A preamble of sorts: The problem with this episode wasn't that it was as drawn-out as a human lung covering a tennis court (which is, in fact, possible), but that key points were revealed to us in the teaser for next week's episode, and ads all week long, and in the bumper for the episode during the closing credits for Everybody Loves Raymond (which is untrue, particularly in my household). We saw the guys in the red hooded robes; we saw the icky, fleshy, veiny, thick-necked demon reminiscent of Anya when she demons it up, and the flesh-eating parasite from this season, and a touch of Adam, and more than a pinch of Henry Rollins; and we saw Buffy getting all stressed about her new job. So, like, the episode? Was already ruined. And stuff. Spoiled, if you will. The only bit we didn't get to see was Cassie's performance. So, UPN? Formerly known as the Simple Shapes Network for their stupid old logo? Quit it with the giveaway teasers. Desist from telling the entire plots in less than eight seconds. And maybe this episode could have been a little less dull.
Previously on B the VS: Willow meets Anya outside the magic shop. She just got back. Buffy gets a job as a counselor at the high school. Her boss, the new principal, is hot. Spike is insane in the membrane -- I mean, "insane in the basement." Going insane! In his brain! Sorry. Stoned is the way of the walk! My bad. They're called Cypress Hill. Xander is also at the high school, "doing construction." Whatever you say, he's Buffy's slave and a weenie and that's it. Buffy asks her hot boss why she has this job, and he tells her that "the students need someone around here who understands them. [He] needs someone who understands these students." By that logic...oh, forget it. Buffy just looks at him open-mouthed. Because her new boss is hot.
Lights up in a funeral home showcase. Coffins everywhere. What is this, Six Feet Under? Boy, I'd hate to recap that -- I hear the forums are craaazy busy with millions of posters. Oh wait, that's this show. We focus on a woman lying in a open coffin. She's got a horrible black lace suit-thing on, orange Ronald McDonald-crossed-with-Estelle-Costanza hair, and more pancake than an IHOP. Off-screen, two male voices speak. "You did a nice job on her, she looks good." "Thanks. Well, see ya tomorrow!" "Night." The lights fade off. The door closes. In the blue darkness, Buffy and Xander hop out of coffins. Oh, so it's The A-Team now? What wacky hijinks. Xander looks at his watch and says, "Thirty-three minutes!" I have a premonition that I'll be making a gesture very similar to that one sometime during this recap. He asks Buffy since when do they make such a big deal of lying in wait for one vampire -- no, scratch that, one potential vampire. Buffy says robotically, "Vampire by vampire. It's the only way [she] know[s] how." Ugh. Me drink beer. A frantic knocking interrupts this sparking champale conversation. It's Dawn, stuck in a little kid coffin (brought to you by PlaySkool, makers of My First Crematorium and The Li'l Embalming Kit). She asks why, since she's not the shortest one here, she had to hide in the kiddie coffin. Buffy shushes her and reminds them that it's her job to kill the vamps, so shut up, extraneous people.
Xander apologizes, saying he's been "stressed out" lately because of Anya and all. Yeah, not marrying someone really makes the relationship more complicated. In that "over" kind of way. Buffy is stressed too. Shocker. Dawn is stressed too, because of Willow being back and "here but not part of the gang here -- and hopefully not under my feet in another time dimension, here." Buffy says she should be curled up in bed with her insomnia, worried about her job. It's her "first week of talking to the kids. What if their problems are all weird and tricky?" Xander says she's an expert in the field. Yeah, and she's so balanced and happy and not conflicted. Let her at those troubled teens! Yeah. Buffy says to check her out: taking her little sister on a field trip to a funeral parlor to get up close with the recently deceased. Xander says Estelle McDonald looks dead. Buffy says the newspaper said there were wounds on the neck. Indeed, there are two little cuts stitched shut. What a bo-bo funeral parlor. They should match, patch, and blend those wounds. What, they have hairspray and lipstick, but no Dermablend? Dawn says she looks peaceful; then wham, the woman's eyes fly open, glowing a lupine yellow, and she growls that she is not peaceful. Buffy says she can help with that, and stakes her but good. The kicker? "[Buffy] always thought that closed caskets were more tasteful anyway." She closes the lid. Ba-dump-bump.