Giles and Buffy are in the training room. He expositions that a coven in Devon, England, "sensed the rise" of a "dark force fueled by grief" in Sunnydale. Did they sense a great disturbance in the Force, perhaps? Millions of voices crying out from the pain of terrible plot and pacing, and never silenced? The coven then saw the death of Tara and "imbued" Giles with their collective powers. I like Giles's snazzy black-magic-fighting black overcoat with the collar up. He's also working a whole rumpled, spiky-hair thing. Quietly, Giles asks, "Buffy, what's happened here?" Buffy hems and haws a little and then admits that Willow has been abusing magic, but she "barely even noticed." She looks up to the ceiling and then finds the courage to begin her sad litany: "Xander left Anya at the altar, and Anya's a vengeance demon again." Giles looks very concerned. Buffy continues, "Dawn's a total klepto. Money's been so tight that I've been slinging burgers at the Doublemeat Palace and -- I've been sleeping with Spike." She looks at Giles, waiting for his reaction; he just stares at her. Buffy shifts nervously under his gaze, and then Giles's face crumples and he bursts into laughter. He covers his mouth with his hand, but can't stop laughing. Buffy looks annoyed, then exasperated, and then she rolls her eyes and starts to laugh too. They laugh and laugh, and it's very infectious, and I can't remember the last time that someone even smiled on this joyless show, so I laugh too.
In the front of the shop, Cruella D'Will telepath-talks to Anya and mind-controls her into removing the binding spell. Even in a binding spell, Willow can't shut the fuck up! Just shut up and be evil, already.
Back in the training room, Giles is stumbling about, hysterical with hilarity, as Buffy, bent over laughing, manages to gasp out the events of "Normal Again." Giles flaps his hand around and giggles, "Duct tape!" Hee. "On their mouths," concurs Buffy. They finally recover from their laughing fit, and Giles changes gears suddenly. "Can you forgive me?" he asks. "I should never have left." You're right! You should never have left! We all needed you, Giles, not just Buffy. Buffy tells him that he was right to have left Sunnydale. Giles feels he abandoned Buffy, but she assures him, "It is time I was an adult." Giles muses that "sometimes the most adult thing you can do is ask for help when you need it," and I'm not sure what he means. Is he remonstrating Buffy for not contacting him in England, or is he talking about himself, or what? Buffy replies (about asking for help), "Now you tell me," but hasn't she learned the lesson over and over and over that she can and should ask for help? Doesn't anything ever sink in with these kids? Buffy admits that she's been struggling for a long time with the feeling that she wasn't "really here." "When I clawed my way out of that grave, I left something behind. A part of me." She doesn't understand why she's no longer dead, why she's "back." Giles lamely suggests, "You have a calling." And a contract. I hope he realized as he said that how useless and insufficient an answer that was. Buffy doesn't agree; she thinks it was her proper time to die. "So why?" she asks, and Giles doesn't have an answer. A quiet moment, and then Buffy asks what the plan is for Willow. Giles says that the coven is "working on a way to extract her powers without killing her." He adds that Buffy must know that even if Willow survives the process, it's possible she'll never be the same person again. Since she's killed someone and been really, really bitchy to her friends. You can't come back from that, you know. Just ask Shannen Doherty. "How will she be able to live with herself?" asks Giles rhetorically. "I wouldn't worry about that," Cruella D'Will sasses from the doorway, where she's holding an unconscious Anya in front of her like a shield. "Willow doesn't live here anymore," she continues, and dumps Anya on the floor. I wish Willow would move back in, because the new resident of her body is an unfunny, crashing bore.