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Episode Guide for Buffy Season Seven

by Old Master 3.0

7.01 Lessons
7.02 Beneath You
7.03 Same Time, Same Place
7.04 Help
7.05 Selfless
7.06 Him
7.07 Conversations with Dead People
7.08 Sleeper
7.09 Never Leave Me
7.10 Bring on the Night
7.11 Showtime
7.12 Potential
7.13 The Killer in Me
7.14 First Date
7.15 Get It Done
7.16 Storyteller
7.17 Lies My Parents Told Me
7.18 Dirty Girls
7.19 Empty Places
7.20 Touched
7.21 End of Days
7.22 Chosen

Lessons (7.01)

In Istanbul, a young woman runs for her life as several cloaked men chase after her. They eventually capture her and hold her as a knife is raised above her and plunged.

Back in Sunnydale, Buffy lectures Dawn about "power" in slaying as a new vampire tries to rise from his grave. Dawn is a bit overconfident and gets in a bit of trouble when Buffy lets her try to slay the fledgling. Buffy saves her sister and as the two leave the graveyard, they talk about the great horrible threat of the return of Sunnydale High School. In Westbury, England, Giles rides a horse through a field to find Willow sitting in the grass, making a flower grow out of the ground. They talk about how the Coven has been teaching Willow to deal with her magic, but Willow knows they are all very afraid of her power.

Clad in a business suit, Xander arrives at the Summers house. In attempts to calm Buffy's nerves, Xander reviews the plans for the newly rebuilt Sunnydale High, confirming that every possible effort was taken to make sure the school was as guarded against evil as possible. He also reveals that the Hellmouth is located under the principal's office now instead of the library. Buffy checks to make sure Dawn is ready for the first day of school and gives her sister a special "weapon." Xander drops the Summers girls off at the new school and as Buffy tries to let go of her own personal experiences at the high school. The new principal, Robin Wood, welcomes them and then Buffy lets Dawn go off on her own.

After the students have started their classes, Buffy walks alone around the school's quiet and empty halls until a basketball is thrown across her path into a locker. She follows the young teen that threw it, but loses track of him. In the bathroom, Buffy finds a strange object on the counter and then two creatures appear to her briefly and try to scare her away. Dawn introduces herself to the class, but is interrupted by her overreactive sister who barges into the class announcing that it's not safe for them. Realizing her mistake, Buffy tries fix it, but the damage to Dawn's social life has been done.

Anya and Hallie have drinks at the coffee house while they watch a couple of singers perform. Hallie points out that Anya is losing her "evil" touch and that she needs to start acting more like a Vengeance demon because something evil and incredibly old is about to surface and Anya cannot afford to be borderline evil. Buffy reports to Xander about what she saw in the bathroom and worries that the return of Sunnydale High School is a sign of something bad. A student asks Dawn for a pencil and Dawn hands him one only to have the student be a zombie creature that stabs her in the face with the pencil. Dawn freaks out and as all eyes in the classroom turn on her, she realizes she's not injured and excuses herself to the bathroom to recover from the second major embarrassment of the day.

Dawn finds another student in the bathroom crying in one of the stalls because she thinks there are others in the bathroom with them. Dawn tries to comfort and befriend the girl, Kit, but the zombie creatures appear in the mirrors and the girls are pulled through the bathroom floor to the basement below. Meanwhile, Principal Wood finds Buffy roaming the halls and starts up a conversation about Buffy and her history at the school. In England, Willow suddenly starts to freak out and Giles tries to comfort her. She reveals that she felt evil from the earth, specifically the Hellmouth reopening.

Kit wakes Dawn and as the two search for an escape from the basement, they run into another living student, Carlos. Before they can get to know each other or find the way out, a janitor and two student zombie creatures surround them and offer threats and cryptic warnings about there not being an escape or help for them. Buffy tries to explain her colorful record to the principal and out of fear for her sister, attempts to convince him that Dawn's trouble and doesn't belong at the school. After receiving a cell phone call from Dawn, Buffy finds her way to the basement to rescue her sister. While waiting for her sister to find them, Dawn is grabbed by one of the creatures. Buffy runs into the creatures and learns that they're all mad at her for her failure to save them from their deaths. Buffy is more concerned with finding Dawn and suspects they're trying to keep her from the door behind them, so she fights with them until she gets past.

Instead of finding her sister behind the door though, she encounters Spike. She's stunned and wonders if he's real, but the zombies attack and interrupt. Temporarily rid of the spirits, Buffy focuses on Spike, but he only speaks crazy nonsense that she doesn't understand. Upon closer examination, she finds that his chest is cut up and he explains that he attempted to cut "it" out. While Buffy talks with Dawn on her cell phone, Spike reveals that the zombie creatures are manifest spirits and that a talisman is responsible for their vengeful actions. Still confused by him, Buffy rushes off to find Dawn. Remembering the object she saw in the bathroom, Buffy calls Xander on her cell phone. Dawn and the others put together a weapon with Kit's bag and a couple of bricks just in time for the creatures to appear and attack.

Xander makes his way to the girls bathroom and is momentarily pleased to find the large hole in the ground for him to fix later. Buffy finds Dawn and fights off the spirits while she waits for Xander to find the talisman in the bathroom. He does, despite an attack from one of the spirits, and breaks it just in time. Finally back upstairs, Buffy offers some advice to Dawn, Carlos and Kit and the three head off to class together. The principal is impressed with her ability to communicate with the troublemakers, Kit and Carlos. He offers Buffy a low-paying job as a counselor who can reach the students on their own level and Buffy eagerly agrees.

Spike talks out loud seemingly about what he could have done when he saw Buffy and how she'll never understand him. It's revealed that he's not alone as Warren appears and talks to him about how Buffy cannot understand what he is. Warren morphs into Glory who warns that soon she'll be the talk of the world. Glory turns into Adam who announces that everyone is where they should be. The Mayor is the next figure who comments about Spike's soul and then he turns into Drusilla, who proclaims that Spike belongs to her. She turns into the Master, who explains there will be a return to the real beginning in the eventual future. Finally, the figure morphs into Buffy who reveals, "It's about power."

Written by Joss Whedon ~ Directed by David Solomon & Joss Whedon

Original Air Date: September 24, 2002

Beneath You (7.02)

A girl with bright pink hair runs around a building, followed by men in black robes, like the woman in Istanbul. She is grabbed and stabbed with large knives then says, "From beneath you, it devours." Dawn wakes Buffy from the nightmare where she saw this happen, and Buffy questions the meaning of her dream. Elsewhere in Sunnydale, something large tears through the ground. Spike sneaks around in the school basement he calls home, seemingly headed for a rat while he speaks aloud. Everything around him begins to shake and he falls to the ground, screaming. Xander drives Buffy and Dawn to school and they talk about high school and Xander's relationship problems.

Principal Wood introduces Buffy to her new job and cubical where she'll be working. Buffy sneaks down to the basement in search of Spike, but doesn't find him. In England, Willow struggles with the need to return to Sunnydale where she'll be forced to face her friends and the trouble she caused. A taxi awaits her as Giles listens to her verbalize her fears and he convinces her that even if her friends don't want her back, her presence on the Hellmouth will be important. Back in Sunnydale, a woman walks her small dog along the sidewalk, but while her back is turned, something sucks the dog through the pavement and into the ground. She runs away and right into Xander, who takes her to the safety of Buffy's house.

The remaining Scooby Gang console the woman, Nancy, and promise to deal with this unusual creature. Much to everyone's surprise, a cleaned up version of Spike joins them in the living room and offers his assistance in the battle. Spike wants to talk with Buffy, but Dawn and Xander are not happy to see the blond or with the fact that Buffy didn't inform them that she saw Spike earlier. Buffy goes to talk with Spike privately and he offers to help deal with this underground monster. Buffy eventually agrees to let him help, then explains the game plan to the rest of the group. As Spike leaves with Buffy for patrol, Dawn leaves him with a parting threat should he hurt Buffy in any way.

While examining the scene where the dog was eaten, Spike explains that the manifest spirits from the school were the cause of his craziness. Buffy is uncomfortable around him in wake of his attempted rape and he doesn't bother apologizing for what he did, just admits to changing. Xander takes Nancy home and she asks if they can go out sometime. The ground rumbles and a giant worm chases them down a hallway and emerges from the ground with a roar. Once the worm goes away and the two are safe, Nancy starts to talk about her abusive ex-boyfriend and Xander quickly concludes that she made a wish to a vengeance demon.

Buffy and the gang confront Anya at the Bronze and get her to admit to making Nancy's ex-boyfriend Ronnie into a slug monster. Anya suddenly realizes that Spike has a soul but Spike tries to stop her from spilling the news to the rest of the group. He starts to attack Anya and she turns on him, Vengeance demon at the fore. Buffy steps in and beats up on Spike while he hits her back with a verbal assault. The fight sends Nancy on the run alone, but her wormy ex-boyfriend is hot on her trail. Meanwhile, Xander tries to convince Anya to reverse the curse on Ronnie, but it's not something she can do easily.

Buffy arrives in time to rescue Nancy from certain death and before Buffy can begin to battle with the giant worm, Spike intervenes. After a few hits with a metal pole, he goes to stab the worm only to have it turn back into Ronnie's human form before Spike makes contact. Both guys scream in pain as Spike stabs Ronnie in the shoulder. Spike starts to freak out and act crazy again while Buffy calls the paramedics to help Ronnie. Anya and Xander arrive on the scene and Anya knows she will pay a steep price for reversing the spell.

Buffy chases after Spike and finds him in a church. He's confused and speaks metaphors of what he really is to Buffy. He concludes that she's there to use him like she did before, but Buffy is quick to correct him. He tries to explain what he did to get the missing piece that would allow him to become what she wanted. Buffy realizes that he got his soul back and is completely shocked by the revelation. Spike continues to speak of all the voices that are in his head, those from his past and new ones alike. Spike turns to a large cross at the front of the church and drapes himself onto it, letting it burn him. Tears fall from Buffy's eyes as she looks on.

Written by Doug Petrie ~ Directed by Nick Marck

Original Air Date: October 1, 2002

Same Time, Same Place (7.03)

At the airport, Buffy, Dawn and Xander wait for Willow to get off of her plane, and they talk about how uncomfortable they feel about the situation. The plane clears, but the three don't see Willow. The scene repeats as Willow gets off the plane, but she doesn't see her friends waiting for her. A young guy spray paints a wall of a construction site as a demon taunts him from the shadows and then attacks the frightened man.

Willow lets herself into the Summers house, which appears to be bereft of her friends. Going up to what used to be her room, but which has now been claimed by Buffy, Willow remembers the last time she was in the room. A door closes and Willow goes to investigate, but still her friends are nowhere to be seen. Alone, Willow curls up on the couch. Buffy, Xander and Dawn return home and after talking about how Willow did leave England, but she had opportunities to divert to another location other than Sunnydale. They hear a noise upstairs and check it out, but find nothing. In the living room, the three talk about the reason for Willow's disappearance.

The next morning, Willow walks over to the magic shop and finds Anya cleaning up the magic shop. Anya is very cold to her and Willow feels guilty about everything. They talk a bit and Anya fills Willow in on everyone's activities since she's been gone. Willow checks out Xander's construction site and instead of Xander, she finds a skinned body. At the same time, Xander and Buffy are looking at the body and the familiar sight makes them wonder if Willow is back after all. Unbeknownst to them, a disgusted Willow climbs a latter to exit the site.

Willow walks the halls of Sunnydale High and proceeds down to the basement where she finds Spike acting insane. He talks to Willow about the dead body, but also carries on a conversation with something else in the room Willow can't see. Buffy and Xander maneuver through the basement and find Spike seemingly talking to himself. Buffy and Xander try to get information from him, but Spike's simultaneously conversing with Willow, so his words make little sense. Spike suspects they can't see each other and that Willow's responsible for it. Buffy and Xander interpret some of Spike's comments to mean that he knows about Willow and they suspect she might have something to do with Spike's

Willow goes to Anya for help in finding the demon that skinned the guy at the construction site. Anya helps Willow cast a spell to locate demons all over Sunnydale. After the spell is complete, Willow asks Anya to teleport to one particular location, but Anya reveals that she can't for non-vengeance business as a result of her recently undoing a spell. Instead, Willow takes the long way and walks there herself. Dawn searches demons on the computer and although Buffy thinks it's a waste of time, Dawn finds a demon that meets their specifications named Gnarl. The demon paralyzes its victims with its nails and then eats strips of skin from the body and drinks the blood.

Realizing they need to search for a trail of blood, Buffy decides to recruit Spike to smell the way. He leads them to a cave where the demon can be found. Willow is already there investigating the cave and the Gnarl spots her. The rest of the gang enters the cave as well, but they don't see Willow. The demon scratches Dawn's stomach and paralyzes her. Buffy and Xander take Dawn out of the cave and cover up the entrance, unintentionally leaving Willow with Gnarl. Trapped in the cave, Willow listens to the demon taunt her from the shadows. He slices her abdomen with a nail and then paralyzed, Willow is helpless against him as he sucks at the cut and starts to slice away slivers of her skin to eat.

Buffy and Xander carry a completely paralyzed Dawn into the living room while Buffy researches the Gnarl and the way to save Dawn. Anya is called to stay with Dawn while they prepare to return to the cave to kill the demon and save Dawn. Anya talks about seeing Willow and reveals that Willow may be at the cave. Panicked that Willow is trapped in the cave, Buffy grabs Anya to join them at the cave. Once Anya reveals that she knows about Gnarl, Buffy insists she come along. Gnarl continues to eat Willow's skin as he tells her friends have abandoned her and she's all alone for him to eat. Buffy arrives and attacks Gnarl while Anya tends to a badly injured Willow who still can't see her friends. While Buffy fights Gnarl, Anya informs Willow that her friends didn't leave her alone.

Buffy pokes the demons in the eyes with her thumbs, successfully killing it and ending the paralysis on both Willow and Dawn. Buffy and Xander look where they think Willow is while Anya runs for help and slowly, the spell making them invisible to each other wears off. Willow is relieved to see her friends and glad they didn't abandon her. Willow meditates and uses magic from the earth to re-grow the skin she lost. Buffy stops by and talks with Willow. Willow reveals that her fear of seeing her friends and their judgment of her led to the invisibility problem they all were suffering from. Buffy confesses that she suspected Willow of the grotesque killing, but Willow doesn't blame her for that. Willow struggles to start meditating again, but she's still weak. Buffy offers her Slayer strength to her friend and joins in the meditation.

Written by Jane Espenson ~ Directed by James A. Contner

Original Air Date: October 8, 2002

Help (7.04)

Once the lights are turned out at a funeral home, Buffy, Xander and Dawn climb out of caskets. They chat about Buffy's nervousness about her new job and the struggle she may face while trying to mix her Slayer job with being a counselor. The three find a deceased woman in an open casket that they suspect of being a vampire and rightfully so as the woman comes to life and is promptly staked. At the high school the next day, Buffy talks with various students who all have their own problems ranging from trouble with bullies and violence to boredom. Willow and Xander talk walk together and talk about Buffy's struggles and Willow's worries about her role in dealing with the impending Hellmouth danger. Willow walks off on her own and proceeds towards Tara's grave.

Buffy talks with more students, including her own sister, but one girl named Cassie Newton stuns counselor Buffy when she confesses that she's going to die next Friday. Buffy has tons of questions, but Cassie doesn't have many answers. She doesn't understand it, but she just knows that she's going to die and that there will be lots of coins. As she leaves for class, Cassie compliments Buffy's shirt and warns her against the danger of spilling something on it. Buffy reports this to Principal Wood, but he's not as helpful as she'd like. After spilling coffee onto her white shirt, Buffy gets suspicious and sends Dawn to befriend Cassie. Dawn catches up with Cassie and they talk about Cassie's friend Mike who has continuously asked Cassie to the dance and been rejected every time.

Willow investigates Cassie on the computer and finds Cassie's own site with tons of sad, morbid poetry. Dawn returns home from school and thinks the reason for Cassie's problem is Mike, but Buffy and the others don't pay much attention. Willow finds a website on Cassie's father that shows his troubled past with the law and alcohol. Buffy and Xander go visit Cassie's father and confront him with their suspicion that he may get drunk and hurt his daughter. Mr. Newton confidently denies the accusation and after he goes on about how little time his ex-wife allows him to spend with his daughter, Buffy and Xander leave. Cassie shows up outside of her Dad's house and although she appreciates Buffy's efforts to find the cause, she knows there's nothing Buffy can do to stop her death. Cassie talks about all the things she wishes she could do, but she knows she never can.

Meanwhile, a group of guys in red cloaks walk around a circle and burn pictures of Cassie on a tray in the middle. Still motivated to help Cassie, Buffy reads poetry from Cassie's site and continues to investigate with the rest of the gang. Buffy goes to the school basement and asks Spike if he knows anything about Cassie. Because he "hurt the girl," he's punishing himself and trying to stay away from the voices. He doesn't have any information for her and Buffy leaves him, thinking her presence hurts him more than when she's not there.

Upstairs, Principal Wood and another administrator search through student lockers for anything suspicious. Buffy catches Mike in the halls and drills him to see if he may have intentions of hurting Cassie because she rejected him. He makes it clear he doesn't care that much and has already moved on to thinking about Dawn. A bunch of coins fall from one of the lockers, drawing Buffy's attention. Buffy takes one of the coins and the number of the locker where they came from and talks to the student the locker belongs to. After some violent prompting, the student confesses that some of his friends want to hurt Cassie.

Dawn and Cassie walk away from the school as Cassie reveals how she knows Buffy sent Dawn to befriend Cassie. A student named Peter approaches and asks Dawn about the dance, but only to be a jerk, not to ask her out. At the school that night, the cloaked group gathers again around a circle of coins and one of the boys turns out to be Peter. He checks with the others to make sure the school is secure and no one can get in or out. Then, he pulls a bound and blindfolded Cassie out to the circle and holds a butcher knife to her neck. She is to be a sacrifice to a demon that will provide the boys with tons of money.

As Peter starts the ritual, Buffy suddenly rips off her cloak, unveiling herself to the group and then smacks Peter around a bit. She doesn't think the ritual was a success, but a large demon appears behind her, proving her wrong. Buffy fights with the demon and Spike shows up with a flaming torch to help. Buffy uses the torch to burn the demon while Spike cuts Cassie free from her bonds. Cassie tells him, "Someday she'll tell you" which shocks Spike and he retreats away. Desperately, Peter moves towards the fried demon and wants to know where his money is. The burned demon leans up and bites Peter on the shoulder one before exploding into dust.

Buffy and Cassie walk away together, leaving Peter to deal on his own. A crossbow booby trap set by one of the cloaked boys nearly kills Cassie, but Buffy stops the bolt. Soon after though, Cassie gasps and unexpectedly falls to the ground, dead. The next day, the Scooby Gang gather at Buffy's and solemnly talk about how Cassie died of a heart attack. Buffy feels as if she's failed, but Dawn corrects her, saying Buffy couldn't fail since she tried to help. Buffy has a hard time dealing with the fact that there are just some things she can't save people from.

Written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner ~ Directed by Rick Rosenthal

Original Air Date: October 15, 2002

Selfless (7.05)

Dawn helps Willow move into her new room at the Summer's house while giving her advice on how to fit in with people at school. Buffy and Xander contribute to the effort as well while talking about Anya. Buffy wonders about Anya's evil intentions, but Xander thinks she's getting better and isn't a threat. At a frat house, dead male bodies litter the room, each one with his hearts ripped out. Anya sits on the floor, covered in blood and in completely shock by the violence she's caused. In Sjornjost, 880, a pre-demon Anya, then named Aud, cares for her Viking husband Olaf after he returns home from a hard day of fighting trolls. She feeds him, but worries about whether he's been faithful to her.

In the school basement, Spike talks to Buffy about his mental struggles and Drusilla. Buffy is kind and reassuring that she'll help him get through his struggles. Then the real Buffy comes downstairs and tells a tearful Spike to get out of the basement and away from whatever is making him so crazy down there. Willow talks with one of her professors about returning to class and then she runs into Anya leaving one of the fraternity houses wearing a trench coat. Anya's very distant and claims she's dating one of the frat boys before quickly rushing off. Willow spots a streak of blood on Anya wrist before she runs off and goes to investigate the building.

Willow finds the frat house covered in blood and a young woman cowering and crying in the closet. The woman explains how she wished the fraternity boys could have their hearts ripped out after her heart was broken by one of the boys. She didn't intend for it to really happen, but then a giant spider showed up and ripped out the hearts of all the boys in the house. Willow uses dark magic to hold the spider at bay and loses control for a minute, snapping at the cowering woman before tossing the spider through a window and apologizing for her outburst. Back in Sjornjost, 880, as a newly turned troll, Olaf runs from a mob of villagers who intend to kill him. Aud watches the proceedings along with D'Hoffryn who appreciates her fine magic. She turned him into a troll after he cheated on her with a barmaid. D'Hoffryn convinces Aud that she should go into the vengeance business and that her true destiny is as Anyanka, Vengeance Demon.

At work, Buffy receives a call from Willow about the frat house and the spider demon. Meanwhile, Halfrek praises Anya violent vengeance while Anya expresses her difficulty to deal with the effect the act has had on her. Willow barges into Anya's place and orders Halfrek out. She tries to offer help, but Anya isn't in assistance, especially from Willow. Buffy and Xander search through the woods outside the frat house for the spider and find another dead body. The spider attacks them and nearly kills Buffy, but she manages to throw it off and kill it with an ax.

Buffy and Xander return to the house and find Willow waiting with an explanation about where the demon originated and the damage it caused. Xander blows up at Willow because she didn't tell them, but she did it because Buffy would feel obligated to kill Anya as a result. In St. Petersburg, 1805, Anyanka and Halfrek dine on champagne after massacring a room full of men. Anyanka is set in her ways and focused on Vengeance. Buffy is determined to kill Anya because of the violence she's caused. Xander can't believe she would kill Anya and desperately tries to convince Buffy to change her mind. They argue about their actions with Spike and Willow and Buffy reminds Xander that she killed Angel in spite of her love for him. Buffy thinks Xander's love for Anya is clouding his judgment and encourages him to find another alternative, although she doesn't believe one exists. Xander rushes out to find a way to prevent Anya's death while Buffy sets out to cause it.

Left on her own, Willow rushes to her room and finds the talisman D'Hoffryn gave her years ago and she summons him. Xander finds Anya at the fraternity house and tries to offer help and warning of Buffy's intentions, but again Anya isn't interested in his assistance. Buffy shows up and after Anya turns into Anyanka and knocks Xander out of the way, the girls break out in a fight. The struggle and toss each other around for a while, but armed with a sword, Buffy as a mild advantage and manages to stab Anya in the chest. In a flashback to 2001 when Sunnydale residents were consumed by the desire to sing, Xander sleeps in recliner while Anya breaks out into song about her relationship, life as a human, and her upcoming marriage to him.

In the present, Anya wakes up from her stabbing induced unconsciousness and rips the sword out. The fight continues and Xander intervenes when Buffy raises the sword to stab Anya again and D'Hoffryn pops in, interrupting the rest of the battle. He examines the viewpoints of all the Scooby Gang in regards to Anya's future, but wonders what Anya wants to do. She asks to take back her vengeance and because of the enormity of the act, a Vengeance demon must die in exchange for the reversal. Anya accepts the steep price and is prepared to die to undo what she's done. Instead though, D'Hoffryn makes Halfrek appear and die in Anya's place as a punishment to her. With a parting threat about the big evil, D'Hoffryn departs. Hurt and scared, Anya walks out alone, but Xander follows. She expresses her worries about surviving on her own and whether she actually has a role in the world. He offers some comforting words, but her problems and fears require time to be repaired. Xander walks off into the night while tearfully, Anya moves in the opposite direction, facing the future on her own.

Written by Drew Goddard ~ Directed by David Solomon

Original Air Date: October 22, 2002

Him (7.06)

Xander introduces Spike to his new living environment: Xander's apartment. Buffy tries to convince a reluctant Xander that Spike needs their help and a place better than the basement to live. Spike's just about as reluctant as Xander, but Buffy thinks this plan is the right thing for him. Buffy and Dawn talk privately about Buffy's feelings for Spike and why she's helping him in light of the pain he's caused her. Dawn starts to rant about love and relationships and Buffy leaves so she can return to work. An attractive jock on the football field then catches her attention and she falls off the bleachers while distracted by him.

Buffy fights with and kills a demon at Anya's apartment that was sent by D'Hoffryn. Anya thanks her for the help, but doesn't want it to seem like she needs help. Buffy explains that the gang need Anya's help and she wants to protect her friends, Anya included. At the high school, Dawn prepares to confront her dream guy and once she finds him, she tries to start up a conversation with him. He's with another player, O'Donnell, and two cheerleaders talking about cheer tryouts and most of Dawn's awkward comments don't quite fit with the crowd. Later, Dawn tries out for the cheerleading team wearing Buffy's old cheerleading uniform, but she falls and pretty much makes a fool out of herself. At home that night, Dawn locks herself in the bathroom and cuts up the cheerleading uniform while Buffy tries to get her to come out.

Buffy tries to offer help and support, but considering Buffy's track record with guys, Dawn isn't interested. The next day at school, Dawn overhears O'Donnell inform R.J. that he won't be starting quarterback for the game and she confronts O'Donnell. She yells at him at first, but then in a moment of anger, she shoves him and he falls down a flight of stairs. Dawn has a meeting with Principal Wood and Buffy about the incident and informs them that the jock just tripped and fell down the stairs. Buffy realizes though that Dawn may have been motivated by her love for R.J. and actually pushed O'Donnell down the stairs.

R.J. catches up with Dawn after her meeting and they talk then R.J. invites her out on a date. At the Bronze, the gang sit around and talk about Spike's progress at Xander's place as they spot R.J. dancing with a slutty-looking girl. They're all beyond shocked when they see that the girl is Dawn. Buffy confronts her sister and lays down the law about Dawn's clothes and behavior, but Dawn puts up quite a fight for her right to do whatever she wants. Unable to get past Buffy to return to the dance floor, Dawn leaves and encounters one of the cheerleader girls in the alley. They begin to fight over R.J. and have to be broken up by Buffy.

Buffy watches as Principal Wood lectures R.J. about not doing his own homework and then Buffy catches him for another lecture. She gets on his case about the way he's treating girls, but quickly, something comes over Buffy and she starts to swoon over him like a love-sick school girl. Buffy catches Dawn as she returns home that night and tells her about her meeting with R.J. Buffy offers encouragement to her sister by explaining that she has a chance with R.J. and that he really likes her.

At school the next day, Buffy pulls R.J. out of class and takes him to an empty room. While Dawn walks the halls peeking into rooms in search of R.J., Buffy adoringly listens to R.J. talk about football and his troubles at school and then starts kissing him just as Dawn peeks into the room. Dawn runs outside in tears and into Xander. He tries to comfort her, but realizes that Buffy would possibly be more help and goes to find her. He's surprised to find her on top of R.J. and promptly takes her home for a much needed intervention with the others. At the Summers house that night, Buffy and Dawn fight about their love with R.J., while Xander, Willow and Anya try to keep the peace until they can reverse the love spell obviously affecting the sisters.

Willow searches for information on R.J. and instead finds information on R.J.'s older brother, Lance, who Xander remembers from high school. Xander and Spike go to find R.J.'s brother and despite his popular status at high school, he isn't quite his attractive, popular self anymore. After some chatting, the guys realize that R.J.'s jacket has been handed down through the family. As R.J. walks away, Willow and Anya start to look at him lovingly and then argue about which of them he loves more. Buffy and Dawn jump into the fight and soon Dawn is hurt and depressed that her friends and sister are taking her guy away while the other three plot to win R.J. Buffy goes to kill the Principal, Willow works on a spell to make R.J. a woman, Anya takes off to rob a bank, and Dawn lays herself across railroad tracks.

Xander stops Willow from completing her spell and then brings her along to stop Buffy from killing Principal Wood. Spike tackles Buffy before she can kill the principal, and although she puts up a fight, he gets the weapon away from her. Using Willow's locator spell, they find Dawn on the railroad tracks just as a train is headed for her. Buffy jumps in a rescues her sister just before the train hits. Scared at the thought of losing her sister, Buffy shows that the spell wasn't that strong and admits her willingness to give up R.J. if it means that much to Dawn. Finally, Xander and Spike jump R.J. on the street and steal his coat, then burn it in the fireplace at the Summer's home. All the girls feel terrible about the way they acted and the things they almost did. Willow questions what Anya did to prove her love to R.J., Anya dodges the subject with a quick lie and turns off the radio as a news report about a wanted bank robber on the loose.

Written by Drew Z. Greenberg ~ Directed by Michael Gershman

Original Air Date: November 5, 2002

Conversations With Dead People (7.07)

Spike mopes at the Bronze, Buffy walks through a cemetery, Willow struggles to stay awake at the library and Dawn returns home from school to an empty house. Buffy finds a fresh grave with a vampire rising and it all begins. Jonathan and Andrew drive back into Sunnydale, returning from Mexico. They've been having nightmares about this something that will devour from beneath. In the cemetery, Buffy fights with the newly risen vampire until he stops, recognizing her from high school. Back at the Summers' house, Dawn enjoys a pizza while checking out Buffy's clothes and damaging the house as she plays with Buffy's weapons. While at the library, the ghostly form of Cassie pays Willow a visit.

Dawn talks with a friend while watching a scary movie. She hears several loud thumps and then the door blows open with a fierce wind. The previously muted TV suddenly starts to play sound again and frightened, Dawn unplugs it, but it doesn't turn off. Music starts to blare from stereos and Dawn finally takes an ax to the TV and stereo systems. A radio in the kitchen continues to play and the microwave glows and smokes before exploding. Dawn cowers in a corner as the radio continues to play and Joyce's voice is heard calling Dawn's name. The vampire, Holden Webster, tries to remind Buffy of their time together in high school, but they weren't the closest of friends and it takes her a while. They start to chat about life since high school, putting aside their destiny to try and kill each other for the moment. Holden talks to her about some of their former classmates and their current roles as vampire and Slayer.

Dawn panics and tries to call Buffy, but she doesn't answer the phone. Joyce's dead body appears on the couch behind Dawn and as the lights flash, furniture is rearranged and put back and a message is written in blood on the wall. Dawn asks the ghost questions to be answered by knocking sounds for yes or no. She finds it is her mother, but she's not okay and she's not alone. The house shakes violently and Dawn freaks out some more. Jonathan and Andrew sneak into the new Sunnydale High School with intent to find something that will help them save Sunnydale and hopefully earn them entrance into the Scooby Gang.

They split up and once Andrew is alone, he encounters Warren. Warren reminds Andrew that his death was part of the plan and that they need to stay calm until Jonathan has served his purpose for them. Willow wonders why she can't see Tara personally and finds that because she killed people, she's not allowed to see Tara. Willow talks to Tara through Cassie, professing her love and how much she misses Tara. Cassie relays messages back from Tara, giving Willow a little hope. Holden analyzes Buffy's life and her struggles with romance, but he knows they have to get back to the fighting soon. They continue to talk about Buffy's superiority complex and how it relates to her parents' divorce and her own personal difficulties making a relationship work. She doesn't think she has such a complex, but she starts to open up about her last relationship and Holden uses the opportunity to hit her with a statue. He leans in for the bite, but Buffy regains her composure and the fight is back on.

Dawn tries to talk to the evil spirit haunting the house and supposedly holding her mother captive. She can see a strange figure holding her Mom down on the couch and it swings an ax at Dawn. The figure wants her out of the house, but Dawn refuses to leave. Jonathan and Andrew search through the basement of the school and head into a room after Andrew receives a hint from Warren. Following their blueprints, they start to dig into the ground. Buffy pins Holden down and is about to stake him when he comments on her motivation and she's thrown for a loop. He questions and correctly guesses that her last relationship was with a vampire, earning him the chance to ask more questions as part of a deal.

Meanwhile, Spike walks a woman he met at the Bronze to her home and they stop to talk outside. Willow talks to Cassie about everything that happened after Tara was shot. Willow is warned not to use magic again because of the danger it poses. Willow promises not to use magic again and hurt people like that again, but Tara says she will; she's going to kill everyone. Andrew and Jonathan dig together and Jonathan talks about how much he misses high school and his fellow students. Andrew chimes in, saying that none of Jonathan's fellow students care about him. Dawn tries to perform a spell to cast the spirit out of the house, but it fights her attempts furiously. She's tossed around and cut and all of the windows in the living room shatter.

Buffy continues to confide in Holden about her feelings. She thinks that because she's the Slayer, her friends and family don't understand her and never will. Defeated by the truth, she realizes that she does have a superiority complex. They get ready to fight again when Buffy mentions Spike's name as the vampire she was involved with and it catches Holden's attention. Dawn struggles against the wind and the violent spirit, but she manages to succeed in expelling it from the house. Weakened, Dawn collapses to the ground as a glowing, angelic figure of her mother appears in the room. Cassie tells Willow that she only has two options: never perform magic again, or kill herself. The second option alerts Willow to the fact that Cassie isn't who she says she is and she was never talking to Tara.

Holden tells Buffy that Spike sired him while across town, Spike viciously bites into the woman's neck. Joyce's spirit warns Dawn about impending danger and how when it happens, Buffy won't be there to protect Dawn; she'll be Dawn's enemy. Jonathan looks up to see Warren standing behind Andrew just before Andrew shoves a knife into Jonathan's stomach. Cassie taunts Willow and it doesn't take long before Willow realizes Cassie is representing the thing that will devour everyone from below. Cassie explains that the end will be monumental before she morphs into a mouthy monster then disappears. Jonathan falls dead onto the symbol, Spike drops the woman's dead body to the ground and Buffy finally stakes vampire guy.

Written by Jane Espenson & Drew Goddard ~ Directed by Nick Marck

Original Air Date: November 12, 2002

Sleeper (7.08)

Spike's digs a grave for and buries the woman he just killed while he hums a tune. In London, a man with a briefcase finds a young woman he knows lying dead. When he investigates her body, a robbed figure attacks the man with a dagger, but the man fights back. Another robbed figure joins in and soon, the man is stabbed and falls dead next to the young woman. Willow arrives at the Summers' house and finds the house a disaster and Dawn still in shock. Dawn tries to tell her what happened and how she saw Joyce, but Willow explains that it was a big evil messing with their minds.

At Xander's apartment, Buffy and Xander talk about the possibility of Spike turning a human, even in spite of his chip. Buffy doesn't want to believe it because she knows the chip still works, but she and Xander have to wonder if maybe Spike's been acting all this time. Spike returns to Xander's apartment and receives a somewhat cold reception. In attempts to get a reaction from him about Holden, Buffy mentions the encounter to Spike, but he regards it calmly and heads off to bed. Both having things to do, but not wanting to leave Spike alone, Xander gets a reluctant Anya to come over and stay with Spike. She doesn't like the idea of being stuck weaponless with Spike and his suspected revived ability to bite. Xander tells her to call if Spike decides to go anywhere and then leaves for work.

Buffy returns home and freaks out until she finds Willow putting Dawn to sleep. Willow informs her about the "evil" visits she and Dawn had and Buffy tells Willow about her encounter with Holden. Buffy wonders if they've been victim of lies and tricks, or if something else has been going on. Armed with a stake, Anya quietly investigates Spike's room and clothes while he sleeps, but she ends up getting caught. She tries to lie about her intentions, claiming to want sex, but Spike doesn't really believe her and isn't interested in her offer. Later, after the sun sets, Spike leaves the apartment with an apology to Anya for any potentially hurt feelings. She quickly makes a phone call to Buffy about Spike's departure.

Spike walks the streets and passes by a man playing a harmonica, but as the vampire passes, the tune changes to the one Spike was humming earlier. The sound seems to have a hypnotic effect on Spike and he begins to hum again. Buffy follows him, keeping out of sight. He finds a woman standing around outside and the two talk and flirt before going outside to an alleyway. Buffy tries to keep tabs on Spike, but she has a hard time following him through the crowd of people out walking the streets. Spike and the woman kiss against a wall and Spike pauses, looking up to see Buffy approach him and the woman. With a smile, she reminds him that she wants him to do it and he vamps and bites the woman, much to Buffy's pleasure.

Once the woman is dead, Spike realizes with great horror what he just did. He runs off in a blind panic as Buffy morphs into Spike form. Later, Buffy barges in on a sleeping Spike, angrily demanding to know whether he killed the woman she saw him with. He reminds her that can't kill because of his soul and suspects that she's jealous. He doesn't deny talking to other women, but swears they mean nothing to him and reminds her of the seriousness of his efforts to prove his love to her. Buffy gets confrontational about Spike killing people and although he doesn't remember everything, he's confident that he didn't kill her.

At Buffy's house, the girls research in attempts to find proof that Spike has or has not killed. They discuss the possibility of Spike killing and Willow discovers that although there haven't been a lot of dead bodies found, there are ten missing people in Sunnydale, mostly young women. As he gets ready to leave, Spike finds a pack of cigarettes in his pocket and gets flashes of killing the blond woman he met at the Bronze. He tries to leave the apartment, but Xander stands in the way. Spike knocks Xander out, setting off his chip for his efforts and then departs. At the Bronze, Spike asks around about the young blond woman he was there with then moves upstairs to watch over the crowd. Meanwhile, Xander recovers from Spike's blow and calls Buffy's to let her know what happened.

A woman approaches Spike as he sits by himself and tries to flirt with him, but he's not interested and tells her off. She vamps out and reveals that he made her as the two break out into a fight. In the end, Spike stakes her and tosses her over the balcony, briefly distracting the band on stage and the surrounding crowd. Buffy talks to the doorman at the club she spotted Spike outside of and asks about Spike visiting the club. The doorman tells her that Spike's trouble; he's seen the man repeatedly, but with a different girl every night. At the Bronze, Spike calls Buffy's cell phone, tells her that he's remembering the bad things he's done recently and asks for her help. She agrees to meet with him at a set location. As Spike tries to leave, the morphing version of Spike shows up and tells the real Spike that calling Buffy was not part of the plan, but they'll have to improvise.

Spike leads Buffy into a dark basement and tries to show her what he remembers about killing the girls. The fake Spike is there as well, but Buffy can't see him. While the real Spike tries to show Buffy where he buried the bodies of those he killed, the fake Spike begins to sing the hypnotizing tune. Spike vamps and attacks Buffy, cutting into her arm with a broken piece of glass. As the two battle it out, the bodies of those Spike's recently killed start to rise from the ground beneath them as newly turned vampires. Buffy struggles with the fledglings while the real Spike gets a pep talk from his morphing version about tasting Buffy's blood. As two vampires hold Buffy still, Spike leans down and tastes Buffy's blood from the cut on her arm. It reawakens all of his memories of killing and he falls to the ground, horrified.

Buffy finishes off the rest of the vampires then turns her attentions to Spike. Tearfully, Spike offers his heart for the staking. He's confused, scared, and hurting because of the lives he's taken. Buffy realizes that something has been messing with Spike's head like with Dawn and Willow and that he needs help. Back at her house, Buffy tells the gang about Spike and how she needs to keep Spike close if she intends to get answers they need. Giles charges into the room in London and finds the dead girl and the nearly dead man that was with her. The man, Robson, warns Giles that something has started and that they need to be gathered. From behind, a cloaked figure raises an ax and swings it at Giles's neck...

To Be Continued...

Written by David Fury & Jane Espenson ~ Directed by Alan J. Levi

Original Air Date: November 19, 2002

Never Leave Me (7.09)

Xander works to repair the living room window while Dawn, Willow and Anya help clean up and discuss the potential danger that is Spike. Wearing Spike's trench coat, Andrew is coached by Warren to continue playing his part in the game. Warren explains that because he can't take corporeal form, Andrew is a crucial player and then he morphs into Jonathan to continue the encouragement. Andrew stresses that he can't kill anymore, but Jonathan doesn't consider that to be a problem. Buffy tries to offer comforting words to Spike while she ties him down to a chair. He just instructs her to tie the rope tighter so he can't get free.

Principal Wood lectures two students about damaging school property and ultimately threatens the students into repairing their mistake. Dawn drops by his office and informs him that Buffy is sick and unable to attend work. Buffy calls Quentin Travers and asks about Giles, but he's just as clueless as she is. He's with a group of Watchers and informs them that they need to find Giles quickly. Buffy checks on Spike, but he's struggling to control his blood lust after tasting so much human blood. He vamps and snaps at her, but remains tied to the chair. Buffy and Willow talk about Spike outside the room and Willow volunteers to get him some animal blood to help ease his cravings.

Warren coaches Andrew on killing a pig, but Andrew fails miserably and resorts to going to the butcher shop to get the blood they need. At the butcher shop, Andrew orders an array of meats and pig's blood, but as he's leaving, he literally runs into Willow and spills his purchases on the ground. Andrew runs from her, but she catches up with him and uses his assumption that she's evil to frighten him. She takes him back to the house with her, pointing out his suspicious behavior and purchase of animal blood to the rest of the group. Xander and Anya interrogate Andrew while he's tied to a chair, but he doesn't have any answers they want to hear. Anya snaps and slaps Andrew before Xander pulls her out of the room.

Upstairs, Buffy feeds Spike some of the animal blood as Anya and Xander meet in the bathroom to rave about their performance with Andrew. Buffy joins them and although none of them have information yet, they're sure they'll get some soon. Back in the bedroom, Spike is calmed and talks to Buffy about how little he remembers about his killing. She asks about how he got his soul and he tells her about his extensive efforts. He explains how he now understands that she used him in attempts to deal with her own self-hatred. Also, now after falling in love with her and acquiring a soul, he has come to hate himself.

Xander returns to Andrew and changes tactic to politeness. He unties Andrew and offers him water while using Anya's ability to hurt men as a threat. Anya comes charging in and attacks Andrew, intending to beat his knowledge out of him. Buffy leaves Spike momentarily to investigate Andrew's cries for help, but leaves as soon as Anya and Xander assure her they have things under control. When she leaves, the morphy version of Spike appears and starts to talk to the real Spike. Buffy hears Spike talking through the door to her room and when she goes back inside, she finds him acting different. He asks for blood, but as soon as she turns away, he breaks free from his chair and knocks her down. While Andrew leans against a wall and starts to talk to Anya about what he knows in the next room over, Spike reaches through the wall, grabs Andrew, and viciously bites him.

Buffy pulls Spike off of Andrew and knocks Spike out with a powerful kick. Buffy talks to the gang about Spike's strange behavior and based on Buffy's information, Xander concludes that some sort of evil is using a song to trigger Spike's killer instincts. Buffy instructs the gang to begin researching so they can figure out what they're dealing with. At the high school, Principal Wood leaves his office, but detours through the basement where he finds Jonathan's dead body on top of the symbol. Buffy goes down to the basement to clean up Spike's wounds while he lies chained up to a brick wall. He wakes up and doesn't understand why he has no memory of his actions. He orders her to kill him because she doesn't know what the real Spike is like and it's not something she's prepared to handle. He taunts her with some of the evil actions of his past. Again, he makes judgments about her feelings and her need for pain from men, but she doesn't let his verbal assault rattle her. She claims to believe in him and thinks that he's changed and she shouldn't give up on him yet.

Suddenly, the windows and doors break all over the house as robed figures attack the Scooby Gang. In a deserted location, Principal Wood buries Jonathan's body. The gang fights a vicious battle with the robed figures attacking them. Dawn handles herself pretty well with a couple of them while Buffy chases one upstairs and protects Andrew from being killed. Most of the robed figures are disabled or killed, but they didn't come for Buffy and the gang; they came for Spike. Down in the basement, Buffy and Xander find that Spike's chains are empty and he's nowhere to be seen. Buffy recognizes the faces of the robed figures as harbingers representing The First ("Amends") and realizes that's who they're dealing with. The ghosts haunting them, the games being played on them and the impending danger that will come from beneath are all connected to the First Evil.

Watchers report to Quentin about the numerous attacks on the Council around the world. Quentin confirms that the First Evil is responsible and orders the Watchers to prepare for their greatest challenge. Seconds later, the Watcher's Council headquarters explodes. In the Sunnydale basement, Spike is strapped to circular contraption and the robed figures cut designs into Spike's skin. The First talks to Spike and blames him for this happening to him. The First morphs into Buffy and she talks as she watches the contraption and Spike raise up to the ceiling and turning Spike face-first over the symbol on the ground. Spike's blood falls onto the symbol beneath him, opening it and as the First explains, allowing a real vampire to emerge.

Written by Drew Goddard ~ Directed by David Solomon

Original Air Date: November 26, 2002

Bring On The Night (7.10)

The gang research The First, but don't have much luck finding anything. Dawn grows impatient with Andrew's state of unconsciousness, but keeps researching at Buffy's request. Buffy asks for a book and her mother hands it to her. Joyce warns her that she needs to rest if she intends to defeat this evil, but Buffy knows the vision isn't real and then Xander wakes her up from her dream. The Ubervamp drags Spike further into a cave where the First has taken on Drusilla's form to watch Spike get tortured.

At the Summers house, Dawn and Anya secretly try to force Andrew to wake and he does as Buffy walks in the room. They begin to interrogate him again about the First, but he takes some prompting before he's willing to help them. Andrew leads the gang to the school basement where the seal is still exposed on the ground, but no Spike or First Evil to be seen. Although they don't know what the seal did or does, the gang grab shovels and cover it with dirt again. On the way out, Buffy and Dawn run into Principal Wood, also carrying a shovel. Buffy and Dawn try to explain Buffy's surprising recovery from being sick and their own possession of a shovel while the principal explains himself and asks Buffy to return to work soon.

At the house, Willow begins a spell to find the First, but it doesn't go anything like she planned. Explosive bolts send Anya and Buffy flying while Willow is briefly possessed by the First Evil. Xander smashes a bowl used in the spell which breaks the effects and sends Willow crashing. She's fearful of the magic and hurting people and begs Buffy not to let her hurt anyone with magic. Buffy starts to leave to find the First herself, but is surprised to find Giles standing outside her front door. With him are three young girls--Kennedy, Molly and Annabelle--who are potential slayers that he's trying to protect.

Giles informs the whole gang about the First's plans to destroy all slayers-in-training, their watchers and eventually the two active Slayers, Buffy and Faith. He breaks the news that the Council has been completely destroyed along with most of their records, except for the few books and references on the First he stole while there was still time. Giles goes over basic knowledge about the First Evil, explaining that it can only take on the appearance of the dead, but it's incapable of solid form. He informs Buffy that unfortunately, she's the only one strong enough to actually stand a chance of winning against the First. One of the Slayers, Kennedy, objects to the situation and wonders why they're hiding out on the Hellmouth of all places with only one person responsible for all their lives.

In the cave, the Ubervamp tortures Spike by dunking his head under water while "Drusilla" lectures Spike about following the rules. Kennedy helps Willow make the sleeping arrangements around the house and ultimately, Kennedy ends up staying in Willow's room. The girls convene in the kitchen and start eating cookies after Dawn burns the meal she was trying to cook. Buffy and Giles walk and talk together as they search for an entrance to the cave Buffy remembers from the first time she encountered the First and its minions, the Bringers. Buffy unintentionally finds it as she falls through some old planks covering the ground. As she searches the caves, she's viciously attacked by the Ubervamp. She stakes the demon, but it doesn't kill him and he proceeds to beat her up badly. Buffy narrowly manages to escape the cave by climbing out and the vampire is kept at bay by the rising sun.

Giles and Buffy return to the house to find the three potential slayers hanging out in the kitchen. Giles tells them all about the vampire Buffy fought, a Turok-Han. He explains that it's part of a separate race of vampires that is far superior to and feared by the everyday vampires Buffy is used to. At work, Buffy researches "evil" on the Internet as Principal Woods stops to check on her. Again, in the cave, Spike is smacked around by the Ubervamp while Drusilla dances about and tries to convince Spike to decide to be on their side of the game. Spike doesn't fall for the mind tricks and earns himself more of a beating from the Ubervamp.

Buffy reviews her wounds as her mother pays her another visit. Joyce talks to Buffy about evil and its constant presence in everyone and about the pressure Buffy's feeling to deal with this evil. She wakes up to find that she's still at work and had been in the middle of a meeting with a student. The student walks off and Principal Wood watches on from his office as a very tired Buffy tries to deal with the stress. Later that evening, the gang prepares for sundown and the potential danger it brings to them. The potential Slayers get weapons while Andrew tries unsuccessfully to convince Buffy and Xander to untie him. As Buffy watches for the sun to set, Giles reminds her that she's the one being depended on and then Molly interrupts, informing them that Annabelle ran off.

The could-be Slayer runs through the streets of Sunnydale until she's captured by the Ubervamp and quickly killed. Buffy shows up in time to find the dead body and be attacked by the Ubervamp herself. She is hurt and runs off in search of better fighting grounds and a useful weapon. Again, the vampire has the upper hand, but Buffy drops a bundle of heavy steel beams on the creature, smashing it to the ground. Practically unaffected, the Ubervamp rises from the mountain of beams and goes after Buffy again. He throws her around some more, finally tossing her through a stone wall where she's buried under rubble and steel on the other side.

The First in Drusilla's form gets angry with Spike as he continues to refuse to cooperate. Because of Buffy's faith in him, he feels strong enough to refuse. A terribly wounded Buffy sits alone at home as she listens to Giles and Willow talk in another room. They worry about Buffy's condition and their ability to fight this thing that seems so much bigger than them all. Buffy finally comes downstairs and gives an inspirational speech about this huge challenge before them that is bigger than any evil they've ever faced. She tells the group that she's more scared than ever, but she's not about to back down now. There's a new plan: they're declaring war on this evil instead of waiting for it to make a move.

Written by Marti Noxon & Doug Petrie ~ Directed by David Grossman

Original Air Date: December 17, 2002

Showtime (7.11)

A young woman gets off a bus at a bus station at night and heads to a payphone to find the number for Buffy Summers. Before she can find the number, one of the Bringers appears behind her with a knife. She backs away to escape the cloaked figure and others like him until she hits a wall, but before the Bringers can attack, Buffy arrives and rescues the young Potential Slayer. Once Buffy disposes of the Bringers, Buffy welcomes the frightened woman, Rona, to Sunnydale. At the Summers house, Willow struggles to sleep on the floor of her room while Kennedy talks constantly from her spot on the bed. Kennedy talks about the luxurious life she had when she was younger, prompts Willow to do some magic and repeatedly attempts to get Willow to join her on the bed, making Willow uncomfortable.

Downstairs, Molly tells several new Slayers-in-Training about the recently killed Anabelle. Xander suggests they be quiet and sleep, but a still-bound and very bored Andrew suggests they speak louder. Buffy arrives with Rona and the gang is updated on the recent activities and findings. The gang lacks answers to most of their current problems like destroying the Turok-Han and rescuing Spike from the First Evil. The Slayers in Training are worried and lacking confidence. Giles suggests they seek answers from an oracle-like creature known as Beljoxa's Eye. Down in the cave where he's kept prisoner, Spike is approached by one of the Bringers, but for once, he fights back and breaks free of the bonds that hold him to a wall. He runs through the underground tunnels and finds Buffy waiting for him, but quickly is pulled away from his dream and into reality where the First Evil, looking like Buffy, is waiting for him.

Giles and Anya go together to meet with a demon named Torg about Beljoxa's Eye. After some careful persuasion, Torg opens up a dimensional portal for the humans to pass through. On the other side, they are faced with a caged mass of eyes, the Beljoxa's Eye. Willow gets a call from a member of the Coven in England. Andrew is freed from his bonds and threatened with "misery" if he doesn't behave himself. Willow informs Buffy about another potential Slayer in town and Buffy rushes off with Xander to pick the girl up before the Bringers do. As they leave, Dawn questions the usefulness of these potential slayers. The Slayers in Training work out in the basement of Buffy's house and thanks to some depressing comments from Eve, they talk about the seemingly insurmountable challenge they are facing and being called as a Slayer.

Buffy and Xander knock at the room where the latest potential slayer is staying. When no one answers, Buffy kicks the door in and they find a dead blond girl lying on the ground. Upon closer inspection, they find that the girl is Eve and she's been dead for days. Back at the house, Andrew talks to Dawn about his usefulness and continues to ramble, even after Dawn informs him that gave her permission to kill him. Buffy and Xander return to the house and proceed towards the basement where they tell "Eve" to get away from the others. The First in Eve's form finally reveals itself and with some thanks for all the information over the past few days and threatening comments about the future, then disappears. Giles and Anya speak with the Beljoxa's Eye, which tells them that the First cannot be destroyed and that it exists now because of a disruption in the Slayer's life, which was in fact, caused by the Slayer.

The gang, all worried after the frightening invasion by the First, talk about what they are going to do. Buffy tries to keep the potential Slayers calm, but they continue to worry about whether they are prepared to handle anything that lies before them. Buffy and Willow exchange glances and then both leave the dining room, followed by a confused Xander while the others continue to panic. Back in the cave, the First approaches the Turok-Han as Eve and sends him out to kill everyone except "her." A crowd of Bringers forms outside Buffy's house that night, but do nothing but keep the Slayers from leaving. Buffy disperses weapons to the gang as they all wait for the expected attack of the Turok-Han. Willow practices some simple magic to see if the First would go after her again. Kennedy interrupts and is intrigued by Willow's skills and her past struggles with it. Willow warns her that the evil magic she's been exposed to in the past is not something Kennedy wants to see.

The Turok-Han charges at the house and breaks the front door down. Willow puts up a barrier that keeps the vampire at bay, but it's almost too much for Willow and Buffy instructs everyone to run out the back. The gang encounters Bringers in the backyard, but they are destroyed and the gang runs off as the Turok-Han finally breaks through Willow's magical barrier. Anya and Giles return to their usual dimension and Giles explains that the disturbance in the Slayer line was Buffy's revival from death. Anya realizes that if they had never brought Buffy back to life, the First wouldn't be doing this to them now. The gang runs down the street together and then Buffy tells them to break up. Willow and Xander lead the potential slayers, Dawn and Andrew to a safe location while Buffy turns and attacks the Turok-Han. After a brief struggle, Buffy runs and tries to get the vampire to follow her.

Xander leads the way through a construction site, which the potential Slayers find to be an extremely exposed and unsafe location for them hiding at. The Turok-Han appears, proving that it decided to go after the easier potential Slayers instead of Buffy. Kennedy prepares to attack the vampire, but then bright lights flood site and Buffy appears as the potential Slayers move back to watch from a distance. Buffy tells the Ubervamp that he's going to help her set an example for the other girls and begins a fight. A vicious battle ensues, but the Ubervamp again proves to be stronger. As Dawn watches, she realizes aloud that Willow and Buffy planned everything as a teaching tool. A quick flashback to the panic-filled discussion at the house earlier shows that at the moment that Buffy, Willow and Xander left the others, it's revealed that the three were communicating telepathically about a plan to destroy the Ubervamp and boost moral of the others at the same time.

The potential slayers begin to worry as Buffy ends up on the losing end of the fight, but Willow tells them to wait. Just in time, Buffy turns things around and strikes the Ubervamp with a few harmful blows. Buffy finally grabs a wire to wrap around the vampire's neck and pulls until she beheads the creature, turning it to dust. The Turok-Han dusted, Buffy ends her lesson and leads the newly confident Slayers-in-Training back home. In the cave, Spike tries to tell off the First in Buffy's form as she stands before him with a knife in hand. Buffy cuts away his bonds and Spike wraps his arm around her, realizing it's not the first, it's the real Buffy and she helps him out of the cave.

Written by David Fury ~ Directed by Michael Grossman

Original Air Date: January 7, 2003

Potential (7.12)

Two Potential Slayers, Rona and Vi, walk alone in the cemetery until Spike knocks Rona out of the way, grabs Vi and leans in for the kill. Buffy and the other Slayers watch and learn from this example and Buffy lectures the girls on how to deal with vampire attacks. Buffy has Spike attack her to continue, but she easily gets the upper hand and pins Spike to the ground, reawakening some of his wounds and his feelings for her. In the Summers basement, the Potentials argue about petty things until Buffy gets their attention focused again with a strict reminder about the seriousness of death. They believe the First is taking a brief break from them, but it will come back stronger and better than before. While Dawn watches silently from the stairs, Buffy tries to give the girls another pep talk.

At work, Buffy talks with Xander on the phone until a student, Amanda, comes in for counseling. The girl asks about liking a boy who picks on her and seeks Buffy's advice, but Buffy gets a bit distracted with her own similar situation with Spike and rambles about how she's not going to let that problem happen again. Buffy returns home to bickering amongst the Potential Slayers and news from Willow that another Potential Slayer has been found, already in Sunnydale. The Potentials examine weapons and Dawn tries to fit into the groups conversation, but it's a struggle. Spike arrives and then leaves with Buffy and the other girls for some training. Andrew pouts because he's not invited and although silent, Dawn feels left out as well.

Willow prepares the ingredients for a spell that will locate the Potential Slayer and surround her with a glowing aura. The spell is performed at the fireplace, but at first it doesn't succeed, just creates a horrible smell. Dawn tries to open a door to air out the room, but the light follows her, knocking her into the door and surrounding her. Dawn starts to freak out at the news that she's the latest Potential Slayer. She's worried that her becoming a slayer would mean her sister would have to die first. Dawn doesn't want to tell Buffy what's going on and goes upstairs to think alone while the rest of the gang debate the pros and cons of the situation and telling Buffy. Dawn overhears the conversation and feeling the weight of their concerns and her potential fate of death, she sneaks out the window.

Buffy and Spike take the girls to a demon bar to explain the art of getting information out of the demonic patrons there. They run into Clem and after a brief happy exchange with him, Buffy secretly asks him to scare the overly confident Potentials. His face expands into a mass of snakelike limbs and such, making the girls scream and Spike laugh. While walking alone outside, Dawn runs into Amanda who has a scratch on her head and claims to have been attacked by a vampire. The girl explains that she managed to get away and lock the vampire in one of the classrooms. Having heard rumors about Buffy, Amanda was going to ask for her help, but Dawn volunteers to take care of the problem.

Dawn and Amanda break back into the school, but when they reach the classroom, they find the door unlocked and don't see the vampire hiding wedged against the ceiling. The vampire falls as the girls try to leave and it chases them out into the halls until they reach locked doors. Trapped, Dawn turns to a fire extinguisher and when she can't get it to work, she knocks the vampire around with it instead then bolts with Amanda. Buffy and Spike show the girls a crypt and teach them about the living quarters of vampires. While investigating the area, the girls find a dead body, but Buffy shows them that it's a vampire.

At the school, Dawn and Amanda hide in a classroom and push a set of drawers against the door while Dawn prepares for a plan of escape. Buffy tosses the vampire around while lecturing the girls about successful fighting and keeping a straight head during battle. Meanwhile, Dawn puts Buffy's lessons to use and acts resourcefully until the vampire pins her to the ground and goes in for the bite. The Bringers then suddenly break in through the windows and grab Amanda instead of Dawn. After beating up the vampire a bit, Buffy drops her stake and along with Spike, she leaves the girls trapped alone with the vampire. Back at the house, Willow, Xander and Anya find that Dawn has bolted and Willow rushes to do a spell to find her before it's too late.

Dawn uses the room's chemistry supplies to set the Bringers on fire and escape with Amanda. She realizes that Amanda is the true Potential Slayer and willingly hands over the right and her weapon to Amanda. The frightened teen has a hard time grasping these strange realities Dawn explains, but she doesn't have much time to think about it. Xander arrives at the school with Buffy and Spike as the Bringers attack full force. Amanda keeps the Bringers at bay and stakes the vampire that attacked her earlier while Buffy and Spike finish off the Bringers. As Amanda rambles to Buffy about the strangeness she's dealing with, Dawn reveals that Amanda was standing outside the front door when she was hit by the aura cloud from Willow's spell.

Amanda and the other Potential Slayers talk and bond about their successes with fighting the forces of darkness while Dawn secretly watches from the other room. Buffy checks in with Dawn, but she doesn't pick up on Dawn's real problem. While Buffy takes the other girls down to the basement for training, Xander catches on to Dawn's disappointment about not being a Potential. Xander confides in her how hard it is for him to be the un-powerful member of the gang and he relates to Dawn's pain. He reminds her that she doesn't need to be special with powers, she's "extraordinary" just the way she is. In return, Dawn suggests that he does have a power, his ability to notice what's really going on with the people he loves, despite the barriers.

Written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner ~ Directed by James A. Contner

Original Air Date: January 21, 2003

The Killer In Me (7.13)

Giles prepares to take the Slayers in Training on a trip to the desert to meet the First Slayer. Kennedy, who's sick with the flu, stays home and after hearing about all the bickering and problems with the potentials and their driving trip, Giles wishes he was staying home too. Buffy goes to check on Spike, who's chained in the basement. They chat about the girls being gone and Spike's decision to stay chained up until they know the First Evil is through with him. While they talk about dealing with that problem, Spike's starts to writhe in pain as unexpectedly, the chip starts frying his brain.

Buffy talks with Willow in the kitchen about Spike's chip and what little they actually know about it. Willow goes upstairs and finds Kennedy is not sick and she's getting dressed for a "mission" she needs Willow's help with. The mission turns out to be drinks at the Bronze and the sneakiness of it doesn't impress Willow much. Kennedy does manage to get Willow to stay long enough to finish her drink and she starts up conversation about Willow's sexuality. Eventually, Willow opens up and talks about being gay and her relationship with Tara. Back in the basement, Buffy checks on Spike again and after they talk about the potential causes of the chip's glitches, Buffy realizes she's going to have to contact the people who helped put the chip in his head in the first place. Buffy tries to reach Riley on the phone while Spike's chip continues to cause him terrible pain.

Willow and Kennedy finish their drinks as they continue to chat about why Kennedy is interested in Willow. Back at the house, Willow returns to her room and Kennedy follows. Kennedy moves in and kisses Willow, but the kiss has a surprising effect: it makes Willow take on the appearance of Warren. Willow panics and rushes downstairs and scares the rest of the gang with her appearance and potential First Evil quality. It takes some convincing, but once Buffy actually hits Warren and Willow reminds Xander of some other kindergarten stories she knows, they realize it's not the First. Willow goes off to handle her glamour problem, but she finds unwanted company in Kennedy tagging along. After yet another attack of Spike's chip, Buffy and Spike return to the site of the Initiative in hopes of getting some of the drugs Spike was supposedly given inside the Initiative to subdue him whenever his chip went crazy. They climb back inside the buried building through a trap door in the ground.

The Watcher Robson from England calls the Summers residence and informs the gang about Giles's seemingly fatal encounter with the Bringers and an ax. The gang start to question whether Giles survived that encounter or not and worry when none of them can remember a time when Giles actually touched someone. Xander, Anya, Dawn and Andrew all go to the desert to find Giles and in the case of danger, hopefully stop him from hurting the Potentials. Willow takes Kennedy to meet with the Wiccan group at the University of Sunnydale. She's surprised to see that Amy is a part of the group and claims to have changed her magical ways. Amy attempts to help Willow rid herself of the glamour, but the spell Amy tries brings forth another surprise: a burst of Warren from inside of Willow. Willow tries to run away as she realizes she's not just looking like Warren, she's becoming him. Kennedy tries to follow, but Willow puts up a magical barrier to keep her away.

Buffy and Spike wander through the remains of the Initiative and pass by the many dead bodies of the human and demon sort that were sealed inside. Meanwhile, Willow runs outside in tears but Warren begins to take more control and he heads off on a mission. Inside the Initiative, Spike and Buffy start to hear noises and then they're attacked by a demon. Buffy is knocked down and then the demon grabs Spike and drags him off into the darkness. Kennedy returns to the school and finds Amy packing up supplies and the rest of the group gone. Amy comments on Kennedy's concern for Willow, but Kennedy gets suspicious when she realizes Amy knows she's a potential and that fact was never mentioned to her.

Guided by Warren, Willow goes to the gun shop where he bought his last deadly weapon and Willow buys the same one. Giles is tackled to the ground by Xander and the others and they're all pleased to find that he has a solid form and is not the First Evil. Buffy battles with and finally kills the demon from inside the Initiative. As she crouches down by Spike, lights turn on and a flood of military men reveal themselves. The commanding officer explains that Buffy's attempted contact with Riley was successful and that they're there to help her and Spike. Buffy talks with the commanding officer and he reveals that Spike's chip is a danger to him now. She is given the choice to decide whether the chip is fixed or removed.

Kennedy confronts Amy about the fact that Amy is responsible for Willow's current "Warren" problem. Amy reveals that she put a hex on Willow for fun because Willow was able to do so much evil and still get the love of her friends back. Kennedy is determined to save Willow and stop Amy, but Amy's not threatened. Armed with a gun, Willow charges into Buffy's backyard where Kennedy is waiting after being transported by Amy. Willow starts to relive the moment of Tara's death from Warren's perspective, but Kennedy talks her down. Willow blames herself for Tara's death and worries that she's going to lose the battle with Warren for her body. Kennedy convinces her otherwise and brings Willow back by kissing her.

Written by Drew Z. Greenberg ~ Directed by David Solomon

Original Air Date: February 4, 2003

First Date (7.14)

A flashback to England when Giles fought with the Bringers shows that Giles stopped the ax aimed for his neck and quickly turned the weapon around on the Bringer. In the present, Giles boasts about his accomplishment to Buffy and the potentials as they walk through a cemetery. Spike surprisingly tackles Giles to the ground, thinking he's the First. Giles realizes that Spike's chip didn't go off, which forces Buffy and Spike to explain that Buffy decided to have it removed. At the house, Giles confronts Buffy on her choice to have Spike's chip removed and Spike's vulnerability to the First. He suspects she's not focused and her judgment is off in the situation, but Buffy is confident she made the right choice and that Spike's soul will keep him from causing harm. At a hardware store, Xander spots an attractive woman shopping for rope and offers to help her decide on the right strength. They chat and he ultimately asks her out for coffee.

Suspecting Principal Wood of being connected to the First, Buffy sneaks into his office in search of "evil" paraphernalia, but she's caught by the principal before she can check out a suspicious cabinet. He asks her out to dinner and Buffy accepts. Once she leaves the office though, he pulls out a blood covered dagger from his coat and puts it away in a spot cleverly hidden behind the cabinet doors. Later, Willow folds laundry while Buffy talks about why Principal Wood asked her out and whether she actually likes him. After Xander arrives at the house with news of his date, he and Buffy share in the common knowledge that their dates could both be evil. A frazzled Giles returns after shopping for clothes with the newest potential Slayer, Chao-ahn, and subtly complains to the gang about the challenge of communicating with the new Cantonese-speaking slayer.

Andrew installs a new microwave in the kitchen when he receives a visit from the First in Jonathan's form. The First tries to persuade Andrew to be evil and asks him to kill the Potentials with the gun Willow bought while part-Warren. Andrew wants to be good and tries to refuse to cooperate. Anya tries to clean Buffy's white shirt that Dawn borrowed and spilled on while talking to Buffy about Xander's date. On the way to her room, Buffy runs into Spike in the hallway and he lets her know that he's okay with the fact that she's going on a date. Lissa arrives at the coffee house and despite Xander's nervousness, she's shows interest. Willow searches for Principal Wood on the Internet, but she doesn't find anything on him. Anya presents Willow with some crude drawings Giles drew for the Chao-ahn and he is scolded by Willow and the other girls for showing the graphic images. the others scold him for showing the girl the graphic images.

Principal Wood leads Buffy down a dark alley on the way to the restaurant he chose. She's suspicious and gets upset when they're attacked by a gang of vampires. Buffy slays a few, but before she can yell at her date for setting her up, she finds him slaying the other vampires. Afterwards, Buffy and Principal Wood go to the restaurant to talk about what just happened. Xander talks to Lissa about Anya and bad timing, but she's supportive and suggests they go do something else fun. At dinner, Buffy confronts Principal Wood on his knowledge about evil and her job. He reveals that he works at the school and he hired Buffy for "Hellmouth" related reasons more than scholastic reasons. He continues to explain that his mother was once a Slayer, but she was killed and now, armed with some skills his mother's watcher taught him, he's set to destroy the vampire that murdered his mother.

In the Summers's living room, Andrew shows the First the gun he found in Buffy's underwear drawer. The First explains that Andrew needs to trap all the girls in the basement and then shoot them. Once Andrew starts to ask questions, the First realizes the man is wearing a wire while Willow, Dawn, Kennedy and Amanda try to listen from another room. It tries to guilt Andrew by taking on the appearance of a dying Jonathan. Despite being found out and worried by the First's appearance, Andrew confidently announces that he won't help the First because he's good. Meanwhile, Xander finally realizes his date is evil once he's tightly bound to the wheel above the seal in the school basement.

Giles and Spike question Willow's attempt to record the First and then Andrew explains what the First wanted him to do. After Spike asks, Andrew explains that according to the First, it's not Spike's time yet. Realizing they need to focus on evil again, Giles has Willow call for Buffy. Willow gets a secret message text message from Xander, but she's not confident in her interpretation of the secret code. Fearing the chance that Xander's in trouble, and with Buffy's cell phone left at home, Spike goes to retrieve Buffy from her date. He interrupts them at dessert with the news about Xander. Lissa talks to Xander about her decision to help the forces of evil by releasing another Ubervamp. Her eyes turning yellow, Lissa stabs Xander in the stomach, releasing his blood onto the seal.

Principal Wood drives Buffy and Spike to the school and the trip goes by mostly in silence, except for a brief questioning of Spike's relationship to Buffy. In the basement, Spike and Buffy attack Lissa and try to keep her away from Xander, exposing Spike's identity as a vampire to Principal Wood in the process. Principal Wood frees Xander from the bonds and gets him away from the seal, stopping the seal from opening and an Ubervamp from escaping. Eventually, Buffy beheads Lissa and she checks on the wounds Spike and Xander received. Buffy arrives back home with Xander and Spike and Xander decides that after so much bad luck with women, it's time he turned gay. Spike sits and talks with Buffy later and he suggests he leave town to avoid being present when the First decides it is his time. Buffy disagrees and tells him she's not ready for him to be gone. At his home, Principal Wood gets ready for bed and receives a visit from the First Evil in the form of his dead mother. He's not interested in anything she has to say until she reveals that Spike killed his mother.

Written by Jane Espenson ~ Directed by David Grossman

Original Air Date: February 11, 2003

Get It Done (7.15)

Buffy walks through the living room littered with sleeping potential slayers and also checks upstairs on the rest of the girls sleeping in the various bedrooms. She spots Chloe crying in a corner of the hallway before she's tackled down the stairs by the First Slayer and then wakes up from her dream. Anya rants to Spike about being human and the overcrowded house as they walk to a bar to get drunk. Anya's sexual comments finally get to Spike and he asks her to stop cause it's not going to happen. A demonic minion of D'Hoffryn attacks and Spike knocks it down, then decides to be safe and run away with Anya.

At the school, Principal Wood and Buffy talk to a couple of students caught fighting and once the boys are gone, they talk about the increasing violence and strange occurrences around the Hellmouth. He and gives Buffy a "Slayer Emergency" bag that belonged to his mother. He hopes it will help her deal with the First and asks her to call him Robin. At his request, Buffy brings Robin to her house, introduces him to Andrew, then takes Robin outside to see the Potentials. Outside, Kennedy is roughly guiding the other Potentials through some fight training, but she has a bit too much fun with the job and yelling at the other girls. Buffy and Robin talk about their preparation efforts when Willow comes outside with an armful of weapons.

Buffy brings Robin downstairs to meet Spike, who's arguing with Anya over his efforts to save her life the night before. Knowing what Spike did to his mother, Robin questions Spike's good intentions and Spike gets a bit upset when he finds Buffy has told Robin about his soul. While Buffy gets sleeping bags set up on the floor, Dawn updates her on the progress with studying the contents of Robin's mother's Slayer bag and then jokes about not doing her real homework. The girls proceed into another bedroom to prepare more bags but stop when they find Chloe hanging from a sheet around her neck, dead. More potentials pile into the hallway and see the sight as the First in Chloe's body appears and teases them about the death. It uses Buffy's own words--and her voice--against her to make the point that it's going to win and they're going to lose.

Outside in the woods, Buffy works alone and covers the self-dug grave in which Chloe is buried. Back at the house, Buffy verbally rips into the entire gang and tells the girls that if they want to be killed, to just act as stupidly as Chloe did. Kennedy and Xander stand up to Buffy and her attitude but both are quickly shot down. When Anya speaks up, Buffy questions what it is that Anya actually does besides receive freely provided protection. Spike starts to leave and Buffy takes the opportunity to tell him how weak he is because he's been holding back so much. Later, the core gang plus Kennedy and Robin gather as they open the Slayer Emergency kit. Inside are various weapons, tools, a book written in Sumerian, and a locked box, which Buffy quickly breaks open. The box contains shadow casters and a stand for them to be constructed on.

Dawn reads a story from the text while Xander constructs the shadow casters on a spinning stand. Once everything's in place, the puppets spin and the shadows move on the wall as the text turns to English for Dawn to read easily. It's discovered that an exchange must occur and a blue cube appears in the middle of the room. Buffy realizes she has to go in and jumps through the portal despite her friends' protests and the complete lack of knowledge as to where she's going and how to get back. A demon appears in exchange for Buffy and although the gang all try their hands at beating it up, the demon tosses them all aside and leaves the house.

Realizing they have to get Buffy back, the gang begins to brainstorm the magic they must use to return Buffy. Kennedy pushes for Willow to try whatever magic she can to get Buffy back, but Willow informs her the consequences to reckless magic are beyond Kennedy's knowledge. Anya suggests letting Buffy find her own way home since she's so superior to them all. Dawn gets Willow thinking about the spell needed and Anya adds in some useful information about the type of magic they must perform. They realize they need to make another trade for Buffy's return and Spike volunteers to go out and get the demon.

Buffy finds herself transported to a desert where she finds three men Shadow Men who speak Swahili, and she understands it. They inform her that she is the last protector of the Hellmouth and offer her not knowledge, but power, then one knocks her out with a stick. At the Summers house, a sand circle is formed on the floor of the living room and Willow sits inside of it as she begins the spell. At first, it doesn't seem to work, but suddenly, Kennedy and Dawn are thrown back by a flash of light and Willow lets out a violent scream as her eyes turn black. Buffy finds herself chained in a cave with the Shadow Men and they begin a ritual to give Buffy the power she needs. They produce a box, which contains the spirit of a demon that was used to create the very first Slayer. A black cloud emerges, aimed for Buffy. She protests at the idea of being any less human, but she can't stop the black cloud from reaching her, surrounding and filling her body.

Spike digs his old duster out of some boxes in the basement of the school then proceeds determinedly through the school. He passes Principal Wood on the way, who comments on Spike's coat. Willow continues to try the spell, but as the portal doesn't open, Xander starts to worry she's getting in over her head. Determined, Willow reaches back and sucks the life-force out of Anya and Kennedy, gaining the power she needs to open the portal, and briefly, black hair. Meanwhile, Spike battles with the demon and enjoys the reacquired confidence to kill until he finally snaps the demon's neck and enjoys a cigarette. Buffy breaks free of the chains and yells at the Shadow Men for their attempt to give her the power of a demon. She uses the chains to fight with the various men then breaks a battle staff belonging to one of the men, making them all disappear but the leader.

Buffy asks him to tell her something new and as he silently provides her with information, Spike returns to the house and drops the dead demon into the portal. Buffy finds herself back at the house surrounded by the gang as they all recover silently. Willow tries to apologize to Kennedy and explain what happened, but the magical experience was more than Kennedy every expected and she's distant. Willow goes to check on Buffy and they talk about Buffy's "pep talk" attitude and what happened with the Shadow Men. Buffy starts to regret her decision to reject the Shadow Men's power, and tell Willow about what she was shown that made her second-guess the decision. Elsewhere in a large underground location, millions of Ubervamp gather and rally for battle.

Written & Directed by Douglas Petrie

Original Air Date: February 18, 2003

Storyteller (7.16)

In an old library with a roaring fire, dressed in a smoking jacket and holding a pipe, Andrew introduces the camera's audience to Buffy, Vampire Slayer. Andrew narrates the play by play as Buffy battles with vampires in the graveyard. However, the dramatic show is cut short as Anya knocks on the bathroom door and wonders what he's doing as he sits in plain clothes in front of a video camera. Buffy finishes off the vampires in the graveyard as a video camera totting Andrew emerges from the darkness. He raves about the great footage he just got, but Buffy hardly excited that he's tagging along with her. In the present, Anya again questions Andrew's actions and he explains that he's trying to document the gang and their battles to help inform those of the future.

Later, Andrew talks to the video camera and uses his big white board to explain Sunnydale and some of the bigger mystical elements it houses and the major Big Bads they're dealing with. In the kitchen, Andrew introduces the Slayers in Training to the camera, saving Xander and the other Scooby gang for later interviews. Buffy and Spike arrive at the house as Dawn and the potentials enjoy a variety of cereal and Andrew begins to introduce Buffy and the Scooby gang to the camera. In a video fantasy, Andrew imagines Buffy seductively pouring cereal, Spike entering the kitchen shirtless, Anya eating from a bunch of grapes, and some random blond woman.

His fantasy is interrupted as reality Buffy notices that Andrew is still filming the gang. Buffy begins to inform the gang about her vision and Andrew takes the opportunity to sneak out of the room. Another video fantasy begins as Andrew imagines himself as the leader of the Trio. Returning to the real world, Andrew begins filming the gang again and as Buffy continues to talk, Andrew observes Willow and Kennedy then recounts his encounter with Dark Willow. Altering the past, Andrew imagines himself standing up to Evil Willow and deflecting her power while Jonathan meekly hides behind him.

Buffy arrives at the school to find two boys fighting, a shy girl turning invisible from not being noticed and various other disturbances. Buffy finds Robin and as she explains the strange yet familiar craziness filling the school, she bandages a cut on his forehead he received from a thrown rock. Andrew films Dawn, then catches Willow and Kennedy kissing in the living room. Buffy explains to Robin her suspicions about the Seal of Danthzar and how she thinks they need to deal with it. Andrew interviews Xander and Anya again and questions their ruined wedding, causing the two to talk to each other about what happened and what feelings still exists between them.

Buffy and Robin check out the uncovered seal in the school basement and as Robin gets too close to the seal, a dark evil comes over him as he accuses Buffy of her involvement with Spike in a demonic voice. Buffy pushes him away from the seal, breaking the evil hold over Robin and he doesn't remember anything that happened. Down in the basement, Spike tells a camera-carrying Andrew to get lost, but after a lighting correction from Andrew, Spike repeats his verbal assault, performing for the camera. Upstairs, Xander and Anya talk about their love for each other, watched by a hidden camera, which is reviewed later by Andrew. Buffy and Robin arrive at her house and inform Andrew that they have to deal with the Seal and he's the key person to help.

Meanwhile, in the school basement, five students surround the seal and place their hands over it, making a white light emerge from it. In Mexico, 2002, Andrew and Jonathan wake up from the same nightmare of their pasts and the evil haunts them. In the present, the gang drill Andrew for information about the seal as they try to force memories from him by using a special charm. The recount of the past continues and when Andrew is alone, the First in Warren's form questions Andrew's progress and a knife he was told to get. Willow asks where the knife is now and finds that Andrew hid it in Buffy's kitchen. The writing on the knife is in a language that speaks to the seal and Willow takes the opportunity to research the knife and find a solution to their seal problem.

Buffy, Spike, Robin and Andrew arrive at the school and find it destroyed by student riots. Andrew tries to film their walk through the halls as the surprisingly strong students attack. After they finally subdue enough students and get to the basement access, Spike and Robin staying in the halls to guard the entrance while Buffy takes an unwilling Andrew downstairs. Andrew revisits his memory of killing Jonathan, but he remembers being forced a lot harder than he actually was to kill. Listening to his explanation, Buffy comments on how she saw Robin get affected by the seal and Andrew suddenly changes his memory explanation to fit with Robin's actions. Buffy and Andrew enter the basement room carefully and find the five students standing around the seal, their eyes freshly cut and sealed like the Bringers. In the Summers' basement, Xander and Anya revel in the aftermath of having sex again. They start to talk about moving on with their lives and then fade into an awkward silence.

At the school, Spike and Robin are attacked by more students and Robin makes a failed attempt to stake Spike. Buffy battles with the new Bringers while Andrew picks up the camera and begins to record again. Once she's through with them, Buffy pulls out the knife and advances on Andrew as she reveals that in order to close the seal, they need to spill the blood of the one who opened it in the first place. Buffy lays down the reality of their probably fatal future and scares him into tears. Buffy holds Andrew over the seal and he cries, spilling his tears onto the seal. The seal closes and Buffy reveals it was tears the seal needed to close, not blood and she was just forcing the tears from him. The students in the halls finally relax from their evil possession and the fighting stops. Later, a sad Andrew talks to the camera in the bathroom again, confessing that he probably will die and he deserves to. Without another word, the camera is shut off.

Written by Jane Espenson & Directed by Marita Grabiak

Original Air Date: February 25, 2003

Lies My Parents Told Me (7.17)

New York City, 1977, Spike fights with the Slayer, Nikki in the rain while her young son watches from behind a park bench. Nikki throws a stake at Spike, but he catches it and then leaves, not ready for their battle to end. After Spike leaves, Nikki goes to check on her son, Robin, and she tells him how important the mission is and how, despite her love for him, the mission must come first. In the present, Robin, Spike and Buffy battle with a group of vampires. Spike stakes his, then at Buffy's prompting, helps Robin by staking the one the principal was struggling with. Spike makes a passing comment about actually using the stake to which Robin responds silently by squeezing the stake in his hand until he bleeds.

At the high school, Buffy checks in with Robin at his office and they talk about how things have quieted down and the mild chance that closing the seal has ended the serious trouble. An infuriated Giles barges into the office and proclaims his anger at the newly computerized library. He's introduced to Robin and then the three converse about the impending danger they're still facing. Giles explains that he's in town again because something needs to be done about Spike now that his chip has been removed. Buffy disagrees, still confident that she made the right decision, and Robin finds himself completely lost in the discussion since he knew nothing about Spike's chip or the First's trigger. Buffy thinks it was the song Spike was singing that is his trigger, but neither she nor Spike can identify the tune and Giles realizes they're going to need to use magic to find out.

Xander chains Spike to the wall in the basement with the rest of the gang and Robin stand by. Giles explains that they need to put a rock in Spike's brain that will identify the trigger and reveal it to Spike. Spike's anything but excited about the idea, but he doesn't do anything to stop the proceedings as Willow begins a spell that will allow the rock to be liquefied. The liquefied stone makes its way through Spike's eye and into his brain, then after a moment, it begins to work and Spike begins to witness a scene from his past. A human William, reads one of his poems to his mother and discusses his need for a woman in his life. His mother, Anne, begins to cough blood, indicating her state of illness, but instead of going to a doctor, she suggests he sit with her as she begins to sing an old song to him.

In the present, Spike's demon comes to the fore and he rages against the chains, attacking Buffy and tossing his cot across the room and into Dawn. After he calms down and the rock falls from his brain, Spike asks that the chains be removed, but Buffy and the others suggest he wait a bit. Giles questions Spike about the song and Spike reveals that it was "Early One Morning," a song his mother used to sing to him. Willow cares for Dawn's head injury as the Slayers in Training question Buffy's loyalty to Spike in spite of the trigger. Anya begins to explain that Spike can basically get away with anything, but cuts herself short. Willow then gets a call from Fred in L.A. Buffy and Giles argue about how to deal with Spike and whether he should be unchained on account of the fact that the trigger wasn't removed.

Spike looks at his hand then drifts into his memories again. Newly vamped, William and Drusilla dance and kiss in his mother's home. He points out that he plans to include his mother in their future, an idea that Drusilla isn't quite keen on. Anne comes into the living room, wondering what's going on. Spike introduces Drusilla and the idea of an illness-free and eternal future to his mother. Anne is frightened and can only stand still as Spike promises quick pain and then sinks his fangs into his mother's neck. Back at Buffy's house, Willow announces to Buffy that she needs to go away for a couple of days to help with an important problem.

Despite Giles's objections, Buffy frees Spike from the chains and then goes upstairs with him. Robin stops Giles from following the two and he raises the issue of dealing with Spike, in spite of Buffy's disapproval. They talk about the danger of Spike's trigger still working and how Spike could be an important part of the First's plans if they don't do something. When Robin explains his understanding of Watchers and Slayers, Giles concludes that Robin is Nikki's son. Giles questions Robin's motivation to destroy Spike, but they both seem to agree that regardless of the reasons, Spike needs to be dealt with. Robin asks for a few hours alone with Spike.

Giles and Buffy walk through a cemetery together, on a training mission. Giles wants to continue to teach her what he can and make sure she's understands role as leader, but Buffy thinks she's already got that under control and worries about Spike being left with Robin. Robin leads Spike into a garage room he uses for training. The walls of the room are lined with crosses and Spike starts to feel uncomfortable. Robin works briefly at a computer, while Spike asks about Robin's story. As Robin puts on steel-enforced gloves, he explains that he's been looking for Spike and that Spike killed his mother, the Slayer, Nikki. With a click of the mouse, the computer begins to play the song, "Early One Morning," which triggers Spike's demon into action.

Again in the past, Spike returns to his mother's house to find that she's risen and is waiting for him. Anne is nice to him at first, but then her tone switches as she begins to verbally tear into her son, telling him she wants to be far away from him. Meanwhile, in the present, Robin knocks Spike around, hitting him with physical violence as Spike's mother did with words in his past. In the cemetery, Buffy fights with a nice fledgling and nearly stakes him but stops at Giles's request. He questions her standing on letting those close to her die for the greater good, and Buffy reveals that she'd now sacrifice those close to her if it meant the rest of the world would be saved. Giles wonders then why Spike is still around.

Robin strips Spike of the leather trench coat and rips a cross from the wall as he looms over the vampire. Again in the past, Anne approaches William with determination and taunting suggestions of incest. Horrified, William can't take anymore and stakes his mother, turning her to dust. As William stakes his mother, the present Spike comes alert again and stops a cross before Robin can stake him with it. Spike begins to fight back against Robin, reminding the man that by killing Nikki, he was only doing what he as a vampire was supposed to do and Nikki was only doing what a Slayer was supposed to do. Spike taunts Robin with the fact that Nikki held the mission higher on her priorities than her love for her own son and points out that all Slayers are independent fighters by nature.

Spike tells Robin the story about his mother and how he turned her, but adds that, unlike Nikki, his mother actually loved him as much as he loved her and that it was only the demon speaking when she turned on him as a vampire. Rejuvenated by his own personal confrontation with his past, Spike is able to play the song on the computer again and not have the trigger go off. Free of manipulating powers, Spike vamps and leans in to kill Robin. Buffy continues to knock around the fledgling while Giles talks to her about her focus and making the right decisions, until Buffy realizes that he's stalling her to keep her away from Robin and Spike. She runs off to hopefully save Spike before it's too late.

With his jacket retrieved, Spike leaves the garage just as Buffy arrives. She worriedly questions what happened, but Spike shows her that he didn't kill Robin. Promising to kill the man if he makes one wrong move, Spike leaves and Buffy goes to check on Robin. She tells him that he needs to get over his personal issues with Spike because his next attempt will get him killed by Spike and with Buffy's approval. She has a mission to be focused on and it comes first. After Buffy tucks Dawn into bed, Giles confronts her about what he and Wood tried to do with Spike. Buffy lets him know that Spike is still very much undead and that she's had enough of his lessons, then she shuts the door to her bedroom in his face.

Written by David Fury and Drew Goddard & Directed by David Fury

Original Air Date: March 25, 2003

Dirty Girls (7.18)

Chased by the Bringers, a young girl, Shannon, runs through the woods until she arrives at a dirt road and a preacher in a truck stops to help her. The preacher, Caleb, questions the reason behind those cloaked figures chasing her and suggests that she's a dirty girl. He starts to scare her and she tries to get out of the truck, but can't. After he indicates that the Bringers work for him, he heats up a ring on his finger with the cigarette lighter and burns the Shannon's neck. He gives her a message, stabs her in the stomach with a large knife and then kicks her out of the car. Fresh from Los Angeles, Willow and Faith drive up seconds later and find the girl in the road.

Xander dreams about the Slayers in Training wanting him sexually, but his dream is cut short as in reality, the girls need him to fix the toilet. Willow and Faith watch as the young potential they found on the road is worked on in a hospital. Putting the pieces together herself, Faith questions why she wasn't notified that there was such a threat to the Slayer line. She explains that while in jail, she was attacked by someone with a large knife and until now, didn't realize what it meant. Faith starts to leave to update Buffy on the latest, but Willow questions that's the best idea, Buffy and Faith meeting each other right away. Faith takes off anyway, leaving Willow to wait for Shannon to wake up.

A girl runs through the cemetery until she's grabbed and knocked down by Spike. Faith intervenes before he can do much more and despite his introduction of himself, Faith considers him a threat and continues to attack until Buffy stops her. After the confusion is cleared up, the girl wakes up and shows herself to be a vampire, who Faith promptly disposes of. Back at the house, Faith encounters a cold reception from Dawn and Giles, but Spike explains that it was partially because of the latest tension between Giles and Buffy. Caleb drinks from a barrel of red wine while speaking of his past as a preacher to the First in Buffy's form. It takes a moment, but Caleb soon realizes that the First is in the appearance of the Slayer he's after. He talks about all the work he's done for it,

Andrew narrates a montage of Faith's history since her start on the show, but the story takes a sci-fi twist as Faith fights with a Vulcan and Andrew's story comes to an abrupt halt. The Potentials correct Andrew's story, but he continues to stress the threat that Faith is. At the school, Buffy goes to check in with Principal Wood in his office. She reiterates her earlier point about his issues with Spike and they agree to be on good terms again. Robin then fires her on the spot, citing the need for her to be focused on the mission as the reason. Buffy doesn't take the news well, but Robin's confident that she needs to be focused on saving the world.

Faith sneaks down into the basement for a cigarette and an escape from the Potentials, but she finds Spike down there as well. The two smoke and talk about their common dangerous pasts. Faith reminds him on how they met the first time when she was in Buffy's body and Spike subtly lets the brunette know that Buffy's no longer as uptight as she was years ago. Buffy comes downstairs and finds the two lounging on Spike's bed. Before Buffy's jealousy gets too obvious, Dawn calls to her with news that Shannon is awake. At the hospital, Shannon explains what happened with Caleb, shows off the burn on her neck and relays a message to Buffy: that Caleb has something of Buffy's. Later at the house, Buffy gives a speech to the gang gathered in the living room about Caleb and how they're all going to get whatever he has of hers.

A young woman walks down into the vineyard and meets with Caleb. He talks to her about why she came to him and then as the two walk into the darkness, the woman gasps and falls to the ground, her stomach cut open. The body quickly morphs into Buffy and the First rises. Caleb makes a request for another form for the First to take and they talk about how good he is at baiting girls into traps. Buffy tries to convince the others that her plan of attack is the right one, but most of them are hard to sell. Buffy tells Willow and Giles to stay behind with the inexperienced girls and protect them. On a recon mission, Buffy and Faith follow a Bringer through the woods and talk about Faith's intentions and her recent issues with Angel.

Xander directs the Potentials on the methods of attacking in battle. Rona speaks up, claiming that Buffy and her plan are crazy, but Xander promptly steps up with a beautiful speech in Buffy's defense. Buffy and Faith return home in time to hear Xander's speech and then they all get ready for battle. At the vineyard's entrance, Buffy explains the plan and then moves underground with her team. The Bringers quickly surface and a fight breaks out. The fighting goes well at first until Caleb emerges from the dark shadows and after a brief lecture, knocks Buffy across the room with one powerful punch. Spike too is tossed aside and into a barrel of wine then the fighting begins again. Rona is grabbed by Caleb and has her arm broken, but before a Bringer can stab her, Xander and Faith arrive with the other team.

Faith goes up against Caleb, but is eventually kicked into another barrel and knocked unconscious. Caleb then grabs another Potential and breaks her neck before setting his sights on Molly. Buffy gives the order for them to retreat but it's not soon enough to stop Caleb from stabbing and killing Molly. Xander stops to get Kennedy and walks right into Caleb. Observing that Xander's the one who can see everything, Caleb stabs his thumb into Xander's eye to effectively put an end to that. Spike tackles Caleb out of the way and then helps Buffy carry Xander out of the vineyard. Caleb narrates a story about Buffy as Buffy walks through the hospital past the beds of badly injured potentials and her best friend Xander and then at home, past the other Potentials tending to their wounds. Alone, Buffy walks through the streets as Caleb tells the First in Buffy's form about the good guy's destruction in the near future.

Written by Drew Goddard & Directed by Michael Gershman

Original Air Date: April 15, 2003

Empty Places (7.19)

People and cars crowd the streets as everyone in town rushes to escape the Hellmouth. Buffy spots Clem in his car on the way out of town and the two chat. Clem accidentally expresses his doubts that anyone can avert this particular apocalypse and suggests Buffy leave town this time. A police officer gives Giles and Willow some paperwork on Caleb after Willow uses some mind control to convince the officer that they're with Interpol and investigating a criminal. As Willow and Giles leave, some other cops present the officer with information on a fugitive on the loose in Sunnydale. At the hospital, Buffy relays information to Xander from the doctors about his recovery and his expected return home that night, while Willow sits with him. Buffy takes the folder from the police and leaves to continue with Slayer work, despite the fact that Willow and Xander were somewhat expecting Buffy to stay.

Xander jokes with Willow about his injury and the "pirate" resemblance, but Willow's sense of humor doesn't last and she starts to cry. While Andrew draws pictures on a large sketch pad, Anya lectures the Potentials about killing the Ubervamps and how difficult that will be for them, but the girls have their minds focused on the danger posed by Caleb. Kennedy and Amanda sneak up to the kitchen and talk with Faith about the lack of progress they're making with Caleb. Buffy returns home with the police reports and divides it amongst Faith, Dawn and the other girls for research. Dawn prods Buffy for information about Xander's condition, but Buffy has a hard time thinking about it, let alone talking about it. Kennedy mentions how Caleb was able to easily overpower Buffy, which lays a ton of guilt on Buffy, even though Kennedy didn't intend for it to. Buffy takes the reminder badly and heads out to the school to pick up the rest of her belongings, sending the Potentials downstairs to be with the others and instructing Faith to lead the research effort.

The school has pretty much been emptied and Buffy makes her way into Robin's office. As she looks at a picture frame left behind, Caleb emerges from the shadows and criticizes her tears. He brings up Xander and Buffy threatens to kill him if he goes near her friend again, but Caleb takes her threat as an invitation for more. He assures Buffy that she's got an important role in this future and they start to fight, but Caleb grabs Buffy by the throat and sends her flying through a glass window to land unconscious across the hall. At the house, Dawn relays her research discoveries to Giles about several pictures while Andrew moans about Faith eating the last Hot Pocket. Giles takes a closer look at the pictures of a church and spots Caleb's mark on the wall in one of the pictures. Spike is sent for and given the job of investigating the place in one of the pictures that is suspected of belonging to Caleb. To get Andrew out of the house, Giles sends him along with Spike, despite the protests.

To keep the Potentials busy while they wait for Spike and Buffy to return, Faith takes the girls to the Bronze for some dancing and partying fun. Buffy returns to find the girls gone, but Giles still there. He updates her on the latest and she doesn't take kindly to the fact that Spike was sent to investigate Caleb's potential home. She thinks Spike's the only one she's able to depend on, that the others are untrustworthy and then leaves to retrieve the Potentials and Faith from the Bronze. Caleb returns to the vineyard and reports to the First about his encounter with Buffy and boasts about the success he had in leading Buffy right into another well-planned trap. At the Bronze, Faith takes an alcoholic beverage away from Amanda then returns to the dance floor where a group of police officers find her. Bypassing the questions of Dawn and the Potentials, Faith goes outside with the officers, where the men make it clear they intend to deal with her on their own rather than send her back to jail.

The men attack her with fists and battering sticks, while Faith tries to hold her own against them. One officer guards the door of the Bronze and keeps everyone inside while Faith is beaten up outside. The girls stand up for themselves and disarm the officer, then proceed outside to help Faith fend off the cops. Buffy arrives at the end of the fight and without waiting for an explanation, sends all the Potentials home, then turns to yell at Faith. Buffy argues with Faith about the decision to let the girls go to the Bronze, drink and fight and the possible harm that could have come to the girls. Faith turns the table on Buffy by reminding her that Buffy led them into a dangerous situation and they didn't all come out fine, which gets Faith punched. Meanwhile, Andrew rides on the back of Spike's motorcycle while they talk about the greatness of onion blossoms, a conversation Spike wants no one else to know ever happened.

Faith sits on the porch and smokes as Robin arrives for the Scooby Gang meeting. They talk about Faith's newly acquired bruises and the issues they both have. Spike leads the way into the church with Andrew and they're attacked by a man bearing Caleb's burn mark on his face. Back at the house, Xander is guided inside and welcomed by his friends and the Potentials. Buffy talks to the whole group about what she's found out and announces that they need to go back to the cellar at the vineyard. Spike interrogates the man, a preacher, and Spike persuades him to help them. The preacher shows Spike and Andrew about a secret room inside the church with words on the wall, words that angered Caleb once he read them. Spike reads the words as they reference something that is only for "her" to hold.

Buffy continues to argue her point and the reasoning that Caleb is protecting something crucial at the vineyard, but no one agrees with her. Faith and Giles express their logical opposition and the potentials jump in with attacks of Buffy's decisions. Willow questions Buffy's judgment and Anya informs Buffy how her "Slayer" powers don't earn her the right to be the sole leader, it just makes her more fortunate than the rest of them in battle. Buffy stresses that she's the one in charge who has to make the decisions regardless of their opinions on the situation. Everyone else disagrees and the idea is raised that Faith is a Slayer too and maybe they should vote on who the leader is. Faith rejects the idea of taking over command, but questions whether Buffy could actually handle someone else taking the lead. Even Xander expresses his displeasure with Buffy's point of view. Buffy refuses to go along with the others and so Dawn stands up and regretfully asks Buffy to leave since she's unable to accept the overwhelming vote of everyone else. Emotionally wounded by the rejection, Buffy leaves in tears. Faith follows Buffy outside and tries to let Buffy know this wasn't her idea. Buffy simply lets Faith know that it's her responsibility now and asks Faith to take care of them all.

Written by & Directed by Drew Z. Greenberg & Directed by James A. Contner

Original Air Date: April 29, 2003

Touched (7.20)

With Buffy gone, the rest of the gang sit around and debate how they're going to deal now that they don't have Buffy making decisions for them. In the midst of their debating and arguing, the power goes out and Faith concludes the power company has left town and taken the power with them. Meanwhile, Buffy watches as people load up their cars and plan to escape the city, then breaks into a house in search of a place to stay. The owner is still there, but Buffy quietly convinces him it's a smart idea to leave town, nothing in Sunnydale belongs to any of them anymore.

Andrew talks incessantly to Spike while the vampire impatiently waits for the sun to go down again. Worried about Buffy, Spike gets Andrew to shut up and they continue to wait. Down in the basement, Faith and the others talk about their plan and their enemies. Kennedy pushes for a say in decisions, but Faith steps up and makes it very clear that now that Buffy's gone, she's the leader they all voted for and they all need to accept that. Faith decides they should go after the Bringers to maybe gain information about the First or Caleb from it. Kennedy walks alone down an alley until a Bringer steps out of the shadows and tries to attack her. The Bringer is ambushed by the rest of the gang and taken as a captive. Back at the house, they find that the Bringer is without a tongue. Dawn suggests a spell she heard about that would allow them to communicate with the Bringer.

Andrew and Spike return and when Spike asks about Buffy, Willow tries to explain her lack of presence with a lie. Spike realizes the truth--that the others kicked Buffy out--and he snaps at them, accusing them of being ungrateful and unable to handle the truth about Buffy. Instead of talking about it, Spike and Faith begin to have it out with their fists and feet, until Spike finally gives up and leaves. Spike steps outside and follows Buffy's scent to her. In the basement, Willow uses a spell to get the Bringer to talk while Kennedy, Giles, Xander and Andrew sit around waiting. Andrew begins to talk and it takes a minute, but soon the others realize that he's speaking for the Bringer. Andrew explains that the Bringers are everywhere preparing for battle, taunting them with words until Giles hears enough and slashes the throat of the Bringer, breaking his spell on Andrew.

Spike finds Buffy curled up in a bed at the house she broke into, noting that he didn't need an invitation. He presents the news that he thinks there's something at the vineyard that Caleb is protecting and that Buffy was right. Buffy's no longer enthusiastic about her mission and is ready to give up on it all, but Spike tries to convince her otherwise. Giles and Faith look over a map as they plan to begin a search through the sewers for the Bringer's hideout. As Giles leaves, the First in the Mayor's form appears to Faith. She knows what he is and isn't fazed, but he prods anyway, praising her for kicking Buffy out and warning that Buffy is a dangerous threat. Buffy breaks down from exhaustion and Spike tries to explain to her that she's needed still by the others.

She talks about how she detached herself from the Potentials and how detaching herself from people is something she's done for as long as she's been the Slayer. To defend himself against Buffy's accusations, Spike professes his love to her, but explains that he loves everything that makes her the woman she is, but not because he wants something back from it. Spike starts to leave, but Buffy asks him to stay and just hold her. Robin interrupts Faith's chat with the First and they start to talk about the First's visits with both of them and the effect it had. The two rant to each other about their problems and failures, then Faith takes things in a different direction and they kiss and tumble onto the bed.

Willow returns to her room to find Kennedy waiting for her and all of the other Potentials gone from the room. They two kiss, but Willow breaks it up, worried that if they let things go too far, something bad may happen. Kennedy convinces her that everything will be okay and she'll protect Willow, then the two get back to kissing. Buffy and Spike continue to hold each other while at the house, Anya and Xander, Faith and Robin, Willow and Kennedy all have sex. The First talks about the gang and the knowledge that they're all taking comfort in each others' arms. Caleb talks to it about how he has its strength inside of him and the First's need to feel. Later, Faith gives out her orders to the gang, sending some to watch over Buffy and others to help her investigate the sewers. Spike wakes up to find Buffy gone and a note left in her absence.

At the vineyard, the First talks with Caleb about their progress, but the First is impatient, worried that Buffy may get her hands on what they have. A Bringer is tossed down the stairs of the cellar and the real Buffy stands at the top, asking for whatever it is Caleb has of hers. Buffy goads Caleb into attacking her, but instead of taking a beating, she keeps her distance and avoids his blows. In the sewers, Faith and the girls find the Bringer's lair and the Bringers that live there. Meanwhile, as the battle with Caleb dies down, Buffy spots a trap door in the floor and dives through it. Meanwhile, the girls battle with the Bringers, eventually disposing of all of them. After the fight ends, Kennedy finds a stairway that leads to an area below the sewers. Buffy finds a scythe imbedded in a rock while Faith finds a locked metal box. Faith breaks open the box only to find a bomb inside, ticking away with a few seconds to go as she tells everyone to take cover.

Written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner & Directed by David Solomon

Original Air Date: May 6, 2003

End Of Days (7.21)

The bomb explodes seconds after Faith's warning, sending Faith and the other girls flying. Meanwhile, Caleb finds Buffy as she discovers the ax and she surprises him by pulling the ax effortlessly out of the rock it's imbedded in. The First convinces Caleb to let Buffy leave and she does at the mental hinting that Faith and the others are in trouble. The girls that survived the blast gather and they find Faith's unconscious body in a pool of water. As a demonic growl sounds, the girls take Faith and run through the tunnels for the nearest escape. As they make it over a pile of rubble, one of the Ubervamps leaps at them. Kennedy tells them all to form a circle so they can fight as one. At the house, the gang enjoy a selection of junk food and snacks taken from the abandoned grocery store while they wait for the others to return. Xander, Willow, Dawn and Anya return without having found Buffy and the news gets worse as Giles confirms that they haven't heard from Faith yet either.

The girls quickly find themselves surrounded by the demons and struggle to fight the powerful vampires. Just as one grabs Kennedy by the throat, Buffy crashes down through the ceiling above with the ax in hand. She quickly disposes of the Ubervamps, then directs the girls to take the wounded and follow her out of there. The wounded are tended to at the house and Faith is taken upstairs. Giles, Willow and Buffy talk about the scythe and what little they know about it. Buffy just knows that she knew it belonged to her and asks them to research anything they can find on it to determine its significance. Anya and Andrew clean one of the girl's wounds and talk about the poor medical care they're offering the wounded. Realizing they're lacking materials, Andrew suggests they go to the hospital, which is likely abandoned, to get the supplies they need and asks Anya to join him.

Buffy asks Xander to do something, but he doesn't like the idea of not being there with her during the final battle. Buffy convinces him that she needs him to do this job because she trusts him. Willow and Giles try to research the weapon, but they don't have much luck. Giles suggests that Willow use magic to tap into the scythe, but Willow is reluctant to open herself up to the dark magic. Willow finds a strange name on a website and Giles recognizes it as symbolism for a scythe. He directs Willow to research the Pagan Temple that the vineyard used to be as he suspects that may be the connection they need. Xander and Dawn search the car for Dawn's crossbow that she assures him she didn't leave there. They joke about his loss of an eye and when Dawn doesn't suspect it, Xander covers her mouth with chloroform and tosses her unconscious body in the car, then speeds off.

Caleb rants and yells about the Slayer getting out of his grasp, but the First reassures him that they will get her in time. The two prepare to merge, then the First Evil leaves the non-corporeal form of Buffy and enters Caleb. Afterwards, Caleb is left with black eyes and a deeper voice. A newly awakened Faith feels the strength of the scythe. She talks with Buffy about who's going to lead their group now and Faith's guilt over leading the girls into a trap. The two bond over the loneliness felt as the leader and as the Slayer. Buffy heads downstairs as Spike arrives back at the house and they talk about the scythe and the purpose of their mission. Spike brushes off the night before, but Buffy doesn't let go so easily. She confronts him on the issue and he confesses that the night was the best of his unlife. Buffy lets him know the night meant something to her, but she can really specify what her feelings are.

Anya and Andrew gather bags full of supplies as they chat about the impending battle. Anya confesses that she ran at the last apocalypse, but this time, she feels inspired by the others to keep fighting this time. They talk about who's going to die, then play around in wheelchairs. Buffy patrols with the scythe and finds an underground dwelling. An older woman emerges from behind a curtain and reveals that she was one that provided the scythe for her. The woman explains the history of the scythe and implies that Buffy could win this battle. Suddenly, the woman's neck is broken and Caleb appears behind her. Dawn slowly comes awake as Xander drives them away from town. Dawn asks questions about what happened and where they're going, but Xander just answers here with a note from Buffy. Dawn reads the letter explaining that Buffy wanted the two of them somewhere safe and surprisingly shocks Xander with a StunGun. She takes control of the car and turns it around back towards Sunnydale.

Buffy and Caleb fight, but Caleb repeatedly blocks her efforts to kill him and tosses her around. Just as Caleb raises the scythe to kill Buffy, Angel arrives and knocks Caleb down. Buffy and Angel briefly exchange pleasantries then Angel realizes Buffy has to do this fight herself and stands back to watch her kick Caleb's ass. Buffy does just that and eventually stabs him in the gut with the blade. With Caleb down, Buffy and Angel reunite with a kiss. As the two kiss, Spike and the First in Buffy's form watch from the shadows.

Written by Douglas Petrie & Jane Espenson ~ Directed by Marita Grabiak

Original Air Date: May 13, 2003

Chosen (Series Finale - 7.22)

Buffy and Angel continue to kiss in hello, but quickly turn to business and talk about the First. Caleb interrupts though as he rises from his seemingly dead spot on the ground and knocks Angel across the room. Buffy and Caleb go back into battle, but Buffy uses the ax to her advantage and slices Caleb in half, finally killing him. As Angel gets up, ready for more, Buffy shows him she's already taken care of the situation. Angel explains that the amulet he brought is meant to be worn by someone ensouled and more powerful than a human. Buffy realizes he intends to fight alongside her in this battle, but she refuses, not about to let him risk his life when he could be the only hope in the case that she fails. As Buffy leaves, Angel confronts her on the Spike issue after he senses Spike's scent on her. With the knowledge that Spike has a soul, Angel starts to act jealous, but Buffy tells him Spike's not her boyfriend, he just important to her life. They start to talk about Buffy's future both with guys and in general. Buffy explains that she doesn't think she's reached her peak in life and she doesn't know who will be the one to join her in the future.

Angel leaves as Buffy tells him that she has given thought to her future and she hints that sometime, in the far off future, it could include him. Buffy returns home to a kick in the shin from Dawn, who scolds her for trying to get rid of her. Buffy concedes to Dawn being included in the final battle then she informs the others that she took care of Caleb. Spike punches a punching bag in the basement and Buffy comes down to see him. He tells her he saw her with Angel and she tries to explain what happened as something casual. Buffy sees that a hand-drawn picture of Angel is on the punching bag as Spike asks for the amulet, thinking that he's qualified to wear it in the battle. Buffy confirms her belief in that by handing over the amulet. Buffy suggests that she stay down in the basement with Spike and at first he pretends to object, then offers his true welcoming to her staying with him.

Late in the night, Buffy rises from Spike's arms and stares through the basement window as the First in Caleb's form approaches from the shadows. The First tells her she can't be saved then morphs into Buffy's form and proclaims the "Unto each generation..." speech. Spike wakes from a strange dream to find Buffy has realized something in light of the First's words: they're going to win. Buffy gathers the core gang in the bedroom and presents her plan. Willow expresses her fears of failure since it's her responsibility to pull this plan off, but everyone has confidence in Willow's ability. Dawn and Giles prepare to research everything as possible and Buffy hands Willow the scythe. Buffy talks with the entire group and talks to them about the final battle and how she's going to open the seal and fight the battle on the Hellmouth the next day. She presents them all with a very big choice they each have to make.

At the school, Faith and Robin block the various access routes in the school basement while they talk about the impending battle and their night together. When Robin begins to knock Faith's skills in the bedroom, Faith gets defensive and decides they should go again to prove it. Robin tells her she can have her chance if they survive the big battle. Willow prepares for the magic and tells Kennedy she may have to kill her in case Willow taps into an evil that's too dangerous. Kennedy reassures Willow that they're going to survive. Giles, Xander, Andrew and Amanda play a board game together, none of them able to sleep on the eve of their greatest battle. Meanwhile, Buffy goes downstairs and meets Spike again. The next day at the school, Robin, Xander and Buffy send the groups out to various positions around the school for their battle. Faith, Spike and the Potentials head to the basement, Kennedy goes to Robin's office to prepare Willow's spell and the others break up into groups of two where they'll battle any vampires that make it into the school.

Before breaking up, Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles stand in a circle together and Buffy asks them what they're going to do the next day. Buffy, Willow and Xander talk of shopping and the mall and Giles can't believe the three are talking about something so unimportant at a time like this. They go their separate ways as Giles suspects the earth is doomed with such people protecting it. Later, Buffy, Faith and the Potentials surround the seal and ritualistically cut their hands and drip their blood onto the seal to open it. Kennedy sits opposite Willow as the witch prepares for the spell and checks to make sure Kennedy is ready to kill her in case things don't go smoothly. The seal opened, Buffy leads the way into the Hellmouth, while Spike informs her that the amulet doesn't appear to be doing much. As they stand on the edge of a large canyon, the girls begin to worry as they see thousands of Ubervamps everywhere.

The Ubervamps charge towards them as Buffy hopes desperately for the spell to take effect. The spell begins as we flashback to Buffy's speech to the gang. She tells them that Willow will tap into the scythe's power and give every potential Slayer and girls around the world the full power of the Slayer. As the Ubervamps attack, Buffy, Faith and all the new full Slayers go into serious battle. Kennedy watches as Willow revels in the power she's tapped into, her hair turning pale white in the process, and then the spell ends and Willow returns to normal. Willow gives the new Slayer Kennedy the scythe, then passes out on the floor from exhaustion. Kennedy gets the scythe to Buffy and the real fun begins. A few Ubervamps start to make it upstairs and the others begin their battle. Andrew tries to help Anya get over her fears by giving her happy thoughts, but instead he motivates her to be violent by mentioning bunnies.

The battle continues both in the school and inside the Hellmouth. The amulet begins to do something around Spike's neck, making him scream out in pain while Buffy is stabbed through the stomach with a sword, falling to the ground. Faith spots Buffy down and Buffy gives her Slayer sister the scythe to continue the fight. Meanwhile, upstairs, the non-Slayers struggle against Bringers and Ubervamps. Anya is sliced in half with a sword by a Bringer and Robin is cut through the stomach, although his wound is not immediately deadly. In the Hellmouth, Buffy watches some of the Slayers fall to their death and she's is confronted by the First in her form, but this time Buffy tells the evil force off. The girls get a second punch of energy and Ubervamps begin to die left and right. Suddenly, Spike is knocked back by the amulet and a bright light explodes around him. Sun is vented through the amulet, killing all of the Ubervamps within reach. Faith orders all of the girls out and ushers everyone upstairs again.

The school begins to collapse and while Andrew is pulled to safety, Xander doesn't spot Anya's dead body lying on the ground as he retreats. As the Hellmouth begins to collapse around them, Spike tells Buffy to get out with the others, he has to stay to see this through. They grasp hands and a fire burns between their hands. Buffy tells him he loves her and although he knows she doesn't mean it, he appreciates the sentiment. As Faith gets on the bus, the last of the suspected survivors, the bus takes off and Dawn watches through the back window for her sister. The others tend to the wounded survivors and try to stay positive in light of the fact that they've survived thus far. Spike's body is burned away and crumbles into dust as the Hellmouth collapses, taking Sunnydale with it. Buffy runs, leaping from rooftop to rooftop as the collapse of Sunnydale chases after her. A final leap lands her on top of the bus, where she holds on for dear life.

The bus speeds away until it passes the city limit and they're safe to stop. Behind them, a crater remains where Sunnydale used to be. Buffy tells them that Spike saved them. Andrew lies to a worried Xander, explaining that Anya died heroically--saving Andrew's life. Faith checks on Robin and panics when he appears to die, but then comes awake again. At the edge of the crater, the gang revels in the fact that they've survived, that they've completely changed the world. Giles continues to talk shop, but the others just want to rest and enjoy their success. With the knowledge that their lives have all been changed and the new excess of Slayers makes it possible for them all to lead more normal lives, Buffy is asked about what they're going to do now. Buffy just smiles.

Written & Directed by Joss Whedon

Original Air Date: May 20, 2003
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