Buffy is fighting an ineffective vamp in a cemetery at night. She gets the better of him and quips, "We haven't been properly introduced. I'm Buffy, and you're history," as she dusts him. Giles pops up from behind a tomb and, checking his notes, criticizes Buffy's execution and technique in offing the vamp. As Buffy scoffs, Giles informs her that she's expending too much "time and energy" and instead her technique should be "plunge and move on." Sounds like too many guys I knew in college. Uh, anyway, as Giles speaks he notices the dusted vamp has left behind a signet ring, although I don't know why a vampire's accessories would stay behind when their clothes seem to always vanish. Giles tells Buffy that he's not sure of the origin of the ring, but that it seems to imply that her recent slaying was not random. He of course is eager to consult his books. Why is Giles so surprised to find a ring? Most of the vampires we see sport an accessory or two.
We see a huge dusty book slamming down and then the ugly mug of the Master, who is reading a passage from the book concerning "the Anointed, the Master's greatest warrior." The rest of the passage says that the Anointed will come, the Slayer will not know him and "he will lead her into Hell." Heavy, dude. "As it is written, so shall it be," muses the Master. For some reason, I'm not entirely sure why, on this rental tape I have captioning in Spanish instead of the usual English closed captioning. Which means that as part of Ace's Buffy Learning Hour, I can tell you that "As it is written so shall it be" in Spanish is As' est‡ escrito y que as' sea. We get a long shot of the Master's cavern, and the set has obviously been expanded since "The Harvest," because it's much more obvious this time around that the Master is trapped in a ruined church. Which is a theme I seem to recall getting recycled in season four. Okay, wait, I'm getting distracted from oh-so-important exposition here. The Master approaches three vampires and continues reading. Apparently "five will die and from their ashes the Anointed shall rise." The vampires are members of the Brethren of Aurelius, who have to meet the Anointed One and lead him to the Master. The Master scolds the Brethren for allowing one of their membership to get slain by Buffy the night before. He chokes one of the vamps, trying to impress upon them the importance of not letting the Slayer get in the way of his (Master) plan.
Buffy is sitting in the library fiddling with the ring she and Giles found, as he informs her he's discovered that the rune on the ring stands for fidelity. That is note-worthy, because fidelity doesn't seem to be in the vampire pantheon of virtues. Buffy notices a symbol on the inside of the ring, and although Giles tells her it's meaningless, she takes the book from him and instantly identifies the symbol. Apparently the dead vampire belonged to the Order of Aureoles, oops, spell check problem there -- I meant Order of Aurelius. As Buffy gloats over besting Giles, a tall young man enters the library. Buffy pops up and smoothes her dress, greeting him as "Owen," but Giles snappishly demands, "What do you want?" Owen, a wide-eyed good-looking lad, if a trifle, say, thirtyish to be playing eighteen, wants a book. He explains he's lost his Emily Dickinson. Buffy babbles at Owen and proves she doesn't have any idea who Emily Dickinson is, and when Giles points Owen towards the poetry sections, Owen tells Buffy that he didn't think he'd find her in the library. Buffy runs after him, revealing the fact that she wearing a dress made out of two tea towels my grandmother bought in 1965. As he browses the shelves, Owen says he never thought of Buffy as the bookwormy type, and she gazes mooncalfishly at him and then admits she's surprised he ever gave her any thought. Buffy, for god's sake, you wear about thirty square inches of fabric and leather knee-boots to school! Of course the boys have thought about you. As Owen goes to check out his book, Buffy continues chatter at him; he tells her he'll see her in math and leaves. Buffy gazes after Owen as Giles returns to the Order of Aurelius. However, Buffy can't concentrate and wants Giles to find her another copy of Emily Dickinson. He dryly tells her that her interest in checking out a book is "grounds for a national holiday" but that they need to focus on their supernatural problem. Buffy agrees and then frets, "Does this outfit make me look fat?"
In the cafeteria, Buffy and Willow buy their lunches and discuss Buffy's close encounter of the Owen kind. Willow describes him as "brooding and mysterious," and I guess the reason we never saw Owen again after this episode was that he was stepping all over Angel's stereotype. The girls join Xander at a cafeteria table, and Willow calls Buffy a vixen for checking out her own copy of Emily Dickinson. They discuss the food of unknown origin and Xander inquires loudly, "How'd the slaying go last night?" and then for secrecy's sake corrects himself, "How'd the laying go?" Buffy glares. The group notices Owen sitting alone and Buffy simpers that perhaps someone should go and sit with him. I pause the tape in order to transcribe the this scene so far and freeze SMG mid-simper. My boyfriend, wandering through the room, inquires, "What's that face? Buffy looks like she just ripped one." And after laughing until my ribs hurt I have to admit that she really, really does. Buffy grabs her tray and approaches Owen's table but is body-checked by Cordelia, who apparently had the same plan. As Buffy bends down to pick up her lunch, Cordy plops herself down across from Owen. Buffy gets revenge by making a crack about Cordy's wide hips as Owen helps her gather her lunch. Cordelia tries to recover the situation by telling Owen he should stop by the Bronze, since "a bunch of us" (by which she means herself) will be there. Buffy looks hurt until Owen asks if she's going. Despite Cordy's attempts at sabotage, Owen and Buffy agree to meet at the Bronze at 8:00.