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Buffering: 20 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Mistakes Fans Totally Missed

This may sound blasphemous, but over two decades of rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we’ve noticed a few mistakes. And by that we mean plot holes, continuity issues, and plain old silliness. This is painful to admit, especially for those of us who grew up with the Scoobies. Maybe that’s why many fans turn a blind eye to glaring mistakes. Some fans don’t want their suspension of disbelief threatened, but, for the rest of us, deconstructing the show is half the fun. Now, before you demand we return our Buffy fan loyalty card, just know that we do this out of love and relentless interest in the show. The devil may not have shown up in Sunnydale, but he is certainly in the details, and we watch those like, um, Watchers.

Buffy felt almost perfect, but it was still a show made by mortals. World building for seven seasons was a big undertaking and the stories and characters that came from it are dear to us. But, unless you cast a Ben-is-Glory cloaking spell and instantly forgot the mistakes you saw, you know somewhere in that fan-ish brain of yours that not all was as it seemed. Sometimes, the writers forgot their own mythology and sometimes, characters forgot their own mythology and believability suffered for the sake of drama. Other errors came from general neglect. But, let’s be clear, we aren’t talking about mistakes revealed in the updated widescreen format. With Facebook now streaming Buffy, there’s no better time to rewatch it and see if you see the things you didn’t see before. Here are 20 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Mistakes Fans Totally Missed.

20 GILES SURVIVED DARK WILLOW

After an enduring battle, a magically imbued Giles dosed Willow with emotionally overwhelming magics. She goes to end the world and Giles, beaten down and lying on the floor, tells Anya he’s dying. Looking confused, and presumably able to sense the end with her demon powers, Anya tells him he isn’t.

However, when she teleports to Buffy and Dawn in the cave, she’s worried about Giles, noting he doesn’t have much time. Then, after Xander talks Willow down, Giles sits up and Anya is surprised he's alive. You could argue he never perished or somehow Willow’s defeat resurrected him. Either Way, it was never explained and had little dramatic affect since even the characters couldn’t agree on whether he was dying or not.

19 OLAF’S HAMMER DOESN’T BREAK CONCRETE

Olaf the Troll God appeared in “Triangle,” complete with an enchanted hammer similar to Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir. The hammer’s immense strength is demonstrated as Olaf easily brings down the Bronze’s second floor, breaks much of the Magic Box, and crashes through a glass countertop just by resting on it. Buffy is the only other person who can lift it and after Olaf was defeated, she kept it at the Magic Box, where it had to be supported by concrete.

The hammer was pivotal in “The Gift,” where Buffy beat Glory with it. However, in their struggle, the hammer falls from Glory’s Tower to the concrete below, where it doesn’t so much as make a dent. It seems the hammer’s power was momentarily forgotten.

18 BUFFY’S NOT-SO-HIDDEN GRAVE

At the end of “The Gift,” teary-eyed fans saw the Slayer’s tombstone, complete with her name, dates of existence, and a Buffy-esque epitaph: “She saved the world. A lot.” If you knew the Slayer was a thing, it wouldn’t take much brain power to realize this was her grave. Yet, during the five months in between Buffy’s sacrifice and resurrection, the Scoobies used the Buffybot to keep up appearances so the world and the underworld wouldn’t suspect that Buffy was gone.

At Willow’s resurrection ritual, the tombstone is still there, advertising Buffy’s not-so aliveness. It appears Buffy was buried somewhere other than Sunnydale’s 12 cemeteries, but this still seems like a big honkin’ oversight that undermines the plan to keep Buffy’s demise hidden.

17 BUFFY’S MANY BIRTHDAYS

Early on in the show, there were glaring inconsistencies regarding Buffy’s birthdate. In season one’s “I Robot... You, Jane,” Moloch brings up Buffy’s student record, which shows a birthdate of 10/24/80. He instantly sends it to another computer where all of Buffy’s information is the same, including her G.P.A. (2.8) and absences (1), but her birthdate changes to 05/06/1979. Two episodes later (in “Nightmares”), her tombstone reads 1981, which it does again in season five.

Starting with season two, Buffy’s birthday episodes would air around January and it is generally accepted that her birthday is 01/19/81. Buffy seemingly backs this up, stating in season four’s “Doomed” that she is a “Capricorn, on the cusp of Aquarius.”

16 THE AFTERMATH OF GLORY’S PORTAL

Once Glory’s portal opened, all sorts of underworld problems began pouring out. The portal’s energy reduced downtown Sunnydale’s main thoroughfare to rubble, with many human witnesses, and it turned City Hall into some sort of creature hive. Even a dragon comes flying out into the world.

The portal wasn’t open long, but it did have unquestionably long-term consequences that weren’t addressed afterward. Since we are talking about the same city that left the rubble of Sunnydale High untouched for years, and the people running the city have presumably passed, this damage wasn’t possibly fixed before season six. Then, there is the dragon roaming the Earth, never to be seen again, unless that really was the same one in Angel’s “Not Fade Away.”

15 THE SUNNYDALE COAST IS NOT SO COASTAL

We know that Sunnydale used to sit right on the Pacific Ocean. We’ve seen the Scoobies go to the beach in “Go Fish” and “Buffy v. Dracula.” Plus, the ocean is in plain sight below Kingman's Bluff when Dark Willow raises that temple and, in “Choices,” Angel mentions caves at the beach. There’s no shortage of awareness that Sunnydale isn’t landlocked.

In the series finale “Chosen,” this becomes an issue. When the Scoobies look back at Sunnydale after it collapsed into the Hellmouth, there is no sign of the ocean. The Sunnydale crater is just a large hole in the desert… and a large plot hole. This mistake was made again, from an aerial view, in the Buffy season eight comic, “The Long Way Home.”

14 GLORY’S EAVESDROPPING MINION FAIL

This was either an incredible oversight or a poor attempt at raising viewers’ anxiety levels. In the season five episode “Tough Love,” Glory, who now knows the key is human, sends her not so subtle-looking minions to spy on the Scoobies to see who's new among them.

At the Summers’ residence, two minions sneak onto Buffy’s porch and eavesdrop outside the dining room window. In the dining room, Dawn’s key-ness comes up under no uncertain terms during a heated conversation between Buffy and Dawn. While there was a pane of glass between them and the nosy minions, the sisters weren’t exactly whispering. But, nothing ever came of the minions’ scouting mission, which really should’ve sealed Dawn’s fate. It’s almost like the writers completely forgot about them.

13 THE INITIATIVE: UNCHARTED TERRITORY

Given Joss Whedon’s gift for planning, it was surprising that something as big as the Initiative appeared out of nowhere in season four. Much about the Initiative is riddled with plot holes, but surely, Angel, Spike, or even Willy the Snitch would have heard of local government demon hunters.

How did the Initiative not know the Slayer was real? How is it that, prior to season four, Buffy never bumped into those commandos roaming around town? Sunnydale isn’t that big and, as Willow notes in “The Freshmen,” UC Sunnydale (the Initiative’s home) is just “five miles away.” At the end of season four, the Initiative was filled with concrete, yet, the errors continue in season seven when Buffy goes down there and even finds demon survivors.

12 VAMPIRE REFLECTIONS

Vampires cast no reflections in the Buffyverse because they are soulless, yet, it still happened. In “What’s My Line?: Part 1,” Angel doesn’t appear with Buffy in the mirror in her room, but moments later, appears in a smaller mirror. In “Graduation Day, Part 2,” his reflection is seen in a hospital window. It also appears in the puddle he walks by in the Angel opening credits.

Spike is seen reflecting on glass several times while escaping the Initiative and Willow could also telepathically communicate with Spike in seasons five and six, despite him being immune to this because vampire thoughts cast no reflection. Arguably, ensouled vampires like Angel and, later, Spike, should have reflections. That could’ve explained the many times their reflections were mistakenly present.

11 NO MOURNING FOR JESSE

Before Buffy’s arrival in “Welcome to the Hellmouth,” Xander and Willow had another best friend, Jesse McNally. Jesse was doomed from the start; he wasn’t even listed with the main cast in the opening credits sequence. Still, we were surprised and heartbroken when he was bitten and sired by Darla, and in the next episode, staked by his best bro, Xander.

Future character exits were surrounded by heavy emotion and deeply informed the other characters, but not Jesse’s. Given his relationship with Willow and Xander, it's weird he was instantly forgotten. The series premiere had a lot happening, sure, but moving forward, no one, not even Xander, ever mentioned Jesse again. It was like he never was. That’s a major creative team oversight.

10 SPIKE’S DRAMATIC, FAULTY CHIP

In “The Initiative,” Spike escapes from, um, the Initiative and, while we didn’t know it at the moment, he had a chip in his head that caused immense neurological discomfort whenever he tried to hurt humans. Unveiling this plot twist could not be wasted on anyone less than a main character, which we see when Spike half successfully attacks Willow, but can’t bite her.

In hindsight, this highlights a large mistake. While escaping, Spike roughs up two scientists without experiencing any pain from the chip. He does indicate some cranial sensitivity to Harmony, but unless someone hit an on-switch offscreen, Spike’s chip conveniently only started working when it was effectively dramatic.

9 THE INCREASINGLY BEATABLE ÜBERVAMP

The Turok-Han, or Übervamps, are the strongest vampires the Slayer has faced as these ancient beings are stronger than average vamps. One gives Buffy an extremely hard time in “Bring on the Night.” She couldn’t even dust it.

The point is heavily made that these guys spell trouble, especially when Buffy sees an army of them in the Shadow Men’s vision. Yes, as the season goes on, the vamps become more beatable until “Chosen,” when the potentials, in their first fight as Slayers, can suddenly beat them back and dust them. The mistake? The creative team made the Übervamps too powerful to be believably beaten by newly called Slayers, and then made them too beatable in the final battle.

8 BUFFY DOESN’T UNDERSTAND THE SLAYER LINE

The way Slayer succession works is straightforward, but, on a few occasions, Buffy has shown she doesn’t get it. In “Grave,” she tells Giles she doesn’t know why she is resurrected, that someone else would have taken her place. In “Potential,” she and Dawn reiterate this idea, but it goes against the mythology laid down throughout the series.

When Buffy drowned in season one, Kendra was called. When Drusilla axed Kendra, Faith was called. When Buffy died in “The Gift,” no new slayer was called. With Faith still alive, it wouldn’t have mattered how many times Buffy perished because, until Willow’s spell, the next Slayer would not have been called unless Faith passed. It seems the writers were “myth-taken.”

7 THE CHUMASH AND MODERN ENGLISH

The Buffyverse is filled with languages, human and non-human alike, but one language we didn’t hear was that of the Chumash tribe. In “Pangs,” Buffy faces off with the spirit of a Chumash warrior who is exacting vengeance on those who eliminated his people. Earlier in the episode, his spirit was released from being imprisoned in an old mission that was swallowed up underground during the earthquake of 1812.

It is safe to say that he probably didn’t speak English or, if he did, not modern English. Yet, when he speaks to Buffy, he uses perfect English. Sure, this was for the audience’s benefit, but, hey, we’ve read subtitles for some demonic languages, so why not at least be historically accurate.

6 THE BUFFYBOT’S SPEAKING SKILLS

Speaking of languages, the Buffybot speaks perfect and almost always coherent English, however, there seems to be some discrepancy in its tone. The Buffybot and the real Buffy were essentially indistinguishable in appearance and they even shared the same voice… almost. As Anya might describe it: “She speaks with a strange evenness and selects her words a shade too precisely.”

The Buffybot sounded robotic… most of the time. When it faced off against Glory as a decoy, it suddenly spoke exactly like Buffy: coherent, natural, and with inflection. This was either an oversight or it was done to make the Buffybot seem more convincing for Glory. Either way, the sudden change doesn’t last and is a notable continuity error.

5 BUFFY’S ADDRESS(ES)

Address discrepancies may seem petty to point out, but for Buffy fans who prize world-building and attention to detail, it is worth noting. Much like her birthday, Buffy’s home address has been subject to oversight, thus, being inconsistent throughout the series.

Her official Sunnydale address is 1630 Revello Drive, which she gives to the 911 operator in “The Body.” In “As You Were,” Buffy receives a rejection letter from UC Sunnydale that is addressed to her at 1630 Crestview. This feels particularly random since that isn’t the street name in the show or in reality. Another error that you can catch repeatedly throughout the series is the house number changing. In “Ted,” for example, it reads 1313, which is the house number in reality.

4 DAWN’S BLOOD WAS STILL FLOWING

Undoubtedly, “The Gift” is one of the series’ greatest episodes. Through her sacrifice, Buffy showed us what a Slayer really is. However, there was a flaw in her last-minute plan to close the portal, which stems from the creative team forgetting their own mythology again.

When describing Glory’s ritual for the key, Giles states that “The blood flows, the gates will open. The gates will close when it flows no more. When Dawn [has perished].” With Buffy and Dawn sharing the same blood, her plan to take Dawn’s place seemed sound, but there is one major error: Dawn is still the key, who is still alive and bleeding. Even with Buffy’s sacrifice, the portal should have remained open until Dawn at least stopped bleeding.

3 VAMPIRE BREATHING

In the Buffyverse, vampires don’t need oxygen, though they do maintain breathing reflexes. This is why Angel couldn't give Buffy CRP. Yet, vampires seemingly do breathe frequently in Buffy and Angel. They have been seen with visible breath when in the cold, like when Angel emerged from his grave in “The Prodigal.”

In “Bring on the Night,” an Übervamp held Spike's head underwater, but if he doesn’t need oxygen, what’s the point? In “Becoming: Part 2,” Drusilla is unconscious due to Spike's chokehold, though that only works in reality by disrupting oxygen flow. And in “Fool for Love,” Spike also gasps for air after being choked by Angelus.

2 THE BUFFYBOT IS SCENT AND SOUL-FREE

Replacing Buffy with the Buffybot while she perished wasn’t the Scoobies’ worst idea, but given how easily that vamp damaged her in “Bargaining: Part 1,” it’s amazing she lasted the summer undiscovered. Even before visible sparks and circuitry, there was a bigger clue that should have given her away instantly: she doesn’t smell like a human.

Vampires have an acute sensitivity to the smell, which is frequently mentioned. As Spike said of Illyria in “Shells,” “She was standing right there in front of me, but there was no scent. Nothing. It's like she wasn't even there.” Vampires would also expect to hear Buffy’s heart pumping, but they don't because she is robotic. Also, demons wouldn’t be able to “smell” a soul on her because, again, she's a robot.

1 SPIKE FEELS THE EFFECTS OF DRINKING

It’s obvious that Spike drinks a lot. He probably drank more bottled beverages on screen than he did plasma. In “Lover’s Walk,” he arrived in town under the influence and drove over the “Welcome to Sunnydale” sign. Some might argue that he was in the same state with Buffy in “Life Serial,” and again when he and Anya had that, um, moment at the Magic Box in “Entropy.”

Though, he may just have been drinking. Either way, vampires are, occasionally, depicted as under the influence. The error comes in the Angel episode “The Girl in Question.” Here, Spike and Angel share many mini-fridge sized bottles, but nothing happens. Angel laments that they are unable to feel the effects and Spike agrees, blaming vampire constitution as the reason. However, fans continue to debate this.

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