Story Code '4ABB17'
by Jane Espenson
On patrol in the cemetery, Buffy, Willow, Anya and Xander battle two vampires; after they dust them they find a tomb full of the undead creatures. But there are too many for them, and the gang decides they need help; they enter a huge mansion and ask the figure behind a huge chair for assistance. The chair swivels round to reveal - Jonathan Levinson, former Sunnydale High School geek, now looking suave and dangerous. Meeting Giles at his house, Xander, Anya, Willow, Buffy and Jonathan discuss their plan of attack. They enter the tomb and Buffy slays two vampires, but Jonathan emerges as the hero, dusting the creatures with a crossbow whilst performing acrobatics. As they leave the tomb they are surrounded by paparazzi, desperate for a shot of Jonathan. Post battle, Willow and Tara discuss the evening’s slaying while they make a giant collage of Jonathan; meanwhile, Buffy and Riley attempt to rescue their relationship from the aftermath of his ‘encounter’ with Faith, but Buffy is unable to get the rogue Slayer out of her mind, and leaves. She meets Jonathan at a coffee shop and asks his advice; while signing copies of his autobiography for fans he tells her that all her hang-ups about Riley are in her head, and that everything will be alright if she lets herself love him. Later, at the Initiative, the soldiers are briefed on Adam; when Jonathan is asked for his advice he notes that Adam has a uranium heart that will keep him alive forever, and the only way to defeat him is to annihilate his body. After the meeting, Jonathan gives Riley some advice, telling him that Buffy needs to be reassured that Faith meant nothing to him, and that her sexual maturity means nothing compared to Buffy’s sensuality. That evening, one of the young women that asked Jonathan for his autograph is now spying on his mansion, only to be attacked by a demon. Meanwhile, at ‘The Bronze’, Jonathan plays the saxophone while the gang watch with rapt attention; he then sings a lounge song, dedicating it to Buffy and Riley. Suddenly the young woman, Karen, stumbles in, dishevelled and frightened; the gang take her back to Jonathan’s, where she describes the demon in detail; but when she draws the symbol it had on its head Jonathan starts acting suspiciously, telling the others that the creature is merely an animal from the woods and that he will take care of it on his own. Meanwhile, Adam is in a house gathering information when he sees Jonathan on his monitor screens; he attempts to explain to one of his vampire lackeys that reality has been changed, and that everyone except for him is under a spell. When Tara enters her halls of residence she too is attacked by the demon, but is able to perform a spell that shoots dust in its face, giving her time to lock herself in a closet. Later, Buffy arrives and finds Willow trying to comfort Tara; she tells Buffy that Tara was in the closet for hours before another student found her. Buffy shows Tara the symbol that Karen drew, which Tara confirms was on the head of her demon attacker. Buffy is curious as to why Jonathan does not want to kill the creature, and decides to call a Scooby meeting at Giles’ house. When they are all present, she explains to the gang that it seems impossible for Jonathan to have done so many great things, including inventing the Internet and starring in ‘The Matrix’; she suspects they are living in an alternate universe, which could have been created by a spell similar to those Anya used to create. Using Giles’ Jonathan Swimsuit Calendar they discover that Jonathan has the same symbol as the demon on his back. Jonathan arrives, but when they confront him about the scar he explains that he was branded by the same mark as the demon because he gets confused when he fights it, and uses it as a reminder never to underestimate the creature. Everyone but Buffy is satisfied by this explanation, and she suggests that the two of them patrol for the demon. They come across Spike, but all he knows is that a vampire lair was recently invaded by something powerful; Jonathan and Buffy head off to the lair. Willow finds the symbol in one of Giles’ books and tells the others that the bearer of the symbol can perform an augmentation spell, changing how everyone perceives him or her; they realise that Jonathan has used this to make himself a paragon - the best of everything; however, the spell comes with a force of evil to counter the power of the conjurer, and only the death of that demon will end the spell. The gang realise that this is the demon that Buffy and Jonathan are after, and Jonathan will do anything to keep it alive. Meanwhile, Jonathan and Buffy find the demon in a cave, but it knocks Jonathan unconscious. He comes to and finds Buffy being beaten up by the monster, but when he attempts to attack it his blows have no effect; he tells Buffy she will have to do it herself, just like she has always done. The creature almost throws Buffy into a pit, but Jonathan tackles it and they both fall in - luckily Buffy grabs Jonathan’s foot and saves him. With the demon destroyed, everything, everywhere that has Jonathan on it - billboards, books, movie posters, etc - all revert to normal. The next day, the gang sit together outside the campus, amazed that they have memories of worshipping the High School geek. Buffy leaves the others when she spots Jonathan, explaining to him that people are not mad at him for creating a demon, they are mad at him for treating them like puppets. As he leaves, Jonathan tells Buffy that he meant what he said about letting herself love Riley. That evening, Buffy and Riley passionately kiss, their relationship restored.
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Marc Blucas (Riley Finn), James Marsters (Spike), Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles), Danny Strong (Jonathan), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Amber Benson (Tara), Bailey Chase (Graham Miller), George Hertzberg (Adam), Robert Patrick Benedict (Adam's Lackey), John Saint Ryan (Colonel George Haviland), Erica Luttrell
Directed by David Grossman
TX (US): 4th April 2000
TX (UK - Sky One): 284th April 2000
TX (UK - BBC): 22nd February 2001
*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Riley, Anya and Tara