Directed by Douglas Petrie
Buffy is at work, cleaning the grill with her coworker Todd, who talks non-stop about college and then leaves Buffy to finish cleaning alone. On the way home from work, Buffy runs into a vampire, but once he finds out that Buffy was working at Doublemeat Palace and smells like it, he tries to escape and instead is staked by an offended Slayer. Finally home, Buffy finds Spike waiting in front of her house. She knows what he's there for, but with Dawn waiting inside, she refuses to let him follow her into the house. Instead, he persuades her to stay outside with him and they drop to the grass together.
Later, Buffy apologetically presents the not-so-appealing bag of Doublemeat Palace food to Dawn for their dinner. Dawn is trying to explain nicely that she can't stand another meal from the fast food place when Willow arrives to take Dawn to the Bronze. Willow notices Buffy's rough appearance and grass stains on the back of her outfit, but Buffy blames it on work and a battle with a vampire. Tired and a bit depressed, Buffy allows her sister to go, but doesn't join them. At the Bronze, Anya and Xander snack on chips while agonizing over the seating arrangements for the wedding reception and other jobs that need completing before the big event. Dawn and Willow sit and have drinks while discussing Xander and Anya's wedding and Willow's newly changed relationship with Tara. Although the two are far from getting back together, there's an open door on communication. Meanwhile, at home, Buffy works to remove the grass stains from her coat.
The next morning, Buffy wakes up amidst her unfolded laundry to the sound of the garbage truck. She rushes to get the garbage outside in time, but the truck drives away. Dawn prepares to leave for school as Buffy returns inside and finds a letter from UC Sunnydale waiting for her. As her sister leaves, Buffy reads the letter from the assistant dean and finds that her application for re-admission has been rejected because she missed the deadline. At work, Buffy tends to the grill like a depressed robot with life offering her little more than her fast food job. Todd decides to send Buffy up to the counter while he prepares the food. Her first customer though is not someone she expected to see: Riley.
Buffy leaves her position to help Riley. They battle but lose track of the monster on the streets of Sunnydale. Riley and Buffy pursue in his car. They talk of catching up as she changes into more appropriate clothing Riley had brought along. A brief interlude show Xander and Anya having a spat while sitting in traffic. At a dam, Riley and Buffy have further battles and lose the demon yet again. Buffy meets Riley's wife.
Sam, as Riley later introduces as her, quickly jumps into a fight with the Suvolte demon. Buffy recovers from the shock of Riley being married and Riley starts to catch her up on his life since he left as they watch Sam deliver quite a beating to the demon. The demon strikes Sam and Riley rushes to help her as Buffy approaches the demon from behind and snaps its neck. Riley's shocked that she killed it and Buffy soon finds out from Sam that they weren't trying to kill it. Improvising, Sam takes a knife from Riley and cuts into the demon's gut as Buffy watches on, still confused. Sam observes that they're too late and the three head for Buffy's home where it should be safe. Riley mentions that Sam's good cutting skills are because she's a doctor and promises Buffy that he'll take the time to fill her in on everything.
At the house, almost everyone greets Riley with open arms though Dawn is cool with him because of the way he left the last time. Privately, Willow offers to hate the new wife for Buffy but Buffy,who is unable to really hate her herself, doesn't want to be petty. Sam and Riley begin to describe the gory details of the demon and the mission and although Riley's concerned about Dawn hearing about it, Sam sticks up for the teen and she gets to stay with the "grown-ups." Sam explains that the deadly Suvolte demon multiplies quickly and can destroy towns full of people in no time at all and has come to Sunnydale to lay a nest full of its offspring. A demonic dealer in Sunnydale by the name of the "Doctor" is suspected of holding the eggs in exchange for money. The topic of Willow doing magic to help is raised, but Willow explains that she cannot.
Riley directs Sam and Buffy to search for the nest while he investigates the dealer. In the kitchen, Sam tells Willow about a couple of shamans she knew that got addicted to magic and literally didn't survive it. She's amazed that Willow is strong enough to beat the addiction and Willow says nothing, but really takes the words in. Buffy and Sam patrol and talk about Buffy's honorable reputation as the Slayer and of course, Riley. Sam explains how she met Riley for the first time and how much Buffy mattered to him for so long. Sam questions whether Buffy regrets losing Riley and although Buffy does a little, she certainly wouldn't try to change things now. After Sam tells Buffy that Riley did get over her after a year she brings up the subject of Buffy's current love life and the Slayer dodges that subject.
Buffy suggests they split up and as Sam heads off to find Riley, Buffy aims directly for Spike's crypt. Upon arrival, she questions his knowledge about the Doctor, but when he has no immediate answers, she changes the subject to his feelings for her and eventually pulls him to her for some physical comfort. Later that evening, Buffy and Spike sleep under a blanket together and Spike wakes to find Riley has walked in on them. The vampire takes the opportunity to emphasize his having Buffy with him. Riley pretends not to care although he clearly does; he identifies Spike as the Doctor and demands to know where the eggs are.
Spike denies knowing anything about the code name "Doctor" or the whereabouts of the eggs, but Riley is confident with his information and starts to tear the place apart. Buffy is unable to believe that Spike could be involved, but as she and Riley go to the bottom level of the crypt and find the eggs everywhere, Spike's cover is blown. Spike and Buffy exchange harsh words and as Spike leaves, the eggs begin to hatch. Little demons crawl out and begin to attack Buffy and Riley. The two escape and Buffy throws a live grenade down where the demons are, effectively destroying them and much of Spike's underground lair.
With family and friends causing mayhem in the apartment, Anya and Xander huddle together in the bathroom. Anya's bugged by the fact that Xander's so interested in Riley and Sam's marriage. Xander reassures her that while he's scared of the wedding, he's confident that the marriage will be great and last forever. Buffy and Riley talk privately and Riley asks her if she wants the "Doctor" to be taken out. Verbally admitting to her involvement with the vampire, Buffy denies his offer and accepts the fact that her life sucks and her ex-boyfriend is there to see it. Riley though tells her that struggling with life like a human being doesn't make her any less of a woman. Buffy tries to apologize for what happened when he left, and again Riley acts stoic, hiding his feelings.
The whole gang gathers to say goodbye to Sam and Riley. While Riley explains to Xander where and how his brief and unromantic wedding took place, Sam and Willow confirm that they have each other's e-mail addresses for future contact (although Willow still calls Sam a 'bitch' for Buffy's benefit). A helicopter arrives and carries the married couple off into the night. The next day, Buffy finds Spike at his crypt and although she doesn't care about his being the Doctor, she brings with her news he does not want to hear. Buffy tells Spike that although she has feelings for him, she can never love him; it would be wrong to keep using him the way she is, so it is over. Spike thinks that this is her usual routine of playing hard to get, but Buffy is serious and walks out with a final goodbye.
- Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Buffy's fighting a vampire, but when he gets too close and smells her, he notices her awful smell. She justifies it by saying she works at the Doublemeat Palace, to which he decides not to bite her after learning about that... which, of course, prompts her anger.
- BFG: Riley wields a USAS-12 shotgun. Though in a Fridge Logic moment he hands it to Buffy at the one time a full-auto shotgun would have come in useful.
- Battle Couple: Riley returns with his wife, Sam, who is equally action-y as him.
- The Bus Came Back: Riley returns!
- Blatant LiesDawn: How's the soon-to-be newlyweds? Nervous?Anya/Xander: NO!Dawn makes rapid exit...
Riley: National Forestry Service, we got a wild bear!
- Brick Joke: Riley loves Buffy's new haircut. Not so the burger smell.Buffy: You smelled the smell?
- BridezillaAnya: "Planning this marriage is like staging the invasion of Normandy."Xander: "Without the laughs. We should have eloped."Anya: "No. I've been through too much planning this wedding, and it is going to happen. It is going to be our perfect, perfect day if I have to kill every one of our guests and half this town to do it."
- Buffy Speak: Buffy's not exactly Gun Girl.
- Call-BackSam: You got a safe house?Buffy: I have a house. I think it's safe. Sometimes you can't even leave.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Averted; Buffy finally admits out loud that she's sleeping with Spike, and that admission helps her to end their self-destructive relationship.
- Character Development: Riley's time away and her new relationship with Sam have made him get over his toxic feelings of inadequacy with regards to Buffy.
- Consummate Liar: Spike doesn't even blink when Buffy tells him she's looking for a demon trafficker called the Doctor.
- Dogged Nice Guy:
- Riley could have legitimately killed Spike, and no doubt wanted to, but he won't do it unless Buffy agrees.
- Sam could be excused for being wary of her husband's superhero former flame, but she's never anything but nice to Buffy (which only makes her feel worse).
- Double Entendre:
- Spike suggests that as Buffy won't let him come inside her house it's time she came...outside. Cue Spuffy sex on the lawn.
- Dawn sees the grass stain on the back of Buffy's coat and asks if a vampire got rough with her. Buffy mutters, "He's not getting any gentler."
- Easily Forgiven: Buffy decides not to get on Spike's case about being the black market dealer, because that's just Spike being Spike. She dumps him instead, but it's her being Cruel to Be Kind rather than an attempt to get back at him.
- The Easy Way or the Hard Way: Riley Perp Sweating Spike. "We can do this the hard way, or the fatal way."
- Explosive Breeder: The Suvolte demon can make a lot of young very fast.
- Fantastic Racism: Riley mentions that the Suvolte demon is unfortunately not extinct yet. It is never made clear whether this species is peaceful or not, though
- Fast-Roping: Buffy and Riley down the side of the dam — a good opportunity for UST.
- First-Name Basis: When Buffy breaks up with Spike, she uses his given name "William".
- Geographic Flexibility: Sunnydale now has a dam.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Buffy refuses to let Spike inside... the house.Spike: I can't go inside, so ... maybe the time is right ... for you to come outside.
- Golden Moment: Though everyone but Buffy hugs Riley.Riley: You're up, you're down ... it doesn't change what you are. And you are a hell of a woman.
- Happily Married: Riley and Sam are married and their relationship contrasts the dysfunctions currently in Buffy and Spike's relationship. As the episode ends, the former leave together but the latter break up.
- Homoerotic Subtext:Anya: You know, if you love Riley Finn so much, maybe you should just marry him.
Xander: He's taken. And that's not the point.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Lampshaded when Buffy asks Riley, "Were you always this tall?"
- Humiliation Conga:
- Buffy's life is in a rut. Her old flame turns up and sees her wearing a silly hat. He turns out to be married. Then he catches her in bed with an evil bloodsucking fiend, who turns out to be the black marketeer they're looking for.
- Spike gets knocked around by both Riley and Buffy, his black market deal falls through, then his girlfriend blows up his lair and dumps him.
- Hypocritical Humor: Willow says she'll be petty and nasty to Sam on Buffy's behalf. She eventually calls Sam a bitch — after she's left.
- I Can Explain: Spike is just holding the demon eggs for a friend—(Buffy punches him in the face)
- Idiot Ball: Spike not keeping the Suvolte eggs frozen. The eggs start to hatch so Buffy has to firebomb his crypt.
- I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
- Buffy seems about to tell Riley that she tried to stop him leaving in "Into the Woods", but then changes it to say she just regrets things didn't work out between them.
- Riley tells Buffy he has authorization to terminate 'The Doctor', but won't do so unless that's what Buffy wants.
- Spike insists that there's nothing wrong with them being together even if Buffy's being weak and selfish, until she says that it's killing her.
- Innocently Insensitive: Sam asks Willow to help out using magic, only to learn that Willow is a recovering magic addict.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Riley walks in on Buffy and Spike in bed together. Despite having threatened to kill Spike in "Into the Woods" if he ever touched Buffy, Riley resists the temptation to blow the smug vampire's head off.
- Kill It with Fire: Buffy throws Riley's grenade belt down into the crypt to destroy the Suvolte hatchlings. Spike is later shown contemplating the burnt out wreckage of his once-comfy crypt.
- Let's Split Up, Gang!: Splitting up is used as an excuse so Buffy can leave Sam to go and shag Spike.
- Love Martyr: Buffy tells Spike she's just using him for her own selfish needs. Realising that Buffy is serious about breaking up, Spike hastens to say that he's really not complaining about that.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Buffy has sex with Spike on the lawn of her house while Dawn is waiting for her inside.
- Master of the Mixed Message: Spike lets lose his frustrations about Buffy.Spike: Well, that's bloody funny coming from you! No more games? That's all you've ever done is play me. You keep playing with rules you make up as you like. You know what I am. You've always known. You come to me all the same.
- Meaningful Echo
- Spike will unconsciously repeat Riley's "You are a hell of a woman" in "Touched", and in much the same context.
- "Tell me that you love me." Warren demanded the same from a brainwashed Katrina in "Dead Things".
- "Girl just needs a little monster in her man." Spike said this to Riley in "Into the Woods".
- Misery Poker: Buffy and Riley promise to swap stories if they get a chance and see whose were more exiting/dangerous/crazy etc. She asks if he died, and when he says he didn't, she says, "I'm going to win."note
- Modesty Bedsheet: Justified for once — Buffy is embarrassed when Riley bursts in on them, so she cowers behind the sheet while a smirking Spike doesn't hide his naked body.
- Moment KillerSam: Hey there. What exactly are you doing with my husband?
- Mundane Solution: Buffy says the Suvolte demon is too fast to chase. Description Cut to them chasing after it in Riley's SUV.
- Neck Snap: Buffy kills the Suvolte demon with her hands and a quick jerk instead her customary stake.
- The Nicknamer: Xander refers to Sam/Riley as Nick and Nora Fury. Sam calls her husband Captain Can-Do.
- "No" Means "Yes": Averted; Spike is initially amused by Buffy's break-up speech, assuming she'll come back to him as she always does. Buffy admits she still desires him, but sticks to her guns.
- The Nose Knows: Played with; a vampire comes after Buffy, calling her "little girl", not recognizing who she is because she reeks of Doublemeat food. When he gets close enough to engage her in combat he gets two scent-based realizations: he's fighting the Slayer, and the Doublemeat in her system is too overpowering to be appetizing.
- Obligatory Joke: On Riley's sweet ride.Buffy: Nice wheels.Riley: They came with the car.
- Oblivious Mockery: Sam asks Buffy if she's seeing someone. Buffy waffles on that she doesn't need a guy at this time.Sam: Yeah, better no guy than the wrong guy, that's for sure.
- Pet the Dog: After finding out that Willow is a recovering magic addict, Sam tells her that she knew two shamans who became addicted and are "gone, as in, there's nothing left" and admires Willow's strength to quit.
- Poor Communication Kills: The Suvolte Demon when Riley fails to tell Buffy they need the demon alive. He also fails to mention he's married, but as Buffy (who on their last encounter had been furious with him) was acting like the flirty, quirky girl he'd fallen in love with, his reluctance to drop that particular bombshell was understandable if not excusable.
- PunBuffy: "We need to stop this thing before Sunnydale turns into the Trouble Meat Palace. ... I wish I'd said something different."
- Puppy-Dog Pout: Spike's reaction to Buffy refusing to let him into the house for sex is adding a pout when asking her to come out.
- Rugged Scar: Riley now has a standard Awesome McCool scar across his left eye.
- Rule of Symbolism: At the end of the episode after dumping Spike, Buffy walks out of his crypt into the light.
- Saying Too MuchDawn: Some vamp get rough with you?Buffy: He's not getting any gentler.Willow: He?Buffy: They! Them...you know...vampires in a...general sense...
- Selective ObliviousnessRiley: (butt-strokes Spike in the face) Where are the eggs?Buffy: The Doctor...it can't be Spike....Spike: No need to defend me, luv.Riley: Right — deadly, amoral, opportunistic...or had you forgotten?
- Sex for Solace: "Being with you makes things simpler. For a little while."
- Buffy's coworker references Burger World.
- Buffy makes a Star Trek reference by comparing the Suvolte demons to Tribbles, before explaining it away as a side-effect of dealing with the Trio for too long.
- Xander calls Riley and Sam "Nick and Nora Fury", a double reference to both Nick Fury and husband-and-wife detectives Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man.
- Right before leaving in the chopper, Riley references "bug hunts".
- When Riley and Buffy track the Suvolte demon to the dam, the method the two take to lower themselves to the bottom is very similar to the way James Bond does in the opening of GoldenEye.
- Spider-Sense: Buffy senses Spike lurking outside her house, though he says it doesn't count as he wasn't exactly hiding.
- Spy Catsuit: Riley provides Buffy with her own kevlar 'ninja wear'.
- Suggestive Collision: Two such collusions occur with Buffy/Riley, and the latter's wife happens to see one of them.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Buffy is upset that Riley has gotten married, so she flees back to Spike's arms.Buffy: Tell me you love me.Spike: I love you. You know I do.Buffy: Tell me you want me.Spike: I always want you. (smiling) In point of fact—Buffy: Shut up. (pulls him down onto the bed)
- Skewed Priorities: Buffy is pre-occupied with the Doublemeat Palace, i.e. "My hat has a cow." "You smelled the smell?"
- Smug Snake: Spike can't resist riling Riley over how he's boffing Buffy.
- Stock Phrases: Riley says he's going to search Spike's crypt.Spike: Over my dead body.Riley: I've seen enough of your dead body for one night, thanks.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Buffy blows up Spike's crypt using Riley's grenade belt.
- Talk to the Fist: Buffy punches Spike every time he pisses her off, sometimes cutting him off.
- Testosterone Poisoning: This macho-contest is chuckle worthy.Riley: Glad to be back in Sunnydale. The locals all speak English, and I know who to beat for information. It's all brought me here.
Spike: Look, Crew Cut. She's not your bint any more. And if I can speak frankly, she always had a little thing for me, even when she was shagging you.
Riley: Nice. That's very distracting. Now tell me, before I get unprofessional... (pointing his gun at Spike) ...where are the eggs, Spike?
- This Is the Part Where...: Spike quickly realises Buffy is going to break up with him, but doesn't take it seriously. "I've memorized this tune, love. I think I have the sheet music."
- Took a Level in Badass: Sam — from Peace Corp volunteer to Action Girl.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: A vampire takes a raincheck on trying to eat the Slayer because she stinks of fried food. Next moment a stake is hurled into his heart.
- The TripleRiley: You want me to say that I liked seeing you in bed with that idiot? Or that blinding orange is your very best color? Or that that burger smell is appealing?Buffy: (appalled) You smelled the smell?
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Averted; Dawn asks if Riley is going to split all secret-agenty like last time. Instead Riley and Sam are pulled up into a helicopter while everyone waves goodbye.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods: Spike's claim of five hours of sex; Really?
- Walk-In Chime-In:Buffy: Oh, why can't I get this stupid jingle out of my head?Vampire: (leaping out in front of her) Least of your problems now, little girl.
- Weirdness Censor: Rampaging demon = wild bear.
- Wham Line:Riley: That's not why I'm here...Doctor.
- Writer on Board: Guns = Never useful. Riley brings one but he hands it to Buffy in a situation where it might have been useful.
- You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Buffy calls Spike 'William' when breaking up with him, ironically showing him more respect than when they were lovers.
- "You!" ExclamationBuffy: Doublemeat Palace, how can I help— (realises the 'customer' is Riley) ...you!
- You Need a Breath Mint: Buffy is on the way home from her shift at a Greasy Spoon when a vampire tries to eat her, only to back off because she smells terrible. Buffy naturally takes offense."You're dead! You smell like it! How do you get to say I'm the one who's stinky?"
- You Talk Too Much: Spike starts ranting his grievances to Buffy and Riley.Riley: Can't you make him shut up?Buffy: Not so far.