As expanded on in Who does the Slayer lineage run through?, Buffy screwed up the Slayer lineage by coming back to life.

Somehow, this created an opening that the First Evil planned to (ab)use to put an end to all the Slayers. What I don't understand is why it had to wait until now.

As far as I can recall, its plan was to kill off all the Potentials, then kill the Slayer, preventing anyone from being chosen as the next Slayer. Wouldn't this plan have worked just as effectively before Buffy came back?

If the answer has something to do with events in Angel (including explaining why it waited so long), please hide it under a spoiler - I have yet to watch that series.


To those saying that the First simply lost patience, that is not the case. 7x11, Showtime, includes this dialogue (which took a while remember what episode it was in, hence not being included originally):

Giles: If the first has been around for all time, then why hasn't it attempted something like this before, why now?

Beljoxa's Eye: The opportunity has only recently presented itself.

Giles: Opportunity?

Beljoxa's Eye: The mystical forces surrounding the chosen line have become irrevocably altered. Become unstable. Vulnerable.

Anya: Something the First did?

Beljoxa's Eye: The First Evil did not cause the disruption, only seized upon it, to extinguish the lives of the Chosen forever.

Giles: Then what has caused the disruption, what- what is responsible for letting this happen?

Beljoxa's Eye: The Slayer.

And when they return to our dimension...

Anya: I just... I don't understand how Buffy's death mucked up the whole Slayer mojo, y'know, it's not like she hasn't died before.

Giles: It's not because she died. The Beljoxa's Eye was quite clear about that in its enigmatic way. It's because she lives. Again. Buffy's not responsible for that.

Anya: Oh.. no. Willow and me. And Xander. And Tara. We're the ones who brought Buffy back, we're the reason the First is here, the reason those girls were murdered. The world would have been better off if Buffy had just stayed dead.

So yeah, I misremembered which death caused the glitch, but it's definitely there, not just a fan theory. The problem is, as far as I can tell, the First's plan should have worked even without the glitch. Why would it not have worked until now?

7 Answers 7


I don't think it's as complicated as some of the previous posters have made it to be. The slayer line of succession was passed from Buffy to Kendra, and then from Kendra to Faith. Willow resurrects Buffy and she becomes the slayer again but without the ability to pass on the heritage, which the writers of BTVS have confirmed; according to the slayer mythology the line lives through Faith. Buffy notes herself in a conversation with Giles that another slayer should have been called. It's probable that this is a hole in the mythology that the writers weren't thinking about when the narrative was written. In season seven as well Buffy confuses the conversation by continuing to tell the potentials that one of them will be called when she dies, which isn't entirely true.

As long as Faith was incarcerated, and Buffy was the active slayer, then a new slayer would never be called until Faith died in prison (of course we know she escaped to help re-en-soul Angel). Had she stayed in prison, the 25 to life that she was sentenced to would've ensured the First Evil a big enough window to pick off all of the potential slayers, then Buffy the active slayer and finally Faith while she was confined. Another part of the confusion is Buffy's summation of the First's plan in Showtime, in which she states the First would kill her last. The writers also have Faith attacked in prison with a Bringer's knife, which would end up activating another slayer. I think this was probably an attempt to introduce this story line into Angel to pave the way to have Faith cross over into the final battle on BTVS. This part of the story line should have been written better or not at all.

Though Faith's role in the glitch wasn't explained in the series, this is the most simple and logical answer. That her fall from grace and Buffy's resurrection both destabilized the slayer line makes it a little more interesting. Had Buffy died in Prophecy Girl, Faith might not have fallen from grace. There would have been no other slayer for her to perpetually be in the shadow of. You could also imagine that had the Council been successful at eliminating Faith or even Buffy in Faith's body, that the glitch might also not have happened.

Another thing is that the short life span of the slayer ensures protection of different areas and revitalizes the slayer line. Buffy was called in the summer of 96, Kendra in the summer of 97, and Faith in the summer of 98; this trend would have ensured that although the slayers life span was short a slayer could be called to face different evils all over the world spreading the fight for good to these places in rapid succession. By the time the glitch occurred, Buffy had been a slayer for seven years and limited to Sunnydale. Remember there was also another Hell-mouth in Cleveland, presumably without a guardian.

SO, by season 7 you have two Slayers in their early twenties versus the natural order of the slayer line in which you have a young girl at the age of about sixteen called every year or so.

Imagine an already weary Buffy dying and being re-activated after another death, while Faith and the lineage languished in prison.

  • Huhm, y'know, it being passed on is a good point. And I forgot all about the whole prison/insanity thing with Faith. But Beljoxa's eye is saying "Slayer" singular; perhaps it strictly meant Faith's actions, and the characters took it wrong?
    – Izkata
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 14:07
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    That's kind of what I was thinking also. The eye never makes it clear which Slayer is being referred to. We only have Giles and Anya's conversations afterwards by which we infer which Slayer was being talked about. I imagined that the eye was being pretentious and used "Slayer" to refer to both Faith and Buffy. Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 4:22

If memory serves, it was Willow bringing back Buffy that screwed things up. It caused confusion in the order in which the slayers were called. Willow created a rift or "short circuit" in the spiritual forces that were guiding the slayer lines. In some mystical fashion, this created a hole for the First Evil to use to gain a more secure footing in this world and thus, greatly increased its powers in this realm.

Willow bringing Buffy back when she died a righteous death in saving the world was what really precipitated the acceleration and the power of the First’s influence and plan.

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    It was actually Buffy's death at the end of the first season that messed up the Slayer callings. End of season one, Buffy drowns and is brought back by Xander. But her death means that Kendra is activated.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 19:30

Another potentially relevant detail: at least according to the Initiative's mystical technology, Buffy is in fact undead as of Season 6; the chip they placed in Spike is highly accurate at distinguishing between human and demon based on more than just biology, and yet it reads Buffy as not being human following her resurrection. Assuming that the spell Willow used to resurrect Buffy is similar to the one Dawn used to resurrect Joyce in "Forever" (both involve a blood sacrifice, an image of the deceased, use of grave dirt, and calling on Osiris, so it's a fair bet), then maybe Buffy is no more than a highly animate zombie or revenant for the entirety of Season 6 and 7, the way that Joyce is for a few minutes during "Forever." The difference between Joyce's implied mindlessness and Buffy's gradual return to her pre-resurrection personality is presumably the difference between Dawn's and Willow's magical abilities.

In that case, it's fairly easy to imagine that the First Evil is taking advantage of a unique set of aberrant conditions in the slayer line: not only is one slayer "fallen" in the more traditional sense of being morally corrupt, but the other is "fallen" and now an undead creature or maybe even some kind of demon. It's safe to assume that an undead slayer would be unique to history--Giles is pretty explicit about the fact that resurrection spells that go as right as Willow's are extremely rare and indicative of a witch of enormous power--so maybe Buffy's status as a partially-inhuman slayer is what allows the First Evil to get a toehold on the world.


Sorry for the necro, but I feel this remains relevant.

The one thing that seems consistently problematic is Faith being attacked in prison. Based on what we know, I have a theory to account for this.

We know from the writers that Buffy can no longer pass on the Slayer line. By the time Faith was attacked in prison, many potentials around the world had already been killed, increasing the odds of any single potential being called.

I suggest that the plan was NOT to kill all the potentials before finishing up with Buffy and Faith. Due to fuzzy mechanics for generating potential slayers (if Buffy and Dawn shared enough blood for Buffy to close the portal, then Dawn should have been a potential), it may not even be possible to eliminate them all.

Instead, I think the "glitch" was that Buffy's death and resurrection reset her from the perspective of the Slayer essence (in Faith) and she now also qualified as a potential slayer, but still unable to pass on that essence.

With most of the extant potentials gathered in a known location the First can kill Faith, and as many replacement Slayers as necessary, until the Slayer essence jumps BACK into Buffy. As Buffy is a dead end for the Slayer line, it could never be passed on again even if she were to be killed.

This might have been possible after Buffy's first death, but her second is likely what cemented the glitch.


I know this is an old post, but I'd like to make my own short explanation. I believe that The First was able to put its plan into action because Buffy was meant to die during the finale of season 1 but she was resuscitated by Xander, starting the split in the Slayer line. The prophecy said that she was supposed to die, which she did, but she was brought back because her true purpose as the Slayer was to stop Glory from ripping the realities apart.

Fast-forward to that moment: Buffy had fulfilled her true "calling" as the Slayer and ascended to a higher dimension where she was at peace. When she was resurrected again by Willow it went against the natural order, which was supposed to correct the fact that there were two Slayers instead of one in the world. A Slayer is not meant to live as long as Buffy did, therefore the backlog of Potential Slayers began to increase.

This backlog of potentials made it easier for The First to track them and kill them, putting a stop to the Slayer line altogether. Because the balance between good and evil was thrown off, The First not only had a better foothold, but also had a good plan to put evil ahead of that balance, just like good had technically been dominant when Buffy was brought back. That's what I think anyway. Hope that made sense.

  • 5
    When your answer contains "I believe," and "that's what I think," chances are it's opinion, not an answer. This does not seem to be a reliable answer. Interesting, yes. I'd suggest looking at the Tour under the help menu above. Hint: since reading the Tour gives you a badge, and you have no badges, it's obvious when someone has not read it. ;) Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 3:27
  • 1
    @MeatTrademark Plenty of things in a fictional context are open to interpretation, since there is no factual answer. Even something as simple as "Was Buffy born in California?" may not have a definitive answer, but logical deductions can still be made. Saying "I believe" can just be an acknowledgement of the distinction between official canon and logical deduction.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 0:34
  • @AlexanderWinn Notice I said "chances are." I stand by my comment. Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 1:36

It is entirely possible that Beljoxa's Eye was not referring to Willow resurrecting Buffy but Xander bringing her back in season 1.

When one Slayer dies the next Slayer is activated, it is a long unbroken line stretching back to the First Slayer. Like a nomadic soul or spirit that moves from girl to girl wherever it is needed. The First Evil cannot eradicate the line because whatever it does, the Slayer spirit or whatever it is would need to go somewhere and will. This is false, but until Buffy and Kendra exist at the same time proving that the Slayer is not a nomadic soul, this is what everyone, including the First Evil, believes about the Slayer line.

Once Kendra is called and Buffy retains her powers the lie is exposed and anyone can see that by preparing potential slayers the Watchers are in fact unwittingly creating an army of super-soldiers just waiting to be activated.

Being caught completely unawares the First Evil needs to verify the risk, come up with a counterplan, expand her Harbinger troops ready for the campaign, clear some Hellmouth land for her ubervamp army to start breeding... Six years is more than reasonable for the First to get from recognising the threat to having all her forces manoeuvred into position and start killing potentials.


I don't recall anything, aside from taunts from Caleb or The First, that supports the claim that Buffy being extant or there being a fork in the slayer line gave The First any exceptional ability to strike. Rather, the timing of its plan as laid out in season seven was due to the hellmouth itself.

The slayer was the only potential threat to The First's plan, but the most likely reason that Caleb and The First's other agents attacked the potentials first and then Faith and Buffy is simple Sun Tzu: if Caleb killed a slayer first, he'd have to fight the potentials AFTER they became slayers, rather than before.

(OTOH, there is the potential benefit in knowing your opponent. The First seemed unable to haunt every potential slayer at once, so Buffy's survival gave it the advantage of being able to tailor a plan based on Buffy's psyche. If Faith has been the only Slayer and not Buffy, killing the potentials might not have even phased her.)

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