"Potential"
Written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner; directed by James A. Contner

Rona and Vi nervously walk through a cemetery, holding stakes. They hear a noise and turn to see Spike, who is vamped out. He attacks Rona and when Vi tries to stake him, he overtakes her. Just before he bites her he looks up at the other potentials and asks what Rona and Vi did wrong. Buffy explains to the potentials that vampires are strong and that they don’t have Slayer strength yet, but that they are still powerful. She advises them that, if their guts are telling them to run, they should, in order to try to regain the upper hand. She uses Spike to demonstrate that vampires’ instincts are to kill, and they should use this against them. Perhaps Buffy shouldn’t be using Spike as an example, however, because she’s too concerned about his welfare. Back home, Buffy lectures the potentials, telling them that death is inevitable for them, some of them more immanently than others. She tells them that the First is regrouping and that they have been chosen to fight it.

At school, Amanda (last seen in “Help”) returns to Buffy for counseling and says that she thinks she might be weird. At home, Willow informs the group that the coven has located another potential in Sunnydale - someone who already lives there. Buffy decides to take the potentials on a pre-planned field trip anyway, and Willow tells her she will do a spell to find the Sunnydale potential. Dawn and Andrew both seem jealous of the potentials’ outing, but are denied invitations. Willow, Dawn, and Andrew prepare for the locator spell and wonder who the potential is. The spell produces a glowing light but doesn’t seem to be successful. Dawn heads for the door to air the room out and the light heads straight for her. The light pins her to the door and everyone realizes that Dawn is the next chosen one.

Dawn becomes nervous at the thought of being a potential while the others are excited at the possibilities. Willow says that it makes sense, since Buffy and Dawn share the same blood, but Dawn realizes that in order for her to become a Slayer, Buffy will have to die. Xander tells her that she is “important now.” Dawn worries that the Bringers are going to come after her and is concerned about telling Buffy. Because of what Joyce told her in “Conversations with Dead People,” she’s not sure that Buffy will be happy for her. Dawn splits while Xander, Willow, and Anya realize how much her life has suddenly changed. They worry about how Buffy will react to the news that her sister is now in danger. (Um, again.) Dawn pulls and Buffy and heads out her bedroom window.

Buffy and Spike take the potentials to a demon bar, where they are shocked to see actual demons. Buffy tells them that when they need to find a contact, they might come here. Just as she tells them that every patron there would be happy to kill them, Clem (last seen in “Two to Go”) appears. She pulls him aside and asks him something while Kennedy asks Rona, “You think she dated him, too?” (Hey, she could have done a lot worse than Clem.) Clem comes back over and does something scary with his face that we can’t see, effectively proving Buffy’s point. Out on the streets of Sunnydale, Dawn runs into Amanda. She sees a gash on Amanda’s forehead and asks her what happened; Amanda replies that she won’t believe her. She explains that she was alone at school and was attacked by a creature. She asks if Dawn thinks it was a vampire and tells her that she trapped it in a classroom. Amanda mentions that she was going to get Buffy to help her, since she thinks she might know what to do, but Dawn offers to help instead.

At the high school, Dawn and Amanda see that the classroom where Amanda trapped her attacker is empty. What they don’t see is the vampire holding onto the ceiling. The vampire drops down and the girls run away. Dawn swings a fire extinguisher at the vamp and gains them some time. Buffy and Spike take the potentials back to the cemetery to teach them to look for vamp nests. They find what they think is a body but what is actually a vampire. Dawn and Amanda barricade themselves inside a classroom but they are only temporarily safe. Dawn assures Amanda that they’ll be okay and announces that she has a plan. Buffy fights the vampire and continues lecturing as the potentials look on. Over her lecture we also see Dawn trying to find things that will hurt the vampire. Buffy finishes her speech and walks out of the crypt with Spike, closing the potentials inside.

Back at the Summers’ house Willow, Xander, and Anya go up to talk to Dawn and find that she’s left. They worry that the Bringers will get to her and hurry off to find her and Buffy. Having been overpowered by the vampire, Dawn begs Amanda for help. Suddenly, Bringers arrive and grab Amanda. Dawn quickly realizes that Amanda is the potential from Sunnydale. Dawn and Amanda get away from the Bringers and Dawn tells Amanda that she is special and that she has to fight the vampires. She tells her she was born to do this and hands her a broken flagpole. Xander, Buffy, and Spike arrive as Amanda starts to fight the Bringers with the flagpole. Once they’re defeated, Dawn explains that Amanda was on the other side of the door when Willow did her spell.

At home, the potentials discuss their battle with the vampire, congratulating themselves and each other for putting what they’ve learned into practice. However, they are impressed that Amanda was able to fend for herself. Dawn briefly listens in, then heads off to do more research. The potentials do not acknowledge Dawn as Buffy takes them downstairs for another powwow. Xander notices that she looks sad and tells her that he understands what it’s like not to be a chosen one.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Buffy should’ve let ‘em die.

GRADE: C+ Is it Dawn? Or is it Amanda? Does anyone care?

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Spike: “Okay, these two are dead. Why?”
Rona: “‘Cause the black chick always gets it first?”

Rona, seeing Buffy tend to Spike: “That’s hot.”
Molly: “So, we’re supposed to, like, make out with them or something?”

“You’re all gonna die. But you knew that already. ‘Cause that’s the cool reward for being human. Big dessert at the end of the meal. Don’t kid yourselves, you guys. This whole thing is all about death. You think you’re different ‘cause you might be the next Slayer? Death is what a Slayer breathes, what a Slayer dreams about when she sleeps. Death is what a Slayer lives. My death could make you the next Slayer. Oh, goody. Rapt attention. I love that so much.” - Buffy to potentials

Amanda: “Is it weird? We’re mean to each other, and we like each other.”
Buffy: “Well, it depends. Sometimes that’s how people relate. Being mean to each other. Even mortal enemies--. Then with the--. And that leads to no good, absolutely no good. And much confusion. A-and then it’s over. Absolutely, seriously, definitely over. And that’s confusing too. The over part. Which it is. Over! (pause) So, maybe.”

“Maybe y-you did it wrong? Was it a-ambiguous in any way? Did you maybe say potential sailors? ‘Cause I-I do like the water.” - Dawn

“Wow, it’s like one second you were this klutzy teenager with fake memories and a history of kleptomania, and then - then suddenly you’re a hero. A hero with a much abbreviated lifespan.” - Anya

Andrew: “Plucked from an ordinary life, handed a destiny--.”
Xander: “Say Skywalker, and I smack ya.”

“They’re demons! It’s a demon bar. It’s like a gay bar, only with demons.” - Vi

Amanda: “So, I was thinking…we don’t have to kill the vampire, do we?”
Dawn: “What?”
Amanda: “Just suppose he got out and was maybe like encouraged toward the gym while the marching band was playing because the way they look down on the Swing Choir. It might be, you know, funny. I’m just saying.”

“The question is never ‘what do you think?’, it’s always ‘what do you know?’ You gotta know it. If you don’t, if you make one mistake, it takes just one vampire to kill you. So you’ve got to know you can take him. Know your environment. Know what’s around you, and know how to use it. In the hands of a Slayer, everything is a potential weapon. If you know how to see it. When you’re fighting, you have to know yourself, your brain, your body. Know how to stay calm, centered. Every move is important, every blow’s got to be part of your plan, ‘cause you make that one mistake, and it’s over. You’re not the Slayer. You’re not a potential. You’re dead. What do you know? Right now, the only thing you know for sure is you got me.” - Buffy to potentials

Rona: “I’m sure the vampire thought we were like, what, four helpless girls. And then Vi - Vi actually yells, ‘We’re just four helpless girls!’”
Vi: “That was part of my plan.”

Xander: “They’re special, no doubt. The amazing thing is, not one of them will ever know, not even Buffy.”
Dawn: “Know what?”
Xander: “How much harder it is for the rest of us.”
Dawn: “No way. They’ve got--.”
Xander: “Seven years, Dawn. Working with the Slayer. Seeing my friends get more and more powerful. A witch. A demon. …I could fit Oz in my shaving kit, but come a full moon, he had a wolfy mojo not to be messed with. Powerful. All of them. And I’m the guy who fixes the windows.”
Dawn: “Well, you had that sexy army training for a while, and - and the windows really did need fixing.”
Xander: “I saw what you did last night.”
Dawn: “Yeah, I-I guess I kinda lost my head when I thought I was the Slayer.”
Xander: “You thought you were all special. Miss Sunnydale 2003. And the minute you found out you weren’t, you handed the crown to Amanda without a moment’s pause. You gave her your power.”
Dawn: “The power wasn’t mine.”
Xander: “They’ll never know how tough it is, Dawnie, to be the one who isn’t chosen. To live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody’s watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You’re not special. You’re extraordinary.”
Dawn: “Maybe that’s your power.”
Xander: “What?”
Dawn: “Seeing. Knowing.”
Xander: “Maybe it is. Maybe I should get a cape.”

“Hey, guys, we fit three more people in here and we can call the Guiness Book people.” - Kennedy, re: everyone being in the kitchen (from the original script)


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