Help (Buffy episode)

Infobox Television episode
Title=Help


Series=Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season=7
Episode=4
Airdate=October 15 2002
Production=7ABB04
Writer=Rebecca Rand Kirshner
Director=Rick Rosenthal
Guests=Azura Skye
(Cassie)
Zachary Bryan
(Peter Nichols)
Glenn Morshower
(Mr. Newton)
Rick Gonzalez
(Tomas)
Kevin Christy
(Josh)
Sarah Hagan
(Amanda)
Beth Skipp
(Lulu)
Anthony Harrell
(Matthew)
Jarrett Lennon
(Martin)
DB Woodside
(Principal Wood)
Episode list=List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes
Prev=Same Time, Same Place
Next=Selfless

"Help" is the fourth episode of the seventh and final season of the television series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

Plot synopsis

Summary

Cassandra "Cassie" Newton, a student at Sunnydale High, goes to the new counselor Buffy with an alarming prediction: She is going to die on Friday. Her warning to Buffy about a soiled blouse soon convinces the new school employee that this is something worth looking into. Buffy recruits Dawn into learning more about the teenager who is obsessed with death. Dawn learns that a male friend of Cassie's has been rejected numerous times. Meanwhile, Buffy learns that Cassie's father is a destructive alcoholic, but when she makes an unwanted late-night visit to the estranged parent, she found a man who loved his daughter. It turns out that another student, Peter, had organized a group of demon-raising males who gather in the basement to sacrifice Cassie. Buffy has infiltrated the group, however, and beats them, but Cassie suffers a heart failure and dies, leaving a distraught Buffy to wonder yet again what she could do when she did not seem to be able to help after all.

Expanded overview

Once the lights are turned out at a funeral home, Buffy, Xander and Dawn climb out of caskets. They chat about Buffy's nervousness about her new job and the struggle she may face while trying to mix her Slayer job with being a counselor. In one of the caskets, the three find a deceased woman that they suspect of being a vampire and rightfully so as the woman comes to life and is promptly staked. At the high school the next day, Buffy talks with various students who all have their own problems ranging from trouble with bullies and violence to boredom. Willow and Xander walk together and talk about Buffy's struggles and Willow's worries about her role in dealing with the impending Hellmouth danger. Willow walks off on her own and proceeds towards Tara's grave.

Buffy talks with more students, including her own sister, but one girl named Cassie Newton stuns counselor Buffy when she confesses that she's going to die next Friday. Buffy has tons of questions, but Cassie doesn't have many answers. She doesn't understand it, but she just knows that she's going to die and that there will be lots of coins. As she leaves for class, Cassie compliments Buffy's shirt and warns her against the danger of spilling something on it. Buffy reports this to Principal Wood, but he's not as helpful as she'd like. After spilling coffee onto her white shirt, Buffy gets suspicious and sends Dawn to befriend Cassie. Dawn catches up with Cassie and they talk about Cassie's friend Mike who has continuously asked Cassie to the dance and been rejected every time.

Willow investigates Cassie on the computer and finds Cassie's own site with tons of sad, morbid poetry. Dawn returns home from school and thinks the reason for Cassie's problem is Mike, but Buffy and the others don't pay much attention. Willow finds a website on Cassie's father that shows his troubled past with the law and alcohol. Buffy and Xander go visit Cassie's father and confront him with their suspicion that he may get drunk and hurt his daughter. Mr. Newton confidently denies the accusation and after he goes on about how his ex-wife only allows him to spend one weekend a month with his daughter. Buffy then finds out that Mr. Newton's weekend with Cassie is the weekend just gone, therefore not only does he not have the chance to hurt Cassie but if Cassie's prediction is true then he will not see her again before her death. Satisfied that Mr. Newton is not involved, Buffy and Xander leave and bump into Cassie who was waiting for them outside of her Dad's house and although she appreciates Buffy's efforts to find the cause, she knows there's nothing Buffy can do to stop her death. Xander asks her if she's planning to kill herself, but Cassie denies it. She talks about all the things she wishes she could do; going to the dance, going to college, falling in love as well as many other things but she knows she never can. She makes it clear to Buffy and Xander that she doesn't want to die, it's just what is going to happen on Friday.

Meanwhile, a group of guys in red cloaks walk around a circle and burn pictures of Cassie on a tray in the middle. Still motivated to help Cassie, Buffy reads poetry from Cassie's site and continues to investigate with the rest of the gang. Buffy goes to the school basement and asks Spike if he knows anything about Cassie. Because he "hurt the girl," he's punishing himself and trying to stay away from the voices. He doesn't have any information for her and Buffy leaves him, thinking her presence hurts him more than when she's not there.

Upstairs, Principal Wood and another administrator search through student lockers for anything suspicious. Buffy catches Mike in the halls and drills him to see if he may have intentions of hurting Cassie because she rejected him. He makes it clear he doesn't mind that much and has already moved on to thinking about Dawn. A bunch of coins fall from one of the lockers, drawing Buffy's attention. Buffy takes one of the coins and the number of the locker where they came from and talks to the student the locker belongs to. After some violent prompting, the student confesses that some of his friends want to hurt Cassie.

Dawn and Cassie walk away from the school as Cassie reveals how she knows Buffy sent Dawn to befriend Cassie but it doesn't matter as the two are now clearly real friends. Just then a student named Peter approaches, and Cassie (knowing she won't see Dawn again) tells Dawn that nothing that is about to happen is her fault. Peter asks Dawn about the dance, but only to be a jerk, not to ask her out. When an irritated Dawn turns back towards Cassie she is gone, Peter having successfully distracted her. At the school that night, the cloaked group gathers again around a circle of coins and one of the boys turns out to be Peter. He checks with the others to make sure the school is secure and no one can get in or out. Then, he pulls a bound and blindfolded Cassie out to the circle and holds a meat cleaver to her neck. She is to be a sacrifice to a demon that will provide the boys with "infinite riches".

As Peter starts the ritual, Buffy suddenly rips off her cloak, unveiling herself to the group and then smacks Peter around a bit. She doesn't think the ritual was a success, but a large demon appears behind her, proving her wrong. Buffy fights with the demon and Spike shows up with a flaming torch to help seeming to have at least temporarily regained his sanity as he doesn't want Cassie to get hurt. Buffy uses the torch to burn the demon while Spike cuts Cassie free from her bonds. Cassie tells him, "Someday she'll tell you" which shocks Spike and he retreats away. Desperately, Peter moves towards the fried demon and wants to know where his money is. The burned demon leans up and bites Peter on the shoulder once before exploding into dust.

Buffy and Cassie walk away together, leaving Peter to deal on his own. A crossbow booby trap set by one of the cloaked boys nearly kills Cassie, but Buffy stops the bolt. Buffy is happy that she seemingly stopped Cassie's prediction and tells the girl that one person can make a difference, to which Cassie responds that Buffy will. Just then Cassie gasps and unexpectedly falls to the ground, dead. The next day, the Scooby Gang gather at Buffy's and solemnly talk about how Cassie died because of a congenital heart defect. She was always going to die no matter what happened. Buffy feels as if she's failed, but a devastated Dawn corrects her, saying Buffy didn't fail since she tried to save Cassie, and it was because of her that Dawn and Cassie were friends. Buffy returns to work, knowing that while she will always try her best, sometimes she just can't help.

Acting

tarring

*Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
*Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
*Emma Caulfield as Anya Jenkins (credited but does not appear)
*Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
*James Marsters as Spike
*Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg

Guest starring

*Azura Skye as Cassie Newton
*Zachary Ty Bryan as Peter Nicols (as Zachery Bryan)
*Glenn Morshower as Mr. Newton
*Rick Gonzalez as Tomas
*Kevin Christy as Josh
*Sarah Hagan as Amanda
*Beth Skipp as Lulu (scene deleted)
*Anthony Harrell
*Jarrett Lennon as Martin Wilder
*D.B. Woodside as Robin Wood

Co-starring

*J. Barton as Mike Helgenburg
*Daniel Dehring as Red Robed #1
*AJ Wedding as Red Robed #2
*Marcie Lynn Ross as Dead Woman

Production details

Translations

* Italian title: "Aiuto" ("Help")
* German title: "Hilflos" ("Helpless")
* Spanish title: "Socorro" ("Help")
* French title: "La Prédiction" ("The Prediction")

Quotes and trivia

:Willow: "Have you Googled her yet?":Xander: "Willow, she's seventeen!"

:Cassie: "You think I want this? You think I don't care? Believe me, I want to be here! Do things! I want to graduate from high school and I want to go to the stupid Winter Formal. I have this friend and it'd be fun to go with him, to dance and hear lame music, to wear a silly dress and laugh and stuff. I'd like to go. There's a lot of stuff I'd like to do. I'd love to ice skate at Rockefeller Center, and I'd love to see my cousins grow up and see how they turn out, because they're really mean and I think they're going to be fat. I'd love to backpack across the country or... I don't know... fall in love? But I won't. I just never will.

* The wiggling tattoo made light of early in the episode is likely a reference to "Petunia" of "The Adventures of Pete & Pete", of which Michelle Trachtenberg was a cast member.

*Cassie's speech above is similar to a speech made by Buffy in "Becoming, Part Two"--- "Do you think I chose to be like this? Do you have any idea how lonely it is? How dangerous? I would love to be upstairs watching TV or gossiping about boys or, God, even studying! But I have to save the world. "Again"." --- and one made by Angel in the "Angel" episode "War Zone" --- "What do I want. Love, family, a place on this planet I can call my own. But you know what?...I'm never gonna have any of those things."

* Cassie's name is an obvious reference to Cassandra. In the world of Greek/Roman mythology, she was a seer whose visions would always came true. However, after rejecting the advances of the god Apollo, he placed a curse on her that ensured that her prophesies would never be heeded. This is reflected in Cassie's various predictions, which are in time realized, regardless of the surrounding people's doubts and disbelief.

* Willow once more shows her Jewish heritage, putting stones over Tara's tomb instead of flowers.

* Willow's outfit changes when she and Xander are walking in the cemetery.

* When Buffy says that heavy metal music is the key to "raising lame demons", she means to refer to Blue Öyster Cult instead of "Blue Clam Cult".

* When Cassie tells Spike, "Someday she'll tell you", it alludes to the finale when Buffy says to Spike that she loves him.

* This episode has two actors, Glenn Morshower, as Mr. Newton, and DB Woodside as Principal Wood, who would later star together in "24".

* Cassandra is seen reading the Kurt Vonnegut novel "Slaughterhouse-Five", which mirrors the plot of the episode. In the novel, the main character knows in advance when he is going to die.

* There's a similar episode on the first season of television show "Smallville", titled "Hourglass", about elderly-blind woman named Cassandra Carver. Cassandra receives precognitive visions of others by touching someone, and also foreseen her own death. Just as in this episode, "Hourglass" is also referencing the Greek's oracle Cassandra.

* Willow references writing "Doogie Howser" fanfic when she was in high school. Alyson Hannigan would later star in the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" with "Doogie Howser" star Neil Patrick Harris.

Continuity

* The First Evil uses the form of Cassie in the episode "Conversations with Dead People".

*Cassie Newton's death is one of only two in the show's huge body-count that were due to natural causes. The other was Joyce Summers in "The Body".

Arc significance

* All of Cassie's predictions that don't come to pass in this episode do so later in the season.
* Amanda is seen for the first time in this episode talking to Buffy after beating up a student. She will eventually be revealed as a Potential Slayer.

Timing

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

See also

* List of Buffyverse stories (episodes, comics and novels) in chronological order.

* List of Buffyverse-related topics - Index of articles relating to "Buffy" and "Angel".

External links

*
*


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