-- Quotes --
Written by Zinna
Just like last week, a girl runs away from cloaked beings, except this time the girl has hot pink hair, she's clad in a punkish outfit and she's in Frankfurt, Germany. The scene is very reminiscent of the series opener to Alias (which was very reminiscent of Run Lola Run), especially the background music. The girl is super agile and quick but the hooded ones seem to know her every move. She runs through a parking structure and a building into the basement where a rave is at full rage. In the rave, the girl is sure that she lost her attackers, but soon they are upon her. They trap her in a room. She fights them, kicks, and blocks their attempts to grab her, but she isn't able to evade their grasp for long. Once they have her, they stab her with the same sort of dagger used on the girl in Istanbul. As the girl lies dying, she turns to look in the camera. She says, "From beneath you, it devours…"
Buffy screams herself awake, just as Dawn shakes her awake. Apparently this was a dream. Buffy tells Dawn of the girl that died. Dawn asks if it's just a dream. Buffy tells her, "There are more like her out there, somewhere and… they're all going to die." As she says this she walks to the window and looks out as if she expects to see something coming. Dawn tries to comfort with her with a hug.
Outside the earth quakes with a rumbling sound. Something is surging underground.
The next day in the school's dark and dirty basement, Spike continues babble to himself. He's a mess and he appears to be hunting a rat for food, while telling one of the many voices in his head that now is not the time. The thing in his head knows it, he knows it and making them (everyone else not in his head) understand is a totally different problem. Then he mumbles something about breeding and a lack of etiquette (he could be talking about the rat, but these days… who knows). The ground begins to shake, things in the basement rattle. Spike shouts that it is not time. He's not ready, not nearly ready!!
Outside, Xander drives Buffy and Dawn to another day at Hellmouth High. Dawn is pretty excited that Buffy will be going to school with her day after day, but Dawn also makes sure Buffy knows not to speak to her in public. Dawn can't be seen hanging out with the crazy new outreach counselor. Buffy assures Dawn that they probably won't see that much of each other. Xander tells Dawn that she and the rest of her classmates should be glad that they will have a slayer on board to look out for them. He hopes they appreciate Buffy, he knows that he did when he was in high school. Dawn wonders why Xander is acting all nostalgic about a time that he said he hated. Xander replies that in high school at least he was dating. Buffy points out that he could be dating now. Xander explains that it's not as easy as it looks. Eventually, Dawn gets around to asking about Anya. Xander says that they aren't exactly on speaking terms but he does see her from time to time at the Bronze. Dawn tells them that they should lay off dating demons and stuff. Buffy is happy bring up the fact Dawn got down with some demons herself like last Halloween when Dawn was caught having a smooch-a-thon with a vampire.
A little while later, Princi Wood shows Buffy her cubicle and explains that in the beginning students will be sent to her, but if things go the way they are supposed to, students will start to come to her of their own volition. Buffy eyes get wide and she wonders if she can give detention. Princi thinks it would be good for Buffy to have some authority, so yes. Then he continues on with his instructions, which include telling Buffy that her job is not to evaluate but to listen. He also warns her against becoming too chummy with the students. Buffy understands all of this, but what she doesn't understand is why Princi would give her job. She asks if it is because of her sparkling personality or maybe he's a fan of her work at the Doublemeat Palace. Princi explains that he is a vegetarian and he believes that the students need someone who will understand them. He thinks Buffy is that someone.
Once Princi goes off to do his own work, Buffy runs down to the basement to look for Spike. He is no where to be found.
In Westbury, England, Willow sits on her suitcase looking out at the rain. Giles appears to tell her that her taxi has arrived. Willow asks if she can stay. She's afraid to go back, and thinks she needs to stay a little longer. Willow explains that she is afraid that she may lose control and go all veiny or she may not be bad-ass enough to take on the things coming from the hellmouth, especially now that she's seen how horrible those things are. Giles gets her to confess that what she's most afraid of is the possibility that her friends won't welcome her back. Giles tells her that no amount time will prepare Willow to face that fear. Giles can't promise her that she will be welcomed but he can promise her that she will be needed. Willow understands that she must go home.
That night in Sunnydale, a young woman walks her dog. The little doggie stops to sniff the ground and the woman wonders why she chose to get a dog instead of a cat. Suddenly, the dog yelps. The woman turns around to see what's wrong and finds her dog has been sucked into a hole in the ground. Soon the leash that she's holding pulls her toward the hole. She falls to ground and screams as she is pulled. After I yell for her to let go of the leash, she does and starts to run. A rumbling sounds, something strong chases after her underneath the ground. It disappears when the woman runs smack dab into Xander.
Xander takes her back to Buffy's house and this woman, who turns out to be a Nancy, explains the mysterious thing that ate her dog. Once they get all the details, Buffy assures Nancy that if her dog is alive they will find it. In the meantime they will keep her safe.
Speaking of safe, guess who saunters his loony butt into the living room? Spike, but he's clearly taken a trip to the salon because his hair is freshly bleached and combed back with gel. He also found his way to Club Monaco, or the Sunnydale equivalent because he is all decked out in a tight but fancy blue shirt. Buffy, of course is shocked to see him 1) looking sane and 2) feeling perfectly comfortable in her living room.
Spike says he's come to help. He asks to speak to Buffy alone. Xander doesn't think this is such a good idea considering what happened last time the two were alone. Spike tries to explain that he's a changed man from those days. He's not as crazy as he was last time Buffy saw in him the basement. Dawn immediately becomes peeved that Buffy didn't tell Dawn she saw Spike in the basement. Buffy doesn't really have an explanation and Dawn implies that it is not healthy for Buffy to keep these kinds of secrets. Buffy suddenly thinks it's a good time to talk to Spike alone. Meanwhile, Nancy wonders who this the Billy-idol wannabe is. Xander explains that Spike is Buffy's ex.
Buffy and Spike go out into the foyer. Buffy warns Spike that he better not try to apologize. Spike says that he didn't come to atone, he came because he thought she could use some help. "Help with what?" Buffy asks. Spike says he knows some great evil is coming, he can feel it, but if he's wrong he'll leave her alone. Buffy tells him that everything about him is wrong, but he's right. Something is coming.
Buffy goes back into the living room and tells Xander to drive Nancy home, while she and Spike patrol. Dawn announces her important job of holding down the fort and possibly finishing some homework. Buffy tells Dawn to be safe. Xander is reluctant to let Buffy go off with Spike, but Buffy reminds him that she can take Spike. Xander backs off and agrees to take Nancy home. Nancy asks if his girlfriend, Buffy, is always so bossy. Xander quickly explains that Buffy is just a friend. By this point, it's clear that Nancy and Xander are in full flirt mode. Luckily, Dawn's around to make sure Xander wipes his drool.
Buffy and Spike inspect the hole created by the dog-eating underground monster. Spike bends down to get a closer look after spouting off some rubbish about how he's willing to be useful if Buffy should need to use him. Buffy finds the new and improved Spike to be a little unnerving. She asks him what he's trying to pull. Spike claims to be on the up and up. Buffy asks what happened to him, assuming he will be more forthcoming since they are alone. Spike says the manifest spirits (from Lessons) were causing him to hallucinate and other weird stuff like that.
Buffy accidentally touches Spike while handing him a flashlight. The touch triggers her to flashback to when Spike tried to rape her. She becomes defensive and tells him that working together is not going to be a way for them to get back in the sack. Spike understands completely. He doesn't blame her for being skittish. Buffy tells him that she's more than just skittish. He tried to rape her! There aren't words to describe what she feels. Spike says doesn't expect an apology would help nor does he expect to receive forgiveness. He just wants Buffy to know that he's changed. Buffy believes that much is true but she figures Spike is not telling her the whole story. Spike admits that she's right, but since they are no longer best friends, he doesn't have to share. Having said that, he tells Buffy whatever made the hole is gone.
Meanwhile Xander and Nancy make it back to her apartment building uneaten. Xander walks her in and they shamelessly flirt for a little while until Nancy just comes out and asks if she can call Xander some time. Xander says he is very listed. Then they hear the rumbling and put off their shared moment to run. Underground monster corners them at the end of the hall. It reveals itself to be a big scary-looking ferocious worm thing with sharp teeth, but it doesn't eat them. For some reason it goes away and Xander begins to think the worm is targeting Nancy. Nancy couldn't be more pleased to add this the list of crappy things going on in her life at the moment. Xander wonders what else could be worse than a worm stalker. Nancy tells Xander about her abusive bastard of an ex-boyfriend, Ronny. He commiserates and Nancy explains that Ronny as been so unbearable lately that she just wishes it would stop. Did somebody say wish? You know what that means.
At the Bronze, Anya with a very cute hair-cut tries to coax some wronged woman to wish something horrible, but stops when she sees Xander and company approaching her table. Xander asks Nancy if Anya is the one she talked to. Nancy confirms. Buffy, Xander, Spike and Nancy demand to know if Anya turned Nancy's ex-boyfriend into a big worm monster. Anya says without any remorse that it was her work. Nancy is shocked to know that the monster thing is Ronny. Buffy exclaims that monster ate Nancy's dog. Anya shows sympathy for the puppy. Xander is appalled that Anya is concerned about the puppy when this worm thing is endangering people's lives. Anya doesn't care. She's got a quota (you know D'Hoffryn and the underlings aren't happy with her work as learned from Halfrek in Lessons) and the guy had it coming to him. Then she attempts to walk away, but Spike grabs her, telling her she's not going anywhere. Anya tells Spike to unhand her, and lets him know that they aren't going to be getting it on anytime soon. Spike is like, "You're so sure. Get over yourself." (well not in those words exactly), but the whole thing is undermined when Nancy says she thought that Anya was Xander's ex and Spike was Buffy's. Suddenly Nancy realizes that some bizarre love or lust entanglements are adversely affecting this group. She wants no part of it.
Meanwhile Anya notices that Spike has a soul. She doesn't say it out loud, but she marvels at Spike, asking him how he got it. Spike starts to hit her to get her to shut up about it (he obviously doesn't want Buffy to know). Anya goes all veiny, vengeance-demon style and kicks Spike clear across the room. Anya gets up to kick some more ass, but Buffy intervenes because Spike is her ass to kick. Buffy uses Spike as a punching bag for a while until Xander points out that Nancy has run off. Buffy figures she better go after Nancy since Nancy's worm-food and all.
Outside Nancy wonders why she always surrounds herself with freaks. Speaking of freaks, a rumbling starts going for Nancy and she runs and climbs up a ladder on the side of the building. She thinks she's safe until the sluggoth demon (Spike identified it's origin during his witty little confrontation with Anya) starts banging on the building's foundation, causing the ladder to separate from the building. Buffy, whose scouting the scene as she runs over rooftops, finds a rope or something and swings herself over to Nancy and grabs Nancy just before the ladder is about to give. They land on some boxes and trash unharmed, but a second later the sluggoth bursts through the ground. Buffy gets in her fighting stance ready to take the demon on, but Spike appears. Spike wants to work over the demon, so he pulls a metal bar off a window and goes to stab it just as Anya, with her impeccable timing, reverses the spells. Spike totally flips his wig when he sees that he's shoved the bar through a human. He pulls it out and starts up with his skitzo rambling. Buffy tells him to shut up while she calls an ambulance for Ronny. Spike can't help it. He starts yelling at the voices that are yelling in his head. Buffy ignores him, but starts to take notice when Spike is speaking directly to her, telling her that this is just the beginning, there's a war on his back and when it comes everything will tumble into death and bloodshed. Then he says, "from beneath you it devours." Buffy knows there must be something to his rant because that's the line from her dream, but she can't question looney tunes - he runs off. Soon Anya and Xander appear. Buffy tells Xander to take care of Ronny and there's an ambulance on the way. She gives naked and bleeding Ronny her little jacket, then she takes off after Spike.
Once Buffy goes, Xander tells Anya that she did the right thing. Looking at Ronny bleeding, she feels less than heroic. Xander assures her that this may be bad, but it could be much worse. Anya knowing the trouble she will be in with D'Hoffryn, assures Xander that it is going to get much worse.
Ironically, Spike takes refuge in a church. Buffy goes in and Spike comes out of the shadows topless. He gives her his shirt, saying that it didn't the work. The costume didn't help him hide. Buffy looks at him quizzically. She tries to touch him and he shrinks away from her hand saying, "no touching!" Then he asks if he's flesh, then he decides that he is flesh and starts taking off his pants, saying, "Get it hard. Service the girl." Buffy is disgusted and hits Spike to stop him. He grabs her throat. She throws him across the room. He says something like "Oh, right you didn't want to be serviced because there's no spark." Buffy asks him if he's completely lost his mind. Spike is like, "Duh!" Buffy tells him that she isn't going to be with him, all she will do is listen. She asks what happened to him. Spike says he was went looking for something that would make him fit because Buffy didn't want him. Then he feels ashamed and says he can't tell her anymore with her looking at him. He goes into the shadows. He tells Buffy that he dreamed of killing her because she was making him weak. He was so weak, holding himself, spilling all this salt, thinking of her. Buffy feels threatened and picks up a piece of broken wood and holds it ready to stake him if he lunges. Spike rambles on about how Angel should have warned him and how he wanted to give Buffy what she deserved. They put a spark in him and now all it does is burn. Everyone that he killed, the thing beneath Buffy that devours, they are all in his head telling him to go to hell. Buffy gasps as she realizes what he is saying - Spike got his soul back. She can't even begin to know how or why, so she asks. Spike tells her, "Shame on you, Buffy. Why does a man do what he mustn't, to be her's, to be the kind of man… to be the of kind man…" Then he turns from her and walks toward the large cross erected near the podium. He stands before it and says, "…and she shall look upon him with forgiveness and everyone will forgive and love… and he will be loved. Is everything ok?" He hugs the cross despite it burning him and rests his chin on it as he asks Buffy if they can rest. Tears flow from Buffy's eyes as she watches the smoke rise from his skin.
Please note my 9.6 rating goes mostly to James Marsters for his impeccable delivery of that brilliantly written soliloquy.