"Into the Woods"
Written and directed by Marti Noxon

The Scoobies anxiously wait in a hospital hallway for Joyce to get out of surgery (see “Listening to Fear”). Dr. Kriegel tells them that the surgery went well and that Joyce should be fine. Xander and Anya take Dawn to Xander’s apartment for the night and discuss what they want to do. (These leads to the popular line, “Go monkey. Choose monkey.”) Dawn recognizes that she has only been kicked out of her house for the night so that Riley and Buffy can have sex. In fact, the two are dancing in the Summers’ house. Later, they have sex while Spike stands outside the house, smoking. In the middle of the night, Riley sneaks out to the warehouse (again, see “Listening to Fear”) and Spike follows him.

At the hospital the next day, Joyce tells Buffy that she should stop skipping her classes and spend more time with Riley and her friends. Elsewhere, Graham and Major Ellis discuss demons in a village in Belize and Graham suggests rerecruiting Riley to help them. That night, Spike shows up in Buffy’s room and tells her he wants to show her something. He takes her to the warehouse, where she sees a number of people letting vampires feed off of them. Upstairs, she finds Riley engaging in his own suck-fest. Buffy runs out, not very grateful to Spike for “helping” her. Riley goes home to find Graham, Ellis, and another commando there. They tell him that they want him to go to Belize with them, and that they’re leaving the next night.

Giles and the Scoobies prepare for the holiday season at the Magic Box. Anya feels that Willow is making fun of her and they quarrel briefly. Buffy arrives, wanting information on the vampire nest in the warehouse. Giles encourages her to focus on Glory rather than worrying about the nest, but she convinces him, Xander, and Willow to go to the warehouse with her. Angry that no one is there now, Buffy sets the place on fire. Riley goes to Spike’s crypt and shoves a stake in his chest. Spike is surprised to learn that the stake is made of plastic wood-grain, which explains why it didn’t kill him. Spike tells Riley that he won’t be able to hold on to Buffy and that he’s not the sort of person who would be able to maintain a long-term relationship. He taunts again that Riley isn’t dark enough for Buffy. Riley asks if Spike really thinks he has a chance with Buffy and Spike admits that he doesn’t, but that he has to try. He tells Riley that he has the better deal, since Spike can never actually attain his goal. Riley doesn’t seem so sure.

At the Magic Box, Buffy works out while Xander and Anya wonder what’s going on with her. Riley arrives and Anya suspects that he’s there for some friendliness. He tries to talk to Buffy, who doesn’t want to talk to him, and explains that he went to the nest because he wanted to understand her. They begin to argue and Riley mentions that she pushed him away when Joyce was sick. He tells her that the military wants him to go to Belize with them and says he might go. He encourages Buffy to hit him and get her feelings out. He lets her know that, unless she gives him a reason to stay, he’s going to Belize. Buffy leaves and is surrounded by vampires who are upset that she torched their nest. She kills all of them except one - the one she caught Riley with. She lets the vamp go, then throws the stake at her, killing her.

Xander catches up with Buffy and notes her strange behavior. He says that she should have seen things coming and she tells him what Riley did. He asks if she’s really going to let Riley go and she replies that it’s not her decision to make. He tells her that Riley will disappear from her life if she doesn’t stop him and wonders why she wouldn’t want him to stay. Xander says that Riley was convenient for her and that she knew he would always show up when she wanted him to. Buffy responds that Anya is a convenience for Xander. He tells her that she’s been treating Riley like a fling when he’s really someone that she should be making a commitment to. He says that if she doesn’t think Riley is “the one,” she should let him go, but if she thinks they can have something serious, she has to realize what she’ll be losing. She suddenly understands and he tells her to run.

Buffy races through Sunnydale as Riley prepares to get in a helicopter and leave Sunnydale. She arrives just as the helicopter takes off with Riley inside. She yells his name but he doesn’t hear her. Xander goes to Anya’s apartment, where he finally spills his feelings for her - he’s in love with her. She is pleased to hear how he feels.


GRADE: B- Only redeemed because it marked the end of the military stuff.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Willow: “What time is it?”
Xander: “There's a clock behind you, Will.”
Willow: “I know, but there's a watch right above your hand.” (he shows her his watch and she frowns)
Willow: “That can't be right.” (turns to look at the clock) “Oh.”

Xander: “Okay, how's about a movie? They're showing them in theaters now. I hear it's like watching a video with a bunch of strangers and a sticky floor.”
Dawn: “That one looks sad.”
Xander: “The chimp playing hockey? Is that based on the Chekhov?”
Anya: “There's a chimp playing hockey?”
Dawn: “Um, no, the other one. I don't wanna see a sad movie.”
Anya: “We have to see the chimp playing hockey! That's hilarious! The ice is so slippery, and, and monkeys are all irrational. We have to see this.”
Xander: “You pick, Dawn. This is your night. We are celebrating your mom's good news.”
Anya: “Go monkey. Choose monkey.”

Buffy: (re: Riley) “And I'm sure he'll come over later looking for a little…Bible study.”
Joyce: “Well, good. I mean, just as long as the two of you are spending some quality time with…the Lord.”

Anya: “Who ordered more chickens' feet? The ones we have aren't moving at all.”
Xander: “That's generally what happens when you cut them off the chicken.”
Anya: “I'm serious. Maybe we could do a…holiday promotion. One free with every purchase!”
Giles: “Oh, yeah. Dear holiday memories. Merry tykes by the fire, enjoying their new Christmas…chicken feet.”
Willow: “Aw, holding them tight as they fall asleep. Painting their little toenails.”

Buffy: “There were people there. It, um, it looked like they were paying vampires to bite them.”
Xander:Now I know what to get for the person who has everything!”

“Have a nice day! Don’t get killed.” - Anya

“Well, I guess everybody jumped ship once the word got out that the Slayer found their crib. (pause) I just want to apologize for the use of the word ‘crib.’” - Xander

“I've gotta say something. 'Cause…I don't think I've made it clear. I’m in love with you. Powerfully, painfully in love. The things you do…the way you think…the way you move…I get excited every time I'm about to see you. You make me feel like I've never felt before in my life. Like a man. I just thought you might wanna know.” - Xander to Anya

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