"Gone"
Written and directed by David Fury

Buffy and Dawn clear the house of all things magical to ensure that Willow won’t go back to her witchy ways. Dawn is upset that they have to get rid of so many things Buffy but says that they have to protect Willow from temptation. She spots Spike’s lighter and remembers their night of passion (see “Smashed,” at your own risk). At Nerd Headquarters, the Trio completes their plan by placing the stole diamond (again, see “Smashed”) in a gun. Warren fires the gun at a chair, which disappears. He shoots it again and the chair becomes visible again. Warren announces that, with their new invisibility ray, they’re now “unstoppable.”

Dawn acts like a brat to both Buffy and Willow, who understands why she’s being given the cold shoulder but doesn’t understand why Buffy is. Buffy says that Dawn blames her for not noticing that Willow needed help. Spike arrives, looking for his lighter, and tries to get friendly with Buffy. He plays with her hair, complimenting it, and she smacks him with a spatula. Xander walks in and tells Spike to give up on Buffy because she’s too good for him. As Xander and Dawn are leaving, a social worker named Ms. Kroger arrives for an appointment that Buffy thought was scheduled for another day. She tries to convince Ms. Kroger that Spike isn’t her boyfriend, that Willow isn’t her girlfriend, and that the herbs in the living room are magical, not illegal. Ms. Kroger tells Buffy that she will probably be placed on probation and that she may have to give up guardianship of Dawn.

Spike, who can’t seem to take a hint, finds his lighter (in Buffy’s pocket) and finally leaves, calling Buffy Goldilocks. Upstairs, she grabs a pair of scissors and starts cutting off her hair. She heads to a hairdresser to have it evened off and styled. Out on the street, the nerds are in their Nerdmobile, about to make themselves invisible and head into a spa. They spot Buffy leaving the hairdresser’s and panic. They start fighting over the invisibility ray, each thinking he should be made invisible so that Buffy won’t see him, and it accidentally fires. The ray hits a tree, traffic cones, a dumpster, a fire hydrant and, of course, Buffy. “Oopsie,” says Andrew. Oopsie, indeed.

At the magic shop, Xander and Anya are worrying over seating arrangements for their wedding when Buffy enters. She explains that she somehow became invisible after leaving the hairdresser’s; Anya is more interested in hearing about Buffy’s new haircut than about the cause of her invisibility. Buffy realizes that she might be able to use her condition to her advantage and heads out, leaving Xander and Anya to find out what happened. They decide that she couldn’t have been made invisible by an enemy because he would know she would have an advantage. They wonder if this was a mistake, and Xander’s mind automatically goes to Willow.

At the Summers’ house, Willow is doing schoolwork and almost slips back into her magical ways. Xander arrives and asks if she has something she wants to tell him. She tries to dance around her near slip and he thinks that she is to blame for Buffy’s invisibility. Once it becomes clear that she wasn’t involved, she grows angry with Xander for jumping to conclusions. At the Trio’s Headquarters, Warren tries to fix the busted ray while they all worry about what Buffy could do with her new advantage. Meanwhile, Buffy uses her powers for good, helping out fashion victims and stealing a parking ticket-writing cop’s ride. She heads to the Department of Social Services and wreaks havoc by trying to convince Ms. Kroger that she’s losing her mind. Ms. Kroger’s boss spots “all work and no play make Doris a dull girl” written over and over in Dawn’s file and decides to put someone else on Dawn’s case. Buffy happily leaves, whistling “Going Through the Motions” (see “Once More, With Feeling”).

Xander tracks Willow down to the street where Buffy was made invisible. She uses spray paint to locate the invisible dumpster and spots tire tracks made by the Trio’s van. She finds black paint on the invisible fire hydrant and they realize that it belongs to the van Buffy spotted in “Life Serial.” She paints one of the invisible traffic cones and tells him to take it to the magic shop so he and Anya can figure out what happened while she tracks down the van. They’ve lost track of Buffy, who winds up at Spike’s crypt for playtime. At the magic shop, the traffic cone is starting to turn into “pudding,” making Anya and Xander worry that Buffy is next. At Nerd Headquarters, the Trio has realized the same thing and Jonathan announces that he doesn’t want to kill Buffy. Warren finally relents to finding Buffy and making her visible again.

Xander goes to Spike’s crypt in search of Buffy and finds Spike…well…imagine Spike having sex with someone, and then imagine that the someone is invisible, and you’re seeing what Xander is seeing. Spike lies that he’s doing push-ups and Xander informs him that Buffy is invisible. Xander is either the master of denial or the master of stupidity because he leaves without catching on. Spike tells Buffy that she’s only there because the invisibility gives her freedom. She agrees, but he reminds her that the invisibility will have to end at some point and kicks her out. At a coffee shop, Willow searches the DMV’s website, again abstaining from magical help. Buffy returns home and frightens Dawn with her invisibility. She gets a message from Xander and Anya warning her that if they can’t make her visible again, she might dissolve.

Willow tracks down the Nerdmobile, sneaks into Nerd Headquarters, and catches a glimpse of the invisibility ray schematics before being taken hostage by the now invisible nerds. Jonathan calls Buffy (who says that his voice sounds familiar) and uses Willow to lure her to the video arcade. She arrives to find Warren acting villainous and Jonathan and Andrew playing video games. (Note: for the majority of this scene, Willow is the only visible person.) Warren tells Buffy that he’ll make her visible again but Willow notices that the ray is on the wrong setting and will instead speed up her dissolution. Everyone invisible starts fighting and Willow finally gets her hands on the ray, making everyone visible again. Buffy finally sees the Trio face-to-face for the first time. The nerds try to run off but find the door locked; Buffy is not too impressed with her new “arch-nemesises…es.” Willow tells Buffy that she saved her the hard way, without magic. Buffy admits that she was scared when she heard that she might dissolve, and both of them agree that they’re making progress in their lives.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Buffy’s haircuts are deserving of newsflashes.

GRADE: B Clever, for the most part, but they could have done so much more.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Anya: “Table four. I put her with your family.”
Xander: “Great. Except, we don't hate Buffy.”

“Yeah, I'm less with the why and more with the how. We get the how, then we got how to make her unseen sight seen again, right?” - Xander

Xander: “Rhymes with...blinvisible?”
Willow: “What?”
Xander: “Buffy was in town, leaving the haircutting place, when she suddenly just--.”
Willow: “Buffy got her hair cut?”
Xander: “Yeah! Adorable, apparently. I personally couldn't tell, since she's all blinvisible.”

Jonathan: “Hey, we got a lot bigger problems here, bonehead. The Slayer's invisible now?”
Andrew: “He's right. She could be anywhere. Even here, right now. Watching. Listening to every word we say. For all we know, she could be one of us. Oh, wait, no, guys, that isn't true.”

“I am the ghost of fashion victims past.” - Blinvisible Buffy

Jonathan: “We're not killers, we're crime lords!”
Andrew: “Yeah! Like, like Lex Luthor. He's always trying to take over Metropolis, but he doesn't kill Superman!”
Warren: “Because it's Superman's book, you moron!”

Blinvisible Warren: “Hey! Slayer's here.”
Blinvisible Andrew: “Sorry, didn't see her.”

Buffy: “So you three have, what, banded together to be pains in my a&%?”
Warren: “We're your arch-nemesises...ses. You may have beaten us this time, Slayer, but next time...um...uh, next time....”
Jonathan: “Maybe not!”
(The Trio tries to escape, but the door is locked)
Warren: “What do you mean, it's locked? You were supposed to check it!”
Andrew: “I forgot!”
Buffy: “I give you my arch nemesises...es.”


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