Cut to the halls of the basement. Xander and Andrew share the love that dare not speak its name: comic books. Once Xander realizes that he's almost bonded with Weasel Andrew, he gives the Weasel a manly shove. Buffy and Dawn are then interrupted by a disheveled Principal Wood carrying a shovel of his own. Wood raises an eyebrow at seeing Buffy, as last he heard she was oozing from both ends. Dawn chimes in with a story about a doctor and some cream just as Buffy mentions a pill. In an attempt to shift the focus, Buffy pointedly notices Wood's shovel. He lies that someone left it in the courtyard and he was just putting it away. He pointedly notices hers. Buffy claims that she was helping Dawn with her school project: a time capsule. This is Dawn's cue to improv, "Hello people of the future! Kids today like Red Bull and, uh, Jackass." Or, in Dawn's case, just act like jackasses. Wood casually mentions that if Buffy is indeed feeling better, he really could benefit from her presence in the office. He even claims that he's had to wait-list some kids who actually wanted to talk to her! About what, I cannot imagine. Is there anything that Buffy is qualified to give high school students advice about? Well, probably. But what are the chances of Buffy doing that effectively? She is bar none the most unprofessional counselor I've ever seen. I'm still surprised she didn't get canned for dry-humping that kid on school grounds.
Casa Summers. Anya sets a candle on the living room table in preparation for a locator spell Willow is going to try. Dawn sits nearby, researching the Seal of Danzig. Buffy and Xander stand to one side as Xander urges Buffy to rest. Apparently she hasn't slept in about two days. Gah. I'm useless if I don't get a full eight hours. When I miss even part of one night of sleep, work the next day is incredibly painful. I can't imagine how Buffy does it. I mean, if I don't finish putting all the fall grades in the database, it's not like the world is going to get sucked into hell or anything. Although from the way some of the undergraduates react, you'd think it was the end of the world. About this time, there's a magical explosion. Anya is knocked back by the force against the dining room wall. Wind blows, and two CGI swirls of magi-crack go right up Willow's nose. Oh, hi, Marti. I didn't know you'd be back so soon. God. Go breed, woman, and leave this show alone. On second thought, don't breed anymore. Just leave. Willow starts spitting CGI magic tentacles all over. "You only make me stronger!" declares The First through Willow. Xander springs into action, smashing an urn against the wall and breaking the spell. Willow falls to the floor, shaking and sobbing. "It's still in me. I feel it!" Buffy comforts her and promises they won't ask her to try any more magic.
Buffy heads resolutely to the front door -- she's going to find The First. Xander wants to come with, but she's set on going it alone. Xander reminds her that they don't have any idea where The First may be. Buffy: "It's out there. It's hurting my friends. I'll find it." She opens to the door to reveal Giles standing on the other side. Buffy is stunned but pleased. She goes in for a hug, but is intercepted by a parade of Junior Miss Slayer Pageant contestants. They come tumbling in with their bad accents. Giles apologizes for showing up unannounced and explains, "I'm afraid we have a slight apocalypse." Well, the "Australian" one's accent is particularly bad, Giles, but I'm not sure I'd go so far as "apocalypse."