The Scoobies try to find out how the First is controlling Spike. Principal Wood seeks his chance to kill Spike to avenge his mother's death.

* AlwaysSaveTheGirl: Averted -- Buffy admits she'd now be willing to sacrifice Dawn to save the world.
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: They have the Prokaryote Stone crawl into Spike's eye because it will reach his brain, "via the optic nerve". But it actually appears to crawl under his eyelid and while under his skin it continues across his forehead. It's a wonder Spike can see with such a misaligned optic nerve.
* BaitAndSwitch: [[spoiler:Spike doesn't kill Wood.]]
* ButForMeItWasTuesday: A variation where the murdered family member actually ''isn't'' just another victim.
-->'''Robin Wood:''' Oh, I know more about you than you think, Spike. See, I've been searching for you for a very, very long time. Ever since you killed my mother.\\
'''Spike:''' I've killed a lot of people's mothers.\\
'''Robin Wood:''' Yeah. You'd remember mine. She was a Slayer.
* CallBack: To "Helpless" (Giles betraying Buffy), and "The Gift" (Giles being willing to kill people that Buffy isn't, for the greater good).
* CallForward: Spike telling Nikki he loves her BadassLongcoat.
* CasualDangerDialogue: Buffy fights Richard the Fanged while being 'mentored' by Giles.
* ContinuityCavalcade: Buffy and Giles attempt to explain Spike's various {{Restraining Bolt}}s to newcomer Robin Wood.
-->'''Giles:''' Well, uh, [[ItsALongStory it's a ... long story]].
-->'''Buffy:''' The military put a chip in Spike's head so he couldn't hurt anyone.
-->'''Giles:''' And that would be the abridged version.
-->'''Buffy:''' But he wouldn't hurt anyone anymore because he has a soul now.
-->'''Giles:''' Unless the First triggers him again.
-->'''Robin:''' Triggers the chip?
-->'''Buffy:''' No, the trigger's a post-hypnotic thing. The First put it in his head. It was ... made him ... He was killing again.
-->'''Robin:''' So, he has a trigger, a soul, and a chip?
-->'''Giles:''' Not anymore!
-->'''Buffy:''' It was killing him, Giles!
-->'''Robin:''' The trigger?
-->'''Buffy:''' No, the chip. The trigger's not active anymore.
-->'''Robin:''' [[EntertaininglyWrong Because the military gave him a soul?]]
* ContinuityNod: Spike [[FoeRomanceSubtext finding Nikki Wood attractive]], which he mentioned to Buffy in "Fool for Love". Spike also twirls his shovel in the alley fight, as he did when pole-fighting Nikki on the subway train.
** William refers to his mother as "glowing" and reads her (bad) poetry he's dedicated to Cecily (also from "Fool for Love").
** Giles mentions how Buffy wasn't willing to sacrifice Dawn to save the world ("The Gift"), and Angel deciding to leave Buffy for her own good ("The Prom").
** Xander gripes about the [[CasualKink chains not being there a week earlier]].
** Giles complaining about there being more computers than books in the library harks back to his Season 2 arguments with computer teacher Jenny Calender.
** Spike calling Dawn "niblet" and expressing concern for her refers to their MoralityPet relationship in Season 5.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: Drusilla can't understand why Spike wants to bring his mother with them as they rampage across Europe.
-->'''Drusilla:''' To eat, you mean?
** Buffy is fighting with a vampire called Richard while arguing with Giles.
-->'''Buffy:''' (re the First) I'm in the fight of my life here!
-->'''Richard:''' (pleased) [[VillainCred Really?]]
-->'''Buffy:''' Not you, Richard.
* ConvenientlyTimedAttackFromBehind: Spike saving Wood in the alley fight in TheTeaser.
* {{Crossover}}: Willow receives a call from someone called Fred and tells Buffy she has to go to Los Angeles. She shows up in the ''Series/{{Angel}}'' episode "[[Recap/AngelS04E15Orpheus Orpheus]]", where the Fang Gang use her magic skills to restore Angel's soul. Willow is vague as to her reasons for leaving, indicating that Buffy is being kept in the dark about the return of Angelus.
* DeadlyHug: William turning his mother.
* DeadpanSnarker
-->'''Spike:''' All the rubbish people keep sticking in my head, there's a wonder there's any room for my brain.
-->'''Giles:''' [[ObligatoryJoke I don't think it takes up that much room]], do you?
* DistantPrologue: Before their fatal confrontation in the NewYorkSubway, Spike had a BattleInTheRain with Nikki Wood in Central Park, watched by a four year-old Robin Wood.
* DistressedDude: [[spoiler:Averted -- Buffy runs to save Spike, but he's already got the situation under control. Buffy isn't even needed to save Wood.]]
* DoubleEntendre: Buckets of FoeRomanceSubtext rain down as Spike fights Nikki.
-->'''Spike:''' (exhilarated) Well, all right! Got the moves, don't you? I'm gonna ride you hard before I put you away, luv.
-->'''Nikki:''' You sure about that? You actually [[TheLoinsSleepTonight look a little wet and limp to me]]. And [[TermsOfEndangerment I ain't your "luv."]]
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:Giles tries to justify the death of Spike -- Buffy informs him the attempt failed, then shuts her door in the face of the man who's been her mentor and ParentalSubstitute for the past seven years.]]
* DramaticIrony: Giles says that Spike (unlike Angel) lacks the responsibly to leave Sunnydale because he endangers everyone. Spike however had offered to do just that in "First Date", staying only because Buffy asked him to.
* DyingAsYourself: William's mother looks grateful in the moment she gets dusted.
* EpiphanyTherapy: Facing his memories of the past enable Spike to throw off the First's conditioning.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: Spike wanted to save his mother from tuberculosis; too bad she ''CameBackWrong''.
* EyeScream: Relatively brief example with the Prokaryote Stone.
* {{Foreshadowing}}
** Willow talks of bringing back good news from her trip to Los Angeles; that would be another Slayer to fight alongside them (given Buffy's long-standing grudge against Faith, it's hardly surprising that Willow keeps ''that'' news to herself for now).
** Scoobies and Potentials complain that Spike is getting a free pass from Buffy because of his not-a-relationship with her. This is another sign of the increasing tension that erupts in "Empty Places".
* FoolForLove: Lampshaded re William, and finally averted by Spike, who accepts the fact that Buffy will not put him first in her life.
* FreudianExcuse
* GenderBlenderName
-->'''Andrew:''' (holding the phone) Uh, Willow...call for you from L.A. Somebody named Fred. The guy sounds kind of effeminate.
* GilliganCut: From Buffy saying Dawn is tough, to Dawn wincing as Willow patches her up.
* HalfTruth: Wood doesn't try to hide from Giles that he's motivated by revenge, but neither does he say that the First is the one who tipped him off about Spike. This would cause Giles to realise that the First wants Spike dead, rather than an undead ManchurianAgent.
** Once she's been turned into a vampire, William's mother [[BreakingSpeech throws all his weaknesses in his face]] -- it's Spike realisation that the demon left out the things that his mother loved about him that allows Spike to get past it.
* HesBack: Applies even more than "Get It Done" because Spike doesn't just go back to being pre-souled Spike, he finally becomes comfortable with Ensouled!Spike.
* HypocriticalHumor
-->'''Anya:''' Spike's got some sort of "GetOutOfJailFreeCard" card that doesn't apply to the rest of us. I mean, he could slaughter a hundred frat boys, and-- (everyone looks at Anya disapprovingly) Forgiveness makes us human, [[BlahBlahBlah blah-dee-blah-blah-blah]].
* IllKillYou / GoodIsNotNice: [[spoiler:Spike makes it clear that he'll kill Robin if he tries anything again; Buffy tells Robin that she'll let him.]]
* ImprovisedWeapon / OffWithHisHead: Spike puts a shovel to good use in the alley fight.
* IncurableCoughOfDeath / BloodFromTheMouth: William's mother is dying, hence his decision to turn her into a vampire.
* IWorkAlone: Lampshaded by Spike.
-->'''Spike:''' I know Slayers. No matter how many people they've got around them, they fight alone. Life of TheChosenOne. The rest of us be damned. Your mother was no different.
-->'''Robin:''' No, she loved me.
-->'''Spike:''' But not enough to quit, though, was it? Not enough to walk away...for you.
* LastSecondWordSwap: Giles asks Buffy about [[TriggerPhrase the song that Spike kept singing]].
-->'''Buffy:''' It was boring, old, and English. Just like you (DeathGlare from Giles) ...ul. Yul Brenner. A British Yul Brenner.
* LetsDance
-->'''Spike:''' I spent a long time trying to track you down. Don't want the dance to end so soon, do you, Nikki? The music's just starting, isn't it?
* MachoMasochism: Wood squeezing his stake until his hand bleeds after Spike saves his life.
* MeaningfulEcho: "The mission is what matters." Nikki's words to Robin are repeated to him by Buffy at the end of the episode.
** Nikki Wood objecting to Spike calling her "luv", just as Buffy did in Season 6.
* MindControlMusic: Wood plays "Early One Morning" on his computer so Spike will revert to his evil vampire self.
* MindProbe: Giles puts a Prokaryote stone inside Spike's head to try and discover how the First is controlling him. Spike is not pleased, seeing as this involves the stone liquifying and crawling into his head [[EyeScream via the optic nerve]].
* MommasBoy: William before and after he was turned.
* MoralDissonance: It would be fair enough if Buffy simply saw Spike as a good soldier they desperately needed, but she seems to deny that Wood even has any reason to be upset about the murder of his mother.
* MyFriendsAndZoidberg
-->'''Buffy:''' Have you seen me with those girls? The way I treated my friends, and my family...and Andrew.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Buffy's split with Wood and Giles culminates in their lack of support in "Empty Places".
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: Wood cures Spike, and Giles forces Buffy to act like a General.
* NothingPersonal
-->'''Spike:''' I don't give a piss about your mum. She was a Slayer. I was a vampire. That's the way the game is played.
* NotSoDire / GoodOldWays: Robin is telling Buffy that shutting down the Hellmouth might have averted the apocalypse.
-->'''Buffy''': Maybe you're right. Maybe everything is fine.
-->'''Giles''': (barges in the door) Everything's terrible. Total catastrophe.
-->'''Buffy''': Giles, what's wrong?
-->'''Giles''': Have you seen the new library? There's nothing but computers. There's not a book to be seen. II don't know where to begin!
* OedipusComplex: William and his mother, and the platonic version with Buffy and her 'father'.
* OriginsEpisode
* [[PetTheDog Pet the Dawn]]: After saying that she'd be willing to sacrifice Dawn to save the world, Buffy comes home and [[AffectionateGestureToTheHead strokes the hair]] of her sleeping little sister.
* PoisonousFriend: Giles
* PowerFist / HolyBurnsEvil: Robin has a glove with crosses on it to fight Spike.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis
-->'''Spike''': Get these sodding things off me! I'm fine!
-->'''Buffy''': (arms crossed) Don't you think you should take a little time, calm down?
-->'''Spike''': "I-AM-CALM!"
** And Robin pounding on Spike.
-->"Is this what it felt like (punches Spike) when you beat the life out of her, (punches Spike) toyed with her, (punches Spike, then screams) ''when you snapped her neck!''"
* RevengeBeforeReason
* RoomFullOfCrazy: A different version in the [[HolyBurnsEvil Room Full of Crosses]] built by Wood to trap Spike, hinting at his obsession with revenge.
* RousingSpeech: Lampshaded when Giles accuses Buffy of not seeing "the big picture".
-->'''Buffy:''' Hello! All I do is look at the big picture. The other day, I gave an inspirational speech to the telephone repair man.\\
'''Giles:''' It takes more than rousing speeches to lead, Buffy.
* RuleOfSymbolism: Spike and Buffy both cut loose their parents.
* [[HesOkay She's Okay]]: Lampshaded when Willow [[AfterActionPatchUp patches Dawn up]].
-->'''Willow:''' It doesn't look like anything's broken.
-->'''Dawn:''' Did you use some sort of magic x-ray?
-->'''Willow:''' No, that's... just what people usually say.
* ShootTheDog: Giles confronts Buffy about whether she would make the same choice again (Dawn vs. Saving the World) and she admits that life has taught her some dogs have to be shot and now she would sacrifice even Dawn if she had to in order to prevent the Apocalypse. She even outright tells Principal Wood she would be willing to let Spike kill him if Wood forces the issue, because Spike is the more useful soldier in the coming battle and she has to make the tough decisions if the world is going to survive.
* SingleTear
* StakingTheLovedOne / ApologeticAttacker: William staking his mother.
* StylisticSuck: William's ode to Cecily.
-->'''Vampire!Mom:''' ''The lark hath spake from twixt its wee beak?'' You honestly thought I could bear an eternity listening to that twaddle?
* SurpassedTheTeacher: Buffy makes it clear she has no further need for Giles' training or advice. "You've taught me everything I need to know."
* [[ArrowCatch Stake Catch]]: Spike catches a stake hurled at him by Nikki.
* {{Trigger}}: Interestingly, Spike's ManchurianAgent trigger is also an emotional trigger. The trigger the First gave Spike goes away when he finally deals with his ParentalIssues, thus removing his emotional trigger.
* VerbalBackspace
** Spike: "You need a place to cut loose, let your hair down. (realises Wood is bald) So to speak."
** Spike's mom after she's been turned into a vampire: "I hate to be cruel...no, I don't. I used to hate to be cruel in life. Now, [[EvilFeelsGood I find it rather freeing]]."
* WeNeedADistraction: Robin Wood as a child, knocking over the trash bin to save his mother from Spike. Giles taking Buffy out for some training so Robin can kill Spike.
* [[YouKilledMyFather You Killed My Mother]]
* YouFightLikeACow: Once again this appears to be an innate trait of Slayers, even back in TheSeventies.
* YouRemindMeOfX: Wood says Buffy reminds him of his mother.
-->'''Buffy:''' Got to tell you, not a line every girl likes to hear, but - in this case (smiles) compliment taken.