"As You Were"
Written and directed by Doug Petrie

Buffy works late at the Doublemeat Palace while her co-worker Todd talks about politics and Machiavelli. On the way home, she runs into a vampire who doesn’t want to fight her because she smells like fast food. She stakes him to teach him a lesson. She catches Spike in her yard, and even though she rejects him at first, they wind up having a little fun. Buffy takes Dawn’s dinner inside and Dawn tells her she’s getting sick of fast food. Willow and Dawn head to the Bronze while Buffy stays behind. At the Bronze, Anya and Xander figure out last-minute wedding details and pretend they’re not nervous. Willow tells Dawn that she’s happy because she and Tara seem to be making progress. The next day, Buffy doesn’t have much better luck - she misses the garbage truck and receives a letter from UC Sunnydale, telling her she missed the deadline for readmission. At work, she faces another monotonous day until she realizes that the customer she’s about to help is Riley (last seen in “Into the Woods”).

Riley tells Buffy that he needs her help but, surprised to see him, all she can say is, “My hat has a cow.” She cuts out on her shift and heads off to help Riley track a demon that breeds quickly. They try to chase it on foot, then hop in Riley’s SUV and drive after it as Buffy gets suited up in special military duds. Xander and Anya are stuck on the highway on their way to the airport to pick up Xander’s uncle Rory. They complain about the amount of work the wedding has required and Xander says that they should have eloped. Anya replies that they’ve put too much work into it not to see it through: “I've been through too much planning this wedding, and it is going to happen. It is going to be our perfect, perfect day if I have to kill every one of our guests and half this town to do it.”

Buffy and Riley follow the demon to a huge dam, which they proceed to rappel into. At the bottom, they fight the demon again (are you bored yet?) and are joined by a woman who asks Buffy, “What exactly are you doing with my husband?” Riley introduces Buffy to Sam, his wife. Sam fights the demon while Riley tells Buffy that they met while…well, fighting demons. Buffy winds up killing the demon, unaware that she wasn’t supposed to - they were on a homing operation (but it’s really Riley’s fault, since he didn’t tell her that). Sam asks Buffy if she can take them to a safehouse; she says she can take them to her regular house. At home, Dawn is less than thrilled to see Riley again, but Willow and Xander give him a warmer welcome. Willow tells Buffy that she (Willow) can hate Sam if Buffy wants her to, since it’s petty for Buffy to do so herself. Buffy tells her to knock herself out.

Sam explains to the Scoobies that the demon they’re tracking came to the Hellmouth to spawn, and that it may have already hatched its eggs. Sam is also able to multi-task, discussing the demon as well as giving Xander wedding advice. She tells Buffy that the demon’s eggs are probably going to be sold on the black market and that they need to find the possible dealer, who calls himself the Doctor. She asks Willow to do a locator spell but Willow tells her she can’t. Riley announces that he’s going to look for the Doctor while Buffy and Sam look for the demon’s nest. Sam apologizes to Willow, and says she admires her for being able to quit using magic.

As they search for the nest, Sam tells Buffy that Riley took their break-up hard and asks if she’s seeing anyone. Buffy decides that they should split up and she heads for Spike’s crypt. She first asks for information on the Doctor, then gets friendly with him. After they fall asleep, Riley shows up and Spike taunts him that he wasn’t bad enough for Buffy. Riley announces that he’s not there because of Buffy, but because he thinks Spike is the Doctor. Buffy tells Riley that Spike can’t be the Doctor (“he’s too incompetent”) but Riley refuses to leave before he finds the nest, which he does. Because Spike hasn’t kept the eggs frozen, they are starting to hatch. They blow up the crypt, killing the baby demons.

Xander and Anya have locked themselves in their bathroom while their relatives fight. Anya expresses anxiety about the wedding, but Xander reminds her that it’s only one day, and that their marriage will last forever. As Sam and Riley prepare to head off to Nepal, Riley asks Buffy if he wants her to “take out” Spike. She admits that she’s sleeping with him and seems upset that his life has turned out so well while hers hasn’t. He tells her that she will always be special to him because she was the first woman he loved. She tells him that she’s sorry about what happened between them and he tells her it’s all right. Riley and Sam say goodbye to the Scoobies and fly away on a helicopter. (Yes, really.) Buffy heads back to Spike’s now-destroyed crypt and tells him it’s over between them - though she does want him, she was using him and can’t be with him anymore. She calls him William and leaves.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Hunting demons is more fun with your significant other.

GRADE: B- I don't dislike Riley as much as a lot of people, but even I didn't see the point of this.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Willow: “So how are Mr. and Mrs. High-Strung?”
Dawn: “I'm betting they explode.”
Willow: “You know, when I was little, I used to spend hours imagining what my wedding to Xander would be like. And now I look at them…I just think…"nee-hee-hee!"

Buffy: “Riley.”
Riley: “Sorry to just drop in on you like this, Buffy.”
Buffy: “It's you.”
Riley: “It's me.”
Buffy: “You're here.”
Riley: “I know.”
Buffy: “And…were you always this tall?”
Riley: “Look, this isn't the way I wanted it. But something's come up, something big. We don't have much time. You understand?”
Buffy: (nodding) “Not a word you've said so far.”

“My hat has a cow.” - a stunned Buffy

Riley: “They're breeders, Buffy. One turns into ten, ten becomes a hundred. This gets out of hand and there's a war with humans? Humans are gonna lose.”
Buffy: “So they're like really mean tribbles. Sorry, I've been dealing with these, these geeks, it's, it's a whole thing.”

Riley: “Got some, uh…big stories to tell you, too. If we ever get half a second.”
Buffy: “Did you die?”
Riley: “No.”
Buffy: “I'm gonna win.”

Anya: “Why are you defending him?”
Xander: “I'm not. I hate my uncle. I hate my whole family. That's why I'm marrying you, to start a new family. Have children, make them hate us, then one day they'll get married, we'll sleep on their couch. It's the circle of life.”

“Let me carry the hate for the both of us.” - Willow to Buffy, re: Sam

“Which means we have to find the nest, and fast, before Sunnydale turns into the Troublemeat Palace.” (everyone stares at her) “I wish I'd said something else.” - Buffy

Buffy: “So! Who's hungry? We got, uh--.”
Dawn: “Ice cubes.”
Buffy: “All you can eat.”

Xander: “And, just curious, what's a chopper rental run these days?”
Sam: “Oh, well, actually, we commandeered it from a local guerilla squad, so…cheap!”

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