Outside shot of Der Zauber Kasten. Buffy and Xanya exit and go their separate ways. Buffy rounds a corner and is startled by Spike, who's been skulking around waiting for her. He busts on her for ditching him, and he's wearing this gold necklace that is just awful. As if what they've done to his character isn't terrible enough -- now they're going to subject me to a Spike all dolled up in cheap gold jewelry and a THUMB RING? He warns her not to trifle with him, and she quips, "What are you going to do? Walk behind me to death?" Buffy's had enough of this conversation, but Spike stands in her way as she tries to leave. She tells him to get out of her way and then, in response to his taunting "or you'll what?" she decks him. He looks at her for a moment and then punches her right back. Buffy's eyes go wide with shock and maybe a little fear. She wonders how it's possible that he can hit her. Spike: "Don't you get it? You came back wrong." It's clear from his tone and expression that he's taking more than a little delight in telling Buffy this. I don't get it. This season we've seen Spike defanged to the point where they've practically had him playing horsy with asthmatic, orphaned children from underdeveloped nations, but now the second he gets his paws on a piece of information that he knows will hurt Buffy, he chooses to throw it in her face? That's not love, people. That's just petty. I know that I've long hoped for Spike's return to evil, but I don't believe that this is it. Especially on the heels of last week's episode, which seemed, after a fashion, to suggest that there isn't necessarily any inherent evil in Spike. (Although I have to agree with Ace's observation that what Spike was doing was closer to self-defense than nobility.) They're just toying with me at this point, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Count Schmoopula will be reprising his role before too long.
Aw. Sweet relief of commercials. As I hit pause on the VCR, Martha Stewart's face fills my screen. Somehow, my mom has a special cable package that only has one channel: HGTV.
Martha, while stringing cranberry garlands: "Now I've never found any easy way to do this."
Sep: "Please. Get one of your henchvamps to do it for you."
Sep's Mom: "Dear. This isn't Buffy. Martha doesn't have henchvamps."
In the alley, it's a full-on brawl. For the next few Spuffy-related paragraphs, just assume that every bit of dialogue is punctuated by someone knocking someone else in the kisser. Buffy claims that Spike's chip malfunction must be some sort of trick, but she's obviously extremely upset by the possibility that it isn't. He disagrees, saying, "Came back a little less human than you were." She shoves him inside a building.