Buffy 5×03: The Replacement

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Jane Espenson | Director: James A. Contner | Aired: 10/10/2000]

I’m just going to come out and say it: this is a great episode! Besides “Restless” [4×22] , we haven’t had an episode since “The Zeppo” [3×13] that focused so heavily on Xander. Also, unlike “The Zeppo” [3×13] , the growth gained here actually sticks. While this, and the clever way it’s achieved, is the primary reason this episode succeeds, it’s not the only one. Anya is staggeringly hilarious and the first outward sign of Buffy and Riley’s relationship ending is all right here. The fact of the matter is that this is Xander’s “Doppelgangland” [3×16] , and it works for many of the same reasons that episode worked.

Everything begins by immediately reminding us of Xander’s problems in S4 that were expertly illuminated in “Restless” [4×22] , and that’s the fact he’s stuck in his drunken parents’ basement. Xander, Anya, Buffy, and Riley are all hanging out together there watching TV while Xanders’ parents come home and have a fight upstairs. In addition to showing us Xander’s decision to start looking for a new place, which is continued development from his abuse in “Buffy vs. Dracula” [5×01] because he does this before being split in two, I found that Buffy making fun of the Chinese kung-fu movie, saying they’re doing it all wrong was cute. This also reminds me of the theme that this is the stuff Buffy thinks about by herself, and that Riley just isn’t the same way. The beginning of “Halloween” [2×06] springs to mind when Buffy tells Angel, “Dates are things normal girls have. Girls who have time to think about nail polish and facials. You know what I think about? Ambush tactics. Beheading. Not exactly the stuff dreams are made of.”

Anyway, the group all heads out together to check out a potential new place for Xander. I really love everything about this scene from the random observations about the ceiling fan to the coy smiling when Xander and Anya are having a spat to Buffy and Riley kissing in the bedroom. The important thing to dwell on, though, is Anya being terribly inappropiate again in front of everyone, and then getting into a little squabble with Xander over the apartment. Xander’s comments here, “wait until things come together,” are awfully reminiscent of his comments about announcing their marriage in “After Life” [6×03] . Xander’s smart to be careful, but he can’t always use that as an excuse to hide behind his worry of making changes and living with those changes.

This episode’s plot device is one used many times before in genre shows, but in true BtVS fashion, a surprising twist is placed on top of it. This surprising twist isn’t just surprising for the sake of it, but rather it has very huge ramifications for Xander. I love how the double isn’t evil, like it would be on a lesser show, but rather the more confident aspect of Xander’s personality. This secret is kept from us until late in the episode, and this works beautifully because it both plays with expectations along with showing Xander what he is capable of when he has faith in himself. I made a point early in the review to mention that he begins looking for an apartment before getting split in two. What this episode provides is a firm solidification of his feeling that it’s time to move on with his life.

We’re lead to believe Weak Xander is the real one because Xander often lets the weaker characteristics of his personality be more prominent in his life, hence why us as the audience would feel he’s not acting very different from normal. This is why Confident Xander seems so alien, which is really fun to watch in retrospect. Now, armed with what already happens, we can take a look at Confident Xander with a new eye. Here lies the part of Xander that is sure of who he is, sure of what he wants, and, well, confident. All of these things are a part of Xander already, but he doesn’t really conciously know. He often panders to his weaker qualities because I think it’s just easier to. It’s hard to realize your potential and then sieze it to its fullest extent — it takes work. I love the messege this episode promotes: everyone has strong and weak assets within them, but learning to take a hold of your strong assets, even if it takes some courage and work, will make you a better person.

Weak Xander unfortunately gets stuck with many of Xander’s more negative qualities. He feels the demon that took his shape is living his life better than he is. I can sympathize with his depression and comments that maybe the demon should just keep his life, because he’s not doing anything great with it anyway. How powerful is it, then, when he finds out that the double is actually part of him as well? What a confidence boost. And it’s one he actually holds on for life. Wonderful!

This weaker part of Xander is also the one to put Buffy on this huge pedestal, while Confident Xander is ready to take charge himself to deal with the situation although he still values Buffy’s abilities as an asset to him. It’s interesting to me that in Xander’s last big episode, “The Zeppo” [3×13] , he says out loud “I’m outta my league! Buffy’ll know what to do” and here he says “I need Buffy.” It will take some time, but by S7 Xander learns he doesn’t need Buffy to handle a lot of things in his life — that he has a lot more confidence and strength than he thinks he does. Confident Xander is walking proof of that here and I feel that this is the part of Xander we see take the more dominant role in his personality in S7.

Even in his lowest state, he realizes he does have one thing worth living for: Anya. I love Willow’s surprise here: “really?” We first discover how much Xander cared for her in “Hush” [4×10] , but here we see that their relationship has become something much more powerful. It’s not until “Into the Woods” [5×10] , though, that he tells her his strong feelings, which takes their relationship to a whole new level. Both Confident Xander and Weak Xander are shown to care deeply for her — it’s obvious that his love for her is within his entire being, not just a shade of it.

While all of this great Xander character exploration is happening, we find out that Anya’s feeling truly mortal for the first time because of her injury. How amazing that the writers not only remember about her injury from “Real Me” [5×02] , but also that they used it as a springboard for insight into Anya and her fears. Confident Xander’s words of care and love for Anya as she’s worried about aging and dying are touching. When Weak Xander charges in through the door, Anya at first chooses Confident Xander to stay close to. After some more consideration, she can’t choose between them — she loves them both equally. I also like how Weak Xander is at a loss for words to defend himself. This feels realistic under the circumstances.

Aside from Xander and Anya, both Buffy and Riley get some time in the spotlight. Their chat in the car is really telling and it foreshadows their huge problems to come in a big way. Riley shows that, while he has a hard time with some of Buffy’s characteristics at times, he does love all of Buffy and wants to make it work. Buffy’s expression after Riley explains himself is one of serious doubt. She shows through these doubts that that she doesn’t fully trust Riley’s feelings for her and, as a result, does not deeply love him. Later in the episode, during the fight with Toth, Riley takes him on and gets beat up while Buffy easily defeats him, which provides even more setup. This is all very subtly and intelligently written. Awesome!

At the very end, Riley sees the friction, but love, between Xander and Anya and fully realizes and articulates to Xander that Buffy doesn’t love him in that same way. I feel it’s an important piece of dialogue, so I’m going to just quote Riley saying it: “Hey, I’m well aware of how lucky I am. Like, lottery lucky. Buffy’s like nobody else in the world. When I’m with her it’s like … it’s like I’m split in two. Half of me is just … on fire, going crazy if I’m not touching her. The other half … is so still and peaceful … just perfectly content. Just knows: this is the one. But she doesn’t love me.” Riley’s honesty with Xander here shocks him, and I think allows the two of them to bond in a way they never could before. This is a friendship that will be subtle but existent until Riley leaves town.

The only thing that I didn’t like about this episode was a rare spotty patch of writing. I really don’t like how the saleswoman starts hitting on Confident Xander that hard just because he’s dressed better and talking smoother. I mean, sure she’d interact with him in a more positive light, but this is way too extreme. Barring that small flaw, though, this is an excellent episode which probes a lot of character issues in a smart, witty, subtle, and intelligent manner. I feel this is about on par with Willow’s “Doppelgangland” [3×16] for the affect it has on Xander, although that episode is a bit more amusing. Great, great stuff.


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ It’s good seeing Buffy reading for school — a normal activity. It makes me so sad, though, knowing what’s coming.
+ Xander’s “who uses a cauldron anymore” and the abrupt scene switch to a demon using a cauldron. 🙂
+ The lady showing the apartment mistaking Riley for Xander.
+ Giles’ really amusing encounter with Toth, who by the way is a cool-looking demon, and his explanation of what happened. I just love the way the actors interact with each other and deliver their lines on this show.
+ Weak Xander goes to Willow when he discovers Buffy has already talked to Confident Xander. Willow has no clue what he’s talking about, and it’s fun that she just plays along and lets Xander try to prove he’s him.
+ Weak Xander’s stories about his past with Willow rock, and he does the Snoopy dance!
+ Toth’s plan to split Buffy is actually pretty ingenious. I would have loved to see what a pure-Slayer Buffy and a pure-Buffy Buffy would have acted like!
+ I love how the shiny nickel turns out to simply be a flattened coin Confident Xander thought was cool, not a “shiny disc that stuns and disorientates.”
+ All the ladies analyzing Xander’s face when looking at the two of them. “Okay! Back off, ladies.”
+ Anya wanting to have sex with both Xanders and expressing unhappiness when he’s back to normal. “I liked it the other way. Put him back.”


Foreshadowing

* Xander’s parents fighting is a continuing theme that is one of the primary reasons he breaks it off with Anya in “Hell’s Bells” [6×16].
* Spike’s mannequin appears for the first time. His obsession with Buffy is growing and will first manifest itself at the end of “Out of My Mind” [5×04].
* Xander thinks the double of him might be a robot. There are two robot appearances later in the season.
* Buffy and Riley’s chat in the car is extremely indicative of their problems. In this scene it’s obvious that Buffy doesn’t deeply love and trust Riley. This builds up and leads to Riley leaving in “Into the Woods” [5×10].
* Riley wants to lock up both Xanders in separate rooms and do experiments on them. This shows he has an interest in that kind of work still, which he proves when he rejoins it in “Into the Woods” [5×10].


[Score]

90/100

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34 thoughts on “Buffy 5×03: The Replacement”

  1. [Note: WorldWithoutShrimp posted this comment on July 28, 2007.]

    Great review, mikejer! This episode is a personal favorite of mine which I find doesn’t get much recognition. I think it is the best Xander episode (even better than “The Zeppo”), and one of the more “fun” episodes of the series. It also contains some real character development which logically follows from Xander’s issues in S4, especially “Restless”, and earlier this season in “Buffy vs. Dracula”. I love it!

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  2. [Note: Austin posted this comment on August 28, 2007.]

    I think it’s interesting at the very end, we get a glimpse of “Seeing and Knowing” Xander, that the writers chose him as the person Riley reveals his fears to is great planning, although I couldn’t decide what the veiwer is supposed to make of his final, observant expression. Any ideas?

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  3. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on November 20, 2007.]

    Amazing episode and once again, amazing review. I just love the character development from all the characters and I love how this episode shows us that, especially with Xander. Xander will get more confident as the series progresses.

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  4. [Note: spateswife posted this comment on August 26, 2008.]

    I noticed that in this episode when Buffy and Riley were in Buffy’s bedroom and Dawn is giving Buffy a hard time that Joyce mentions having a headache. I think this seems a little foreshadowy to me.

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  5. [Note: Suzie posted this comment on November 17, 2008.]

    I simply love the end when both the Xanders laugh and Buffy says,” They’re kinda the same now.” Giles then says,” Yes, well, Xander seems to be a bad influence…on himself.” I laugh everytime.
    Just thought I’d throw that in there. I love all these reviews. I read them while I’m at work and don’t have anything to do. I must say, mike, you are very insightful. You have pointed out a few things I never thought of. Thanks!

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  6. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on April 18, 2009.]

    This is one of my top 5 episodes of the season. It’s fun to notice the final scene with the two Xanders just how many times the brothers switch between the weak and confident Xanders. Nicholas does most of the talking for both. Also I love the look Buffy gives when Anya says she wants them seperate again. Anya also says she anticipates several more years of life and is killed in 2 1/2 years.

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  7. [Note: Miscellaneopolan posted this comment on November 19, 2009.]

    I remember that this was one of the first episodes where I really began to accept Riley as part of the gang. In Season 4 he was just “the boyfriend” and never quite seemed to fit into Buffy’s world. But here he’s making genuinely funny wisecracks (“People say they’re recycling. They’re not recycling.”) and revealing quirky sides to his personality (the bit about experimenting on the Xanders). But then this is a Joss show, and nothing good can last. In the very same episode where we’re finally given a likable, comfortable Riley, the seeds of his departure sown. I began to like Riley just in time to start feeling sad that he was going to leave. That’s life with Joss.

    Also, I remember that I found Spike’s little encounter with the Buffy mannequin pretty sick and violent the first time I saw it. I mean, he goes to all the trouble of building the thing only to furiously kick off its head. I knew that something had to give, and soon.

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  8. [Note: noonoo posted this comment on April 16, 2010.]

    GASP! No mention of Willow referencing her own doppelganger?

    Willow: Xander…. You already knew he was taking over your life, and … you didn’t think about Anya till just now?

    Xander: Hey, wait till you have an evil twin. See how you handle it.

    Willow: (pouts) I handled it fine.

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  9. [Note: Beth posted this comment on May 12, 2010.]

    The only thing I don’t like, and this happens in other episodes like “Real Me” – when Buffy does misleads, it often overdoes the mislead so that the comment/reaction doesn’t make much sense in retrospect. I’m thinking of things like Xander casually answering that he doesn’t know how long he’s worked at the construction site, immediately wanting to kill other Xander, Dawn saying that everybody will find out the real her, the way Spike acts very angry (bitch is going to see a change, etc) before he gets his soul. I understand the purpose of the misleads, it just makes rewatching a little less satisfying. Or that might be just me.

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  10. [Note: DeadLego posted this comment on August 3, 2010.]

    mike, i would like to say that i have watched buffy all the way through the seasons over 10 times now probably! And this time round having been reading your reviews before each episode, it has made me notice things that i haven’t ever before, and in cases such as ‘the replacement’ it has made me appreciate certain episodes more and therefore increased my enjoyment of them. Usually it’s how you put things together, how you make connections and point out how certain things are necessary for, or indicative of, character or plot development. And your reviews do get better and better. Thank you!

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  11. [Note: dr. horrible posted this comment on October 16, 2010.]

    This episode was like Dopplegangleland except for one thing- it wasn’t funny. Sure, it had it’s moments but it was nowhere near as good. I was sorta disappointed.

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  12. [Note: Dan posted this comment on February 19, 2011.]

    Really? Not funny? Anya at the very least is side-splittingly hilarious in this episode. I think my favorite line of hers is actually the one about how she doesn’t get the point of looking at things that she can’t have at the end of her discussion with Xander at the apartment. And what about Xander and Willow’s scene? Uproarious! I can grant that “Doppelgangland” was funnier, but I’m sorry, dr. horrible, I do not grant that “The Replacement” isn’t funny.

    I agree with Nathan.Taurus (I know, shocking) that this is one of the best episodes of the season. I’ve always thought that it was because I am the rare (apparently, from the comments on other reviews) Buffy fan who actually likes Xander to the point where he’s one of my fave characters, but it’s nice to see that other people appreciate this episode. I think you hit the nail on the head as to why it works so well as a character study for Xander, mikejer: He was already applying for the apartment and evidently was going to get the full-time job offer before he was split into Positive and Negative Xander. Positive Xander didn’t do it all himself, which means that he can improve himself if he makes an effort. This is definitely an eye-opening experience for him, and yay that the character development sticks!

    Also, big points for a one-off demon plan that a) makes sense, and b) had a high probability of working if he’d hit his target. Especially earlier in the series’ run that was rarely the case. Heck even some of the main villain plots didn’t entirely pass point a).

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  13. [Note: deadlego posted this comment on May 5, 2011.]

    This is a ‘B’ episode for me. The Toth bit of plot is so obviously just fitted round the need for two Xanders when really a plot should have a bit more about it than that. Also the ‘weak traits’ Xander is done too OTT for me, him falling all over the place all the time. But it has some hilarious bits and some character importance holding it up.

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  14. [Note: carambolage posted this comment on July 16, 2011.]

    I must have missed that episode when it aired on TV and just happened to watch it on DVD for the first time. I never thought there would be any surprises waiting for me when I purchased the DVD box 😉

    At first it felt like some random and cheap filler episode and I was really annoyed with how they treated Xander, being all clumsy and just.. weak. For me, it always feels like he’s the character that grows the slowest/not at all during the last four seasons. I expected some character development after “Restless” (and his “speech” in Buffy vs. Dracula), but seeing goofy Xander was plain embarassing. At the end I was thinking how great this episode was. I mean the idea of character splitting isn’t exactly new, but seeing all these “positive”/strong character streaks of Xander condensend, you really start to like him even more and it explains why goofy Xander felt so totally over the top. Genius!

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  15. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 9, 2011.]

    When this episode first aired i was extremely happy, another Xander centric 45 minutes! As you said Mike the last time we had a decent in depth look into Xander’s personality was the season three episode The Zeppo. Looking retrospectively at that episode we saw Xander struggling with his identity, much like the weaker Xander in this episode. He is dependent on Buffy which is palpable from the first scene when we see him emerging from his hiding place (The Zeppo). He often proclaims that he needs Buffy, even in the early scenes of this episode (The Replacement) he claims ‘man i need Buffy’. The Zeppo itself is a great episode, Xander losing his virginity to Faith and ultimately saving the school from premature explosion. Both of which manifests his growth and ability to solve his own problems, the only thing is this growth doesn’t seem to continue or really take affect and thats why this episode is a nice follow up.

    What i particularly like about this episode is the splitting in two of Xander, giving him the same experience as us to evaluate his life and to see his own character growth. Our Xander is plagued with self doubt, feeling more and more unhappy and cursed, his life full of derision. It leads to him to proclaim that his evil twin should just have his life, he’s living it better than the ‘real Xander’ which of course makes us and the gang believe the weaker Xander is the real Xander. The other Xander gets promotions, satisfies Anya and gets the apartment. All aspects that are conducive for us to believe that this Xander is the impostor.

    It isn’t until the end of this episode, after Giles proclaims Oh dear lord! That we discover that these two Xander’s are the same entity. – Which is a great idea! The pleasure Xander gets (the weaker Xander half) in knowing that he is the other Xander is great to see and from this episode on Xander grows, he becomes more confident seen especially in season 7 in fact perhaps even earlier from early season six he has had to stand up to the plate with Buffy being dead.

    This episode also highlights the difficulties facing Riley and Buffy romantically. Xander spends a great deal of the beginning of this episode comparing his relationship with Anya against Riley’s only for him to discover that what he has with Anya is near perfect, and much more solid than Buffy’s and Riley’s especially with Riley’s confession. He knows Buffy doesn’t love him. The scene that follows with Xander looking on leads me to the believe that he is then really starting to realise what he has and how far he has come. A really moving sequence.

    This episode has great moments, Spike in the city dump has great comedic value. Xander and the snoopy dance 😀

    One thing i will say though is that although this episode was great to watch i think the actual intention of Toth would have made a great episode too. Seeing Buffy buffy and Slayer Buffy. Although this idea has been mildly touched on in the season three episode Helpless.

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  16. [Note: Zoe posted this comment on January 22, 2012.]

    One thing I was surprised that you didn’t mention was the character development that we get for Buffy here. I guess it’s sort of obvious, especially in retrospect, but the revelation that killing Slayer-concentrate Buffy would also kill Slayer-less Buffy is a really good insight into how her Slayer powers are so tied to her identity. And this is incredibly important given what the season is about. Also, the conversation with Riley later in the car expands upon this even further (Riley telling Buffy she wouldn’t be the same without her Slayer-ness).

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  17. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on May 15, 2012.]

    Buffy probably would’ve been split into the First Slayer and the California Girl who made “Spordelia look like a classical philosopher”.

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  18. [Note: Less newt posted this comment on August 17, 2012.]

    I think this is a great episode! It’s a pretty clear indication of greatness when they can effectively repeat Doppelgangland and not be stale (unlike, e.g., Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered and Him). MikeJer makes a great case for the episode, as usual. 🙂

    However, I do not think Riley is correct that Buffy doesn’t love him. I think she does, or thinks she does (remember, she’s sleeping with him, and this isn’t season six. She loves him). The important point for the development (failure) of their relationship is that Riley thinks she does not, and keeps quiet.

    There are lots of problems in their relationship, including: Riley is at loose ends, Riley really likes order, Riley has at least some desire to be the strong one in the relationship (although I do think he genuinely likes Buffy’s strength), Buffy has a new-found focus, Riley wants to be needed, the ways in which Buffy needs Riley are not obvious (as is the case with most of her friends!), sophomore Buffy is a lot younger than grad student Riley, Buffy doesn’t share her slaying well, and Buffy is especially slay-focused right now.

    But the reason these problems are too many has nothing to do with the quantity or quality of the problems. It results from Riley and Buffy failing to communicate. Riley doesn’t say to Buffy, “I feel lost. I feel like you don’t value me.” Buffy doesn’t say to Riley, “I am glad you’re with me. I like having you on my team. I like having you in my bed.” Or whatever. Obvs. I don’t write screenplays.

    Those conversations never happen–just like Xander never tells Anya about his commitment issues in the next season–and the relationship fails.

    There’s more, much more, to a relationship than love. The Buffy/Riley relationship fails, but not because of Buffy failing to feel enough love. It fails because neither of them acts enough love and communicates well.

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  19. [Note: Summer posted this comment on December 28, 2012.]

    One of my fave episodes. The last part of the double Xander part where he’s a bad influence on himself is always hilarious. And the part with Riley’s confession in the end breaks my heart. Oh Riles! But it allows you to see the “seeing and knowing” Xander with the shot at the end of the episode.Oh, and Mike, ICWYDT “Now, armed with what already happens, we can take a look at Confident Xander with a new eye.” uh huh 😉

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  20. [Note: meh posted this comment on July 30, 2013.]

    I think it was very clever, and rare, not to use special effects for the breaking of the spell at the end. First time I saw this episode I was expecting the usual Latin/Sumerian, big flash, etc., especially with the buildup of the candles and pentagram, but it would have been quite unnecessary and cheesy. It’s far more effective this way.

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  21. [Note: Josh Man posted this comment on September 20, 2013.]

    I think this episode really complements The Zeppo, and shows off how important that episode was for Xander, while furthering his character development here. In The Zeppo, Xander saves the school and gains some confidence in himself, but still very much sees himself as in others’ shadows and as less important. After all, Xander saved the school, everyone else saved the world. But, there was some lasting effects from that, afterwords, Xander feels more confident and capable. However, there is also some backsliding, which is realistic and natural. And Xander ultimately loses a lot of the confidence that he gained in The Zeppo. After all, the school he saved is later blown up anyway. The difference that he made is erased. All this backsliding culminates in his falling under the thrall of Dracula. He has finally lost everything he gained psychologically from the events of The Zeppo, and therefore this is the perfect time for this episode, as he is allowed to see the confident parts of himself again shine, and remember that he is capable of more. He regains, and this time retains, many of the lessons learned in The Zeppo and moves closer towards becoming Buffy’s Watcher.

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  22. [Note: Myself posted this comment on October 26, 2013.]

    Great review. I’ve never liked this episode quite as much as the excellent Doppelgangland but I think it comes close. Just one spelling error: in the final paragraph it should be ‘for the ‘effect’ it has on Xander’ because ‘effect’ is the noun and ‘affect’ is the verb.

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  23. [Note: Spuffy4eva posted this comment on January 19, 2014.]

    “The fact of the matter is that this is Xander’s “Doppelgangland”

    So all supporting mains have character development eps involving body doubles then.
    I liked Willow’s reference to Doppelgangland, Buffy’s Toth joke, and the misleading you into thinking that only one was Xander. A great ep!

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  24. [Note: Spuffy4eva posted this comment on January 19, 2014.]

    And also I loved the Snoopy dance. Who couldn’t? I heard Nick Brendon had to make it up as well because he’d never done it before!

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  25. [Note: Buffster posted this comment on March 24, 2014.]

    I really have had this question and I’ve gotta come out and ask it.
    Is it that Buffy never loved anyone on the show other than Angel, or did she certainly love both Spike and Riley, too, just in different ways than she did Angel?

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  26. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on March 24, 2014.]

    Open to interpretation. I think Buffy loved Spike in a non-romantic way at the end of the series, but not before then.

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  27. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on June 10, 2014.]

    Something that really surprised me on second viewing: Toth’s wand never comes up again, despite the Scoobies keeping an inventory on all the mystical items they gathered this season.

    More relevantly, it seems like just the sort of weapon that Buffy would use against Glory– not because it would weaken her (quite the opposite, actually), but because it would force her out of Ben’s body.

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  28. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on July 8, 2014.]

    I will always admire how other shows have the characters service the plot but Buffy has the plot servicing the characters. “The Replacement” is just another stellar example. I don’t think we ever again get another Xander centric episode after this one, which sucks, because most of his episodes are hilarious and genius. This is a wonderful episode. Xander is adorable on this one, and it’s a delight to follow him through the episode. There’s a lot of cleverness going on, beginning with the basic idea of the plot: splitting a person into two. That’s a great idea that perfectly fits a supernatural universe. The writers make great use of the situation to develop Xander and showcase a side of his personality he wasn’t aware he had, and give other characters something to work with as well. It’s interesting that Buffy asks someone else (Riley) if he would like to have only Buffy Buffy around. Probably earlier on the series she would be asking herself if she would want that. This is possibly another indication that she’s much more comfortable being a slayer now than ever before. Riley uses the split-in-two analogy to explain how he feels around Buffy and to make us sad for him. I mean I really felt for Riley in this one, I kinda feel bad that he’s leaving now. Anyway, I love Anya. She’s positively hilarious. “We can have the Scooby meetings here and Giles can do his boring stuff there.” Haha! Anya also has a nice moment when she gets in touch with her mortal side. That’s a lot of character goodness to chew on and I love it.

    Am I the only one who thought Spike’s mannequin looks a lot more like Harmony than Buffy? Anyway, I’ve always found the mannequin thing and his obsession with Buffy creepy, if the character was anyone but Spike I would have started to loathe the guy. I can’t believe I love Spike though. Joss Whedon and his genius characters, gah. And, of course, the Snoopy Dance! I love how Xander throws the story of the fire Willow possibly set, and then Willow’s reaction doesn’t confirm nor deny it. They both are one hundred percent adorable on that entire scene. “Or, it’s Toth”. “OR, it’s Toth”. Hee.

    I’m glad that you gave this one an A-, MikeJr. Most websites and reviewers and Buffy fans find this one of the weaker episodes, which is stupid, because I consider this one among the best. 🙂

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  29. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on July 9, 2014.]

    I always enjoy this episode too. The first time I saw it, I was stunned, because in some of the scenes it seemed as if there were really two Xanders. I don’t know why, but somehow you can tell when an actor is doubling for him/herself – Alyson Hannigan was brilliant in Doppelgangland, but I guess there’s something about the light, or whatever. As everyone surely knows, Nicki Brendon has an identical twin brother.

    Yes, Spike dressing up a mannequin like Buffy is creepy – but note that this episode takes place before he realizes he is in love with her. At this point he is just upset, and wants to beat it up since he can’t hit Buffy.

    Like

  30. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on October 22, 2014.]

    You know, I think strong Xander would never have walked out on Anya. It was his fears that made him run away.

    Like

  31. [Note: Courtney posted this comment on May 1, 2015.]

    Just an fyi, Nicky’s bro actually played the more confident him in the scenes when there was two of him. And also a fun fact: he even gets his brother to come with him to Cons sometimes. 🙂

    Like

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