Xander: How?! What?! How?!
Giles: Three excellent questions.
Willow is still hurting over Oz's departure, and often sneaks into his bedroom as a way of feeling close to him. At college, Buffy talks to Riley and he invites her out on a picnic. Willow and Buffy talk about a possible relationship with Riley, and the consequences that may result from any relationship. Buffy wonders if the passion of her relationships comes from the pain and fighting. Spike is chained up and kept in the bathtub at Giles's apartment. Buffy tries to get information from him, and feeds him pig's blood, but he doesn't give up much. Willow suggests a truth spell to make Spike talk. She promises to gather the ingredients and return the next morning. After she leaves, Buffy and Giles discuss how well Willow is coping since Oz left, only for Spike to offer his insight warning that in fact she's close to breaking down. This is proved right when Willow goes back to Oz's place to find the room stripped bare of his possessions. Later she tells Buffy, while crying, that Oz asked for his stuff to be sent on to him which has crushed her last hopes that he might return someday.
The next day, Buffy and Riley arrange a date. When Willow doesn't show up to perform the truth spell as planned, Giles calls Willow but gets no answer. That night at The Bronze, Willow opts to drown her sorrows in alcohol. After she insults Xander, Buffy takes her back to their dorm. Later, in the bathroom, Willow performs a spell to let her will be granted in order to make her pain go away.
Willow tries to see if her spell worked, but her commands don't work. Giles drops by to find out why she didn't show to help him perform the spell. She feels like there's too much pressure on her that she can't live up to, and snaps at Giles when he tells her that she needs to focus on her responsibilities and not to perform any more spells alone while she's in such a fragile state. Angry, she says that he can't see anything, and then Giles suddenly begins to have trouble with his eyesight and decides its best to leave for now. He then tries to perform the spell on Spike alone, but is having difficulty reading. After Giles drops the key to the chains keeping Spike captive, Spike is able to break free and run away.
While talking to Buffy, one of Willow's casual comments briefly returns Amy to human form (unseen by either girl), before Willow just as casually—and unwittingly—turns her back into a rat.
After Giles calls, Buffy goes to find Spike and both are surprised when she manages to find the vampire within seconds (once more due to a sarcastic comment from Willow), she brings him back to Giles's apartment. While talking to Xander, Willow sarcastically mentions Buffy and Spike getting married, and then at Giles's place, Spike proposes to Buffy and she accepts.
Xander continues to try to console Willow, assuring her she'll feel better in time and will meet someone else, but Willow instead lists Xander's past (and current) relationships stating he's a 'demon magnet'. While Buffy and Spike cuddle and kiss and make plans for the wedding, Giles calls Willow for help and moments later reaches the conclusion that he is totally blind. Buffy visits the magic shop for supplies to undo the spell that caused Giles to become blind. She then runs into Riley outside of a bridal shop and tells him about the wedding, which confuses and upsets him.
Xander and Anya's romantic time is interrupted by various demons that attack them. They rush to Giles's place, and when Xander sees Buffy and Spike together and engaged he puts the pieces together and the gang realise that everything Willow says is coming true. D'Hoffryn, the demon responsible for making Anya a vengeance demon, comes forth and takes Willow through a portal into his demon world to make the same offer. When the gang goes to look for her, Anya recognizes the remains of portal left by D'Hoffryn.
Buffy and the rest of the group go to a crypt where they hope to stop D'Hoffryn from turning Willow into a demon. En route to the crypt, several demons attack, still drawn to Xander because of Willow's spell. In the meantime, Willow turns down D'Hoffryn's offer and, thankfully, the demon accepts her decision without argument and gives her his talisman if she changes her mind before sending her back. Willow breaks the spell and Buffy and Spike find themselves in the middle of a kiss, much to their horror and disgust. Willow apologizes and tries to make up for her messed up spell with cookies. Buffy finds herself over the whole "bad boy" thing. The next day, Buffy finds Riley and manages to convince him her talk of her upcoming wedding was a joke.
Tropes in this episode:
- Air-Vent Passageway: Homaged by Spike when he says he got out of the Elaborate Underground Base that way.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Lampshaded by Buffy, who worries that a relationship with a decent guy would lack the intensity.Buffy: I know... I have to get away from that bad boy thing. There's no good there. But I can't help thinking—isn't that where the fire comes from? Can a nice, safe relationship be that intense? I know it's nuts, but... part of me believes that real love and passion have to go hand in hand with pain and fighting. [A vampire leaps out at her; Buffy stakes him without pause] I wonder where I get that from.
- Amusing Injuries: Thanks to Giles's progressive blindness.Giles: We've got to find her before someone really gets hurt. [trips and falls on his face]
- Apology Gift: Willow makes cookies. And she has to detail Giles' car.
- Auto Erotica: Riley hints that he might enjoy this:Buffy: Cars and Buffy are, like... un-mixy things.Riley: It's just because you haven't had a good experience yet. You can have the best time in a car. It's not about getting somewhere. You have to take your time. Forget about everything. Just... relax. Let it wash over you. The air... motion... Just, let it roll.Riley: I thought I was.
- Bait-and-Switch: D'Hoffryn looks like he's going to be angry over Willow's refusal to become a vengeance demon, but he just leaves his 'card' instead.
- Batter Up!: Anya's first use of a baseball bat, but not the last.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: A spell to make your will reality; no way that can go wrong...
- Big Damn Kiss: After Buffy accepts Spike's marriage proposal they kiss with the rising music and the rising... music.
- Brain Bleach: Xander witnessing Spuffy smoochies. "Can I be blind too?"
- Buffy Speak: Willow uses "sparkage", "unbendy" and "grievey".
- Cake Toppers:Spike: I don't like him. He's insipid. Clearly human.
Buffy: Ah ha! We can smear a little red paint on the lips. The blood of the innocent...
Spike: That's my girl!
- Chekhov's Boomerang: Willow uses D'Hoffryn's talisman three years later in "Selfless".
- Comically Missing the Point:Buffy: A spell! And you both were affected. I probably only escaped because I'm the Slayer. Some kind of natural immunity.Xander: Yeah, right. You're marrying Spike because you're so right for each other.Spike: That's it, pal! You're off the usher list!
- Continuity Nod: Buffy mentions "seeing Angel for five minutes"—a reference to how time was rolled back to make her forget the 24 hours she spent with him in "I Will Remember You".
- Cradle of Loneliness: Willow smells one of Oz's shirts then clasps it to her chest. Later when she goes back to his apartment she's devastated to find the place cleared out, as Oz has sent for his stuff.
- Cut His Heart Out with a SpoonBound!Spike: I get this spell reversed, they'll be finding your body for weeks.
Buffy: Giles! I accidentally killed Spike! That's OK, right?
- Distracted by the Sexy: Spike and Buffy start pashing in the crypt, ignoring how Anya is trying to stop a demon from strangling Xander.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu:Buffy: Oh, look at my poor neck. All bare and tender and exposed. All that blood just pum-ping away.Spike: Giles, make her stop!
- Drowning My Sorrows: Xander and Buffy are surprised how lighthearted Willow is over Oz's departure, until a beer bottle falls out of her jacket.Willow: Drunk... I mean, that's such a-a strong word. Kind of a guttural Anglo-Saxon word. Drunk.
Xander: Will, not loving the drowning of the sorrows.
Willow: Not drowning—wading!
- Eureka Moment: Xander realizing that Willow is behind it all.Xander: Wait... married... I know something... what is it...? Everything's so familiar... Work, brain—work! Oh! Oh oh! Willow!
- Everyone Has Standards: Consider the below exchange after the spell is lifted:Buffy: You're a pig, Spike.Spike: Yeah, well, I'm not the one who wanted Wind Beneath My Wings for the first dance. [Xander, Anya and Giles turn and stare incredulously at Buffy.]
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Buffy has the same crinkly hairstyle that she has in other episodes where she's Not Herself.
- Foe Romance Subtext: Lampshaded re: Spuffy.Buffy: I think maybe we fought because we couldn't admit how we really felt about each other.
- This is the second time Willow tries to use a spell as a quick fix for relationship problems (although the first time, she was interrupted before following through on it).
- Riley helping the "Lesbian Alliance" with a banner in the teaser. Willow begins her relationship with Tara come next episode.
- And of course, the most (in)famous example: Buffy and Spike enter into an unexpected romantic relationship; all the other Scoobies are freaked out. Thing is even then, there was the implication that Spuffy felt something beside hatred. Future events will of course confirm this.
- From Bad to Worse: Spike punches Buffy in a fit of pique, which of course sets off his chip. Spike is left clutching his head in pain, and then clutching his face after Buffy lamps him in the nose in retaliation.
- Funny Background Event: Willow changes Rat!Amy into a Naked on Arrival human, then back into a rat without even realizing it.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Buffy to Spike moments before they fall in love.Buffy: Oh make a move, please. I'm dying for a good (s)lay.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Spike doesn't like Buffy mentioning the Angel word.Spike: Well, where would Angel like to register? And can we have the photographer Angel would've wanted? And, flowers Angel would have liked?
Buffy: Hey! You think I don't live with the shadow of Drusilla over my head? That I'm not wondering if you're going to be thinking of her on our honeymoon when you're making... [goes all misty-eyed] sweet love to me?
- Heel Realization: It takes D'Hoffryn pointing out how effectively she's inflicted misery and suffering through her actions while approaching her to become a vengeance demon for Willow to realise that she's been unreasonably taking her misery and spite out on her friends.
- Holding Hands: Xander and Anya are rather puzzled as to why Buffy/Spike are doing this.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Giles' reaction to Spuffy smoochies (and the idea that they're now 'family').Giles: It's all right. I have more Scotch.
- In Love with Your Carnage: D'Hoffryn is impressed by the chaos Willow caused, and tries to recruit her as a vengeance demon.
- Ineffectual Death Threat:
- "Giles, help! He's going to scold me!"
- "You'll do what—lick me to death?"
- Innocuously Important Episode: Willow loses herself in magic as a way of dealing with Oz's absence and hijinks ensue, one example being Buffy and Spike making out passionately in what is viewed as an in-universe Crack Pairing. Things appear to be neatly resolved at the end of the episode, but both Willow's strong emotional reaction to the loss of a significant other (resulting in a misuse of her magical abilities) and the Buffy/Spike romantic chemistry are things that will pop up again in Season 5 and become prominent features of Season 6.
- It Was Here, I Swear!: Buffy discovers Spike searching the lawns near the college, claiming this was where he escaped from the Initiative, but there's no sign of any exit. He starts tearing at the grass, shouting threats and demands to be put back the way he was. Buffy naturally assumes Spike is just stalling and hauls him away.
- "Just Joking" Justification: Buffy brushes off her engagement with Spike as a practical joke on Riley.Buffy: I saw that fear in your eyes when you caught me looking at wedding dresses, and I had to give you a hard time.Riley: I did not have fear in my eyes.Buffy: Yes you did. You were looking at me like I was a cartoon ball and chain.
- Kissing Under the Influence: Spike and Buffy, which becomes disgusting once the spell wears off.
- Kubrick Stare: Spike to Buffy while drinking blood from her mug.
- Lame ComebackSpike: You're not gonna do anything to me. You don't got the stones.Buffy: Oh, I got the stones. I got a whole bunch of... stones!
- Magic Misfire: Because of her spell, every unheeding, angry comment Willow makes throughout this episode sparks one of these. The original spell could be branded a misfire itself, since it didn't do what she'd hoped (get rid of her pain over Oz's loss) and worked in a way she hadn't wanted or expected.
- Make-Out Kids: Lovestruck Spike and Buffy can't keep their lips off each other.Giles: Stop that right now! I can hear the smacking.
- Moment Killer: Willow turning up at Buffy and Riley's picnic with a sad face.
- Mood Whiplash:
- When Buffy and Spike wake up from the spell and realise they're smooching.Buffy: Spike lips! Lips of Spike!
- Also when Spike and Buffy first come under the spell. Moments before they're exchanging mutual death threats.
- D'Hoffryn looks like he's going to be angry when Willow rejects his offer to become a vengeance demon... then casually offers her his talisman in case she changes her mind.
- When Buffy and Spike wake up from the spell and realise they're smooching.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The Serparvo Demon has prominent, pointy teeth, and they look bigger because it has no lips.
- My CardD'Hoffryn: Here is my talisman. You change your mind, give us a chant.
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Riley tells Buffy he likes her because she's a mystery.
- Old, New, Borrowed and Blue: Referenced by the title, though the tradition doesn't come up in the wedding plans.
- Parental Substitute: Giles is (momentarily) moved when Buffy asks him to Give Away the Bride. He's less thrilled when Spike suggests he's now "my father-in-law".
- Puppy-Dog Pout: Buffy sulking.Spike: Oh, pouty! Look at that lip... gonna get it... gonna get it... [starts nibbling on her lip]
- Pun: Drunk Willow riffs on the poem "Not Waving but Drowning" by Stevie Smith.
- Ragtag Band of Misfits: The Scoobies naturally; lampshaded by Spike.Spike: This is the crack team that foils my every plan? I am deeply shamed.
- Respawning Enemies: Get attracted towards Xander after Willow points out that he never seems to date normal girls, i.e., he's a demon magnet.
- Rock BottomSpike: I'm chained in a bathtub, drinking pig's blood from a novelty mug!
- And Giles won't let him watch Passions.
- Running Gag: More jokes about Spike's somewhat limp 'performance issues'.Giles: Spike, we have no intention of killing a harmless... uh, creature, but we have to know what's been done to you. We can't let you go until we're sure that you're, you're... impotent or—Spike: Hey!Giles: Sorry, poor choice of words. Until we're know that you're, you're...Buffy: Flaccid?Spike: You are one step away, missy!
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: Spike and Buffy spend a lot of time acting like cutesy, lovestruck teenagers under the influence of Willow's spell, much to the annoyance of the other Scoobies.
- Silly Love Songs: Spike embarrasses Buffy by telling the Scoobies she wanted "Wind Beneath My Wings" played at her wedding.Buffy: That was the spell...
- Smash CutBuffy: I'd be really happy to be in a nice relationship with a decent, reliable oh my God Riley thinks I'm engaged!
Buffy: Riley. He-he-he saw me. What the hell am I going to say?!
[Cut to UC Sunnydale campus. Buffy and Riley are walking together; Buffy is laughing.]Buffy: You thought I was serious?
- Squick: Buffy's In-Universe reaction to feeding Spike blood through a straw.Spike: I don't know why you're so dainty all of a sudden. You've done this for Angel; you must have.
- Suspect Is HatlessBuffy: So you saw their faces but you can't describe them?Spike: Well, they were human. Two eyes each, kind of in the middle.
- The Tease / Do Not Taunt CthulhuBuffy: Oh, look at my poor neck. All bare and tender and exposed. All that blood just pum-ping away.Giles: [rolls his eyes] Oh, please.Spike: Giles, make her stop!
- Tempting Fate: After all the shenanigans finish, Buffy says she's totally over the bad boy thing.
- Timmy in a Well: Why Spike wants to watch Passions.
- Too Much Information: Buffy has just told Riley she's marrying Spike.Riley: Who is this guy? Does he go here [to college]?Buffy: Spike? Oh no, he's totally old. Not as old as my last boyfriend though.Riley: OK, it's late... so I'm just going to go far away...
- The Triple: Riley invites Buffy for a picnic. "I thought maybe we could have a little spread, sandwiches, maybe some ants..."
- Unskilled, but Strong: When called to meet with the demons, they admit that Willow is this, saying that she has the power, but not much knowledge on how to use it.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?:
- Buffy and Spike squabble over the names on the marriage invitations. Buffy isn't too keen on "Spike" or "William the Bloody," while Spike can't help but point out that "Buffy" isn't a name encountered very often.
- Also, when Buffy tells Riley the groom's name is "Spike," Riley responds, "That's a name?"
- Why Don't You Marry It?: A distraught Willow, looking for a shoulder to cry on, is angry when Buffy has to leave her to go chase Spike. She makes the inevitable comment and Hilarity Ensues.
- With This Ring: Spike gives Buffy his gothic punk ring, since it's the only one he has on hand. Interestingly, she doesn't give it back when the spell is broken.Buffy: Giles, did you see my ring?Giles: Thankfully, not very well.
- Women Prefer Strong Men: Buffy likes Riley's arms. "Those are good arms to have."
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Spike invokes this in regards to why he's being reluctant to give up information.Spike: How long am I gonna live once I tell you?
- You're Insane!: Riley's reaction to Buffy playing off her earlier spell-induced antics as a joke.Riley: You're insane.Buffy: Uh huh.[beat]Riley: But you're still single.