CRUCIAMENTUM. Buffyverse Term/Concept/Idea/Intratext.

A test, administered by the Watcher's Council, of The Slayer on her 18th birthday. As we learn, in "Helpless," the Slayer's powers are removed (using drugs administered by her Watcher) and she is then pitted against a vampire whom she must defeat by her wits rather than her strength. In the following exchange an angry and skeptical Giles protests the Cruciamentum to Quentin Travers, the head of the Watcher's Council:

QUENTIN: You're having doubts. Cruciamentum is not easy . . . for Slayer or Watcher. But it's been done this way for a dozen centuries. Whenever a Slayer turns eighteen. It's a time-honored rite of passage.

GILES: It's an archaic exercise in cruelty. To lock her in this . . . tomb . . . weakened, defenseless. And to unleash *that* on her. If any one of the Council still had actual contact with a Slayer, they would see, but I'm the one in the thick of it.

QUENTIN Which is why you're not qualified to make this decision. You're too close.

GILES: That's not true.

QUENTIN: A Slayer is not just physical prowess. She must have cunning, imagination, a confidence derived from self-reliance. And believe me, once this is all over, your Buffy will be stronger for it.

GILES: Or she'll be dead for it.

QUENTIN: Rupert, if this girl is everything you say, then you've nothing to worry about.

Giles will, by the end of the episode, refuse to cooperate any longer with the test, confessing his involvement to Buffy. Buffy survives, killing the serial killer vampire Jeffrey Kralik (who has kidnapped her mother) by tricking him into drinking holy water. Quentin Travers nevertheless relieves Giles of his duties as Watcher:


GILES: The test is done. We're finished.

QUENTIN Not quite. She passed. You didn't. (faces him) The Slayer is not the only one who must perform in this situation. I've recommended to the Council, and they've agreed, that you be relieved of your duties as Watcher immediately. You're fired.

GILES: On what grounds?

QUENTINYour affection for your charge has rendered you incapable of clear and impartial judgment. You have a father's love for the child, and that is useless to the cause. It would be best if you had no further contact with the Slayer.

GILES: (with hostility) I'm not going anywhere.

QUENTIN No, well, I didn't expect you would adhere to that. However, if you interfere with the new Watcher, or countermand his authority in any way, you will be dealt with. Are we clear?

GILES: Oh, we're very clear.

QUENTIN: (bows slightly to Buffy) Congratulations again.

BUFFY: (vehemently) Bite me.

QUENTIN: (chuckles ruefully) Yes, well, colorful girl.

Wesley Wyndham-Pryce will be sent to Sunnydale ("Bad Girls") as Giles' replacement.


--David Lavery