Principal Wood has two students in his office. They look as bored as I feel. He admonishes them for some misdeed, threatens them with marks on their permanent record, blows a hole in the whole "myth" of the permanent record, and is basically only appearing in this scene to remind us that he still exists. He threatens the bored kids with the police, which makes them a little less bored but doesn't have the same effect on me. In fact, it takes a knock on Wood's door to wake me up from the comfortable little snooze this scene has induced. Knock knock. Who's there? A failed fifth-season plot device. A failed fifth-season plot device who? Dawn, silly! Yes, I realize there's no punchline there. I'm trying my very best to emulate my heroes at Mutant Enemy this season. Wood opens the door and tells Dawn, "I'm with students," which in office-speak means, "Fuck off." Dawn doesn't get it, and why would we expect her to? After all, for two seasons she's been all too immune from all the cries of "Fuck off" from the fans. Dawn delivers a little lie about how Buffy can't come to work because she's sick with the vomiting. Or, as Dawn puts it, "[Buffy's] exact words were, 'I've got stuff coming out of both ends.'" I laugh (probably the only time I laughed this episode), but it's more a bitter laugh of defeat than one of amused joy. Then for some reason the scene continues on. And on. And on. Delivering no new information and failing to advance the plot (what little there is) in any way. Okay, we remember that Wood exists, and we know Buffy's not coming to work so she can stay home and "tighten" Spike's "ropes." We give in. Have the charisma-free tertiary characters stop talking to each other, please.
Oh, good. Here's the charisma-free primary character now. Remember when SMG played Buffy as a likeable, sympathetic, and believable person? Well, too bad for you. Because now she plays Buffy as if she's been animated by the spirit of a self-loathing, yet plastically perky, Barbie and we're never getting anything different. Buffy is on the phone with Quentin Travers, who stonewalls Buffy about where Giles is. The camera pulls back, and we see that Quentin is sitting (a simple action which he manages to imbue with great pomposity) at a long table with a number of other people. Let's go way, way out on a limb and guess that these other folks are fellow Watchers. Apparently, Buffy's been close-mouthed, because Quentin tells his colleagues, "The girl knows nothing." He continues, saying that they all need to find Giles "as soon as possible." I couldn't agree more. I've been saying the same thing since "Tabula Rasa."