Written by David Fury; directed by James A. Contner

Joyce undergoes a CAT scan at the hospital while Buffy and Dawn wait in the hallway. At the Magic Box, Xander complains that Riley destroyed a crypt without the help of the Scoobies (see “Fool for Love”). Giles points out that he should be happy he didn’t have to do anything. Giles recruits Willow, Xander, Tara, and Anya to help him research Glory. Meanwhile, the Beast herself is living it up in a nicely-decorated apartment and being tended to by a minion named Dreg (Kevin Weisman). He has found her an incantation she was looking for and she plans to go to the Magic Box to gather the supplies she needs for her spell.

Riley goes to the Summers’ house and finds a blanket on the floor. He heads up to Buffy’s bedroom, where he finds Spike, who claims that he’s there to “know his enemy’s scent.” Riley throws him out of the room and Spike takes a pair of underwear with him. Spike boasts that he was with Buffy the previous night and taunts that Riley isn’t dark enough for her. Riley retaliates by holding him out in the sunlight and saying that he’s the only one who knows what Buffy needs. Spike asks why he isn’t with her at the hospital, but Riley doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He tosses Spike and his blanket out of the house, then heads to the hospital. Buffy tells him she’s glad he’s there, then goes in to see Joyce. She learns that there is a “shadow” on Joyce’s CAT scan and that she needs a biopsy to determine what it is.

The Scoobies continue their fruitless research at the Magic Box. Tara suggests that Glory “predates the written word” and Giles agrees that it’s quite possible. However, he points out, that means there’s no way for them to predict her moves. Giles turns to help his next customer and is unaware that she is Glory. He completes her transaction without having any idea that he’s aiding the enemy. Back at the hospital, Joyce comes through surgery and her doctor tells Buffy that she has a brain tumor. The doctor discusses treatment options with Buffy, then asks her a number of questions, not seeming to realize that she’s in shock. Ben approaches and tells the doctor that he’s needed elsewhere so that Buffy can have some time to herself. Buffy tells Riley that she needs to try to find a healing spell, then asks him to tell Dawn that they don’t know anything about Joyce’s condition yet.

At the Magic Box, Anya looks through the day’s receipts and sees that Giles sold someone an amulet and a bloodstone that shouldn’t be sold together. He tells her that he doesn’t think the young woman he sold them to would have the power to create anything with the supplies, but quickly realizes that the woman must be Glory. Riley takes Dawn out for ice cream, which they eat in front of a carousel which holds happy “memories” for Dawn. She asks if Joyce is going to get better and he tries to reassure her that she will. She tells him that Buffy cries a lot less over Riley than she did over Angel, but Riley isn’t quite thrilled to realize that Buffy doesn’t get as worked up over him.

Buffy tells the Scoobies that she wants to find a magical cure for Joyce. The truth eventually comes out that Glory came to the magic shop and bought an amulet and bloodstone that can be used to summon a reptile demon. (Didn’t we do this three seasons ago? Is Glory really a frat boy?) Buffy decides to go look for Glory and try to stop her, though the Scoobies are skeptical that she will be able to defeat her. At the zoo, Glory converses with a snake, begins to perform the necessary spell with Dreg. Buffy interrupts and fights Glory while Dreg continues chanting. Buffy is unable to stop the spell and the snake turns into a large reptile demon (hereafter known as Fake the Snake, due to the poor quality of special effects that contributed to its creation).

Glory instructs Fake to find the Key and the snake heads off. Riley heads to the magic shop and learns that Buffy went after Glory. Buffy calls Giles and tells him that Fake the Snake is on the loose. As Buffy visits Joyce, who is just now hearing about her conditions, Riley heads to Willy’s bar and meets up with Sandy again. In a private room, Riley lets Sandy bite him, then kills her. Buffy goes back to the magic shop, arriving just before Fake the Snake does. Fake approaches Dawn, then heads back out to Glory. The Scoobies are confused as to why Fake was there, but Buffy tells Giles that the snake knows that Dawn is the Key. They both run outside and purvey the snake’s path of destruction. They jump in Giles’ car and chase after it.

In her apartment, Glory complains to Dreg that Fake is taking too long. Buffy gets out of Giles’ car and takes off after Fake on foot. She catches up to him in the woods not too far from Glory’s apartment building and manages to kill him. Glory looks out her window and doesn’t seem thrilled with what is happening. Later, Riley meets up with Buffy at the hospital, where Joyce is planning to fill Dawn in on her condition. He encourages her to let her emotions out, but instead, she goes to join her family, leaving him alone.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: The Shadow may know a lot, but he doesn’t know how to make this episode interesting.

GRADE: C+ Get used to the boring stuff.


MEMORABLE QUOTES - Tara: “‘Your one-stop spot to shop for all your occult needs.’”
Tara: “Catchy.”
Giles: “Think so?
Tara: “Uh-huh. In a...hard to read sort of way….”

Xander: “When a person makes a ‘destroy all vampires’ date, it's simple courtesy to wait for your co-destroyers. Am I right, Giles?”
Giles: “I'm almost certain you're not, but to be fair, I wasn't listening.”

Anya: “Hey. Hey! HEY! HEY!!”
Giles: “Anya, your heys are startling the customers.”
Xander: “And-and pretty much the state.”
Anya: “You sold someone a Khul's amulet and a Sobekian bloodstone.”
Giles: “Yes, I believe I did.”
Anya: “Are you stupid or something?”
Giles: “Allow me to answer that question with a firing.”
Xander: “She's kidding! An, we talked about the employee-employer vocabulary no-nos. That was number five.”

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