"Help"
Written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner; directed by Rick Rosenthal

Buffy, Xander, and Dawn spend half an hour waiting inside caskets in order to stake a vampire. While they wait they discuss Buffy’s impending first day of being a counselor. The next day at school, Buffy meets with a number of students, including Amanda (Sarah Hagan), who is being bullied, and Peter, who just wanted to get out of class. Amanda, however, has already solved her problems by beating up the guy who was harassing her. Willow and Xander take a walk in the park, discussing “from beneath you, it devours” and her fear that when the big bad comes, she won’t be able to help. Xander compares her control of magic to hammering a nail. They arrive at a cemetery, where Willow visits Tara’s grave.

One of Buffy’s students claims that he thinks he’s gay and suggests that Buffy go on a date with him so that he can find out for sure. She also “counsels” Dawn, who complains about her controlling older sister. Later, Buffy meets with Cassie (Azura Skye), a girl who has stopped doing her homework. She tells Buffy that she’s not going to graduate from high school because she’s going to die next Friday. Buffy fears that she will kills herself but Cassie assures her she won’t, though she doesn’t know for sure how she’ll die. Coins will be involved, and later Buffy will go somewhere underground. Before she leaves, Cassie tells Buffy that she likes her shirt and warns her to put on a sweater so it won’t get stained. Buffy tells Wood that she’s worried about Cassie, but he believes she’s overreacting. Buffy spills coffee on her shirt and remembers what Cassie said to her earlier. She finds Dawn and enlists her.

Dawn eavesdrops on Cassie and her friend Mike, who wants to go with her to an upcoming dance. Dawn begins a conversation with Cassie and mentions Buffy. Dawn asks why Cassie doesn’t want to go to the dance with Mike and Cassie replies that she won’t be around for it. At the Summers’ house, Buffy, Xander, and Willow investigate Cassie, though Xander and Willow suspect that there is nothing supernatural happening. Willow finds out that Cassie has a website that contains some of her poetry, which is about death. Dawn suspects that Mike is upset about being rejected and will kill Cassie, but the Scoobies don’t listen to her. They find information on Cassie’s father, who is an alcoholic and has been arrested a few times. Buffy and Xander go to his house and tell him they’re worried he’ll hurt Cassie. Mr. Newton assures them that he doesn’t hit his daughter and reveals that he only spends one weekend a month with her. They realize that she won’t be with him the weekend she’s supposed to die and decide that Mr. Newton is not involved. As Buffy and Xander leave, Cassie comes home and tells them that she doesn’t want to die, but that she doesn’t have a choice. In the school library, a group of people in robes chant in a circle around coins and a picture of Cassie.

On Friday, the day Cassie is supposed to die, Buffy heads back to the basement and asks Spike about Cassie. He can’t tell her anything, and she worries that his behavior is worse when she’s around. Wood and a security guard search through students’ lockers as Buffy stops Mike in the hallway. She tries to determine whether he’s angry enough at Cassie to kill her, but he is very casual about her rejecting him, mentioning that he might ask Dawn to the dance instead. Coins fall out of one of the lockers Wood opens and Buffy tracks down the boy who uses the locker. He tells her that some other guys have a plan that has to do with Cassie. After school Dawn tries to keep an eye on Cassie but is distracted by Peter. Back in the library the robed boys - one of whom is Peter - meet again, excited about becoming rich. Peter pulls a gagged Cassie into the circle, announcing that they chose her as their sacrifice because no one will miss her. In exchange for her death, the demon Avilas will give them riches.

Before the ritual can begin, one of participants takes off her robe - it’s Buffy. She fights Peter, then sees that the demon has already been raised. Spike arrives and fights Peter, ignoring the pain in his head, while Buffy fights the demon. Spike knocks Peter out and Buffy torches the demon. Cassie tells Spike, “She’ll tell you. Someday she’ll tell you.” Outside the library Cassie tells Buffy that she’ll make a difference, then collapses, dead. Back at the Summers’ house, Buffy reveals that Cassie’s mother never told her she had a family history of heart irregularities. She feels that she’s failed Cassie, even though she was going to die despite Buffy’s attempts to help her. Buffy is disheartened to realize that she can’t always help people, but she still returns to school to try.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Coins are bad omens.

R.I.P.: Cassie, but this isn’t the last we see of her

GRADE: B- One hour isn't long enough for us to care about Cassie.

WELCOME TO THE HELLMOUTH: Amanda, Cassie

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Xander: “Figuring out how to control your magic seems a lot like hammering a nail. Well, uh, hear me out. So you're hammering, right? OK, well at the end of the hammer, you have the power, but no control. It takes, like, two strokes to hit the nail in, or you could hit your thumb.”
Willow: “Ouch.”
Xander: “So you choke up. Control, but no power. It could take like ten strokes to knock the nail in. Power, control. It's a tradeoff.”
Willow: “That’s actually not a bad analogy.”
Xander: “Thanks.”
Willow: “Except...I'm less worried about hitting my thumb, and more worried about going all black-eyed baddy and bewitching that hammer into cracking my friends' skulls open like coconuts.”
Xander: “Right. Ouch.”

Wood: “Talk like that is taken pretty seriously where I come from.”
Buffy: “The hood?”
Wood: “Beverly Hills. Which is a hood.”

Willow: “I mean, a lot of teens post some pretty angsty poetry on the web. I mean, I even posted a melodramatic love poem or two back in the day.”
Xander: “Love poems?”
Willow: “I’m over you now, sweetie.”

Peter: “Help me, please! I'm bleeding.”
Buffy: “Sorry. My office hours are 10 to 4.”


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