So Buffy gets in the car with Giles to chase down Fake the Snake. Fake the Snake shoves a dumpster in their path, which Giles barely avoids, instead crashing into some trash bags.
At her headquarters, Glory is screaming and throwing shoes because she's just so terribly impatient. "Tick freakin' tock," she growls to Dreg.
Fake the Snake bursts through a chain link fence and into a park. Buffy jumps out and proceeds on foot. Oh good God! There's a shot of Fake the Snake moseying along, and although you don't see the production assistant pulling Fake along on a Red Flyer wagon, you don't need to, because it's so, so obvious. This spell was clearly lost for thousands of years because it was so freaking LAME. So Buffy grabs a conveniently-placed chain and finally catches up with the snake, launching herself at it and landing on its back. Buffy rides the big snake. Buffy chokes the big snake. Buffy pummels the big snake into pulp. Which is a pretty effective Freudian metaphor for this entire series.
Back by Joyce's bedside, Buffy asks if Joyce wants her to stay while she talks to Dawn. Joyce worries that she looks like "Scary Mom," but Buffy assures her that she looks beautiful. I guess in TV Land, an absolute lack of eye shadow is shorthand for "terminal brain tumor." Joyce asks Buffy to stay close, and then Dawn pokes her head in while Buffy goes to wait in the hallway. Buffy observes Dawn and Joyce hug through the partially open door until she's interrupted by Riley, who is wearing a big turtleneck to hide his brush with the dark side. How much more would I enjoy this moment if Riley were wearing the scarf Buffy wore when she had been bitten? Riley asks how Buffy is feeling because she looks "pretty beat up." By what standards? SMG looks better "pretty beat up" than I will on my best day. Riley pulls her into a hug and tells her to "let it out." Buffy says that she can't, because "they need me. If I start now, I won't be able to stop." Riley gives her a soft look and starts to wipe away an errant tear from Buffy's cheek, but she's distracted by her mother's call. She turns and walks into Joyce's room, shutting the door behind her, leaving Riley alone in the hall feeling all sorry for himself while Buffy's mom lies dying of brain cancer.