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All Shows > Buffy the Vampire Slayer > Season 3

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - 3x16 - Doppelgängland

Synopsis: Willow becomes a vampire to make Percy do his homework.

Review: Doppelgängland, written and directed by Joss Whedon, is an example of Whedon's creative genius. He took the concept from possibly the worst episode of the series, The Wish, which I rated 2 out of 10, and spun a complicated, engaging tale. This episode not only completes the theme of The Wish, but it also joins a group of two other episodes from this season completing what I believe to be the theme of this season--and a major theme of the entire series. In the season premiere, Anne, Buffy discovers who she is. In the excellent episode The Zeppo, Xander discovers who he is. Finally Willow, the other member of the core cast of Buffy, discovers who she is in Doppelgängland. If you miss these three episodes, I think you have missed the entire message of Buffy.

This episode was all about Willow, and Alyson Hannigan shined while taking on the difficult task of playing two different personas of the same character. The difference you should notice between human Willow and vampire Willow is that there is not much difference. They are essentially the same person with the same disposition. Willow is capable of either great good or great evil. Whedon conveys a great truth here: we are all capable of great evil. You are also capable of great good. It is a choice God allows each one of us to make on our own.

Neither Buffy nor Willow could kill vampire Willow at the end of this episode. They both understand it was not really Willow, but Buffy could not compel herself to stake the doppelgänger of her best friend, and Willow could not kill...herself. So they send her back to the alternate universe, and, in a moment of poetic justice, Willow is staked by alternate Oz, who is human Willow's boyfriend. It was a fitting end to a great episode that deserves a 7.5 out of 10.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)

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Comments

Allyson Hannigan really is an amazing actress. In this episode, she effectively played four different parts: normal Willow, vampire Willow, normal Willow pretending to be vampire Willow, and vampire Willow pretending to be normal Willow.

I also loved the foreshadowing in terms of Willow's character. That's pretty amazing continuity.
--Matt Pickle (Agrees: yes)