Buffy's in the kitchen with Dinah. Oh, my bad, it's Joyce. Joyce tells Buffy that Willow got held up, but it's obvious that even Joyce realizes the flimsiness of Willow's story. Joyce glosses over it to ask Buffy how she would feel about having the gang over for dinner the next night. "Dinner" -- remember that, it'll be important later. At Buffy's pause, she admits that she already invited them. Buffy insincerely says that it'll be fun. I know there's been heated discussion in the forums about how poorly people behaved in this episode, and whether Buffy was to blame or a victim. So in order not to keep you in suspense, here's my two cents. Although she certainly did some questionable things, I'm on Buffy's side. Here's an example: knowing that Buffy's best friend just blew her off, Joyce doesn't even acknowledge that it might be awkward to have the gang over, or that Buffy's feelings might be hurt. And I really must apologize for the length of this recap, but Marti Noxon brings out the diatribe in me. Joyce sends Buffy to the basement to get the company plates: "We never have guests over for dinner." Yeah, because you have no friends, Joyce. Except your new bestest pal, Pat. Not buying what you're selling, Marti. It's so contrived.
Contrivance: Hey dude!
Couch Baron: Didn't expect to see you. You've been working your ass off lately.
Contrivance: I know. And with Buffy and Angel moving, I've got to shuttle back and forth between the WB and UPN, with side trips to Showtime for Queer As Folk. At least Roswell got cancelled.
Couch Baron: Aaron even called you out on Six Feet Under recently, what with that Vanessa and Rico inheriting that money subplot.
Contrivance: This job's killing me, I'm telling you.
Couch Baron: Maybe Continuity and Foreshadowing can help you out -- they're not doing much these days.
Contrivance: The lush and the sociopath?
Couch Baron: Yeah, that's them.
Buffy in the basement. She stands on a stepladder to get the plates, but first picks up a large photograph of herself, Xander, and Willow. Why the hell would that be in a box in the basement? This episode is annoying me to death. Anyway, in reaching up to get the plates, Buffy knocks down a fake-looking dead cat. She's sufficiently grossed out.