"Conversations with Dead People"
Written by Jane Espenson and Drew Goddard; directed by Nick Marck

At the Bronze Angie Hart sings “Blue” as Buffy patrols, Spike drinks at the bar, Willow studies at the UC Sunnydale library, and Dawn comes home to find money and a note from Buffy telling her not to use it to buy pizza. A hand reaches out of a grave and Buffy says, “Here we go.” An El Camino heads towards Sunnydale, carrying Jonathan and Andrew. They discuss the nightmares they had in Mexico, which involved the words “desde abajo te devora” (“it eats you starting with your bottom,” according to Andrew). They announce that they will make things right. At home, Dawn eats pizza, gets sauce on Buffy’s shirt (“she’ll think it’s blood”), and plays with weapons, destroying furniture and shooting an arrow into the wall. She is heating up a marshmallow in the microwave when she hears a loud noise from somewhere else in the house. At the library, Cassie (see “Help”) approaches Willow, who is surprised to see her, since she’s supposed to be dead. Cassie tells her that “she” asked her to come and Willow soon realizes that she’s talking about Tara.

Dawn watches an old horror movie on TV while talking to Kit on the phone. She again hears noises in the house and is shocked to see the front door blow open. The television, which she had muted, comes back on and won’t turn off even when she unplugs it. Buffy fights the new vampire until he recognizes her and introduces himself as Holden, a guy she went to high school with. She pretends to remember him as well. At home the television, stereo, and radio in the kitchen are all playing. Dawn smashes the TV and stereo with an axe, then heads to the kitchen to do the same to the radio. The microwave turns itself on and she smashes it. The radio changes stations by itself and Dawn hears her mother’s voice saying her name.

Holden finally gets Buffy to remember him and they talk about some of their former classmates. Holden is surprised to realize that he’s a vampire and that Buffy’s a Slayer. He mentions that Scott (last seen in “Homecoming”) told everyone that she was gay after they broke up, but that last year he himself came out. Holden begins to psychoanalyze Buffy’s statement that she’s “not connected” as Dawn tries to call Buffy on her cell phone. As Dawn tries to get the radio to repeat itself Joyce can be seen lying on the couch in the living room. The lights go out, and when they come back on the furniture has been overturned and “mother’s milk is red today” is painted on the wall. The lights dim and when they come back on, the message is gone and the furniture is back in order. Dawn hears knocking and devises a system - once for yes, twice for no. She asks if the person knocking is Joyce and receives a knock as an answer. Is Joyce okay? Two knocks. Is she alone? Two knocks. The house begins to shake.

Jonathan climbs down a rope into the high school library, followed by Andrew, who bypasses and rope and falls to the floor. Jonathan suggests that they tell Buffy about “Danthazar” but Andrew says that she won’t believe them. Instead, they’ll destroy “it,” save Sunnydale, and be invited to join the Scoobies and hang out at Buffy’s house. The two split up to find the principal’s office and Warren approaches Andrew. He tells Andrew that his death was part of a “master plan” and that if Jonathan is able to do what he’s supposed to, he and Andrew will become gods. At the university library Willow asks Cassie why Tara can’t appear to her herself; Cassie explains that she can’t because Willow killed people. Willow speaks to Tara through Cassie, who tells her that Tara is crying. She reminds Willow that she is “strong, like an Amazon.” At the bar Spike gestures for a woman to sit down next to him.

Buffy and Holden’s impromptu counseling session yields a discussion about relationships. He tells her that she’s too young to be worrying about settling down for the rest of her life. They prepare to fight each other and Holden believes that he stands a chance. He tries to pry into Buffy’s psyche again, asking her who she thinks is to blame for her parents’ divorce, then asking if she feels superior to every guy she’s dated. She tells him that she doesn’t feel superior because of the things she’s done to people. As she’s crying over her relationship with Spike, Holden picks up a statue of the Virgin Mary and clocks her over the head with it. He attempts to bit her and they start fighting again.

At the Summer’s house, Joyce flashes in and out on the couch, being choked by a dark figure. Dawn goes to get the axe but the figure grabs it and takes a swing at her. A voice orders Dawn to get out and she’s about to oblige when she decides that she can’t leave her mother. Jonathan and Andrew wander in the school basement, lost. Andrew sees Warren standing in front of a door and announces that they should go through; Jonathan looks and can’t see Warren. They enter a room with a floor covered in dirt and begin to dig through it. Buffy gets the better of Holden and he continues to ask her questions. He says that he wants to ask her a question, and if he’s right he can ask whatever he wants. He then asks if her last relationship was with a vampire. Elsewhere, Spike walks down the street with the girl from the bar.

Cassie tells Willow that she acted the way she did because she was grieving, and that the power she has is bigger than her. She warns Willow that she can never use magic again. Willow replies that she will be okay but Cassie says she won’t - she’s going to kill everyone. Jonathan and Andrew continue digging as Jonathan talks about how much he misses the people he knew in high school, even the people who didn’t like him. Andrew sees Warren again and tells Jonathan that no one misses Jonathan or cares about him. Jonathan says that he still cares about them and is there because of them. They uncover a seal shaped like an inverted pentagram with the symbol of a goat’s head. Dawn performs a spell to cast the spirits out of the house. Wind blows out her candles and the windows shatter. Buffy first tells Holden that she feels inferior rather than superior. She feels that her friends and boyfriends’ opinions don’t matter because they don’t understand who she is or the experiences she’s had. She then admits that she actually feels superior because she’s the Slayer. He replies that she has a superiority complex, but she has an inferiority complex about it. When Buffy finally mentions Spike by name, Holden has a flash of recognition.

Spike walks his new friend home as Dawn continues her spell. The wind and noises stop suddenly and Joyce appears in a beam of light. Cassie tells Willow that the only way she can save everyone is to stop using magic altogether. Willow tells her she’s not strong enough and Cassie informs her that there is one way that she can stop herself and see Tara - she can kill herself. Willow suddenly realizes that she’s not talking to Tara. Holden tells Buffy that Spike sired him as Spike bites his new friend. Joyce tells Dawn that “things are coming” and warns her that Buffy won’t take care of her. She disappears and Dawn breaks into tears. Andrew suddenly stabs Jonathan, who is now able to see Warren. Cassie mocks Willow, then warns her that she and the Scoobies are in for a big fight. Her skin rolls back and she disappears. Angie Hart sings again as Dawn sits in a daze in the middle of the living room, Jonathan begins to bleed onto the uncovered seal, and Buffy stakes Holden.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: If dead people start talking to you, do the math.

R.I.P.: Jonathan

GRADE: A- If Willow had gotten to talk to Tara, I would have given it an A.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - “Last time we were here, 33.3 bar percent of us were flayed alive.” - Jonathan

“Anchovies, anchovies, you're so delicious. I love you more than all the other fishes.” - Dawn

“Feels great. Strong. Like I'm connected to a powerful all-consuming evil that's gonna suck the world into a firey oblivion. How ‘bout you?” - Holden

“I commit. I'm committed. I'm a committee.” - Buffy

Holden: “I just think you're in some pain here - which I do kind of enjoy, 'cause I'm evil now - but you should just ease up on yourself. It's not exactly like you have the patent on bad relationships.”
Buffy: “Wouldn’t it be cool if I did?”

Holden: “Come on, isn't this insane? I mean, I was afraid to talk to you in high school, and now we're, like, mortal enemies. Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we became nemeses?”
Buffy: “Is that how you say the word?”
Holden: “We’re gonna have to fight to the death, aren’t we?”
Buffy: “It’s the time-honored custom.”

“…Clearly you were in your own little world in high school. All chosen. All destiny. Who could live with that for seven years and not feel superior?” - Holden

“Buffy, I'm here to kill you, not to judge you.” - Holden

Buffy: “I think I'm gonna kill you just a little bit more than usual.”
Holden: “Aw, come one. I mean, we had a moment. You opened up. It was really sweet. It made me want to bite you. I'm sorry if I overstepped my bounds. I'm just new to this mortal enemy stuff.”

“And it all adds up to you feeling alone. But, Buffy, everybody feels alone. Everybody is, until you die.” - Holden

Joyce: “Things are coming, Dawn. Listen, things are on their way. I love you, and I love Buffy, but she won't be there for you.”
Dawn: “What? Why are you--?”
Joyce: “When it's bad, Buffy won't choose you. She'll be against you.”

First Evil as Cassie: “You don't know hurt. This last year's gonna seem like cake after what I put you and your friends through, and I am not a fan of easy death. Fact is, the whole good-versus-evil, balancing the scales thing - I'm over it. I'm done with the mortal coil. But believe me, I'm going for a big finish.”
Willow: “From beneath you, it devours.”
First Evil as Cassie: “Oh, not it. Me.”

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