This episode begins with the UPN announcer telling us that UPN's hottest show is Platinum. See? Even the NETWORK is dissing Buffy at this point.
Previously on Buffy: most of Season Three, and most of Season Seven. More Giles than actually appears in the episode, I think. Whatever happened to "from beneath you it devours," anyway? One notable juxtaposition in the previouslies: we get Season Three Faith saying "I don't care" about having killed a man, and Season Seven Buffy telling Wood that Spike will "kill [him]. More importantly, I'll let him." I'm hoping that's important.
Forest. Girl running. What, you expected something else? C'mon, at least it's not a cemetery. Bringers chase the girl, who runs out onto a road and flags down an old truck. The driver, a seemingly confused man of the cloth, wants to know what's wrong, but the girl hops in and demands he "get [her] out of here." Tonight the role of the Evil Misogynist Preacher will be played by Nathan Fillion, last seen as Captain Malcolm Reynolds on Joss Whedon's canceled Firefly. And if you loved his corn-pone accent there, you'll be sure to swoon at whatever kind of mangled Southern thing he's doing here. Myself, I had difficulty deciphering about ninety percent of his lines. Which, as I discovered when I watched again with the captioning on, was a true blessing. Preacher Mal asks the girl if she was being chased by devil worshippers and generally pretends he doesn't know what the hell is going on. The girl, Shannon, asks to be dropped in Sunnydale, and Preacher Mal says he's going there. Oh, and he introduces himself as Caleb, but I'm not sure yet if that's what I'll call him. Also, I'm sure Nathan Fillion is a nice guy, but he does next to nothing for me. I didn't find him attractive, compelling, or charismatic as Mal, which really prevented me from ever investing in Firefly. I enjoyed him a little more as Caleb here, mostly because he's having so much fun, but I still find him rather ehhhh. Anyway, this is the longest and most uneventful teaser ever. Preacher Maladapted asks Shannon if she knows why she was being chased, and then conversationally inquires, "Well, did you ever think that maybe they were chasing you because you're a whore?" Shannon does not appear to have considered it from that angle. Preacher Maladapted is just getting started, though, and continues to ramble about her head being filled with filth and such like. Grabbing his opportunity to say (part of) the title of the episode, Preacher Maladapted tells her she's "dirty." Shannon protests, and I start muttering, "Shut up and jump, Shannon. Break out the window and jump." Okay, I totally missed the next lines on first viewing because of the mumbling accent, but here they are: "You were born dirty. Born without a soul. Born with that gaping maw that wants to open up, suck out a man's marrow." I must admit -- I don't think I've ever heard anything quite like that on television at 7:00 PM before. And yet, there I was, leading a relatively happy existence. Thank you, ME, for introducing me to new (and utterly tasteless) horizons . Preacher Maladapted wants to puke just thinking of it, and I share the sentiment while thinking of him.
Shannon finally decides she might have picked the wrong ride, but when she reaches for the door, she finds there's no handle. As she fumbles, Preacher Maladapted describes the door as "problematical." Because crazy misogynistic preachers don't have enough problems already and need to display their evil by the use of poor grammar as well. Preacher Maladapted indicates that the Bringers are his "boys," in case that hadn't become obvious, and dismisses Satan as "a little man." Shannon makes a grab for the wheel, but Preacher Maladapted just slaps her aside. He then decides it's time for a refreshing smoke break, and -- oh sorry. It appears he's using the cigarette lighter to heat up a ring he's wearing. This can't be good for Shannon, and also, wouldn't that be a little uncomfortable for the wearer? He slams his fist into Shannon's neck, branding her with the hot ring, and shouts about cleansing fires and whatnot. Preacher Maladapted then tells Shannon there's a car behind him and she's going to deliver a message to the occupants -- a message they need to pass on to "the original, accept no substitutes, Slayer." He grabs a knife and stabs Shannon in the gut, or lower (ew), and then whispers something in her ear. Message delivered, he kicks open the passenger side door and throws her out. Shannon tumbles along the road, and a silver car pulls up and stops. Willow gets out and runs to Shannon's side. She tells her companion, Faith, that the girl needs to go to a hospital. Faith is pretty unimpressed. "Guess I'm back in Sunnydale," she grumbles, and rolls her eyes. Sorry Shannon inconvenienced you with her asphalt-eating face-plant, Faith.