Buffy Logo 'Life Serial'
Story Code '6ABB05'

by David Fury
and Jane Espenson

Buffy returns from her reunion with Angel and finds Dawn, Giles, Willow and Tara eating dinner. She does not want to talk about her visit to Los Angeles, so instead Giles asks her what she is going to do with her life. Willow and Tara offer to take her along to their classes, which she can sit in on and audit before registering for the next semester. The next day, the Three Geeks load up their black van with surveillance equipment and other paraphernalia, planning to put Buffy through a series of ‘tests’. After Buffy attends a sociology class with Willow she then meets up with Tara for an art class; however, Warren bumps into her in the hall and places a device on the back of her jacket. Buffy suddenly finds that time speeds forward every few seconds: Tara moves further down the hall, and then appears next to her asking why she did not go to class with her, despite the fact that it seems like only a few seconds have passed for Buffy. The speeding-up gets worse, and Buffy is forced to hide under a table in the courtyard outside. She hears the device emitting a high-pitched noise, but when she finds it it then self-destructs in her hand. The next day, Xander takes Buffy to his construction site so that she can try a real job; the workmen ridicule her about her size - until she effortlessly picks up a metal girder. Unfortunately, Buffy then becomes unpopular by working as twice as fast as her fellow workers. Buffy notices a black van parked nearby. Inside, Andrew blows into pan-pipes, summoning a trio of demons to attack Buffy; the Slayer is able to defeat the creatures, but damages the construction site in the process, which forces Xander to ask her to leave. When Buffy decides to help Giles with his research he gives her a job at the ‘Magic Box’. While Giles researches, Anya gives Buffy some orientation and then instructs her to help their customers; a lady asks Buffy for a Mummy hand, but when Buffy finds one in the basement the severed appendage attacks her, and she has to stab it. Buffy then finds herself caught in a time-loop: she has to go and fetch the mummy hand dozens of times, and each time it attacks her. In the van, Warren and Andrew congratulate Jonathan on his plan - the loop will only end when Buffy satisfies her customer. Buffy finally solves the feedback loop by telling the customer they will specially order the hand for her; her nightmare ended, a frustrated Buffy quits the ‘Magic Box’ and retreats to Spike’s crypt, where the two of them get drunk together. When run out of whiskey Buffy and Spike head off to a bar; after going into the back room Buffy watches as Spike plays poker for kittens with three other demons. Unfortunately, Spike gets busted for cheating. An unimpressed Buffy stumbles drunkenly away from the bar and sees the black van parked outside, which she recognises from the construction site. The Geeks watch their monitor screens with fright as Buffy approaches them. Outside, a big, red demon appears in front of Buffy; as Spike watches on the Slayer tries to fight the monster, but her first few punches miss. However, when she then kicks it in the chest the demon immediately gives up and disappears in a cloud of smoke. The demon approaches the van, now hidden round the corner, and transforms back into Jonathan. Warren and Andrew help him into the van; the three of them are now confident that they know all of the Slayer’s strengths and weaknesses. Buffy returns home, and, feeling rough from her night’s boozing, promptly throws up. Giles helps her to her room, and Buffy tells him how worried she is that she is ruining everything, and still does not know how to pay all her bills. Giles surprises her by giving her a large cheque, and, overcome with gratitude, Buffy gets all teary. She thanks him several times and then decides to go and tell Dawn the good news. Before she leaves the room Buffy tells Giles that she feels safe to know that he will always be there for her. Giles returns her smile - but after she leaves the room, his smile rapidly fades…

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), James Marsters (Spike), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), Amber Benson (Tara), Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles), Danny Strong (Jonathan), Adam Busch (Warren), Tom Lenk (Andrew), Paul Gutrecht (Tony), Noel Albert Guglielmi (Vince), Enrique Almeida (Marco), Jonathan Goldstein (Mike), Winsome Brown (Woman Customer), Christopher May (Male Customer), David J. Miller (Rat-Faced Demon), Andrew Cooper Wasser (Slime-Covered Demon), Richard Beatty (Small Demon), James C. Leary (Loose Skinned Demon), Jennifer Shon (Rachel), Jabari Hearn (Steve), Derrick McMillon (Ron), Clint Culp (Bartender), Mark Ginther (Horned Demon), Alice Dinnean Vernon (Mummy Hand), Marcia Ann Burrs (Professor Bellamy)
Directed by Nick Marck

TX (US): 23rd October 2001
TX (UK - Sky One): 31st January 2002

*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Anya, Tara and Dawn