Library. Mysterious Masked Mage tells Giles, "The debt to you is now paid in full. Do not call upon me again," and then fades into thin air. I wish I could do that. Awfully handy. Willow wants to know to which debt he was referring, and Giles mentions that he introduced the Masked Mage to his wife. Poor Giles. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Although I bet he looks just scrumptious in peach taffeta. So I guess we're supposed to buy that the Mayor contacted the Masked Mage, the Masked Mage contacted Giles, and then Giles cooked up a plan with the Mage, Buffy, and Angel to foil the Mayor's plan. It was fun the first time I saw this episode, but upon re-watching, I really don't buy that there was time for all the machinations to take place. At what point did Giles talk to Buffy about all this? It has to have been before Buffy had the talk about taciturn men with Willow at school, in which case Buffy was very much misrepresenting the source of her angst to Willow, which upsets me. Wesley protests the "dangerous charade," but nobody listens to him. In short, all is well in the world. Wes stomps off to take his toys and go home, and the gang discusses the Ascension.
Faith's apartment. The Mayor is trying to console an upset Faith with promises that, after he ascends, there won't be enough of the gang left to fill a pothole. Faith doesn't seem overly cheered by this prospect. The Mayor notices and leans in close to tell her, "Okey-dokey. I've got two words that are going to take all the pain away." Gleeful dramatic pause. "Miniature. Golf." Faith cracks up in spite of herself. Ah, I miss the Mayor.
Overcompensation Estates. Buffy comes by to break up with Angel a little. It's all angsty, but since they've been broken up for about three years now, I just can't seem to care. She walks out, and Angel calls after her, "Still my girl?" Buffy looks back at him: "Always." Countdown to "always" in T minus five episodes.