Anya comes to; screaming in pain, she pulls the sword out of her chest. She pants and tells Buffy that she should know better -- "it takes a lot more to kill a vengeance demon." Buffy says, "I'm just getting started." I think she did forget that she couldn't kill Anya with a sword, or else she just figures this will be a gradual hack job. Poor Buffy. She's such a strange mixture of cold and goofy this season, and I didn't much care for her demeanor in the living room scene with Willow and Xander, but still, being obliged to hack apart someone I know as part of my higher calling is just impossible for me to get my mind around. We have a replay of the earlier fight scene, except that this time Anya has the sword and Buffy only Slayer quickness as her defense. She knocks Anya down, grabs the weapon, and prepares to deliver another impaling, but is tackled and knocked down by Xander. Everyone scrambles to their feet, and Anya yells, "Stop trying to save me, Xander!" Ooops -- they shouldn't have bothered getting up, because D'Hoffryn chooses this moment to teleport into the room, accompanied by lightning that knocks everyone back down again. D'Hoffryn tells them to continue and then, as Buffy, Xander, and Anya stare at him from the floor, he wanders over to look into the room full of corpses. "Oh, breathtaking," he celebrates. "It's like somebody slaughtered an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog." Ha! Oh, I mean, "how cruel." Well, no, actually, I mean that that's the kind of irreverent and dark humor this show has been missing for years. Don't tell me Cruella D'Willow was dark. She wasn't dark -- she was dorky and humorless. Dark is making jokes at dead frat boys' expense. Dark is the cheery, fatherly Mayor knowing factually that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Dark is the malicious joy in mayhem enjoyed by some of the villains in past seasons, and the way the viewer could too easily be sucked in to feel that dark joy.
Buffy jumps up, ready to attack D'Hoffryn, but he reminds her that he could teleport out of the room before she'd have a chance to take a swing. He goes to help Anya up, bitching mildly about the Slayer's propensity to solve "all her problems by sticking things with sharp objects." Anya stares at D'Hoffryn, looking utterly destroyed and apprehensive while he natters on about his conversation with Willow, whom he deems a "firebrand." Poor Xander's immediate reaction is, "Stay away from Willow!" D'Hoffryn deems Xander "gallant" and says he can understand what Anya saw in him. He then continues to explain that Willow suggested Anya should no longer be a vengeance demon. He looks at Buffy and, using air-quotes, says, "I think we already know what 'Lady Hacks-away' wants." Hee! I do like the complicated way that D'Hoffryn's mocking of the Slayer punctures all of Buffy's earlier breast-beating. I don't think it negates what she was trying to say, but it does present another viewpoint. D'Hoffryn muses that no one has asked Anyanka what she really wants and Anya, in a tiny voice, says, "I want to take it back." Sniffle. She approaches D'Hoffryn, repeating that she wants to "undo" the killings. Thinking it over, D'Hoffryn says that it won't be easy, but it can be done, although something must sacrificed to balance the scales. Anya sets her jaw and swallows as D'Hoffryn continues that the sacrifice must be "the life and soul of a vengeance demon." Anya simply says, "Do it," ready to die to correct her (most recent) wrongs. "Wait!" shouts Xander, and once again is told by Anya to stay out of it. Xander suggests that there must be an alternate price, but Anya tells him he can't help her. "I'm not even sure there's a me to help," she explains, then adds, on the verge of crying, "This is my wish. Undo what I did."