The school is decked out in balloons and banners galore, celebrating the start of "Career Week." Buffy is fatalistic because the students around her are dreaming of the future, while her career as Slayer is already set in stone.
Dru is laying tarot cards whilst another vampire attempts to translate an ancient text, with Spike glaring over his shoulder. The translation is nonsensical and even Dalton (the transcriber vampire) can't figure it out. Spike is reaching the end of his patience and grabs Dalton, ready to beat him up, when he's interrupted by Dru. She looks up from her cards and says that they need a key to decode the scripture.
While out on patrol Buffy witnesses Dalton chiseling something out of a mausoleum wall, but he escapes when she is distracted by another vampire. She enters her bedroom through the window out of habit (despite the fact that her mother is out of town) and finds Angel waiting, as usual. He spots a picture of Baby Buffy on ice-skates, and Buffy explains she used ice skating as an escape when her parents fought, which was often. Angel proposes they go sneak into the ice rink tomorrow evening when it's closed.
At school the next morning, the test results are revealed — much to the chagrin of Buffy and Xander, who are railroaded into Law Enforcement and the Department of Correction, respectively. Willow, meanwhile, is quietly ushered into a VIP area with classical music and a white-jacketed waiter ("Try the canapé"). Some suits announce that she's to be recruited by a leading software company, along with Oz, the boy who has been watching her for weeks.
Spike and Drusilla examine the key stolen by Dalton, a gold cross. Spike decides to call the Order of Taraka, an ancient guild of assassins, to keep the Slayer off his back for a while.
Buffy points Giles to the crypt from earlier. Giles realizes with concern that Josephus du Lac (a theologian who was excommunicated by the Vatican) is buried there. He is the author of the book stolen from the library, and Giles believes the decoder key was stolen from his reliquary.
In the meantime, the assassins begin to arrive separately. A large biker-type dude with one eye gouged out exits a bus; a young Jamaican girl stows away in the cargo hold of a plane; a nerdy, innocuous door-to-door salesman struts past Buffy's house to her next-door neighbors'. He kills the woman by disintegrating into hundreds of writhing mealworms which can reshape themselves into limbs at will.
Buffy manages to keep her ice skating date with Angel. The one-eyed assassin chooses this moment to strike. Angel arrives in time to help fend him off while Buffy kills him with the blade of her skate. Angel, recognizing the assassin's ring, asks Buffy if she knows what it means (I just killed a Super Bowl Champ?), and then warns her that she should split from Sunnydale. The female from the plane watches from the shadows.
Buffy is jittery and suspicious of everyone now. After sunset, Buffy trudges back home, but rethinks it, unaware of the salesman ("Norman") staking out her place with binoculars. She decides keep walking to Angel's place.
Angel goes looking for information on who placed the hit on Buffy. A bar owner, Willy, finally confirms Angel's suspicions that Spike is behind the assassins, but before Angel can leave, he's attacked by the mysterious female. They fight, and she locks him in a metal cage in front of an eastern window, with only a few short hours until sunrise.
Giles phones Xander and asks him to go to Buffy's house and check on her. Giles awakens Willow, who had fallen asleep ("Don't warn the tadpoles!") and reveals that the missing manuscript is a ritual to restore a weakened vampire back to health.
Cut to Revello Drive, where Xander and his grouchy chauffeur (Cordelia) have just arrived. As Xander goes searching, Cordy hears a knock at the door and lets in Mr. Mealworm, again appearing as a cosmetics salesman promising free samples.
Meanwhile, Buffy has decided to crash on Angel's bed. She awakens in time to dodge to the Jamaican girl standing over her with an axe ("You must be number two"). They wrestle for a bit, and Jamaican girl asks to know who Buffy is. Buffy, confused, demands her who she is.
"I am Kendra, the Vampire Slayer."
- Actually Pretty Funny: Even professional angster Angel can't help laughing at this line.Angel: Yeah. I'll never be a kid. (gets up)Buffy: Okay, then a regular kid and her cradle-robbing, creature-of-the-night boyfriend.
- After-Action Patch-Up: Buffy tending to Angel's bleeding, bumpy forehead.
- Alone in a Crowd / Properly Paranoid: Buffy wandering the halls of SHS in a "freak out" mode after Giles says she won't recognize her enemies until they strike.
- Ambiguously Human: It's never explain what exactly the one-eyed assassin is. He looked human enough but the fact that he easily overpowered Buffy and Angel implies he's something supernatural.
- An Axe to Grind: Kendra swinging an hatchet at Buffy, and nailing her pillow instead.
- And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Willy demurs that he's staying away from that whole vampire scene and "living right."Angel: Sure you are, Willy. And I'm taking up sunbathing.
- Animal Motifs: Two of the the cards representing the assassins: one has a worm and the other a jaguar.
- Answer Cut:
- Giles trying to get Buffy's head out of the clouds, saying that they need to discover what the vamps took. Cut to a shot of a large ornate gold cross.
- The Scoobies worry about where Buffy might have gone to. Cut to Buffy knocking on Angel's door.
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Angel finding a ring engraved with some symbol on Octavus' dead finger, and asking Buffy if she knows what it means.Buffy: "I just killed a Super Bowl champ?"
- Ascended Extra / Bad-Guy Bar: Willy's Place is seen for the first time. The bar also appears in many other episodes including "Amends", "The Zeppo", "Goodbye Iowa" and "Family".
- Assassin Outclassin'
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Spike promises Dru that when she's well, they'll have a coronation down Main Street, and "invite everyone."
- Bad News in a Good Way: The girls snicker at Xander's as a prison guard, but he has the last laugh when Buffy is summoned to the police booth.
- Bait-and-Switch: Kendra is shown instead of the third assassin, hiding the fact that she's actually a Slayer.
- Bare Your Midriff: Kendra.
- Be Careful What You Wish ForBuffy: Y'know, if you don't like the way I'm doing my job, why don't you find somebody else? Oh, that's right, there can only be one. As long as I'm alive, there is no one else.
- Beard of Evil: Dalton's goatee.
- Beast and Beauty: Buffy insists on kissing Angel even though he's in Game Face.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Are we working up to a Xander/Cordelia romance or what?
- Beautiful Dreamer: Buffy looks cute as ever sleeping in Angel's bed, but also Giles can't help smiling on seeing Willow asleep at her computer.
- Bounty Hunter: "They have no earthly desire except to collect their bounty." Though one would think money is an earthly desire.
- Bridal Carry: Spike doing the Dance of Romance with Drusilla.
- Brick Joke: Xander looks forward to returning Snyder's honesty with some "honest" input of his own. Well, amusingly, in "Restless" he gets his wish. ("You know, I never got the chance to tell you how glad I was you were eaten by a snake.")
- Bringing in the Expert: Spike brings in a trio of assassin demons to kill Buffy.Dalton: Uh, yes, but... The Order of Taraka, I mean... isn't that overkill?Spike: No, I think it's just enough kill.
- Can't You Read the Sign?: Willy barking at Angel that the bar's closed. Cue Angel Emerging from the Shadows, whereupon Willy becomes a lot more respectful.
- Captain Obvious:
- Buffy didn't see what was swiped from the mausoleum, but she "can take a guess and say it was something old." (Giles is less than pleased at her work ethic.)
- Dalton reminding us that Buffy almost caught him red-handed the night before, and that "she's trouble."Spike: (looks at him) YOU DON'T SAY!
- Carnival of Killers: "You can kill as many of them as you like. It won't make any difference - because where there is one, there will be another. And another. They won't stop coming until the job is done..."
- Cat Fight: The Slayers continue grappling for the axe until Buffy begs Kendra not to make her do "the chick fight thing." Kendra: "Chick fight?" By way of answering, Buffy digs her nails into Bianca's wrist and pulls her hair.
- Cat Scare: Buffy hilariously pegging Oz for a hitman. "Who sent you?!"
- Continuity Nod:
- The book that was stolen by the blonde vampire in "Lie To Me" is one of the main elements of this episode.
- Darla asks Angel in the Season One episode, "Angel", if he believes Buffy would ever be able to kiss his 'real face'. She does in this episode.
- Chekhov's Gun: The book stolen from Giles in "Lie to Me" is explained.
- Chekhov's Gunman: While darting her eyes around the school corridor looking for suspicious people, Buffy unknowingly walks right past the third assassin.
- Cliffhanger: Cordelia has unwitting encountered one of the assassins. Angel is stuck in a cage, due to be roasted by the rising sun. And Buffy, You Are Not Alone
- Deadly Delivery: "Hello! I'm Norman Pfister with Blush Beautiful Skin Care."
- Death Glare: Xander excruciatingly putting his foot in his mouth in front of Snyder.
- Death Trap: Angel is locked in Willy's storage cage.
- Description Cut:
- Buffy reiterating that her future is a non-issue. Fade to Drusilla's hand turning over Tarot cards.
- "Something's coming, and I guarantee it's not good." Cue bus arriving in Sunnydale with first assassin.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Xander tries to butter Snyder up with talk of going to "Principal School", but ends up calling him a tiny person with little feet and finally stops talking.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: The Du Lac Cross can be used to decipher mystical texts, such as Spike's book. Buffy wonders why du Lac destroyed most of them, and Giles speculates that he feared what would happen if one of the crosses fell into the wrong hands.
- Distressed Dude: Angel.
- Divide and Conquer: The Order of Taraka's official credo is to "sow discord and kill the unwary."
- Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: Buffy's pleased to be the one to sneak up on Angel, for once. He spins around in shock, still clutching a stuffed pig.Buffy: Now you know what it feels like, Stealth Guy.
- How Buffy meets Oz, to his regret.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Kendra seeing Buffy kissing Angel (in vamp face) and assuming she's his undead honey.
- Dynamic Entry / Say My Name: As Octarus chokes Buffy, Angel comes rushing in, game face on, and performs a flying tackle on him.
- Enter Stage Window: Spoofed when Buffy does it through force of habit.
- The Evil Genius: Spike's transcriber, Dalton. "He's a wanker, but he's the only one we've got with half a brain."
- Exact Eavesdropping: Across the rink, Kendra observes Buffy and and a vamped-out Angel macking with distaste.
- Failed a Spot Check: A dizzied Angel asks who Kendra is, and says he won't hurt her if she coughs up some information. She smirks. He doesn't get the joke (surprise, surprise) and asks what's so funny, but as she backs up a bit, we see that he's in a mesh steel cage, the door to which she slams closed.Kendra: I tink it is funny now.
- Fair Cop: Buffy can look forward to an exciting career as a police officer. Or carving stakes for a nursery.
- False Dichotomy / Take a Third Option:Xander: "'Are you a people person, or do you prefer keeping your own company?'" Well, what if I'm a people person who keeps his own company by default?"Buffy: So, mark 'none of the above'.Xander: Well, there are no boxes for 'none of the above'. That would introduce too many variables into their mushroom head, number-crunching little world.
- Feet-First Introduction: Buffy in the teaser, the one-eyed assassin exiting the bus, and Kendra exiting the plane.
- Annoyed at Giles' criticism, Buffy snips back that he can get another Slayer. Oh right, he can't because she has to die first.
- Willow's characteristically psyched to find out her career track, but Xander complains that it takes the fun out of being young and stupid. "I'd rather live in the dark." One basement, coming up.
- Buffy is suitable for a career in law enforcement. In his spin-off Angel meets a blonde police detective called Kate Lockley, who resembles what Buffy might have turned out to be like if she hadn't been Chosen. Plus the gag about Cordelia being a motivational speaker turns out to quite accurate where Angel is concerned.
- Foot Popping: Buffy does this on her ice skates while kissing Angel.
- Fun with Foreign Languages: It turns out du Lac's incantation wasn't really Latin, but a cipher meant to look like like it to the casual observer.
- Also, Latin doesn't have a word for 'canoe'.
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Mr. Gordo.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Octarus, a mean looking, wild-haired man with criss-cross scars across his milky-white right eye.
- Grand Romantic Gesture
- His Name Is...: Angel is just about to get Willy to talk when he gets clocked with a broom.
- Hollywood Nerd: Pasty, milquetoast Norman Pfister.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: "'Trouble?' She's the gnat in my ear. The gristle in my teeth. She's the bloody thorn in my BLOODY SIDE!" (kicks table)
- Hypocritical Humor: Buffy chiding Angel that Joyce is away on a business trip, so they don't have to whisper. Cue Angel asking the obvious question, namely why she came in through the window. Buffy's face falls through a long pause. "Habit."
Buffy: Color me stunned.
- Giles has been indexing the Watcher diaries, and is amazed at how "numbingly pompous and long-winded" some of them are.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Buffy again.
- I Work Alone: The assassins each stick to their own peculiar style.
- Implacable Man: Buffy's chagrined that Giles thinks she can't fight off a couple hitmen, but he explains that they will keep coming no matter how many she kills.
- Impossibly Mundane Explanation: Xander knows Buffy didn't go home, because his call went unanswered and "it's a statistical impossibility for a sixteen-year-old-girl to unplug her phone." Giles looks at Willow, who cutely nods confirmation.
- Improvised Weapon: Buffy burying her ice skate in Octarus' throat.
- Kendra snapping a wooden broom handle in half, then going to take Angel.
- Buffy grabbing Angel's bed curtain and pulling it over Kendra's head.
- Incredibly Lame Fun / Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork:Willow: Ooh! Ooh! Research party!Xander: (to Willow) You need a life in the worst way.
- Inept Aptitude Test: According to this, Cordy's cut out to be a motivational speaker.
- Innocent Innuendo: Buffy glancing up from her test to inquire, "Do I like shrubs?"Xander: That's between you and your God.
- In-Series Nickname: "Scooby Gang" is used for the first time (by Xander to Cordelia). I guess "The Slayerettes" didn't take off.
- Insistent Terminology: Cordelia and Xander: The Snittery Continues.Cordelia: Oh, great, so now I'm your taxi and your punching bag.
Xander: I like to think of you more as my witless foil, but have it your way.
- Kicked Across the Room: Kendra booting Angel into a storeroom.
- Lame Excuse: Snyder demanding to know where Buffy is, and telling Willow not to feed him the 'I just saw her a minute ago, she's around here somewhere' routine.Willow: (incredulous) But I DID... just see her a minute ago, and she is... around here somewhere!
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Kendra being a second Slayer was a reasonably big twist at the time, when the "one girl in all the world" mythology was still central to the show. Given that her successor, Faith, plays a significant role in seasons 3, 4, 7 and in the spinoff Angel, and is prominently featured in a lot of outside material for the show, it's less of a surprise for new watchers when an exceptionally strong teenage girl who seems pretty competent with a wooden stake turns out to be another Slayer rather than another assassin.
- Layman's Terms: "So you're saying these vampires went to all this hassle for your basic decoder ring?" Giles, taken aback by the metaphor, nonetheless agrees this is the case.
- Little Stowaway: Kendra.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Buffy takes a peak around Angel's hideout which is full of antique furniture, statues and framed drawings.
- Meet Cute: The look on Ozs face when he glances over and realizes the girl hes been obsessed with for weeks is sitting next to him in a private room. "Canapé?"
- Metaphorgotten: Giles stressing that Buffy's calling shouldn't hold her back from acquiring gainful employment — just as he did."Uh, Giles, it's one thing to be a Watcher and a librarian. They go together like chicken and... another chicken, or... two chickens, or... something. You know what I'm saying!"
- Multi-Part Episode: Type I.
- Murder, Inc.: The Order of Taraka, an ancient order of assassins and bounty hunters.
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Dalton attempting to translate Latin for Spike comes up with "Debase... the beef... canoe". Spike's response, as can be expected, is, "Why does that strike me as not right?"
- Mysterious Watcher: Buffy wants to know how come Angel knows about the Career Week thing. He replies, "I lurk."
- Neck Lift: "Some people find pain very inspirational."
- Buffy coming in for a landing at the rink, accidentally sliding in on her butt. She laughs, but loses her good humor when Octarus' bicep hooks around her, grabs her, and lifts her over the wall. Later in the battle, he grabs Angel by the throat. What is his deal?
- Poor Oz coming up the hall behind Buffy, causing her to whirl around, grabs him by the throat and pins him to the locker, challenging him to "try it!"Buffy: Uh... (realizes her mistake) I-I'm sorry.
Oz: Still not clear what I'm supposed to try.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: That the head recruiter's plane was delayed at Seattle/Tacoma Airport implies that "the world's leading software concern" for which Willow and Oz are being recruited is in fact Microsoft, which is based near Seattle.
- Of course it was Microsoft. They had goons. And this was back in the 90s before the advent of the iGoon.
- No Sense of HumorBuffy: I don't have to be the Slayer. I could be dead.Giles: That wasn't terribly funny. You notice I don't laugh.Buffy: Wouldn't be much of a change.
- Obligatory Joke: "The Hellmouth presents: Dead Guys On Ice."
- Oh, Crap!: Giles lays down the heavy news (about the unstoppable assassins), and Buffy looks ready to cry.
- Angel caged.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: Cordelia verbalizing her test question. "'I aspire to help my fellow man.' Check. ...As long as he's not smelly, dirty or something gross."Xander: "Cordelia Chase, always ready to give a helping hand to the rich and the pretty."
- "Open!" Says Me: When her knock brings no answer, Buffy breaks the lock on Angel's door and enters.
- Red Shirt / Screaming Woman: Buffy's neighbor.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: Cordy bitching at Xander for dragging her out of bed for a ride. "What am I, mass transportation?"Xander: "That's what a lot of the guys say, but it's just locker-room talk."
- Right Behind Me:Willow: If she doesn't get back soon, Snyder's really... (spots him on the stairs) ...done a great job with the fair this year, hasn't he, Xander?
- Rule of Three: Three apparent assassins turn up, but in alignment with this trope the third is different — she's a Slayer. The real third assassin is not shown.
- Run or Die: Angel gets one look at the assassin's insignia and tells Buffy to head for the hills. Giles inclines to agree.
- Schmuck Bait: Norman talking his way into a woman's home with the promise of "free samples."
- Scream Discretion Shot: Norman killing Mrs. Kalish. Cut to the scream of an airliner's jet engines.
- Shaped Like Itself: Buffy jogging ahead of Giles as a means of exacting revenge for his "criticisms" earlier, leaving him gasping for breath. He wheezes that she's behaving immaturely, but she points out that she's a teen, and has "yet to mature."
- Shoot the Dog: Relatively mild example but Kendra does beat up a baggage handler who simply has the bad luck to find her stowing away on a flight to Sunnydale.
- Shout-Out: Marti Noxon originally envisioned the ice skate killing to be far bloodier, as an homage to Fargo.
- Sidetracked by the Analogy: "They had tools, flashlights, whole nine yards. What does that mean anyway? 'Whole nine yards'? Nine yards of what? (beat) Now it's gonna bug me all day."
- Silence, You Fool!: Giles snaps "That's enough, Xander!" when the latter keeps making wisecracks after Giles finds an ancient order of assassins is after Buffy.
- Sinister Minister: Josephus du Lac and his sect wrote a number of books containing dark rituals, resulting in du Lac being defrocked.
- Smart People Wear Glasses / Waistcoat of Style: Dalton is the first vampire we see wearing these — his specialty is transcribing Tome of Eldritch Lore.
- A Spot Of Tea: As Giles monologues about the deep crap Buffy is in, a bunch of larvae coalesce on Norman's stump of an arm. Norman uses the reformed hand to daintily pick up some tea, or coffee, or whatever it is giant larvae people drink.
- Stab the Salad: A paranoid Buffy walking through school. A teacher menacingly reaches into his coat... and pulls a comb, which he runs through his hair with an audible *shing*.
- Stalker with a Crush: Buffy climbs in through her bedroom window ...to find Angel already there.
- Standard Snippet: Vivaldi's "Spring" from Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons) plays in the background when Willow is escorted to the VIP lounge.
- Stealth Insult: Xander, unintimidated, thanks Snyder for his honesty, and expresses the hope that someday he'll be able to be as "honest" with him.
- Stealth Pun: Buffy says she can hardly carve stakes for a living. Giles: "Point taken."
- Stock Footage: Kendra's plane landing on a tarmac.
- Stunned Silence: Giles concedes the point about a Slayer's duty interfering with her normal job, then brightly asks if Buffy's ever thought about law enforcement. Buffy stops in her tracks, stares at him, then jerks her flashlight as a gesture to shut up and keep walking.
- Tap on the Head: An unlucky baggage handler inspecting a plane's cargo hold. He quickly gets the crap beaten out of him by Kendra, and he's out cold.
- Tarot Troubles: Drusilla's upturned cards display — in order — a mausoleum (du Lac's tomb), a one-eyed monster (Octarus), a giant worm (Norman), a leopard (Kendra), and an angel (self-explanatory).
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Buffy and Giles, and later Cordelia and Xander.
- Theme Tune Cameo: Dru assures Spike that he'll prevail, and they kiss as a music-box music plays, which amusingly enough is Dru's theme music.
- There Is Another: There's a new Slayer in town.
- There Is No Kill Like OverkillDalton: Uh, yes, but... The Order of Taraka, I mean... isn't that overkill?
Spike: No, I think it's just enough kill.
- Throw It In!: Kendra's accent was a last-minute addition to the episode.
- Title Drop: Buffy whining that this entire week is like a game of What's My Line?... "only I don't get to play."
- Tom the Dark Lord: Norman Pfister. Or perhaps Names to Run Away from Really Fast, for Hitchcock fans.
- Troubled Fetal Position: Buffy in Angel's bed.
- Ultimate Job Security: Buffy plays the "Once In a Generation Card" once Giles starts driving her up the wall. "Y'know, if you don't like the way I'm doing my job, why don't you find somebody else? Oh, that's right, there can only be one."
- Unsafe Haven: Casa Summers. Subverted, as Buffy senses something's amiss.
- Vampire Dance: Dru playfully requesting a dance with Spike. He picks her up, swings her around, and promises that they'll dance ... right atop the Slayer's grave.
- Villainous Demotivator: Spike motivating his translator. "Some people find pain (punches Dalton in the stomach) very inspirational."
- Waking Non Sequitur: Giles finding Willow fast asleep on her keyboard, then prodding her awake. "DON'T WARN THE TADPOLES!"
- Wham Line: "I am Kendra, the Vampire Slayer."
- Weakness Turns Her On
- Who Are You?: Angel and Buffy both pop this question to the Jamaican terror. Kendra later asks who Buffy who she is; Buffy bites out that as the "attackee", she gets to ask that question first.
- Worf Had the Flu: Angel was taking a beating from Kendra, which is justified since he didn't know she was a slayer so didn't fight at full strength.
- The Worm That Walks: While human in appearance, Norman's real form is that of a sentient hive of maggots.
- You, Get Me Coffee: According to Xander, Buffy's contribution when intense research is required is to "go for snacks". This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight after "The Zeppo" when Xander has to do the same when Slaying is required.