"Real Me"
Written by David Fury; directed by David Grossman

Giles helps Buffy meditate with the help of crystals. She does a handstand until someone places another crystal on top of the balanced ones, making her fall. “Can we go now?” asks Dawn. (Get used to the brattiness.) In her bedroom, Dawn writes in her diary and voices over that no one knows or cares who she is. No one knows what her life is like because she’s the only person whose sister is a Slayer. In the kitchen, she steals Buffy’s food and voices over that Buffy’s skills aren’t as special as everyone thinks they are. Joyce asks Buffy to take Dawn shopping for school supplies but neither sister is thrilled with the idea. Riley arrives and Dawn voices over that she bets he and Buffy have had sex.

Giles drives Buffy and Dawn down the street in his new red convertible, snapping at Dawn, who doesn’t think that he likes her. Giles and Buffy discuss her new training regimen, which involves reading books. They spot Tara and Willow and Giles shows off his new car. Dawn voices over that she likes Willow and Tara, but that Joyce isn’t extremely thrilled that she looks up to them. Buffy tells Willow that she has to drop the drama class they were planning to take together because her new training schedule is demanding. Tara notices that the magic shop, where everyone was headed, is dark. When they enter, the furniture has been overturned and no one is around. Willow trips over something, which turns out to be the body of the magic shop owner. Buffy sends Dawn outside before she can see the body. In the alley, a guy tells Dawn that he’s a cat, then says, “Curds and whey. I know what you are. You…don’t…belong…here.”

Later, after the guy is gone, Tara comes outside and the two non-Scoobies bond by thumb-wrestling. Inside, Buffy, Giles, and Willow determine that the owner was killed by a group of vampires. They look through the inventory list and see that a book called A Treatise on the Mythology and Methodology of the Vampire Slayer is missing. Giles worries that the vampires are searching for Buffy’s weaknesses. He is surprised to see the height of the profit margins on the store; Buffy reminds him that magic shop owners have a shorter lifespan than Slayers. Buffy says that she’ll grab Riley and go look for the gang, but Willow reminds her that she’s supposed to be looking after Dawn. Giles discovers that another item has been taken - a ceramic unicorn priced at $12.95. “What kind of an unholy creature fancies cheap tasteless statuary?” Giles asks. That would be Harmony (last seen outside of a dream in “Pangs”). And she has a gang, who she’s recruited to help her kill Buffy. (Though, knowing Harmony, “help” means “kill Buffy for her, and then she’ll take credit for it.”)

At home, Joyce is upset that Dawn was at the magic shop when the owner’s body was found and that Buffy is now shirking her responsibilities to go patrol with Riley. Dawn protests that she doesn’t need a baby-sitter, since she’s fourteen, but Buffy and Joyce don’t agree with her. Buffy suggests calling Xander and Dawn quickly agrees. Later, Dawn has changed into a dress and tries to act casual when Xander arrives. She voices over that he’s cute, smart, and brave. However, she doesn’t think quite as highly as Anya, who has tagged along with Xander and has clearly never baby-sat before. In their dorm room, Tara tells Willow that she feels sorry for Dawn and can relate to her, since neither is a Scooby. Willow tells Tara that she wants her to be a part of the Scoobies and calls her “one of the good guys.” Tara’s expression makes it seem as if she doesn’t agree. (This will be clarified in “Family.”) In the cemetery, Buffy complains to Riley that she hates having to always look out for Dawn. Riley tells her that Dawn looks up to her but doesn’t understand the sacrifices she’s had to make to be a Slayer. Buffy wishes that she could just be a kid like Dawn.

At the same time, Dawn is complaining to Xander that Buffy always gets her way. Dawn wonders if Xander likes her as more than a kid sister-type. Xander, Dawn, and Anya’s game of Life (which Anya is somehow winning) is interrupted when a brick is thrown through the front window of the house. Xander sees that there is a note tied to the rock which reads, “Slayer, come out and die.” (The dot over the “i” in “die” is a smiley-face.) Harmony and her minions are outside, trying to lure Buffy outside to…um…her death. She is frustrated to learn that Buffy isn’t home. Xander, however, is amused to learn that Harmony has minions. She tries to get into the house but can’t, since she hasn’t been invited. She tells Xander that she heard he was “a good little puppy for Dracula.” (See “Buffy vs. Dracula.”) Xander tells her he doesn’t want to get into “another hair-pulling contest” with her (see “The Initiative”), and when she calls him a big girl, Dawn yells, “Oh, yeah? Come inside and say that!” Suddenly, she realizes that she has just invited Harmony in.

Xander tries to keep Harmony at bay as the minions realize that they can’t enter the house. He pushes her outside and she vows to return. Later, Buffy and Riley return home and are amused when they learn that Harmony has minions. Riley reminds Buffy that Harmony and the minions have killed already, and Anya mentions that Harmony can now enter the house. Buffy figures out that Dawn invited her in and heads off to yell at her. In a cemetery, Harmony complains that the element of surprise is now gone. Spike encounters the group and has an awkward reunion with Harmony. Harmony tells him that they’re planning to kill Buffy and he calls the idea “adorable.” She tells him that she’s figured out who she really is and is her own person now. Spike asks her if her brilliant plan involves grabbing one of Buffy’s friends to lure her somewhere and Harmony tells him her plan is better. After he leaves, she tells her minions, “New plan.”

Dawn overhears Buffy complaining that she should have known better than to invite a vampire into the house. Riley reminds Buffy that Dawn is just a kid and Buffy points out that she was slaying when she was Dawn’s age. Dawn takes off and Anya tries to keep her from leaving the house. Outside, one of Harmony’s minions injures Anya and the gang drags Dawn off. Xander, Buffy, and Riley find Anya half-conscious in the kitchen and she tells them that the vampires took Dawn. In her lair, Harmony compliments her “minionators” and tells them that they can’t eat Dawn until they have Buffy. Buffy goes to Spike’s crypt, where he’s messing with his TV, and asks him where Harmony’s lair is. Harmony complains to Dawn that her minions don’t respect her. The minions enter and tell Harmony that they’ve decided they don’t want to follow her plan - they’re going to feed off of Dawn and then kill Harmony.

One of the minions makes a move for Dawn, who tells him that, if he touches her, Buffy will kill him. Seconds later, he is dusted by Buffy, who tells Dawn to close her eyes. Buffy kills the other minions (dusting one with Harmony’s unicorn) while Harmony runs off. Buffy tells Dawn that she’s going to be in trouble with Joyce, and Dawn threatens to tell Joyce that Buffy slayed in front of her. The sisters get home just before Joyce does and decide not to tell her anything after all. The next day, Giles decides that he’s going to take over running the magic shop, finally ending his year-long period of slackerhood. Buffy warns Dawn numerous times not to touch anything in the shop. Dawn voices over that Buffy is in for a surprise from her seemingly useless little sister.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: It’s going to be a long season.

GRADE: B Redeemed by Harmony and the acquisition of the Magic Box.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - “If this town wasn't so lame everyone would completely know what she does. And then I bet they wouldn't even be that impressed, because like, killing things with wood? Oh, scary vampires, they die from a splinter.” - Dawn

Buffy: “We're just going to the magic shop. No school supplies there.”
Dawn: “Yeah, Mom, I'm not going to Hogwarts.” (Buffy is confused) “Geez, crack a book sometime.”

“…‘I'm here to violate your firstborn’ never goes over with parents. Not sure why.” - Riley

“I'm not sure how old he is, but I heard him use the word ‘newfangled’ one time. So he's gotta be pretty far gone.” - Dawn, re: Giles

Giles: “Blast!”
Buffy: “You put it in neutral again, huh?”
Giles: “I'm just not used to this automatic transmission. I-I loathe this sitting here, not contributing. No, i-it's not working out.”
Buffy: “Giles, are you breaking up with your car?”
Giles: “Well, it did seduce me, all red and sporty!”
Buffy: “Little two-door tramp.”
Giles: “I-I-I don't know, I just - I was so at loose ends, I-I found myself searching for…some way of feeling more….”
Buffy: “Shallow?”
Giles: “Perhaps, as I am to act as your Watcher again, a modicum of respect might be in order.”
Buffy: “Do I have to?”
Giles: “I'm serious, Buffy, there's going to be far less time for the sort of flighty, frivolous--.”
Dawn: “Hey, there's Willow and Tara!”
Giles: “Ooh, they haven't seen my new car.”

Brad: “I, I had to get her something. She sired me.”
Peaches: “Sire-whipped.”

“Your mom loves you both equally. But if I'm wrong, I find money usually helps tip the scale. Slip Joyce a 10 or a 20 once in a while. Then we'll see who's the favorite.” - Xander to Dawn

Anya: “Oh, crap. Look at this! Now I'm burdened with a husband and several tiny pink children, more cash than I can reasonably manage….”
Xander: “That means you're winning.”
Anya: “Really?”
Xander: “Yes. Cash equals good.”
Anya: “Ooh! I'm so pleased. Can I trade in the children for more cash?”

Harmony: “What do you mean, she’s not in there? She has to be! I’m calling her out!”
Xander: “Then I bet she'll be real sorry she missed your call. 'Fraid you and your buddies are gonna have to come back and be killed by Buffy later.”

“I mean, please. I would never have Harmony over even when she was alive.” - Buffy

Harmony: “So, Slayer, at last we meet.”
Buffy: “We've met, Harmony, you halfwit.”
Harmony: “I'm the halfwit? Um, excuse me, but look who's fallen into my--.” (Buffy kills some minions) “Trap.”
Buffy: “Harmony, when you tried to be head cheerleader, you were bad. When you tried to chair the homecoming committee, you were really bad. But when you try to be bad…you suck.”

Buffy: “How bored were you last year?”
Giles: “I watched Passions with Spike. Let us never speak of it.”

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