|'No Place Like Home'
Story Code '5ABB05'
by Douglas Petrie
Several months ago, a European monastery is attacked by a powerful, unseen force; but before being defeated by their assailant the monks are able to cast a vitally important spell… In the present, Buffy is out on patrol; after staking a vampire outside an abandoned factory she is stopped by the night watchman, who surprises her by giving her a small, glowing yellow ball that he believes she has lost. The next morning Joyce is still unwell after her fainting spell; Buffy makes her a breakfast that Dawn takes credit for, and then feels a little jealous that Joyce still mothers her sister. She takes Dawn to the grand opening of ‘The Magic Shop’, but nothing can prepare her for the sight of Giles dressed in a tacky wizard’s robe and pointy hat, something that he quickly divests himself of after seeing her disbelief. After Giles confesses that he is embarrassed to have had no customers at all yet, Buffy admits to him that she is worried about her mother’s illness. When Riley and Willow arrive Buffy shows everyone the glowing yellow ball from the previous evening. After she reluctantly agrees to let Riley come out patrol with her, Dawn makes everyone uncomfortable when she reveals that Buffy now thinks of Riley as a cute, helpless kitten. A seething Buffy tells Willow that she wishes Dawn had never been born. Buffy and Dawn come home and find their mother in pain, so Buffy goes to the hospital pharmacy to get her some painkillers; as she is leaving, she recognises the night watchman from the night before, now ranting and raving, and strapped to a gurney. He gives her a cryptic warning about not being able to escape, and that her family will not escape either. Meanwhile, in a room at the abandoned warehouse, the last surviving monk from the monastery is marking a map by candlelight when the huge metal door suddenly begins shuddering under a pounding onslaught of heavy blows. The monk immediately becomes terrified of the approach of ‘the Beast’, but when the massive door buckles and collapses, an attractive blonde woman in a stunning red dress casually strolls through. At the 'Magic Box’, Giles is excited after serving his first customers, while Willow tries to research the orb using his books, but to no avail. Buffy arrives and tells them that she thinks her mother is under a spell, and believes that the night watchman knows something. Giles is sceptical, but still offers to help. Meanwhile, the blonde woman has bound and gagged the monk, and is ranting about being stuck in a mortal reality; despite her human appearance and manners, it is obvious that the monk is utterly terrified of the woman. She removes his gag and demands to know where “the key” is, but he refuses to tell her, and instead begs for death. As the woman begins talking faster and more maniacally, she uncovers a captured security guard and drives her fingers into his skull, accompanied by a glowing light. The man falls to the ground, his mind shattered, while the woman now seems to be much saner than before. ‘The Magic Shop’ is now filled with customers, but Giles seems unable to cope, even with Anya and Willow helping at the till. Anya tells Buffy of a spell which induces her into a trance-like state that will enable her to see traces of magical energy around her mother. Later, at the Summers house, Riley helps Buffy prepare for the spell; once he leaves, Buffy meditates for hours. As darkness falls, Buffy eventually achieves the proper state; getting to her feet, she now sees the world through a haze of unnatural colours, constantly shifting between that state and normality. She walks through the house looking for clues, but when she talks to her mother, is unable to see any traces of a spell. Joyce remarks that she feels better, and decides goes out for the evening. Buffy notices that a picture on the wall behind her mother is flickering strangely, and as she looks at it she sees the image of Dawn fading in and out. The same phenomenon happens with every picture in the house, and when Buffy approaches her sister’s room she can see the image of two rooms alternating: one is Dawn’s normal room, while the other is of the same room used as storage space. Dawn appears behind Buffy and demands to know what her sister is doing in her room, but she too fades in and out of reality. As the spell wears off Buffy grabs Dawn and demands to know what is going on; she is interrupted when Giles calls to tell her that the orb is a Dagon Sphere, an icon used to ward off an unspecified ancient evil. Buffy leaves to investigate the warehouse, but outside she runs into Spike; he gives an excuse and leaves, but it is obvious from the many cigarette butts on the ground that he has been standing outside her house for some time. Buffy arrives at the warehouse and finds the wreckage of the metal door. When Joyce comes home complaining of a bad headache, Dawn assures her that she will take care of her. Buffy finds the monk, and is busy untying him when the Beast sneaks up behind her; but Buffy has heard her approach, and grabs the woman by the throat, only to be amazed when the woman throws her across the room, hard enough fracture a cement wall. At the 'Magic Box’, Giles, Willow and Xander are worn out after a busy day serving customers, and Anya ecstatically accepts Giles’ offer of a full-time job. Back at the warehouse, Buffy and the Beast are involved in a brutal fight which only ends when Buffy grabs the monk and runs through a window. The Beast is enraged, and in her anger she inadvertently manages to collapse the walls and ceiling on top of herself. Although badly injured, the monk tells Buffy that she must protect the Key, and that if she fails keep it from the Beast many more will die. He and his fellow monks had to disguise the Key so that the Beast could not find it; they turned the energy into a person and sent it to Buffy to protect. With shock Buffy realises that he is talking about Dawn, and continues to listen with mounting anger as the monk reveals that they also altered everyone’s memories to make it seem that Buffy had always had a sister. Dawn is now a normal human girl, and has no idea about what she really is. The monk dies, leaving Buffy with the awful truth; she returns home to see her ‘sister’, but Dawn is still angry with Buffy’s earlier treatment of her, and storms off to her room. Buffy apologises several times, and as Dawn begins insulting her, Buffy realises that her memories tell her Dawn that has always done this, which reminds her of Dawn’s special status. Having made up, Buffy strokes her sister’s hair, while they both worry about their mother…
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Marc Blucas (Riley Finn), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), James Marsters (Spike), Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles), Blare Kramer (‘The Beast’ [Glory]), Charlie Weber (Ben), Ravil Isyanov (Monk), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), (Night Watchman), Paul Hayes (Older Night Watchman), Staci Lawrence (Customer), John Sarkisian (Old Monk)
Directed by David Solomon
TX (US): 24th October 2000
TX (UK - Sky One): 2nd February 2001
*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Riley, Anya, Tara and Dawn