-- Quotes --
Written by Zinna
The episode begins with Spike, Tara, and Giles chasing a rather large vampire in the cemetery. Somehow he gets by them but Willow is standing atop a crypt and doling out telepathic instructions. With Willow's guidance and encouragement Giles is able to divert the vamp towards Buffy. Buffy, however, doesn't seem to be at the top of her game or dead like she was at the end of last season's finale. She lets the vamp throw her around like she's a toy. Eventually, Spike lights him on fire before lighting his cigarette. At Willow's command, the gang runs over to help Xander and Anya who are dealing with their own vamp elsewhere in the cemetery. Spike and Buffy tag team the vamp until Buffy finally stakes him, upon which she says, "That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, Bingo."
Has the summer made Buffy soft? What happen to her undeniable wit? Xander seems to think something wrong with her fight programming. Willow says it's just a glitch. Unfortunately, she'll never be exactly the really real Buffy. The only really real Buffy is gone. This one's a robot (first appearing in Intervention).
The next morning, Willow is anxious because her clog is missing and the Buffybot will have to face her most dangerous challenge to date: Parent's Day at Dawn's school. As the morning progresses, we find out that Buffybot's purpose is to fool demons into thinking Sunnydale still has a slayer and more importantly to fool the proper authorities that Dawn is not without parental guidance. Essentially, she is not since Willow and Tara have moved into the Summer's household to care for Dawn and the Buffybot. We also find out that a mysterious phone call from Anya prompts Willow to announce a Scooby meeting scheduled for that night and Dawn is not invited. Spike will be babysitting.
Dawn and Buffybot go to Parent's day. Dawn explains away Buffybot's off-the-wall questions as wackiness. In the classroom, Buffybot states that she made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Dawn's lunch, which sparks a debate among the other parents about the horrible cafeteria food.
On the other side of town, Anya and Giles' quarrel over spreadsheets and store inventory gets out of hand. Xander marvels at the immaturity and breaks up the fight. Anya explains that she is stressed out because Giles keeps threatening to leave but never follows through, leaving her to feel that her dreams of running the store unsupervised will never come true. She is also anxious to announce her and Xander's engagement. Xander tells her they should wait until things are more settled. Anya is not completely satisfied with this answer.
That night, Dawn tells Spike of Buffybot's success with her teachers. Spike is not surprised, claiming the perfect teacher's pet is predictable and boring like a machine. Spike asks Dawn what card game she would like to play. Dawn then tries to convince Spike that he doesn't have to stay to watch her. He firmly replies he will not leave her to get hurt again.
A young attractive woman is about to be food for some random vampire when Buffybot distracts the vamp and the girl runs away. Buffybot and the vamp engage in battle. Buffybot corners him and he hits her forehead with a broken bottle. The strike exposes steel and wiring. It's obvious to the vampire that she is a robot. As he runs away Buffybot runs into the wall; apparently her navigational system has been damaged.
The Scooby meeting takes place at Xander's house. Anya gives Willow the last known "Urn of Osiris" that she purchased from eBay along with a limited edition Backstreet Boys Lunch box that Xander pretends is not for him. Willow states that the urn is authentic, which means that it's time to do what they've been planning. It's time to raise Buffy from the dead. Willow declares that they will perform the ritual the following night. Xander is reluctant, but Willow is steadfast. She explains that Buffy did not die a natural death, but was killed by mystical energy. Buffy's soul, therefore, could be trapped in a demon dimension. Buffy could be suffering years of hellish torment like Angel. This explanation is enough to bring Xander down from the fence. They all agree to meet at the cemetery the next night.
Willow goes home to find a broken robot. As she sits down to fix Buffybot, Spike comments on how he had to convince the Buffybot to stay at the house. Willow programmed the robot to find her when she needs servicing. Willow tells Buffybot that Spike was right to keep her there. Buffybot compliments Spike on being right and having nice washboard abs. Spike, obviously pained by the robot's resemblance to Buffy, commands Willow to fix the robot not to like him anymore. Willow grumbles and continues to work on the robot. Spike hastily departs. Once he's gone, Buffybot tells Willow that Spike has stopped liking her.
Later in the night, Dawn has trouble sleeping. She gets out of bed to sleep with the recharging Buffybot that is lying in Buffy's bed.
The next day, Buffybot and Giles train in the back room of the Magic Box. Giles tries to get the robot to remember her breathing and then explains the concept of chi. Anya appears to tell Giles that the robot may have difficulty grasping the idea of chi, considering she is not the descendent of warriors but rather the descendent of a toaster. Giles realizes the absurdity of his actions and begins to reflect out loud on his failure as Buffy's watcher. Buffybot tries to console him, assuring him that Buffy must have needed him. Finally, Giles concludes that every watcher/slayer relationship ends this way and now with Buffy gone, his job in Sunnydale is done.
Meanwhile, in a demon motorcycle bar outside of town, the vampire that hit Buffybot with broken bottle brags to a listening Hellion demon that the slayer is a robot decoy. The Hellion then makes the vampire repeat this news to the head Hellion. The head Hellion rewards the vamp with decapitation. Immediately following the vamp's ashes falling to the floor, the demon announces that they are going to Sunnydale.
The next morning, Willow goes to the woods to summon "the blessed one". The "blessed one" turns out to be beautiful fawn. Willow pets the fawn, kills it with a knife, and asks the spell to accept her sacrifice. Unaffected, she takes the blood for the ritual.
A little later at the Magic Box, Willow announces to Tara, Anya and Xander that she has procured the final ingredient for Buffy's raising from the black market. Discussion ensues about the groups' anxieties over that night's ritual. Anya tries to calm them by showing them money, and in the process discovers a good-bye note from Giles.
Willow organizes an impromptu bon voyage party for Giles at the airport. They arrive with Dawn at the gate where Giles is waiting for his flight to begin boarding. They present him with gifts, a big bon voyage sign complete with balloons from Willow, a single-serving apple pie from Anya, a little glow-in-dark monster pencil top from Tara, and a desire to purchase Old English 800 from Xander (he is not old enough to purchase alcohol). Dawn gives Giles a card that she made in the car. She explains that they got the gifts from the gas station. Giles is moved. He requires hugs from all of them. While hugging Dawn he makes her promise to call if she should ever need anything. He is too choked up to make up last words for Willow. They hug briefly. Willow repeats twice, unconvincingly, "We'll miss you but we'll be okay" and then Giles is off to life in England.
Willow needs assurance that their no-tears send-off was the best way to send Giles off. Tara and the others provide this assurance and state that Giles will not be lonely. Tara also reassures Dawn by promising that they can call Giles tomorrow to ask about his flight.
As night falls the hellion motorcycle gang is seen riding towards Sunnydale.
At five minutes to midnight the Scoobies minus Dawn and Spike gather around Buffy's gravesite. They form a circle and light candles. Willow, at the head of the circle, begins the incantation summoning Osiris, keeper of the gate and master of all fate. As the ritual progresses Willow's arms are cut open and things appear to be crawling under her skin. Xander wants to help but Tara stops him by explaining that it is a test and no matter what they cannot stop the ritual. In the background Anya notices the sound of the motorcycles roaring.
The hellions fall upon Sunnydale, instantaneously pillaging the town. They scare on-lookers and destroy whatever they get their hands on. Buffybot appears in their midst commanding them to leave. They surround her. Two demons hold her as the head hellion extracts a claw of blades from his hand as if he were opening a jack-knife. He rips into Buffybot's shoulder exposing her wiring. Buffybot begins to fight them off. She is clobbering them for the most part but there are many of them and she needs servicing. You know what that means... she runs away to find Willow.
Buffybot leads the hellions straight to the ritual, which is at full blast. Surrounded by whirling red light beams Willow violently pleads with Osiris to let Buffy's soul cross over. She is not distracted by the motorcycle demons taunting them or Buffybot's requests for service. The others are disturbed and get out their way. The ritual is ended when a demon rides over the urn, shattering it. Willows falls to the ground exasperated and screaming, "NO!" Xander picks Willow up and they hide. Xander tells Anya and Tara that is best thing for them to do is split up; he will carry Willow and they should meet at the Magic Box. They take off in different directions.
In Buffy's coffin, a decaying corpse comes back to life.
Xander carries Willow to safety. In her weakened state, she asks about the robot. Xander explains that they cannot retrieve her safely.
Unbeknownst to anyone, the real Buffy is alive her coffin. Confused and panicked she scratches and tears at the coffin's lining. She punches through the wood and digs herself out of her grave.
Elsewhere, Willow asks Xander if the spell worked. He gently tells her that it did not and furthermore the urn was broken in the process. Willow is seized with emotion as she realizes she can never try the ritual again; Buffy is gone for good.
At the Summers' house, Dawn and Spike marvel at the destruction the hellions are causing in their neighborhood. Spike decides he can protect Dawn as long as they leave the house. Dawn panics, exclaiming they have to stay at the house to wait for the others and Buffybot. Spike calms her down, rationalizing he will not let anything hurt her, but no one is coming to their rescue. He convinces her that they have to leave.
Buffy, now out her grave, looks at her tombstone and gasps. She walks around the ruins and wreckage of Sunnydale and becomes more horrified and confused.
Anya and Tara make it to the Magic Box unharmed. It has not yet been looted. Anya is worried that Xander and Willow, but mostly Xander, didn't make it out of the fray. Tara is confident that they would be able to feel it if Xander or Willow had suffered some horrible demise. Deciding they are just lost, Tara conjures a spell to light Xander and Willow's path to safety.
Spike viciously plucks a demon off of a motorcycle and takes it, calling to Dawn. Dawn puts on a football helmet that was lying around in someone's backyard and jumps on the back of the bike. They ride off.
Xander and Willow encounter a little light that Willow recognizes as Tara. They follow it back to the magic store.
Buffy stops to rest on someone's car, but the motion sensor is activated and an alarm sounds. The noise causes Buffy to cover her ears. She is very disturbed. The car's owner appears from the house with a shotgun threatening harm. Buffy moves on.
At the Magic Box, Willow tells the gang that they must leave the safety of the shop to search for Dawn and Spike. Anya declares they will be helpless without Buffy. Willow tells them that Buffy is never coming back. They're all they have. Xander rounds up weapons and they leave the store.
Buffy stumbles upon a bonfire surrounded by leather-clad demons celebrating their capture of the slayerbot. Buffybot's arms and legs are chained to four motorcycles. At the command of the head hellion, they draw and quarter Buffybot ripping her to pieces with a very horrified Buffy there to witness the act. As it is happening Buffy screams, "NO!" and the hellions notice her presence. Happy to have another slayer to rip apart they cheer, but Buffy flees the scene with slayer-like swiftness.
In back alleys, the Scoobies happen upon the real Buffy, who has landed from jumping over a fence. All except Willow mistake her for Buffybot. Willow recognizes her and calls out to her. In response, Buffy runs to a corner and kneels down in a ball. The gang realizes that she is traumatized and unstable. Tara comments on Buffy's bleeding hands. Xander becomes filled with remorse and anger, as he comprehends what her bleeding hands signify. He tells the group that they brought Buffy back from the dead and left her in her coffin. They all are sorry, but they don't have much time for apologies because the head hellion and his minions have found them.
Xander turns, axe in hand, and exchanges quips with the demon. The gang attempts to scare the hellions with their bravado, but he is unconvinced. With great force he knocks both Willow and Xander down. The hellion commences to explain that they've come for a massacre and they plan to hold down girls and rape them with their anatomically incompatible parts, which will result in ripping the girls to shreds. Buffy stands to her feet. She walks towards the demon. He strikes her. Her lower lip bleeds. He goes to hit her again but she instinctually catches his hand. Buffy is now in slayer mode. She first knocks the head demon unconscious, then she goes for the next. Demon ass is seriously kicked. The others do their share. The battle ends in demon massacre.
Xander exclaims that it is the real Buffy and goes to embrace her. She retreats from his grasp and runs away. The gang does not chase her. Willow insists Buffy needs some time to get back to normal.
Dawn and Spike stop at the bonfire where Buffybot lies in many parts. Spike quickly tells Dawn that she is just a machine. Dawn understands but walks over to Buffybot's torso. Buffybot recognizes Dawn as her sister and tells Dawn that another Buffy was at the scene earlier. Dawn runs off in search of Buffy, leaving Spike to call after her.
In the alley, the unconscious demon awakes. The Scoobies fight him with all their might. He is stronger than all of them put together, but Willow uses magic choke him. He is able to break the spells chokehold and put Willow in one. Tara shoves an axe in his back and kills him. This is Tara's first axing.
Buffy sees the tower from which she jumped to her death. She climbs it and stands at the ledge remembering her last living moments. It is unclear as to whether it is her memory or the real thing, but Dawn's voice says, "Buffy, no!" Buffy responds as she did in her memory, whispering, "Dawnie, I have to."
The real Dawn appears, shouting for Buffy to stay put. Dawn notices that Buffy is confused. She explains that she is Buffy's sister. She asks her come down from the tower with her as it is clear the tower may give way at any moment. Buffy is unresponsive. Dawn demands she speak. Buffy asks, "Is this hell... Is this hell?"
Buffy speaks of how clear and shining everything was when she jumped. She says that things are fuzzy now. Dawn tries to explain that whatever Buffy endured is over and that she is okay now. Buffy doesn't seem to be convinced. Dawn goes on to say that she cannot be brave anymore. She needs Buffy to live.
Buffy is not swayed from her position on the ledge until she hears Dawn yell for help. The tower is falling apart. Buffy quickly gets them both down from tower and out of the way as it tumbles to rubble. A safe distance away from the wreckage Dawn clutches Buffy in a hug, saying over and over, "You're home now." Buffy looks forlorn into the night.