An ordinary school day -- or is it? Of course it isn't. We pan by extras walking the halls, laden with bulging school bags, and peer in at Buffy sitting at her new desk, straightening things out. She sharpens pencils balefully. We see that Azura Skye is guest-starring. Great! Buffy sharpens and sharpens her pencil until a girl walks in. Buffy turns hysterically cheerful and screams, "Come in!" The girl does, and woefully says that Mr. Miller sent her here. Buffy asks if she knows why. The girl doesn't know -- maybe because this guy was picking on her.
A sad piano starts up. Chords Of Teen Confusion, Volume 6. A young man in a hoodie stares down Buffy, now in a tank top and strand of pearls, and says he doesn't want to talk to her. She says "okay." He says he's serious, he doesn't want to talk, and Buffy says "okay" again. A jarheaded blonde guy says disingenuously that he hates to miss bio, but he felt he had to come and talk to Buffy. Buffy plumbs his shallow depths to discover why. School? Girls? Parents? Yes, that one, his parents. "There's issues. Of divorce." We jump-cut back to the first girl. Buffy says it's horrible to be picked on, and the thing about people that tease is that they're..."insecure?" The wan girl finishes Buffy's sentence. She's "really tired of everyone being so insecure." Tell me about it.
Buffy and the guy in the hoodie stare each other down.
Buffy tells the jarhead that "divorce is terrible. [Her] parents got divorced when [she] was a kid." He says, quick like a bunny, that his parents are happily married. But he has other problems! With girls! Maybe he should just get to bio? Buffy narrows her eyes ever so slightly and nods yes.
Buffy tells wan Amanda that she has to stick up for herself. "You tell him that you're not going to take any more of his shi...ah...guff. His guff." Amanda says that that's what she did. She "jumped him in the parking lot? And slammed his stupid-ass insecure face right into the pavement." Buffy says, "You what?" Maybe that's why she got sent to the counselor, huh? "Should I pound on him some more?" Maybe, Amanda. Let's wait and see.
Willow and Xander walk and talk. Zzz. Willow notes that Buffy is stressed about her new job, which of course is totally news. Then there's the whole new-school-on-the-Hellmouth thing. Xander says expositionally, "From beneath you it devours." Hey, I remember that phrase! Willow says it's going to be "bad, real bad, and if it comes? Well, when it comes...." Oh, come on -- we all know the season finale (as always) is going to be Something Very Bad Coming. No need to sugarcoat it. Just let it unfold plotfully, please. Willow is concerned that she won't be able to help, or to control herself without going all "black-eyed baddie." Xander makes a very old-time-y eat-your-oatmeal kind of analogy about how Willow controlling her magic is a lot like hammering a nail. Hear him out. One way to hit a nail is to let the head fall where it will, but you could bang your thumb that way. So, you choke up on the handle, which will then take like ten hits to get the nail in, since all the weight of the head is diminished. "Power and control. It's a trade-off." Willow says that's not a bad analogy. Wow, for a chick that just got out of off-screen rehab, she sure hasn't gotten tired of hearing people make analogies. They stop walking. Xander asks if she's ready for this. For what? We pull out to see that they're in a graveyard. Willow walks by herself and kneels by Tara's grave. The Sad Piano Of Mourning starts up. Willow reaches out and runs her fingers along the stone cuts that spell out Tara's name. "Hey," she says sadly. "It's me."