Story Code '4ABB22'
by Joss Whedon
Buffy, Giles, Xander and Willow are at Buffy’s house watching videos, too wired after their battle with Adam to sleep. Riley leaves to attend a de-briefing, assuring Buffy that he will be okay. When Xander puts on ‘Apocalypse Now’ Joyce retreats upstairs; however, the gang fall asleep before the F.B.I. warning at the beginning has even finished. In Willow’s dream, she is painting strange symbols on Tara’s back, while Tara is concerned because their cat has not told them her name yet. Realising that she has to go to Drama class, Willow opens the curtains, only to see an arid desert outside, and, although she cannot see anyone, she knows that someone is out here. Suddenly, Willow is walking through Sunnydale University; she is then joined by Xander and Oz, who inquire about her choice of Drama. Willow goes to class, wandering onto the backstage of a theatre where the cast are assembled in costume; Harmony approaches her dressed as a Swedish mountain girl, and informs her that the play is about to start. Buffy appears, dressed as a 1920’s flapper, and tells Willow that her whole family are in the audience, and they look angry, and then Riley, dressed as a cowboy, comments that Willow would have had a better part if she had arrived on time. Willow is confused, as this is only the first class of the semester. The director, Giles, announces to the class that everyone Willow has ever met is in the audience, and if they go out and lie, it will be the best ever performance of ‘Death of a Salesman’. A strange man then informs Willow he has made room for the cheese. Nonplussed, Willow walks into a corridor formed by curtains and finds Tara waiting for her; she tells Willow that everyone is starting to wonder about the real Willow, and when they find out, she will be punished. Willow knows she is being followed; Tara disappears, and a creature attacks Willow, but she is rescued by Buffy, who pulls her into a classroom; the Slayer tells her to take off her costume, before ripping away Willow’s clothes to reveal the outfit that she wore when she first met Buffy. Willow starts to read her book report, but the strange creature attacks her, although no one in the classroom notices. Back in the Summer’s living room, Willow squirms in agony in her sleep. In his dream, Xander ‘wakes up’ in the living room and goes upstairs, where Joyce comes onto him; he tells her he has to go to the bathroom first, but as he prepares to go to the toilet he notices that he is being studied by a group of Initiative doctors and soldiers. He walks into another room that takes him to his basement, where something is trying to open the door at the top of the stairs. Suddenly, Xander is in a park where Giles and Spike, both dressed in identical suits, are playing on the swings. Giles thinks of Spike as a son, and is training him to be a Watcher; meanwhile, Buffy plays in the sandpit. As Xander asks her if she should be there, the scene changes and she sits alone in the middle of a vast desert, while Xander, now in an ice cream truck, sits next to Anya. When she tells him she is going back into vengeance he tries talking to her, only to turn round and see Willow and Tara, provocatively dressed, making out in the back of the truck; when they ask Xander to join them Anya tells him to go ahead, but as he climbs into the back of the truck, Xander finds himself in his basement again. There is still knocking at the door, and the same strange man from Willow’s dream holds up a plate of cheese slices, telling Xander they will not protect him. Xander then finds himself in Sunnydale University, where everything is bathed in a green light, and no one notices him or the creature suddenly chasing him. Anya appears and begins speaking to him in French, and then Xander finds himself in ‘Apocalypse Now’. He ends up in a P.O.W. camp along with another prisoner, Principal Snyder, who notes that Xander is a whipping boy, raised to be a sacrificial lamb. Xander stands up and finds himself in Giles’ courtyard, and is chased through the house by the same creature from Willow’s dream; it pursues him through the University and Buffy’s dorm room, before ending up back in the basement. Xander’s father comes downstairs, scolding his son for being ashamed of his family; he punches his fist into Xander’s chest and pulls out his heart, but as Xander looks up he sees not his father, but the same creature that chased Willow. In the living room, Xander convulses in this sleep. In his dream, Giles is trying to hypnotise Buffy, when suddenly he is walking through a fair with Olivia, who is pushing a baby stroller, and Buffy, who is acting like a child. Buffy tries to throw a ball at a wooden vampire but misses; with Giles coaching her, she is able to hit the figure. Spike calls them over to his crypt, and when Giles enters, sees Spike busily posing for pictures. Giles meets the cheese man, who now has cheese on his head and shoulders. Giles then walks into ‘The Bronze’ and joins Xander and Willow, who are studying Giles’ books; he apologises for being late, but despite his gaping chest wound, Xander is more annoyed by Anya’s appalling stand-up comedy act. Willow and Xander tell Giles that something is following them; Giles jumps onto the stage and bursts into song, singing about how the spell they performed must have released some primal evil, and instructing Willow to look in the Chronicles for references to a warrior beast. A burst of feedback stops the song, and Giles traces the cord to find the problem, freezing when he realises that the creature is standing above him; he tells it he knows who it is, and that his intellect will defeat it. He remarks that it underestimates his powers because it never had a Watcher, but then the creature scalps him, and in the living room, Giles shudders in his sleep. In her dream, Buffy wakes up in her dorm room and her room mate, Anya, begs her to wake up. For a second she sees the creature above her bed, before finding herself in her old bedroom with Tara; when Buffy asks her if she has something to tell her, Tara tries to give her a tarot card, but Buffy refuses it, and Tara tells her that she does not know what she is nor what is to come. As Buffy leaves to find her friends, Tara warns her to be back before dawn. Wandering the University corridors Buffy finds Joyce living inside a wall cavity, but her mother assures her that she is happy living there; she then enters a government map room where Riley is sitting at a table with a human version of Adam. Riley remarks that his debriefing went well: they made him Surgeon General, and he and Adam are now drawing up plans for world domination involving coffee machines that think. Buffy disagrees with their plans, but Adam tells her they are the same, they just go about their natural aggression in different ways. Buffy asks Adam what his real name was, but suddenly an alarm sounds and Adam and Riley leave to build a fort; Buffy tries to tell them that they have left their bag of weapons behind, but finds it full of mud. As Buffy spreads the mud on her face Riley returns and tells her that she must go it alone. Buffy walks out into the desert and sees the creature that has been in all their dreams, together with Tara, who is to speak for it. The creature identifies itself as the First Slayer, and informs Buffy that Slayers work alone; Buffy replies that times have changed; she needs her friends and wants them back. The cheese man appears. Buffy tries to make herself wake up but the First Slayer attacks her, and the two Slayers fight; after they both tumble down an embankment a furious Buffy shouts that it is over, and then finds herself in her living room. But the First Slayer attacks her, and Buffy realises she is still dreaming; she sits on the couch, completely ignoring the First Slayer - and she, Xander, Willow and Giles all wake up in the real world at the same time. When Buffy tells Giles and her mother about her dream, Giles deduces that they stirred the spirit if the First Slayer with their spell. Leaving to take a shower Buffy remarks that the others were lucky not to dream about the cheese man, but the look that passes between Xander, Willow and Giles shows that they did. As Buffy passes by her bedroom she hears Tara’s voice from her dream: "You think you know. What’s to come, what you are. You haven’t even begun."
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Marc Blucas (Riley Finn), James Marsters (Spike), Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), Amber Nenson (Tara), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Seth Green (Oz), Armin Shimerman (Principal Snyder), Mercedes McNab (Harmony Kendall), David Wells (Cheese Guy), Michael Harney (Xander's Dad), George Hartxberg (Adam), Sharon Ferguson (Primitive), Phina Oruche (Olivia), Rob Boltin (Soldier)
Directed by Joss Whedon
TX (US): 23rd May 2000
TX (UK - Sky One): 28th May 2000
TX (UK - BBC): 12th April 2001
*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Riley, Anya and Tara