So. Again. Dawn tells Xander to attach the doohickeys to the base one at a time, and the shadows will tell a story. "First there is the earth," reads Dawn. Xander affixes the corresponding doohickey to the base of the oil lamp. As it throws its shadow on the wall, a distant drum begins to beat. It's obvious that the Scoobs can hear it too. "Okay. So far so creepy," sums up Xander. At Dawn's instruction, Xander puts the remaining doohickeys in place. The story is that after the earth, there were the demons. Then came men who "found a girl" and took her to fight the demons. "They chained her to the earth," says Dawn, with a quick glance at Buffy. I thought that was actually a nice, subtle way for Dawn to acknowledge the burden that Buffy bears. Most importantly, it was accomplished without any overblown speeches. The living room is now a cacophony of drum beats and screams. As the last doohickey is put into place, the shadows begin to spin and move on their own. Dawn begins to have trouble reading the words in the book. "Something about darkness?" she guesses. But the book quickly begins to translate itself as the drums crescendo. The gist is that Buffy "cannot be shown" but rather must "see for [herself] but only if [she's] willing to make the exchange." As Dawn says this, a portal opens from the middle of the oil lamp. Buffy approaches it slowly, and I snigger at her boots. Quite a feat considering the skirt they're paired with. "It means I have to go in there," deduces Buffy. Willow is distressed at this suggestion: "No it doesn't. Where does it say that? It doesn't say that!" Wood and Xander also try to talk Buffy out of it, but she's gotta do it because it's the plot of this episode. Willow worries that "we don't know where you're going or how we'll get you back." Buffy looks pensive, but their concerns slide off of her. She instructs them to "find a way" before jumping into the portal. It snaps shut behind her, taking all of the mysterious Slayer origin accoutrements with it. Riddle me this: if this kit was supposed to be passed along from Slayer to Slayer, why does it disappear if anyone actually uses it? No time to think now, though, because there's a bright flash of light, and a large black demon disappears. Xander just has enough time to quip, "Ah, this must be the exchange student," before getting thrown into the table.
Fight! Fight! Fight! I love fights. They're so easy to recap. Kennedy suggests that Willow send the demon back magically. Willow looks unsure, but starts to mumble something; the only effect is that she's backhanded into the wall for her troubles. I'm usually immune to Wood's charms because I find him a little too well-formed for me to consider hot -- like, I get an inferiority complex just by being attracted to him -- but then he adopts his super-cool ninja fighting stance and it's all over. I know that doesn't seem very convincing, that I'm attracted to someone because he stands well, but that's just the state of Sep's nation. Wood hurls his little throwing stars before tackling the demon. He too is quickly rebuffed. The demon quickly dispatches Kennedy, Dawn, and finally Spike, the latter getting thrown through the ceiling and landing upstairs somewhere. The demon bursts through the French doors in the living room and disappears into the night. I cringe a little when the house takes yet another beating, and I think it's a sad state of affairs when I have more sympathy for Casa Summers than any of its inhabitants. The gang regroups. Sadly, there are no Kennedy-shaped casualties. They quickly realize that this demon is beyond their abilities, and they need Buffy back pronto. "Looks like it's spell o'clock," asides Xander to Willow. God, just don't let it be another locator spell. Every time Willow does a locator spell, a little part of me dies. Anya is doubtful of Willow's ability to re-open the portal without going off the deep end, but Willow doesn't see that they have any other options. Especially as they don't know where Buffy has ended up.