Willow backs out of the basement to boos and thrown tomatoes. Xander runs up and asks if she found Buffy. Willow stammers, "I had to sing. Very bad to sing." I guess that's why she didn't do much in "Once More, With Feeling." She wants to know what happened to him, and he asks if she remembers his sixth birthday party. She laughs, and recalls that a clown chased him and he got really scared. Xander's fears are as simple as Xander himself. Willow's face falls as she realizes the implication, and the knife-wielding clown appears. They scream and turn to run, but bump into Giles. They drag him off, and ASH tries for a scream himself but ends up sounding more like C-3PO. They run, the clown chuckling in pursuit, until Xander thankfully decides he's had enough and turns and decks the clown. "You were a lousy clown. Your balloon animals were pathetic. Everyone can make a giraffe." Jeez, he had ten years and that's the best he could come up with?
The trio gets outside. People run by screaming. Xander says he feels liberated, but Giles points out that he's the only one. Giles is wearing a really ugly scarf. It doesn't seem at all him, and at first I thought it was part of his nightmare, which would have been hilarious. But I checked, and it turns out he put it on when he was leaving the library. Sigh. Giles tells them, "In a few hours reality will fold completely into the realm of nightmares." Ironically, that means that there will be only reality shows on television. I feel an enormous pang of sympathy for Daniel, Shack, Kim, Stee, Miss Alli, and the many other brave, brave recappers of reality shows. Willow asks what they can do, and Giles says they have to wake Billy up. Xander wants to find Buffy, but Giles doesn't know where to look. Willow's eyes focus in ahead of her. "When did they put a cemetery in across the street?" Xander: "And when did they make it night over there?" Couch Baron: "And exactly how low was the special-effects budget for the first season?" There's a really fake-looking CGI of the cemetery over the sunny background. They enter it.
Xander wonders whose nightmare it is. We see a headstone with Buffy's name on it. Giles: "It's mine." No "Anne," by the way. Oh, man. Not that I really thought she was dead, but -- her poor friends. Actually, Willow and Xander seem kind of unmoved, but they could easily be in shock. Giles drops to his knees on the grave and gives this heartfelt speech: "I failed, in my duty to protect you. I should have been more cautious, taken more time to train you. But you were so gifted, and the evil was so great." ASH really sounded like he was going to start crying there. It's really the first outpouring of affection toward Buffy we've seen from him, and it's a nice setup for "Prophecy Girl." ["I don't love this ep, but his delivery of 'it's mine' gets me every time. ASH rocks." -- Sars] He places his hand on the dirt, and says he's sorry. A hand reaches through the dirt and grabs him. They all scream, for real this time, as Buffy pulls herself up and dusts herself off. When she looks up, we see that she's a vampire. I did not see that coming at all.