Story Code '5ABB08'
by David Fury
Joyce is at the hospital, subjected to a C.A.T. scan while her two daughters nervously wait outside. In the ‘Magic Box’, Tara and Giles are admiring the shop’s advert in the phone book when Willow, Anya and Xander arrive; Xander is unhappy with Riley after he blew up the nest of vampires, until Giles points out that this means they no longer need to hunt the creatures, suggesting instead that they should try to research the Beast and discover where she could be hiding. Elsewhere, in a beautiful apartment, the Beast is being worshipped by a demon-like creature called Dreg, who presents her with a scroll inscribed with an ancient spell; to get the ingredients she needs, the Beast decides to visit the ‘Magic Box’. Riley goes to the Summers house to find Buffy, but finds no-one there - except Spike, who is in Buffy’s room, smelling one of her sweaters; when he tells Riley that Joyce is very ill and they are all at the hospital, Riley is obviously hurt that Buffy did not tell him the news, and that Spike knew before him. Riley goes to the hospital and finds Buffy, who seems pleased to see him, and assures him that she did not tell him because she did not know what was going on. She asks him to keep Dawn company while she checks on Joyce, and arrives in her mother’s room just as a doctor is leaving; Joyce tells her that they have found a shadow on her brain, but will have to do an operation to find out what it is. Back at the ‘Magic Box’, the gang are getting nowhere with their research; Tara speculates that it could be because Buffy is fighting something very old, and that no-one has ever recorded its existence, and Willow suggests that the Dagon’s Sphere that Buffy found was designed to repel ‘that which cannot be named’. Giles is frustrated that they cannot track the creature without any clues; he then turns to serve a customer: it is the Beast. Unaware of whom she is, Giles sells her the items and then, in a moment of irony, tells the gang that an entity as powerful as the Beast will make its presence known. Riley is trying to comfort Buffy when the doctor approaches and informs them that Joyce has a brain tumour; symptoms such as mood swings and loss of motor control may show up quickly, and he is unsure if an operation will help her. The doctor is called away by Ben the intern, who then tells Buffy to take a break to pull herself together; Buffy asks Riley to take Dawn to school, but to tell her nothing about their mother’s condition. When Anya goes through the day’s receipts she is concerned to discover that Giles sold a Khul's amulet and a Sobekian Bloodstone to a customer, two items that are very dangerous; Giles tries to dismiss her fears by reasoning that any spells that use such items would be long lost, and that the young woman he sold them to would not have the power to use them. Realisation dawns as they take in just who the young woman was. While Riley takes Dawn to a merry-go-round to cheer her up, Buffy arrives at the ‘Magic Box’ and asks her friends to help her find a magical cure for her mother, but they realise that this could make her mother worse, and talk Buffy out of it; Giles tells Buffy about the Beast’s visit to the store, which leads them to surmise that she is planning to raise a cobra monster. While Buffy rushes off to try to find her, the Beast and Dreg break a cobra out of its cage at the Sunnydale Zoo and begin reciting the spell; Buffy arrives, but as she and the Beast fight, Dreg is able to complete the spell. The Beast smashes Buffy through a glass cage as the cobra transforms into a huge monster, part human, part snake. Buffy recovers and is able to sneak away unseen while the Beast instructs her creature to find the Key. Buffy calls Giles from the hospital and tells him about the creature, asking him to protect Dawn while she waits for her mother to wake up. Meanwhile, Riley decides to drink alone at Willy’s Place once more, and is joined by Sandy, a vampire. While the doctor breaks the news to Joyce and Buffy, Riley allows Sandy to drink from his neck, letting her drain him for a few moments before staking her. Buffy returns to the ‘Magic Box’ to get Dawn, but the cobra creature bursts through the store window, knocking Buffy over with a heavy display; the creature looks at Dawn and then leaves, and Buffy realises that it knows her sister’s true nature, and she runs after it. Giles catches up with Buffy in his car, and together they pursue the creature to a park, where the Slayer attempts to choke it with a length of chain; but when the creature manages to recover, an outraged Buffy beats it to death with her bare fists. Later, at the hospital, Dawn learns of her mother’s condition; Riley tries to comfort Buffy once more but she brushes him off, saying she needs to be strong for her family. As Buffy joins her mother and sister, Riley is left alone in the hallway…
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Marc Blucas (Riley Finn), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), James Marsters (Spike), Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles), Clare Kramer (Glory), Charlie Weber (Ben), Amber Benson (Tara), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), Kevin Weisman (Dreg), William Forward (Doctor Isaacs), Megan Gray (Sandy)
Directed by Daniel Attias
TX (US): 21st November 2000
TX (UK - Sky One): 23rd February 2001
*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Riley, Anya, Tara and Dawn