Written and directed by Joss Whedon

Oh, did you think “Primeval” was the end of the season? Not quite!

Buffy sees Riley off as he prepares to go to an Initiative debriefing. The Scoobies prepare for a night of movie fun at the Summers’ house and wish him good luck. Joyce, having met Riley for the first time, makes a pointed comment about Buffy not introducing her to Riley earlier. She heads up to bed, but the Scoobies are too keyed up from their enjoining spell (see “Primeval”) to sleep. However, as soon as Joyce leaves and the first movie starts, the Scoobies all fall asleep and proceed to have strange and entertaining dreams.

Willow’s dream: Tara lies on a bed, talking to Willow about Miss Kitty Fantastico. “You’d think she’d let us know her name by now,” Tara says. She asks Willow if she’s worried, but Willow says she’s safe there. “You don’t know everything about me,” Tara tells her. She warns Willow that “they” will find out about her. Willow says that it doesn’t matter - she has too much homework right now. She appears to be painting Greek symbols on Tara’s back. Tara tells her that she shouldn’t be late for class, since she’s never taken drama before, but Willow doesn’t want to leave. She goes to the window and notes how bright it is outside. She looks out into the desert and notices something moving outside.

Willow walks down a hallway in Sunnydale High, encountering Oz (last seen in “New Moon Rising” and Xander, who is very excited about Willow’s “spells” with Tara. Willow winds up backstage, surrounded by costumed students supposedly in her drama class. Harmony, dressed as a milkmaid, tells Willow how excited she is and then warns her not to step on her lines. Buffy, dressed like Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago, tells Willow that the audience is packed and Willow’s family is there - they’re in the front row and “look really angry.” Riley is dressed as a cowboy, a part he won because he arrived early. Buffy tells Willow that her costume is perfect and that no one will know “the truth.” Willow tries to explain that she’s not wearing a costume, but Buffy just thinks she’s already in character. Willow is confused as to why they’re already doing a performance, since it’s their first drama class, and worries that they’re doing Madame Butterfly (see “Nightmares”).

Director Giles gathers the cast, telling them that everyone Willow has ever met is in the audience (including all of them), and they want to find her and eat her alive. Acting is about hiding rather than behaving. Throughout his “pep talk,” Harmony pretends to bit him and he continually tells her to stop. He encourages everyone to go out onstage, “lie like dogs,” and put on a great performance of Death of a Salesman. As the backstage sound briefly disappears, Willow encounters a bald man (hereafter known as Cheese Man) who tells her, “I’ve made a little space for the cheese slices.” Willow heads through a tunnel surrounded by curtains and finds Tara, who tells her that things aren’t going well. Willow expresses her confusion and Tara confirms that something is following her. Onstage, Riley tells Harmony that he’s come to town looking for a salesman. Tara says that people are starting to wonder about the “real” Willow, and warns that they’ll punish her when they learn the truth. Onstage, Buffy delivers a monologue about men to a stoic Riley and a crying Harmony.

Willow is now alone backstage when she is suddenly attacked by something unseen. Buffy arrives, back in normal clothing, and leads her into a Sunnydale High classroom. She tells Willow that the play is over and asks why she’s still in costume. Willow tries to explain again that she’s not in costume, but Buffy grows frustrated and rips her clothing off, turning Willow into season 1 Willow. Now the classroom is full and includes Xander, Oz, Anya, and Harmony. “I tried to warn you,” Oz tells Tara. Willow nervously tries to deliver a book report on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but no one seems to care, especially Oz and Tara, who are getting a little friendly, and Xander, who loudly expresses his apathy. Willow is attacked again, but no one moves to help her. The attacker (Sharon Ferguson) seems to bite Willow, making her face wrinkle. Back in the Summers’ house, Willow sleeps fitfully.

Xander’s dream: Xander wakes up to find Buffy and Giles watching Apocalypse Now. “Oh, I’m beginning to understand this now. It’s all about the journey, isn’t it?” Giles asks. Xander heads upstairs to use the bathroom and encounters Joyce. She tells him that the others have left and invites him to rest in her room. He accepts the offer, but heads off again to find the bathroom. There, he realizes he’s being watched by Initiative scientists commandos and decides to find another bathroom. He goes across the hall and finds himself in his basement. At the top of the stairs, someone is rattling the doorknob. “I didn’t order any vampires!” Xander calls out. Someone pounds on the door and Xander says to himself, “That’s not the way out.”

Xander is now outside, approaching a playground where Buffy is sitting in a sandbox and Giles and Spike (who’s wearing a suit) are on swings. Xander is pleased to have caught up with them, but Buffy asks if he’s sure he was looking for them. Spike announces that Giles is going to show him how to be a Watcher, and Giles proudly says that Spike is like a son to him. (See “Tabula Rasa” for connections to this scene.) Xander says that he was on that route for awhile, but now has other interests. He looks down the street and sees himself in an ice cream truck (see “Where the Wild Things Are”). He says that you always have to be moving forward. Xander asks Buffy if she’s sure she wants to play in the sandbox and she assures him that she’s fine, suddenly in the desert from Willow’s dream. “It’s not coming for me yet,” she says. He tells her that she can’t protect herself from everything, and she replies, “I’m way ahead of you, big brother.” Giles and Spike swing higher.

In the ice cream truck, Xander sits down behind the wheel, though the truck is already driving itself. In the passenger’s seat, Anya asks if he knows where he’s going. She tells him that she’s thinking about getting back into vengeance and gets mad when he seems to object (“you don’t want me to have a hobby”). He lectures that people can’t just do whatever they want, because there are certain rules that they have to follow. He’s interrupted when he sees Willow and Tara, both dressed sexily, in the back of the truck. They kiss each other, though we don’t see, and Tara asks if he wants to join them in the back of the truck. He’s Xander, so of course he does, and Anya gives him permission, taking over pretending to drive. However, when Xander climbs through the back of the truck, he winds up alone in the basement again.

The doorknob starts rattling again, and Xander yells, “I know what’s up there!” The Cheese Man appears, holding up slices of cheese and telling Xander, “These…will not protect you.” Xander goes out the back door and winds up in a school hallway. He encounters Giles and asks what’s after him. Giles says that he’s been pursued because of what the Scoobies did, but this confuses Xander. Giles says that the others have already gone ahead, and tells Xander to listen carefully, because his life could depend on what he has to say. He then proceeds to give information in dubbed French. Xander tells him he doesn’t understand, but this only makes Giles speak more French. Anya arrives, also speaking French, and she and Giles pull Xander down the hallway. A crowd forms, picking Xander up and turning him upside-down.

Suddenly, Xander is in fatigues and being led through a forest. He arrives in a dark room and is made to kneel next to someone’s cot. Doing a Marlon Brando impression, Snyder (last seen in “Graduation Day, Part 2”) asks Xander if he was born in the basement. He ruminates on the future of Xander’s generation, which he thinks is mulch. You know, I never got the chance to tell you how glad I was you were eaten by a snake,” Xander replies. He explains that he’s looking for Willow and Tara (“and possibly Buffy’s mom”), and Snyder says that his time is running out. He tells him that he’s a whipping boy, “raised by mongrels and set on a sacrificial stone.” “I’m getting a cramp,” Xander responds. When he stands up, he’s in a room with Willow’s attacker.

As Xander backs up, we see that he’s in the courtyard outside Giles’ apartment. He runs inside and tries to warn the Scoobies, who are standing around a still-sleeping Willow. “I can fight anything. Right?” Buffy asks. Xander heads into a closet, winding up in his basement yet again. “That’s not the way out,” he tells himself. The door opens and Xander immediately looks down. His father comes down, yelling that Xander’s mother is upset because he won’t come upstairs. “The line ends here with us, and you’re not gonna change that,” his father says. “You haven’t got the heart.” He reaches into Xander’s chest, but when Xander looks down, he sees the hand of Willow’s attacker, which pulls out Xander’s heart. In the Summers’ house, Xander also sleeps fitfully.

Giles’ dream: Giles swings a pocket watch back and forth in front of Buffy in his nearly-empty apartment. “Don’t you think it’s a little old-fashioned?” Buffy asks. “This is the way women and men have behaved since the beginning…before time,” Giles replies. Buffy starts laughing. Suddenly, Buffy is dressed in pigtails and overalls, pulling Giles through a carnival in the park. Olivia (see “The Freshman” and “Hush”) is walking with them; she’s pregnant and pushing an empty baby carriage. “Does she always want to train this badly?” Olivia asks. Buffy stops in front of a booth where people are supposed to throw Nerf balls at a vampire (who helpfully says, “I am a vampire!”). Buffy throws a ball but misses. “Buffy, you have a sacred birthright to protect mankind,” Giles chastises her. “Don’t stick out your elbow.” This time she hits the vamp, “staking” him, and turns to Giles for a reward, which he doesn’t have. Buffy gets some cotton candy, but instead winds up with mud all over her face. “I know you,” Giles says.

Spike calls Giles over to his crypt, and when Giles enters, he sees Olivia crying and the baby carriage lying on its side. “I’ve hired myself out as an attraction,” Spike explains, posing for pictures. He tells Giles to make up his mind and is surprised that he hasn’t figure out what’s going on. “I still think Buffy should have killed you,” Giles replies. On his way through the crypt, he encounters Cheese Man, who has cheese on his head and shoulders: “I wear the cheese. It does not wear me.” Giles leaves the crypt and winds up in the Bronze; there is no music playing, which is uncommon there. He finds Willow and Xander sitting on his couch, researching. Xander has “the sucking chest wound swingin’” (from having his heart ripped out), but has come to the Bronze for Anya’s big night. Anya has decided to try her hand at stand-up comedy and attempts to tell a joke, but can’t quite get everything right.

Willow tells Giles that what’s happening is his fault and tells him that a primal force is after them. Anya finishes her joke and receives appreciative applause. Willow tells Giles to focus so that they can figure out what they’re fighting. Giles, who is usually Mr. Exposition, keeps up the tradition, this time by singing the Exposition Song. He explains that the spell that they cast released a primal evil that now wants to kill them. His microphone cuts out, and he follows the wires until he comes to Willow and Xander’s attacker. Giles says that he can defeat the attacker with his intellect, but the attacker instead cuts into his forehead. “You never had a Watcher,” Giles says. In the Summers’ house, Giles’ sleep is so disturbed that he drops his glasses.

Buffy’s dream: Buffy is asleep when Anya starts frantically telling her to wake up. Buffy looks over at Willow’s bed in their dorm room (where Anya is lying) and tells her that she needs her beauty sleep. She looks up and sees the Scoobies’ attacker chained to the ceiling above her bed. Suddenly, Buffy is in her bed at home, then in the doorway, looking into the room. “Faith and I just made that bed,” she tells Tara (see “This Year’s Girl”). “For who?” Tara asks. “I thought you were here to tell me,” Buffy replies. Tara tells her that she’s lost the Scoobies and Buffy says that she thinks they need her to find them. She looks at a clock, which reads 7:30 (see “Graduation Day, Part 2”), and comments on how late it is. (For hardcore Buffy fans: 7:30 is generally accepted as a reference to the episode “The Gift.” It is first mentioned in “Graduation Day, Part 2,” which occurred 730 days before “The Gift.”) Tara tells her that the clock is wrong and hands her Willow’s Manus (hands) tarot card from “Primeval.”. “You think you know…what’s to come…what you are. You haven’t even begun,” Tara says. Buffy tells her she’s going to find the Scoobies, and Tara warns, “Be back before dawn.” (Or perhaps “before Dawn”?)

Buffy walks down a school hallway, passing a large hole in the wall. Joyce appears in the hole and assures Buffy that she’s fine living there. Buffy says she’s not sure, and Joyce begins to say that she could probably break through the wall and get her, but Buffy isn’t listening. She follows Xander up a flight of stairs and winds up in a conference room, where two men are sitting. One of them is Riley, who greets her, “Hey there, killer.” He tells her that they’re coming up with a plan for world domination (“the key element? Coffeemakers that think”), which she’s not too comfortable with. “Baby, we’re the government,” he tells her. “It’s what we do.” The other guy - Adam, but without the machinery - tells Riley that Buffy is uncomfortable with the idea, though “aggression is a natural human tendency.” Buffy tells him that humans aren’t demons. Riley says that they have a lot to do (“filing, giving things names”) and Buffy asks what Adam’s name was before. “Not a man among us can remember,” he replies.

Suddenly a voice comes over a loudspeaker: “The demons have escaped. Please run for your lives.” Adam and Riley run off to make a fort out of pillows. After they leave, Buffy tries to call after them and tell them that she has weapons. She opens the bag (which will be seen again in “Get it Done”), which is full of mud. She smears it on her face, as she did in Giles’ dream. Riley returns, saying that he thought she was looking for the Scoobies. “I guess you’re on your own,” he tells her. She walks off, slowly moving from the conference room into sand as she enters the desert. Tara approaches her and tells her that she didn’t come to find the Scoobies. “You’re not in my dream,” Buffy says. “I was borrowed,” Tara replies. “Someone has to speak for her.” “Let her speak for herself,” Buffy says as the Scoobies’ attacker circles her. She asks why the attacker follows her and where the Scoobies are. Tara tells her that she’s asking the wrong questions. “Make her speak,” Buffy says. Tara answers for the attacker: “I have no speech. No name. I live in the action of death, the blood cry, the penetrating wound. I am destruction. Absolute…alone.” “The Slayer,” Buffy realizes. “The first,” Tara clarifies.

Buffy looks at some tarot cards in her hand and sees herself watching TV with the Scoobies at her house. “I am not alone,” she announces. “The Slayer does not walk in this world,” Tara tells her. “I walk,” Buffy says. “I talk. I shop, I sneeze. I’m gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There’s trees in the desert since you moved out. And I don't sleep on a bed of bones. Now give me back my friends.” The First Slayer shakes her head and says, “No friends. Just the kill. We…are…alone.” Cheese Man holds up a few slices and grins. “That’s it. I’m waking up,” Buffy decides. The First Slayer tackles her and they begin to fight. Buffy tells the First Slayer that they’re not doing this anymore, then, after a little more fighting, exclaims, “Enough!” She wakes up on the floor of the living room but, before she can get up, the First Slayer attacks her again. She stabs at Buffy with a stake, but is actually stabbing the floor. “Are you quite finished?” Buffy asks. “It’s over, okay? I’m going to ignore you, and you’re going to go away. You’re really gonna have to get over the whole…primal power thing. You’re not the source of me.” After commenting on the First Slayer’s hair, she wakes up, as do the other Scoobies.

At the kitchen table, the Scoobies discuss their dreams, which were caused because they insulted the First Slayer by calling on her power. Joyce comes downstairs and, upon hearing that the Scoobies were almost killed in their dreams, offers hot chocolate for comfort. Buffy decides to go upstairs and take a shower; as she leaves, she comments that at least the others didn’t dream about Cheese Man. Upstairs, she looks into a bedroom and recalls Tara’s words: “You think you know…what’s to come…what you are. You haven’t even begun.”

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: It’s impossible to analyze the Scoobies’ unconsciouses.

GRADE: A The best part is that, no matter how many times you watch it, you still can’t understand everything.


MEMORABLE QUOTES - “It’s like you’re blackmailing the government. In a…patriotic way.” - Willow to Riley

Xander: “Dinner is served. (produces a bowl of popcorn) And my very own recipe.”
Willow: “Ooh, you pushed the button on the microwave that says ‘popcorn’?”
Xander: “Actually, I pushed ‘defrost,’ but, um, Joyce was there in the clinch.”

Xander: “Well, we got plenty of vids. And I’m putting in a preemptive bid for Apocalypse Now, huh?”
Willow: “Did you get anything less heart-of-darkness-y?”
Xander: Apocalypse Now is a gay romp! It’s the feel-good movie of whatever year it was.”
Buffy: “What else?”
Xander: “Don’t worry. Got plenty of chick and British guy flicks too.”

“But what else could I expect from a bunch of low-rent, no-account hoodlums like you? Hoodlums, yes, I mean you and your friends, your whole sex, throw ‘em in the sea for all I care, throw ‘em in and wait for the bubbles, men with your groping and spitting, all groin, no brain, three billion of you passing around the same worn-out urge. Men! With your…sales!” - Buffy in Willow’s dream

“It’s exactly like a Greek tragedy. There should only be Greeks.” - Anya in Willow’s dream

Buffy: “Want some corn?”
Xander: “Butter flavor?”
Buffy: “New car smell.” (in Xander’s dream)

Xander: “You know, a man’s always after--.”
Joyce: “Conquest?”
Xander: “I’m a conquistador.”
Joyce: “You sure it isn’t comfort?”
Xander: “I’m a comfortador also.” (in Xander’s dream)

Xander: “You gotta have something. Gotta be with movin’ forward.”
Buffy: “Like a shark.”
Xander: “Like a shark with feet, and…much less fins.”
Spike: “And on land!”
Giles: “Very good!” (in Xander’s dream)

“Go on, put your back into it! A Watcher scoffs at gravity.” - Giles to Spike in Xander’s dream

“Do you mind? I’m talking to my demon.” - Xander to Willow and Tara in his dream

“I think I’ve figure out how to steer by gesturing emphatically.” - Anya in Xander’s dream

Olivia: “Does she always want to train this badly?”
Giles: “Well, it appears she’s never heard the fable about patience.”
Olivia: “Which one is that?”
Giles: “The, the one about the fox, and the, uh, less patient fox.” (in Giles’ dream)

Anya: “Wait, there’s, there’s a, there’s a duck. Is that right?”
Man in the crowd: “You suck!”
Anya: “Quiet! You’ll miss the humorous conclusion.” (in Giles’ dream)

“It’s strange, it’s not like anything we’ve faced before. It seems familiar somehow. Of course! The spell we cast with Buffy must have released some primal evil that’s come back seeking…I’m not sure what. Willow, look through the chronicles for some reference to a warrior beast. I’ve got to warn Buffy - there’s every chance she might be next. Xander, help Willow, and try not to bleed on my couch, I’ve just had it steam-cleaned.” - Giles’ Exposition Song in his dream

Tara: (speaking for the First Slayer) “I have no speech. No name. I live in the action of death, the blood cry, the penetrating wound. I am destruction. Absolute…alone.”
Buffy: “The Slayer.”
Tara: “The first.”
Buffy: “I am not alone.”
Tara: “The Slayer does not walk in this world.”
Buffy: “I walk. I talk. I shop, I sneeze. I’m gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There’s trees in the desert since you moved out. And I don’t sleep on a bed of bones. Now give me back my friends.”
First Slayer: “No friends. Just the kill. We…are…alone.”

Willow: “The First Slayer. Wow.”
Xander: “Not big with the socialization.”
Willow: “Or the floss.”
Giles: “Somehow our joining with…Buffy and…invoking the essence of the, the Slayer’s power was an affront to the source of that power.”
Buffy: “You know, you could have brought that up to us before we did it.”
Giles: “I did. I said there could be dire consequences.”
Buffy: “Yes, but you say that about chewing too fast.”

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