Written by David Fury; directed by James A. Contner

Buffy looks up to see Giles in the doorway of the magic shop. Anya regains consciousness and notices him, too. “Daddy’s home,” Willow says sarcastically. “I’m in wicked trouble now.” Giles tells her that she has to stop and as she tries to get up, he puts her back down. She says that his power is borrowed and that it won’t match hers for long. The next time he tries to keep her on the floor, she is able to resist his power. She reminds him that he called her a “rank, arrogant amateur” (see “Flooded”) and tells him that she’s “turned pro.” He stops her in the middle of a spell, binding her magically so that she can’t move. Giles notices Buffy’s haircut and hugs her; Anya wants a piece of the Giles love, too. Giles tells Willow that he’s sorry about Tara; she replies that the binding won’t hold her forever.

In the training room, Giles tells Buffy that he heard about Willow from a coven in Devon, who gave him the borrowed magic. Buffy blames herself for Willow’s magic addiction, telling him that she didn’t pay enough attention. She goes through a list of everything that’s happened since he went back to England - Xander and Anya’s failed wedding (see “Hell’s Bells”), Dawn stealing (“Older and Far Away”), her job at the Doublemeat Palace (see…well, “Doublemeat Palace”), and her relationship with Spike. Giles’ reaction is to have a good, long laugh. Buffy realizes that he has the right idea and joins him. Back in the store, Willow telepathically tells Anya that she needs her to do something. Anya attempts to resist but Willow convinces her to remove the binding spell.

Buffy and Giles continue laughing as she tells him about the events of “Normal Again.” He asks her to forgive him for going back to England but she tells him that he made the right decision. She wonders why she was brought back from Heaven (see “Bargaining, Part 2”) and he tells her that she has a calling. He says that the coven is working on a way to take away Willow’s power, but confesses that the procedure may be deadly and that, if she does live, she might not be the same as she was before. Willow appears, holding onto an unconscious Anya, and says, “Willow doesn’t live here anymore.”

Willow stops Buffy from attacking her, then stops Giles from performing another binding spell. She magically sends knives flying at him but he moves a dummy in front of himself, then sends Willow through a wall. Somewhere else in Sunnydale, Xander, Dawn, Jonathan, and Andrew are still running. Xander tells Dawn that he’s been horrible throughout the situation and she tells him that feeling sorry for himself isn’t helping. She says that, if Spike were there, he would fight Willow; Xander mentions that Spike tried to rape Buffy. She replies that she doesn’t believe him and he says, “The only useful thing Spike ever did was finally leave town.” Speaking of Spike, he’s still enduring trials in Africa. He has just killed a demon and now has black bugs crawling all over him.

Willow, still in one piece, taunts a weakening Giles and tells him that nothing can hurt her. Buffy saves Giles from a collapsing balcony and Willow says that she’s becoming “pesky” by always rescuing people. Willow picks up a ball of flame, tells Buffy she can kill the nerds with it unless someone saves them, and throws it into the sky. Giles tells Buffy to go and she takes off. Willow calls Giles a hypocrite for using magic, then sends him on a fun trip to the ceiling and back down. She says that he was jealous of her because she always had more power. He temporarily stops her and says that she might not be as strong as she thinks she is. She decides that she needs another boost and drains energy out of him. The magic causes her to become dizzy, but she says that no one has ever had as much power as she now has. She’s connected to everything and can feel everyone’s emotions. She decides that these emotions are too much for everyone to handle and that she has to end everyone’s pain. Giles protests weakly as she disappears.

Xander, Dawn, Jonathan, and Andrew try unsuccessfully to break into a crypt. Dawn spots the fireball heading for them as Buffy runs towards the cemetery. The fireball hits the ground and everyone flies through the air. Xander is knocked out and Dawn and Buffy fall through a huge hole, almost getting hit by the nerds’ swords. The nerds themselves decide that enough is enough and take off for Mexico. At the Magic Box, Anya finally comes out of the training room and apologizes to Giles for freeing Willow. He tells her that he can see where Willow is. She tells him to rest and he replies that he’s dying. “She’s going to finish it,” he says. “The world.”

Down in the hole, Buffy yells for Xander but gets no response. She begins to try to stack coffins so that they can climb out, and Dawn suggests finding one of the tunnels Spike uses to get to his crypt. She confronts Buffy about not telling her about the attempted rape and says that Buffy can’t protect her from everything. Xander calls down to them and tells them that Jonathan and Andrew split. He heads off to look for a rope to get them out as Anya teleports into the hole. She tells Buffy and Dawn that Willow is going to destroy the world and is headed for a Satanic temple on a bluff. However, the temple doesn’t exist. Yet. Willow is just now bringing it out of the earth. Anya informs Buffy that, according to Giles, no supernatural or magical force can stop Willow. She tells them that she doesn’t think Giles is going to live much longer and disappears.

Buffy decides that, even if it’s futile, she must at least try to stop Willow. Willow begins to speak to Buffy telepathically, telling her that she always thinks she’s saving the world, but Willow is actually the one who can save it. Killing everyone is “the only way to stop the pain.” She knows that Buffy will fight to the end, so she should die fighting. “It was me that took you out of the Earth,” Willow says. “Well, now…the Earth wants you back.” Out of the walls of the hole come monsters, which Buffy tries to fight off with a sword. She realizes that she can’t kill all of them and asks Dawn to help. She hands her sister a sword and the two begin to fight together. The ground under Willow’s temple shakes and the quakes can be felt in the hole and in the magic shop. Anya begs Giles not to die and thanks him for coming to help, even though he actually made things worse. Xander finds Willow at the temple and she blasts him with magic. “It’s not over,” Giles tells Anya at the magic shop.

Buffy sees that Dawn is struggling with the monster she’s fighting, but is amazed to see Dawn take care of it herself. “You think I never watched you?” Dawn asks. Willow continues to do her mojo at the temple and tells Xander that he can’t stop her. He tells her that he wouldn’t be anywhere else - she’s his best friend, and he wants to be with her when the world ends. She mockingly asks if he’s going to stop her by telling her he loves her. She grows frustrated when he calls her Willow and he tells her that he does love her. She cuts him magically, but he continues to tell her that he loves her. She tries to blast him but finds that she can’t. He continues to say that he loves her and she starts to cry. She hits him and he lets her, then holds her when she falls to her knees and sobs. Her head turns back to red.

The monsters in the hole disappear and sunlight streams in. Giles suddenly sits up, stronger. He tells Anya that Willow has been stopped and is still alive. The magic that she took from him was pure, while the magic that she was using was dark; the pure magic found her humanity and gave Xander the chance to stop her. Anya seems pleased and proud that Xander was the one who saved them. Dawn assures Buffy that the world wasn’t destroyed and Buffy begins to cry. Dawn mistakes her tears for disappointment that she’s still alive, but Buffy tells her she’s happy. She says that Dawn will be powerful and that, instead of protecting her from the world, she should be showing her the world. Over Sarah McLachlan’s “The Prayer of St. Francis,” Buffy and Dawn climb out of the hole, Xander continues to hold Willow at the bluff, and Giles and Anya head out of the magic shop. Jonathan and Andrew hitch a ride out of town and Buffy and Dawn take in the world.

In Africa, Lurky tells Spike that he has completed all of his trials. Spike confirms that Lurky will give him what he wants “so Buffy can get what she deserves.” “Very well,” Lurky agrees. “We will return…your soul.”

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: It’s possible to save the world with a yellow crayon.

GRADE: B Go, Giles! You make it worth it. And kudos to Xander for saving the world without violence.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - “Man, they've really tightened security up here lately. One too many squatters from the Hellmouth.” - Xander

Giles: “I can see….”
Anya: “Oh. It's a…miracle.”

“Holy frijole!” - Anya

“You're not the only one with powers, you know. You may be a hopped-up über-witch, but…this carpenter can dry-wall you into the next century.” - Xander to Willow

Xander: “I know you're in pain. I can't imagine the pain you're in. And I know you're about to do something apocalyptically evil and stupid, and hey. I still want to hang. You're Willow.”
Willow: “Don't call me that.”
Xander: “First day of kindergarten. You cried because you broke the yellow crayon, and you were too afraid to tell anyone. You've come pretty far, ending the world, not a terrific notion. But the thing is? Yeah. I love you. I loved crayon-breaky Willow and I love...scary veiny Willow. So if I'm going out, it's here. If you wanna kill the world? Well, then start with me. I've earned that.”
Willow: “You think I won't?”
Xander: “It doesn't matter. I'll still love you.”
Willow: “Shut up.”
(She cuts him magically)
Xander: “I love you.”
(She cuts him again)
Xander: “I…love y--.”
Willow: “Shut up!”
(She tries to blast him but can’t)
Xander: “I love you, Willow.”
Willow: “Stop!”
(Again, she can’t blast him. She starts to cry)
Xander: “I love you.”
Willow: “Stop.”
(She starts to cry and hit him. She falls to her knees and he holds her as she sobs)
Xander: “I love you.”
(Her hair goes back to red)

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant
That I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive
And it's in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it's in dying that we are born
To eternal life.
Amen.” - Sarah McLachlan’s “The Prayer of St. Francis”

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