Story Code '5ABB18'
by Jane Espenson
While Giles and Buffy do the washing-up, Buffy remarks that Dawn still needs time to recover from her mother’s death; Giles suggests that resuming training might help Buffy, but the Slayer is worried about the kind of person the constant fighting will make her, concerned that she does not feel or show love for her friends and family as much as she should, that making herself a better Slayer is driving her away from relationships. Giles tells her that when Slayers are troubled they sometimes embark on a vision quest, and suggest they drive out to the desert to seek her answers. Buffy is worried about leaving Dawn, but her sister has overheard, and insists that Buffy should do it. Spike visits Warren to collect his robot, and remains unconvinced about Warren’s handiwork until his ‘Buffy’ opens her eyes and lovingly runs to kiss him. Glory is depressed about sharing her body with Ben; deciding that the Slayer must be protecting the Key she sends her minions to spy on Buffy and her friends, to see who the newest person in Buffy’s life is. Having driven into the desert Giles prepares for the ritual, telling Buffy that he will hand her over to a spirit guide, who will take her the rest of the way. Spike and ‘Buffy’ are sparring, but she quickly surrenders to his eager embrace. Giles sits in a circle of twigs while Buffy wanders the desert and encounters a mountain lion; she follows the animal, which takes her to an area that looks exactly the same as the location where she once fought the First Slayer in her mind. One of Glory’s minions spies on Xander, Anya, Tara and Dawn as they prepare a warning spell for the apartment. Spike and ‘Buffy’ lie in each others arms, but the vampire becomes disturbed when the robot asks if he wants the same program again; he tells her to be just like Buffy, and so, when Spike falls asleep, ‘Buffy’ leaves to begin her patrol. ‘Buffy’ meets Xander and Anya, also out on patrol, who wonder how she returned from the desert so quickly. Spike runs after ‘Buffy’, and, avoiding her attempts to hug him in front of Xander and Anya, explains that he and Buffy are on patrol; four vampires suddenly emerge from the woods and a fight ensues. The events are watched by one of Glory’s minions, who realises that ‘Buffy’ is concerned with Spike’s safety. When the battle is won Spike sends Xander and Anya home; as they leave, Xander wonders why Buffy did not tell them anything about her vision quest, or ask after Dawn. Hearing some moaning, they sneak back and witness the sight of Buffy sitting astride Spike, in the middle having sex. Appalled, Xander and Anya make for Willow and Tara’s to tell them what they just saw Spike and Buffy doing. On her vision quest Buffy is confronted with a large fire, the First Slayer crouching behind it. Back in his crypt, Spike tells ‘Buffy’ to hide just as Xander arrives and demands that the vampire stop taking advantage of Buffy; Glory’s minions appear, knock Xander out and capture Spike, mistaking him for the Key. When Buffy asks the First Slayer about love, she replies that Buffy is full of love but is afraid to embrace it; if she follows her true nature it will lead her to her gift. ‘Buffy’ leaves her hiding place to look for Spike, but when she is unable to find him she goes to look for Willow. She finds her at Xander’s with the rest of the gang, and tells them that she is frantic to find Spike; Willow tries to be supportive, at the same time trying to make Buffy realise she is making a mistake. Xander arrives and tells them that Glory’s minions took Spike; while Tara stays with Dawn, ‘Buffy’, Xander, Anya and Willow head to Buffy’s house for weapons. The First Slayer tells Buffy that death is her gift, but this just confuses Buffy further, and the spirit of the First Slayer disappears along with the fire. Spike is delivered to Glory, but she quickly realises that he is not the Key, just a vampire; when the minions insist that he meant a great deal to Buffy, Glory takes Spike by the lip, throws him onto her bed and drives her hand into his chest, causing him to scream in agony. The gang arrive at Buffy’s, and as they get weapons they instruct ‘Buffy’ to get changed into fighting clothes; Willow and Xander are wondering how to tell ‘Buffy’ that they do not want to save Spike, when the real Buffy arrives home. She tells them that death is her gift, and gets confused when the others voice their concerns about her having sex with Spike. ‘Buffy’ returns and tells them Spike belongs to her. Buffy is annoyed that her friends failed to realise that the other version of her was a robot, and gets even more disturbed when she realises what Spike has been using the robot for. A tortured Spike hangs from his chains, and agrees to tell Glory who the Key is. Giles, Buffy, Willow, Xander, Anya and ‘Buffy’ visit the park where Buffy killed Glory’s snake monster, surmising that the creature was on its way to the Beast. They split up to look for Glory. After telling the Beast that the Key is a game show host, Spike remarks that Glory is an idiot with stupid hair. Outraged, Glory kicks him so hard his bonds break and he flies out into the hallway; now freed, Spike heads for the lift, with the minions in hot pursuit. He forces open the lift doors and falls onto the top of the descending lift; he reaches the ground floor, but there are more minions waiting for him. Buffy and Xander burst in and attack the minions; they are joined by Giles and ‘Buffy’, but during the fight, ‘Buffy’ is damaged. Spike and the gang escape, while a furious Glory makes her minions pay for letting her prisoner go. At the Summers house, Willow makes examines the robot; Giles and Xander have left Spike in his crypt, and everyone agrees they need to determine if the vampire told Glory about Dawn. ‘Buffy’ arrives at Spike’s and tells him that Willow fixed her; she asks about his injuries, which he tells her he endured so that Glory would not find out about the Key. ‘Buffy’ offers to tell Glory about the Key, but Spike stops her, not wanting to be responsible for destroying Buffy by letting something happen to Dawn - he would rather die first. ‘Buffy’ kisses him - and Spike realises that this is the real Buffy. Stunned, he simply stares at her; she tells him to forget about the robot, and that she will never forget his willingness to be tortured in order to protect Dawn.
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), James Marsters (Spike), Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles), Amber Benson (Tara), Clare Kramer (Glory), Adam Busch (Warren), Troy T. Blendell (Jinx), Sharon Ferguson (Primitive), Todd Duffey (Murk)
Directed by Michael Gershman
TX (US): 24th April 2001
TX (UK - Sky One): 4th May 2001
*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Anya, Tara and Dawn