This next shot is visually very striking: Buffy walks, obviously deep in thought, in front of long series of posters, featuring an almost sinister looking photo of Jonathan's face and the lettering "jonathan.com." I wonder how many hits that site got thanks to rabid Buffy fans.
Anya answers the door to the Basement of Debasement and tells Buffy that Xander isn't there. Buffy just looks at her, and Anya wonders why she isn't "going away." I for one wish Anya would just go away. Far, far away. And send Oz back in her place. Buffy explains that she wants to look over Xander's stuff, so Anya gives her a big fake smile and with great insincerity invites her in. Anya then flops down on the sofa and begins leafing through Jonathan's autobiography. Buffy surveys Xander's coffee table, which is stacked with Jonathan comic books and Jonathan trading cards in plastic sleeves. She picks up the trading cards and sits on the sofa next to Anya, who insincerely says it's nice that Buffy is still there. Anya-as-demon-who-doesn't-understand-how-to-be-human was funny. Anya-as-tactless-girl-who-fakes-courtesy is not. Buffy inquires whether Anya has even found it odd that Jonathan is so good at everything, but Anya dismisses her by explaining, "He's Jonathan." She turns back to her book, which Buffy then grabs out of her hands. "Hey, I was just at the part where he invents the Internet!" protests Anya. Which is probably the only even vaguely funny line she's had in months. This character is so off-track that a GPS unit and a detailed road map couldn't help her find a laugh. Buffy tries to explain herself by mentioning that Jonathan fights better than she does, even though she's the Slayer and "that's supposed to mean something." "Buck up, you. You kill the best. Go you. Kill, kill," pep-talks Anya in her best imitation of someone who cares. Buffy tells her she wasn't actually looking for validation, and muses that Jonathan just "seems too perfect." She continues to bother Anya by inquiring about her days as a vengeance demon, asking if someone could wish the whole world different. Anya replies that that could happen and "you could have, like, a world without shrimp. Or with, you know, nothing but shrimp." "You could even make, like, a freaky world," she continues, "where Jonathan is, like, some sort of not-perfect mouth breather, if that's what's blowing up your skirt these days. Just don't ask me to live there." She demands her book back and leaves Buffy contemplating a world without shrimp.
Segue to Buffy explaining her concerns to Riley and the Scooby gang at Giles. She says that Jonathan just doesn't make sense, for example, "he starred in The Matrix, but he never left town." She mentions that he also has a medical degree at eighteen years of age and Xander suggests that "effective time management" is the key to Jonathan's accomplishments. Dear Joss: Working on Angel and Buffy is not effective time management. Please give it up before we have to rescind your "genius" crown and trade it in for one that reads "I ruined my career and flagship show just like Chris Carter did." Thanks, Your Fans. Giles ruefully tells Buffy that he doesn't understand what she's getting at, and Anya wants to know when Jonathan is going to arrive and start the meeting. Buffy, hands on hips, explains, "This is the meeting," and the gang looks nonplussed. She asks if anyone else has concerns about Jonathan's perfection, and Xander exclaims that Jonathan is "just perfect enough." He goes on to say that Jonathan "crushed the bones of the Master, he blew up a big snake made out of Mayor and he coached the US womens' soccer team to a stunning World Cup victory." Long-time viewers will recognize those first two accomplishments as actually being Buffy's; the third she can lay no claim to. Buffy suggests that their memories aren't trustworthy and asks Anya to explain the alternate realities. Anya goes into a shrimp-related blather, but Buffy interrupts her to say that she thinks Jonathan has manipulated the world and "we're all, like, his pawns." "Or prawns," titters Anya, to Buffy's annoyance. I stand somewhat corrected. That's two funny lines in one episode. Giles suggests that Buffy is in over her head, which she denies. Riley speaks up for the first time in this scene and says, "It sounds like nonsense," which hurts Buffy, but he continues that he knows Buffy quite well and he's confident that she "sees things that the rest of us don't." He says they should follow her lead for once. The gang looks at Buffy, and she tentatively suggests that Jonathan has ignored evidence and this possibly led to Tara getting mauled by the monster. She explains that Jonathan's reaction to Karen explaining the mark on the monster was suspicious, then asks if Giles has a "Jonathan swimsuit calendar." "No . . . yes," replies Giles, trying to excuse himself by explaining that it was a gift. Buffy flips through the calendar, stopping at a page that shows that Jonathan has a tattoo of the mark the monster wears. Riley wonders what the connection is, and suddenly Jonathan is behind them, asking if the conversation is private. Buffy asks Jonathan about the mark and he says he'll explain, and that "Buffy is right." This assertion shocks Xander. Jonathan tells them that he has fought the monster before, but when he faces it he becomes confused, so he had the mark tattooed on him to remind him not to "underestimate" it. The gang is incredibly relieved to hear this explanation, but Buffy gets in Jonathan's face and says they have to hunt the monster. He's a little flustered and tries to put her off, but finally agrees.
Buffy and Jonathan patrol through a graveyard, where they encounter Spike lurking in the shadows. He sneers that Jonathan is "taking the little sidekick out for a walk" and Buffy tells him to shut up. Spike laughs at her pluck and approaches her, touching her hair and saying he'd "love to take [her] on." Buffy just stands stock-still, looking terrified, as Spike runs his hand down her neck and onto her chest. Hummina. Jonathan grabs Spike by the collar and shoves him against a crypt, telling him to lay off the "creepy small talk." He explains that they're looking for a monster, and Spike says he doesn't know anything about it, but declares that he's "probably lying." Jonathan is only too happy not to have news on the monster and starts to leave. Behind him, Spike grabs his head in pain -- having violent thoughts, I guess. Suddenly, Buffy grabs Spike and slams him against the crypt, much to his surprise. Buffy threatens that Jonathan will have the town butchers cut off Spike's blood supply if he doesn't help them. Spike sulkily tells them to check a cave in the hills and again grabs his head as they leave.