Written and directed by Joss Whedon

At night in a Sunnydale cemetery, a vampire named Andrew rises from his grave, only to be met by Willow, who seems confident that she can take care of him. As Andrew lunges at her, Xander grabs him and Oz runs over to stake him. However, they’re not as graceful as they expected and Andrew gets away from them. Oz tries to throw a stake at Andrew, but is unsuccessful. (“That really never works,” he comments.) Xander asks why Andrew was so athletic and Oz remembers that Andrew used to be on the gymnastics team. Xander then critiques Willow’s quipping, and she explains that she was trying to wisecrack the way Buffy does. He says that they always took Buffy’s quips for granted, and Willow chastises him for speaking about her in the past tense. She wonders if Buffy knows that the next day is the first day of school, which Oz seems to have forgotten about. Willow assures him that she’ll only be busy till 3:00, which is when he wakes up anyway. Xander mentions that he’s looking forward to seeing Cordelia and Willow says that she’s looking forward to finding out what their first assignment is. She thinks that it would be great if Buffy showed up at school like nothing had happened, and wonders where she is. On a beach somewhere, Buffy looks out at the water and is joined by Angel. “I’ll never leave,” he promises. “Not even if you kill me.” Buffy wakes up in a small apartment in L.A. as a police car drives past.

The next day, Buffy works as a waitress in a diner called Helen’s Kitchen, where she deals with annoying customers and has to stop herself from using her Slayer strength against one of them. She approaches a guy named Rickie and his girlfriend Lily, who is really Chantarelle from “Lie to Me.” The two don’t have much money but are trying to take care of themselves and each other. They recently got tattoos of each other’s names, despite the fact that they couldn’t really afford to. Lily seems to recognize Buffy, who’s going by the name “Anne,” but Buffy denies ever meeting her and quickly tells a co-worker that she’s sick and needs to go home. At Sunnydale High, Willow relates the previous night’s patrolling activities to Giles as other students get books from the library to prepare for the new school year. He tells Willow that he’d appreciate it if she and the Scoobies didn’t get themselves killed.

Cordelia arrives and tells Willow that her summer was horrible - she went to a “nightmare resort” in Mexico and is actually excited about seeing Xander again. Willow spots Oz, who has an armful of books, and thinks that he’s brought a present for her. “Well, it’s sort of a funny story,” he says. “You remember when I didn’t graduate?” She reminds him that he was going to go to summer school, and he reminds her that he didn’t go. He says that he thought she might find his being left behind cute, but she’s not quite on the bandwagon. Xander arrives, looking for Cordelia, and tries unsuccessful to hide his geekiness. Larry tells a friend that the football team is going to have a great year, as long as they don’t lose any more players to mysterious deaths. Xander and Cordelia finally run into each other and try to play it cool. The result is a brief, meaningless, awkward conversation. In Buffy’s L.A. apartment, she stares at the wall before heading to work. She passes a man named Ken, who is passing out fliers to homeless people, and an old woman who says, “I’m no one.”

Giles receives a phone call and tells Willow and Xander that he’s going to Oakland - a friend of his thinks he saw a girl fighting vampires out there. Xander wonders why this lead is any different than the others Giles has pursued. After he leaves, Xander tells Willow that he doesn’t think Buffy will be found until she wants to be. That night in L.A., Lily tracks Buffy down and lets her know that she remembers her from Sunnydale. She thanks Buffy for saving her and the other Lonely Ones in “Lie to Me,” and promises that she didn’t reveal Buffy’s identity to anyone, even Rickie. She asks Buffy how she came up with the name Anne; Buffy reveals that it’s her middle name. Lily says she chose her new name from a song, and that she previously named herself Chantarelle because she wanted something exotic. Buffy has to break it to her that a chantarelle is a mushroom (albeit an exotic one). Lily invites her to tag along to a rave but Buffy would rather be alone. A homeless man pushes his way between them and says, “I’m no one.” He wanders into the middle of the street just as a truck speeds heads towards him. Buffy pushes him out of the way and is hit by the truck.

Buffy assures everyone around that she’s fine and takes off. She runs into Ken, who asks what she’s running from and notes that she’s new to the area. He introduces himself and gives her a flier for a place called the “Family Home.” She tries to convince him that she doesn’t need help, and he warns that being on her own could take a lot out of her. Back in Sunnydale, Willow and Xander listen to a depressing singer at the Bronze and Willow wonders what “she’s doing right now.” Thinking she’s talking about Cordelia, Xander says that she’s probably laughing with her friends about him. Oz joins them and they discuss their slaying, which hasn’t been going well. Xander decides that they need a new strategy - they should use someone as bait, namely Cordelia. Joyce is paying bills at home when someone knocks on the door. Thinking it’s Buffy, she hurries to answer it and finds Giles on the front porch. He tells her that he went to Oakland thinking that Buffy might be there, but came away with nothing. She says that she hates to leave the house because she worries that Buffy might call while she’s gone. He assures her that Buffy can take care of herself and says that she shouldn’t blame herself for Buffy running away. “I don’t,” she replies. “I blame you.” She says that he had a relationship with Buffy that she never knew about, and feels that he took her away. He argues that he didn’t make Buffy the person she is. “And who exactly is she?” Joyce asks.

Lily enters Helen’s Kitchen, only to receive a not-so-warm welcome from Buffy, who doesn’t want to talk to her. Lily says that Rickie’s been missing for more than a day and wants Buffy’s help to find him. Buffy declines, saying that she doesn’t do the “stuff” Lily knows she does anymore. However, she winds up tagging along with Lily to a blood blank she and Rickie frequent in exchange for money and cookies. Lily asks a nurse if Rickie’s been in, and the nurse says she’ll check. Buffy decides that they should split up and tells Lily to meet back at her apartment. The nurse tells them that Rickie hasn’t been in and watches them suspiciously as they leave. Buffy checks out an abandoned building where a number of homeless people are sleeping and finds a dead old man with the same tattoo Rickie had. Back at her apartment, she tells Lily that she thinks Rickie is dead, though the man she found was old. They thinks that something “drained the life out of him” and wonders if his accelerated aging had something to do with his blood donations. Upset, Lily asks if his death had something to do with Buffy, since everything was fine before she came to L.A. Buffy turns on her, saying that she wanted to be alone and that Lily can’t blame her if she can’t deal with what’s going on. Lily leaves and, on the street, runs into Ken. She mentions Rickie and he asks if she’s Lily, saying that Rickie mentioned her. He takes her with him to the Family Home, saying that Rickie is there.

Buffy breaks into the blood bank, finding a file with a list of people who are considered “candidates.” The nurse catches her and Buffy asks what the people are candidates for. The nurse warns that she’s going to get herself in trouble and Buffy replies that all she wants is to be left alone. The nurse admits that she gives “him” the names of the healthy blood donors. “Him” would, of course, be Ken. He is preparing Lily for a “cleansing,” after which he promises she’ll get to see Rickie. In Sunnydale, Xander, Willow, Oz, and Cordelia are in a cemetery, where Cordelia is complaining that she doesn’t want to have to be the bait. Willow and Oz pick hiding spots and Cordelia tells Xander that she’s only helping out for Buffy, not for him. He tells her that they’re waiting for the vampire to attack her so that she can die and they can be happy. While they’re arguing about their relationship, Andrew sneaks up behind Willow. In L.A., Lily kneels in front of a black pool to, as Ken says, “wash away the past.” Buffy arrives at the Family Home and tries to tell some people at the door that she’s there to make a change in her life. She can’t keep up the act and, instead, just asks where Ken is and then fights her way inside. As she arrives at the black pool, something grabs Lily and pulls her in. Ken tries to stop Buffy from helping her, and they both wind up falling into the pool as well.

In a room under the pool, Ken pulls his face off and complains, “Do you have any idea how hard it is to glue that thing on?!” Lily is shocked to see that he’s a demon. Ken calls for some guards, who chase Buffy and Lily into what looks like a factory, where people are being used for slave labor. Ken knocks Buffy out and tells Lily that they’re never leaving. In Sunnydale, Xander and Cordelia continue to banter about their relationship as Andrew attacks Willow. Oz tries to get him away from her as Xander and Cordelia join in. Cordelia tackles Andrew, who falls to the ground on top of Xander. He stakes Andrew, and after he turns to dust, Cordelia falls on top of Xander. After a meaningful look into each other’s eyes, they kiss passionately. Buffy wakes up in a cell with Lily, who tells her that she always knew she would wind up in Hell. Buffy tells her they’re not in Hell, but an arriving Ken says it might as well be. He tells the girls that a hundred years in Hell are equivalent to one day on Earth, and Buffy notes that while they toil away down there, no one up there will miss them or even know that they’re gone. He congratulates Buffy on achieving her goal of disappearing.

Buffy and Lily are taken to the main area, where an interrogator tells them and other slaves that all they are allowed to do is work. They mean nothing and have no identities. “Who are you?” the interrogator asks a kid. The kid responds with his name, and his wrong answer is punished with a smack from a club. “Who are you?” the interrogator asks Lily. “No one,” she whispers. The interrogator asks the next boy the same question, receiving the same response. “Who are you?” the interrogator asks Buffy. “I’m Buffy. The vampire Slayer. And you are…?” she replies. The interrogator starts to club her, but she fights back, then leads the other slaves in a jail break. She tells Lily to wait until the guards leave and then take the other slaves back up through the black pool. Lily isn’t sure that she can handle it, but Buffy assures her that she’ll be fine. Buffy fights some guards, then fights more on top of a platform, while Lily and the other slaves head up to make their escape. Ken is shocked to see the rebellion and sends more guards to fight Buffy. She bests most of them easily, and Ken, angry that he can’t get the better of her, grabs Lily in retaliation. He tells the slaves that they will all die, but before he can make good on his threat, Lily shoves him off of a ledge.

Buffy continues her fights with the guards, then joins Lily and the slaves, lifting up a heavy gate so that they can all get under. Ken catches up to her, but can’t get under the gate before it impales his legs. Buffy takes the opportunity to club him over the head, killing him. The slaves all head up through the black pool, which seals itself once they’re all safe. Buffy and Lily head to Buffy’s apartment, which is now Lily’s; she’ll also be taking Buffy’s job at the diner. Lily says that she doesn’t do too well taking care of herself, but Buffy tells her she’ll get better at it. “Can I be ‘Anne’?” Lily asks. (In fact, when she’s next seen - in the Angel episode “Blood Money” - she goes by the name Anne.) Later, someone knocks on the front door of the Summers’ house and Joyce goes to answer it. She opens the door to see Buffy standing on the front porch. They look at each other silently, then hug.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: It’s impossible to disappear, especially if you don’t leave the state.

GRADE: B+ It’s strange seeing Buffy out of Sunnydale, and it’s the Scoobies who really pull the episode together.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Xander: “First of all, what was with the acrobatics? How did that happen?”
Oz: “Wasn’t Andy Hoelich on the gymnastics team?”
Xander: “That’s right, he was! Cheater! (to Willow) Okay, and the, uh, second problem I’m having…‘Come and get it, Big Boy’?”
Willow: “Well…w-well, the Slayer always says a pun or-or a witty play on words, and I think it throws the vampires off, and, and it makes them frightened because I’m wisecracking. Okay, I didn’t really have a chance to work on that one, but you try it every time.”
Oz: “Uh, if I may suggest: ‘This time it’s personal.’ I mean, there’s a reason why it’s a classic.”

Xander: “I can’t wait to see Cordelia. I can’t believe I can’t wait to see Cordelia.”
Willow: “I wonder what our first homework assignment’s gonna be.” (Xander gives her a look) “Hey, you’re excited over Cordelia, okay? We’ve all got issues.”

Giles: “Well, if anything should happen to you and…you should be killed, I should take it somewhat amiss.”
Willow: “You’d be cranky?”
Giles: “Entirely.”
Willow: “Well, we try not to get killed. That’s part of our whole mission statement. ‘Don’t get killed.’”

Willow: “I wonder what she’s doing right now.”
Xander: “Oh, I know what she’s doin’. Gabbing to all of her friends about her passionate affair with Pedro the Cabana Boy, laughing about me, thinking how she still might have feelings about me.” (Willow gives him a look) “Oh, it’s possible you were talking about Buffy.”
Willow: “It’s possible.”

Oz: “I think we’re kinda getting a rhythm down.”
Xander: “We’re losing half the vamps.”
Oz: “Yeah, but…rhythmically.”

Buffy: “This’ll probably go faster if we split up.”
Lily: “Can I come with you?”
Buffy: “Okay, where did I lose you on the whole splitting-up thing?”

Nurse: “What are you doing?”
Buffy: “Breaking into your office and going through your private files.”

Cordelia: “Where do I hide?”
Xander: “You don’t hide. You’re bait. Go act baity.”
Cordelia: “What’s the plan?”
Xander: “The vampire attacks you.”
Cordelia: “And then what?”
Xander: “The vampire kills you. We watch, we rejoice.”

“You know, I just…I woke up, and I looked in the mirror, and I thought, ‘Hey, what’s with all the sin?’ I need to change. I’m…I’m dirty. I’m, I’m bad with the…sex and the envy and that, that loud music us kids listen to nowadays. W…. Oh, I just suck at undercover. Where’s Ken?” - Buffy

Xander: “Let me ask - how long did it take you to forget me? Were you still taxiing down the runway, or was it actually in the cab?”
Cordelia: “Oh, yeah! Mr. Faithful? You probably met up with some hot little Inca mummy girl. Yeah! I heard about her!”

Lily: “I’m sorry I said this was your fault before.”
Buffy: “Lily, this can wait.”
Lily: “Well, in case we die….”

Ken: “That…was not…permitted.”
Buffy: “Yeah, but it was fun.”

Buffy: “Hey, Ken, wanna see my impression of Gandhi?” (she clubs him)
Lily: “Gandhi?”
Buffy: “Well, you know, if he was really p&$%#@ off.”

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