"Bargaining, Part 1"
Written by Marti Noxon; directed by David Grossman

A vampire runs through a cemetery, being pursued by Spike, Tara, and Giles. They are unable to catch him, even with the help of magic. Willow speaks to them telepathically, alerting them to the presence of another vamp. They chase this one, who is eventually stopped by someone else. She looks like Buffy, she talks like Buffy, she fights like Buffy, but she’s not Buffy - she’s the Buffybot. Willow telepathically alerts Xander and Anya to another vampire as the Buffybot, Giles, Spike, and Tara keep fighting theirs. The vamp pins Giles to a fence with his axe and Spike sets the vampire on fire to save Giles. They head over to help Xander and Anya, and after the Buffybot stakes the vamp, she attempts to quip but winds up saying nonsense. Apparently Willow’s attempts to program her with new puns didn’t work very well. Giles reminds her that everyone has to believe that Buffy is still alive. The gang laments the fact that the Buffybot will never be like the real Buffy, and they have to accept that the real Buffy is gone.

Morning in the Summers’ household brings Willow and Tara, who now live in Joyce’s room, discussing breakfast and the coming horror of the day. Buffybot makes sandwiches in the kitchen while Willow frets that her programming won’t be perfect for the coming events. Xander arrives to play fix-it guy. The phone rings and Willow answers before Buffybot can. She tells Xander and Tara that Anya found “that thing” for that night. Willow tells Buffybot not to answer the phone in case Hank calls (what are the chances of that?); they want to make sure he doesn’t know that Buffy’s gone, because if he does, Dawn could be taken away. Willow ominously announces that the Buffybot is about to face her “most dangerous challenge ever.” That challenge would be Parent-Teacher Day at Dawn’s school (which, as we saw in “School Hard,” actually can be quite dangerous). Dawn tries to cover up for the Buffybot’s strange behavior, but in the end no one really suspects anything.

At the Magic Box, Anya complains that Giles is making her do boring work; he tells her that before he goes back to England, he wants to make sure everything is running smoothly. They fight (physically) over an object and Xander has to break them up. Anya tells Xander that she’s stressed over Giles leaving but can’t say anything about it. On top of that, she wants to tell everyone that they’re engaged, but Xander wants to wait. That night, Dawn and Spike hang out at the Summers’ house and Dawn tries to convince Spike that he doesn’t need to baby-sit her. He tells her he’s not leaving her to get hurt again. The Buffybot patrols, saving a woman in an alley from a vampire. The vamp cuts her face with a broken bottle and realizes that she’s a robot. Her circuits seem to have been scrambled and she’s no longer an effective fighter. At Xander’s apartment, Willow shows him, Tara, and Anya the Urn of Osiris, which Anya purchased on eBay (along with a limited edition Backstreet Boys lunchbox for Xander). Willow announces that the urn is “the one” and that the time to act has come. Xander is hesitant, feeling that they’re rushing into things, but Willow says that it’s time to stop talking and act. Tomorrow night, they will resurrect Buffy.

Xander is still unsure about actually going through with what they’ve discussed. Willow assures him that she can resurrect Buffy, but not without everyone’s help. They agree not to tell Giles, Dawn, or Spike what they’re doing. Willow says that, because Buffy died a mystical death, they can bring her back, and she could be the person she was before. She doesn’t want Buffy to have to suffer torment in Hell when she died saving people’s lives. Xander finally agrees to the plan. Willow returns home and sets to fixing the Buffybot. Spike grows irritated when the Buffybot reverts to her old “finding Spike sexy” ways and leaves the house. That night, Dawn looks for comfort and sleeps in bed with the Buffybot. The next day, Giles, attempts to train the Buffybot the same way he used to train Buffy, but finds it more difficult. He admits that he is trying to treat her as if he’s her Watcher, but that the last Slayer he watched wound up dying. “That's how all Slayer/Watcher relationships end, isn't it?” he says. “She's gone. I did my job.” The Buffybot wants to know why he’s still there and he doesn’t answer.

The vampire who fought the Buffybot earlier tells his story to a gang of motorcycle-riding demons. The gang, led by a vamp named Razor, is excited to hear that Sunnydale is without a Slayer. Elsewhere, Willow beckons a fawn, then reluctantly kills it in preparation for that night’s spell. The Scoobies gather at the Magic Box, nervous about what they’re about to do. Anya finds a goodbye note from Giles, who has decided to leave without saying goodbye in person. The four of them get Dawn and hurry to the airport to see him off and give him gifts they bought at a gas station. After his flight leaves, Willow tells Anya and Xander that he’ll come back when Buffy is resurrected. As the Scoobies head home, the motorcycle gang rides into Sunnydale.

Willow, Xander, Tara, and Anya light candles and sit around Buffy’s grave. Willow begins the spell and is seemingly tortured as part of a test. Suddenly, they hear the motorcycle gang approaching and vandalizing the town. At the Summers’ house with Dawn, Spike hears the gang and worries that Dawn will be in danger. The Buffybot encounters a member of the gang who is soon joined by the rest of his buddies. She fights them and runs off with them chasing after her. Willow is still doing the spell when the Buffybot arrives, followed by the gang. One of the demons runs over the Urn of Osiris, destroying it. Willow collapses and Xander grabs her, telling Tara and Anya to run. The Scoobies split up into pairs and run into the woods. Willow wakes up and asks Xander if the spell worked; he tells her that it didn’t. Underground, Buffy’s body regenerates itself and she wakes up in her coffin.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Xander likes the Backstreet Boys.

GRADE: B- The show has taken a dark turn, and it doesn't work that well.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Tara: “I thought the big ones were supposed to tire more easily.”
Spike: “No, that's over-the-hill shopkeepers.”
Giles: “I'm fine. I just need to…to die for a minute.”
Spike: “It was that powder you blew at him made him rabbit off.”
Tara: “It's sorbis root, it was supposed to confuse him, but...it just kinda made him peppy. It's not supposed to mix with anything - you think he might be taking prescription medication?”
Spike: “Yeah, that must be it.”
Giles: “…I hope he doesn't try to operate heavy machinery.”

“Oh, poor Watcher. Did your life pass before your eyes? Cuppa tea, cuppa tea, almost got shagged, cuppa tea?” - Spike to Giles

“That’ll put marzipan on your pie plate, bingo!” - Buffybot

Willow: “I got her head back on, didn't I? And I got her off those knock-knock jokes.”
Buffybot: “Ooh, who's there?”
Xander: “You know, if we want her to be exactly--.”
Spike: “She'll never be exactly.”
Xander: “I know.”
Tara: “The only really real Buffy is really Buffy.”
Giles: “And she's gone.”
Buffybot: “'If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone' who?”

“I think there's a clog-eating monster under the bed. It's really those lesser-known monsters that make living in Sunnydale so hard.” - Willow

“Okay, when I'm marveling at the immaturity...be scared.” - Xander to Giles and Anya

Xander: “Excuse me? Who made you the boss of the group?”
Anya: “You did.”
Tara: “You said Willow should be boss.”
Anya: “And then you said, ‘Let's vote,’ and it was unanimous….”
Tara: “And then you made her this little plaque that said ‘Boss of Us.’ You put little sparkles on it….”
Xander: “Valid points, all.”

Xander: “Scenario: we raise Buffy from the grave, she tries to eat our brains. Do we, A, congratulate ourselves on a job well done--?”
Willow: “Xander, this isn't zombies.”
Anya: “Zombies don't eat brains anyway unless instructed to by their zombie masters. A lot of people get that wrong.”

“You know, she's not the descendant of a long line of mystical warriors. She's the descendant of a toaster oven.” - Anya, re: the Buffybot:

Willow: “Aw, you got butterflies, baby?”
Tara: “More like bats.”
Anya: “Y-you wanna look at the money? I find it always calms me.”

“And I wanted to buy you a can of Old English 800, 'cause, you know, England, and you, and…because at the time, it sounded really funny.” - Xander to Giles


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