This Year's Girl

Infobox Television episode
Title=This Year's Girl

Series=Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Airdate=February 22, 2000
Writer=Douglas Petrie
Director=Michael Gershman
Episode list=List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes
Prev=Goodbye Iowa
Next=Who Are You

"This Year's Girl" is the 15th episode of season 4 of the television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

Plot synopsis


While Buffy and the Scooby Gang (now with Riley on board) try to find Adam, Faith wakes up from a coma and finds the Mayor has left her a device which she uses to switch bodies with Buffy. Members of the Watchers' Council arrive in Sunnydale, alerted to Faith's waking.

Expanded overview

In a dream, Buffy and Faith put clean sheets on a bed, until suddenly Faith's blood begins to drip onto the white sheets. Buffy twists a knife in Faith's stomach. Xander is checking out the Blaster gun from the Initiative, but he doesn't have the knowledge to fix it. Giles is concerned about Buffy because she's been patrolling non-stop for days without finding Adam. Buffy is worried about Riley because she still hasn't seen him. Xander accidentally shocks himself with the Blaster, but no one notices. Riley wakes up and tries to leave the hospital but Forrest and Graham try to talk him out of it. On patrol, Buffy, Willow and Xander find a demon strung up on a tree opened up like a dissection experiment. Buffy explains her plans for getting Riley out, but it turns out it's not necessary as he has gotten away from the hospital and is there in Xander's basement with them.

At the hospital, Faith, still in a coma, is dreaming she is having a picnic with the Mayor. The dream becomes a nightmare when Buffy arrives, slits the Mayor's throat, then chases Faith into an open grave. As Faith climbs out of the grave in her dream, she awakens from her coma. Pulling free of the tubes in her body, Faith walks out into the hospital halls and encounters a girl. She thinks it's still the day of Graduation, but the girl informs her of the date and that the Mayor died at the graduation ceremony. Faith leaves the hospital in the girl's clothes. Riley and Buffy talk about their jobs working to fight the forces of evil. Buffy tells him he has a choice in what he does with his life. At the hospital, a detective talks with members of the hospital staff. They find a girl, beaten up and stripped, but no Faith. A nurse makes a call, asking for a team to be sent out.

Faith walks around Sunnydale looking at all the things that have changed, ending up outside Giles' house eavesdropping on the Scooby Gang's plans to attack Adam. A phone call informs Buffy that Faith is awake and on the loose. They talk about how they're going to deal with her, but conclude that they'll have to see what condition she is in first. On campus Buffy and Willow run into Faith. The two Slayers talk about what happened and fight briefly before the cops arrive and Faith runs.

Willow brings Tara along with her to search for Faith. Xander and Giles go searching the streets for Faith and Adam but instead encounter Spike. He's not willing to help them, but instead help Faith find and kill them all. A helicopter lands, three men carrying briefcases exit and after conversing with the nurse, they go into the hospital. Faith is approached by a demon that tries to give her a gift, but she kills him and runs off with the box. She breaks into a multi-media store to watch a video tape of the Mayor on one of the VCRs and then opens a box from him that contains a special gift.

Buffy and Riley talk about Faith; Buffy doesn't mention that she stabbed Faith to save Angel. Faith arrives at Buffy's house and punches out Joyce. Keeping Joyce her captive, Faith doesn't think Buffy will arrive, but is surprised when Buffy flies through the window. The Slayers have a fight that travels through almost every room of the house while Joyce calls the police.

Giles finds the lights don't work at his apartment but a lamp turns on and the three men with briefcases are there. One of them says "Hello Rupert", and then both Giles and the audience know they are from the council.

Faith puts the gift from the Mayor on her hand and grabs Buffy's hand. A light flows through them and Buffy punches Faith. Buffy smashes the metal contraption from the Mayor and when Joyce asks her if she's okay, Buffy responds, "Five by five."



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

Guest starring

*Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
*Amber Benson as Tara Maclay
*Leonard Roberts as Forrest Gates
*Bailey Chase as Graham Miller
*Chet Grissom as Detective
*Alastair Duncan as Collins
*Harry Groener as Mayor Richard Wilkins
*and Eliza Dushku as Faith Lehane


*Jeff Ricketts as Weatherby
*Kevin Owers as Smith
*Mark Gantt as Demon
*Kimberly McRae as Visitor
*Sara Van Horn as Older Nurse
*Brian Hawley as Orderly
*Jack Esformes as Doctor

Quotes and trivia

* "This Year's Girl," the name of the episode, is a song by Elvis Costello.
* This is the second episode that mentions Dawn (the first being in Season 3) foreshadowing her arrival in season 5


In their book discussing existentialism in "Buffy", Richardson and Rabb argue that this episode and the next (intended or not) explore the impact of - the outside view that causes a person to redefine themselves from the perspective of the Other. They interpret Faith's defection to the Mayor and relentless dreams of Buffy stalking her as Faith's attempt to escape Buffy’s judgmental Look and the accompanying guilt it brings. When the two Slayers meet again, Faith immediately denies her possession by Buffy, saying, "You’re not me." However, she is beginning to acknowledge the guilt brought on by Buffy's Look; when Buffy expresses concern for the innocent people surrounding them, Faith claims there is no such thing as an innocent person. Richardson and Rabb point out that, therefore, Faith herself "must realize at some level she is not innocent, but is in fact guilty of horrendous crimes." [Citation | last =Richardson | first =J. Michael | last2 =Rabb | first2 =J. Douglas | title =Buffy, Faith and Bad Faith: Choosing to be the Chosen One| journal =Slayage | volume =23 | year =2007 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-26 ]


* Italian title: "La Ragazza dell'Anno" ("The Girl of the Year")
* German title: "Böses Erwachen" ("Bad Awakening"; "it can be interpreted as German idiom indicating that due to an incident someone suddenly has to face a bad situation after he ignored it for a long time")
* French title: "Une Revenante, Première Partie" ("A Ghost - Part 1"; "the word "Revenante" is a way of saying "ghost" typically used to talk about a person that has not been here for a while, on the contrary of "Fantôme" which often means "ghost" in a literal sense only")
* Spanish title: "La Chica del Año" ("The Girl of the Year")



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

External links



* [ Soulful Spike Society analysis of "This Year’s Girl"]


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