Spiral (5x20)

After the normal barrage of clips from past shows (including a bunch about the Knights of Byzantium...as if Buffy didn't have enough problems right now), the teaser begins right where "Tough Love" left off: Glory has just ripped off the side of Willow and Tara's dorm room, and Tara has just spilled the beans about Dawn being the Key.

Everyone stays completely still for a moment, then Buffy grabs Dawn and runs from the room. Glory tries to follow, but Willow has apparently been picking up some of the nifty metamagic feats from 3rd Edition D & D, for she makes a brief gesture and the restraining spell that took her at least a brief incantation during her revenge attack on Glory goes up, stopping the pissed-off goddess in her tracks. A few more gestures, and Glory is tossed back a hell of a long way by a telekinetic blast. At this point, I'd say a fight between Willow and any vampire, including the Master, would be at worst an even proposition for Willow...and Faith is in deep shit if she ever pisses the redhead off again. Goddesses are a bit trickier to slow down, though, and Glory decides to bypass Willow by tunneling through the dorm, which causes relatively little panic from the inhabitants (this is Sunnydale, after all). Buffy is trying to get away, and resorts to carrying Dawn when she stumbles, but Glory does a creditable imitation of the Flash and cuts them off. She complains about disliking people touching her things, and asks if Buffy has any last words. Buffy says yes, then after a pause concludes laconically: "Truck." At this point, a rather large truck hits Glory at what appears to be about fifty miles an hour: there is no sound of brakes before this, though the driver is apparently disturbed enough by the Glory-shaped dent that has to be on his front grille to slam on the brakes afterward. OK, I know that Glory was a dumbass for not noticing where she was standing, but are there any truck drivers out there offended by the implication that the driver here failed to notice the blonde in a white dress in broad daylight until she was forcefully introduced to his front bumper? Anyway, Glory is thrown a long ways (kinetic energy equals one-half mass times velocity squared...short of dropping Mount Everest on her, I'd say Glory's invulnerability to impact damage is now pretty well confirmed), crushing a nearby car roof. She quickly recovers, but then starts complaining and quickly morphs into Ben, who is not thrilled to be in public wearing one of Glory's fashion ensembles: "Oh God."

Roll opening credits.

Act One begins with everyone at Xander's apartment, and Dawn is describing the encounter with Glory in a way that makes it sound like Buffy kicked the holy crap out of the goddess, concluding with "Wham! Hellbitch in orbit." Everyone (except Buffy, who is nervously peeking out of the blinds, and Tara, who is still suffering from post-brain suckage syndrome) seems impressed: Xander crows "Go Buff!", and Giles is beaming as he tells Buffy "I knew you'd best Glory eventually...I mean, all of our years of training-" Buffy cuts him off with the dead voice she has when she has been pushed to her limits: "Truck hit her." Giles, a bit deflated, says, "Oh", as Anya perks up and asks, "You threw it at her?" Dawn, clearly wanting to keep a good face on it, replies, "Well, no, she more kind of waited for it to hit Glory-but then Buffy ran really fast and we got away!" Buffy is visibly confused by their escape: "I don't know how we got away. That truck couldn't have slowed her down for more than a second." Giles takes a cue from Dawn and tries to bolster Buffy's spirits: "Well, how isn't important. All that matters is that the two of you are safe."

Buffy turns to him, and bluntly appraises the situation as it now stands: "Safe? We've been barely able to manage not getting seriously dead every time we've crossed paths with Glory. Now that she knows that Dawn is the Key..." Giles, still trying to keep Buffy level while he tries to help her, suggests, "Perhaps there's something in the Book of Tarnis, something we've missed that we can use against Glory." Anya takes this point to pipe up: "Piano!" Everyone is puzzled by the non sequitur, but Xander, used to dealing with Anya bringing up stuff from left field, tries to run with it: "Right. Piano. Because that's what we used to kill that big demon that one time. No, wait. That was a rocket launcher. Ahn, what are you talking about?" Anya cheerfully goes on to elaborate: "We should drop a piano on her." The puzzled looks remain, and Anya elaborates, "It always works for that creepy cartoon rabbit when he's running from that nice man with the speech impediment." Boy, Anya really hates rabbits... Giles is annoyed, and decides to demonstrate his own knowledge of pop culture in brushing off Anya's admittedly useless idea (though Spike could certainly attest to the pain involved in having a large musical instrument dumped on one's head): "Yes, or perhaps we could paint a convincing fake tunnel on the side of a mountain. Let's just keep thinking, everyone. Perhaps we should reassemble at the shop, see what we can -" Buffy cuts him off bluntly: "We can't fight her." Giles is taken aback, and looks rather uncomfortable as he continues "Well, not yet, no, but -" Buffy interrupts again, summing up the whole dreadful situation: "Not ever. She's too strong, Giles. We're not going to win this with stakes or spells or pulling out some uranium power core. She's a god, and she's coming for us. So let's just not be here when she starts knocking."

Anya immediately asks, "Run away?!" Buffy turns to her, apparently anticipating an objection, but Anya has proven before that she considers flight a reasonable option, and proves it again here: "Finally, a sensible plan." Xander, looking uncomfortable, indulges in denial by way of correcting Anya: "That's not what she meant." But he heard what Buffy said, and turns to her and asks, "Is it?" Buffy is in no mood for patiently explaining herself, and her voice is strained as she turns back to Xander and replies, "We can't stay here. She'll just kill us off one by one until there's nobody standing between her and Dawn." Giles, for all of his experience and knowledge, is apparently even more disturbed by the idea of retreat than Xander is, and his words to Buffy clearly are meant to make her reconsider: "Buffy, we all understand the severity of the situation, but there must be another -" Buffy has had enough: "No! We stay -- we die! Show of hands for that option?" Predictably, no one is in favor of hunkering down and waiting for the door to be kicked in, and Buffy begins giving marching orders: "All right. Nobody goes home, nobody tells anyone we're leaving. Just pack up whatever supplies we need and that's it -- we're gone." "Cool...won't have to study for that geometry test." Dawn attempts to break the grim mood with a bit of dark humor, but her voice is low and shaky. Xander brings up a practical issue: "What about wheels? I don't think everybody's gonna fit in the Xandermobile." Hmmm...doesn't Giles have a car too? Not to mention Joyce's SUV? Sure, the Crusty Minions know what they look like (presumably), but the same would be true of the Xandermobile. Maybe they're somewhere the Minions are watching, like outside Giles' flat or Casa Summers (which raises the question: why isn't there a Crusty Minion staking out Xander's apartment?). Oh well. Buffy is on this too: "Just get your stuff together. I'll handle the rest."

The scene shifts to Glory's apartment, where Ben has thankfully changed out of the shredded remnants of the white dress, which is being held by a Crusty Minion who follows Ben down the spiral staircase and into the living room of the compartment. The Crusty Minion (named Gronx, according to the shooting script) complains about the damage to the dress...hey, the Crusty Minion sounds female! Nice to see that there is equal opportunity in casting of obsequious minions these days. Ben replies snidely that it wasn't his color anyway, and Gronx diffidently acknowledges the "inappropriate humor", then asks if he knows what led to the dress getting shredded. Ben, looking irritated, replies, "That's not how it works. You know that." Gronx goes into schmoozing mode and responds, "Yes, yes, of course. I just thought that after her Magnificent Incandescence was returned to the manly and... painfully handsome assemblage-" Gronx visibly checks Ben out at this point, which explains the casting of a female Crusty Minion...with the Host very visible on "Angel" these days, Mutant Enemy shows can't have another gay demonic type show up...might lead to picketing, can't have that. Anyway, Gronx continues, "-you might have noticed something interesting? A Key in human form perhaps? Lounging about unattended?" Nothing if not ambitious. Ben is irritated, and glares at Gronx as he replies, "If I did, do you really think I would tell you?" Sounding genuinely baffled, Gronx asks, "Why do you insist on fighting the inevitable? No one can stand against her blindingly Scrumptious Luminescence-" Ben is tired of listening to the toadying: "Glory! Her name is Glory. And she's your god, you little scab. Not mine." Gronx looks away, uncomfortable but still determined to make her point, and replies, "With all due respect and fear of sharp objects, you exist, sir, only because of her divine greatness."

Ben's eyes narrow, and he replies contemptuously, "You mean her divine failure, don't you?" Gronx is silent as Ben walks away, then turns back and comments in a frustrated tone, "I didn't ask for any of this. I just wanted to be normal." Gronx walks over and comments, "We play the hand we're dealt." This doesn't improve Ben's mood, as he complains, "Nothing's mine, is it? This life, this body." It's all infected. The only thing I've ever cared about she's taken away from me." He pauses and asks, "Do you know why I wanted to be a doctor?" Gronx gives him a coquettish look and suggests, "Flattering drawstring pants?" Ben ignores the toadying and continues, "To be close to people. To witness their lives and their deaths. To be there, alongside them, a part of everyday humanity." He pauses a moment, then adds, laughing bitterly, "Or maybe it was the drugs." Gronx is puzzled, and Ben elaborates, "Find the right combination...keep her buried where she belongs." Anyone else think that they wouldn't want to be treated by Ben while he's experimenting with the possible Glory suppressing drug cocktail of the week? Gronx is appalled and dismissive: "Impossible! Her magnificence can never be fully contained! She is a perfect, all-encompassing light-one you should feel honored to be bathed in." Ben glares at her and replies sarcastically, "Oh yeah, I'm thrilled. Especially with the part where she gets her Key back and I cease to exist." Man...sucks to be you, Ben. Gronx looks at him and replies, "True, this oh so appealing form will by necessity be shrugged off." Ben replies coldly, "Not if I get to the Key first." You can see the wheels spinning in Gronx's head: Ben's close to losing it. She regroups and presses Ben: "And if you did? What then?" Ben ignores her, and Gronx presses further: "But could you do it? Take a human life...with your own hands?" Ben looks uncomfortable: no Queller Demon around to help him with this little problem. Gronx waits, then soothingly suggests, "Oblivion is such a small inconvenience in the service of a deity. Accept your fate. I mean, you said it yourself. This life was never really yours anyway, was it?" Ben isn't buying it: "It doesn't matter how I came by it. It's mine. And I plan on keeping it."

Cut to a bus stop, where Giles, Willow, Xander, Anya, and Tara wait with their supplies. Everyone looks nervous and uncomfortable, and Anya doesn't mind bringing the subject up: "Anyone else feel that?" Willow asks, "What?" Anya elaborates, "Cold draft of paralyzing fear." Anya may lack tact, but she doesn't lack common sense. Trying to keep panic from escalating, Giles interjects, "We just need to stay calm." Willow responds, "Calm. Right." Her voice cracks, and it is a little disconcerting to someone who has been throwing around some seriously nasty mojo lately so utterly terrified. Xander, trying to be Comfort Guy, pipes up, "Hey...we gotta be like Sergeant Rock! Cool and collected in the face of overwhelming odds." Predictably, Anya is less than thrilled with this: "Overwhelming? How much more than whelming would that be exactly?" Sensing things deteriorate, Giles interjects again, "Everything's going to be all right. We'll wait here-calmly-and as soon as Buffy arrives we'll-"

At this point, the most horribly beaten-up, ancient Winnebago that one could possibly imagine pulls up to the curb next to our heroes. The windows are all covered with aluminum foil. I will refer to it henceforth as the RV from Hell: the title fits. Giles takes a good look and concludes his sentence: "-feel oddly worse." The front door swings open, and everyone piles in to see Buffy, Dawn...and Spike at the wheel, wearing dark goggles. Predictably, Giles is less than thrilled: "What's he doing here?" Spike looks over at the Watcher and replies, "Just out for a jaunt. Thought I'd swing by and say howdy." Giles glares at him and growls in a Ripper-like manner, "Out." Buffy interjects calmly: "He's here because we need him." Xander is annoyed, and fires back, "The hell we do." Buffy, raising her voice ever so slightly, presses on, "If Glory finds us, he's the only one besides me that has any chance of protecting Dawn." Well, he has more of a chance, anyway...though a chance in a million isn't really that much better than a chance in a centillion in a practical sense, and I think she's overlooking a certain witch who has seriously slowed down Glory at times. Anyway, Xander isn't buying: "Buffy, come on-" Buffy has had quite enough, and snaps at Xander (and the others, by implication), "This isn't a discussion! He stays. Get over it." She storms off into the back room of the RV from Hell while countless Spike fans break out in cheers and countless Buffy fundamentalists screech, "But he's EVIL!" Everyone looks up at Spike, who grins and calls out, "Buckle up, kids. Daddy's putting the hammer down." He steps on the gas, and the monstrosity gets under way.

Cut to Sunnydale Memorial Hospital, where a man wearing a cap and jacket is apparently signing a patient out: a wider shot identifies the patient as the unfortunate Orlando of the Knights of Byzantium. The man signs his name in nifty flowing handwriting which makes me a little jealous: his first name is "Dante", which is a name that I identify with a certain outfielder once dubbed by Bob Costas as the poster child of Coors Field, which causes me to look at this Knight with slightly more distaste than I would a nondescript member of an order who is out to murder Dawn. Dante, Orlando, and another Knight turn to leave, and Dante is bragging about how easy that was when the nurse calls out "Hey!" Everyone tenses, but it turns out she just wants her pen back. They leave, and the scene cuts to the woods, where the three of them step around trees and rocks. A Knight with an elaborate tattoo on his forehead steps forward, and Dante addresses him as "General" and tells him that they have brought Orlando back. The General, whose name is Gregor, greets Orlando warmly, embraces him and tells him that his sacrifice will not be in vain. Orlando is more interested in Gregor's armor: "Shiny." Gregor sighs, and is giving orders to watch Orlando and see to his comfort when he notices what Orlando is saying: "Pretty little girl. She's shiny too. So shiny. Pretty little shiny Key." Oh, crap. Gregor stares at Orlando and asks, "The Key? You've seen it?" Orlando mumbles on, "Pretty little shiny girl." I guess one advantage of being a member of a homicidal, monomaniacal cult is even when you lose your marbles, you still can keep your eye on the prize. Gregor puts it all together: "The monks...they've made it human." Dante pipes up, "We know the Slayer is protecting the Key. If what Orlando says is true-" Gregor has heard enough: he turns behind him and orders, "Prepare to advance!" A soldier replies, "Yes, sir," and the camera pulls back as Gregor walks forward muttering, "We end this now," and, hoo boy, that's a lot of soldiers coming out of the mist...about ten of them on horseback. Not exactly "legion", but enough to be seriously scary.

Act Two begins, and we're back aboard the RV from Hell, which is moving at glacial speed down what looks like a semi-rural road (apparently the outskirts of Sunnydale). Giles is now driving, and the others (except for Buffy) are in and around the dining area. Anya looks around and asks, "Shouldn't somebody be asking if we're there yet?" Willow gives her an exasperated look, and Anya elaborates, "Isn't that what small irritating children do?" Dawn quietly replies, "That kinda only works if you know where you're going." Anya absorbs the information, then calls out "Do we know where we're going yet?" I smile: that sounds a lot cuter coming from Anya than from some snot nosed eight year old actor doing a car commercial. Spike, who is visibly pissed off about being chased from the driver's seat, grumbles, "Already be somewhere if Captain Slowpoke would give up the wheel." He glares at Giles and snarls, "Hey Gramps! Bloody step on it!" Giles glances back at Spike and replies snidely, "Step on what? I've driven tricycles with more power." Yes...and you drove a car for at least three years with less power than that, Giles. Spike did you a big favor by wrecking that piece of crap.

The RV from Hell lurches, and Xander is looking very nauseous. He asks, "Is anybody else queasy." Anya squeezes his arm, then comments, "He doesn't travel well. He's like fine shrimp." Awwww. Having your girlfriend say sweet things like that about you would almost make it worth while to suffer through yet another butt-monkey moment by being the only one to suffer from nausea that has no visible plot purpose...almost. Spike mutters in annoyance, "Should have nicked that Porsche I had my eye on. Just enough room for me, you, and big sis." Xander is annoyed, and glares at Spike until he asks, "What?" Xander tries to be menacing, but the nausea ruins the effect as he replies, "Just give it a rest or-" Spike is unimpressed: "Or what? You're gonna toss your cookies on my shoes?" Xander manages to continue, "-or you're going to be Undead Man Walking. See how fast you hitch a ride with a flaming thumb." Hmmm...nice image for a T-Shirt logo. Spike replies, "Fine...shrimp." Xander turns a bit greener, and staggers into the front passenger seat, where he complains to Giles that Spike is "...bloodsucking the last nerve right out of me." Giles acknowledges the complaint, but reluctantly admits that Buffy has a point about Spike possibly being useful. Xander is skeptical, pointing out that Buffy isn't exactly at her best at the moment. Giles defends Buffy: "She's been through more than her fair share of late. She just needs a chance to catch her breath...regroup. She'll be all right." His expressional is doubtful, though, and Xander's efforts to echo Giles' sentiments are hampered by his continuing nausea.

Meanwhile, Dawn is asking Willow if she's having any luck. Willow replies that she has found a couple of barrier spells that work in a fixed location, but nothing to protect a moving vehicle. Tara reaches around Willow at Dawn, plaintively asking, "So pretty...can I have one?" Amber Benson has the creepy insanity thing down pat. Willow gently pulls her away, and Dawn decides to change the subject to something more pleasant: "Anybody hungry?" Anya perks up again and calls out, "Oooh, snacks!" She digs around in a backpack as she comments, "The secret to any successful migration." She pulls out a frying pan and a container of Spam...and the Monty Python connections keep right on coming. Anya asks, "Who's up for some tasty fried meat products?" Tara picks this moment to pull the blinds open a bit, exposing Spike to direct sunlight and causing his hand to start smoking as he yells "Ow!" and retreats from the light. Willow pulls Tara away and scolds her, causing Tara to start crying and me to stick another pin in my Glory voodoo doll. Willow comforts Tara and apologizes, saying that Tara didn't mean to do it. Dawn replies gently, "We know," and Spike draws on his long experience with caring for a less than rational woman in trying to console Tara: "Yeah, no biggie. Look, skin's already stopped smoking. You go ahead and play peek-a-boo with Mr. Sunshine all you want. Keeps the ride from getting boring." Unfortunately, something else is bothering Tara: "All the light's gone." Willow tries to reassure her that the light is still out there, but Tara keeps crying: "All dark...all dark."

Cut to the psychiatric ward at Sunnydale General, and it isn't just Tara who is upset. Glory's brain suck victims are all muttering to themselves: "Dark...all dark...soon...dark...soon...soon...soon."

Cut to Glory's apartment, where two Crusty Minions are sitting around a mystic circle. One says, "The signs are in alignment. Soon victory will be in our grasp. All we need to do is seize the moment...and squeeze until it bleeds." The Minion smiles, and I'm thinking I could have done without that particular imagery after what Glory did to Tara's hand last week.

Back to the RV from Hell, where Dawn has decided to peek in on Buffy in the bedroom. Buffy is leaning against the wall and opens her eyes when Dawn says, "Hey." Dawn continues, "I think Anya's going to try to cook...wanna come watch the tears and recriminations?" Buffy smiles slightly, but she's still not loving life much right now, and replies in a small voice, "Maybe later." Dawn turns to go, then turns back to Buffy and says, "Thanks." Buffy looks up at her and asks in the same small voice, "For what?" Dawn replies matter of factly, "You know...pretty much everything." Buffy replies sarcastically, "Yeah...I'm doing a great job." Dawn looks at her and responds with extra emphasis, "You are." Buffy looks at Dawn, then makes it clear that running was the last thing she wanted to do: "I'm the Slayer. The Chosen One, all mythic and defendery. Evil Nasties are supposed to flee from me, not the other way around." Dawn tries to put a better face on the situation again: "You're not fleeing. You're...moving at a brisk pace." I really want to hug Dawn right now: she's come a long way from "Real Me" and not having a lot of respect for what Buffy does. Unfortunately, it's not getting through to Buffy, who replies, "Quaintly referred to in some cultures as the Big Scaredy Run Away."

Dawn walks closer to Buffy and lays it on the line for her: "It's the most amazing thing anyone's ever done for me." Buffy's hardly listening, and her voice has the sound of one about to start sobbing as she continues, "It just keeps coming. Glory. Riley. Tara. Mom-" Dawn looks worried, then replies softly, "I know...but there's a bright side." Buffy looks at her, puzzled, and asks, "There is?" Dawn brightens a bit and elaborates, "Yeah. At least things can't get any crazier...right?"

Bad move, Dawn.

There is a loud thump, and an arrow pierces the wall very near Buffy's head. Dawn gasps, and Buffy is for the moment her old self as she mock lectures Dawn: "You know this is your fault for saying that." She peeks out through the blinds, and the ten Knights Who Say Key that we saw earlier on horseback are hot in pursuit of the RV from Hell, waving various weapons and shouting. A lengthy discussion regarding the implausibility of this encounter will be forthcoming in the Comments section following the recap; for the moment, Buffy sighs in exasperation and goes forward to warn Giles, who is already aware of the pursuers. Arrows and crossbow bolts start thudding into and partway through the walls of the RV from Hell; fortunately, they don't go straight through, which I would have expected from the shape the damned thing is in. Tara peeks through the window and squeals delightedly, "Horsies!", and is pulled back just in time to keep from being pierced by an arrow. Giles calls out asking about weapons, and Spike bluntly points out that he is driving one. Willow hears this, and-either suffering from a brain cramp of the variety that made her such an idiot in "Pangs" or fearing that Tara will not like seeing equestrian squishage-calls out, "Don't hit the horsies!" Buffy, having regained her clarity and remembering that it is best to humor Willow when she is having a brain dead moment, assures her "We won't", then whispers to Giles, "Aim for the horsies." Giles yanks the wheel hard left, but the horsemen evade the swerving RV from Hell, and one of the Knights comes up from behind and climbs up on the roof using the access ladder. Xander is moved to ask, "Did we shake 'em?" The predictable answer comes in the form of a sword blade piercing the roof and narrowly missing him. Everyone but Spike and Buffy hits the deck, and Spike grabs the blade as it is about to strike Buffy from above. With great effort and obvious pain, he holds the blade and suggests to Buffy that it might be time for something heroic. Buffy orders Xander to open the vent hatch and she climbs out onto the roof. The Knight is struggling with his sword, and yanks it free (which brings a bellow of pain from Spike), and the battle is joined. Buffy's performance here is amazingly bad: it is tempting to attribute it to the probably magical armor that the Knights are wearing, but how would that protect them from being struck in the face where there is no armor? Also, usually when Buffy hits someone or something hard, it is knocked back at least a bit...that would have been plenty to knock the Knight off the roof. Anyway, she eventually knocks the first Knight off, but more are coming, and one has busted in the side window where Dawn is binding Spike's wounds, forcing Spike to retreat as Dawn screams at the Knight grabbing at her. Enter one pissed off ex-demon: Anya grabs the frying pan and whacks the Knight five times on the head. The Knight falls out of the window and onto the pavement, and Anya comments, "Not a piano, but hey." Meanwhile, Buffy is fighting two more Knights, and she steps the tempo up a bit, eventually knocking one Knight off, then disarming the second before shoving him to his doom, then throwing the axe she has just acquired into the chest of a third Knight who was climbing up onto the roof.: instant kill, and it's about time. No use screwing around when people are trying to kill you.

Giles doesn't see any more Knights behind the RV from Hell, and is starting to relax when he sees a Knight galloping in from the front, ready to hurl a spear. His eyes widen, and the Knight hurls the spear, piercing the windshield and impaling Giles through the left side. Ouch. The RV from Hell swerves off the road and pitches over on its side, throwing Buffy clear. She watches as it skids to a stop, coming to rest in a cloud of dust. Yikes.

Act Three begins with the group moving away from the overturned RV from Hell. Xander comments that they need to find shelter, and Spike agrees, since he is hiding under a blanket and is in imminent danger of burning up. They find an abandoned gas station, and Spike kicks the door in, allowing everyone to enter. Giles is in bad shape, and the others lift him onto a table: the lower part of his shirt is soaked in blood. Willow helps to tend to Giles, and Buffy asks Dawn if she's all right. Dawn says yes, then points out that Spike's hurt. Buffy, obviously preoccupied, checks out Spike's hands without much delicacy. Spike yowls in pain and complains, "Easy with the delicates!" Buffy turns to Dawn and comments brusquely, "They'll heal." Spike grumbles sarcastically about Buffy being Florence Nightingale as Buffy nervously peeks out the window and Anya asks breathlessly, "You have another plan, right? One that doesn't involve pointy knives and a Winnebago?" Buffy is reeling, and she replies frantically, "We'll...we'll rest here for a minute...but then we have to keep moving." Xander bluntly asks the obvious question: "Where?" Buffy isn't in the mood for negativity, and snaps back "I don't know! We can't...we can't stay here. It's too close to the wreck, too easy to find." Willow cries out, "Buffy!" Buffy comes over and asks, "How is he?" Willow is silent, and Buffy prods her, "Will?" Willow reluctantly answers, "I think I slowed the bleeding, but-" Buffy feels everything slipping away, and desperately tries to regain control: "Okay. Okay, just...just give me a minute-"

Yeah, right. A flaming arrow shoots in through one of the window slats, embedding itself in a wall. Xander grabs it and extinguishes it, but more are forthcoming. Xander looks outside, and a whole mess of the Knights Who Say Key are lined up, with many of them continuing the withering fire arrow attack. Xander's assessment of the situation is blunt: "We've got company-and they brought a Crusade!" OK, Butt-Monkey Xander has been banished for the rest of the episode. Willow goes to work on a barrier spell, while Spike and Buffy barricade the front door by moving a vending machine (that really had to smart for Spike). Some of the Knights move forward and start hacking at the walls of the service station. Dawn is rather terrified. A Knight comes in the back door and slugs Buffy, but she recovers and knocks him out after Spike smacks him and takes chip pain for his trouble. Xander drags the Knight off, and then General Gregor cleverly decides to come in...without head armor. He points his sword dramatically at Dawn and intones, "The Key," and steps forward. Buffy picks up a fallen mace and throws it at Gregor's sword, disarming him. She then punches him in the face, knocking him cold. Wonder if Custer was secretly one of the Knights? Meanwhile, Willow's eyes have gone all scary and black again, and she mutters an incantation that throws the Knights outside away from the station and erects an energy barrier around the station. Dante runs up and bangs on the barrier with his sword, which bounces. He growls, and notices they have a problem: "They have the General. Clerics!" Two old guys dressed like holy men walk over to inspect the wall, and one intones, "Energy barrier. A most powerful one." Dante asks, "Can it be breached?" The cleric looks smug and replies, "A witch's magic pales to the might of our God. The infidel's wall shall tumble before us." Yeah, yeah...now, if you had a "Disintegrate" spell, I might be impressed. Wussy cleric spells aren't going to touch that barrier.

Inside, Buffy wants to know how long the barrier will stay up. "Half a day, maybe," Willow replies. She looks through a window and spots the clerics chanting, then adds in annoyance, "Or until Heckle and Jeckle punch a hole through it." Spike has recovered from chip pain, and glares down at the unconscious Custer...I mean, Gregor and asks, "So...what's the story on these role-playing rejects?" Buffy looks down at her tormentor and glares, replying to Spike, "Let's find out."

Quick cut, and Gregor is now tied to one of the pneumatic car lifts. He's awake and staring at Buffy, and Spike asks, "You're sure Scarface here can hablo the English?" Buffy, who is giving Gregor one of her cold, cold stares, replies without turning, "He understands me...don't you?" Gregor keeps his eyes locked with Buffy's and replies in a low, menacing voice, "You were warned that we would return, Slayer." "Took you long enough," is Buffy's contemptuous reply. She looks at the large tattoo on his forehead and asks, "What are you supposed to be... some kind of chief?" Gregor tries to look more menacing, then replies curtly, "General." Ouch. Easy straight line. Buffy exploits it to twist the knife a bit: "General...in charge of what? Getting captured?" Gregor growls about not being frightened by Buffy, and turns to Dawn, intoning "The instrument of chaos must be destroyed-" Buffy is pissed off, and grabs Gregor by the head and snarls, "Look at her that way again, and she'll be the last thing you ever see." Gregor, showing more nerve than brains, presses on, "As I've been told...you protect the Key of the Beast." Buffy steps away, visibly calming herself, then replies in a less confident voice, "It's not that simple." Gregor's expression softens slightly, and his voice is less harsh as he responds, "Yes. The Key has been transformed. Given breath. Life. Yet, this makes no difference. The Key is the link. The link must be severed. Such is the will of God." Buffy is not impressed by this response, and fires back, "She doesn't remember anything about being this Key that you're all looking for! The only thing she remembers is growing up with a mother and a sister that love her. What kind of god would demand her life for something she has no control over?" A good question, and one that Gregor declines to respond to. Buffy pauses for a moment, then concludes in a softer voice, "We're not your enemy...tell your men to stand down." Gregor is silent for a moment, then answers bluntly, "No." Buffy can feel the situation slipping away again, and desperately presses him, "It is not her fault! She's human now!" Gregor stares at her and replies calmly, "The Key is too dangerous to be allowed to exist-no matter what form it has been pressed into." Buffy's eyes widen in rage, and she snarls, "I will not let anyone tell me-" A cry comes from the other part of the station, and Xander and Buffy go to investigate. Tara is agitated, and Anya and Willow don't know what is wrong, Tara cries out, "Time, time, time" and continues to mutter the same thing as Willow worries out loud about her and Buffy's eyes glaze over just a little more from the tremendous pressure on her.

Meanwhile, the brain suck victims at Sunnydale Memorial Hospital are all muttering the same thing that Tara is, and they rise from their beds, knock out the hapless nurse, and depart.

Orlando is also muttering about it being time, and Dante grabs him as he mutters. Dante soothes Orlando: "No! Shh...There's nothing to fear, my brother. The Beast may have taken your mind, but I swear to you...she will never know the taste of your heart." Eww...unpleasant imagery again. Dante makes a thrusting motion with his hand and Orlando gasps, stiffens, and falls dead to the ground, leaving Dante standing there with a bloody dagger. The grief on his face turns to anger, and he calls out, "Clerics! I want the witch's barrier down! Now!"

Back inside, where Buffy is standing near Giles. Her eyes are wide and stricken, and the guilt is naked on her face as she quaveringly tells him, "I'm sorry." Giles is barely conscious, and he whispers his reply, "For what?" "We should have stayed," Buffy responds, "If we had, none of this would have happened." The correct thing for Giles to say here would have been, "You're right...the Knights could have been burning down our homes instead, or Glory could have showed up and kicked the door down. How exactly is this particular situation, which no one could have anticipated, your fault?" But give him a break, the man's in bad shape. Giles whispers, "Don't...you did...what was necessary. What I've always admired." Buffy is puzzled: "Running away?" "Being able to place your heart above all else," is Giles' reply. Huh? All right, forgetting for a moment the very fair question about whether it is always better to let the heart lead rather than the head, that isn't what Buffy did here! Her conversation with Dawn made it rather clear that her gut instinct was to stay and fight, no matter how futile. Her arguments to the group in Act One were blunt and logical and unrebutted. Taking everyone along meant no hostages for Glory...it would be hard to think of a case where Buffy used her head more than in this episode...and look where it got her: trapped in an abandoned building with a bunch of homicidal Knights ready to murder her and all she loves...not a great endorsement of head over heart. Giles continues, "I'm so proud of you. You've come so far. You're everything a Watcher-everything I could have hoped for." Giles slips back into unconsciousness as Buffy's expression gets a bit less numb and a bit more upset: she knows that Giles is going to die without help. Her expression turns determined, and Buffy turns to Willow and tells her to open a door.

Back to outside, where an opening appears in the wall, and Buffy and Xander walk up to it as Dante and the other Knights come up to the other side (the clerics are nowhere in sight...guess Heckle and Jeckle struck out...Willow rocks). Dante holds his men back and bluntly invites, "Speak." Buffy begins, "One of my friends was hurt when you attacked us-" Dante is unimpressed: "And ten of my men are dead. Honorable men. Shall we balance the scales?" He draws his sword, and everyone tenses as Buffy asks angrily, "Will you let someone come and help him or not?" Dante's reply is contemptuous: "Give quarter to an agent of the Beast? What madness would move me to such action?" Self-preservation, perhaps...Buffy is about to lose it as she grates out, "I'm done asking." She takes a step forward, and Xander once again saves Buffy's life (not to mention his own and a bunch of Knights) by stepping in and calling out, "Whoa, hey, uh...this is war, isn't it, and if there's one thing I've learned from Sergeant Rock, is in war there are rules...or at least there should be, if you're as "honorable" as you think you are." Dante is unmoved by the wisdom of Sergeant Rock, and Xander remembers a more prosaic method of persuasion they have at their disposal: "Plus we do have your General Forehead Guy." Xander rocks. Dante glares.

Back inside, where Willow, Buffy and Spike walk up to a broken pay phone. Willow casts a spell, and the phone's light comes on. Buffy picks up the receiver as Spike jokes that his crypt door could use some fixing. Buffy punches in the phone number, and when the person at the other end picks up, she says, "Hey, uh, it's Buffy. I need to ask you a really big favor." I've got a really bad feeling about this.

A car pulls up to the surrounded gas station, and, yep, it's Ben. Yet another decent plan blows up in Buffy's face. Ben doesn't look thrilled to see the encampment of Knights coming up to him.

Back inside, and Ben is treating Giles. He comments to Buffy that she forgot to mention "the costume party" outside. Buffy is apologetic, but Ben is friendly and a bit flirtatious, much to Spike's annoyance. Buffy thanks him for coming, and Ben says that it's not a problem, as he looks up and sees Dawn standing a few feet away.

Act Four begins with everyone still at the service station, and Ben finishes bandaging Giles' wound and explains that Giles is probably stabilized, but that the damage is bad and he needs to get out of there. Buffy points out that the guys with the swords outside have a different view of things, and Ben comments, "Don't they always?" Spike rolls his eyes at the flirting, and Buffy is apologetic: "Look, I know this must seem extra Outer Limits to you-" Ben replies that he's seen a lot of strange things in his time. No shit, Ben. Buffy is insistent, probably worried that she's going to screw up Ben's life, too: "If this gets too weird, just tell me. I'll understand." Ben smiles and replies, "Don't worry about me. I won't leave until I've worn out my welcome." Not realizing that Ben is seriously tempting fate with that comment, Buffy smiles at him and reaches out to hold Giles' hand.

Meanwhile, Spike is trying to light a cigarette, but his mangled hands are complicating the process. Xander comes over and takes the lighter from Spike, lighting the cigarette. Spike says, "Thank you," (not exactly something Spike says very often), and Xander comments, "You know, those things'll kill you." Spike gives Xander a mildly disgusted look, and Xander remembers who he is talking to: "Oh, right." An awkward silence follows, then Xander asks, "I mention today how much I don't like you?" Spike nods and replies dryly, "Might have let it slip in, once or twice." Xander seems to relax a little, and asks Spike, "How are your feelers?" Spike grimaces, looks around, and replies in a low voice, "Nothing compared to the little bits we're all going to get chopped into when the Renaissance Fair kicks the door in. And here we bloody sit." From past observations, Xander is almost certainly sympathetic to this line of argument, but he decides to play the voice of reason here: "Not like we have much of a choice." Spike, exasperated, snaps back, "Could make a break for it. Use General Armor-All as a shield, get to the doc's car, and-" Xander doesn't like the sound of that: "Great plan. And while all the hacking and slashing's going on, what are you going to be doing, huh? Throwing migraines at them?" Spike persists: "Look, we stay here, we all die. At least this way some of us might get-"

"No." Buffy has come over to them, and her voice is determined, though a bit quivery with fear and exhaustion. "We're all going to make it. I'm not losing anyone." Spike is silent, and Buffy orders Spike and Xander to check the supplies and see if anyone is hungry. They depart, and Gregor mocks Buffy about the dissension in the ranks, buying him a punch to the face and a snarl from Buffy to shut up. Gregor spits blood, then taunts her further: "Poor, frightened girl. You've no idea what you've gotten yourself into." Buffy glares at him and replies, "Well why don't you tell me?" Gregor retorts, "Would it make a difference?" They look at each other for a moment, then Gregor begins telling Buffy the story of "The Beast" (Glory). She is from "a dimension of unspeakable torment", where she once ruled with two other hellgods, who decided to overthrow her because they feared her growing power. A long battle followed, ending in Glory's defeat. She was exiled to Earth, forced to "live and ultimately die trapped within the body of a mortal, a newborn male...that is the Beast's only weakness." Buffy sees the possibilities: "Kill the man, and the god dies." Gregor nods and adds, "Unfortunately, the identity of the human vessel has never been discovered." Buffy points out that Glory doesn't look particularly male, and Gregor explains that Glory was too powerful to be completely contained, and she is able to emerge for brief periods before being forced back into "her living cell of meat and bone."

"What about me?" Dawn has come into the room, and is staring over at Buffy and Gregor with a determined expression on her face. She presses: "What about the Key?" Buffy tries to get Dawn to leave, but she is adamant: "I want to know." Buffy turns back to Gregor, who is already in mid-narrative: "The Key is almost as old as the Beast itself. Where it came from, how it was created...is the deepest of mysteries. All that is certain is that its power is absolute. Countless generations of my people have sacrificed their lives in search of it, to destroy it before its wrath could be unleashed." "But the monks found it first," Dawn interjects. "Yes...and hid it with their magicks." Gregor's reply sounds bitter. Buffy asks why the monks didn't destroy it, and Gregor replies that the monks were fools who had thought they could harness the power of the Key for good...and paid for their folly with their lives. Dawn is tired of the history lesson: "What do I do? What was I created for?"

Gregor's reply is blunt: "You were created to open the gates that separate dimensions. The Beast will use your power to return home and seize control of the Hell she was banished from." Buffy laughs in utter disbelief and asks contemptuously, "That's it? That's Glory's master plan...to go home?" Gregor drops the other shoe: "You misunderstand. When the Key is activated, it won't just open a gate to the Beast's dimension-it's going to open ALL the gates. The walls separating realities will crumble. Dimensions will bleed into each other. Order will be overthrown, and the universe will tumble into chaos. All dark. Forever." He looks at Dawn and intones coldly, "That is what you were created for." Buffy looks shocked, and Dawn's eyes get the dull, stunned look that has been in Buffy's eyes for most of the episode. Buffy may know the plural of "apocalypse" by necessity, but this is the mother of them all...the end of everything...all in the person of the only real family she has left, her origins aside.

Buffy finds Dawn in another part of the garage, and goes over to her. Dawn wants to know if Buffy thinks it's all true and Buffy can't come up with a comforting lie, so she volunteers the truth: "I don't know." Dawn looks over at Buffy, and with remarkable composure comments, "Destroyer of the universe...guess cutting class doesn't seem so bad now, huh?" Buffy tries to reassure her: "It's not you. You know that." Dawn is less than convinced: "But it's in me, isn't it? It's inside me...what are we going to do?" Buffy leans closer to hug her, and lays it on the line: "I won't let anything happen to you, Dawn...I promise."

In the other room, Willow is having difficulty feeding Tara, and Anya offers to help, causing Willow to comment that she's "kinda getting used to picking fruit out of my hair." Gregor is on the other side of the room, and he has noticed Ben, realizing that he is an outsider. He whispers to Ben, telling him that he is doomed if he stands with "the Slayer and her misguided people." Ben's hackles rise, and he retorts, "It's my life...I'll do what I please with it." Gregor responds, "It's not just your life. Unimaginable legions will perish, including everyone here. You can stop this. You can save all their lives...by ending one. The little girl. The Key. Destroy it, and the will of the Beast will be broken. She will fade, a distant memory...and this madness will end." Uh oh. Gregor's hit a nerve. Ben is visibly considering it.

Dawn is watching Giles with concern on her face, and Ben comes up behind her and moves over to examine Giles. Dawn asks if Giles will be all right, and Ben replies that he was hurt pretty badly. Xander, who is standing nearby, leaves the area, leaving Dawn and Ben alone with Giles. Dawn is feeling guilty: "It's because of me. It's all my fault." Ben replies, "No it isn't," as he reaches for his doctor's bag. Dawn is unconvinced, and reminds him, "You don't know what's happening." Ben brushes aside the really incorrect statement by Dawn and replies, "I don't have to." He takes a hypodermic needle out of his bag: Dawn is not looking at him as he prepares the needle and continues, "I just know that sometimes terrible things happen to good people. It shouldn't, but it does...and it's nobody's fault." He walks forward with the needle in his hand and a calm expression on his face as he concludes, "That's just the way that life is." He moves up behind Dawn...then injects Giles with it. Psych. Dawn asks, "Is that going to help?" Ben doesn't answer: he is making distressed noises and standing still. Dawn calls out, "Ben?" The needle drops to the floor. Time for the other shoe to drop...Glory's on the way.

Ben bursts into the garage section of the station, with Dawn following behind, fear naked on his face. He begs to be let out, and the others react in confusion. Finally, Buffy calls for Willow to make an opening-too late. Ben cries out and arches his back as he morphs into Glory, who looks pretty hot in the T-Shirt and jeans, actually. Buffy looks absolutely terrified, and everyone else in the room except for Tara looks about the same. Glory looks around, spots her quarry, and comments with a smile, "Well what do you know? Little Ben finally did something right." Gregor is horrified and mutters, "The Beast." Glory spots him and calls out in a cheerful tone, "Hey! It's Gregor!" She picks up a hubcap and flings it like a Frisbee. So much for magic armor. The hubcap buries itself deep in Gregor's chest, and he expires without time to even mutter something to the effect of "Where did all of those Indians come from?" Glory curls her lip and adds, "Now it's not." Spike's face contorts and he charges at Glory, who tosses him aside. Buffy charges next, and is hurled at Willow, disrupting her efforts to cast a spell. Glory looks at Dawn and smiles at the terrified girl. The goddess moves forward and grabs Dawn, ignoring Anya's futile efforts to hold on to her. They head out the exit, and Glory finds herself faced with the barrier. She snorts, "Yeah, right," and one punch does what a whole mess of Knights and Heckle and Jeckle couldn't: an opening appears in the barrier, and Glory pulls Dawn through.

As Buffy charges out, the sounds of fighting can be heard as the Knights attack Glory. The opening has closed again, and Buffy bounces off the barrier. She shouts at Willow to lower the barrier, and Willow shakes off the aftereffects of her collision with Buffy to do so...but it's too late. The Knights and Heckle and Jeckle are littered about, dead or dying. Damned impressive, killing all of those folks that quickly and protecting Dawn from them at the same time. As the others rush out behind Buffy, she sees Dante, who mutters, "The Beast," and dies. Everyone is shocked by the carnage, and Tara starts sobbing on Willow's shoulder. Spike recovers first and runs forward, calling out, "The car! Check for the keys!" The others begin to follow, but Buffy doesn't. Her eyes are wide and tear filled, and she slowly and silently sinks into a sitting position. Willow calls out to her, pleading for her to get up, but her voice starts fading away as the camera pulls closer to Buffy...she's failed, utterly and completely, and it has pushed her over the edge. She stares into space, seeing nothing.

Fade to black. "Executive Producer: Joss Whedon."


The major theme of the episode is Buffy's increasing sense of desperation: the teaser begins with near total disaster, and things mostly just get worse from there, in spite of Buffy using her head and doing the most sensible thing under the circumstances, running like hell. The RV from Hell was a necessary plot contrivance, since it would have been inconvenient to separate the characters into the three vehicles (four, if Spike still has his car somewhere) known to be under the control of Buffy, Giles, and the Scooby Gang. Also, Buffy's decision to keep everyone together deprived Glory of potential hostages and provided a mix of useful skills; except for Tara, everyone ended up being important to the escape. Unfortunately, Buffy couldn't know that the Knights Who Say Key had some really nifty magic at their disposal, that let them do all of the following:

—locate a group of people in a vehicle they had never seen before, at a substantial distance.

—ride horses at over thirty miles per hour over many miles, catching up with the RV from Hell from behind and even allowing the spearman to get well in front and ride back to skewer Giles.

—wear armor that does a pretty good job of absorbing punches and kicks that usually toss normal human beings across rooms, even when Buffy was punching them in the face and not hitting the armor.

—transports a whole bunch of Knights who didn't have magic horses to the site of the station only a few minutes after the ones with horses got there.

These guys are seriously wasting their time in trying to stop the Apocalypse: they should be cleaning up by fixing horse races, finding missing persons, and making body armor for rich celebrities. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief as much as the next guy, but come on. The irony of the whole situation, of course, was that these well-armed crazies screwed up Buffy's plan, which-given Glory's apparent limitations, had a very good chance of succeeding--and delivered the Key right into Glory's hands...a shame that most of them never knew it before they died: they deserved a taste of the misery that Buffy went through.

Buffy had no way of knowing about Ben, of course, and since Buffy almost certainly didn't volunteer much information about their situation, Ben had no way of knowing that Buffy was leading him into a situation where he would be trapped in close proximity to Dawn (and he didn't know that Glory knew she was the Key). Once there, he couldn't have left without treating Giles without raising a whole lot of inconvenient questions...once again, the circumstances conspired to make Buffy's very reasonable plan blow up in her face with catastrophic consequences.

We got a good look at the Knights, and while they are clearly well armed and powerful, their narrow focus keeps them from thinking of a compromise that would serve their purposes. Even if the Key is a continuing danger, Glory is the only one threatening to use it to destroy all reality at the moment. They seem to have resources: they could hide Buffy and Dawn away somewhere and wait for Glory's time to run out (they seem to know everything else about Glory...why don't they know her time is almost up?). They could have teamed up with Buffy, Willow and Giles and tried to find out who the Vessel is. Any number of reasonable scenarios could be constructed, but no, Dawn has to die right that moment, over the bodies of anyone in the way...irrational in the extreme, and it resulted in the predictable disaster.

Xander's nausea attack was deeply annoying, and contributed nothing to the story...at least he was allowed to redeem himself later by dealing with the flaming arrows and keeping Buffy from attacking Dante and wrecking any chance to save Giles. Spike acquitted himself well: grabbing the sword with his bare hands and holding on was rather heroic and painful to watch, and his casual dismissal of nearly being incinerated by Tara's game of peek-a-boo was rather sweet. The cigarette lighting scene with Xander indicates that the two of them have come to at least the point where they can be civil to each other, though if Spike actually ever does start dating Buffy, all bets are off.

Willow's spell casting is reaching new heights: those quick spells she cast at Glory in the teaser saved the day for the moment, and that barrier spell was seriously nasty. It might have been nice if she had used that nifty lightning spell she used on Glory to fry a bunch of the Knights, but maybe that would have exhausted her too quickly. Anya once again proved her usefulness by beating the holy crap out of a knight with that frying pan, and her offer to help Willow with Tara was sweet and indicates that their chilly relationship is thawing a bit. Amber Benson did a good job of portraying Tara in the grip of the creepy brain suck insanity. Giles did his best to bolster Buffy's spirits and to otherwise support her, but his comment about Buffy following her heart in this episode was totally out of the blue and just incorrect. Dawn tried her best to cheer Buffy on and let her know just how much she means to her, but she had her own anxieties to deal with, and her terrified cry to Buffy as Glory dragged her off was haunting.

For the first time, Buffy killed another human being both intentionally and directly...and it was fully justified; in fact, the only objection I would register is that she should have been playing for keeps earlier, since the delay in finishing off the Knights coming from the rear may have allowed the one coming from the front to have time to set up his attack and wound Giles. When your opponents are using lethal force and threatening innocents, there is nothing noble about declining to use lethal force in response to stop them, particularly when it is the only thing that will work.

Buffy's catatonic state at the end brings to mind Spike's comments about how Buffy's ties to the world have allowed her to survive as long as she has. During the course of the season, those ties have been gradually taken away from her, and with the grave wounding of Giles and the abduction of Dawn, combined with the horribly unlucky chain of events that doomed her efforts to failure, it is hardly surprising that Buffy has withdrawn-people go into suicidal depression over far less. She won't be able to get out of this mess without a lot of help.

Overall, a good episode, though the plot holes and the gratuitous abuse of Xander weakened it, and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. 7 out of 10.


"I really hate it when people touch my things."
-- Glory, annoyed that Buffy won't give up the Key all peaceful like.

"Last words, Slay-runt?"
"Just one...Truck."
--Glory, feeling confident, and Buffy taking advantage of a WB moment of the Looney Tunes variety...

"...and then WHOOSH! All of a sudden Glory's standing right there in front of us all skanky and blond and thinking she's all that just because some bumpy heads kiss her stinky feet -- well she does have nice feet -- and she's coming right at us but Buffy doesn't even blink. She just stands there all "bring it on" and then WHAM!' Hellbitch in orbit!"
-- Dawn as the loyal sister recapping the encounter with Glory.

"I knew you'd be able best Glory eventually. With all our years of training and --"
"A truck hit her."
--Giles' moment of pride, and Buffy's cold dose of reality.

"We should drop a piano on her. It always works for that creepy cartoon rabbit when he's running from that nice man with the speech impediment."
"Yes, or perhaps we could paint a convincing fake tunnel on the side of a mountain."
--Anya, continuing the Looney Tunes theme, and Giles' less than enthusiastic reply...

"Buckle up, kids! Daddy's puttin' the hammer down."
--Spike at the helm of the RV From Hell.

"Yeah, no biggie. Look, skin's already stopped smoking. You go ahead and play peek-a-boo with Mr. Sunshine all you want. Keep the ride from getting boring."
--Spike, who, in spite of nearly being fried by Tara's shade fiddling, still has a soft spot for crazy women.

"Hey. I think Anya's gonna try to cook. Wanna come watch the tears and recriminations?"
--Dawn, trying to cheer Buffy up with the prospect of kitchen farce.

"Thank you."
"For what?"
"You know. Pretty much... everything."
--Dawn, trying to raise Buffy's spirits with well-deserved thanks.

"But there's a bright side."
"There is?"
"Yeah. At least things can't get any crazier, right?"
(arrow pierces side of RV)
"You know this is your fault for saying that."
--Dawn tempts fate and pays the price, annoying Buffy.

"Don't hurt the horsies!"
"We won't." (to Giles, whispered) "Aim for the horsies."
--Willow has a brain cramp, and Buffy ignores it and presses on.

"Not a piano, but hey."
--Anya ponders her victory over a Knight with Ye Olde Frying Pan of Slaying.

"Florence Nightingale to the bloody rescue."
--Spike, annoyed at Buffy's terse "They'll heal" reaction to his hand wounds.

"We got company -- and they brought a Crusade!"
--Xander, proving that he did actually pay attention in History class occasionally.

"No! Shhh... There's nothing to fear, my brother. The Beast may have taken your mind, but I swear to you... she will never know the taste of your heart."
--Dante the Knight, coming up with a flowery way to tell Orlando, "I'm going to gut you like a trout now...bye."

"Whoa, hey, uh... this is war, isn't it? And if there's one thing I've learned from Sergeant Rock, in war there are rules. Or at least there should be... if you're as "honorable" as you think you are...Plus we do have your General Forehead Guy.
--Xander, starting as the voice of reason, then falls back on the basics to get the Knights to let some medical assistance get in.