I watched the episode First Date of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

How come it takes Principle Robin Wood seeing Spike fighting to know he was a vampire?

Only a scene earlier Robin Wood is driving a car with Spike on the back seat, he seems to directly look in the mirror but surely if Spike has no reflection he’d have worked out right away he’s not human.

  • FWIW, it’s listed as goof ("Character error") in the IMDb.
    – unor
    Mar 13, 2015 at 1:10
  • @unor yeah looks like the best explanation of this, just seems a really glaring one but I guess as the show focused less on vampires themselves in the later seasons there was less focus on sticking to the lore they set up
    – Peter Fox
    Mar 13, 2015 at 1:17

2 Answers 2


The short answer is that officially, vampires (even those with souls) in the Buffy-verse don't have reflections. Obviously in the real world it's not always possible for a show made on a limited budget to "paint out" every single reflection on every single surface and occasionally you'll get a production goof.

I'm struggling to find an scripted example of Spike not having a reflection but we can certainly use Angel as an analogue given that he is similarly 'ensouled':

Angel : I’m not what you think.
Rebecca: You’re not? Because – no reflection, - dark, private office, instantly knowing those letters weren’t written in blood, I guess what I would think is - vampire.
Angel: Then again...
Rebecca: Which is impossible. Bela Lugosi, Gary Oldman, they’re vampires.
Angel: Frank Langella was the only performance I believed but...
Rebecca: This is real. - You’re real. – Do you drink blood?

Buffy: Eternity

With regard to that specific episode, the best I can determine is that it's a simple production goof. Wood should have known that he was a vampire from his lack of reflection in the rearview mirror. In the original script, the reveal comes when Spike 'vamps out', rather than during the awkward car ride:

Wood is making his way across the room to Xander, and he looks over to see:

SPIKE YELLING with pain, and goes into VAMP-FACE.

ON WOOD (freezing as he realizes)

WOOD : He's a vampire.

That leaves two options; either he could see Spike in the mirror (which conflicts with the accepted canon) or he couldn't see Spike in the mirror but for some reason failed to notice his lack of reflection, perhaps because it was too dark to see clearly or because the mirror was dirty.

  • 1
    I seem to recall comments made in Angel about how Angel can style his hair without a reflection.
    – phantom42
    Mar 12, 2015 at 21:11
  • 2
    @phantom42 - In the alt-universe episodes he's evidently surprised to see what his hair looks like.
    – Valorum
    Mar 12, 2015 at 21:27

I think Wood knows that Spike was a vamp in the car. He didn't say anything because he wanted to figure everything out in his head before seeming untrustworthy, suspicious or whatever. At this point in the season principal Wood doesn't know all of the players that well yet.

  • 2
    This doesn't tally with either the script, nor what happens in the fight scene where there's a reaction-shot to show his visible surprised
    – Valorum
    Mar 7, 2017 at 21:26

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