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28 October 2014
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Doug Petrie with weaponry. Grrr!
Doug Petrie
Buffy producer's inside guide

Buffy's walk through the valley of darkness.

BBC : Unusually for an episode of Buffy, Doomed was written by no less than three people. Was it just a difficult plot to formulate, or did a lot of people have smaller ideas that just happened to mesh?

Doug Petrie: It was very difficult. I think in terms of the line-up, I probably would have written that one myself except I was getting married that week and as much as I love Buffy, I was glad I took that couple of days off! It was tough and it was funny because Jane, Marti and Joss were all there for my wedding. Jane, at one point, was on the dance floor and said, "Okay, I've got to go back..." We were writing it over a weekend.

Doomed was very difficult. I was around for the breaking of the story and I'm happy about that. It was difficult, and it was hard. I think that we were really up against the wall. We didn't know what we were going to do and we didn't have much time. Things either go really, really well when that happens. You are blessed with some kind of inspiration, things click and they move fast because you don't have time. Wonderful things happen. Or... You work really hard and you do your best and hope. I think that was the case with Doomed. It was a lot of hard work. Buffy and Riley are the King and Queen of their respective worlds and have their own methods of dealing with the enemy.

BBC : Do you view Doomed as the start of their relationship proper: where they reconciled their different working methods?

Doug Petrie: Yes. They needed to trust one another and that's - physically - what the ending is all about. They literally have taken these leaps of faith and Riley is helping Buffy. That's what that was about - it was about trust and starting that. I think you're absolutely right, that was the start of that relationship.

BBC : And of course Spike is going further and further downhill in terms of his own self-esteem, to the point where he's trying to kill himself...

Doug Petrie: Yeah, this is also very tricky and fans were eager to get the real Spike back. When you have him in Hawaiian shirts and being humiliated [it] was something in season four that was very tricky. In terms of Nick, people were saying, "When's Xander going to be doing more and when is Giles going to be doing more and when is Spike going to be cool again?" And we had to stay the course. I think we really felt that we had to put them through these paces to get them to where they are now. We have great fans, I'm very happy to have the fans that we have. It's miraculous. But we tested their patience with this stuff and we knew what we were doing, to an end.

BBC : Did you ever reach a point where you thought, "We can't stick this out. We are going to have to reign it in a bit" or were you determined to stick to your guns?

Doug Petrie: We stick to our plans. For the most part. It's being a good storyteller, and I think that being a good storyteller means that you have to be in charge. Every good story will, I think, go to places where the viewer doesn't want to go because you love these characters and you don't want to see certain things. But you've got to take them through the dark to get to the light. You've got to take them through the dark woods to get to the enchanted city of Oz or whatever. Doomed - just from the title you can tell that's very much what that was about - taking characters through dark places so that their triumph at the end means something.

Read our episode guide to Doomed >>

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