"A New Man"
Written by Jane Espenson; directed by Michael Gershman

Buffy and Riley are in her dorm room, making out and making sure that Willow will be out all evening. However, they’re wrong, because Willow enters and tells them that a fire-breathing demon has entered the dorm rec room. Buffy grabs some weapons and the three of them head down the hall. When they arrive in the rec room, instead of a demon, they are greeted by a crowd of people gathered for Buffy’s surprise birthday party. Buffy and Riley have to hide their weapons, and Buffy teasingly threatens to do some killing anyway. The party gets off to a good start, with Giles reminiscing about his own school days to Xander and Anya. Anya gets bored, and Giles allows her and Xander to do something else. Buffy introduces Riley to Giles for the first time; Giles is surprised to hear that he’s her boyfriend. Riley asks if Giles is working somewhere now that the library is no more, and Giles awkwardly tries to answer.

Buffy and Giles start to talk about Professor Walsh, and Giles seems a little jealous of Buffy’s admiration of her. He sarcastically suggests that they should have invited Walsh, but Buffy replies, “Oh, no. I mean, she's, like, forty. She's got better things to do than hang out with a bunch of kids.” He seems even more uncomfortable when Riley addresses him as “sir.” The next day, Spike begins to move out of Xander’s basement, deciding to find his own place to live. Anya suggests getting a hotel room rather than finding a crypt, but Xander would rather just get rid of Spike, no matter where he’s going to wind up. Spike wonders why Buffy hasn’t come by to say her farewells, but Xander says that she’s meeting with “someone who’s actually still scary!”

That would be Walsh, who has learned that Buffy is the Slayer and seems surprised that she actually exists. Walsh says that Buffy and the Initiative have the same goal in mind, they just go about it in different ways. The Initiative uses technology, while Buffy uses a “sharp stick.” She tells Buffy that she’s trying to get her clearance to enter the Initiative and brags that Riley has killed and captured seventeen vampires and demons. Buffy feigns amazement and seems reluctant to divulge the number of demons she’s killed. Giles dusts in his apartment, suddenly remembering something and looking through a book. He calls Willow, telling her that a demon is going to rise that night and that they don’t have time to wait for Buffy to return from her meeting.

After the meeting, Riley is shocked by the number of demons and vampires that Buffy has faced. Buffy tries to lighten the mood with ice cream, but Riley is still focused on the facts that she’s averted numerous apocalypses and started slaying when she was 15. He expresses doubt that he would be able to match her. Giles heads to Walsh’s office, looking for Buffy, and tells Walsh that Buffy admires her a lot. They disagree on their views of how students should be taught, and while Giles calls Buffy a girl, Walsh calls her a woman. She says that she thinks Buffy has taken on adult tasks too soon, which is probably the result of her not having a strong male role model. Giles is stunned by this assessment.

Giles, Willow, and Xander head for the cemetery to take care of the demon that’s supposed to rise. They arrive at a mausoleum expecting the demon to have already risen, but believe that they’re actually early. Willow wonders if the Initiative took care of things, and Giles is confused, not having heard that the commandos call themselves the Initiative. He’s also shocked to hear that Riley is one of the commandos, he’s the only one who didn’t know, and Walsh is in charge of the whole operation. He tells Xander and Willow to leave, saying that he’ll take care of the demon by himself. They head out, and Giles realizes that nothing is going to happen, then packs up and leaves. Ethan (last seen in “Band Candy”) reveals that he’s been lurking in the mausoleum the whole time, and when Giles comes back in, gets caught red-handed. Ethan tries to escape, but Giles grabs him, glad to be able to beat him up. Ethan warns him that he should let him talk - something bad is going to happen and he has information. The two head to a bar, where Ethan tells Giles that there’s something in the area harming demons. He says that the demons are afraid of something called “314”, and that their fear and anger is leading to a huge battle.

Somewhere else, Buffy and Riley spar with each other, testing each other’s strengths. Buffy wins, accidentally sending Riley flying across the room. Back at the bar, Giles and Ethan are now drunk and Giles is complaining about Walsh. Ethan flirts with a waitress and Giles tells him that while he’s changed, Ethan hasn’t. Ethan tells him that he doesn’t have to worry about that--while Giles was in the bathroom, Ethan slipped a pellet of poison into his beer, and Giles will be dead in an hour. Giles is shocked until Ethan starts laughing and reveals that he was only kidding. Willow and Tara (see “Hush”) are in Tara’s dorm room, preparing to do a spell. They will use magic to float a rose and then pluck off its petals. They begin, and everything starts out peaceful. Suddenly, the rose starts zooming around the room, unable to be controlled by the girls. The next morning, Giles wakes up feeling bad, but thinks he just has a hangover. He is shocked to look in a mirror and see that he has turned into a demon overnight.

Giles tries to lean closer to the mirror, but his claw goes through the wall. He grabs the banister on the stairs and accidentally breaks out. He throws the broken piece and it smashes a chair. He realizes that Ethan was behind his transformation and picks up the phone, accidentally breaking it. He tries to put on a shirt, but it rips. He grabs a blanket instead and heads outside. Of course, when he opens the door, it comes off of its hinges. In the cafeteria, Buffy is singing the praises of pancakes and waffles, and Willow is happy that she is so happy. Buffy asks where Willow was the night before, and Willow lies that she was in the chemistry lab. She tells her that something went wrong with the rose spell and thinks that someone was using dark magicks, which interfered with her pure magicks. Buffy says that she’ll tell Giles, but wonders if she should tell Walsh instead. Willow tells her that Giles is feeling a little left out of her life, and Buffy doesn’t seem to remember not telling him about Riley and the Initiative. Buffy tells Willow about her sparring with Riley, admitting that she has a lot more power than him, and that she was still holding back a little.

Giles heads over to Xander’s basement, where he complains that it’s 10:30 and Xander’s still asleep. He wakes up Xander and tries to explain what happened, but Xander only hears him speaking a demon language. He freaks, throwing pots and pans at Giles, who eventually gives up on explaining and runs out. Outside, a bunch of kids are frightened by Giles and a mother announces that someone should call 911. Giles seems irritated with humanity. On their way to Giles’ apartment, Xander tells the Scoobies about the demon who paid him a visit. When they arrive at the apartment, they see that the door has been removed and the place is a mess. They worry that the demon has killed Giles, but Buffy tries to remain optimistic by reasoning that the demon may have just kidnapped him. Anya reveals the ripped shirt and says that she thinks “it ate him up.”

In a cemetery, Giles runs into Spike, who is pleased to see a creature that he can harm. Giles complains to himself and Spike realizes that it’s him. Spike tells him he’s speaking Fyarl, which he himself speaks, and wonders how Giles became a Fyarl demon. Giles explains what happened and reluctantly asks Spike for help. Spike refuses at first, wanting to know what’s in it for him, but tells him he’ll help when Giles agrees to pay him $200. (And thus marks the origins of Spike’s willingness to help for monetary compensation.) Giles says that he wants to clear things up with Ethan without telling Buffy. At his apartment, the Scoobies try to figure out what kind of demon went after Giles. Riley arrives, saying that some people called 911 and the Initiative flags all emergency calls that might be related to demonic activity. Buffy tells him that the apartment is Giles’ and that something may have happened to him. Riley offers to help and use the Initiative as backup.

Spike drives Giles’ Citroen (badly) through Sunnydale, having trouble with the stick shift. Giles asks if he has any special powers, and Spike tells him that he has “paralyzing mucus.” Giles isn’t thrilled. He says that he feels himself changing and acquiring a “mindless need to destroy.” “Good times. Go with it,” Spike encourages. Giles protests that just because he looks like a monster doesn’t mean he should act like one. He has a soul and a conscience, and is still human. Suddenly he tells Spike to stop the car - he’s spotted Walsh walking downtown. He gets out, roars at her, chases her a little, and gets back into the car, satisfied.

Xander finally finds a picture of a Fyarl demon in a book, and Willow reads that it can be killed with a weapon made of silver. Riley gets a call from Walsh, telling him what happened, and Buffy heads out to a magic shop with Riley, grabbing a silver letter opener on her way. Spike and Giles go to the bar and Spike asks the waitress that Ethan flirted with if she remembers him. She tells him the name of the hotel Ethan said he was staying in. At the magic shop, Buffy and Riley start looking through receipts to see if anyone purchased supplies to help control the Fyarl demon. She finds a receipt from Ethan, and Riley calls someone to look through hotel registrations for his name. Buffy is impressed with his connections and the things that he’s able to accomplish. He reluctantly tells her that Walsh wants him to go after the demon without Buffy, but Buffy refuses to go home.

Back in the car, Spike and Giles notice that they’re being followed and Giles tells Spike to lose their pursuers. Joined by another Initiative vehicle, Giles tells Spike to slow down and let him jump out of the car so they can split up. Spike is reluctant to do so, but Giles offers him more money and he goes along with the plan. In his hotel room, Ethan packs up, preparing to get out of Sunnydale. He’s stopped by Giles, who is determined to kill him. Buffy and Riley arrive and Ethan tells them that the demon killed Giles. Riley holds onto Ethan while Buffy starts fighting Giles, demanding to know what he did to…well, Giles. Spike continues to try to evade the Initiative, but crashes into a building. Buffy and Giles continue fighting as Riley starts to fight Ethan to keep him from escaping. Buffy gets the better of Giles and prepares to stab him with the letter opener. “This is for Giles!” she announces, bringing it down into his chest. Suddenly she realizes that the demon is really Giles and begs him not to die. He tells her he’s all right, “except for the rage.” She notes that the letter opener must not be real silver.

Later, Ethan has performed the spell to reverse his earlier spell, and Giles is back to normal. Giles, now wearing some of Ethan’s clothes (including a loud shirt), asks Buffy how she knew it was him. She tells him that she saw anger in his eyes and knew that no one else could be that annoyed with her. Ethan is taken into military custody, never to be seen again (unfortunately for us). Giles heads outside, happy to watch Ethan be “manhandled.” Buffy thanks Riley for his assistance and he admires her strength, skills, and strategy. Later, Giles pointedly tells Buffy that he’s bought a new phone and that people can now call him to give him important information. She apologizes for keeping him out of the loop so much. He tells her that he’s worried about the Initiative and wonders what exactly she’s getting involved in. In the Initiative, Walsh isn’t happy that Buffy doesn’t follow the rules and warns Riley to be careful with her because she acts on instinct and “her loyalties are uncertain.” Riley assures her that Buffy will make Walsh proud. Walsh heads off on her own to a secured area and enters a room marked “314.”


GRADE: B It’s about time we had another Giles-centered episode, and Ethan makes it even better.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Buffy: “Giles was the librarian at my high school.”
Riley: “Ah, I've seen the library. It's gone downhill since you left.”

“I'm not sure I would have gone with the surprise party. You know, you have enough things jumping out at you in the dark.” - Giles to Buffy

Xander: “You own nothing. This shouldn't be taking so long.”
Spike: “Hang on. Let a fella get organized.” (he picks up a radio)
Xander: “That's my radio!”
Spike: “And you're what? Shocked and disappointed? I'm evil!”

Anya: “Wait.” (brings over a lamp) “I want to give you something for your new place.”
Xander: “That's my lamp.”
Anya: “A gift is traditional. I've read about it.”
Xander: “That's among friends. With bitter enemies, we don't give them my lamp.”

Spike: (re: Buffy) “Don't know why she didn't come. Say good-bye, shed a few tears.”
Xander: “Well, she has an appointment with somebody who's actually still scary!”

Walsh: “We thought you were a myth.”
Buffy: “Well, you were myth-taken.”

“We use the latest in scientific technology and state-of-the-art weaponry and you, if I understand correctly, poke them with a sharp stick.” - Walsh to Buffy

“When I saw you stop the world from, you know, ending...I just assumed that was a big week for you. Turns out I suddenly find myself...needing to know the plural of ‘apocalypse.’” - Riley to Buffy

“You're hard to find. These - these halls are quite the labyrinth. I felt like Theseus and the Minotaur in the...labyrinth.” - Giles to Professor Walsh

Giles: “Well that's marvelous, isn't it? Here I am, spent weeks trying, uh, t-to get a single scrap of information about our mysterious demon collectors, and no one bothers to tell me that Buffy's dating one of them?! Who else knows?!”
Xander: “No one. No one else knows this. Anya, and that's it!”
Willow: (sheepishly) “And Spike.”
Giles: “Ssspike?! Spike knew?”
Xander: “Only the basic stuff. You know, that Riley is a commando and Professor Walsh is in charge.”
Giles: “Professor Walsh?! That fishwife?!”

Giles: “Nothing is gonna happen.” (he leaves)
Ethan: “I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say that at all. In fact, Ripper, old mate, I'd say something rather interesting was about to hap--.”
Giles: (reentering) “Did someone--?”
Ethan: “Oh, bugger! I thought you'd gone!”

Ethan: “Brilliant! Now, isn't this more fun than kicking my a%$?”
Giles: “No.”
Ethan: “Oh. It's more fun for me.”

“She said I was an absent male role model. Absent, my a%$. I'm twice the man she is.” - Giles to Ethan, re: Walsh

Giles: “We gotta face it, we've changed. Well, not you...you're still sadistic and self-centered.”
Ethan: “Here's to me.”

Buffy: “I'm spending today with Riley.”
Willow: “Oh, yeah. I forgot that's what you always do on the days when the Earth rotates.”

“He must undo this, and then he needs a...good being killed.” - Giles, re: Ethan

“Okay, that's a giant vulture. I'd have mentioned it if it was a giant vulture.” - Xander to Willow, while researching

Buffy: “I keep thinking, ‘Let's ask Giles,’ and then I remember.”
Xander: “He'd be great right now. He'd find himself in a second.”

Willow: “It stole Giles' car.”
Xander: “Why would a demon steal a car?”
Anya: “Why would a demon steal that car?”

“I really got to learn to just do the damage and get out of town. It's the ‘stay and gloat’ that gets me every time.” - Ethan

Riley: “She is the truest soul I've ever known.”
Walsh: “Oh, no, oh, no! Spontaneous poetic exclamations. Lord, spare me college boys in love.”

Waitress: “You’re not Roger Moore.”
Ethan: “God’s truth. Tell her, Ripper.”
Giles: “What? Oh. He’s not Roger Moore.” (from the original script)

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