At the hospital, Shannon gives Buffy and Willow information on Father Malicious and how he picked her up as Bringers were chasing her. How does Shannon know they were called Bringers? Because she's a poor little exposition device with no real backstory. She lifts her bandage to show the burn from Father Malicious's ring. The burn doesn't really look like anything I can make out, but I wonder if it will be important later on, because Buffy steps aside so Willow can take a picture of the burn with her digital camera. Hey, that could be Willow's spin-off! C.S.I. Sunnydale, with sexy Wicca Willow leading her team of forensic investigators in unraveling Sunnydale's more mysterious murders. Shannon passes on Father Malicious's message: "I have something of yours."
At the Summers home, Buffy addresses a large assembled group, telling them about the "new player in town." She notes that Father Malathion is "taunting" them and "calling [them] out." Calling them out? Is this the Sunnydale version of Red Rover? First Evil, First Evil, send Buffy on over. Buffy continues that she's tired of inaction and waiting. "He's got something of mine? Fine. I'm getting it back. And you guys are coming with me."
Father Malathion's wine cellar. A pretty blond girl walks around looking for something. Father Malathion steps from the shadows, and they share a little chit-chat about how she heard him preaching earlier and came to look for him. He tells her, "The truth is like a sword, isn't it, girl? It cuts deep," and explains that the words he uses have deep power. He feels that the human race is full of weakness and therefore seeks strength and power. He circles the girl menacingly and then steps into the shadows. The girl follows him and drops to the ground dead, her stomach a bloody wound. Father Malathion looks upon her, holding his bloodless knife close to his face. The dead girl morphs into First Buffy, who gives a little "job well done" sigh and jumps to her feet perkily. This scene is actually much more creepy upon second viewing, when I know that the blonde girl is the First wearing a pretty face so that Malathion can play snuff games. On first viewing, I thought, "Ah, yet another victim," but the dynamic of the oldest source of evil in the world taking the time to play distressing murder games to please its minion is much more fascinating. "Do it again!" enthuses Father Malathion, and First Buffy asks him for requests. The First Evil takes requests? See, that's twisted. Although I can't help feeling the First would have a great second job as entertainment at children's birthday parties. "Do a clown!" "No, do Spiderman!" "Nuh uh, Boba Fett!" It could be a really fun time, if those clumsy Bringers didn't tip over the prezzie table and step on the cake. Father Malathion wants to see a choir girl from his past. Before the First complies, it points out that all the girls Malathion killed "followed [him] willingly." He notes that that's what girls do best.
Casa Summers. Smaller war council in one of the bedrooms. Buffy wants the Junior Misses armed. She and Faith will go on reconnaissance. Giles asks Buffy if she's sure she should take action against Preacher Malarkey, adding that they can't be sure the Preacher has anything of Buffy's at all. Buffy says, "It could be a girl! A potential trying to get to us," and Giles totally cracks me up by snotting back, "It could be a stapler." Well, a good stapler is hard to find. You need to hold onto it pretty tight to keep your coworkers from…oh, sorry. This isn't about me, is it? Just that little office-supply obsession of mine. Anyway, now I'm wondering if Buffy will show up at Preacher Malarkey's vineyard and be all, "I believe you have my stapler?" Giles point out that most of the Junior Misses haven't even been in the field, and I'm left wondering why the hell not if things are so bad in Sunnydale that the unseen citizens are leaving in droves. Buffy decides to take the Misses who have been around the longest, because they're the girls with the most experience. And because they're the ones getting on her nerves the most. Willow and Spike point out that this could be a trap, so Buffy instructs Willow to stay behind to protect the girls who aren't going. "You're my most powerful weapon," Buffy tells Willow. Either that's different than being her most powerful warrior, or she's just passing out "most powerful" ribbons to all her minions these days. Xander again points out that this sounds like a trap, and Buffy gets all out-of-proportion agitated and practically shouts that they have to move fast because Preacher Malarkey won't be expecting them to do anything yet. Buffy, think. He sent you a message specifically designed to make you come to him. How could he not be prepared for your arrival? Giles snots that they need more time to prepare. It's always so sad seeing your ex-boyfriends after the break-up, isn't it? And you look at them and wonder if they really have changed, or were always jerks and you couldn't see it. Oh, and Giles? Stop calling, man -- it's over between us. One stapler joke isn't enough to make up for your behavior in Episodes Ten through, well, this one. Buffy won't consider a delay, and tells Giles to stay behind and "help the girls who still need a teacher." Meow! Saucer of milk for the Slayer, please. Giles looks at her like he really can't believe she just fucking said that to him.