The Replacement

The Replacement

Infobox Television episode
Title=The Replacement

Series=Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Airdate=October 10, 2000
Writer=Jane Espenson
Director=James A. Contner
Episode list=List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes
Prev=Real Me
Next=Out of My Mind

"The Replacement" is the third episode of season 5 of the television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

Plot synopsis


A demon meaning to use his wand to split Buffy into two accidentally uses the wand against Xander. Xander is split into a persona which is suave, gets a raise and rents an apartment, and a persona who is scruffy looking and miserable. Throughout the episode, both parts are sure the other is the demon Toth, who has shapechanged to look like Xander.

Expanded overview

Xander and Anya watch a movie with Buffy and Riley while listening to the background noise of Xander's drunken parents fighting and yelling upstairs. The next day, the gang looks at a prospective apartment for Xander. He doesn't think he can afford it and this upsets Anya. Giles receives a visit from a demon searching for the Slayer. He later identifies the demon as Toth, only survivor of the Tothric Clan.

The gang checks out the city dump in search of the demon and find Spike collecting. The demon hits Xander with light from a rod and knocks him to the ground. He gets to his feet and walks off with the rest of the gang, but then we see that there is another Xander still lying in a pile of trash. The next morning, one Xander awakens at the city dump and then discovers his double upon returning to his house. Spike has put together a Buffy doll from mannequin parts which he uses to practice beating up on.

One of the Xanders is very ambitious and gets a promotion at work, signs a lease for the apartment, and sets up a date with Anya. The unconfident Xander watches as all this happens and finally confronts his double. After the two Xanders see each other, the confident Xander talks to Buffy and she makes this a matter of Slayer business. Soaked by the rain, weak Xander goes to Willow and tries to explain that this double is taking over his life. He tells Willow that the double is doing a better job of living his life but then suddenly realizes that his double is going after Anya and that is one thing he won't allow.

Anya and the Xander double discuss their future and Anya expresses her fears about not living forever. Giles discovers that the rod Toth used split Xander into two real Xanders, one with weak qualities and the other with strong qualities. The weak Xander crashes the date between strong Xander and Anya. Both think that the other is a demon and the weak Xander pulls out a handgun he got from Anya's apartment.

Buffy tells the doubles the truth about their situation and tries to convince them not to kill each other. Toth appears at the apartment then Buffy and Riley fight and kill him. They eventually begin to get along, and their actions become so similar to each other that the comment is made that Xander is a "bad influence" on himself. Giles and Willow research and come up with a way to reunite the two Xanders but Anya expresses disappointment over this as she wants both to stick around for a 'sandwich' maneuver, much to the disturbance of the others. Willow ends the spell on the Xanders and makes them one again. While moving Xander into his new apartment, Xander and Riley talk. Riley confesses that despite how much he loves Buffy, he realizes that she doesn't feel the same.



*Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
*Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
*Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
*Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
*Emma Caulfield as Anya Jenkins
*Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
*James Marsters as Spike
*and Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles

Guest starring

*Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
*Michael Bailey Smith as Toth


*Kelly Donovan as Xander Double
*Cathy Cohen as Building Manager
*David Reivers as Foreman
*Fritz Greve as Construction Worker

Production details


* Italian title: "Due gocce d'acqua" ("Like two peas", literally "Two water drops")
* German title: "Der doppelte Xander" ("The duplicated Xander")
* French title: "Le double" ("The Double")
* Spanish title: "Renplazante" ("Replacement")

Quotes and trivia

:Xander: Hey, wait till you have an evil twin. See how you handle it. :Willow: I handled it fine. "(see "Doppelgangland")"

* In some of the scenes during this episode Xander's duplicate is played by Kelly Donovan, the twin brother of Nicholas Brendon who normally plays Xander. Both have the real surname Schultz, having used their middle names for professional purposes.

* This was not Kelly's final appearance, however. Kelly would act as his brother's stunt-double in the episode "Intervention" when Nicholas was too sick to attend work. Kelly often played his twin brother's stunt double.

* The "Snoopy Dance" which "weak" Xander uses to prove his identity is first referenced in the Season 2 episode "Passion".


Arc significance

* While the viewpoint generally follows the "weak" Xander, the episode (like "The Zeppo") establishes that Xander is neither completely helpless nor useless. While we are led to believe that "strong" Xander is using mind control to obtain the promotion and the new apartment, in fact these things were earned by Xander already.

* Riley reveals to Xander that he knows Buffy doesn't love him back, which serves as the first solid indication of trouble in their relationship and a prelude to their break-up in the coming episodes.

* When Buffy and Dawn argue, Joyce grabs her head and refers to her "two teenage girls in the house" headache, all the while looking visibly distressed. While it is implied that she is being sarcastic, this exchange is in fact a prelude to the illness she will develop, beginning in the next episode.


*Stories that take place around the same time in the Buffyverse:

External links

* [ "The Replacement" on]

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