Holy cheese and crackers, Batman! Xanya put the finishing touches on the party treats in Buffy's kitchen. Xander wonders who all is coming to the Buffy birthday bash, and Buffy lists the usual suspects, along with "Sophie from work." Buffy makes a big deal about how much she's bonded with Sophie, and how that shows she can make new friends, but when quizzed by Anya, she can't recall Sophie's last name. Xander and Anya let loose that they've invited a boy for Buffy. The birthday girl doesn't look too pleased by the news, but when Dawn hears the end of this as she clomps into the kitchen, she seems excited. Anya over-sells the blind date guy, and Xander scuttles off in embarrassment.
Cut to the foyer. Buffy answers the door as Tara arrives. She and Buffy share a hug. They talk about Buffy's mental health, but I'm distracted by the black off-the-shoulder-top that makes Buffy look like nothing so much as The Buffy Barbie Styling Head. Tara wonders if Spike is coming, and Buffy says she wants to stay in the closet about that relationship.
Upstairs, Willow adjusts and smoothes her hideously sequined and gathered and tucked blouse. Honey, I don't care how much you tug at that fabric; you're never gonna turn it into something you should be wearing, and more importantly, you're never going to win Tara back wearing it. ["Willow's blouse? Hideous. I'm a longtime fan of figure skating, and as such I've lived through the illusion fabric trend, the single-sleeve trend, the matching headband and armband with fringe trend. But this outfit? Worse than anything I've ever seen on a Russian ice dancer." -- Sep] Back downstairs, Tara is very nervous about seeing Willow, which of course is Willow's cue to enter. Buffy conspicuously leaves, and Willow and Tara talk to each other with a lot of "fines" and "ums" and "greats." Because everything is fine, um. Great! Tara strides into the kitchen and steals the glass of punch Buffy was pouring for herself. Knock on the door. Enter Spike, six-pack under his arm, droopy-eared kitten poker cheater demon in tow. Spike throwaways that Willow mentioned the party and he thought he'd drop by. Yeah, I'd like to have seen that conversation. When was the last time Spike talked to any of the gang? Buffy and Tara share a look. The droopy-eared demon introduces himself to Tara as Clement, and I'm considering claiming that as a big old shout-out to me since Clement is my dad's name. Xander brings in Richard, his normal friend from work, and immediately concocts a clever ruse to get Buffy and Richard alone together. The old "go show Richard where he can park his car on the street of a small town with ample parking and probably a free driveway since none of the inhabitants of the house even has a car" trick. Buffy, caught in an uncomfortable position, agrees to help Richard out, causing Spike to cock an eyebrow at her. In the doorway, Richard stops her and with a glance towards Clem whispers, "That guy with the " "Skin condition," finishes Buffy. "He doesn't like to talk about it." Spike snarks, "Stupid git," after the departing Dick. "I don't know," needles Tara. "He seemed cute." Ha! I love me some Tara. She gets Clem to agree that Richard is cute; being a lesbian, she's not very sure of these things. Heh. Spike looks miffed.