Season 3, Episode 16 - “Doppelgangland”
Original airdate: Feb. 23, 1999
Project 310 re-watch date: Feb. 9, 2009
I’m not sure what to write about this episode, which features Anya and Willow casting a spell that accidentally brings Vampire Willow to Sunnydale from the alternate universe we saw in “The Wish”.
The episode doesn’t really advance the main Season 3 plot (though the Mayor does find out Willow is trying to hack into his files, and does give Faith her apartment). But unlike some of the Season 2 episodes that distracted from the main story, I actually liked this one.
This is the funniest episode of the first three seasons, ahead of “Halloween”. There are a ton of one-liners that make you laugh, and everything about Vampire Willow’s personality is so different from regular Willow that seeing her interact with Buffy and the Scoobies is hilarious.
When Willow says of her vampire doppelganger “I think I’m kinda gay”, it foreshadows the actual relationship she has with Tara in Season 4. In fact, Angel even tries to make the point that a vampire’s personality is somewhat based on the human it used to be, but Buffy cuts him off. Still, it’s good groundwork.
I don’t want to rehash every single point of this episode, but there is one negative thing I feel the need to mention. In this episode, Anya is very much like how we saw her in the beginning of “The Wish”. She’s confident, she’s kind of smart, and she knows what she wants. Yet somehow, by the time Season 4 comes around, she’s basically a moron. I’m not sure what happened there, but this Anya doesn’t mesh with the Anya we come to know. You can try to explain it away as an after-effect of losing her powers, but it still doesn’t make sense.
Giles: She was truly the finest of all of us.
Xander: Way better than me.
Giles: Much, much better.
(Even in mourning over Willow, Giles finds a way to subtly insult Xander)