Buffy Logo 'Hell's Bells'
Story Code '6ABB16'

by Rebecca Rand Kirshner

Buffy and Willow are horrified when they see their hideous bridesmaids dresses, but Anya is ecstatic with them. They discuss the previous evening’s rehearsal dinner: Xander’s family got drunk, and believe that Anya’s guests are circus people. At his apartment, Xander tries to cope with his relatives and Anya’s demons, but things get worse when his parents arrive. Out on the street, an old man materialises just as a thunderstorm breaks out. As Buffy helps Xander to get ready for the wedding, she tells him how proud she is of him, and how he and Anya give her hope. Willow and Tara help Anya get dressed while she prepares her vows; the two witches flirt with each other, but they stop when they see how stunning Anya is in her dress. Elsewhere, Dawn greets the guests, including Uncle Rory, Halfrek and also Spike, who shows up with a date. Xander’s dad gets drunk at the bar and talks to Anya’s family about circus life. The old man turns up. Buffy and Xander are now ready, and they go to greet the guests. When Dawn tells her sister about Spike and his date, Buffy looks jealous. Xander is confronted by the old man, who announces that he is Xander from the future, and is there to stop his earlier self from marrying Anya. Buffy manages to stop Xander’s dad from causing a scene, and tries to get him to sober up. Future Xander holds up a crystal ball and shows Xander what his future will be like: he and Anya have two children, but he is unable to work as he has damaged his back fighting demons; their marriage is not going well, especially as their daughter is half-demon, and is obviously not Xander’s. The vision jumps ahead several years: their children are resentful, while Anya continually makes snide remarks. The final scene is when they are both old and bitter; as they fight about lost years and their wasted marriage, Xander hits Anya with a frying pan. The vision ends, and Future Xander tells his present self to prevent all this by calling off the wedding. Buffy talks to Spike, and admits that she is jealous of his date, and even a little hurt. Spike offers to leave, but before he goes, he tells Buffy he is glad to see her happy again. Willow finds Xander in the kitchen; they chat for a while, but then Xander tells her he needs to work on his vows, and so she leaves him alone. Tara is listening to Anya practising her vows when Buffy checks in on them; the ceremony is about to begin, but Willow suddenly pulls Buffy to one side and tells her that Xander has gone missing. Buffy manages to stall Anya while Willow goes to look for Xander, who is out walking in the rain. Buffy tries to entertain the guests with jokes and juggling, but Anya loses her patience and storms out of her room. On the way to the hall, she overhears Dawn telling someone that Xander has disappeared. Anya is utterly shocked. Meanwhile, in the hall, a fight breaks out between the Harris family and the demons. Willow pulls Tara from the melee, making sure she is okay. Anya finds Xander’s cousin Carol, who tells Anya that she saw Xander talking to an old man. When Anya confronts him, the old man remarks that she has not changed; he then transforms into a giant green demon - he is not really Xander, but actually a man that Anya punished for being a philanderer back in 1914; she turned him into a demon and had him tortured in a hell dimension, but he managed to escape, and has now come to ruin her life, like she did his. After telling Anya about the fake visions that he showed Xander the demon then attacks her, but Buffy comes to the rescue. Xander returns in time to kill the demon. Anya shouts at the guests to stop fighting, as it is finally time for her wedding. As she stands next to Xander, she tries to comfort him by reassuring him that it was all a trick. But Xander is still hesitant, especially when he sees his own parents arguing. He tells Anya he thinks they have moved too fast, and is afraid of what their future might bring. He apologises to her - and then walks out the door. Anya makes her way down the aisle alone before breaking the news to the guests. That evening, Buffy, Dawn and Willow sit in their living room, wondering what to do - Anya wants to be left alone, and Xander has gone missing. Elsewhere, Xander, depressed and upset, checks into a hotel room. Meanwhile, Anya sits with her old boss D’Hoffryn; he tells her that she needs to get back to what she does best: crushing men like Xander.

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), James Marsters (Spike), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), Amber Benson (Tara), Kali Rocha (Halfrek), Andy Umberger (D'Hoffryn), Casey Sanders (Mr. Harris), Jan Hoag (Cousin Carol), George D. Wallace (Demon posing as Old Xander), Lee Garlington (Mrs. Harris), Steven Gilborn (Krevlin), James C. Leary (Clem), Daniel McFeeley (Warty Demon), Rebecca Jackson (Tarantula), Mel Fair (Tentacle Demon), Nick Kokich (Demon Teen), Robert Noble (Night Manager), Julian Franco (Young Bartender), Susannah L. Brown (Caterer Girl), Joey Hiott (Josh Age 10), Abigail Mavity (Sara Age 8), Chris Emerson (Josh Age 21), Ashligh Ann Wood (Sara Age 18), Megan Vint (Karen)
Directed by David Solomon

TX (US): 5th March 2002
TX (UK - Sky One): 18th April 2002

*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Anya, Tara and Dawn