"No Place Like Home"
Written by Doug Petrie; directed by David Solomon

In a monastery in the Czech Republic, two monks run down a corridor and barricade themselves behind wooden doors. One of them says that “it” is going to kill them; the other says that they must protect the Key. (Get used to hearing that.) They encounter a senior monk and the three begin chanting as something or someone bangs on the wooden doors. Light flashes from the center of their circle, everything goes dark, and the doors shatter. Two months later, Buffy fights a vampire near a factory. She is approached by a night watchman, who thinks she’s looking for a rave. He stops her before she leaves and hands her a glowing orb, thinking it’s hers.

The next morning, Buffy prepares breakfast for Joyce, though Dawn takes credit for the effort. Buffy grows jealous of Joyce’s treatment of Dawn, then takes Dawn and heads off for “Giles’ big day.” It’s the opening day of the magic shop (the Magic Box), and Giles has dressed as a wizard for the occasion. She stares at him wordlessly until he gets the hint and takes off his hat. The store has been open for a few hours, but no customers have arrived yet. Willow and Riley arrive, disappointed that Giles has ditched the wizard costume, and Buffy presents the orb from the factory. Dawn spills that Buffy doesn’t want Riley patrolling yet. Willow tells Buffy to go easy on Dawn - she has empathy for the “big spaz.” Buffy complains that Dawn gets all the attention because she’s younger while Buffy has to be an adult.

Buffy and Dawn return home to find Joyce in the middle of another headache. Buffy heads to the hospital to fill Joyce’s prescription; while there, she runs into Ben (see “Out of My Mind”). She spots the watchman from the factory, who is now talking nonsense and being admitted to the psychiatric ward. Buffy recognizes him and tells Ben that when she saw him, he was perfectly normal. The watchman tells her, “They come through the family” and she wonders if he isn’t making sense. Back at the factory, one of the Czech monks studies a map of Sunnydale. Something bangs on a steel door and he worriedly says, “The Beast!” The door and wall are destroyed and Glory (Clare Kramer), a seemingly normal woman, enters, telling the monk that she’s been looking for him.

Giles finally gets some customers but some of his merchandise is criticized by Anya. Buffy arrives and tells Giles that she thinks her mother’s illness is supernatural. She tells the Scoobies that the watchman who gave her the orb is now crazy; Giles, Willow, and Anya wisely take a step back from it, though Buffy assures them it won’t hurt them. She thinks that the watchman has received some sort of insight and knows that something is hurting Joyce to get to Buffy. Back at the factory, Glory has beaten and tied up the monk and is now boring him with a monologue about how much she hates the world. She tells him that all she wants is the Key and demands that he tell her where it is. He begs her to kill him, then refuses to tell her where the Key is. Nearby, a security guard, also tied up, is pleading for his life. Growing agitated, Glory puts her hands to the guard’s head and does her soon-to-be famous brain suck.

The Magic Box is now teeming with customers, and the Scoobies are helping Giles keep things going. Xander tries to help Anya with her communication skills. Anya tells Buffy about a trance that could help her see if a spell was used on Joyce. Giles warns her that she might not be ready for that kind of skill, but Buffy is determined to figure out what’s happening to her mother. She enlists Riley to help her with the spell, though his role isn’t very intricate. He catches on that she wants to make him feel useful and assures her that he’s all right. He leaves, and just as Buffy is about to begin the spell, Dawn interrupts. Buffy shoos her away and gets down to the spell. In the trance, she doesn’t see anything strange around Joyce, but she notices that a photo of herself, Joyce, and Dawn flickers back and forth between the three of them and only Joyce and Buffy. She heads up to Dawn’s room, which flickers back and forth from a bedroom to a storage room. Dawn asks her what she’s doing and Buffy replies, “You’re not my sister.”

Buffy grabs her not-sister and tells her to stay away from Joyce. Giles calls and tells Buffy that the orb is a Dagon sphere, a device used to “ward off ancient primordial evil.” It was “created to repel That Which Cannot Be Named.” Buffy decides to go back to the factory to see if whoever left the orb is there. Giles asks if Buffy did the trance. She sense that Dawn is behind her and lies that the trance didn’t work. Buffy tells Dawn that she’s going out and Dawn replies, “Do you really think I care you’re the Slayer?” On her way out, Buffy runs into Spike, who is lurking around in the yard. He tries to convince her that he’s only passing by on his way to another place, but as she leaves, she notices a number of cigarette butts around his lurking spot. Buffy arrives at the factory and begins looking around. Joyce returns home and asks Dawn where Buffy is. Dawn replies that Joyce doesn’t have to worry about her, then offers her tea. Buffy finds the monk and tells him that she got his Dagon sphere. Glory tries to sneak up behind her but Buffy sense her and grabs her. Glory backhands her, sending her flying across the room.

The Magic Box closes for the night and the Scoobies are too tired to move, except for Anya. Giles offers her a job and she happily accepts. Back at the factory, Glory continues to easily beat Buffy, then grows upset when Buffy gets off a few punches. Buffy grabs the monk and jumps through a window with him. Glory starts to follow but is hindered when one of her shoes breaks. Outside, the monk tells Buffy that she has to protect the Key or “many more die.” He explains that “the Key is energy. It’s a portal. It opens a door.” She thinks he’s talking about the Dagon sphere, but he continues that the Key used to be formless and was protected by the monks. Glory found them, and they gave the Key human form and sent it to Buffy. She realizes that he’s talking about Dawn. The monk explains that everyone’s memories of Dawn are manufactured. He says that the Key is now truly human and helpless. She also doesn’t know that she’s the Key. The monk dies and Buffy returns home, where she apologizes to Dawn. Dawn asks what’s wrong with Joyce and Buffy admits that she doesn’t know.


GRADE: B- Another episode that just sets up the rest of the season.


MEMORABLE QUOTES - Buffy: “Did you ever have any names for me?”
Joyce: “No...I think you were always just Buffy.”
Dawn: “I got some names for ya.”

Dawn: “This place is so...wow. I mean, check out all the magic junk.”
Giles: “Our new slogan.”

Giles: (re: the orb) “It appears to be paranormal in origin.”
Willow: “How can you tell?”
Giles: “Well, it’s so shiny.”

Ben: “You know, not to be rampantly sexist in the workplace, but you've got some serious muscles for a girl.”
Buffy: “I…um….”
Ben: “Radioactive spider bite.”
Buffy: “How’d you guess?”

Anya: “I've never had to afford things before and it's making me bitter.”
Giles: “The change is palpable.”

Giles: “Xander! There's too many of them...people! And they all seem to want things.”
Xander: “I hear ya. Stay British.”

Dawn: “What are you doing?”
Buffy: “My boyfriend. Go away.”

Buffy: “What are you doing here? Five words or less.”
Spike: (counting on his fingers) “Out…for…a…walk.” (realizes he only used four words) “Bi%@#.”

Dawn: “I tell you I have this theory? It goes where you're the one who's not my sister. 'Cause mom adopted you from a shoebox full of baby howler monkeys and never told you 'cause it could hurt your delicate baby feelings.”
Buffy: “That’s your theory?”
Dawn: “Explains your fashion sense.”

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