Buffy and Joyce, burying the cat in the yard. Buffy: "Next time I get to pick the mother-daughter activity." Oh, all right: heh. The cat's wrapped in plastic, which I don't understand. I mean, I know they don't want to touch the cat, but why bury the plastic with it? Argh. Joyce asks Buffy if she wants to say a few words, like, "Goodbye, stray cat who lost its way, we hope you find it." Buffy looks at her with an expression like, "Wow, that line was heavy-handed, anvilicious, and sucky."
Buffy goes to bed. Cut to Joyce's bedroom, where what I will now call the Evil Death Mask, since that's what it is, starts glowing red in the eyes and humming. Instead of keeping us in suspense and leaving us to speculate as to what the mask does, we see the dead cat claw itself out of the ground. Marti Noxon thinks we're idiots. The feeling is more than mutual. I hate this episode.
Commercial for the second season of Dawson's Creek. Andie. Yuck.
Buffy walks into school. No one is around. The Tinkly Piano Of This Is A Dream Sequence plays. She runs into Angel, and they have a conversation that's going for cleverly cryptic, but only achieves boring and pointless, so I'm not even going to bother with it. She wakes up.
Joyce details the possibilities for Buffy's schooling, including a girl's school. Buffy snits about this, but Joyce shoots her down, telling her, "You made some bad choices. You just might have to live with some consequences." Fair enough. Joyce wonders if Buffy could tell people she's the Slayer in order to get some sort of dispensation to get back into school. Buffy's about to blow that off when Joyce opens the back door to take out the garbage and the dead cat comes in, looking disgusting and meowing very creepily. Okay, that was a little jarring, and the look on Joyce's and Buffy's faces makes it clear that they agree with me.
Buffy opens the door and says to Giles, "Welcome to the Hellmouth Petting Zoo." Hee! The term "petting zoo" is funny. See, it takes so little to make me happy. Cut to Joyce's bedroom, where the cat has hidden. This device allows Giles to see the Evil Death Mask, which he identifies as Nigerian. Buffy wants to aid Giles with research, but he hems and haws. Joyce gives her permission, but Giles informs Buffy that she's not allowed on school grounds. He takes the cat in a cage, and tells her he'll phone if he finds out anything and that he'll see them tonight. For the "dinner."
Cut to the rest of the gang in the library, regarding the cat. Willow brings up the gathering at Buffy's house, saying that she told Joyce they'd "bring stuff." Cordy: "I'm the dip." Xander: "You gotta admire the purity of it." Another grudging "heh." Cordy clarifies that she's bringing dip. Oz wants to figure out whether the event is a "gathering," a "shindig," or a "hootenanny." While his speech is cute, I'm too annoyed to transcribe it. I mean, Willow talked to Joyce and she's not clear on the fact that it's a dinner with just the group of them? This is bugging the hell out of me (and I'd like to use stronger language, but this isn't Six Feet Under). Plus, Oz mentions "malt beverage" as an option, and Giles doesn't even bat an eye. They're kids, people! They should do their drinking on the sly! Oz says he can get Dingoes to play at the party. Now they're having a band? This party would get shut down faster than you could say "buzzkill small-town neighbors." Giles wonders if a big party is the way to make Buffy feel welcome, but the rest of the gang wants it that way so that they can avoid any intimate contact with Buffy. Nice. They shoot Giles down. He says he's just glad she's back. He turns the page in his book, revealing the Evil Death Mask. He does not, however, look at it, his attention elsewhere. I guess Marti Noxon hates Giles as much as she hates us.