Original Air Date: December 17, 2002
Written by Marti Noxon and Douglas Petrie
Directed by David Grossman
Vampires Slain = ?
The gang is having zero luck finding any information on the First, "the original evil, the one that came before anything else." Buffy's worried about Spike, and runs herself ragged. Her mother comes to her in a dream and begs her to rest. When Buffy awakens, she's seriously wigged. Should she trust the dream?
Andrew finally wakes up and leads everyone to the bloodied Seal of Danzalthar. They decide to cover it, and as they're leaving with shovels in hand, they run into Principal Wood. He's also carrying a shovel, coming up with an excuse as lame as the one Buffy and Dawn offer him (Burying a time capsule? Please.) There is definitely something weird going on with him.
At home, Willow tries to find the Biggest Bad with a locator spell, but it backfires. The evil possesses her momentarily, exploding out of her and terrifying everyone in the process. When it departs, Willow is horrified and devastated, realizing that any time she uses her power, she is liable to hurt someone. Buffy cradles Will, then hastily decides to hunt down the First for harming her friends. At the door, she's startled to find her former Watcher alive and well, flanked by three would-be Slayers. Giles dryly explains, "We have a slight Apocalypse."
He gives the Scoobies the rundown on the situation: the WatchersÕ Council has been destroyed, and most of the potential Slayers have been picked off over the past few months. The First's plan is to kill off all the future Slayers and their Watchers, then annihilate the current ones, leaving nothing to fight the coming evil. The only plus is that Giles was able to save a few Council records by stealing them prior to the explosion. He lays the responsibility of saving the world squarely on Buffy's shoulders. Great.
Meanwhile, the Ubervamp from the Seal has been kicking Spike around for some time. The First observes in the guise of Drusilla, taunting Spike continuously. Beating, drowning, you name it, they do it to Spike. Dru wants to bring poor Spikey over to the dark side, but he will have none of it. He continues to fight back because of Buffy's faith in him.
While Dawn and Willow set up the Slayettes with food and beds for the night, Giles and Buffy go looking for the place where she first saw the Bringers years before. It was underground near a Christmas tree lot, and she finds it by falling through some dusty, tattered boards covering a hole in the ground. Immediately, she's pounced on by the Ubervamp. They fight, then fight some more, till Buffy stakes it. Large problem: it doesn't die. More fighting, until Buffy manages to crawl out the hole she fell in. The thing follows her, but luckily, the sun has just risen, and it crawls back into its lair. But it's clear it will come after her again, and soon.
Back home, Buff and Giles fill the newbies in on the whole "end of the world" thing. Giles reveals that the Ubervampire is an ancient, sort of like the Neanderthal of bloodsuckers. Buffy doesn't have much else to go on, so later at work, she does a little computer searching on, of all topics, "evil." Principal Wood hovers, his creep factor skyrocketing when the conversation turns to the long-term effect evil has on those who witness it. Very unnerving.
Joyce makes another dreamscape visit to Buffy, pleading with her to rest. Her message is that evil is everywhere, a part of life, and no one can stop it. Buff jerks awake at her desk, while a neglected student looks on. Oops. Though exhausted, she keeps pushing herself. At home, she arms the junior Slayers so they'll be more prepared.
When the sun goes down, the pressure on the Slayer mounts. Everyone's feeling it, especially Annabelle, one of the Slayers-in-training. She bolts from the house into town, alone and vulnerable. She doesn't get far before the Ubervamp takes her out. Buffy finds her body, and the momentary distraction is enough to give the UV an opening to knock her around. More fighting. They end up in an industrial building, and Buffy's booty gets seriously kicked. She ends up buried under a pile of debris, badly injured.
The gang is at a loss, and Giles has no answers. However, even with her painful injuries, Buffy seems to have embraced the fear and chaos. She's realized there's only one thing to do: instead of waiting for evil to come to her, she must start the war herself. "There's only one thing on this earth more powerful than evil. And that's us."
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Anthony Stewart Head