-- Quotes --
On a typical night of
patrol and slaying, Buffy's routine is unexpectedly interrupted by the
arrival of her mother. Joyce feels that it's time to get a better understanding
of her daughter's world by watching Buffy in action. Almost as soon as
Joyce arrives, a vampire enters the scene. After Buffy chases him into
the thick of the woods, Joyce discovers the bodies of two dead children,
one boy and one girl, at a nearby playground. A strange symbol has been
enscribed in the palms of their hands. While the police investigate the
crime scene, Buffy tries to console her distraught mother.
Buffy tells Giles about
the murdered children in the library the next morning. She sketches the
symbol she noticed on their palms and shows it to Giles, who believes it
implies the handiwork of a cult. Buffy cannot believe that humans are responsible
for this as opposed to demons. At lunch, nobody notices Joyce walking into
the cafeteria and straight to the gang's table. Buffy excuses herself and
takes her mom into the hallway. Joyce tells her daughter that she's organized
a meeting at City Hall for that night to discuss the murder. Dozens of
parents attend, including Sheila Rosenberg, Willow's mother. Willow can't
believe she's there, considering the fact that they barely communicate
with each other. After the Mayor delivers a textbook speech to the crowd,
he invites Joyce to the stand to lead them in a moment of silence. Instead,
Joyce proposes a call to action, declaring an end to the city's silence
concerning the ubiquitous dangers that plague Sunnydale. Later that night,
Willow, Amy, and their friend Michael gather together to explore their
world of the black arts. On the floor beneath them is the very same symbol
that appeared on the two dead children.
At school the next morning,
a group of students harass Michael by his locker, stating their belief
that witches were responsible for the children's murder. Amy tries to fend
them off, but it's Buffy who gets them to back off. Giles finds Buffy and
tells her that witches may in fact be the prime suspects. The book that
Giles needs to research this further was checked out by Willow, so he asks
Buffy to get it for him. Buffy finds Xander sitting in the lounge, who
points out Willow's stuff.
As she picks up the book,
Buffy notices the symbol drawn on Willow's notebook. She asks Willow to
explain it, but their conversation is cut short by the sudden commotion
in the hallways. Under Principal Synder's supervision, the local police
inspect each and every locker, looking for any signs of materials pertaining
to witchcraft. After Amy is escorted to the office, Willow tells Buffy
that the symbol is for a protection spell that she wanted to cast for Buffy's
upcoming birthday. In other words, the symbol and what it stands for are
completely harmless. At that moment, the cops open Willow's locker and
ask her to come with them. Buffy runs to the library and discovers a similar
scene. As the cops pack up all of Giles' books concerning the supernatural,
Buffy tells him about the misleading symbol.
Later that night, Buffy
argues with her mother, who is the founder of MOO (Mothers Opposed to the
Occult). Buffy insists that this matter be dealt with by the Slayer. However,
Joyce doesn't believe that Buffy's work is making Sunnydale any better.
After Buffy takes off, the two deceased children appear in the kitchen...
very much alive. Joyce listens to them intently as they beg her to make
their murderers suffer. Meanwhile, Sheila grounds Willow for getting into
trouble at school. She orders her daughter to stay in her room for the
rest of the night.
At the park, Angel finds
Buffy standing by the scene of the crime, which is now decorated with flowers,
candles, and pictures of the children from a time when they were still
alive. Buffy has not forgotten her mother's criticism of the Slayer's effectiveness.
Angel reassures Buffy that her destiny is not in vain. During their conversation,
Angel inadvertently alerts Buffy to a mystery concerning the two children.
She heads to the library and finds Giles, Xander, and Oz trying to find
any useful information on the internet. Buffy shares her realization that
nobody seems to know anything about the two children, including their names
or where they came from, and yet their pictures were somehow available
for use in MOO's campaign. Oz sends an instant message to Willow, who then
begins to search the web for any files or articles relating to the two
children. Apparently, the dead bodies of these same two children have been
repeatedly discovered once every fifty years, dating all the way back to
1649. The oldest article identifies them as Hans and Greta Strauss. Unfortunately,
Sheila cuts off Willow's computer access at this moment, forcing Giles
and the gang to figure the rest out on their own. Giles recalls a theory
that many fairy tales are based on actual accounts of the supernatural.
Buffy fills in the blanks, recalling the story of Hansel and Gretel, who
must have been based on Hans and Greta. Suddenly, Michael bursts into the
library and tells everybody that he was attacked by his own family. He
also informs them that Amy was taken from her home. Xander and Oz head
towards Willow's house while Buffy and Giles race back to the Summers home
to warn everybody. Back at the Rosenberg's, Willow answers the knocking
at her door and finds her mother... along with a group of angry parents
who want nothing but her death. Meanwhile, Buffy and Giles interrupt another
MOO meeting. As they take Joyce into the foyer to speak with her alone,
the rest of the group sneak up from behind and knock Giles unconscious.
Joyce does the same to Buffy with the help of some chloroform.
Buffy, Willow, and Amy
are tied to large stakes in City Hall, ready to be burned for the crimes
they've been accused of. Willow and Amy unsuccessfully struggle with their
restraints, while Buffy remains unconscious. Meanwhile, Xander and Oz burst
into Willow's room, which was left a total mess in the wake of the angry
parents. As they leave for City Hall, Giles is awoken by an impatient Cordelia,
who came to the house to find out what was going on. They hurry to Giles'
car and speed towards City Hall. During the drive, Giles has Cordy mix
together the ingredients for a spell while he tries to recall the incantation
from memory. Back at City Hall, Buffy finally regains consciousness and
realizes the situation she's in. Joyce refuses to listen to her daughter's
pleas. Amy escapes danger by transforming herself into a rat and bolting
out of the room, but Willow and Buffy are still moments away from a fiery
death. Just as the fire is about to engulf Buffy and Willow, Giles and
Cordy burst into the room. While Cordy extinguishes the fire, Giles casts
the spell on the two children, who then combine and change into the true
form of a tall, hideous demon. As the parents realize the deception and
try to escape, Xander and Oz approach the scene via a ventilation shaft
above the ceiling. Without the help of the parents, the demon attempts
to kill Buffy and Willow directly and charges them. Buffy breaks the stake
she's been tied to in half and leans forward -- just in time to impale
the demon. The silence that follows is soon interrupted by the sight and
sound of Xander and Oz falling down through a weak spot in the ceiling
and crashing down onto the floor.
A while after their near-death
experience, Buffy and Willow discuss Sheila Rosenberg's convenient memory
loss concerning the demon, just like the way Joyce Summers' memory used
to operate before learning that her daughter was the Slayer. Willow then
makes another attempt at restoring the Amy rat to human form. Unfortunately,
Willow is going to need a little more practice before she can pull this
~Episode Summary by: Alan Hufana