Buffy has just told Willow, Xander, and Oz about the ice show. Xander: "And how old are we again?" I'm not going to dignify that with an answer. Oh, all right: Shut up, Xander. Willow: "I went to Snoopy On Ice when I was little. My dad took me backstage and I got so scared I threw up on Woodstock." I've heard of people throwing up at Woodstock, but throwing up on Woodstock's a new one. Buffy confesses that it's a "big dumb girly thing," but she loves it. Oz says that ice is cool. Who cares what he said? I love him. Willow thinks it's great that Buffy and her dad have a tradition. Perhaps she should explain to Hank that the concept of "tradition" doesn't include "completely cutting your motherless daughter[s] out of your life." Even if he has done it for three years now. Xander wants to have a party, but Buffy points out that parties in her honor tend to go badly. Actually, at this point, I think they've made parties on any major holiday a no-no as well. She thinks it would be better to celebrate this birthday with "quiet reflection." Okay, so this wish gets granted? Poor Buffy.
A bouquet of flowers sits on the Summers kitchen counter, with balloons attached that say, "Happy Birthday." Buffy walks in and notices them, but Joyce says they're from Hank. On closer inspection, we see that there's a letter and some tickets attached to the flowers. Joyce explains that Hank's "quarterly projections are unraveling" and he can't take any time off right now; in a manner that indicates she knows it wouldn't be the same, Joyce says that she could get someone to cover for her at the gallery if Buffy wanted her to go instead. Buffy, her voice breaking, shoots that idea down, saying that she was just thinking a quiet birthday might be nice. Sniff. First "Surprise," now this. I'm surprised "The Gift" didn't happen on her birthday. ["Given the way her birthday keeps jumping around the calendar, it probably could have." -- Sars] And while I admire Joyce for not taking this opportunity to take a cheap shot at Hank, I think Buffy really could have used some comforting there.
We see a shot of a large, spooky house. The sign reads "Sunnydale Arms," but I'm calling it the Bates Motel, in light of the issues of one of its inhabitants. Some guy is building a brick wall up in a doorway. His name's Blair. Another dude, named Hobson, is also working. Quentin Travers supervises. I know we haven't met him yet, but it's much easier this way, so shut up. Hobson says they'll be ready in five or six hours. Travers says to finish and rest, because Hobson and Blair will be sleeping in shifts after that. They regard a large padlocked wooden crate. Travers: "We're getting very close. The Slayer's preparation is nearly complete."