Original Air Date: September 24, 2002
Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by David Solomon
Vampires Slain = 1
Meanwhile, in Sunnydale, Buffy is teaching Dawn the tricks of the slaying trade. Dawn fumbles and nearly gets chomped, but her sister backs her up. They lament the return of something they both dread: Sunnydale High School, rebuilt on its original site. Right over the Hellmouth.
Halfway around the world, Giles has brought Willow to England to help her recover. She's being schooled in a coven to control her power, and is learning how everything in the universe is connected. She struggles in her understanding and yearns to be the Willow she once was, but Giles reassures her by saying, "We all are who we are, no matter how much we may appear to have changed."
The next morning at the Summers house, Dawn gets ready for the first day of school, and a well-dressed Xander arrives with the architectural plan for the new building. He assures Buffy there are no nasties lurking, and he would know, since he's involved in the construction at the site. Buffy accompanies Dawn to school and they meet the new principal, Robin Wood. Dawn takes off for class, and Buffy wanders around her old stomping ground.
In the bathroom, Buffy spies a small, curious-looking charm. Thinking nothing of it, Buffy looks up in the mirror. Surprise! There's a dead girl behind her who doesn't look happy. Another dead guy leaps out at Buffy shouting, "Get out, get out, get out!" There's definitely something fishy going on. The Slayer busts into Dawn's classroom just as the girl is awkwardly introducing herself to the class, then embarrasses her even further by declaring she's in danger. When Buff's unable to back up her claim, she slinks out of the classroom.
At a café, Anya and her demon pal Halfrek drink coffee and insult the lovestruck couple singing in the corner. Halfrek tries to be kind to Anya, but she makes it known that gossip among the demon community says Anya's gone soft, ever since Xander. But more importantly, there's also talk that there's something brewing lately. Something bad.
Back at the school, Buffy finds Xander and fills him in on the ghosties in the bathroom, while across campus, Dawn is attacked by a pencil-wielding dead guy. After excusing herself to the bathroom (bad choice), Dawn hears crying in one of the stalls and discovers a frightened girl. Suddenly, familiar ghosts appear, and the two are dragged through the floor, leaving a rather large hole in the brand new tile.
Dawn awakens with her new friend in the basement of the school, and they find another lost student who was just looking for a place to smoke. But Dawn is armed with a gift Buffy gave her that morning: a cell phone. When Buffy locates the zombies, a fight ensues, and it becomes clear they're spirits of the dead killed on school grounds angry that the Slayer failed to protect them. Buffy gets past them and throws open a door expecting to see Dawn, only to discover a disheveled and scarred Spike, who speaks in riddles. He manages to tell Buffy that the dead guys are manifestations from a spell and a talisman for the spell has to be destroyed.
After another call from Dawn, Buffy phones Xander to fill him in on the talisman deal. Buffy locates Dawn and fends off the zombies, while Xander storms the hole-y bathroom to locate and destroy the charm. When he does, the dead guys disappear, but it remains unclear who cast the spell.
Out of the school basement, Buffy comforts Dawn and her new friends as the principal looks on. After seeing the connection she made with the kids, he offers Buffy a part-time position mentoring troubled students. She jumps at the chance.
Spike's still below, and he's confronted with a being unlike any other in Sunnydale. Well, sort of. First it appears to be Warren. Then it morphs into Glory, then Adam, the Mayor, Drusilla, the Master. All dead, but maybe not so much. As the Master talks of the wild ride coming to Sunnydale, he adds, "It's not about right. It's not about wrong." The being morphs into a final image -- Buffy -- and concludes, "It's about power."
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Anthony Stewart Head
Ed F. Martin