"Tabula Rasa"
Written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner; directed by David Grossman

Buffy is patrolling when she runs into Spike. He wants to talk about their kiss (see “Once More, With Feeling”) but she wants to blame it on the spell everyone was under. She says that she will never touch him again. Teeth, a demon with the head of a shark comes up to them, demanding the forty cats Spike owes him. While Buffy beats up the minions, Spike splits, and she wishes she would stop helping him out. In Xander’s apartment, he, Willow, Tara, and Anya are still in shock from Buffy’s revelation that she was in Heaven (see “Once More, With Feeling” and “After Life”). Willow says that she was selfish for bringing Buffy back from a place where she was at peace, despite the fact that she didn’t know this. The Scoobies try to think of ways to make things better for Buffy and Willow says that she can do a spell. Tara protests, saying that she could hurt someone or even herself. Willow announces that she wants to make Buffy forget that she was in Heaven and Tara gets angrier.

Anya and Xander scamper off as Tara confronts Willow about the “forget” spell (see “All the Way”). She says that Willow uses magic to fix problems so that things will work out in her favor. Willow promises to stop using magic for a month and Tara tells her to stop for a week, and then they’ll see what happens. She implies that things may be over between them. At the Magic Box, Giles is having a similar conversation with Buffy - he’s just told her that he’s going back to England for good. She feels abandoned and tells him she needs him, but he wants to leave so that she will learn to stop depending on him. She makes it completely clear that she disagrees with his decision.

The next day, Dawn and Tara head to the Magic Box to meet the other Scoobies while Willow hangs back at the house. She takes the same herb she used in the “forget” spell and puts it in the fireplace, then does a spell to erase Buffy and Tara’s bad memories. She takes a clear crystal with her; when the crystal turns black, the spell will be complete. At the magic shop, Giles confesses to Dawn that they are not there to discuss demons. Willow and Xander arrive - Willow wearing Xander’s jacket - and Giles says that he has an announcement. Before he can give it, Spike arrives, wearing a disguise so that Teeth can’t find him. (Hardcore fans: he’s wearing the same suit he wore in Xander’s dream in “Restless.”) Willow glances at her crystal, which is glowing green. At the Summers’ house, a spark from the fireplace ignites the bag of herbs Willow left, making them glow green as well. Giles announces that he’s going back to England for good and Buffy gets up to leave. She tells the Scoobies that they don’t understand how she feels, then suddenly collapses. The rest of the Scoobies lose consciousness and we see that the entire bag of herbs has been burned.

Hours later, Buffy wakes up, confused, and turns on the lights. Everyone else regains consciousness and is just as confused. Xander sees Willow waking up next to him and attempts to flirt with her. Anya and Giles wake up next to each other and frown. Buffy assures a frightened Dawn that everything’s okay and they realize that neither of them knows anyone else there. The other Scoobies state that they don’t recognize anyone else, either, and have no idea who they themselves are. They see that they’re in a magic shop; Giles decries magic as “balderdash and chicanery” and realizes that he’s British. Spike mocks him before realizing that he, too, is English. They assume that they’re father and son but don’t like each other. Spike asks about the “trollop” (Anya) and, seeing her ring, says that she and Giles are engaged.

Willow thinks to look for ID and she, Xander, and Tara all figure out who they are (though Xander has a different nickname this time around). Buffy sees that Dawn is wearing a necklace with her name on it - she’s either Dawn or Umad (Dawn upside-down). Giles sees that his name is Rupert and Spike laughs at him. Spike looks at the tag in the back of his suit, which reads “made with care for Randy,” and complains that his name is Randy Giles. Willow sees the name Harris in the back of her jacket and wonders if she and Xander are dating. Anya finds papers next to the cash register and realizes that her name is Anya (though she pronounces it Anne-ya) and that she and Rupey own the magic shop. Buffy has no ID, so she decides to name herself Joan, a name which Dawn doesn’t enjoy much. Through their bantering, Joan and Dawn decide that they’re sisters.

Joan takes charge and says that they should all go to the hospital to find out what’s wrong with them. As they open the door to leave, they see Teeth’s minions outside and scream. They realize that they’re dealing with vampires and barricade the door. One of the vampires yells for them to “send out Spike” and Rupey says that they want spikes. Randy brings over a bunch of stakes and proposes giving them to the vamps. The vampires yell for the Slayer to come out and Tara misinterprets their call as an announcement that they’re going to slay someone. Alex and Willow find a trapdoor that leads to the sewers, and as the Scoobies are heading towards it, the vampires break the front window. Randy tries to give them the stakes and they ask for the kittens. Joan struggles with the vamps and dusts one, amazing everyone. The other vamp leaves to get backup and Randy locks him out. Joan says that she thinks she’s in charge because she’s a superhero and Alex faints.

Joan tells the Scoobies to go through the sewers to the hospital while she and Randy deal with the vampires. Anne-ya refuses to leave the magic shop and Rupey agrees that they might be able to use magic to help out. Joan and Randy head out the front door as Willow, Tara, Umad, and Alex head towards the sewers. Outside, Joan and Randy fight the vampires and Randy vamps out. He tells Joan that he’s a superhero, too, and she panics. Down in the sewers, Willow and Tara share a moment of chemistry before being confronted by another vampire. Rupey and Anne-ya look through books at the magic shop and Rupey finds his plane ticket to England. Anne-ya’s intuition tells her that she’s found the right book and she speaks some magic words from it. A bunny pops up and she screams.

Randy catches up to Joan, who informs him that he’s a vampire. He wonders why he’s working for the good guys and contemplates the possibility that he’s a vampire with a soul, an idea which Joan pronounces “lame.” Back at the magic shop Anne-ya is now standing on a chair, trying to avoid the many bunnies on the floor. She is determined to find a spell to send them back, but only succeeds in producing more. Joan and Randy encounter more vamps as the Scoobies in the sewers hide from theirs in a pipe. The magic shop is now full of bunnies and canopied by a green cloud. Rupey tries to convince Anne-ya to find another book to get rid of the bunnies but they end up fighting and using lots of British slang.

Teeth watches as Randy and Joan continue to fight vamps. Rupey fights a skeleton with a sword, still yelling for Anne-ya to pick a different book. Umad tells Willow that she’s scared, but that she finds the situation familiar. Willow says she’s confused and finds herself in a strange situation. “And I think I’m kinda gay,” she adds. (See “Doppelgangland.”) Rupey and Anne-ya hide from something that growls and fight some more; she tells him she is “compelled to take some vengeance” on him. He announces that he’s not surprised he’s leaving her and shows her his plane ticket. She pulls off her engagement ring and throws it across the room. Rupey finally finds the spell that gets rid of everything in the shop that doesn’t belong there and Anne-ya happily gets her ring back. They apologize to each other and share a kiss. (And possibly more.)

The Scoobies in the sewer fight the vampire and Alex finally dusts him. Just as Willow and Tara are about to kiss, Alex steps on Willow’s crystal, which had fallen out of her pocket during the fight. The crystal breaks and the spell ends. Everyone’s memory returns and they are all shocked. Everyone in the sewer stares at Willow, realizing that she is behind what happened. Tara begins to cry as they head out of the sewers. Giles and Anya clean the magic shop, unable to look in each other’s eyes. Spike finishes staking the vampires and Teeth tells him his debt is cancelled. He goes to help Buffy up but she glares at him. At the Bronze, Michelle Branch sings “Goodbye to You” as Buffy sits alone at the bar, Tara packs her things at the Summers’ house, and Giles flies back to England. Spike arrives at the Bronze and, crying, Buffy tries to ignore him. Tara leaves the house, upsetting Dawn, as Willow cries upstairs. Under the stairs at the Bronze, Buffy and Spike kiss again.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: “Ready, Randy?” “Ready, Joan” is funnier than you think.

GRADE: A Clever, funny, and touching, all at once.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - “If I were to stop saving his life, it would simple things up so much.” - Buffy re: Spike

Alex: (attempting to flirt) “Hey.”
Willow: (uncertain) “Hey?”

“Okay. I'm not panicking. I'm not. I'm not. Stop looking at me like I'm panicking!” - Alex

Randy: “You don't suppose you and I ... we're not related, are we?”
Anne-ya: “There is a ruggedly handsome resemblance.”
Rupey: “And you do inspire a, um...particular feeling of...familiarity and...disappointment.”

Joan: “Who do those jerks think they are?”
Anne-ya: “Bloodsuckers. They kill by sucking blood. Take it easy, Joan.”

Willow: “What did you just do?”
Joan: “Uh...I...I don’t know. But it was cool!”

Joan: “Ready, Randy?”
Randy: “Ready, Joan.”

Joan: “I kill your kind.”
Randy: “And I bite yours. So how come I don't wanna bite you? And why am I fightin' other vampires? I must be a noble vampire. A good guy. On a mission of redemption. I help the hopeless. I'm a vampire with a soul.”
Joan: “A vampire with a soul? …How lame is that?”

Randy: “I'm a hero, really. I mean, to be cast such an ugly lot in life and then to rise above it. To seek out better, nobler things. It's inspirational, isn't it? And the two of us…natural enemies, thrown together to stand against the forces of darkness. Utter trust. No thought of me biting you, no thought of you staking me.”
Joan: “Depends on how long you keep on yapping.”

“Note to self: learn to duck.” - Joan

(Laughing suddenly) “Sorry, I just got back the memory of seeing King Ralph.” - Xander


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