|'Once More With Feeling'
Story Code '6ABB07'
by Joss Whedon
As Willow, Tara, Buffy and Dawn all go about their morning activities everything seems to be as normal. However, while out on patrol that evening, Buffy suddenly bursts into song, waxing lyrical about how her heart is not really in her day-to-day life, and how she is just going through the motions. After slaying a few vampires and demons she saves a hunky young man from being sacrificed, but none of these things seem to affect her. The next day, Buffy meets up with Giles, Willow, Tara, Any and Xander at the ‘Magic Box’; the Slayer she asks her friends if any of them also spontaneously burst into song. They all admit that they have, and then all sing about what could be the cause of the phenomenon; Buffy sings, reminding them that they have faced tougher things together. As the song finishes, Buffy looks outside and sees that everyone else in Sunnydale is affected with song as well. Dawn arrives and laughs about how her class was singing about maths; then, when no one is looking, she steals a talisman off of the counter. Willow and Tara leave the shop and walk across the park; Tara sings of how she is under Willow’s spell, and of her love for her. At the magic shop, Dawn confesses that she thinks the singing is fun – until everyone see a man across the street tap dance until he spontaneously combusts. Undetected by anybody, a sharply dressed demon watches events in Sunnydale. The following morning, Xander and Anya wake up and launch into an energetic song and dance routine, in which they both reveal their insecurities about their impending marriage. At the ‘Magic Box’, Giles is unable to find any answers to their dilemma. That evening, Buffy visits Spike in his crypt; the vampire starts singing, telling Buffy to leave him alone, as he cannot cope with being around her if all they are ever going to be is friends. Horrified, Buffy runs away. Back at the Summer’s house, Dawn tells Tara that she is glad that she and Willow are no longer fighting; Tara is confused because she cannot remember arguing with her girlfriend; she rushes out of the house. All alone, Dawn opens the box that contains everything she has stolen, and sings about being un-noticed. But she is rudely interrupted by several evil puppets, which kidnap her and take her to ‘The Bronze’. Here, Dawn dances with the puppets while also attempting to escape, but instead lands at the feet of the demon responsible for the bizarre musical events in the town. The demon introduces himself as Sweet. He sings about how energy released in people’s songs will kill them, and informs Dawn that, as she summoned him with the talisman she is wearing, he will take her as his queen. When Dawn tells Sweet that her sister is the Slayer, the demon orders his lackeys to get Buffy. Giles and Buffy are training at the back of the shop; as the Slayer begins her workout Giles sings about not knowing what to do, feeling that his presence is keeping Buffy from facing reality. Elsewhere, Tara is also singing; she has found the flower, and has realised that Willow cast a spell on her. Xander, Anya and Willow are at the magic shop when Tara enters, but they are all interrupted by the arrival of Spike and one of the puppets; they tell the gang that Sweet has Dawn. But the puppet escapes, and Giles insists that Buffy has to find Dawn alone. As the Slayer walks to ‘The Bronze’ she sings about her sense of isolation, and being unable to feel anything. Spike decides to follow Buffy in case she needs him, while Giles leads the others to ‘The Bronze’. Buffy enters the nightspot, and she and Sweet break into song. After Buffy offers to go in place of Dawn, her friends show up. In her song, Buffy dares the demon to give her something to sing about, as she feels that she nothing to live for; in her song she reveals that she was in heaven. Buffy tries to kill herself, dancing so fast that she begins to smoulder, but Spike grabs her and tells her that she has to go on living. Sweet tells Buffy and her friends that he has to take Dawn because she summoned him with the talisman. But then Xander admits that he was the one who summoned Sweet, thinking that a musical demon would cheer everyone up. Sweet decides not to take Xander as his ‘bride’, and promptly disappears. The gang break into one last song, wondering where they go from here. Spike goes outside, but is followed by Buffy; they sing their own song, Buffy admitting she wants to feel something. Then they kiss passionately…
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), James Marsters (Spike), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles), Amber Benson (Tara), Hinton Battle (Sweet), Marti Noxon (Parking Ticket Woman), David Fury (Mustard Man), Daniel Weaver (Handsome Young Man), Scot Zeller (Henchman), Zachary Woodlee (Demon / Henchman), Timothy Anderson (Henchman), Alex Estronei (Henchman), Matt Sims (College Guy #1), Hunter Cochrane (College Guy #2)
Directed by Joss Whedon
TX (US): 7th November 2001
TX (UK - Sky One): 14th February 2002
*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Anya, Tara and Dawn