-- Quotes --
Written by Zinna
So in Istanbul there's this pretty, casually dressed (black jeans, tight-fitting shirt, and sneakers) girl (presumably a native to Istanbul) running from two cloaked figures (they could be demons, humans, men, women, who knows. They are covered in black robes with long black hoods like those black cloaked guys that chase Frodo around in Lord of the Rings). She comes to an alley that is pretty much a dead end, so she climbs up a storm pipe (like it's the easiest thing in the world to do). She makes it to the roof of a one-story building, but she's faced with the cloaked beings. They came up the other side. One pushes her off and she lands on her back. She takes the fall like a supernatural or extraordinarily tough girl, no crying, no unconsciousness, just a little "umf". Before she can gather her breath to get up the beings are upon her. She attempts to fight them laying down but they of course have the upper hand, because they're standing and all. One grabs her arms and the other holds down her legs. One takes out a fancy curved dagger and raises it as if he's about to gut the girl. The cloaked being's hand is exposed when he/she takes out the dagger. The hand looks human. Oh yeah, and at one point the girl runs pass a door that is slightly ajar, a blond person, maybe Spike, sees she's in danger and just closes the door.
What does this have to do with anything? Don't ask me. Just take note. I bet this scene will make sense later, just not in this episode.
So, now the question is, "Who has the power?" Mysterious cloaked beings, perhaps, or Dawn, who is the one being asked this question by her sister. Dawn is holding a stake and it is nighttime. Buffy is kneeling behind a fresh grave at the Sunnydale Cemetery. Dawn wants to say she has the power because she has the stake but she knows this isn't the answer Buffy is looking for. So, Dawn starts to explain that she has the advantage because the vampire (presumably the one at that same moment digging himself out his grave) may not know that he will inevitably pick up martial arts skills like all vamps do. Buffy insists that Dawn answer the question. Finally, Dawn says that vampire has it. Buffy can see that Dawn isn't convinced, so she attempts to tell Dawn how strong vampires are, but she is interrupted by the vamp, claiming to be stuck in the grave. Buffy kindly pulls him out and he thanks her graciously before threatening her life. Buffy grabs his throat in mid-sentence, squeezing his words out. She quickly tells him, that he doesn't want to get into with her because well, she's the slayer, however, if he's looking for blood he should go after the pretty little girl (who is taller than Buffy, by the way) with the stake. Vampie heeds the slayer's words and goes for Dawn. Dawn sort backward ducks (if that's possible) causing Vampie to go flying into to another gravestone. Dawn seizes this opportunity to stake him, but instead of going to dust he just gets angry - Dawn missed the heart. So, she tries to stab him again, but he ends up turning the tables on her and suddenly he's behind her about to sink his teeth into juicy-Dawn neck. Suddenly Buffy, who had stayed out the way for the most of the fight, grabs him from behind and knocks to the opposite corner of their fighting area. Then with a little fancy footwork Buffy dusts Vampie after few seconds. Dawn says that she meant for that to happen. See, Dawn was planning to get bitten come back as vampire and turn Buffy. Buffy lets Dawn know that the main lesson for Dawn to learn from this is: it's real, vampires, their strength, desire to eat humans is real and for a beginner Dawn did pretty well. Dawn smiles and Buffy lets Dawn in on a little Buffy secret - on Buffy's first night out, she missed the heart too. So, lesson #2: even the slayer had to train to be as good as she is now. Lesson done, Buffy and Dawn pack up feeling satisfied with Dawn's training for the evening. Buffy just wishes that vampires and demons were only things Buffy had to prepare Dawn to face, because vampires and demon are nothing compared to what Dawn's going to have to face starting the very next day.
Oh, did you know that Xander's construction company rebuilt Sunnydale High and yes, it's still over the hellmouth. Guess what else? Dawn's starting high school the very next day.
The next day in Westbury, England, Giles rides a horse. Well, actually he parks his horse and gets off to talk to Willow. Willow is sitting on a grassy hill magically making a non-native flower grow. Giles is able to identify the flower as a native plant to Paraguay. Willow wonders if there's anything that Giles doesn't know everything about. Giles admits that synchronized swimming remains a complete mystery to him.
Anyways, Giles asks where the flower came from and Willow explains it's from Paraguay (surprise!). Then Willow goes on about how everything is connected and that's what allows her to bring flowers from Paraguay. Giles is glad that she's learning a lot from coven witches, who have been giving Willow the low down on magic. Giles then wonders why Willow isn't in her lesson at that very moment. Willow's kind of bummed out, she's not sure if she should be allowed to learn so much and furthermore, all the coven members look at her like at any moment Willow might turn them all to bangers and mash (even though Willow isn't sure what bangers and mash are). Giles asks if Willow can understand the coven's need to proceed with caution. Willow can understand, but she doesn't think that she has very much power left. Giles begs to disagree. Willow is connected to a great deal of power. The magic Willow harbors is no longer a hobby or a mere addiction. It's a part of Willow now. She can't escape it. In fact, she's responsible for it, hence the lessons. Willow thinks the coven should take the power away from her - she doesn't deserve it. She killed people. Giles hasn't forgotten. Willow thought that Giles brought her to England to punish her, kill her, or torture her, but instead he brought her there to learn. Giles asks if she wants to be punished. Willow says she wants to be Willow. Giles assures her that she is Willow. We are all who are we are when it comes down to it. Lesson#3: Willow was always Willow even she was Willownator (Two to Go and Grave) and everything's connected.
Back at the Summers household, Buffy calls for Dawn to come eat breakfast. Buffy made cereal. Xander arrives in his spiffy new car to pick the two up for Dawn's first day of high school. Xander asks Buffy how's she doing. Buffy says she's peachy with a side of keen even though she can't even begin to prepare Dawn for what might happen at Hellmouth High. Needless to say, Buffy's really anxious about Dawn having to go to a school that tried to kill Buffy and her friends for three years until they blew it up. Xander can't really help her with those anxieties but he does come bearing blueprints of the school they blew up and new school Xander and crew rebuilt. By placing one print on top the other he is able to determine that the new principal's office is where the library (you know, the hellmouth) used to be. Since the last two principals were eaten, Xander wonders what kind of person even applies for such a job. Dawn wonders if this means the principal's evil. Whatever the case may be, it's time for them to go to school, but before they go Buffy gives Dawn a special back-to-school present.
At the spankin' new Sunnydale High, Buffy walks Dawn to her first class. Buffy is having a hard time letting Dawn go off to class alone. On the way into the building they run into a tall, smiling, semi-young, quasi-handsome man, who introduces himself as the new principal, Robin Wood. He came over to assure Buffy that everyone has a hard time letting their daughters grow up. Buffy is shocked that she is mistaken for a mom. Buffy instantly wonders if she has mom-hair. Principal Wood sort of explains that he was making a joke, by revealing that he had heard of Buffy Summers before. Princi Wood even knows the date Buffy graduated. Before Buffy can question him about this knowledge, he excuses himself. Buffy tries to give Dawn some last-minute advice about the dangers that could be lurking around the school. Dawn feels that Buffy has warned her enough, so she tells Buffy to go away. Buffy understands she's being overbearing and lets Dawn go, but instead of returning home Buffy decides to take a stroll around campus.
In Dawn's first class, her teacher a Mr. Longrun introduces himself. Dawn sits in back row, listening with a glassy-eyed stare.
Buffy roams the halls and ends up in the bathroom. She wanders over to mirror and pats her hair, saying it's not mom-hair. She notices some twigs tied together with something else. She picks it up and suddenly sees a decomposed girl with a ripped up face in the mirror. The girl says that Buffy can't protect Dawn, just like Buffy couldn't protect the girl. Apparently, a werewolf or something ripped the girl to shreds. When Buffy turns around to face the beauty queen, no one's there. Buffy turns around and a second later a seriously decomposed older man screams at Buffy to get out. That does it. Buffy is convinced that she's not just seeing things.
Meanwhile Dawn explains that she's really into Britney Spears' early work (such as her fingerpainting and macaroni art) and her favorite activities include never having to introduce herself to the class again, blah blah blah. "DAWN!!! We have to get out of here!!!" Buffy shouts as she comes barreling into the classroom. Dawn looks appropriately embarrassed and asks Buffy what's going on. Buffy realizes how odd she must seem and how embarrassing this moment must be for Dawn, so she fumbles for explanation while the entire class swivels their attention between the two girls. Buffy says she thought Dawn was in danger… of… um… smoking. Then Buffy excuses herself and tells Dawn that she'll be around. Dawn explains that the crazy lunatic who interrupted class was her sister.
At the coffee shop, a couple with guitars sings a syrupy-sweet song to each other and the audience about how amazing their love is and stuff like that. Halfrek and Anya find the song stylings to be depressing. Anya gives the couple 6 weeks before the woman is calling on Anya for vengeance. Halfrek sarcastically "ooo's" as if to say she's sure that guy's shaking in his boots. Basically, word around town is that as far as demons go, Anya's gone soft. Then Halfrek tells Anya that she's not doing very well with the whole evil vengeance thing - no death, no eviscerations, Anya hasn't coaxed the wronged into wishing anything terrible or creative and when they do she doesn't deliver. For example, when a woman wished her husband was a frog, Anya made the guy French. D'Hoffryn and the underlings are not pleased, and they are the least of Anya's worries since there's word that something older than the old ones and eviler than them all is coming. It's not a good time to be good guy.
Back at Hellmouth High, Buffy finds Xander, whose crew is working on another building on the campus. She tells Xander of her encounter with the angry dead people. Xander asks if they were ghosts or zombies. Buffy isn't sure, she could see them in the mirror and she thinks one touched her which would kind of rules out ghosts and they weren't trying to mindlessly eat her brains so they probably weren't zombies. Xander asks about damage and Buffy explains that while she remains unharmed Dawn suffered the death of Dawn's social-life. Then Buffy decides the best thing to do is look around some more. Before she goes, she tells Xander that it isn't a coincidence that the school was rebuilt. Ummmmm.
In class, Dawn's classmate asks for a pencil. Dawn gives him one and instantly he looks less like a regular student and more like a dead guy. He quickly stabs Dawn in the eye with a pencil. As a result, Dawn falls out of her seat, screaming and holding her eye. The teacher asks what's wrong and Dawn realizes that she hasn't been stabbed and the whole class thinks she's crazy. Dawn stands up and attempts to explain that she there was bee and she's deathly allergic. Everyone still thinks she's crazy, so Dawn asks if she can go to the bathroom.
Meanwhile Buffy has encounter #2 with Princi Wood. Princi wonders why she's lurking about and Buffy says she's just getting acquainted with the new campus. Princi admits that he knows who Buffy is - the School Board suggested he spend time reading her file.
In the bathroom, Dawn gathers her wits, sitting on a toilet. Then she hears someone crying. Further investigation reveals another girl, Kit, hiding in a stall. Dawn can tell by the scared look on Kit's face that she's seen something too, but when Dawn asks, Kit says, "You wouldn't believe me." Dawn thinks it best they go get some air. She coaxes Kit out of the stall and then begins to tell Kit the tale of her mean-pencil-stabbing-boy when abruptly the girls notice all three deadies behind them in the mirror. The deadies disappear the lights start exploding and a huge hole opens up in the bathroom floor, sucking the girls into the basement.
In Westbury, outside the coven quarters, Giles holds Willow, who appears to be hyperventilating. Willow is really upset. She seems to have seen something very scary. Giles asks her what happened. She recollects that she was talking to Giles when something happened. Something that allowed Willow to see the earth's core, its teeth and what she saw was deep deep black. Giles thinks Willow saw the hellmouth. Willow says that the mouth is opening up and it's going to swallow us all. LESSON #whose-counting: chances are the Big Bad is coming early this year.
In the Hellmouth High basement, Kit wakes an unconscious Dawn up so they get up and start looking for a way out of the deadies happy-hideout.
Meanwhile Princi and Buffy are still chopping it up. Princi tells Buffy that he knows about her sordid pass. Buffy tries to explain in the most vague terms possible that there were factors surrounding all her misconduct.
Dawn and Kit walk around the dank basement looking for an exit or some stairs. They run into a young man, who appears to be as freaked as they are. They ask him if he knows where the stairs are. He explains that he took the stairs down to basement, so he could smoke, but then an angry dead janitor accosted him. He ran away so fast he couldn't begin to tell them where the stairs are. So, the three start looking for the stairs together. Dawn remembers her back-to-school present, a cell phone. She calls Buffy.
Buffy and Princi are in the midst of their Buffy's-checkered-past-discussion when she gets the call. She tells Princi that it's her dog-walker calling. Princi overhears Buffy say, "Three dead," and assumes Buffy's dogs have died. Buffy runs off as Princi tries to express his condolences for her loss.
Buffy gets to the bathroom in no time and jumps into the hole. She doesn't see Dawn anywhere so she calls Dawn's cell. She hears the ringing and follows it until someone answers. It's a deadie and he wants Buffy to know that she's too late. Buffy isn't convinced so all three deadies come to tell Buffy about how they died horribly violent deaths because Buffy wasn't there to save them. Buffy calls a time-out and lets them know she could care less about their horrible deaths or whatever. All Buffy wants to know is where her sister is. They aren't very forthcoming so Buffy figures that they are trying to divert her attention away from door that's behind them. Buffy has to take them all on in an effort to get to the door. Eventually, she figures she can't beat them so she jumps over them. She gets to door but can't open it. Someone opens it from the inside. Guess who it is!!! It's Spike and he looks like he ran out of hair gel. Buffy's a little taken aback and well, Spike is a little incoherent.
Buffy barricades them in the room, thinking Dawn must be in there with him, but Spike assures her that only the three of them are there. Yes, three. I only see two, but Spike definitely said three. Buffy notices that Spike is trying to close his shirt. She opens his shirt and sees cuts all over chest. He says they he tried to cut it out (his soul, I suppose). Buffy doesn't have to time to ask why he's all loony because just then Dawn calls to ask where the hell is she. Buffy explains what happened to her, leaving out the Spike part. Dawn tells her that she is trapped in a room near the furnace. During their conversation Buffy says that she can't figure out what these deadies are since they don't seem to be ghosts and they aren't zombies. Spike says they are manifest spirits controlled by a talisman, raised to seek vengeance. Knowing what they are, Buffy remembers the twig thing that she saw in the bathroom and figures that's the talisman. She tells Dawn to get a weapon and hold the deadies off. Then she calls Xander and tells him to go destroy the talisman. Then she leaves loony Spike huddled in the room to go look for Dawn.
The guy, who we later find out is Carlos, finds some bricks. Dawn takes Kit's bag and empties it before putting in the two bricks. When the deadies show, Dawn whacks them one so they back off. Dawn takes down the girl but the janitor gets Dawn in the face with a strong uppercut. Kit screams and Buffy follows the commotion. Just as one of the deadies is about to do something horrible to Dawn, Buffy bursts in and kicks the smack out of him. Dawn throws Buffy the bag-o-bricks and Buffy goes to town, twirling the bag above her head and using the momentum to smash deadie face while back and side kicking deadies that are coming from other directions. This goes on for a little while; Buffy mostly working the deadies over and deadies getting up for more punishment.
Up in the bathroom Xander finds the talisman and just as he's about to break it, deadie girl jumps on his back (her signature move). This doesn't really deter Xander, with little effort he breaks the twigs and all three deadies dissolve to glittery dust.
Buffy and Dawn's posse find a way out of the basement. Carlos and Kit thank Buffy for saving them, well actually, Kit hugs Buffy and Carlos tells Buffy she's the coolest mom ever. Dawn notices Buffy feeling old so she kisses Buffy and tells her posse they should try to survive some more classes. Princi notices the displays of affection and tells Buffy that Kit and Carlos have files as thick as Buffy's. He's amazed to see them both bonding and more importantly, going to class. Princi offers Buffy a job as a community outreach counselor, figuring that she would be able to reach more students since she's closer to their age and seems to have gone through what they're going through. Buffy immediately accepts even though Princi says he can't pay her very much. Yah! Buffy has a new job!
Down in the basement, Spike huddles in his little room mumbling about how he had a speech that he practiced to tell Buffy something, but he couldn't get it out (when he saw her). Warren tells him it doesn't matter since Buffy wouldn't have understood anyway. Then Warren shape-shifts into Glory and she talks about how there isn't a word fabulous to explain what she is. Glory shifts into Adam, who says he can be patient that he has both Buffy and Spike exactly where he wants them to be (he refers to Spike as #17). Adam shifts into the Mayor. The Mayor talks about how Spike probably thought getting his soul would mean he would be his own man, but of course Spike's not - he's a pawn in the dark. Mayor to Drusilla says Spike's in the dark singing their little song. Dru to the Master tells Spike that they're going back to the beginning not the big bang, not the Word, but the real beginning. Then he starts talking about how Spike doesn't get it, that he's still trying to do the right thing like Buffy, but it's not about right or wrong. Shifter becomes Buffy and says, "It's about power."