"I bet she's dying," chirps Anya in reference to Dawn. Buffy, strapping on a big knife in a calf-holster, insists that Dawn is merely paralyzed. Anya gets an idea. "Did you try this?" she asks, moving Dawn's legs straight up into the air, where they stay unaided. Xander: "Oh! You're poseable." Hee! "Poseable?" says Buffy, coming over for a closer look. Anya poses Dawn into a sitting position. Dawn is ticked off, but I think this is exactly the kind of lampooning her character needs to make the fans hate her less. But as hee-larious as poseable Dawn is, I'm distracted by Anya's hair, which was pretty short in the last episode but is now past her shoulders. I guess D'Hoffryn considers teleporting to be a privilege, while hair extensions on demand are a right. Buffy, protein-packing in preparation for some physical exertion, asks Anya where the nuts she's chowing down on came from. "Brazil," answers Anya. Hmmm. I'm guessing that might be important later. Anya tells them that there's no need to thank her for sitting with Dawn, as she's having a "benevolent" day. "Helping Willow. Helping [the gang]." After a few seconds, Buffy twigs to what Anya is saying, and Anya reveals that Willow is looking for Buffy and went to some cave to try to find her. "Shall I make her salute?" she asks in reference to Dawn. "That'd be very cute." Hee! I want a poseable Dawn for my birthday! Once Buffy realizes that Willow is trapped in the well -- er, cave, and that Anya is familiar with Gnarl, she holds out an axe to Anya and requests the honor of her presence in that special way that Buffy has: the direct order. The gang files out, but Buffy doubles back to slap the TV remote into Dawn's hand.
Willow. In pain. Being eaten alive. Some more. Gnarl: "And if they return where will they find you? Inside me you'll already be." Y'know. Being eaten alive is bad enough, but the rhyming couplets? That's torture.
The gang races through the woods on the way to save Willow. Anya is trailing way behind. Xander yells at her to keep up. "Out of shape, " she gasps. "Teleporting." Heh. Buffy yells at both of them to hurry. Well, why don't you just run ahead then, Little Miss Supernaturally Blessed With Greater Than Mortal Endurance?
Willow whines and moans as Gnarl sucks at her insides. Buffy runs up and swings her axe at Gnarl. He wisely decides to retreat and regroup. "Where's Willow?" asks Buffy, looking around but obviously not seeing her. Anya, bent at Willow's side, is all, "Um. Here?" Xander bends down and feels the air on the ground next to Anya, but his hand just goes right through her. "Behind you!" calls out Anya. Buffy makes a very narrow escape when Gnarl slashes at her with his poison claws. Her shirt is rent, but luckily Buffy's skin isn't. Buffy, angered into action over the destruction of her new knit top, takes on the demon. With a short little knife putting her in more danger from his poison claws than strictly necessary. What happened to that axe she had just a second ago? Anya calls out a reminder to "get him in the eyes." She kneels down to "comfort" Willow with a "Wow, you're really hurt." If you say so, Anya. Doesn't look so bad to me. Much less like Willow was paralyzed and had huge strips of skin flayed from her tummy and more like Gnarl held her down and exfoliated her a bit too long. Anya provides a blow-by-blow of the events. Willow is incredibly distressed because she still can't see Buffy and Xander. Anya reassures her that they're really, really there, and Willow does her best to get all emotional with, "They're here. They're here. I'm not alone." Oh, OUCH. Good thing Anya doesn't grasp the subtle insult in that. Back to the fighting. Buffy displays adaptability and impales Gnarl's foot with her knife, immobilizing him. She then gets up real close and sticks her thumbs in his eyes until they pop like jelly. God, this episode is gross. Xander is suitably icked out too. As the demon is killed, Willow is once again able to move, as is Dawn, who falls off the couch with a little squeal. Buffy and Xander still can't see Willow, though. Anya goes to fetch help. Buffy and Xander can't go, because then they wouldn't be there for the emotional, babbling reunion among the gang.
Pan up on Casa Summers. Buffy pauses at the doorframe of her old room, where Willow is sitting on her bed and meditating. She goes to leave, but Willow comes out of her trance long enough to call Buffy inside. Willow explains that she's all out of juice because she's busy "healing. Growing new skin." Y'know, Will, that'll just happen on its own. Buffy comes in to sit on her bed and makes a nervous joke about how Clem should probably cut back on the meditation. Willow says that she's "drawing power from the earth" because "Giles says that everything is part of the earth." It'd be better if Giles were here to say it himself. Willow leans back carefully. I'm already bored with this scene. No Poseable Dawn or Sassy Anya make Sep a disinterested viewer. Buffy wants to beat a quick retreat, but Willow begs her to stay. Buffy gives her a quick update on Dawn's research into what caused the blinvisibility, but Willow interrupts her: "I did it." Buffy looks troubled by the thought of Willow doing spells again, and even more troubled when Willow reveals that she did it unintentionally. Oh, that's comforting. At least last year Willow was able to control when she would cast spells. What a remarkable job the Coven did. Buffy masks her shock with, "It's okay. As long as you're all right." Then Buffy looks down and confesses that when the flayed people started showing up, Buffy thought that Willow was behind it. Buffy tells her that she wishes she were the kind of person who would give her friends the benefit of the doubt, but Willow very rightly points out that, as the Slayer, Buffy doesn't have the luxury of thinking the best of people sometimes. Willow starts to go into her trancy thing again. Buffy is all, "I thought you were too tired." Willow explains that it "hurts too much not too try," but at the same time it takes so much strength. Buffy scoots close to Willow and mirrors her cross-legged position. She explains that she's so full of strength that she's "givin' it away." They join hands and begin meditating to grow Willow some more skin. Oh, how touching. Anyone have any Ho-Hos? I'm hungry.