Commercials. It's too wrenching to see vapid Playstation and Pizza Hut ads after such an affecting piece of television. I wish they could have aired this episode without commercials.
Somebody zips Joyce into a black body bag. As the zipper noise continues, we cut to Dawn, crying. This seems strange. How did Buffy tell her already? Dawn sobs, "Oh God. I can't believe it," but a girl off-screen tells her, "It's not that bad." Huh? Oooh, I see. Another "not what you think" moment. Dawn is in the bathroom at school, crying because "Kevin Berman call[ed] [her] a freak in front of everyone." As Dawn's friend washes her hands, they discuss whether being called "freaky" is better than being called "a freak." Apparently someone named Kirsty has been blabbing to the school about Dawn's cutting herself in "Blood Ties." Dawn defends herself, saying that the cutting was an accident, and then fantasizes about making Kirsty's head explode using the powers of her mind. Because appearances are everything in school, Dawn worries that others will know she's been crying and wipes her eyes.
The bell rings and they head off to class, passing Kirsty in the hall. Dawn and Kirsty exchange utterly polite, utterly insincere greetings. Dawn and her friend then enter an art class and take their places at their easels as the teacher lectures about negative space. The name-calling Kevin, a floppy haired youth, has his easel set up to Dawn's. He and Dawn share some talk about the assignment, and in the background Dawn's friend holds up her drawing pad, scrawled with the words, "He wants you!" Dawn wiggles in embarrassment. Kevin asks about her cutting incident, and as Dawn tries to defend herself, he commiserates, "I felt like that before. Things get so crazed, you know. You feel like you just want to do something extreme." I love seeing Dawnie at school, but Lord spare me the philosophical mumblings of little boys. He's obviously an alien. As Dawn and Kevin bond by bagging on the evil Kirsty, we see Buffy pass by the glass windows of the room and then approach the teacher. The room is very, very quiet as Buffy says, "Dawn. I have to talk to you." Shot of someone drawing on paper. Shot of the teacher looking stunned. Shot of Dawn's friend. Shot of the statue the class is drawing. Dawn inquires if it can wait, but Buffy asks her to come with her. They go outside into the hall and Dawn demands, "Tell me what's going on." Buffy wants to tell her outside, but Dawn refuses to go. Go outside, Dawn! Buffy says the news is bad, and we can see that everyone in the art class is staring at the tableau in the hall. "Mom had an accident. Or um, something went wrong from the tumor," explains Buffy. Starting to cry, Dawn protests that Joyce must be okay. Then we're inside the art room. We can see Buffy and Dawn but can't hear them. Buffy explains, and Dawn's face crumples. She shakes her head and begins to sob. I really wish Buffy would hug her about now. Dawn backs away from Buffy and collapses to the floor, sobbing, "No, no, no, no, no." Kevin and the art teacher look sad but don't suggest maybe giving the Summerses some privacy. Instead they continue to stare at them as if they're some sort of exhibit in a museum of grief. Finally, the camera pans over to Dawn's drawing. ["And speaking as a former junior-high art teacher -- all the drawing in this class looked way too good to be true." -- Ace]