We begin with establishing shots of UC Sunnydale at night. Dramatic music kicks in and we see a blonde girl being chased across campus by a vampire. Wait. A blonde girl being chased by a vampire? I bet that's going to end in a world of hurt. As the blonde girl comes to a sudden stop, we see that it's Buffy. She turns to her prey and thanks him "for the relocate. I perform better without an audience." "Perform better"? Oh my. They engage, and Buffy taunts her victim, "You know very well you eat this late," stakes him, and continues, "You're going to get heartburn." Very punny, Buffy. The vampire explodes into dust much more slowly than usual, perhaps to give him a chance to laugh at Buffy's joke, but he doesn't, and she says, "That's it? That's all I get? One lame-ass vamp with no appreciation for my painstakingly ["Geddit?"-- Sep] thought-out puns?" Buffy looks towards the sky and continues her tirade with, "I don't think the forces of darkness are even trying." What religion is Buffy that she would look up to address the forces of darkness? Well, anyway, I'm glad that mopey Buffy seems to have been banished. Buffy, still muttering, wanders off into the night.
The camera pulls back to show Spike lurking nearby. He admonishes the retreating Buffy that she should "know better than to tempt the fates." Word, Spike. Hasn't Buffy ever read any Greek tragedy? Oh. Probably not. Spike starts talking tough-talk about how the "Big Bad is back." It seems to me that maybe the "Big Bad" is a Big Coward, since he passed up a perfect opportunity to attack a preoccupied Buffy in a deserted location. Less talk, more action, Spike! Either way, it's a moot point, because "Big Bad" suddenly demonstrates his Emperor Palpatine impression for us as blue lightening dances over his body, rendering him easy pickins for the mysterious masked commandos.
The Bronze. The gang sits at a table discussing why they still hang out at the Bronze even though they are now in college. Interesting that they addressed that, because Sep and I were speculating about it just last week. Willow explains that The Bronze is like a "big comfy blankie." Oz interjects that he was under the impression that he was her big comfy blankie. Willow reassures him that The Bronze is her "place blankie" but that he is her "person blankie." I'm not going to cry. Yet. Right in the middle of Willow's speech about how everything at the Bronze is familiar and unchanging, Giles approaches their table and offers to buy the gang lattés, much to their amazement. He pulls up a chair and sits so close to Xander that he has to turn sideways so their shoulders don't touch. Giles is getting into the spirit of things, saying that "it's been ages since I've been to a gig." The gang tease him about his age, but Oz weighs in to defend Giles and his record collection. Giles, looking mildly perturbed, tells the gang that they've made him feel right at home. Xander bluntly says, "Isn't home that empty place you're trying to escape?" Shut up, Xander. Like you're one to talk. Poor Giles -- they really need to find something to do with his character soon. Can't he get some sort of visiting professorship at UC Sunnydale? Giles is saved from responding to Xander's comment by the appearance on-stage of Shy. As Veruca approaches the microphone, Oz half-smiles and I snarl at my television. Buffy notes Willow's distress and tries to draw Oz into a conversation about his band, Dingoes. Oz gives one of his characteristic terse replies as Willow becomes more upset. Yay for Buffy, noticing the plight of others. Buffy tries to placate Willow by dismissing Shy with a "color me bored." Giles disagrees with Buffy's assessment, saying that Veruca is "rather remarkable" and has "such presence." Well, yeah, if presence is defined by shiny red lip-gloss, scary eye-shadow, and performing acts of pseudo-fellatio on electrical equipment.
Establishing shot of a very SoCal house. Inside, Oz and Willow are sleeping in bed. I've been waiting all season to see this scene, folks. Willow is talking in her sleep, which awakens Oz, who smiles and snuggles closer to her. "It's a dream. Come back to me," he murmurs, and under the covers he slips his arm around her waist. Willow mumbles and then says, with a sly grin, "All Geminis to the raspberry hats." Oz accuses her of faking being asleep and she admits it, rolling over to face him and looking cute as a button. She strokes his chest as they exchange morning greetings. He asks her if she was having a bad dream and she says she was, "but the waking up part makes up for it." Oz touches her forehead and says, "It's always so busy in there," and Will responds salaciously that a few things do shut her mind up. Oz gives her sleepy bedroom eyes and asks if he can help, but Willow checks the clock and realizes she has to run to class. Stay with your honey and skip class, Willow! I know from experience that you can still get a pretty good GPA that way. She says she'll take him up on his offer later, but he reminds her that it's the night before the full moon and he'll be wolfed out. Willow looks disappointed and then remembers that she has to attend an orientation for a campus Wicca group. Oh, the strange pillow talk of Buffy! She apologizes and asks if he can lock himself up. He assures he can, strokes her face and says, "The only thing I mind is being away from you for three nights." She wiggles close and they kiss.