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-- Quotes --

Written by Zinna

Willow continues on her 12-step magic rehab track. Step one: Experience the queasiness of withdrawal (Wrecked). Step two: Allow your friends to de-magic the house. Step two is where we find our slayer along with Dawn packing away all the elements and instruments of magic from Willow's room. Willow watches and guides the girls towards hidden objects. Willow isn't looking so hot. I guess step one really took its toll on her.

Willow sends Buffy downstairs to get rid of the fertility goddess statue in the living room. Dawn, of course, has a problem with this because the statue originally belonged to their mom. Buffy explains that this is a magic clearance. Everything must go. Dawn isn't too comforted by this explanation, but I'm sure she wasn't expecting much since Buffy hasn't been very much in the way of comforting for her.

As Buffy digs underneath the couch cushions presumably for more magic-related objects, instead she finds a lighter (a really nice silver zippo). The lighter obviously belongs to Spike. Buffy palms it and is instantly reminded of her various rolls in the hay with the old spiky-haired one. She throws the lighter into the box, might as well remove that temptation too.

Meanwhile, at the headquarters of geek, geek, & geek, Warren places the diamond they stole from the museum in some sort of ray gun contraption. This gun is supposedly different from the one they used to freeze the security guard. Jonathan and Andrew comment on how disappointingly un-cool the gun looks. Warren grabs the gun from their unappreciative hands and lets them know what's cool. He points and shoots the gun at a chair. The chair disappears. The gun can make things invisible. Once again, the sub-nerds have to bow down to their nerd master. Having the power to be invisible is cool.

Back at the Summers' house, Willow makes an omelet. Buffy wanders around the kitchen doing who knows what, while complaining that Dawn will be late to school again. Just then, Dawn appears and she's all in a funk. Buffy asks if she would like some breakfast. Dawn refuses. Buffy attempts to play the guardian card and tells her she must eat, but Dawn is not in the mood. She storms out after giving Buffy a very icy reply.

Willow asks Buffy why Dawn is so upset. Buffy explains, as if she has a clue, that Dawn is upset because Buffy hasn't been doing her job. Even though it was Willow's fault that Dawn was hurt in the accident, it wouldn't have happened if Buffy had been a good friend and good sister instead of being all distant and wrapped up in her own problems. Willow can't really argue with that logic, funny logic though it may be.

Suddenly, Spike appears, ready and raring to go. Buffy is far from welcoming and asks him what the hell he's doing there. Willow senses the tension and makes tracks up to her room. Spike takes this is as his cue to rub up on the slayer. The slayer, of course, pretends to be unwilling to participate, but we can see the return bumps to his grinds. Before the scene can get steamier, Xander walks in on them. He's come to take Dawn to school. Xander seeing the two in close quarters assumes that Spike is trying to make a move. He tells Spike to give it up - only a complete loser would hook up with Spike.

Buffy calls for Dawn to come down. Dawn obliges, but she doesn't leave without getting in another jab. She tells Buffy that she hopes Buffy can find some time in the afternoon to get her into another car accident. Buffy shrugs it off and presents them to the door. When they open it, they find a strange woman at the stoop.

The woman introduces herself as Doris Kroger from Social Services. Apparently, they had an appointment. Buffy is surprised. She thought the appointment was for Wednesday. Umm... Buffy, it is Wednesday in this episode. Dawn shoots Buffy a dirty look for being so out of it and stomps off to the car with Xander. Buffy invites Miss Social Services in.

They go into the living room presumably to have a nice chat about Dawn's welfare, but guess who they find hanging out there: Spike! Spike demands that Buffy resume their earlier conversation. Buffy tries to explain that it's not a good time, with Miss Social Worker there and all. Once Spike hears who the visitor is, he tries to put a good word in, saying things like Buffy is a great mom. He then goes on to say that Buffy put a stop to Dawn hanging out at his crypt. Crypt, however, is not a good word as far as social workers are concerned, so Buffy tries to clean up that damage. She tells the social worker that he said crib in the new hip vernacular. Then she asks Spike for the last time and for the love of god to LEAVE. Since it's broad daylight, he’s got to take a blanket, which to the social worker implies that he slept there, even though Buffy insists that he did no such thing.

Ms. Social Skills then asks if anyone else lives with her and Dawn. Buffy, quickly says no, thinking that's the best answer. Just then Willow calls down, proving Buffy to be a liar. Buffy tries to change her answer to include Willow as a resident; instead she just makes the social worker more suspicious. Ms. Social Monster then bluntly asks if Buffy and Willow are in a romantic relationship. Buffy proclaims that nothing could be farther from the truth, just as the social worker spies a bag of sage in the "magic clearance" box. It looks like marijuana, so Buffy attempts to explain it, but she can't find a more implausible explanation. How do you explain to Ms. Social Schemer that it's just sage for performing relatively harmless magic spells?

Well, this does it for fancy pants; Ms. Social Disaster declares that she's seen enough. She tells Buffy that Dawn’s grades have been dropping at a steady rate and it is believed to be caused by her absences and tardiness. Buffy tries to explain that it's a rough time right now, but the social worker says, it been a rough time for too long now (admittedly it has). She says, she will be putting Buffy on probation, which means that she will be keeping a close eye on Buffy to ensure that Dawn is receiving the best possible care. She also tells Buffy that they may have to strip Buffy of her guardianship and put Dawn in foster care. Having said the worse possible thing Buffy's heard since Giles said farewell, Ms. Bitchy Services leaves.

To make matters worse, Spike runs back in and shoves his hand deep in Buffy's pockets. Before she can scold him, he's retrieved his lighter and takes off. Aggravation wells up inside Buffy and the only thing she can think to do is chop off her hair?!

Cut to Buffy at the beauty salon, asking for the head dresser to make her lopped off locks look decent.

Just outside the pseudo-evil trio are getting ready to zap themselves invisible (they plan to watch girls get bikini waxes at the beauty salon/spa), when Buffy emerges and puts them in a tizzy (check the gallery for picture). They scramble around irrationally, afraid she'll find them out and in their scuffle, accidentally shoot the gun at Buffy. Buffy goes poof, never knowing what hit her.

Invisible Buffy wanders over to the magic shop and lets Xander and Anya in on her status. While explaining where she was when she was zapped, she tells them that she cut her hair. Anya becomes fixated with what Buffy must look like with a new 'do. Buffy becomes a comedian roaming around the store holding up balls to her eyes, for her own amusement (she's not taking this whole invisible thing too seriously). Xander and Anya have a hard time concentrating with Buffy's antics afoot (holding up skulls and things for a spooky affect). Eventually, Buffy gets bored with the whole speculation session and tells them she's going to take a walk. Xander and Anya prepare to research her problem.

Once Buffy leaves, Xander and Anya speculate some more. Anya thinks that it may be a spell that most likely went wrong since no enemy would want the slayer invisible (and you can believe that the trio is in no way happy with their work). Xander leaps to the conclusion that if magic's the cause then Willow's the culprit, rehab or no.

Back at the Summers' household Willow surfs the web diligently to find out more about the stolen diamond. She figures she can focus all her time on the investigation and none of her time on not using magic. She's surrounded by books and chugging bottled water looking all haggard and worn-down. Just then Xander comes in to let her know how proud he is of her that she's being so good. No wait, that would be the right thing to do; instead, Xander insinuates that Willow may have had a relapse. Doesn't he look silly when Willow has no idea what he is talking about? Well, he does and he looks even sillier when Willow takes offense to accusations, especially after she's been working so hard and has been successfully fighting temptation all day. Eventually the two get past their conflict long enough to talk about Buffy being invisible and oh yeah, she got a haircut.

Out on the streets of Sunnydale, Buffy uses her invisibility to mess with people. She pretends to be a ghost and takes an awful hat off some poor fashion victim. She steals the parking enforcement guy's little cart as deserved punishment for giving people tickets all day. She uses his cart to get to the Social Services building and mess with our favorite social worker. At first, Buffy just moves Doris' coffee cup around to make her think she's going crazy, but then she starts whispering to Doris, "Kill, kill." In the end, Doris is made to look like a crazy person and is given the day off by her supervisor. As result of Doris' display of unstable behavior, all of her cases including Dawn's will be reassigned (Buffy also got rid of all of Doris' notes on her and Dawn). Looks like Doris won't be keeping such a close eye on Buffy after all.

Meanwhile, Xander happens upon Willow spray-painting an invisible dumpster red. Apparently, based on Xander's description of the day's events Willow was able to find the alley where Buffy was zapped (she kind of yells an explanation at him before he can accuse her of doing magic). Xander apologizes for being so wrong before and they both survey the scene carefully. They find that a vehicle, most likely the culprit's vehicle, made a hasty retreat from the alley and hit the invisible fire hydrant leaving behind some black paint. Xander links the black paint to that van that was following Buffy. Just as Xander is about to head back to the magic shop with this new information, he trips over an invisible pylon that Willow makes visible with her spray paint. Xander takes the pylon with him to study for more clues.

It's been a regular day for Spike so far, he tried and failed to get Buffy to play nice or naughty (or what have you), retreated to his crypt after being begged to leave and has been wasting the hours watching the telly and drinking some blood… you know, the usual until an eerie burst of wind busts open the door and pins a freaked out Spike to the wall. Soon we find out as he does, that its business as usual, night falls and the slayer comes. Wind equals invisible Buffy, except this time her invisibility allows her the whimsy to cut to the chase. There's no pretending to need Spike's help, no pretending to just be there for lack of better things to do. Invisible Buffy is determined and deliberate. She's come for the nookie and nothing more. I can't say that Spike looked all that surprised.

Back at the magic shop, Anya and Xander research what could have happened to Buffy. Anya reaches up to touch the pylon and discovers it is disintegrating into a pudding-like substance, which means that they better figure out what happened to Buffy fast or she'll end up sludge.

Over at the evil fun house, Warren tells his two associates about the possibility of Buffy turning into pudding due to the radiation or something involving the accidental shooting. Both Jonathan and Andrew become worried about Buffy's impending doom and convince Warren, who doesn't seem to care that the slayer may die, to fix the gun so they can find her and make her visible again.

Xander rushes over to Spike's to find out if he's seen Buffy. What he finds is signs of foul play - pushed over furniture, clothes thrown around, etc. Instead of assuming Spike may be entertaining a lady fiend or something. He just barges right in on Spike humping air. Spike tries to play it off like he was doing push-ups or something, but anyone with half a brain could see that there was more going on there. Xander decides to let it go. He asks if Spike's seen Buffy and of course, Spike denies that their paths have crossed. Meanwhile invisible Buffy is making Spike look even more depraved by nibbling on his various parts so that he has to swat at her. Xander refuses to put two and two together and figure out what's going on, though it would seem that it is quite obvious. Maybe Xander can't fathom the thought that Buffy would spend her invisible time pleasuring Spike. I don't know, but Xander just tells Spike he should get a girlfriend and leaves.

Meanwhile Willow is able to do some sort of DMV database hacking and uncover the address for the owners of the black van.

Buffy finally goes home. Buffy makes it home before Dawn, because well, Dawn didn't come straight home like she was supposed to. Dawn tries to sneak in, but Buffy's right there not really noticing that Dawn's late. She's too busy making jokes about being invisible. The jokes just piss Dawn off, and as you know, Dawn wasn't too happy with Buffy to begin with. Dawn asks Buffy what is wrong with her and why isn't she trying to figure out what happened to her. Buffy tries to apologize, but by then Dawn just rushes out of the kitchen unable to deal with talking to her sister, who just isn't there.

Buffy checks the messages and hears from Xander that she may turn to sludge. "Wow," is all she can say.

Cut to Willow, outside the trio's headquarters, presumably trying to track down the black van, which she finds. She checks the storm windows and the basement appears to be empty so she breaks in. She comes across plans for the gun, but she doesn't have a lot of time to get too familiar with them. She is soon taken hostage by some floating duct tape, presumably invisible Warren, Andrew, and Jonathan.

Buffy gets a call from a disguised voice telling her to meet him somewhere because "they" have Willow.

The meeting place is the local arcade, where Buffy finds Willow with her invisible captors. Buffy is instructed to hold an air hockey paddle so that they have something to aim for. Buffy does as she's told, but then Willow warns Buffy that the gun is on the setting that will kill her instead of restoring her to her visible self (this seems to create an argument within the geek troika, as Andrew and Jonathan don't appreciate Warren trying to kill Buffy, especially behind their backs). Invisible Warren hits Willow with the gun so that Buffy knows where to hit him with the paddles and a fight ensues, though we can't see it because all of the people fighting are invisible. Apparently, Buffy is able to find them and beat them because they keep talking and revealing their location. In the scuffle, the Warren drops the gun and Willow gets a hold of it. Willow changes the settings and shoots all the invisibles with the gun. Suddenly, the trio is revealed to be Warren, Jonathan, and some guy (Andrew) Willow and Buffy don't seem to know. Don't worry Andrew's identity is revealed as Tucker's brother. Anyway, they introduce themselves as Buffy's arch "nemesises", which Buffy kind of gets a kick out of since the doofs can't get out of the back door (it's locked). She's so unimpressed that when they finally do get out the door, Buffy makes no effort to go after them, but then again why would she considering Willow knows where they live.

The episode ends with Buffy and Willow sitting on the curb discussing the day's events and of course, Buffy's hair. What Buffy learned from the day of almost fading away is that she didn't want to. So I guess, Buffy finally stopped wanting to die, now if we could just get her to want to live.

The Usual
The Usual

Random Quotage:

Great. I'll give Xander a call. What's his number? Oh, yeah, 1-800-I'm-Dating-A-Skanky-Ho.
-Willow (Phases)

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