"End of Days"
Written by Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie; directed by Marita Grabiak

In the tunnel, the bomb counts down as Faith and the potentials try to take cover. The bomb goes off and the girls are thrown around the tunnel. Caleb comes down into the wine cellar and challenges Buffy to pull the weapon out of solid rock. She, of course, does, and he’s a little worried. He tells her that she doesn’t even know what she has but she notices that he’s scared of her now. First!Buffy appears and tells Caleb to let Buffy go. She tells Buffy that her friends are in danger (“Faith go boom”) but Caleb doesn’t want to let Buffy go with the weapon. As Buffy leaves, First!Buffy tells Caleb that he’ll get it back when she’s not paying attention.

The potentials who are still alive (aka the important ones) take account of each other and find Faith unconscious in the water. They hear someone coming and try to run, but find that the tunnel is blocked. They take Faith and the wounded potentials over the debris as Turok-Han appear. They form a circle and resolve themselves to fight the Turok-Han. At home, Giles and the potentials who didn’t go with Faith eat food that Andrew has looted from an abandoned grocery store. Willow, Xander, Anya, and Dawn return home, having been unable to find Buffy. Giles worries that something has happened to Faith and the potentials, since they’re still gone. More Turok-Han appear in the tunnel and start to attack the potentials. Buffy suddenly appears with the weapon and kills all of the Turok-Han. She tells the girls to get the wounded and follow her out.

At the Summers’ house, the healthy tend to the wounded and Faith is taken upstairs. Buffy tells the potentials that Faith is not to blame for leading them into a trap. She tentatively resumes her position as leader as Faith is placed in Buffy’s bedroom. Buffy tells Willow and Giles that she thinks the extra-nifty weapon is a scythe and that when she picked it up, she knew it was supposed to be hers. Willow wonders if it’s a “traditional Slayer weapon” and Giles is surprised that he hasn’t heard about it. Buffy asks them to research the scythe and they promise her that they’ll do their best. Anya and Andrew tend to the wounded potentials, taking swigs from the bottle of alcohol they’re supposed to be using for sterilization. They decide to go to the hospital to get more supplies. In the kitchen, Buffy has asked Xander to do something for her, but he realizes that he is being taken out of the battle. She says that she chose him for the task because she can count on him. They joke around a little, breaking their tension.

Willow discovers that the vineyard was first a monastery, but Giles says that the scythe is pre-Christian. He encourages her to try to use magic again, but doesn’t want to push her. On the Internet, they find a symbol that stands for a scythe and may be connected to a pagan temple. Since the scythe is a symbol for death, they decide to research pagan death sites. Xander and Dawn look through his car for Dawn’s crossbow (which we learn was, unfortunately, the cause of poor Miss Kitty Fantastico’s death). In the middle of their conversation, Xander suddenly puts a cloth over Dawn’s face, pushes her into the car, and drives away. In the wine cellar, First!Buffy suggests that she and Caleb “merge” again. The First acquires a demonic form, then turns into light and enters Caleb. Caleb’s eyes turn black and his voice becomes deeper.

Faith, now awake, holds the scythe and agrees with Buffy that it contains power. Buffy says she’s sure it belongs to a Slayer, but she’s not positive which one of them that means. She tells Faith that it wasn’t her fault she and the potentials wound up in a trap - they’re fighting a war, and people die in wars, even if they shouldn’t. Faith admits that she was a leader for the first time, but she still felt alone. Buffy tells her that she loves her friends, but that feeling alone goes hand-in-hand with being a Slayer. They bond a little over the fact that they’re the only ones who feel the way they feel. “Thank God we’re hot chicks with superpowers,” says Faith.

Spike returns to the house and sees that Buffy has returned and has the scythe. She tells him that she wants to find out what the scythe is exactly and why she has it. They bring up the previous night, and Spike says it was the best night of his life. They’re not sure what it means, and they have a battle to focus on. At the hospital, Anya and Andrew begin collecting supplies. Andrew asks why Anya is still around, since she has no reason to stay and fight. She tells him that she did run once (see “Graduation Day, Part 1”), but that she respects humans now and wants to stay and fight. He teases that she loves humans. He admits that he doesn’t think he’ll survive the battle but is sure that she will.

Buffy heads into a pyramid-shaped tomb in the cemetery and is greeted by a woman who says, “I’d forgotten how young you would be.” She mentions that Buffy has found “our” weapon and Buffy asks who she is. The woman replies, “One of many. Well...time was. Now I'm alone in the world.” She says that she was one of the people who originally put the scythe in the stone. The scythe was created secretly and kept from the Shadow Men (see “Get it Done”). The Shadow Men later became Watchers, and the woman was one of a group who watched the Watchers. The scythe was used to kill “the last pure demon that walked upon the Earth.” The guardian continues, “And then there were men here, and then there were monks. And then there was a town, and now there was you.” She calls herself “the last surprise,” having hidden until now. Buffy asks if she can win the battle and the guardian tells her it’s up to her: “One way or another, it can only mean an end is truly near.” Suddenly the guardian falls to the ground, having been killed by Caleb.

Xander drives his car with Dawn unconscious in the passenger’s seat. She wakes up and asks him what happened. He gives her a letter from Buffy which says that she asked Xander to take Dawn out of town to keep her safe. Dawn zaps Xander with a stun gun, stops the car, gets in the driver’s seat, and turns the car around. In the tomb, Buffy takes a swing at Caleb with the scythe but he stops her. He continues to overpower her, having gained strength from the First. He is about to swing at her with the scythe when he is punched and knocked down. Buffy looks up to see that his attacker was Angel (last seen on Buffy in “Forever”). He helps Buffy up and they briefly share pleasantries. Angel starts to fight Caleb again but Buffy indicates that she wants to take care of him herself. “You are so gonna lose,” Angel taunts Caleb. Buffy gets the upper hand and slashes Caleb with the scythe. The situation under control, she and Angel share a kiss. Unbeknownst to them, Spike is watching alongside First!Buffy.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Scythes are our friends.

GRADE: For the second-to-last episode, it should have wrapped more up.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - “So it’s true. Scythe matters.” - Willow

Anya: “Many of these girls will die. Slaughterhouse is what it is.”
Potential: “What?”
Anya: “Oh...trying to talk will just kill you sooner.”

Xander: “I feel like you're putting me out to pasture.”
Buffy: “Of course I'm not putting you out to pasture. What does that even mean?”
Xander: “Well, you know, it's like, uh...when a cow gets old and loses an eye, or its ability to be milked, the farmer takes it and puts it in a different pasture so it won't have to...fight...with the priests.”

Buffy: “You're my strength, Xander. You're the reason I made it this far. I trust you with my life. That's why I need you to do this for me.”
Xander: “Okay.”
Buffy: “Also, you can't shoot a bow and arrow anymore, and every time you pick up a sword, I worry that you're gonna break one of our good lamps.”
Xander: “Hey--.”
Buffy: “Don't look at me. You're the one who said I'm gonna die.”
Xander: “I never said you were gonna die. I-I implied that you were gonna die. It's totally different.”
Buffy: “Yeah, okay. Sure.”
Xander: “Besides, if you die, I'll just bring you back to life. That's what I do.”

Xander: “And you know what's even worse? All the stupid ‘it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye’ jokes. ‘Hey, Xander, so, no more fun and games, huh?’”
Dawn: “Giles was just having fun with you.”
Xander: “That's not the point. It's an obvious joke. It'd be like someone calling me a Cyclops.”
Dawn: “Oh. (giggles) Okay, so, not that funny.”
Xander: “I mean, uh...give me some ‘eye of the beholder’ jokes. You know? Or, uh...some ‘eye for an eye’ jokes. Or maybe even a post-modern ‘I, Claudius’ joke, you know? It's about standards, Dawnie.”

“Somebody has to lead. Let's vote for Chao-Ahn. It's harder to lead people into a deathtrap if you don't speak English .” - Faith to Buffy

Faith: “Maybe that's why you and I can never get along. We're not supposed to exist together.”
Buffy: “Also, you went evil and were killing people.”
Faith: “Good point. Also a factor.”

Anya: “Well...I guess I was...kinda new to bein' around humans before. But now I've...seen a lot more, gotten to know people...seen what they're capable of, and...I guess I just realized...how amazingly screwed-up they all are. I mean really, really screwed-up in a monumental fashion.”
Andrew: “Oh.”
Anya: “And they have no purpose that unites them, so they just drift around, blundering through life until they die...which they...they know is coming, yet every single one of them is surprised when it happens to them. They're incapable of thinking about what they want beyond the moment. They kill each other, which is clearly insane. And yet, here's the thing. When it's something that really matters, they fight. I mean, they're lame morons for fighting, but they do. They never...never quit. So I guess I will keep fighting, too.”
Andrew: “That was kind of beautiful. You...you love humans.”
Anya: “I do not.”
Andrew: “Yes, you do. You loooooove them.”
Anya: “Stop it! I don't love them! And I'll kill you if you tell anybody.”

Guardian: “What’s your name?”
Buffy: “Buffy.”
Guardian: “No, really.” (Buffy shrugs)

Angel: “You look good.”
Buffy: “You look timely.”

“It doesn’t have any markings. Would it be so hard to include a little sticker? ‘Hello. My name is Blank of the Blankthuselah, consult operating instructions before wielding.’” - Willow, re: the scythe (from the original script)


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