Dawn arrives home to find the front door standing wide open. Oh, man, that's never good. I was instantly reminded of the time a few years ago when I was house-sitting for my parents' house and their four indoor-only cats. I got there after work and found the front gate, and then the front door, standing wide open. My first reaction was to try to devise some plausible explanation, which I couldn't, and my second reaction was to panic on behalf of the four soft, spoiled cats, now most likely irretrievably lost and wandering the neighborhood or running out into heavy traffic. My panic overrode any common sense and I raced into the house, right past the empty entertainment center and all the dumped-out drawers. In the kitchen I found the back door also standing wide open, and all four cats patiently sitting next to their dinner dishes waiting for a snack. So everything turned out okay and my parents' insurance covered all the items that had been stolen, but I still scan the doors of any house I'm house-sitting as I drive up, desperate to assure myself that all the doors remain closed as I left them. This being the Buffy-verse, of course, things are not going to have a happy ending for Dawn. She heads up the stairs, calling for Buffy, and then peeks into Willow's room. She sees Tara's body lying on the carpet in a pool of blood. Dawn gasps, and the screen fades to white.
Rack! Oh, Rack. It's fun to see your creepy self, but your appearance smacks of Mutant Enemy randomly pulling things out of their collective ass. I haven't gone back and checked my tape of Rack's first appearance in "Wrecked," but he looks different this time, like he had his hair relaxed and blown out at the salon. Hey, whatever. Creepy magic-dealer guys gotta look good, too, right? Anyway, Rack asks his waiting room of junkies, "Who's next?" and Warren barges to the front of the line. Rack hasn't seen Warren before, but ushers him inside after Warren blathers about the "dead presidents" he has to offer. God, Warren's lines are tired. Just about as tired as I am after an entire season of this depressing crap. Warren is smug that getting a customer of Rack's to show him the way to Rack's lair for twenty dollars, but Rack bursts his bubble: "Should've haggled. Most of my customers will bring you here for five." Warren doesn't want to make with the economic small-talk, explaining that has a "situation" brought on by him trying to "do us all a favor" by eliminating the Slayer. Two thoughts here: First, how pathetic is Warren, trying to ingratiate himself by claiming he tried to kill Buffy to benefit Sunnydale's evil underground and not just himself? Second -- Warren, honey, you weren't doing Rack a favor, since Buffy's probably known all about him for, like, ten episodes, and has chosen not to do a thing. Rack says that killing the Slayer was a large undertaking for a "kid," and Warren once again tries to talk himself up by saying, "I'm not a kid! I had my own guys. The Trio? You've heard of us." Wheels turn slowly in Rack's head. "Right. What were you? A band or something?" He circles Warren slowly, and then gets up real close to his face. Turns out Warren wants "protection," because he's worried that Buffy is after him. "The Slayer is the least of your problems," says Rack, amused. "If I were you, I'd worry about the witch." Warren's all like, "The hell? Which witch?" "Um, duh? Willow?" explains Rack, and yeah, I'm making dialogue up at this point, but it's been a long, long season and this episode is deathly boring. Rack explains that Willow's very powerful, and as I'm sure you all saw in the endless promos for this episode, he says, "She's gonna blow this town apart." Oh, good. Can I help? Because then maybe there won't be a Season Seven and Marti Noxon would be unemployed. That would be a balm to my tortured sensibilities. Warren is confused as to why Willow would have a beef with him, since Buffy survived. Rack explains that somebody else is "stone cold and that is why the witch wants [Warren's] head." Apparently Willow can sense Warren's "essence" (which seems gross), and she's coming for him. Warren presses a wad of cash into Rack's hand and says that although he "has a few tricks up [his] sleeve," he wants Rack to provide some sort of magical "cover" for him. Rack can't make any guarantees on his services, then smiles that Willow is "running on pure fury." You know what might have been cool? If we'd seen Amy, still human, running on a huge exercise wheel in a cage in the corner of the room. We got random appearances from Rack and Katrina in this episode, so why not Amy?
Everybody ready for the fakest, most implausible hospital room scene this side of a Mad TV sketch? Yeah? Well, Mutant Enemy is ready to deliver! Xander looks at some sweet babies in the newborn nursery, and I wonder suddenly if the Friends finale is airing a few days early. Xander, Chandler, I'm not the first to see the parallels. Oh, wait. Xander is actually staring through one of those big picture windows they use in nurseries (at least on TV), but it actually opens into an operating room. In the operating room, a doctor is working on Buffy's left ventricle, despite the fact that her chest isn't opened for surgery and she is in fact still wearing her damn tank top. Yeah, sure. Why cut off her shirt to operate on her heart when you live in a city where the medical profession is so advanced that it can remove a brain tumor through a pore? Buffy is not hooked up to any machines or IVs; nor is she wearing an oxygen mask, and nor is there any tape or even a sterile drape over the incision they've supposedly cut into her chest. The doctor twiddles two fingertips on Buffy's chest, which signifies operating, I guess. It's like a fourth grade play in here. An assistant stands near a bank of machines and claims that Buffy's "BP is down to 80/palp," despite the fact that there are no electrodes or sensors of any sort attached to Buffy. I may not know what "80/palp" means, but I do know that heart monitors don't take readings with freakin' telepathy.