answers. Just then a figure crashes through the office window. Buffy drops the phone and Ethan hides behind her. Giles hangs up the phone and rushes out of his apartment. The figure turns out to be Philip, now with scaly skin and a zombie-like attitude. He attacks Buffy and while she is distracted Ethan tries to run. Luckily the gang, having apparently heard the ruckus, comes rushing into the library at that moment and stops him. Buffy faces off with Philip and manages to lock him in the book cage.

They all sit down and Ethan assures them that Philip is as dead as he looks. Just then Giles rushes in. Ethan address Giles as Ripper and the two of them confront each other, with Giles acting uncharacteristically aggressive. Giles insists that Ethan should have left town when Giles told him to; by staying he has endangered people that Giles cares about. Ethan insists that if Giles cared about them so much, he should have left town himself. After all, they’ve both been having the dreams. They both know what is coming. Buffy breaks in, demanding to know what is going on, but before either of them can explain, Philip breaks out of the cage, hitting Jenny hard with the door. As Giles rushes to Jenny’s side, Buffy beats up Philip, Ethan runs, and Cordelia rushes into Xander’s arms. Suddenly Philip starts convulsing and drops to the ground, melting into the same substance that Deirdre did earlier. As the puddle expands it touches the hand of the slowly reviving Jenny. Buffy rushes off to try and catch Ethan, while Giles attends to Jenny. She leans into his arms, her face out of sight, so no one sees her eyes flash green. As Giles continues to tend to Jenny, Buffy returns without Ethan and demands to know what is going on. Giles deems it private, but Buffy doesn’t care. It’s affecting all of them. Giles yells at her and tells her stay out of it, before leaving to take Jenny home. The gang sets to work figuring out what the Mark of Eyghon is. Willow hits the books and Xander and Cordelia head for Giles’ personal files.

Giles takes Jenny to his apartment per her request. As they have a drink, Giles apologizes for her getting involved, but Jenny is still very friendly. Giles is pleased but thinks it is unsafe for Jenny to be around him.
After spending the day at the library researching, Willow finally uncovers the information they need. The Mark of Eyghon is worn by the followers of Eyghon, a demon who can only exist in this dimension by temporarily possessing an unconscious person. While possessed the person is filled with a sense of euphoria. For this reason people have been known to summon Eyghon as part of bacchanals or orgies. If the correct rituals are not performed Eyghon will permanently posses his host, taking over their body. Eyghon can also take over the body of a dead person but after a short time the corpse disintegrates and the demon must jump to the nearest dead or unconscious person. The gang realizes that when Philip disintegrated Eyghon must have jumped to Jenny’s unconscious body.

Back at Giles’ apartment Jenny rips the phone cord out of the wall. Giles, meanwhile, makes them some tea and tells Jenny that after she drinks it, he’ll take her home. Jenny suggests they get spend the night together instead.

At the library Buffy calls both Jenny and Giles. No one answers at Jenny’s place and the operator tells Buffy that Giles’ phone is out of order. Buffy decides to head for Giles’.

Giles tells Jenny that he is attracted to her but that now is not the right time. Jenny first gets pushy and then gets annoyed when Giles continues to rebuff her. She begins acting very strangely, complaining about what a goody-two shoes Giles has always been, and referring to him as Ripper. Finally she tells him, “You never had the strength for me. You don’t deserve me.” As she taunts him, her voice deepens to that of a man and her skin begins to take on a scaly demon-like quality. She starts beating Giles up. Just then Buffy bursts in and saves Giles. Eyghon laughs and jumps through a window. Buffy goes to check on Giles. Physically he is fine, but emotionally he is devastated, deeply afraid for Jenny. His despair scares Buffy and she demands to know why he is so upset. He tells her that they must fight a monster that he created.

At the library Xander continues digging through Giles’ personal files, and discovers a picture that gives a hint into Giles’ past. It shows him as a young man, dressed all in black leather, part of a rock band.

\At Giles’ apartment Buffy learns even more. When Giles was in college he was studied history at Oxford, as well as studying the occult as part of his Watcher training. He hated his life, the grind of school, the pressure of his destiny. Eventually he dropped out and moved to London. He fell in with a bad crowd on purpose, and they spent their time practicing magic. They mostly dabbled with small stuff until they found something much bigger, Eyghon. One of them would go into a deep sleep while the others summoned him. But Eyghon got the better of them and took over one of their group, a boy named Randall, permanently. They were unable to exorcise Eyghon and Randall died. The group believed they were free of Eyghon, but they were wrong. Now he has come back to kill them all, and he only has two more to go. Buffy realizes Eyghon must be going after Ethan next and she goes to stop him. Giles wants to help but by now he is barely mobile. Giles tells Buffy that he doesn’t know how to kill Eyghon without killing Jenny as well. Buffy assures him the gang will find a way. Just before Buffy leaves, Giles apologizes.

Buffy finds Ethan at his shop. Ethan at first seems pleased that Buffy has come to protect him, since the tattoo on his arm is like a homing beacon to Eyghon. But the moment Buffy’s back is turned, Ethan knocks her unconscious. When Buffy regains consciousness she finds herself tied faced down to a table. Ethan happily tells Buffy that she is going to take his place. Buffy attempts to cut herself loose by rubbing her ropes against a screw that is sticking out of the bottom of the table. Ethan doesn’t notice and proceeds to give a Buffy a very primitive, painful tattoo job.

Back at the library Xander, Cordy and Willow hit a roadblock trying to figure out how to kill Eyghon. Xander and Cordy start snipping at each other and it is about to break out into a cat fight when Willow angrily breaks them up, reminding them of the gravity of the situation. The best solution they can think of is getting ahold of a dead body and forcing Eyghon to jump into it. But this won’t kill him, it will only give him a new place to live. Suddenly Willow thinks of a solution and rushes out of the library. Xander and Cordelia follow.

Ethan finishes up with Buffy’s tattoo. His chosen artwork: the Mark of Eyghon. As Ethan sets about burning his own mark off his skin with acid, Buffy continues trying to cut open her ropes on the screw.
Back at his apartment Giles is hit by one of his vivid dreams, now more like a vision, and collapses. Besides the Mark of Eyghon and the Eyghon’s face, he also sees the possessed Jenny and Buffy with the Mark of Eyghon tattooed on her back. He regains control and realizes what Ethan has done. He rushes out of the apartment.

Ethan is about to leave when Eyghon shows up, now looking extremely demon-like. Buffy works on cutting her bonds with renewed vigor. When Eyghon realizes Ethan no longer has the mark he heads for Buffy. Buffy finally breaks her rope and jumps up to fight. As Eyghon and Buffy battle, Giles rushes in and offers himself to Eyghon, telling Buffy to run. Buffy refuses, but Eyghon still attacks Giles. Just then Angel rushes in and attacks, the gang right behind him. Angel begins strangling Eyghon. This upsets Giles who is convinced that Angel is killing Jenny, but Willow insists her plan will work. As Jenny’s body starts to weaken Eyghon jumps from Jenny into Angel, leaving a gasping but still living Jenny behind. Meanwhile a fearsome battle rages inside Angel. He convulses and his face flashes from human to demon to vampire violently until finally the essence of Eyghon is ejected out of him and dissolves in the air. As everyone tends to their loved ones, Ethan runs. Buffy figures out Willow’s plan. She knew that if Eyghon felt his current host was in trouble, he would jump to the nearest dead person, which would be Angel. Angel has had a demon inside him for several hundred years, just itching for a good fight.

A few days later the kids are still talking about what happened. Buffy is using her savings to get the tattoo removed. She and Xander are both impressed with Willow’s good thinking and suggest she might consider becoming a Watcher, but Willow doesn’t think she could handle the pressure. The kids see Giles from a distance and wonder how he manages. Buffy’s answer: “I don’t think he has a choice.”
Giles catches up with Jenny in a school hallway. She seems tired, distant and reluctant to talk to him. Buffy witnesses this and offers her sympathy. Giles is convinced that Jenny will never really forgive him. Buffy insists that Giles should forgive himself. Seeing Giles’ darker side has made him a little more human in her eyes. Buffy reminds Giles that they are supposed to be training. She pulls a CD of some training music she’s picked out and insists that Giles voice his criticism. After telling Buffy that what she listens to is not music, just meaningless sound, he starts to feel a little better. They walk off together talking about music, their age gape firmly back in place.


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Updated 7/2/08  

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