Written by David Fury
Directed by Daniel Attias

Perri's Review | Valerie's Comments | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

And the arc speeds merrily along, with trauma upon trauma being dealt unto Buffy -- and Riley's little downhill spiral continues. At this rate, the entire cast is gonna need therapy!

It's a pretty sterile environment, not particularly comforting to Joyce, as she is slowly conveyed under the impressive bulk of a CAT scan. Her daughters wait outside, worrying and trying to comfort each other. Dawn's chatter isn't what Buffy needs to hear, but she bites back a retort and settles for cradling her sister. Across town, Giles is exulting over his new ad in the yellow pages, as Xander comes in complaining about Riley's little solo assault against the vampire crypt the previous night. Giles is mildly interested, Anya just delighted that no one had to start their day with a slaughter ("Which really just goes to show how much I've grown!"). Research picks back up almost instantly, since the search for Glory continues.

She's shacked up in what looks like a helluva penthouse, being toadied to by a pro. I mean, this guy Dreg can suck up like no one else. ("Your creamy coolness has honored me by speaking my name.") He's tracked down a special spell for Glory, which will give her whatever it is that she wants -- as long as she has the other ingredients. "Don't worry," she assures him, tearing Giles' ad out of the phone book. "I'll have them. I'll have everything."

Riley heads to Buffy's house, and is worried to find the door open. We wanders inside, calling for his girlfriend but finds someone else entirely -- Spike, who has apparently snuck in to smell Buffy's laundry. Riley finds him in Buffy's room and the requisite male posturing ensues, with Riley dragging him down the stairs and to the front door (but not before Spike snags a pair of her underwear). Spike comes off the winner, goading Riley with the time he spent with Buffy the previous night, and the fact that Buffy has never uninvited him from her house. "Buffy's got a type and you're not it!" Spike taunts. "You're just not dark enough." Riley responds by holding Spike out in the sun until Spike tells him Buffy is with Joyce at the hospital. Riley is not happy that Spike knows and he doesn't.

Riley heads instantly to the hospital, where a tired, worried Buffy is happy to see him. But she shrugs out of his embrace after a moment, sending him to watch over Dawn while she speaks to Joyce's doctor and Joyce. The news is bad -- Joyce has a 'shadow' on her brain, and they're going to have to do surgery -- for a biopsy. Both women attempt to be brave.

The Scooby Gang is still hard at work, with absolutely no results -- there's no sign of Glory in the books. "What if she's something else?" Tara worries out loud. "Something old. So old it predates the written word." It's as good a theory as anything, if a scary one. "There's no way to predict her," Giles muses out loud, before turning to help a customer -- a blond dressed in a tight red dress, with a familiar attitude. It's Glory. Giles happily rings her up and shooes her out of the store before going back to worrying about, well, Glory.

Riley tends to the sleeping Dawn, then cuddles his exhausted girlfriend until the doctor comes in from Joyce's surgery. "Your mother has... the term is a low-grade glioma," the doctor tells her soberly. "A brain tumor." It's not good news, obviously; Joyce is sick and going to get sicker -- loss of muscle control, mood swings, and worse. The doctors don't know yet if the tumor is operable, and her prognosis is a one-in-three chance of survival. Buffy's stress circuits hit overload as the doctor presses for information; Ben, our intern friend, intervenes, winning Buffy some breathing space. He offers sympathy and what reassurance he can, and sends her out of the hospital for a while, since her mother is going to be unconscious for a while. She goes with it, but only to run to the magic store, and beg a healing spell from Giles. Riley is once again left with Dawn as Buffy goes off on her own. "Tell her we don't know anything yet," Buffy whispers.

Anya, sorting receipts in the magic shop, makes a startling discovery, and does it loudly. "You sold someone a Khul's amulet and a Sobekian blood stone," she yells at Giles, who is first offended by her tone, then realizes the problem when Tara and Willow work it out -- the two items together can be used to cast a very old and very dangerous spell, if the person has enough power. "Dear lord," Giles breathes, as everything clicks into place. Meanwhile, Riley has disobeyed orders and taken Dawn to the park instead of back to school. They sit on a bench eating ice cream and talking quietly about Dawn's childhood. "I'm really glad you're here," she tells him sincerely. "Buffy's glad to. She sure cries a lot less with you than with Angel." She means to point out how much more stable Buffy is with Riley; " Every day was like the end of the world. She doesn't get all worked up like that over you." Riley, from his expression, chooses to hear Dawn telling him Buffy doesn't feel as much for him as she did for Angel.

Meanwhile, the Scooby Gang is quite determined to keep news of their discovery from the distraught Slayer, since they're upset enough about having to tell her there's no way a spell can cure Joyce. But they're bad liars, and eventually have to 'fess up about Glory's visit, and her possible plans. According to Anya, the Sobeks were reptile worshippers and made an amulet than can transmogrify living things -- specifically, a cobra. Unfortunately, they don't know yet what it'll do. Buffy doesn't care; she's spoiling for a fight and no one can talk her out of going after Glory. She may be too late, though; Glory is already at the Sunnydale Zoo, making new friends with something that slithers. "Chill, worm," she tells the cobra gleefully. "I'm gonna make you a star!" Dreg begins chanting as Glory starts the spell -- and gets slammed into a wall by the assault of the Slayer. It works for about 30 seconds before Glory starts pummeling Buffy into the ground. Leaving in the crushes remains of the snake cage, she calls for her monster to "Arise!" And wow, does it. Little cobra turns into big snaky thing, and it looks hungry. Buffy slips (staggers) away, unnoticed

"The power is your to see the unseen," Glory intones. "Seek out the Key. Let your vision guide you to its hiding place and then return to me and tell me where it lies. " The snake slowly slithers off to do its job. Riley arrives at the magic shop to find that Buffy went out on her own; Xander takes the opportunity to point out a few home truths to Lone Wolf Boy about going off alone without backup. "Buffy needs something she can fight. Something she can solve," Xander points out. "I don't know what kind of action you're looking for. Do you?" Riley retreats to look for his girlfriend.

Snaky is combing the town when Buffy calls Giles to warn him. She's at the hospital, checking on her mom as she recovers from her fight; she just needs Giles to look after Dawn until Buffy can come get her. Night falls as Buffy sits in the hospital alone, Dawn broods in the magic shop, and Riley drinks alone in Willy's bar. Sandy, the vampire from the previous night shows up and tries it again. This time, as the doctor breaks the news to the newly-woken Joyce, Riley follows Sandy up the stairs. Her fangs sink into his neck and he lets her have her way or a long time, before finally bringing up a wooden knife. She explodes into dust, leaving him standing in the hall, his face sober and unreadable.

It's almost closing time at the magic shop when Buffy finally arrives. Dawn runs to her and they embrace. But before the sisters can leave, the window suddenly explodes inwards and Snaky arrives in a shower of glass. He starts trashing the joint until he sees Dawn; she begins screaming and the Snake studies her, then turns and bolts back out the window. Xander races up to Dawn as Buffy looks at Giles in terror. "It knows." She's out the door instantly, chasing the creature through the streets as Giles runs for the car. He catches up and Buffy jumps in, but Snaky is a lot more maneuverable than the Gilesmobile 2000 and keeps its lead. An impatient Glory trashes her penthouse in impatience. "Everything takes time! Does anyone appreciate that I'm on a schedule here? Tick-tock, Dreg. Tick-fricken'-tock!"

Snaky hits the graveyard and Buffy jumps out of the car to chase it, finally leaping on the creature's back. Strangling seems to work, but the creature is only playing dead; when Buffy releases it, it attacks again. Buffy knocks it down, then proceeds to take out several days of fear and helplessness on it, pummeling it to death -- and long past -- as Glory continues to wait for the news that's not going to come.

Joyce breaks the news about the tumor to Dawn alone, as Buffy watches in the hall outside her room. Riley, wearing a turtleneck, tries to offer comfort, tries to get her to give into the tears; Buffy lets him for a moment, then pulls away. "I can't," she tells him, "Not now. They need me. If I start now, I won't be able to stop." As Joyce calls her back into the room, Riley lets her go and stand in the corridor.


Joyce has a brain tumor, and the prognosis is less than good.

Riley is apparently having some serious psychological problems, which no one, least of all Buffy, is currently equipped to deal with.

Glory is still intent on her search for The Key, and is apparently working on a deadline.

Spike is apparently progressing from being in denial about his feelings for Buffy to being a stalker.

Riley continues to try to get Buffy to lean on him, and she's working too hard to keep it together to let him. Bad scene and getting worse.

Wow, Kristine Sutherland is finally getting the change to stretch her acting muscles, and doing a damn fine job of it. Joyce is perfectly played throughout -- tired, scared, miserable and trying depserately to be strong for her girls. The spotlight on Joyce this year just keeps getting brighter, and Kristine is rising magnificently to the challenge; this whole sickness, if she survives it (did anyone else do that 1-in-3 math in reverse?) will at least go a long way towards breaking down those walls she was caught behind last season. Summers women unite....

And wow, poor Dawn. She's trying so hard to be brave, to not put anything else on her sister's shoulders, but this is so much more than a 14-year-old needs to be dealing with. And what the hell is Buffy going to tell her about why Snaky saw her and ran?

Buffy is working towards a breakdown and she totally deserves it -- her life just keeps going further and further to hell. News of Joyce's tumor, on top of worrying about Dawn and Glory, is just a little more than she can handle. No wonder she goes out looking for something to pummel, no matter how stupid it is. It's still more undertstandable than Riley's little lone wolf routine -- she's used to being able to do something about the evil that surrounds her, but she can't do anything to save her mother from this random backhand from Fate. Oddly enough, though, it might be Slaying that saves her sanity, giving her something physical to fight when there's nothing else she can do. Hopefully killing the snake in that particularly, ah, hands-on way will work a little of that off for a while, but I'm not counting on it.

Fortunately, she's got the Scooby Gang backing her up and doing her thinking for her, since she's in no shape to concentrate on it herself. Which is,a ctually, giving the newer members of the Scooby Gang a chance to strut their stuff. Tara in particular is proving herself, coming up with the 'prehistoric' angle before even Giles. and, more importantly, being willing to speak up with her ideas in front of the others. Meanwile, Anya continues to amuse as a less-than-model employee, but also the one who is at least as on the ball about magic as Giles. I'm delighted that those 1,200 years as a demon are finally being used for something other than comic relief; if there's one thing Anya knows, it's magic and the bad uses thereof, and she's using that knowledge to build herself a place in the gang that's not dependent on Xander.

Who has done more than a bit of growing up, lately. His confrontation with Riley was excellent -- pointing out the stupidity of his actions and, in a guy kind of way, trying to make him see the possible badness behind them. It's not enough, not yet, but Xander is the only one who seems to see the trouble Riley is in, and the only one doing anything about it. I love the rapport building between these two, I'm just bummer that I don't think it's going to get the chance to fo very far.

Valerie and Chris do a lovely job of analyzing Riley; I'm not even gonna try, except to say that that boy worries me. A lot. He has his utterly sweet moments, still, taking excellent care of Dawn and trying his damndest to take care of Buffy; he's just increasingly incapable of getting past his own problems to be able to give Buffy the kind of support she needs, rather than the kind he needs to give her. It's not his fault, entirely; sometimes you just pass the point where you can ask for help without even knowing you've done it, or even knowing you need the help. I've got the horrible feeling that Chris is right, and Buffy and Riley's relationship is just going to wind up a casualty of war.

Spike, however, just amuses the hell out of me. Stalker Boy! Man, trust him to take the extreme on anything -- and to do a lovely job of strategically finding ever single one of Riley's buttons and pushing them,. < sigh > That boy... It is interesting that Buffy apparently did get around to confiding in him why she was so upset the night before; I would have given real money to hear that conversation....

Glory continues to entertain, and the addition of the hilariously obsequious Dreg is adding a lot. Interesting to know that she has a deadline -- we still gotta wonder what her ultimate goal is, 'cause it can't be good. Psycho Girl is a little too intent on this for it to be anything that doesn't involve Hell on Earth, the end of the world, and all the other traditional demon-type stuff.

Best Moments:
Giles interacting with the rest of the gang in the magic store. They're always cute, but the banter levels, particularly Giles' "I'm almost certain you're not, but to be fair, I wasn't listening." to Xander, keep getting better and funnier. Such a relief after last season.

Anytime Dreg was on screen being obsequious. As the terms of worship got weirder, they got funnier -- this flunkie is definitely a keeper!

The entire Spike/Riley scene. Spike is hilarious first trying to cover, then choosing offense (emphasis on whichever syllable you choose) to get Riley distracted. The levels of testosterone were tangible!

Riley covering Dawn with his jacket. < sigh > He's such a sweet guy when thsoe damn Issues aren't getting in the way.

Ben interceding with the doctor to give Buffy some relief. He's cute and sweet... he must be up to something!

Giles turning around and seeing Glory... and ringing her up. < snicker > Oh, they're going to be teasing him about that for a long, long time.

Anya almost getting fired. < snerk > The interaction between her and Giles really is hysterical, with Xander stuck refereeing.

"Thank you very much for those nightmares!" < snicker > Great Anya line and wonderful continuity.

Glory casting her spell. The woman has real impulse control issues, ya know?

Xander confronting Riley. This is the kind of insightful maturity Xander lost for a long time; I'm so happy to see it back.

And Xander running up to check on Dawn after Snaky left was also adorable.

Questions and Comments:
So why the hell hasn't Buffy uninvited Spike, huh? If he ever gets dechipped, that's gonna be a messy.

Rating: 4 stars out of five. Stellar acting in an episode that's largely setting up what is to come carries it into the realm of real drama, isntead of merely slogging through necessary plot points. Kristine Sutherland in particular is stand-out, although both SMG and Marc Blucas are making the most of what they're given.

Valerie's Comments

GheeeeeEEEeeeeeeEEEeeeeeeee! That was the kind of wringer we hadn't had in a while. And the fact that we haven't made the experience worthwhile. It's amazing how much more I appreciate having my emotional insides twisted into taffy when it isn't happening Every Bloody Week.

Numero Uno, of course: Joyce's diagnosis. I've been expecting something of the sort, obviously, but that in no wise made it easier to watch Buffy's face as she attempted to absorb the knowledge and be adult about it, to answer the doc's questions, to find something to *do*. Once again, Buffy is confronted with a nebulous something she can't kill, and heads out to find something she can. Maybe we should thank Glory for providing her with such a cathartic workout.

But, of course, finding something to kill doesn't solve the problem: Buffy's going to have to be the grownup for the foreseeable future. She has to find all the info for the doctor, take care of Dawn, take care of the house, all that stuff. Just like that, *bam*. This is so not gonna be fun.

Hard on the heels of that, and perhaps more rattling because (a) it's still such an unknown quantity, and (b) the more clues we get to it, the harder it seems like it's going to be to fix: Riley's mental state. The timing with which this show does things in relation to the rate at which it hands out clues contines to be uncanny. What do I mean? Well, this time it meant that Jack was asking "Are they writing Riley out?" as he was sitting in the bar. And then Sandy came in, and then the two of them headed in back, and with barely more than a typical rhetorical pause, Jack continued, "Or worse?" The answer is yes, worse, all the more so because Riley *didn't* take the simple route of "Buffy wants dark, she wanted her vampire, let's be one". Instead, he's flirting with death, perhaps flirting with getting turned as a sick sort of consolation prize; and the thing with Sandy took it to a whole new level of deeply unhealthy.

He needs help just as desperately now as he did a few weeks ago, but just *what* he needs is much less clear. And gives him far more ground to stand on in refusing it. A guy who walked out of an ER with a heart attack waiting to happen any moment is *not* going to listen when his friends tell him it's time to learn applied psych from the patient's perspective. Hell, he's not listening to *anything* that's being said--only to what he thinks he hears. That's what was most repeatedly painful about this ep to me: watching Riley quietly process everything anyone said to him through whatever mental filter is continuing to tell him he's not "dark" enough for Buffy. Or whatever deeper issue that's masking, the same way that an anorectic's obsession with weight is really about powerlessness and control. It doesn't matter how many times Buffy tells him that the LAST thing she wants or needs is another Angel. It doesn't even matter if Riley believes it, intellectually or otherwise. Because whatever is at the root of this, that isn't it.

The worst was that it seemed like people were unwittingly saying exactly the wrong things, but they weren't--Riley was only *hearing* what would feed into whatever is going on in his head. The only exception to that is Spike, who I'm sure expected his comments to be completely blown off. He'd be delighted to know that they were taken to heart and exacerbated Riley's craziness, but I really doubt he thought Riley would take him remotely seriously. In particular, the conversation with Dawn by the carousel really pointed this up...I kept yelling at him "Listen to what she's actually SAYING!!!", because he was so obviously *not* hearing anything remotely like the point Dawn specifically concluded with: He *has* been good for Buffy. I think the only thing he actually heard as it was said was "She never gets that worked up over you." He took that, divorced it from the context in which "worked up" = "miserable", and added it to the big club he's been beating himself over the head with. Arrrrrgggghhhh!!!!!!

Then again...maybe he *is* the only one with a real clue as to what's going on inside Riley's head. He's been there, after all. We were comparing William-the-mortal to Owen last week, and this morning I was thinking that Riley's current issues are an extreme version of Owen's infatuation with Buffy's "exciting" life. And while I admit there are only so many ways to portray a vampire munching, I was struck by the image of Riley leaning against the wall, passively offering his neck to Sandy--a mirror image of William and Dru's pose last week. There are strong differences, of course, not least being that Riley knew exactly what Sandy was and had apparently come looking for her. Then again, by the time Dru actually bit him, William knew that there was *something* very wrong and dangerous about her, and he welcomed her anyway.

Speaking of Spike's issues...this is actually about last week, but it just occurred to me: that boy was projecting in the worst way when he insisted that Buffy (and Slayers in general) is "in love with death". Every story he told was about *his* love affair with the final prospect. Every fight he gets into is a flirtation with it. It was, and continues to be, a huge part of who he is. It's why he sought out a Slayer to scrap with almost as soon as he learned of their existence, and why he's been drawing out the ever-changing dance with Buffy as long as he possibly can. Buffy learned far, far more about who Spike is during that evening that she ever could have about fighting secrets or any hidden workings of her own Slayerly mind. She *does* have a tinge of the death-fascination he was talking about, but her relationship with it is a defiant one that I don't think Spike is in a position to understand. He's interpreting her from his own perspective, and I think he's mistaken. Buffy may have snapped that he was wrong out of defensiveness, but I also really believe he *is* wrong. Her edge comes from that defiance toward death--from daring it, not flirting with it as Spike does. Where she slipped last week, imho, was in momentarily forgetting that it *can* come from any ordinary vamp, and that there's no such thing as "routine" in slayage. It was a necessary reminder, she'll be sharper for it, end of incident. I was most worried about her when she was overanalyzing it, but she came to the realization of it on her own...and got some heavy-duty insight into Spike into the bargain. So maybe she got her money's worth after all.

At any rate, it is Spike who understands, if not the source of Riley's self-destructive impulses, at least the form they're taking. (I don't think Spike understands the source of his own.) Meanwhile, Buffy's perspective limits her ability to understand Riley's relationship with the death-fascination just as Spike failed to understand hers. There is one incredibly intricate and dangerous dance going on here, and it's gonna get worse for Riley before it gets better. And man, I hope it gets better. At least the others are starting to see it now--especially important while Buffy has so much on her mind with her family (both real and created). Xander seems most on the ball about it, but so far I don't see him being able to do much. Riley just plain won't listen, and Xander is working blind in terms of the psychological buttons involved. He's almost always been the anchor well outside the dance-with-death mentality, which is good, but again, limits his ability to understand.

Minor thoughts:

Tara and Willow have simultaneously achieved the middle ground of their two hair colors. I'm vastly amused.

How did Glory pay for the stuff she bought? She strikes me as very much a plastic-only sort of girl, and I don't think I saw any change being handed back. I'll have to watch it again. I know there wasn't time for a *real* credit-card transaction, but this being TV, *shrug*. If there was a credit card involved, shame on the gang for not tracking it down. It likely wouldn't lead directly to her, but it could help.

What the hell was Glory thinking doing her spell *at the zoo*???? Just issue an invitation to unwanted interlopers, why don't'cha? I mean, I know the lady (or whatever she is) is the center of her own universe, and seems truly incapable of understanding that she's not the center of everyone else's; but so far she's been a *little* more practical than that. And, okay, it was night, I'm sure the place was closed. And she probably offed the security types. But, geez. Do Big Important Spells in your own space, okay?

How adorable was Anya, being all proud of herself for thinking that slaughter didn't sound like fun? And the indignant pout at her "clumsiness" being the brunt of the attempted coverup. And, of course, the whole bunny-nightmare thing. She just gets more fun all the time.

Snivelling Demon Guy's many, many, many hilarious terms of obsequious address for Glory. I was *dying*.


"The point is, SMG did an awesome job, that doctor guy was good as the kind you'd trust to operate on you, but whose bedside manner sucks, and again, I'm left wondering about Intern Ben. I *like* Intern Ben. He reminds me of other good guys. But I wonder why we're seeing so much of him, y'know? Bad guy in disguise? Good guy to get offed? Fodder for Riley's jealousy...? Hmm." -- Chris

"She really whaled on snakey-wakey, didn't she? Cruelty to reptiles. Joss should start putting disclaimers in the end credits --- "No transformed cobras were harmed during the making of this production."" -- Chris

"I wanted to smack him around a lot, shriek loudly, and shake him 'til his teeth rattled. Idiot! Moron! Jeez! What was he thinking? Was he feeling suicidal, and then snapped out of it, or did he actually think "hmm... being a vampire works for this chick, and Buffy..." and then snap out of it, or was he just so numb he didn't care, just wanted someone's undivided attention? No, probably not that. But it's all damn sad.... you know, a lot of people go into a depression after heart surgery and stuff, for purely physical reasons. Not that he wasn't already heading that way, because of the *reasons* for that surgery--- but it sure as hell couldn't have helped, now could it?" -- Chris

"I'm hoping --- but not counting on--- Xander, maybe, to snap him out of it. He's the only one who seems to get it, and he's a guy, and sad as I am to say it, I can't see Riley accepting advice from Willow. Both because she's a girl, and because she's too 'nice'; he'd think she was sugar-coating the truth. It would be so much better if someone else close to him told him to snap out of it, but the scary thing is, Riley has no support system now except for people who were Buffy's friends first. Graham's hanging out around there, maybe, but he isn't being as helpful as he could be--- he's still in the Initiative, in a lot of ways, and while he likes Buffy, he doesn't like Riley's relationship with her. And at the moment, I can't blame him. Riley's made her the center of his world, which isn't healthy even if your girlfriend *isn't* the Slayer. He's gotten all caught up in the Scooby Gang thing, but he's not the leader, so he's feeling useless because of that. His masculinity has always been tied into doing, and now he isn't doing that much, so he's feeling un-guy and very weak, something he hates... And let's face it, Buffy does love him. But not as much as he loves her. The sad thing is, he's not totally wrong. He's just not seeing all the things that *are* right in their relationship, and not realizing that they could change, and the relationship can still grow if he doesn't keep pushing this. This boy has so much baggage, he could camp in the Antarctic right now." -- Chris

"[Spike] *does* know what weak spots to go for. Give the boy credit: he's always known where to hit people emotionally, either in the Yoko Factor, or with Buffy last week, or manipulating Angelus during the last part of Season 2. He's got insight and phrasing... and if he weren't evil, he'd be a great therapist. " -- Chris

RE: Riley -- "That whole early-twenties romanticization of emotional pain and intensity, which I guess is not totally avoidable. What was Maggie's line? "God spare me grad students in love." //sigh// He's a freakin' Knightie, in other words. In love with someone who's got Knightie-Natpack traits, but who can kick his ass, and is currently doing the distancing thing to preserve her own sanity while her mother is sick and her sister is from another dimension. Of *course* he doesn't know how to deal with it.... Buffy's priorities are: Mom, Dawn, Slaying, Riley, Scoobies. Riley's priorities are: Buffy, Slaying... um..... //think think// Oh, dear. Feel the badness. Her priorities are, necessarily, very different right now. And he's never gonna come first. He can't figure out that it's not him, nothing to *do* with him. If he has figured it out at all, he's still in some way blaming Buffy, wanting her to reach out to him for emotional comfort, when her way of coping is the *exact* same as his--- finding something to do, not opening up until she breaks.

She might even be opening up more to Giles now, but that's because they have an entirely different relationship from the one she has with Riley. If Angel *were* there, I don't think she would've told him any more about Dawn, or her mom's cancer, than she's told Riley. Angel might have already figured out that something was up with Dawn by now, but not because Buffy would tell him more--- just because he's a vampire, he might have some senses or heard stuff that would let him figure it out faster." -- Chris

"Joyce & her brain tumor...*sigh* looks like she's going. Either that or Joss is gonna have to hide from all the people he's leading up the garden path. Again.

Just what will Buffy do if she dies? I think having "little sister" to take care of will probably will help the most in stopping her from self destructing. Yep, Spike's little talk about the death wish stuff is looming...Joyce is Buffy's strongest link to life. Cut that & the Scooby gang has it's job cut out for it and then some." -- Julie

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