Joshua Tree. Buffy comes across three old men in "African" dress sitting in the desert with their staffs. She introduces herself, but they know who she is already. They're expecting her. That's just how these mystical things work. Which also explains how Buffy can understand the language they're speaking while we need subtitles. Based on my cursory knowledge of the case system they're using, I think it's Swahili. I'm sure that if I'm wrong, someone will tell me within four minutes of this going live. The internet is just like that. The men rise and begin to circle her, saying that they have been there since the beginning, but now it is almost near the end, because Buffy is the Hellmouth's last guardian. Huh. Is that a tacit way of admitting that the Slayer line no longer goes through Buffy? Buffy is impatient to get back and deal with The First, which would be nice if she ever got around to doing something about it. The shamans say that they have no knowledge to give her, only power. Buffy starts to call into question the reality of her being on this plane at all, speculating that it's only a figment of her imagination. And then? Shaman #3 just cracks his staff against the back of Buffy's skull, knocking her out. Mmmm. Let's watch that again. Aaaaah. Once more. With feeling.
Willow pours a circle of green sand on the floor of the living room which will contain the portal. Suddenly Xander wants to wait for Spike to get back with the demon. The other demon, that is. Not the demon that is Spike. Willow has to get started right away, though, because a portal like this one "could take days." Could someone tell the witch she only has ten minutes of airtime left? Willow steps into the circle, sits cross-legged, and begins chanting in Latin. Nothing happens. She turns back to Dawn to tell her to make a pot of joe -- it's gonna be a long night. Of course, right then, a bolt of CGI knocks Dawn and Kennedy backwards. Willow turns around with the requisite black eyes and screams. Why does she have to scream all the time? Magic never used to involve so much screaming. What part of physics is that based on? Snort.
Buffy comes to bathed in bluish light. She looks around, and she's in a cave. Chained up in a cave, actually. A cave whose floor has a spiral pattern. Chained to the earth. Y'all see where this is going? "We are at the beginning," says a shaman. But I hear him say "Kwanza," which everyone here generally celebrates at Christmas. Christmas = presents. Death = your gift. Will this show finally be put out to pasture as a gift to the viewers? I can only dream. The shamans tell her that they've brought her to the source of the Slayer's power. Buffy is already "bursting with power," and isn't interested in any more. And I agree. Especially if it's going to make her even more long-suffering. I really think that this Slayer origins story is about two seasons out of date, though. I mean, who cares about how Slayers came into being at this point? I'd be satisfied if someone could just explain to me why Buffy turned into such a beeyotch. "The first Slayer did not talk so much," notes one of the shamans. But Buffy does. She also shops and sneezes and doesn't sleep on a bed of bones. They begin to pound their staffs and make drum beat noises reminiscent of those at the shadow show. A shaman brings out a black box and lays it down in the middle of the spiral. He takes off the lid as he tells Buffy that her true strength, the energy of the demon's spirit and heart, lies within. Buffy realizes that this is probably exactly how the First Slayer was created.