Original Air Date: October 15, 2002
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by James A. Contner
Vampires Slain = 1
The next day, Xander and Willow stroll in the sun, catching up, and Willow is still insecure over her ability to control her powers. She knows the Big Bad everyone's going on about is coming, but she wonders if she'll be able to help. It becomes clear that they are in a cemetery, and Willow makes her first visit to Tara's grave. She lays stones atop the headstone, then kneels and traces Tara's name tenderly.
At Sunnydale High, Buffy faces her first victims--uh, students. She handles varied issues with good advice, but one student stands out: Cassie. She is troubled, and lets it slip that on Friday she's going to die. At first, Buffy believes the girl is suicidal, but soon suspects that Cassie's a psychic. Quickly, Buff takes advantage of her secret weapon, Dawn, who gently insinuates herself into a library conversation between Cassie and her friend Mike. Mike bugs his pal to go to the Winter Formal, but Cassie refuses time and again, convinced she won't be around for the dance.
Worried that Cassie may be the subject of parental abuse, Buffy and Xander make an ill-conceived visit to the girl's home. Though her father is obviously three sheets to the wind, he appears to genuinely love his daughter. As the pair leave, they encounter Cassie, who thanks them for trying to help, but is eerily resigned to die.
Meanwhile, in the school's library, sinister-looking red-robed figures circle a burning tray. In the tray's center is a photo of Cassie.
Friday comes, and the Scooby gang is still scouring for clues. Buffy hunts down Spike to see if he knows anything, and while he's definitely disturbed about something (as usual), he has nothing new to offer. Buffy checks out Cassie's friend Mike, but he seems totally harmless. She does spy some strange coins tumbling out of a locker during a search by the principal, and connects the coins to something Cassie mentioned during their first meeting. She corners the locker's owner, who spills that some guys are planning to mess with Cassie. Bingo.
That night, the red-robed figures are back, and their leader is Peter, one of the arrogant boys Buffy counseled earlier in the week. The guys are scamming to get rich quick, and Peter figures calling up a demon and offering a human sacrifice might be a good idea. Yeah, right.
Peter starts the ritual, but Buffy tears off a red robe--the guy she grilled earlier finally told her the whole deal. She knocks Peter down easily, but he's already called up a nasty-looking demon, and it wants blood. Buffy's in trouble, but Spike comes to the rescue, brandishing a flaming torch. Buff grabs the torch and goes after the demon while Peter takes a walloping from Spike, who flinches from the chip in his head with every punch. Buffy defeats the demon and Spike frees Cassie, who whispers to a confused Spike, "She'll tell you. Someday, she'll tell you."
Buffy leads Cassie to the library door and saves her a second time from a booby trap. However, all her efforts are for naught: Cassie's eyes soon go blank, and she crumples to the floor. Turns out the end was inevitable: there was a hole in her heart.
The group gathers to mourn, and Dawn takes the death of her new friend hard. Buffy wonders about the futility of trying to lend a hand to students when sometimes there's nothing she can do. But still she returns to the school, and does her best to prepare to help the next troubled teen that comes her way.
Student with coins
Red Robed #1
Red Robed #2
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Marcie Lynn Ross