Giles and Cordy drive to City Hall. They exposit that they picked up ingredients for a potion from Giles's apartment, and he instructs Cordy in how to prepare it. He recites some German to himself, and explains that he's trying to remember an incantation about "lifting a veil," which will make demons appear in their true form, and "negate their influence." That's an opening for me to point out a problem with this episode: How did the demon's influence work, exactly? I could buy that it only had power over adults, but why wasn't Giles affected? He instructs Cordy to drop a "toadstone" into the mixture. She sniffs it, and remarks that it doesn't look like a toad. Giles: "No reason it should. It's from inside the toad." Cordy resignedly seethes, "I hate you." Hee. These two needed more scenes together. Of course, that applied to Cordy and just about everyone.
Oz and Xander look for a way to the inside of City Hall, and hear Willow yell for help. Oz punches in an air duct, and he and Xander climb in. You know, Xander was looking pretty trim back then.
The fire burns. Buffy tries to point out to her mom that dead people are talking to her, but she's not budging. Joyce says she has to punish Buffy for messing with "unnatural forces." If it weren't a classic episode, I would have thought she was talking about Freddie Prinze Jr.
Giles and Cordy enter City Hall. He tries to open the door to the main hall, but it's locked. He grabs a bobby pin out of Cordy's hair. She whines. He works on the lock. Cordy: "God, you really were the little youthful offender, weren't you? You must just look back on that and cringe." Ha! See what I mean? I love her.
The fire's lapping at Buffy and Willow's feet now. Well, Buffy, here's your chance to get the fire back. Willow says it's too hot for her to take, and Buffy apologizes in a voice that indicates she thinks they're about to die. She starts another sentence, but trails off as she sees Giles and Cordy stealthily enter. Giles motions to the fire extinguisher, and Cordy shields her eyes and puts an elbow through the glass. The noise alerts the adults to their presence, and they try to rush them, but Cordy turns on the hose and fends them off with the water as Giles recites the German incantation. Buffy yells to Cordy to put out the fire, which she does, soaking everyone but herself and Giles in the process.