Original Air Date: April 30, 2002
Written by Drew Z. Greenberg
Directed by James A. Contner
Vampires Slain =
Between Anya and Xander there is still much sorrow and confusion. We find Xander drinking his sorrows away and wandering the streets late at night as Anya stalks in the shadows, bereft. When Xander returns, he finds her waiting in his apartment. Seizing the opportunity to explain his actions, he stumbles badly, and Anya interprets all his explanations negatively. Anya seethes, to the point of bringing out the demon within her (literally), denouncing Xander’s very existence. Once she regains her composure a bit, she unleashes an impressively vitriolic stream of bad wishes and curses at him and storms out.
In the Evil Trio’s lair, Jonathan toils away, with the disc on the table next to him. The rewards of the disc appear to be great as the three discuss their plans for retirement once it does its thing. Warren and Andrew are dissatisfied with Jonathan’s eagerness to split their alliance.
Having failed to curse Xander, Anya turns for advice to Halfrek, fellow vengeance demon. Halfrek points out that their powers can only be used on behalf of others, not for themselves. Anya starts making the rounds. She confers with all her friends, trying to get even with Xander. Finding Tara and Willow, who appear to be getting along quite well, Anya appeals to their man-hating sentiments. But she misunderstands their attitude toward men, and they won’t help her. Anya unsuccessfully tries to trick Dawn into making a wish. She tries to get Buffy to curse Xander, but in the middle of her plea, he comes walking up.
Anya storms off, furious at the sight of him. Xander starts after her, but Buffy stops him, pointing out that both Anya and Xander could use a little space to cool off. Discussing the situation with Buffy, Xander grows increasingly frustrated, and in a fit of pique he kicks a garden gnome sitting by a tree, breaking it open. The mysterious lawn ornament reveals a second mystery: a hidden camera. They decide that the device must have been planted by Spike, who knows nothing about it.
At the Magic Box, Anya’s back with Halfrek, going over the results of her day’s begging for a curse from her friends. Unbelievably, they all still like Xander enough not to damn him! Halfrek again points out a solution for her problems: she needs to find someone who doesn’t like Xander. In walks Spike, all dejected from his most recent Buffy encounter.
Back at the house, Willow uses her computer to try to find the source of the secret camera by tracing the network back to its origin.
In the Evil Trio’s lair a hastily drawn map of Sunnydale sits in front of a pole, which holds the disc. Jonathan sprinkles powder over the disc. A small beam shoots out, hitting a single point on the map. Jonathan is elated at the revelation. Warren and Andrew exchange a conspiratorial glance. The map erupts in flames, sending the trio scrambling for a way to put it out, distracting them from the blinking red light on a bank of monitors.
At the Magic Box, Anya and Spike bond over their respective rejections. Some whiskey helps. Lots of whiskey helps lots more.
Undaunted by security systems cloaking the camera’s network, Willow continues work, and discovers other cameras. One of them is in the Magic Box.
The Evil Trio have finally noticed the blinking light indicating a security breach in their camera network. As they rush to shut down the system before their cover is blown, they notice what’s transpiring on one particular monitor: the Magic Box.
The whiskey is drained, pain has been shared, souls are bared, and Anya and Spike’s evening escalates into another kind of baring: on a table top, right in the middle of the Magic Box. Buffy, Willow, Dawn, Xander, and the Evil Trio are bearing witness to the proceedings. Everyone stares at the screen in disbelief, Buffy and Xander with a special intensity. Suddenly Willow, then Dawn, understands the expression on Buffy’s face. The secret’s out.
Buffy heads out the back door, followed by Dawn. A dazed Xander heads for the living room, leaving Willow alone. Hearing a door, Willow goes to the living room only to find it empty, the front door ajar and the lid open on the weapons chest.
In the back yard, Dawn tries to console a shocked Buffy. Seeing Buffy’s apparently rejected demeanor, Dawn is surprised to learn that Buffy broke up with Spike, not the other way around. Willow explains about Xander’s disappearance and the opened weapons box.
Anya and Spike awkwardly put themselves back together. Silent. Ashamed. Unable to make eye contact. Anya cringes quietly. Spike walks to the door, looks back at the mess they made, looks at Anya. They nod; there’s nothing to say; he walks out.
Out of the corner of his eye Spike notices a glint: it’s the shining blade of an axe being swung at his head by Xander. Spike ducks the swing and the axe bites into the wall. Xander tackles him, wrestles him up against the wall, punches him, kicks him, slams his head against the wall…but Spike offers no resistance. Xander pulls Spike up by the collar, reaches into his jacket and pulls out a wooden stake, just as Anya and Buffy arrive.
Xander confronts Anya with what they saw. Xander is disgusted that Anya was with Spike. Anya is offended that Xander would judge her; after all, he’s the one who left her. Anya and Xander are shocked when Spike reveals his relationship with Buffy.
Buffy looks at Spike, her face ripe with hate. He braces himself for some serious damage. Instead, she simply turns and walks away. Utterly bereft, he too walks off. Anya turns back into the Magic Box and quietly starts putting things back in place.
Back at the house, Willow sits in bed studying, and sees Tara standing in the doorway. They begin a discussion about putting things back together, but both realize where they want the conversation to lead. They kiss. It is intense. It is passionate. It is, above all else, love. Truly and forever
Sarah Michelle Gellar