The Mayor surveys the conference room. He displays the first real chagrin and desperation we've seen from him, and I would have liked to see this scene go on a bit longer. But Faith enters, holding her knife to Willow's throat. The Mayor's all smiles again. What would he do without her?
Library. Buffy, seething, wants to know how this could have happened. That's what I'm saying -- Willow shouldn't have been left on her own. Buffy tells Oz that she won't let them hurt Willow. Xander suggests storming City Hall, but Giles thinks they'll kill Willow in response. Wesley wonders if they haven't already, but Buffy points out that Willow is valuable to the Mayor because of what she means to the Scoobs. She realizes that trading the box back is their best option. Wesley plays bad cop, saying that the box must be destroyed. Oz regards him coldly. Xander asks for a volunteer to hit Wesley. An outtake shows Strega leaping at him from off-camera. He continues that "thousands of lives" hinge on the box being destroyed, and that they'll find another way to help Willow. Buffy says there is no other way. I see both sides of the argument, but I don't feel like Wesley has the right to dictate their actions here, considering that he's been a complete waste of space so far. He also makes a grave mistake by telling Buffy that destroying the box is her chance to get out of Sunnydale. Buffy asks if he's made of "human parts." A shouting match ensues, which Oz wordlessly puts an end to by getting out of his chair and throwing the urn across the room, smashing it. Everyone shuts up. Buffy takes the opportunity to claim victory, telling Giles to call the Mayor.
City Hall. Willow struggles with the window in a locked storeroom. She looks around for anything useful, and pulls out a drawer containing a couple of pencils. A henchvamp hears the noise and opens the door, asking what she's doing. She says she's looking for a sucking candy, but realizes that "sucking" isn't a good word to utter around a vampire. Well, duh. Might as well have asked for some blood pudding. She warns him not to eat the hostage, but he grabs her and says he'll just have a little taste. He leans in, and we see that Willow has floated one of the pencils in the air. She sends it into his back, dusting him. I guess it wasn't like any of the pencils I used to use in school -- those things could have been traveling at Mach one and not broken anyone's skin. Plus, I don't really believe she would have been able to summon that kind of control in this situation. Oh, well. Flushed with success, Willow peers out of the room and walks down the hall. She then hides upon hearing Faith and the Mayor come out of his office. Faith is saying that Buffy won't be coming back that night, but the Mayor likens Buffy's loyalty to that of a dog. "And before you can say Jack Robinson, you'll get to see me kill her like one." They pass Willow's hiding spot. She emerges, and starts to pass the Mayor's office, but enters for a look around. This is another problem I have with this episode. Willow's smart enough to realize that, were she to escape, her side would be holding all the cards. They could destroy the box and stop the ascension. There's no more to it than that. As Aaron would say, she should get out. Now. I think the reason she stayed is because she's developed into an attention whore. Not to the level of Anna Nicole Smith or anything, but still. Anyway. Willow, after closing the office door, opens the Mayor's cabinet. She finds the Books of Ascension behind a sliding panel. I think it would have been funny if she found some really old skin mags. Naughty pics of Greta Garbo!