Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by Joss Whedon

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Mary Beth's Synopsis

Previously on Buffy, the gang cast one wicked spell that called on "the power of the Slayer and all who wield it, last to ancient first" to combine Willow's spirit, Xander's heart, Giles' mind, and Buffy's hands to defeat Adam.

An evening at the Summer's residence. Ah, home sweet home. Who says you can't go home again? Home is where. . . okay, I'll stop. Buffy is talking to Riley at the door. He's heading off for a debriefing. Buffy's worried; Riley isn't. He's got Graham and others testifying that he helped avert the apocalypse. Factor that with his knowledge about the government's own "mutated Bay of Pigs" and they're not going to want to mess with him. "It's like you're blackmailing the government!" Willow pipes up from the stairs, "in a patriotic way." Xander shows up with dinner - popcorn he made all by himself, with a little help from "Joyce," has he calls her, when he pushed defrost by mistake. Riley bids them all farewell, including Joyce, who tells him "It was nice to finally meet you." And he's gone. Phew. Joyce gives Buffy a little motherly ribbing -- "notice how pointedly I said 'finally'?" -- which Buffy ignores -- "nope!" -- and the gang heads for the living room. There, they settle in for a vidfest. Joyce begs off. She's tired. They're not. They're "still a little too wired" from the spell, Giles tells her. Powerful stuff. Lots of excess energy. Can't sleep. So Xander has brought the videos -- for which he puts in a pre-emptive bid for Apocalypse Now. Willow wants something less "Heart of Darkness-y." I'd think they'd balk at anything with the word "apocalypse" in the title for. . .well. . .ever. Xander assures them he has plenty of chick and British guy flicks, too. Enough to last them all night. Joyce heads upstairs as Xander pops the video in. FBI warning pops up. Pan over to the gang. . . . who are all sound asleep. Giles in a chair to the left. Buffy and then Willow on the couch. Xander on the floor to the right. So much for too much energy.


The gang sleeps soundly in the Summer's living room. We focus closer and closer in on Willow's sleeping form, until the scene dissolves into a close-up image of Tara, who is lying on her stomach. "I think it's strange," Tara whispers, "I mean, I think I should worry that we haven't found her name yet." Willow wonders if she means Miss Kitty, who is busy tussling (in slo-mo) with a ball of red yarn. "You think she'd let us know her name by now," Tara continues. "She will," Willow responds. "She's not all grown yet." Willow is focused on doing something we can't see yet. "You're not worried?" Tara asks. "I never worry here. I'm safe here," Willow replies. "You don't know everything about me," Tara warns. "Have you told me your real name," Willow asks. Tara smiles and replies "Oh, you know that." We finally see that Willow is doing something with a brush and ink.

Tara continues, "They will find out you know. About you." Willow says she doesn't have time to think about that, with all her homework to finish. And we see finally that she's been drawing words on Tara's naked back. Tara's lower body is draped in a red blanket and pillow's are placed around her. She's very sensual. Willow sits on the floor next to her, with her ink and tools spread around her. Tara asks if she's going to be finished in time for class. While Willow thinks she can be late, Tara reminds her she has never taken drama before. We see what Willow's been writing -- Greek lettering. "You might miss something important," Tara warns. But Willow doesn't want to leave here, which is Tara's room. Tara asks why not. Willow gets up and goes to the window, which is covered by heavy red curtains. "It's so bright," she says as she pulls the curtains back to reveal a white hot desert outside the window. "And there's something out there," she worries. We see brief cuts of desert brush and flashes of something lurking behind them. Then a slo-mo image of Miss Kitty stalking the camera.

Willow roams the halls of one of the campus buildings, passing Oz and Xander. (Xander is wearing a red, button down shirt. Oz is wearing a reddish brown jacket over his t-shirt.) She says hi, without thought, and continues on. They follow. Oz says he's heard she's taking drama. "Tough course," he says. "You took it?" Willow asks as she approaches a set of high school lockers along one wall. "Oh, I've been here forever," Oz responds. Willow attempts to unlock one of the lockers while Xander asks if she's been doing spells. He tells Oz,"She does spells with Tara." "Yeah, I heard about that," Oz replies. They watch as Willow can't unlock the locker, then a bell rings. "I'm gonna be late," Willow mutters before she walks of. Xander turns to Oz and says "Sometimes I think about two women doing a spell, and then I do a spell all by myself." Oz just looks at him like he can't believe Xander said that.

Willow arrives in a backstage area for drama class to find everyone already in costume. She passes a guy in 20s garb, a toreador, Elizabethan ladies -- all kinds. Suddenly, Harmony runs up dressed in a sort of Heidi-like milk maid costume. Her hair is in two braids tied with red ribbon and her skirt is bright red, and she's very excited about "their first production. I can't wait 'til our scene! I love you!" She gives Willow a big hug, then tells her "don't step on my cues." Willow is very confused. Buffy runs over from the curtain, where she's been peeking into the audience, and she's dressed in a black flapper costume and has a black page-boy wig on, with heavy black eye shadow. She, too, is thrilled about the production. "Oh my god, the place is packed. Everybody's here! Your whole family's in the front row," she tells Willow, "and they look really angry." Willow is still confused about the production. I know how she feels. "Somebody's got stage fright," says Harmony. "Isn't this the first class?" Willow asks. Before anyone can answer, Riley walks up saying "Well, you showed up late or you'd have a better part. I'm Cowboy Guy!" And he is -- cowboy hat, bandana, chaps. Riley's shirt is a reddish tone, too. Oh, and he's wearing a big goofy grin. I'm wondering just what Willow thinks of Riley.

Buffy whispers to Willow that her "costume's perfect. Nobody's going to know the truth. You know, about you." Willow's "costume," by the way, consists of a typical Willow long-sleeved, t-shirt, this one yellow with a sun-like image on the front, a pair of brownish pants, and sneakers. Needless to say, she doesn't know what Buffy means by "costume." "You're already in character," Buffy exclaims. "Oh! I should have done that." She turns away to pout while Willow goes on to say that she understood that "a drama class would have, you know, drama class. We haven't even rehearsed." Buffy whirls to glare at her, Harmony says that some people haven't, and Riley reiterates that he "showed up on time" so he gets to be Cowboy Guy. "I just think it's really early to be putting on a play. And I don't even know what. . ." she realizes something. "This isn't Madame Butterfly, is it? Because I have a whole problem with opera."

Before Buffy can answer, the director calls for their attention. Buffy turns to listen intently . . . the director, of course, is Giles. And he's got the slick backed hair, cravat, and sweater look, and is ready to give the cast a pep talk. "In just a few moments, that curtain is going to open on our very first production." While he speaks, Harmony creeps around behind Riley and the cast to get behind Giles. "Everyone that Willow's ever met is out in that audience, including all of us. That means we have to be perfect." While Willow listens, she spies something moving across the room, hiding behind the legs of the other cast members. "Stay in character, remember your lines, and energy, energy, energy! Especially in the musical numbers." Buffy perks up at this line. Willow whispers asking if anyone saw what she did. Giles continues to speak, while Harmony, now in vamp face, nips playfully at his neck. "Acting's not about behaving, it's about hiding. The audience wants to find you, strip you naked, and eat you alive, so hide! Stop that," he says absently to Harmony. "Now, costumes, sets, um, the things that you, uh, you know, you, um, you hold them, you touch them, use them. . ." "Props?" asks Harmony. No, says Giles. "Props?" asks Riley. Yes, says Giles, he continues that "It's all about subterfuge. . . that's very annoying," he says to Harmony, "Now, go on out there, lie like dogs, and have a wonderful time!" He tells them all to stay focused and keep their heads, and "if Willow can stop stepping on everyone's cues, I know this will be the best production of Death of a Salesman we've ever done. Stop it, " he says finally to Harmony before he tells them all to break a leg, and they all disperse.

Silence falls over the room, even though people are chatting away. Willow turns away and spots a funny looking man with round black glasses. He tells her, "I've made a little space for the cheese slices," and indicates a small table with 11 slices of American cheese lined up, overlapping. Willow regards him for a moment, then turns and walks into the curtains, two heavy red ones hanging only about a foot apart, like a tunnel. Inside the curtains, Willow finds Tara (fully clothed now, in a blue sweater), who says "Things aren't going very well." Willow more than agrees. "This drama class is . . . I think they're really not doing things in the proper way. And now I'm in a play and my whole family's out there and why is there a cowboy in Death of a Salesman anyway?" Tara says that Willow doesn't understand yet. Willow asks if there's something following her, which Tara confirms. "What should I do?" Willow asks. "The play's gonna start soon, and I don't even know my lines," she worries. Tara tells her the play's already started and "that's not the point."

On stage, Cowboy Guy walks up to the Milk Maid, who is holding two pails on a piece of wood across her shoulder. Flapper Girl reclines on a divan nearby. "Why hello, little lady," says Cowboy Guy. "Can I hold those milk pails for you?" The audience snickers. "Why thank you," Milk Maid intones, "but they're not very heavy. Why have you come to our lonely small town which has no post office and very few exports?" Cowboy Guy responds that he's "come looking for a man. A Sales Man."

In the curtains, Tara tells Willow that "everyone's starting to wonder about you. The real you." Willow listens pensively. "If they find out, they'll punish you," Tara warns, "I can't help you with that." Willow wants to know what's after her, if it's something she's supposed to do or what. . . Tara shushes her. They both hear something. . . but we don't see what.

Back on stage, the Flapper rails the Cowboy Guy while the Milk Maid sobs in the background over the body of a dead man in a suit, "But what else could I expect from a bunch of low-rent, no-account hoodlums like you? Hoodlums, yes, I mean you and your friends, your whole sex. Throw 'em in the sea for all I care. Throw 'em in and wait for the bubbles. Men, with your groping and spitting, all groin, no brain, three billion of ya passing around the same worn-out urge. Men! With your sales!"

Willow turns around to find Tara has disappeared. She calls to her, but suddenly a knife plunges through the curtain near her face, she cries out and tries to run, but an arm, black and wrapped in gauzy-bandages reaches through for her. She falls to the ground, helpless, the knife slices her hand . . . and then is gone, as Buffy reaches through the curtain to pull Willow out -- and into a classroom that looks like something from Sunnydale High. It's empty, and Buffy creeps up the row of chairs with Willow behind her. Willow says she doesn't know what the thing that attacked her looked like, it was just after her. "You must have done something," Buffy says. "No. I never do anything," Willow insists. "I'm very seldom naughty. I just came to class and the play had started." Buffy looks at her in confusion. "The play is long over," she tells her. "Why are you still in costume?" Willow tries to explain again that this is just her outfit, but Buffy's not having it. "Willow, everybody already knows. Take it off." Willow looks around uncomfortably. "No. I need it." Buffy rolls her eyes, saying, "oh for god's sake, just take it off." She reaches out, turns Willow around, and rips the clothing off. "That's better," she says. "Much more realistic." And she moves to take her seat in the classroom, which is now filled with students, including Xander and Harmony and Anya.

"See?" asks Harmony, looking pretty much as she did back in high school days, "Is everybody very clear on this now?" People laugh, and we see that first season Willow, complete with Softer Side of Sears garb (brown jumper, white blouse and white tights) and long brown hair. She shifts nervously at the front of the room. "Oh my god," Anya scoffs. "It's like a tragedy." Buffy looks bored. Further back, Oz leans over to Tara and tells her he tried to warn her. Tara smiles slyly. "It's exactly like a Greek tragedy," Anya repeats. "There should only be Greeks." Willow attempts to read from a book report on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but Xander interrupts, crying out "Oh, who cares!" Oz whispers in Tara's ear, and Tara looks to be enjoying his attention. "This book has many themes," Willow continues. . . until she's tackled by the mysterious creature. She cries out for help while Buffy pays no attention and Xander and Tara and Oz look on. We see an image of Willow's face as something pins her down and sinks it's teeth into her. Her face shrivels up as if her life force is being sucked away. Back in the Summer's living room, Willow jerks and twitches, unable to breathe or wake up.


While Willow twitches on the sofa, gagging for air, Xander wakes with a start. "I'm awake. I'm good!" He announces loudly. Buffy and Giles are munching popcorn and watching the movie. Xander asks if he's missed anything. "Nothing much at all really," Giles tells him. Just some massacring, Buffy adds. Xander takes in a few seconds of the movie, where some soldier is wandering through the forest saying something about the war. "I have to say," says Giles, "I really feel that Apocalypse Now is overrated." Xander disagrees. "No, no. . . it gets better." He pauses and continues, with much less conviction. "I remember that it gets better."

Buffy offers him some corn. "Butter flavor?" Xander asks. "New car smell," Buffy replies. This does not faze Xander as he reaches for a handful. He notices Willow, still gasping, and asks what her deal is. "Big faker," Buffy answers, and Giles pipes up again, indicating the movie, "Oh, I'm beginning to understand this now. It's all about the journey, isn't it?" Xander rolls his eyes and thanks Giles for making him have to pee. He gets up and heads for the stairs. Buffy asks, "You don't need any help with that, right?" And Xander responds that he "has a system."

He mounts the stairs and turns the corner down the hall at the top, but stops short when Joyce, decked out in a long red negligee and matching robe, calls out to him from her bedroom doorway. Xander turns and acknowledges her, "Hey, Joyce. Mrs. Summers." He asks if they're making too much noise. She says no, but tells him "they all left a while ago" anyway. "Oh, I should probably go catch up," Xander says, looking back at the stairs. "I've heard that before," Joyce smile. "I move pretty fast," Xander acknowledges, "you know a man's always after. . . " "A conquest?" Joyce finishes. "I'm a conquistador," Xander says. "You're sure it isn't comfort?" Joyce asks, although her lips don't move, as the camera pans lovingly up her frame. "I'm a comfortador also," Xander adds. "I do know the difference," Joyce responds, "I've learned about boys." Xander says that's cool about her. Again, the camera sweeps slowly over Joyce's body and past her to the bed, which is turned down. We hear Joyce say, although again her lips don't move, that "It's very late, would you like to rest for awhile?" Xander responds that "yeah, I'd like you." But he heads for the bathroom first. Joyce's ethereal voice warns him not to get lost. I sort of hope he does.

In the bathroom, Xander closes the door, raises the toilet seat (good boy!), and zips down. Then he turns his head slowly to see a room full of Initiative soldiers and doctors watching him, some with clip boards. He decides to find another bathroom. He exits, crosses the hall and opens the door to Buffy's room . . . which leads him into his basement. There, he hears something grappling with the doorknob on the door at the top of the stairs. "I didn't order any vampires!" he calls out. But as the sound gets louder and whatever it is pounds harder, Xander whispers "That's not the way out."

Outside, it's a too bright day on one of Sunnydale's playgrounds. Buffy sits in a sandbox while Giles and Spike swing away on the swing set. Both are dressed in matching First-Season-Giles tweed suits. Xander approaches the sandbox, relieved to have found Buffy. "Are you sure it's us you were looking for?" She asks petulantly as she throws a side glance at Giles, who grins goofily while swinging away. Spike pipes up that "Giles here is gonna teach me to be a Watcher. Says I got the stuff." Giles confirms that "Spike's like a son to me." Xander thinks that's good. "I was into that for awhile, but I got other stuff going on." He looks across the park to his Ice Cream truck, where he's busy selling ice cream to a group of youngsters. "You gotta have something. Gotta be always moving forward." "Like a shark," Buffy adds with a childish pout. "Like a shark with feet and much less fins," he acknowledges. "And on land!" Spike throws in, proudly. Giles praises Spike for his contribution. Xander asks Buffy if she's sure she wants to play there, "it's a pretty big sandbox." She says she's okay, as the camera shifts down and reveals Buffy sitting in a vast desert. "It's not coming for me yet," she adds. "I just mean you can't protect yourself from some stuff," Xander explains. "I'm way ahead of you, Big Brother," Buffy answers, back in the sandbox now. "Brother?" Xander responds. And they take a moment to look deeply at one another, while Giles and Spike swing away, "Come on," Giles encourages, "Put your back into it. A Watcher scoffs at gravity!"

>From across the park, Xander in the ice cream truck watches the him that is standing locked in a gaze with Buffy. He then heads for the driver's seat, where Anya awaits in the passenger seat of the truck, which is already moving through the streets. Cheesy blue-screen images roll past as Anya asks Xander if he knows where he's going. She's fiddling with a blow pop. "I've been thinking about getting back into vengeance," she continues. Xander removes his cap and asks Anya if that's true. "Well, you know how I've missed it. I'm so at loose ends since I quit. I think this is going to be a very big year for vengeance." Xander doesn't like the sound of this at all. "Isn't vengeance kind of. . . vengeful?" he asks. Anya pouts that he doesn't want her to have a hobby, but he says just not a vengeance one. Because it's dangerous. "People can't do anything they want. Society has rules and borders and an end zone." The sound of giggling from the back of the truck draws Xander's attention. It's Willow and Tara. Both are dressed totally trashy and are enthralled with each other. "Do you mind?" Xander asks. "I'm talking to my demon." Willow apologizes. And Tara says that they just think he's really interesting -- although her mouth doesn't move. "Oh, I'm going places," Xander answers. Willow says that she's "way ahead of him," then moves to whisper in Tara's ear and run her hand up and down Tara's thigh. Xander stares and asks "Is that right?" Willow tells him to watch, and she moves to kiss Tara. The camera focuses on Xander's face, filled with something like fascination as the sounds of a passionate kiss emanate from the back of the truck. Kiss finished, Tara invites Xander to join them in the back. He looks to Anya, who tells him to go on. "I don't have to," he says. "I'll be fine," she responds. "I think I've figured out how to steer by gesturing emphatically." And as Xander gets up and heads for the back, Anya does indeed wave her arms around to indicate changes of direction and steering. Xander gets to the back of the truck, which although empty before, is now filled with shelves of candy and toys and Bazooka gum. Xander climbs up an embankment at the back, passing a sticker stuck to the wall that reads "Sheep," shoving some boxes out of the way, then jumping down. . . . and back into his basement.

He calls out to the girls, but they're nowhere to be found. The thing at the top of the stairs starts pulling at the doorknob again. Xander wanders closer, to the bottom, but when the pounding starts again, he calls out, "I know what's up there!" He turns to run into the Cheese Guy from Willow's dream. This time he holds up a blue plate filled with 8 overlapping slices of cheese. He tells Xander that "these will not protect you." Xander glances back up at the steps, then pushes past the Cheese Guy and out the back door, which takes him to a plaza on the school campus.

Here, everything is bathed in a green light, and Xander struggles against the crowd, which is moving the opposite direction from him. He glances over his shoulder to see that something is moving along the floor, weaving through the legs of the crowd, following him. He finds Giles (now dressed in a sweater and jeans) munching on an apple, the courtyard behind him is brightly lit in normal light, perhaps with a tint of redness to it. Giles is surprised to see Xander there. Xander asks Giles what's after him. "It's because of what we did, I know that," Giles answers before taking a bite of the apple. "What we did?" Xander asks. "The others have gone on ahead," Giles tells him. "Now listen very carefully. You're life may depend on what I'm about to tell you." Giles takes a deep breath, and begins. . . but all Xander hears is garbled and badly dubbed French: A la maison, on est tous dormant. Tes copains sont tous l". Il y a un [something] et retourne " la vie normale. La cr1ature ne peut pas te faire du mal.

Xander tries to listen, but he's lost. "What? Go where? I don't understand!" Giles seems exasperated, but he continues -- his mouth speaking English, the words coming out French. Ah dis donc! Ce n'est pas le temps pour les choses idiotes!

Anya walks up, but she, too, is speaking badly dubbed French. Xander, il faut que tu viennes avec nous maintenant. On t'attend. Giles adds: C'est ce que j'essayais lui dire.

"Honey," Xander begins, trying to make himself understood. "I don't. . . I can't hear you!" Anya responds that Ce n'est pas important. J'ai qu'est-ce qu'on doit.. Giles says On y va.

She and Giles pull him forward. Several students, including a couple of commandos, grab him, lift him up, and turn him upside down. The scene shifts and Xander is in commando gear himself, walking through a thick forest with a guard over his shoulder -- much like the movie scene at the beginning of his dream. His arms are bound behind his back. He enters a dark room, lit only by the sunshine pouring through a curtained doorway. The guard shoves Xander down on his knees in the middle of the room, near a bed draped in shadows in the corner.

"Where you from, Harris," asks a familiar voice. "Well, the basement mostly," Xander answers. "Where you born there," comes another husky-voiced question. "Possibly," Xander replies. "I walked by your guidance counselor's office one time," and we see it is Principal Snyder stretched out on the cot, with a towel draped around his neck. "A bunch of you were sitting there, waiting to be shepherded. I remember it smelled like dead flowers. And decay. Then it hit me -- the hope of our nation's future is a bunch of mulch." Xander nods slightly then returns the compliment: "You know, I never got the chance to tell you how glad I was you were eaten by a snake." Snyder sits up, removes the towel, and asks Xander where he's heading. Xander says he's supposed to meet Tara and Willow. . . and possibly Buffy's mom. Snyder picks up a bowl of water and begins bathing his bald pate, patting it gingerly with his hands. "You're time is running out," Snyder tells him. "No, I'm just trying to get away," Xander answers. "There's something I can't fight." Snyder asks him if he's a soldier. Xander responds that he's a "comfortador." But Snyder tells him that he's neither. "You're a whipping boy, raised by mongrels and set on a sacrificial stone." Xander's responds that he's getting a cramp. He stands, and finds himself in the courtyard outside Giles' apartment.

He sees something stalking him from the stairs by the entrance, so he turns to run into Giles' place (which is, of course, unlocked). Xander runs in and tells Giles that "it's here." But no one hears him. "This is more serious than we thought," says Giles as he approaches a chair, where Willow lies twitching uncontrollably. Buffy replies that "I can fight anything, right?" And Anya offers that maybe they should slap her. Since no one notices him, Xander keeps moving, through the living room, down the hall to the bathroom, out a door and into the hallway outside Buffy & Willow's dorm room. Something follows him, scrambling along the ground. He turns into their dorm room, looks around, and finding nothing, darts into Willow's closet. Through her clothes he pushes into a dark, brick hallway. He follows that toward a doorway at the end, which leads to . . . you guessed it, his basement. The pounding on the door is ever-louder. He goes to the bottom of the stairs and peers up. "That's not the way out," he whispers, shaking his head. Suddenly, the door crashes open, revealing an angry older man at the top. Xander immediately cowers like a little boy, unable to look the man in the eye. "What the hell is wrong with you. You won't come upstairs? What are you ashamed of us? You're mother is crying her guts out." Xander mutters that "you don't understand." No, the man says, as he starts down the steps toward Xander. "You don't understand. The line ends here with us. And you're not gonna change that." He shoves his face in Xander's and growls "You haven't got the heart." Suddenly a hand, black and wrapped in gauze, reaches out and digs deep into Xander's chest. Xander glimpses animalistic eyes before it rips his still-beating heart from his chest. In the Summers living room, Xander spasms. . . and the camera zooms in on Giles.


An old-fashioned pocket watch swings back and forth through the air. Giles can be heard saying "You have to stop thinking. Let it wash over you." Buffy gazes up at him and says, "Don't you think it's a little old fashioned?" They're in Giles's living room, although it's devoid of furniture. She sits in a chair; Giles stands over her, dressed again in his tweed. "This is the way men and women have behaved since the beginning, since before time. Now look into the light." Buffy looks on, then giggles girlishly.

Night. The cemetery has been turned into a carnival. A bush in the shape of an elephant sports Christmas tree lights, vendors mill about. Buffy, dressed in overalls and a red shirt and wearing pigtails, pulls Giles (in his current sweater and jeans state) along, "Come on! Come on! We're gonna miss all the good stuff!" she shouts playfully. Olivia accompanies them, pushing a baby carriage and quite pregnant herself. She asks if Buffy always wants to train this badly. Giles says that it "appears she's never heard the fable about patience." Which one? Olivia asks. "The one with the fox and the, uh, less patient fox," Giles stammers. Buffy has arrived at her destination -- a game she really wants to play called "Crack Prac." A candy-striped vendor hands her a ball, and a cheesy plastic Dracula-like vampire bobs up and down above a coffin repeating "I am a vampire!" Buffy throws the ball and misses horribly. "Buffy, you have a sacred birthright to protect mankind. Don't stick out your elbow," Giles chides. Buffy takes this to heart and tries harder with the next throw, hitting the vampire square in the chest. "Oooh! You staked me!" Buffy turns to look at Giles with child-like glee, but he says he hasn't got any treats. Sullen, Buffy turns away to take some cotton candy and Olivia tells him to "go easy on the girl." Giles tells her that "this is my business. Blood of the lamb and all that." He then sees Buffy with her candy and warns her that she's going to get it all over her face. She turns to look at him, the image in negative, her face covered in mud. This triggers something in Giles. "I know you," he intones.

Before he can react further, Spike (in his usual black leather regalia) calls out to him from the doorway of his crypt, which, incidentally, is decorated with at least 8 garden gnomes. This is truly the most frightening moment of the entire episode. Really. Spike tells Giles to hurry or he's "going to miss everything." Giles follows him into the crypt, where he finds Olivia sitting on a tomb, sobbing, with the baby carriage upturned next to her. Giles regards her for a moment then looks over at Spike, chiding "Don't push me around, you know I have a great deal to do." Spike, meanwhile, is looking paler than usual -- because he's in black & white. He's surrounded by tourists, and he tells Giles that "I've hired myself out as an attraction." (I'll pay!) Spike proceeds to start striking all the usual cheesy (but still damn sexy) vampire poses for the tourists. They eat it up. "Side show freak?" asks Giles. "Well, at least it's show biz," Spike responds. Giles looks at Olivia and around the room. "What am I supposed to do with all this?" he asks. Spike tells him, as he strikes a classic Travolta, that he has to "make up his mind" and asks what he's wasting time for. "Haven't you figured it all out yet, with your enormous squishy frontal lobe?" Giles scoffs that he still thinks "Buffy should have killed you." He passes Spike as the vamp hits one last pose -- Christ on the cross. The crowd "aaahs!" On his way out, Giles encounters the Cheese Guy, who has a couple slices of cheese slapped on his forehead and a few more stuck to his shoulder. He tells Giles: "I wear the cheese. It does not wear me." Then moves on. Giles mutters that he "honestly meets the most appalling sort of people."

Through the back of the crypt, Giles enters The Bronze. He moves past the patrons into the main area near the stage, where he finds Willow and Xander and his missing living room furniture. They're sitting on his couch, looking through various tomes. He grabs a book and apologizes for being late, sitting across from them on one of his chairs. "There's a great deal going on," he tells them, "and all at once." Willow knows. "Only at death's door over here. Look at Xander." She indicates the bloody hole in Xander's chest and Xander tells him he's "got the sucking chest wound going." But he promised Anya he'd be there for her "big night." But now he'll "probably be pushing up daisies in the sense of being in the ground underneath them and fertilizing the soil with my decomposition." Giles has nothing to say to that, which is good, cuz Anya walks up to the mike on stage and starts her routine. "A man walks in to the office of a doctor. And he's wearing on his head a. . . " she has to consult her notes to remember if it's a duck or not. Someone in the crowd shouts out that she sucks and she tells him to be quiet or he'll miss "the humorous conclusion." See, I like how Giles sees Anya. He says she's "doing quite well." While Anya continues to work on her joke in the background, Willow asks if Giles knows this is his fault. "We have to think of the facts, Willow," he responds. "I'm very busy. I have a gig myself you know." Willow works on the problem, saying that something is after them, something primal, animal force. "That used to be us," Giles tells her. "Don't get linear on me now, man," Xander responds. Anya finishes her joke, giving a little explanation for good measure and everyone laughs politely. Especially Xander. Applause, applause. And Willow gets Giles' attention: "Rupert, you've got to focus," she says, "you must be some kind of explanation. If we don't know what we're fighting, I don't think we stand a chance."

Giles thinks about this a second, then rises, as music begins. He moves to the stage and up to the mike, working his way through the problem as he sings.:

Strange, it's not like anything we've faced before
It seems familiar somehow.
Of course! The spell we cast with Buffy
Must have released some primal evil
That's come back seeking. . . I'm not sure what.
Willow, look through the chronicles
For some reference to a warrior beast.
I've got to warn Buffy.
There's every chance she might be next.
Xander and Willow, and try not to bleed on my couch,
I've just had it steam-cleaned.
No wait. . . .

When Giles tells her to, Willow grabs a chronicle, and later during the song, we see Xander and Willow and many other audience members have lighters in the air. Just as Giles seems to have reached an epiphany, the sound system conks out. He bends down and starts to follow the cord from his mike back behind the stage. He crawls on hands and knees until he reaches a tangled mess of cord, where he finds his pocket watch. Realization sinks in -- too late. "Well that was obvious," he mutters. A warrior of some kind hovers above him, revealed in a flash of light. "I know who you are," he whispers. "And I can defeat you. . . with my intellect. I can cripple you with my thoughts." The creature climbs down over him, grabs his head, and holds a knife at his forehead. "Of course, you underestimate me," he mutters as the creature begins to slice into his skull. "You couldn't know. You never had a Watcher. . . ." Back in the Summers living room, Giles' hand twitches and his glasses fall to the ground.


Buffy lies curled up on the sofa in the living room, until a whispering voice urges her to wake up. So she does. She's in her dorm room bed, and Anya is cowering in Willow's bed, with the covers pulled way up to her chin. "You have to wake up right away," she insists. Buffy says she's "not really in charge of these things." Anya begs her to wake up. "I need my beauty sleep," Buffy insists. "So stop it, okay?" She rolls over to see the creature hanging, chained to the ceiling. Buffy wakes again, this time in her bed in her old room. She looks around the flops back down. "Faith and I just made that bed," she says, now from the doorway, looking at the empty, mussed up bed. "For who?" a voice asks. "I thought you were here to tell me," Buffy replies to Tara, who stands in the corner, watching. Buffy continues, "The guys aren't here are they? We were going to hang out and watch movies." Tara tells her "you lost them." But Buffy doesn't think so. She thinks "they need me to find them." She looks across the room at the alarm clock, which read 7:30 a.m. "It's so late," she notices. "Oh, that clock's completely wrong," Tara tells her. She holds out the Tarot card from the spell they cast -- Buffy's card, Manus. The hands. Buffy says she's never going to use those. "You think you know, what's to come. What you are. You haven't even begun," Tara tells her. Buffy looks at the empty bed again, her concern and fear rising. She says she has to go find the others, leaving Tara behind to tell her to "be back before dawn."

In the halls of a campus building, Buffy (who is wearing a sun dress with red trim and red cherries adorning it) searches for her friends. "They wouldn't just disappear," she worries. Further down, she finds a hole punched through the wall. Inside, she finds her mom. She asks her mom why she's living in there. "Oh sweetie, no, I'm fine here," Joyce tells her. "Don't worry about it." Buffy says it looks dirty. "Well, it seems that way to you," Joyce says, "I made some lemonade and I'm learning how to play mahjong. You go find your friends," she tells her. Buffy tells her mom she thinks her friends are in danger, and Joyce starts giggling. After a moment, she apologizes. "A mouse is playing with my knees." Buffy says she really doesn't think Joyce should live in there. "Well, you could probably break through the walls," Joyce ponders. But Buffy is already distracted, having caught a glimpse of Xander moving up the stairs. Buffy creeps along a hallway and into a big white, sterile meeting room. On one wall is a map of the world. In the center, a conference table. "Hey there, killer," Riley calls out. He's sitting at the table, wearing a suit. Another man sits across from him. Buffy is surprised he's back. He says he never left. She asks how his debriefing went and he reminds her that he told her not to worry about it. Buffy approaches the table, she seems uncertain, tentative. Riley tells her the debriefing went great. "They made me Surgeon General." Buffy is surprised. She wishes he'd told her so they could celebrate. But Riley tells her that they're busy "drawing up a plan for world domination. The key element, coffee makers that think." Buffy wonders if this is a good thing, and Riley does a swivel in his chair as the camera sweeps up to a view from under the glass topped table. Smack in the middle is a gun, pointed out at Buffy. "Baby, we're the government," he tells her. "It's what we do."

The other man, who looks vaguely familiar and is quite the hottie, tells Riley that Buffy is "uncomfortable with certain concepts. It's understandable. Aggression is a natural human tendency," he tells her. "Though you and me come by it another way." I want to smack him for not using "you and I" -- but that's not important. Buffy is angered by this statement, and she fails to notice that the demon is standing right behind her. "We're not demons," she insists. "Is that a fact," the hottie replies. Riley interrupts, telling her they have "important work here. A lot of filing, giving things names." Buffy looks at the other man and asks "What was yours?" He replies, "Before Adam? Not a man among us can remember." Adam? Adam?! They've been hiding that under all that latex? That's just evil. Suddenly, the room darkens, awash in blue light. A Walsh-like voice declares that "the demons have escaped. Please run for your lives." Riley and Adam rise from their chairs. "This could be trouble," Adam states. "We better build a fort," Riley replies. And Adam says, "I'll get some pillows."

Buffy wants to help. She calls out, but her voice is small and quiet, "Wait, I have weapons!" She reaches down for her bag, only to find her weapons gone, replaced with a primordial mud. She reaches in and with both hands begins smearing the mud all over her face in a mask. The scene flashes in negative imagery as she does so. Riley, clothed now in a flannel shirt and red t-shirt, interrupts, "I thought you were looking for your friends. Okay, killer. If that's the way you want it, you're on your own." He turns and walks away. The room brightens -- to daylight. Buffy rises and creeps back along the hallway. The floor turns to sand, the walls disappear, and she's in the desert. Her face cleansed, she walks out into the white-hot expanse. Alone.

"I'm never gonna find them here," she whispers. Suddenly, Tara moves across the sand toward her. "Of course not," she speaks, "That's the reason you came." She stops, a distance between them. "You're not in my dream," Buffy says, more aware of her surroundings and what's going on than we've seen yet. Tara tells her she was "borrowed" because "someone has to speak for her." The beast creeps up behind Buffy as Buffy tells Tara to "let her speak for herself. That's what done in polite circles." While the being -- a black woman, hunched over, face painted black and white, body wrapped in gauzy material, hair matted and string, like dread locks -- circles Buffy, sniffing her, examining her, Buffy continues her interrogation. "Why do you follow me?" she asks. Tara says she doesn't "Where are my friends?" Buffy asks. Tara says Buffy's asking the wrong questions. "Make her speak," Buffy insists. Tara says, "I have no speech. No name." As the creature shakes its head and gazes at Buffy. "I live in the action of death. The blood cry, the penetrating wound. I am destruction. Absolute. Alone." The creature rises to her full height before Buffy, and Buffy finally understands. "The Slayer." "The First," Tara replies.

Buffy looks in her hands to find the Tarot cards, the one on top showing an image of her and her friends in the Summers living room, awake and alert. "I am not alone," she states. "The Slayer does not walk in this world," Tara replies. "I walk," Buffy insists. "I talk. I shop. I sneeze. I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There's trees in the desert since you moved out, and I don't sleep on a bed of bones. Now give me back my friends." The First looks her in the eye and growls back, guttural, "No friends. Just kill. We are alone." At that moment, Cheese Guy ducks in to waggle two slices of cheese in Buffy's face. And with that, Buffy's had it. "That's it, I'm waking up."

The First tackles her, throwing her to the ground. They fight evenly, then Buffy stops. "It's over," she tells her. "We don't do this anymore." The First won't give up so easily. She jumps at Buffy again and the go tumbling down a sandy incline. Half way down, Buffy yells out "Enough!" She wakes up on the floor of the Summers living room. Giles, Willow, and Xander sleep peacefully around her -- no choking, no twitching. She starts to get up, but the First jumps her again, plunging a knife down over and over and over. . . until Buffy asks, "Are you quite finished? It's over, okay? I'm going to ignore you, and you're going to go away." The First is taken aback, stopping and staring as Buffy gets up and heads back to her spot on the couch. "You're really gonna have to get over the whole primal power thing. You're not the source of me," Buffy declares. She settles in, and can't resist one Buffy-like jab. "Also, in terms of hair care, you're really want to say, what kind of impression am I making in the workplace, cuz. . . ." Thankfully, she wakes up. For real. As does everyone else.


In the Summer dining room, the gang sits around in a debriefing of their own. "The First Slayer," Willow is awed. "Not big with the socialization," quips Xander. "Or the floss," Willow adds. Giles says that "joining with Buffy and invoking the essence of the Slayer's power was an affront to the source of that power." Buffy points out that he could have brought that up before they did it. Giles reminds them that he did tell them "there could be dire consequences." He did. I remember. Buffy reminds him that he says that "about chewing to fast."

Joyce arrives guessing that she must have missed out on some fun. "The spirit of the First Slayer tried to kill us in our dreams," Willow informs her. Joyce looks at them all, then offers them hot chocolate. They agree heartily. I begin to think Joyce must make a damn fine cup of cocoa. "Xander?" Joyce asks. "Yes, what Joyce, duh, Buffy's mom?" he asks guiltily. She wants him to be her kitchen buddy again. "Sure, Buffy's mom." Giles is concerned about Buffy. She's a little out of sorts. First Slayer and all that. She never really thought about it. And it was intense, but at least the guys got a taste of it, too. They know what it was like. Xander tells her to keep her Slayer friends out of their dreams, though, from now on. "She's not good for the sleeping," Willow adds. Buffy gets up to go take a shower, adding that "at least you all didn't dream about the guy with the cheese. I don't know where the hell that came from." The gang glances sheepishly around the table at one another.

Upstairs, Buffy passes her room on the way to the bathroom. She stops to regard the freshly made bed. Tara's words still ring in her head, "You think you know. What's to come. What you are. You haven't even begun."

Mary Beth's Review

Just when you think Joss Whedon has hit the apex of his creativity, he manages to produce an hour of television so unusual and so different that fans seem pretty much split down the middle - hate it or love it. Well, I loved it. What Hush had in challenging frights and the freakiest of bad guys, Restless has in surreal delights and amazing characterization. Beautiful cinematography -- from the too bright playground, to the black & white Spike shots, to the green-lit hallway -- helped establish mood and set unique tones to each portion of the dreams. And Chris Beck's music is once again Emmy worthy. His score for Hush is lush and certainly worthy, and the sheer presence of the music throughout the nonspeaking scenes is enough to make it the logical choice for his Emmy submission, but the gorgeous nuanced tones contrasting with insistent drumbeats of the various dreams made this score special, too. The acting was superior -- especially Nicholas Brendan, who brought a depth to Xander's tormented dream that restored in an instant my respect and love for Xander that had eaten away at throughout the season. Everything about the hour has kept me enthralled many times through. Which you have to experience just to even begin to understand everything that went on in the minds of our favorite characters.

The dreams themselves seemed so perfectly true to what the dream state is like -- combinations of setting (Willow's high school lockers and classroom in the college hallways), rooms oddly connected, sexual fantasies, people from the past showing up (if only there was time and money to bring Jenny back, or Cordy, or Angel), things that just make no sense whatsoever ("I wear the cheese. It does not wear me.") -- and people speaking French! And even in their wackiness, the dreams perfectly captured each characters state of mind.

Willow's dream touched perfectly on her inner turmoil over not only her sexuality and how people will react to it, but also just who she is and how much she's changed. She may seem like the most together character on the outside, but I think it's clear she's the most unsure of herself on the inside. It was interesting to see how secure and safe Tara makes her feel -- even in the face of hints about just what or who Tara is. And how unsure she seems of Buffy and the rest of her friends. She's struggling to reconcile the Willow that she was, with the Willow she's become.

Fans have been complaining all season that Xander has no direction, and we've been shown in the last couple episodes, and with Xander's dream, that he knows it. But this is the first time we've seen just how hard things really are on Xander -- his struggle to overcome family expectations (or lack thereof), to catch up to his friends, to find himself on this journey, all this came to a terrifying conclusion in the moment his heart was ripped out. What's truly frightening, though, are the questions posed about his future. Not just what he'll do with himself -- will he work with Giles again, or is he past that? -- but his life span. Such comments as "The line ends here" and "set on a sacrificial stone" personally give me the wig. The Joyce bits and that Tara/Willow bits were pure Xander fantasy, perhaps there to show that he's struggling to overcome that immaturity -- and also to show that young guys still dream about sex. *g* And it was interesting to see that some of the most outlandish comments -- both Joyce and Tara's actual invitations to join him were both uttered without lips moving. Things that really are in Xander's head? Neat. And then there's Anya . . . Does he really worry about her returning to vengeance? And does he really see her as nothing more than someone pretending to be and mimicking humans? He's not so secure as he acts about their relationship, I think. One more hint about the future? Buffy's comment about him being a Big Brother. What did that mean?

Giles has been the other character floundering this season, and this time we saw that his midlife crisis stems from an inner turmoil -- wanting to be there for Buffy and do his duty. . . and have a life and family of his own. He's the most aware of what's going on in the dreams so far -- character awareness increases, I think, both as the dream goes on and with the characters becoming the most secure in self. Giles knows who he is and where he is and where he's been, but he's stuck at a crossroads and can't figure out what direction to go in. Giles' dream was the hardest to figure out for me, because I couldn't tell what exactly was commenting on his state of mind, and what was a hint for the future. That's actually a "problem" with most of the episode. What's real, what's dealing with the First Slayer, what's a hint, and what's just Joss playing with our heads? Well, Giles' singing exposition was a priceless moment. The combination of the Giles of the past and present with the Watcher Giles was perhaps the biggest hint that Giles is not as confused as he thinks he is. He's just branching out and living life more. He's already integrating the various parts of his life and personality.

Buffy's dream touches on her relationship with her mother, her need for her friends, and insecurities with her relationship with Riley and his role in the government take over. She still sees him and Adam (who was a hottie!) merely as boys playing in the grown-up demon-slaying world. Perhaps her dealing with the Initiative and the spell done in Primeval, as well as her confrontation with the First Slayer, has touched on some buried feelings about just exactly what her origins are. But this dream seems to deal the most with hints of what's to come rather than Buffy's inner conflicts. Perhaps this is because Buffy is the most secure in who she is and what her role is in the world -- or so she thinks. She'd do well to pay attention to dream Tara about big changes coming for her future. The countdown from 7-3-0 is continuing, and Little Sister is on her way. By the end of the episode, it seems she's finally getting the hint that something's coming. She seems genuinely uncomfortable -- unsure, wary, anxious. And dammit, so am I!

This episode raised tons of questions . . . and created millions more thoughts . . . and there's no way I'm ever going to express them all. What's going to happen next season? Only the Big Cheese knows. And I can't wait.

Rating: Well, I'd give it a 6 out of 5, but Perri will probably *BAP* me, so I'll stick within the limits and give in an enthusiastic 5 slices of cheese out of 5. [ED: Would not. I'd simply demand that we apply the same scale to 'Hush' and 'Earshot'. < g >]

Valerie's Comments

"Don't make Cave Slayer unhappy." (Sorry, it just had to be said!)

I hate Joss.

I hate Joss because I cannot sleep.

I cannot sleep because Primal Slayer has a mix of Neandertal (large teeth & nose, prominent cheekbones, heavy jaw) and anatomically modern H. sapiens (prominent chin, long limbs, lighter body structure) traits...and she's wearing woven fabric, apparently linen.

Neandertal have long been believed to have become extinct no later than 23,000 BCE. The relatively recent discovery of the skeleton of a 4-year-old boy showing traits of both has challenged that (he was dated to 21,500 BCE) and provided evidence that Neandertal and anatomically modern humans did interbreed.

Not that my problem is affected much by that little shift, since the earliest date I've ever seen advanced for the development of linen weaving is 5000 BCE. The only woven textile that *may* have developed earlier is wool, which is very much not what Primal Slayer is wearing. Linen is definitely associated with the rise of agriculture, and not at all with the hunter-gatherer cultures of both Neandertal and their anatomically modern contemporaries.

There are currently no less than three explanations clamoring for prominence in my head, not counting the obvious (and most likely) real-world explanation that they simply didn't do their homework (or else consciously bent the facts of prehistory to get the dramatic image they were after). Which, if I could just accept it, would let me sleep. No such luck with this rebellious brain o' mine. *sigh*

Explanation A: Primal Slayer is from early Egyptian or Nubian culture, and was some sort of genetic throwback and/or demon hybrid (Jack's been saying for ages, and I agree with him, that the Slayer almost *has* to be part demon, and Adam's cryptic comment in Buffy's dream goes a way toward bearing that out). Because of this, she was cast out/left to die by her people (perhaps given a symbolic "burial", considering that what passes for her clothing bears a more-than-passing resemblance to a shroud or mummy wrappings) at an early age, and survived to grow into the solitary feral thing we met tonight. Maybe even a literal the first, maybe it was her own death (or near-death) that opened the channel for the unknown Source (the PTB? The First? Something else entirely?) to infuse her body with what would become the Slayer's power.

Explanation B: Primal Slayer is indeed from the ca. 10,000-year overlap period of Neandertal and anatomically modern humans, is of mixed parentage and/or part demon, and her wrappings are representative of demon rather than human technology. The feral-child thing also applies here.

Explanation C: Primal Slayer is a sort of composite image drawn from the Scooby Gang's collective unconscious--an archetypal representation of the spirit of the first Slayer, rather than an accurate image of how she appeared in life.

At the moment I'm finding it completely impossible to choose one of these as the most likely, or even as that which I like the best.

I also hate Joss because he confirmed the extreme antiquity of Slayerdom, a concept that has been niggling at the back of my mind since "Beer Bad", without actually Jossing the nebulous zygote of possible fic that was conceived at that time. In fact, he's raised lots MORE questions to pursue.

Ave Joss. The bastard.

More general comments (sneak preview: Willow should never have been allowed to watch Twin Peaks. Neither should Joss.) to follow, hopefully after I've snagged the elusive sleep beast...


Just a few random things, fresh from second viewing:

I know we've seen that dress of Buffy's with the cherries before, and I think it was in another dream sequence. One of the ones while Angel was gone?

Now that we've been discussing it a bit, Giles' dream sheds a lot more light on the questions about the origins of Slayer and Watchers, and the relationship between them, than I realized. Key things to chew on: "Don't think," etc. -- "Don't you think this is a little old-fashioned?" -- "This is how men and women have behaved since the beginning, before time." Then to Olivia: "This is my business, blood of the lamb and all that." (And does that--along with the way Primal "drank" Willow's spirit--remind anyone else of the speculation that Ampata was a Slayer?) And the things he said to Primal, implying that he can tame/control her by intellectual means.

I'm even more sure now that Giles was mistaken when he said Primal had never had a Watcher. Even if she was born only partially human, *somebody* had to teach her that she wasn't able to live in the world. I say "able", not "allowed". She didn't even have Kendra's understanding that even though there was only one right choice, it *is* a choice. And her initial aggressive response to Buffy's insistence on having one gave way pretty quickly to puzzlement...and I wonder what the next step was? Dead for millennia, and she's just now finding out she was lied to and used. I'm positive at this point that she *chose* to release Buffy and the others because Buffy got through to her on some level; and as tempting as it is to say she just couldn't stand being lectured about her hair, the reasons are much deeper. Buffy isn't just defying the Council any more; she's challenging the fundamental nature of Slayerdom, and perhaps of gender politics on a cosmic scale. And you can bet the farm we haven't seen the last of that.

"Faith and I just made that bed." Buffy asserts her right to walk, talk, shop, sneeze, etc.--to be more than just the Slayer. Faith, until very recently, embraced the indiscriminate destroyer nature implied by Primal's description of herself...and it nearly destroyed her. The Watchers lost control, and the Slayer's nature in her reverted to that primal, indiscriminate form, getting worse and worse the more she cut herself off from positive human contact. Buffy, though also no longer under the Council's control, has a strong support structure that allows her to keep her identity as part of this world intact, and her destructive Slayer nature in check.

Chris's Comments

"I've always thought the patron saint/goddess of the Slayers would be Kali. She who carries a weapon in every hand (does she have six or eight? And hey, look, spider significance again...), is also known as "Destroyer", "Drinker of Blood(Souls)", "Dark Mother", and, strangely enough, "Dancer". Now, does Buffy have something in common with a few of those, or what? Kali is the protector of the home and children, too, as well as the berserker goddess who kills her lover/husband who rises again. She dances on the bones of her enemies. She's one of the Hindi goddesses of desire, too, if I remember right; and all of the Slayers are gorgeous to look at (the better to keep vamps off-guard, I think; little helpless-looking pretty girl vs. monster = no contest, right?).

The other "Big Brother" significance for me is always the "Watcher" thing (1984, Big Brother is Watching You) but I have to wonder: what could happen next year to put Xander in a position to get the nod for that? The Council would have to bite it in a big way, because their emphasis on books and rules (witness Wesley of last year) would mean they'd never even consider Xander, normally.

I was dissecting Willow's dream, and came across one or two other things. Buffy's dressed in a flapper costume, and giving a speech about throwing all men in the ocean, and it vaguely reminded me of Lady Brett in "The Sun Also Rises." I could be wrong, but the funny thing is--- Lady Brett was in love with a guy she couldn't have sex with (he'd been strategically injured in the War, and this being Hemingway, alternative possibilities for sex never entered the book). The cowboy thing for Riley is just too darn easy . "Death of a Salesman", aside from being one of those plays that college courses insists on performing even if they can't do it well, is also about a man whose long-time career is drying up, and neither of his sons can really follow him in his footsteps; about wondering what the *point* of your life is, when the thing you defined yourself by is being taken away. Kind of works with Willow's state of mind at that point.

I give up on the Harmony Milkmaid costume, though. *snort* And Giles's Noel Coward director riff; aside from being the complete opposite from how he handled the Talent Shows in High School, I think it was just fun. :>>

Wondering, though, if Willow already *knows* Tara's secrets, whatever they are. She knows her real name; she felt safe alone with Tara, didn't feel like she had to worry about being 'found out.' Tara's secrets might be stuff that would worry Giles or the others, that Willow is sure she can handle.

The "Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" book report also made me think about a joke I heard, about someone being 'so far in the closet that they're living in Narnia.' I don't know if that's where Joss was going with that, or it's just one of those subconscious things that stuck with him from book reports after the summer. :>


"I'm way ahead of you Big Brother." Not just for the words. . . but for the incredible chemistry that zinged b/n the two of them."
"Oh, wasn't there ever chemistry in that scene. And one could see Xander's hurt and bewilderment and then possible acceptance in that long look between them, and Buffy's own need (as a brother) for Xander. It was one of those moments Nick Brandon showed just how good an actor he is. I was particularly tickled with Spike and Giles in tandom in that part of the dream." -- Mary Beth and Karen

"Now, here's a throwback to some of our first season discussions: it seems even more that Slayerdom might be somewhat genetic. If the Slayer is part demon, then only those women with those particular demon genes--obviously very diluted--could be called as Slayers. I see the power that was talking through Tara as a sort of proto-Goddess, which puts me in the leaning toward the cave-Slayer camp, methinks. She (the power) will become Tiamat, Ereshkigal, Morrigan, and so on--or those will be the names given later. And is it just me, or did more of us hear the capital "H" when Tara's voice said, "Someone has to speak for Her?" Anyway, I see that power as a proto-Goddess type--maybe a demon, in actuality--who was opposed to the demon that created vampires. While Giles says, in WttH, that the demon that created vampires was the last demon to leave this plane, maybe he was wrong, and the proto-Goddess was the last one." -- Tina

"I--like Buffy--assumed she was referring to Primal Slayer herself, even after Primal Slayer started talking for herself after all. But I like your proto-Goddess theory a *lot*."
"I could admittedly be wrong--but it makes sense to me. After all, the first Slayer had to get her power from somewhere. While I'm sure the first Slayer has a certain specialness to her--maybe a deeper connection to her powers because she wasn't distanced from them by the concerns of modern life or the Council. Oh, that's an interesting thought. You know how the Watcher's Council is big on this whole "the Slayer has no concerns but slaying" kick? Well, what if that was the original intention? After all, we know now that the Slayer is *supposed* to be alone--what if that was the Watchers' Council's intent at first, but then, after a time, they decided that "alone" meant "alone except for us so that we can control the Slayer more easily?"" -- Valerie and Tina

"Xander and the Watcher thing: Cool. I'm glad they're going to move this way with him. He needs it. And I *said* he needed a dream, didn't I? Sharks that don't keep moving forward _die_. :>> (Anyone else catch Buffy calling him Big Brother, as in "... is watching you"?) And Xander's dad, what we saw of him, was no fun at all. Ick. "-- Chris

"Little Miss 7-3-0 popped up in Buffy's part of the dream too: the time on the bedside table was 7:30am, even though 'Tara' said "oh, that clock is way off." I really have to go back and watch Faith's dream in "This Year's Girl" and see if anything else helpful came up." -- Chris

"How cool is it that First Slayer went away when Buffy started talking about hair care and personal impressions? I mean, I know it was more her refusal to be defined by her Slayer-ness, but that whole fashion riff just making Slayer-Chick go away was too funny." -- Chris

"Speaker for the Dead is the official position for someone at the ancient Egyptian funeral rites who testifies for the person who is no longer there. Tara evidently got picked for the job; and you have to wonder why. Or at least, why not Anya? She was a demon. Is that part of it? Or is there more to Tara that the First Slayer isn't sharing? And damn, that image of her chained to the ceiling made me *jump*."
"I'm not sure I believe him when [Joss] says TP had no influence. . . ."
"I'll *maybe* buy that it wasn't consciously so if Chris Beck made an independent choice to do his own Angelo Badalamenti homage in the score. *snicker* But if it *was* unconscious, then Joss *really* needs to be no longer allowed to watch TP! Jack and I decided that Willow probably watched it (at Xander's house, maybe?) when it was first on, when she was just a little squirt. *eg*" -- Chris, Mary Beth and Val

"The Twin Peaks reference is the red curtains. It's in the ep of TP where you find out who killed Laura Palmer; Agent Cooper has a dream with those curtains in it. Conscious reference or not, it's still pretty cool." -- Chris

"KiKi asked why Joyce is in the walls: I see this as a representation of the barriers and distance between her and Buffy as Buffy has grown up and moved out on her own. Just a little bit of space for them to communicate. Buffy could easily break through if she wanted, but she has no time, no inclination. What's sad, as someone on the board discussion pointed out, is that Joyce seems perfectly happy with the walls in place, completely oblivious. Not sure what that says about them. Not sure what anything says about any of them." -- Mary Beth

"So . . . the bit with Oz and Willow and Xander in the hallway that was party Sunnydale High, part UCS . . . Oz talks about how hard Drama class is. And Willow says "you've taken it?" And he replies "Oh, I've been here all my life." Um, okay . . . is this saying that unlike Willow, Oz is comfortable with himself and has been all his life? Or is it saying that Willow sees Oz has having put on a front, too?"
"I think she was having trouble with the new roles she was trying out. Every persona we give out to the world can be seen as a type of role we play, because we interact with others and fill a space in a moving, growing, changing society...."All the world's a stage" ....I took his remark to mean that he understands that we all play our roles and that he's comfortable in switching between them when he needs to....I think that Willow's issue with her changes is (like most shy people) that she is not used to her new "self" yet."
"I think this is more about Willow's feelings for Oz. Oz is going to be there all of his life for Willow, one way or the other. What I found interesting was the Tara/Oz interaction in Willow's dream. What did that mean? Is Willow afraid everyone she loves will go off with someone else?" -- Mary Beth, Brian, Karen

"What I'm pondering now (besides the clothing issue) is whether the power of the Slayer is intended by its "Source" to oppose vampires and demons specifically...or if the Watchers' Council (or whatever tradition eventually became such) leashed her and *turned* her to that purpose? Primal Slayer seemed very big on "We are the hunt, we are the kill, yadda yadda" in *general* terms. What if the Council has even more of a tiger by the tail than we thought?"
"I dunno about that. If they did, how'd they make the proctective instinct we've seen so often displayed, so prominent? We've seen both Buffy and Faith have this instinct kick in when they have made conscious decisions *not* to want to halp anyone. (Buffy in 'Anne' pushing the person from out of the path of the car and Faith with saving Wesley from the spiders last season and the people in the church this season.) That instinct seems just as strong and massively intertwined with their basic Slayerness. It would have taken some majorly strong magic to pull that kind of a spell off. And to have it continue down the line for so long! That could mean that at one time Watchers were actually some heavy-duty magic users. Which makes one wonder why they interferred in that. Was it to try to clear the decks at some time long past to leave the field clear for them to be on top? Was there a time when it was becoming very possible that the vamps would be so numerous as to completely wipe out humanity? They just don't seem to strike me as the altruistic sort." -- Valerie and Julie

"A little more "Restless" reeling fodder...
"I'm not a demon, little girl. I'm something you can't even conceive of." -- The First, "Amends"
"You cannot possibly grasp the source of our power." -- MegaBuffy, last week
"The Slayer."
"The First." -- Buffy and Primal (via Tara), this week
In "Amends", Giles responded to the question "The First what?" with "Evil." But it was only called The First in the actual reference he was looking at. What if the Firsts are one and the same?" -- Valerie being evil

"In the spell last week, they invoked the power of the Slayer, from the first to the last. Now, it very well could have been a generalization of the power for all Slayers for now and ever. But since the first Slayer actually showed up in the next ep, what gets *me* is "the last." Another thing to note is the comic book Joss has been working on, called "Fray." In it, I'm pretty sure he's said, is a Slayer. . . but there haven't *been* Slayers for quite some time when this one is "awakened" or whatever. This bothers me extremely. At a time when things are happening to result in 2 slayers being alive at the same time. . . and primal forces being touched on . . . I'm wondering if Buffy and her current peers aren't the end of the line somehow."
"I've been thinking something similar...but not necessarily in terms of it being a bad thing. In the fifth season, we may see the Slayer rendered no longer needed. Also wondering where Xander fits into this..."a whipping boy, raised by mongrels, to be placed on the sacrificial altar." And his dad saying "The line ends here with us, and you can't change that." -- Mary Beth and Valerie

"And just FYI, I thought the most revealing sections of the dream-scape (in a very sad way) were Xander's -- not only in other's perceptions of him (via Willow) but his own. That scene with his Dad was heartbreaking. If Joss doesn't find Xander some sort of calling, then.... I don't know. I'd actually try to catch him at the Bronze and tell him to?"
"Yeah. Of course, Willow's perceptions of everyone were just--bad. Off. One of these days that woman's going to have to realize that she's fine as she is, and no one's trying to force her into any mold--not even Cordy. Poor Wil. Normally she's fine. Of course, I do have to wonder if that "they're starting to wonder about you" has a deeper meaning or if it was just Wil's insecurities. I mean, Tara of the dream warnings was even talking about it, not just Tara of the dream insecurities." -- Dawn and Tina

"I was kibbitzing with Big Merc and Little Merc about the dream meanings over dinner on Monday (mmmmmmmmeat! sorry, 10th-K joke... ), and had a sudden epiphany, that explained some things for me. Everyone who was being attacked by the First Slayer had the aspect that they invoked for the spell attacked. Thus, Xander, who was the heart, had his heart ripped out. Willow, who was Spiritus, had her "spirit", her essence, sucked out. Giles, "Sophus", had his brain cut out. What was attacked with Buffy? Her *friends*! The Scooby gang, which you could say were her helping hands, was what was being attacked. As Dianne pointed out, when the Tarot card for "The Hand" was handed to Buffy, and she said "I'm never gonna use that", the card then changed to show a scene of the Scooby gang - her hands. So the First Slayer was basically removing the things that the spell invoked -- killing them when necessary. Of course, it also seemed that the First Slayer didn't have the _power_ to kill Buffy, even if that was what She intended. When she was stabbing away at Buffy, and Buffy basically just ignored her, it seemed to indicate that her intention was to try to scare Buffy into behaving as a Good Little Slayer should, rather than destroying Buffy." -- Maureen

"[Restless] was so cooooooooool. Like my brain is, on too much chocolate and caffeine and no sleep and some stress, with eerie butterfly songs in the background. I want one of these every week. Well, maybe not. But it would make me happy for a while! :>>" -- Kiki

"In this case, the fact that Tara is in a choli and a somewhat abbreviated sari could be significant...swinging us in a Kali direction. Which makes sense, since Hinduism is the only mainstream living religion involving a destruction-goddess of the sort we've been discussing. (Not to slight the Morrigan--fates know that's the LAST thing I'd do!--but she's harder to get a handle on for dramatic imagery purposes, since her aspect is so diffused across different trads.)" -- Valerie

"Alternatively, Tara may be exactly who her name says she is, or some manifestation's only *the* most sweepingly common Indo-European name for the Mother aspect. Generative force in opposition to/symbiosis with Primal Slayer's destructive force?" -- Valerie

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