Buffy Logo 'Normal Again'
Story Code '6ABB17'

by Diego Gutiérrez

Buffy checks out potential places that may be the location of the geeks’ new secret lair. She is unaware that the three villains are watching her via hidden cameras as she approaches the place they have rented; they get worried when she gets too close, and so Andrew summons a demon to attack the Slayer. As Buffy and the demon fight the demon stabs her with a needle-like appendage. Buffy suddenly finds herself in a mental hospital, being subdued by two orderlies - and then she is back in Sunnydale, alone, and standing next to where the demon attacked her. On the Sunnydale University campus, Willow tries to pluck up courage to talk to Tara, but her hopes are dashed when she sees her give another girl a kiss; Willow runs away, unaware that Tara has seen her. Buffy is at work at the ‘Doublemeat Palace’ when she has another reality flash, seeing her manger, Lorraine, as a nurse; however, she is able to shake herself out of it, and continues working. Later, as Buffy and Willow check Willow’s e-mail for any news from Xander the doorbell rings, and the two girls are ecstatic to find Xander standing there. He is worried, as he cannot find Anya anywhere; she has taken her clothes from the apartment and closed the ‘Magic Box’. Xander has realised that he still loves Anya, and hopes that the two of them can patch things up between them. While out on patrol, Buffy runs into Spike; they are then joined by Xander and Willow, but Xander and Spike begin to hurl abuse at each other. Willow tries to break them up, but none of them see Buffy become disorientated again; she flashes to the hospital once more, where a doctor tells her that she has been in the institution for six years, and that her life and friends in Sunnydale are all a fantasy. Buffy sees her parents, Hank and Joyce Summers, anxiously watching her. Willow, Xander and Spike realise something is wrong with Buffy, and take her home. Here the Slayer snaps out of it and explains her odd incidents to Xander, Willow and Dawn, but she then experiences another flash: as the doctor tells Joyce and Hank that their daughter will be fine if she just forgets about the images in her head. Xander goes to look for information on what could be happening to Buffy at the local demon haunts, while Willow and Dawn begin research. The doctor talks to Buffy again and reveals that she created this fantasy, but it is becoming more elaborate; she began to lose control, and that is why she created Dawn. The doctor also notes that Buffy’s illusion is no longer comforting her. Meanwhile, Jonathan is becoming concerned about what he and his friends are getting involved in, but Warren refuses to let him leave, and manages to talk him round again. Willow discovers the type of demon that attacked Buffy, and learns that the monster has the antidote to the substance that it injected Buffy with; she attempts to reassure her friend with the fact that they only have to locate the demon, but is taken aback when Buffy admits that when she first told her parents about vampires and being the Slayer, they admitted her to a mental hospital for two weeks. Buffy now wonders if she really is insane. Xander and Spike are busy tracking down the demon when they are attacked by it; they manage to subdue the monster, and take it back to the Summers house. Dawn tries to comfort Buffy, but the Slayer slips back to the hospital, where Joyce tells her that she has no sister; Buffy actually says this out loud, causing Dawn to burst into tears. Willow breaks the needle off the demon and uses it to make the antidote; she takes the cure to Buffy and then leaves her to administer it to herself. Spike stays with Buffy, but then gets angry, informing her that if she does not tell her friends about their relationship, then he will. Buffy picks up the cure and pours it into her waste bin. Back in the hospital, she tells her parents and doctor that she does not want to go back to the fantasy. The doctor tells her that in order to escape it, she has to kill her friends and Dawn. Buffy finds Willow in the kitchen and deals with her; then, when Xander comes to see how she is, she attacks him and leaves him tied up in the basement; next to him lie a bound and gagged Willow, and the demon. Buffy heads for Dawn’s room and, after chasing her sister about the house, captures her and leaves her tied up in the basement with the others. Buffy then unchains the demon so that it can attack them. Tara arrives at the house for a visit only to hear noises coming from the basement; she is able to cast a spell that releases her friends. In the hospital, Buffy has become upset and is now shaking; Joyce tries to comfort her, telling her daughter that she can beat this thing with the help of the people who love her. Buffy looks at her mother, and then says goodbye; she comes to in the basement and defeats the demon. Having saved her friends Buffy apologises for her actions and asks Willow to make some more of the antidote for her. Back at the hospital, the doctor informs a distraught Joyce and Hank that their daughter has become totally unresponsive...

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), James Marsters (Spike), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), Amber Benson (Tara), Adam Busch (Warren), Tom Lenk (Andrew), Danny Strong (Jonathan), Michael Warren (Doctor), Kirsten Nelson (Lorraine), Dean Butler (Hank Summers), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce), Sarah Scivier (Nurse), Rodney Charles (Orderly), April Dion (Kissing Girl)
Directed by Rick Rosenthal

TX (US): 12th March 2002
TX (UK - Sky One): 25th April 2002

*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Tara and Dawn