Credits, finally. That was long teaser.
Der Zauber Kasten. Giles speaks with a customer, but is interrupted by the arrival of Quentin Travers and at least six Watcher flunkies. Who will now be generically referred to as CoWboys or girls so I don't have to learn any of their names. None of them appears to be the ultra-thuggy "wet works"-type Watcher, though. Quentin seems resolved to be the alpha male right off the bat, and begins establishing his territory by peeing in all the corner of Giles's shop. Not really, but he does decline to introduce Giles to the other Watchers, who spread out silently to inspect the store, and also declines a tour of the shop, dryly saying, "I think I can see what you've been up to." Anya, looking very pretty in a retro wrap dress, looks agitated by the nosy Watchers as Giles babbles a little in the face of Quentin's disapproving air. Giles becomes even more flustered as one CoWboy with dark hair and an accent I can't place suggests that most things in the store are harmless "dime-store trinkets," but a few are potentially harmful. A CoWgirl of the sexy librarian genre (blonde hair in a bun, severe glasses) chimes in that Giles has a very dangerous statue that "has the power to melt human eyeballs." Oh, she has a lovely voice; I loved the way she said "eyeballs." Quentin delivers the final emasculating blow by having a CoWboy close down Giles's shop and herd out the customers. Anya finally figures out that these pesky people are the Council and attempts to make a hasty retreat. As Giles protests the CoW's tactics, Quentin asks Anya if she works in the store. She replies that she does, and, worried about her ex-demon status, she throws in a cover story about moving from Indiana where she was "raised by both a mother and a father."
Giles sends Anya away and tells Quentin he wants to discuss the "review" that has been mentioned. Boy, re-watching this episode, I'm really struck by how Quentin manipulates Giles in this whole scene. He never answers a direct question and totally manages to throw Giles on the defensive. Quentin tells Giles they'll discuss it "over here," and the biggest of the CoWboys stands threateningly next to Giles until he follows Quentin over to the round table in the back of the store. Giles, in a little mockery of gaining some control, tells the Watcher flunkies, "You all stand around and look somber. [pause; eyeroll] Good job." Hee. Quentin chides Giles for his disrespectful attitude; Giles chides Quentin for firing him. Then Quentin sits, with a cup of tea provided by a CoWgirl (once again putting Giles, still standing, at a disadvantage and completely pissing me off in the process. I hate people who demonstrate their self-perceived power by refusing to get their own caffeine), and explains that he's brought very important information about Glory that won't "be handed over" until the CoW is convinced that Giles and Buffy "are prepared for it." As if his previous actions weren't enough. In a low voice, Giles protests that he won't let Quentin put Buffy through "another one of [his] insane tests." Quentin counters that he'll be administering a "check of her methods." "Buffy's come very far lately," sayeth Giles. "She's acquired a remarkable focus."