"Villains"
Written by Marti Noxon; directed by David Solomon

An ambulance arrives at the Summers’ house and Xander leads the paramedics to the backyard, where Buffy is still conscious. Upstairs, Willow continues to beg Tara to wake up. Her eyes black, she looks up at dark clouds covering the ceiling and commands the powers that be to bring Tara back. The face of a demon forms in the clouds and tells Willow that resurrecting Tara would violate the laws of nature, since she died a natural death - “a human death, by human means.” Willow isn’t too happy with this. As Buffy as taken to the ambulance, Willow comes outside and Xander tells her that Warren was behind the shooting. She takes off and Xander gets into the ambulance to accompany Buffy to the hospital.

In a holding cell, Andrew remains optimistic that he and Jonathan will get off, though Jonathan is sure that they’re in it for the long haul. Andrew is sure that Warren will get them out of jail but Jonathan tells him that Warren has abandoned them. He’s mad that Andrew and Warren were plotting against him and were going to set him up to take the fall for all three of them. Andrew is still certain that Warren is coming up with a plan to free them. Warren, however, is actually at a demon bar, bragging that he killed the Slayer. The demons in the bar laugh at him and gleefully tell him that Buffy is still alive. They warn that, when Buffy recovers - which will be quickly, as Slayers heal fast - she will come after him and show him no mercy.

Willow goes to the Magic Box and asks Anya for the black arts books. Anya tries to stop her, but Willow zaps her with magic so that she can’t move. Willow literally absorbs the words of a book and her hair and eyes turn black with dark magic. Dawn comes home to find the house silent. She goes up to Willow’s room and is horrified to see Tara’s body. Warren goes to Rack’s (see “Wrecked”) and asks him for protection from Buffy. Rack warns that he should be more worried about Willow, who is going to “blow this town apart,” starting with Warren. Rack tells him that Buffy lived but someone else died, and Willow wants revenge.

At the hospital, Xander watches anxiously as doctors tend to Buffy. The electricity begins to go in and out as Willow arrives. She makes the doctors leave as Buffy begins to flatline. Willow magically removes the bullet from Buffy’s chest, then makes it vanish in her hand. Buffy wakes up and Willow leaves to find Warren. Warren buys a ticket at a bust station, then heads out of town. Xander drives Buffy and Willow along the highway, in search of Warren. Buffy says that she doesn’t think they should be going after him but Willow reminds her that Warren almost killed her. Willow magically takes over driving and stops the car in the middle of the empty highway. The bus approaches and Willow makes it stop. Warren comes out and begs for his life. Willow moves to kill him but discovers that it’s actually a robot.

Buffy tells Willow to calm down and Willow replies that Warren killed Tara. Buffy says that she’s upset over Tara’s death, too, but that Willow can’t kill a human. Xander warns that if Willow goes too far with magic, she won’t come back, and Willow replies that she isn’t coming back, then takes off. Buffy and Xander go home, where Buffy finds Dawn in Willow’s bedroom with Tara’s body. The coroner takes Tara’s body and Dawn tells Buffy and Xander that she hops Willow kills Warren. Xander agrees that Warren is as bad as the vampires Buffy kills on a daily basis. Buffy replies that Warren is human and that they have to remember the human rules that apply here. She says that Willow doesn’t remember the rules and is heading for danger. Buffy tells Dawn that she wants her to be safe while she and Xander go to find Willow, and agrees to take her to Spike’s. Xander objects to Buffy’s decision after what Spike tried to rape her (see “Seeing Red”), but Buffy says that they don’t have a choice.

In Tara’s dorm room, Willow gets the blood on her shirt to form a map, pointing her towards Warren. Buffy and Dawn arrive at Spike’s crypt, surprising Clem, who is crypt-sitting while Spike is out of town. Buffy asks him to look after Dawn for a little while and he agrees. Somewhere in Africa, a villager warns Spike not to go into a cave, which he enters anyway. He is greeted by a voice from a demon (affectionately called “Lurky” by some Buffy fans) who is unseen except for his eyes. The demon confirms that Spike wants to return to his former self and calls him a “pathetic excuse for a demon.” He taunts that Spike won’t be able to withstand the necessary trials, but Spike is determined to prove him wrong and get what he’s there for.

Xander finds Anya recovering from Willow’s spell at the Magic Box and asks her to do a locator spell to find Willow. She says that she doesn’t need a spell - Willow wants vengeance so badly that Anya can feel where she is. Xander realizes that Anya has returned to the vengeance demon fold. Buffy arrives and they fill her in. Anya finally agrees to work with them, but says that she’s only helping Willow. She tells them that Willow is in the woods. Indeed, Willow is chasing Warren through the woods and is suddenly stopped when he axes her in the back. However, “axe, not gonna cut it,” and Willow is still alive and powerful. Warren tells her that Tara’s death was an accident but she reminds him that he did intentionally try to kill Buffy. He temporarily stops her with magic and runs off until she stops him with magic. He tells her that he’s going to win and she’s going to die.

Willow realizes that Tara wasn’t the first woman Warren killed and magically makes Katrina appear. He yells at her that she deserved to die and Willow replies that he liked killing her because it meant that he had power. Buffy, Xander, and Anya try to track Willow down and Xander worries that Willow has already killed Warren; Anya assures him that she hasn’t. Willow makes the bullet she took out of Buffy appear and says that Warren needs to know what it feels like. She magically pushes the bullet into his body, describing what it will do to him, and then magically sews his mouth shut so he can’t talk or scream. She says that Tara was innocent and didn’t deserve to die, and that it isn’t fair that Warren gets to live. She finally unseals his mouth and he tells her he realizes that he did something wrong and needs to go to jail. He tries to convince her that she’s not evil like him, and that if she kills him, she’ll lose her friends. “Bored now,” Willow replies, magically flaying and killing him just as Buffy, Xander, and Anya arrive. Willow makes the body disappear, then tells the others, “One down” and disappears.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: It would have been more fun if Vamp Willow had gone after Warren.

R.I.P.: Warren

GRADE: B- A respectable idea that was taken too far.

WELCOME TO THE HELLMOUTH: Lurky

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Warren: “This isn't the evil laugh of victory, is it?”
Vampire: “More like the evil laugh of ‘you're a dead man.’”

“I think Buffy gets the tie-breaker on this one. She was the one on the ouchy end of the bullet.” - Xander to Willow


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