Written by Joss Whedon; directed by Joss Whedon and David Solomon

Somewhere in Istanbul, a girl runs through the streets, chased by figures in robes. She is pushed from a building and stabbed. In Sunnydale, a vampire emerges from his grave. Buffy tosses Dawn a stake and speaks to her of power - the vampire has it, but Dawn must learn to kill him anyway. Buffy sends the vampire after Dawn, who starts out strong but fails to stake him in the heart. Buffy saves her by beheading the vampire and admits that she, too, missed the heart when she first started slaying. The two agree that the events of the evening are nothing compared to what they’ll have to face the next day. Sunnydale High School has been rebuilt and is being dedicated by the new principal, Robin Wood (DB Woodside), aka Principal McHottie.

In England, Giles rides a horse while Willow brings a flower up through the ground. He lectures her on removing it from its home and tells her that she’s “connected to a great power.” She feels that she should be punished for her actions. He tells her that “in the end, we all are who we are, no matter how much we may appear to have changed.” Back in Sunnydale Xander arrives at the Summers’ house to take Dawn to school. He shows Buffy the blueprints of the school, revealing that the Hellmouth, which used to be under the library, is now under the principal’s office. Before they leave, Buffy gives Dawn a special weapon.

A nervous Buffy warns Dawn to be careful. Buffy meets Wood, who at first mistakes her for Dawn’s mother. Instead of leaving after Dawn heads to class, Buffy decides to hang around and make sure everything is safe. In the bathroom she spots dead people in the mirror, then bursts into Dawn’s class, embarrassing her. Elsewhere, Anya and Halfrek spend time at a coffee shop, where Halfrek tells Anya that her vengeance could be slightly more vengeful.

Buffy tells Xander about the dead people and believes that there is something important about the school being rebuilt in the same location. In class, Dawn panics when she sees a dead person. Wood grows suspicious when he sees that Buffy is still hanging around the school. Dawn meets Kit, who has also seen dead people, and they fall through the floor when it begins cracking. In England, Giles helps Willow, who says that she saw the earth’s teeth. She tells him, “It's gonna open. It's gonna swallow us all.” Back in Sunnydale, Wood tells Buffy that he’s checked out her records while Dawn and Kit find themselves in the basement.

The girls run into Carlos, who went to the basement to smoke and also saw the dead people. Dawn remembers that she has a weapon with her - a cell phone. She calls Buffy, who tells Wood that she has to run off to take care of a dog tragedy. She finds the hole in the bathroom floor and jumps through. The dead people try to stop her and she realizes that they’re blocking a door. She gets through and comes face to face with Spike. While she fights a dead person, Spike talks crazy, saying that he “tried to cut it out.” He tells her that a talisman is controlling the dead people. She calls Xander as Dawn, Kit, and Carlos fend the dead people off with bricks.

Xander finds the talisman in the bathroom but is attacked by a dead person. He finally breaks the talisman and the dead people disappear. Dawn, Kit, and Carlos head off to class, having bonded, and Wood is impressed by Buffy’s affect on them. He offers her a job counseling students and she accepts, happy to be able to keep an eye on the school. Back in the basement, Spike does more crazy talking, this time with some familiar dead people. Warren (the season 6 baddie, last seen in "Villains") tells him that he’s more than Buffy can understand. He morphs into Glory (the season 5 baddie, last seen in "The Gift"), who tells Spike that everyone will talk about her. She morphs into Adam (the season 4 baddie, last seen in "Restless"), who says that everything is falling into place. He turns into the Mayor (the season 3 baddie, last seen in "Graduation Day, Part 2"), who tells Spike that just because he has a soul doesn’t mean everything is perfect. He morphs into Drusilla (Spike's season 2 co-baddie, last seen in "Crush"), who says that he will always belong to her. She turns into the Master (the season 1 baddie, last seen in "The Wish"), who says that they’re going “back to the beginning.” Finally, he turns into Buffy, who repeats that it’s “about the power.”

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Sometimes principals are hot.

GRADE: B More confusing than anything, but nicely sets up the rest of the season.

WELCOME TO THE HELLMOUTH: Robin Wood, aka Principal McHottie

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Dawn: “Plus, I had a plan the whole time.”
Buffy: “Really?”
Dawn: “Yeah, I planned to get killed, come back as a vampire, and bite you.”

Xander: “How exactly do you make cereal?”
Buffy: “Ah, you put the box near the milk. I saw it on the food channel.”

“I know! You never know what’s coming. The stake is not the power. To Serve Man is a cookbook. I love you. Go away.” - Dawn to Buffy

Dead guy: “I think I’d like Dawn to be my girlfriend.”
Buffy: “Again, wrong sister. I’m the one that dates dead guys. And, no offense, but they were hotties.”

Spike: “Buffy, duck.”
Buffy: “What? Duck? There’s a duck?”

First Evil as Drusilla: “And that’s where we’re going…”
First Evil as the Master: “…right back to the beginning. Not the bang…not the Word…the true beginning. The next few months are going to be quite a ride. And I think we’re all going to learn something about ourselves in the process. You’ll learn you’re a pathetic schmuck, if it hasn’t sunk in already. Look at you. Trying to do what’s right, just like her. You still don’t get it. It’s not about right, not about wrong…”
First Evil as Buffy: “…it’s about power.”

“…And my sister is a vampire Slayer, her best friend is a witch who went bonkers and tried to destroy the world, um, I actually used to be a little ball of energy until about two years ago when some monks changed the past and make me Buffy’s sister and, for some reason, a big klepto. My best friends are Leticia Jones, who moved to San Diego because this town is evil, and a floppy-eared demon named Clem.” - Dawn’s fantasy introduction to her class (from the original script)

Back to Buffy episode guides

Back to Fun and Games