Tara hurries across campus, huddled in her jacket, and runs into Cousin Beth, who apparently is not feeling the same nip in the air as Tara, because she hasn't thrown a coat on over her ghastly tube top and ruffled half shirt combo. Tara apologizes for not going to dinner, and Beth sweetly says that she was looking for Tara to see if she needed help with packing. Struggling against her stutter, Tara informs Beth that she's not returning home with her family. Beth looks sweet as homemade apple pie for a second before snarling, "You selfish bitch!" She claims that Tara's dad has been worried about her, but then ruins that sentiment by rebuking Tara for leaving her father and brother alone to do all the housework for themselves while she lives "God knows what kind of lifestyle." Beth continues, archly telling Tara she can't wait until her "little friends find out the truth" about her. "They'll see," Beth declares over Tara's distressed protests, and then figures out that Tara has cast a spell on the Scooby gang. Beth tries to hurry off to rat Tara out to her father, but Tara grabs her arm to explain, "It was just so they wouldn't see. So they wouldn't see the demon part of me." She insists that the spell was "harmless," which in Television Land of course means that the spell will turn out to be the exact opposite of harmless.
In the Magic Box workout room, Buffy is doing some sort of yoga backbend, but she's doing it in a snug pair of jeans. I would think you could damage certain, uh, tender parts, that way. ["I've had experience with snug jeans, and I've had experience with yoga. They're not two things I ever plan on combining, though." -- Ace] In the front of the shop, Willow hears a knock on the door; thinking it's Tara, she goes to answer. Outside are a whole passel of Lei-ach demons, but we can tell from Willow's confused expression that she can't see them standing there. Demons knock on front doors now? Everybody else in Sunnydale just lets themselves in. Willow slams the door and the demons, still outside, grimace menacingly.
Back on campus, we're in for a lather, rinse, repeat as Tara is hunched on a park bench while bitchy Cousin Beth chews her out some more for lying to her friends and casting a spell on them. Beth insists she's telling Tara's dad about the spell and that Tara should tell her friends goodbye. Filler, filler, filler.
At the Magic Box, Dawn is fiddling with a snow globe, entirely unaware that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Lei-ach demon is lurking right behind her. The rest of the Scooby gang is equally oblivious as the demons head through the store to the back room, where Buffy, done with her yoga, is working out with a punching bag. The demons sneak up behind her, and Buffy turns as if she senses something, but sees nothing. Use the Force, Buffy! One of the demons attacks her and throws her to the ground and Buffy, grappling with the invisible assailant, shouts out to Giles for help. Xander rushes to help her but is thrown across the room by another invisible demon, who them gets him a chokehold. Willow proves quite handy with a chair, smashing it over the attacker's invisible back, and thus begins the first (of many I'm sure) destruction of Giles's store. Giles instructs Dawn to hide under a desk. Back in the training room, Buffy is fighting two demons when Spike enters the room in a hurry through a back door (see what I mean about knocking? And what I've been saying for over a year about door-locking in Sunnydale?). Spike spends a few pleasurable seconds watching Buffy getting her butt whipped, but then his face falls, and with an exasperated eye-roll he rushes to her aid. Because Spike is grappling with one of the demons, Buffy is able to make short work of the other. She gives the room a quick scan but sees nothing, because Tara's spell has rendered Spike invisible to her as well. As she runs out of the room, Spike grouses, "You're welcome!" unaware that Buffy can't see him and appreciate his help. As if she would even if she could see him. Spike's living a fantasy, man.
Buffy runs into the front room and tells everyone to shut up -- so she can try to hear the demons, I guess. From the sores covering those guys' heads, I would assume you could smell them coming a mile away. As Buffy scans the room, the front door opens and Tara runs in. "Buffy, behind you!" she shouts a second too late, as a demon tosses Buffy across the room. In the back room, Spike grabs a nasty-looking weapon off the wall and finishes off his opponent. "Tara, where is it?! Can you see it?" shouts Buffy, and Tara, realizing what she has done with her magic, breaks the spell. Buffy's eyes flash and she is able to see the demon now attacking Tara. The punches in this fight scene are incredibly fake -- just like in the earlier dream-sequence fight with Spike, it's painfully obvious that the blows are landing nowhere near the supposed target. As if we didn't already have enough trouble, all the McChoads choose this moment to arrive at the store. One of the demons rushes Pa McChoad, who throws himself to the ground in terror, I guess because the demon doesn't get anywhere near him due to Buffy's quick intercession. She snaps the demon's neck on the stairs with a nasty crunch. Nice work, Foley artists! At least you guys still can do your job, even though the show's creator is writing bad characterization and the show's stunt coordinators seem to be drawing inspiration from the oh-so-realistic action of a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots game. Pa McChoad wonders, "What the hell was that?" and I guess he was talking about the demon and not the crappy excuse for a fight scene we just witnessed. Everyone is understandably confused as to what was going on, and Buffy fixes Tara, crouched on the floor, with a nasty glare. As Willow rushes over to her, all concerned-face, Tara stutters out an apology, saying, "I was trying to hide. I didn't want you to see -- what I am." Buffy and Willow want to know what the hell she's talking about, and when Tara can't answer, Pa McChoad declares, "Demon. The women in our family have demon in them. Her mother had it." Wait, Tara's mother was in her husband's family? Because where I come from, we call that "in-breeding," not "demon." Shouldn't he have said, "Tara's mother's family have demon in them"? Oh, anyway. He goes on to explain that Tara's demon side is the source of her witch-fu, and that he came to fetch her home before Tara started making too much trouble. Giles, apparently looking out for the slower viewers at home, expositions the obvious -- Tara cast a spell on them so they wouldn't see her demon side, and that's why they couldn't see their attackers. Yeah, we ALL figured that out, Joss. My cat figured it out, and she spent most of the episode distracted by some nefarious carpet fuzz. Tara is ashamed and rises, saying she'll leave with her family, but Willow tries to stop her, saying she only made a mistake. Pa McChoad tells Willow it's none of her concern, but Willow ignores him, asking Tara if the trust she put in her was all just a lie. Tara tearfully insists it wasn't, and Willow asks if she truly wants to leave. Before Tara can answer, Pa McChoad again tells Willow it's not her decision, and Willow amuses me a little by snarling, "I know that!" Sniffle, sniffle, sniffle, Tara doesn't want to leave, but Pa McChoad insists, "The girl belongs with her family." Buffy steps up: "You want her, Mr. McClay? You can go ahead and take her." Pause and sad look from Tara. Buffy continues, squaring her shoulders, "You just gotta go through me." Buffy tells Pa McChoad she won't allow him to take Tara against her will, and Dawn lends her voice of support. Pa McChoad expresses disbelief that "two little girls" would try to stop him, so Giles also stands up for Tara.
Xander: "You're dealing with all of us."
Spike: "'Cept me!"
Xander: "'Cept Spike."
Spike: "I don't care what happens."