The Scoobies patrol in the absence of the Slayer, who has been dead for five months. Willow and her growing powers lead the efforts and the gang with telepathy and other magic from a perch on top of a crypt. The gang are helped by the Buffybot, who helps the group slay several vampires — and helps keep Buffy's death a secret from both the regular and the supernatural world. Willow has tried to make the robot behave more normally, but her tuning never really goes quite as planned. Although the Buffybot is doing its job fine, it also serves as a painful reminder of the friend they've lost.
The next morning, Willow and Tara (who have moved into Buffy's house and are secretly acting as Dawn's guardians) prepare for the day, getting Dawn ready for school as Dawn prepares to take a phonecall from her father who they are also trying to keep Buffy's death a secret from. At one point the Buffybot, acting on its programming, hugs Dawn creating an awkward and uncomfortable moment, knowing that the robot is a pale imitation of the real Buffy. The Buffybot is sent to attend Parent's Day at Dawn's school. She behaves oddly, but the other parents hear her comments in Ms. Lefcourt's class as expressing concerns similar to their own and the Buffybot doesn't draw any suspicion. At the Magic Box, Giles and Anya are going over paperwork however Anya is angry at Giles, since he has announced his intention to return to England and leave her in charge of the store, but has yet to go through with it leading to an argument. Xander arrives, and diffuses the situation before taking Anya aside, as she admits that she wants to announce their engagement to the gang, but Xander doesn't want to go through with it while everything is still 'up in the air' in regards to the issue that they're discussing with Willow and Tara that evening.
That night, Spike stays with Dawn while the rest of the gang have a meeting. Dawn suggests that Spike can leave, but he steadfastly refuses, still feeling guilt that his failure to protect Dawn lead to Buffy's death. The two then start a card game. The Buffybot hunts a vampire, but gets hit with a bottle and her motion skills are impaired. The vampire realizes the Slayer is a robot and quickly leaves.
Anya has found on eBay of all places the last Urn of Osiris. Willow's pleased and announces their plans to bring back Buffy the next night. Xander, Anya and Tara are all feeling unsure that bringing Buffy back to life is the right thing to do, as something could go wrong. Willow insists however, and stresses that Giles, Spike, and Dawn cannot know, and that because Buffy was killed by mystical energy, they have a chance of bringing her back. She then tells the others of her worry that Buffy is suffering eternal torment in a hell dimension like Angel did and refuses to leave her there, and this makes them promise their support.
Willow returns home to find Spike keeping a wounded Buffybot out of trouble, the Buffybot having been programmed to return to Willow if damaged. Spike angrily leaves when the Buffybot innocently compliments him on his physique a programming remnant from her sexbot days and Buffybot confides in Willow about Spike's constant shame in her presence. Without her real sister, Dawn tries to find comfort from the Buffybot, but doesn't get much. The next day, Giles engages the Buffybot in training to make sure she's ok after being damaged. He also attempts to get her to practice her breathing and to release her 'chi', but Anya points out that teaching this to a robot is pointless. Giles realizes he's trying to teach the Buffybot as if she were human, and the Buffybot responds that 'every Slayer needs her Watcher'. Giles notes that, like any good Watcher, he got his slayer killed in the line of duty and that all slayer-watcher relationships end the same way, and now his job is done. The Buffybot innocently asks why Giles is still there, and Giles finds himself unable to come up with a reason.
At a demon biker bar, the vampire that hit the Buffybot with a bottle brags about it to several "Hellions" a gang of biker demons. Although the Hellions are uninterested at first as the vampire embellishes the story, he gets them interested when he mentions that the slayer is a robot. The leader of the Hellions, Razor, decides that the gang is going to head to and trash Sunnydale. The vampire suggests that he be allowed to join as a thanks for passing on the information, only for Razor to behead him with his bare hands before the gang departs.
In a forest glade, Willow invokes Adonai during a summoning spell and a baby deer approaches her. She suddenly stabs it in the throat, collecting its blood for the resurrecting spell. She returns to the Magic Box, claiming she got the "vino de madre" from the black market.
The gang finds a note from Giles, stating that he's already left and isn't one for goodbyes. Not about to accept a silent escape, the Scooby Gang tracks him down at the airport and he gets a proper farewell with presents, signs, balloons, and tears. After Giles departs, Willow, Xander, Anya and Tara return home for final preparations and then head to the cemetery. They prepare the ritual, sitting around Buffy's grave and Willow begins the spell. While performing the spell, Willow's skin is cut by invisible blades, large insects appear to crawl underneath her skin, and a large snake is produced from her mouth, but Tara insists that they can't stop.
Meanwhile, Spike is watching Dawn when the demon bikers arrive ready to tear Sunnydale apart. Buffybot tries to stop them, but the leader, Razor, wounds her and she runs away to find Willow. The bikers following her reach the cemetery and interrupt Willow's spell by breaking the Urn of Osiris and scattering the gang's circle. One of the bikers tries to take Anya away, but Tara uses magic to get her back. Xander tells Willow that the spell didn't work, and the two continue to run. However, below the ground and inside the coffin, mystical energy surrounds Buffy's decomposing body before she is restored to life and awakens, very confused and frightened.
- Accidentally Broke the MacGuffin: Demons interrupt the spell, and the one-of-a-kind urn gets dropped and broken, but it turns out the resurrection was completed moments before that.
- Actually a Doombot: Buffybot stands in for Buffy; a vamp catches wind of it
- And Starring: For most of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's run, Anthony Stewart Head was last in the titles, with an "and...as Giles", because he was by far the most accomplished and famous actor in the series at that point. When he dropped from regular cast member to recurring guest star, the "and" went to Alyson Hannigan, whose career had recently taken off thanks to the American Pie movies.
- All Bikers Are Hellsmouth Demons: The Hellions.
- The Artifact: Dawn points out that her status as "The Key" doesn't really amount to much anymore, as the portal she was meant to open has been closed and Glory is dead, meaning there's no one left to target her specifically. None of this makes Spike any less steadfast in protecting her.
- Attack Hello / Between My Legs: Our introduction to the Buffybot.
- Armor-Piercing Question: The Buffybot to Giles. "Then why are you still here?"
- Bait-and-Switch: The Buffybot is introduced in the middle of the teaser fight, as if the real Buffy is somehow alive.
- Bambification: Averted when Willow kills a fawn for its blood.
- Bilingual Bonus: The incantation Willow uses to call forth the fawn is in Hebraic. It is stated in canon that she is Jewish. The two first words are "adonai elohe", translated as "the lord God". Thus, Willow cannot be directly blamed for using Black Magic, as she summones the biblical creator god himself. (As a matter of Fridge Logic: usually, the power of demons and ancient gods are summoned when casting spells - but this incantation summons the attention of GOD! It should be pointed out that this would not sit well in a Jewish, let alone a Christian, community.)
- Black Magic
- Bond One-Liner: The Buffybot never quite gets it right.Buffybot: That'll put marzipan on your pie plate, bingo!Willow: I was trying to program in some new puns and I kind of ended up with Word Salad.
- Brought Down to Normal: Dawn is no longer the Key, so she only has to worry about being eaten by some random Monster of the Week.
- Buried Alive: Joss Whedon has Sarah Michelle Gellar go through her greatest fear. Again.
- When persuading the Scoobies, Willow assures them that it's not like Dawn trying to raise Joyce from the dead in "Forever", and plays on their fear that Buffy might be trapped in a hell dimension like Angel was at the beginning of Season 3.
- Also evokes Buffy being buried alive in "Nightmares".
- The Between My Legs Bait-and-Switch was used previously in "Anne", Season 3's opening episode.
- Came Back Wrong: Averted when, among other things, Buffy's dessicated corpse is revived with no visible difference. Her mind/spirit, not so much.
- Cerebus SyndromeXander: We better get home. It's gonna get dark soon.
- Channel Hop: First episode of the UPN era.
- Character Development: Spike, in regards to his feelings for Buffy. In addition to keep helping the Scooby Gang, he, who originally had the Buffybot made to be a version of Buffy who would be in love with him to satisfy his lust and/or admittedly misguided fantasies, now refuses to take compliments from it, or even look at it.
- Comically Missing the Point: Anya does lots in this episode."I tried being patient but it took too long."
- The Confidant: Giles ends up discussing his feelings of guilt with the Buffybot.Giles: I just can't help but wonder if ... she would have been better off without me. Buffy.
Buffybot: I don't think that's true. You were very helpful to her.
Giles: Right. Yes, I was a perfect Watcher. I did what any good Watcher would do. Got my Slayer killed in the line of duty.
- Convenience Store Gift Shopping: The Scoobies have to buy Giles' goodbye gifts at a gas station while they're racing to intercept him at the airport.
- Credits Gag: Homaged with Tara's finger monster. Grrr. Arrgh.
- Darker and Edgier: Sets the template for the whole season.
- Death Is Cheap: Willow can resurrect Buffy after she's been dead for months because she died a supernatural death.
- Defcon Five: Averted.(Taking refuge at The Magic Box)Xander: This place is NORAD when we're at Def Con 1.(Tara, Willow and Anya stare back at him blankly)Xander: Okay, I so need some male friends.
- Declaration of Protection: Spike is living up to his promise to Buffy to protect her little sister.
- Description Cut / Tempting Fate
- "Nothing can go wrong tonight." Cut to the Hellions roaring past a Welcome to Sunnydale sign.
- "You don't think they'll cause a lot of damage, do you?" Cut to the Hellions chucking Molotov cocktails about with abandon.
- Dissonant Serenity / Man on Fire: Spike appears to be unconcerned that Giles is being choked by a huge vampire.Willow: What are you doing? Help him!Spike: (calmly lighting a cigarette) I just did.(The back of the vamp's shirt goes up in flame, followed by the rest of him)
- Elephant in the Living Room: The reaction of the Scoobies when the Buffybot hugs her "sister".
- Everything Is Online: Including the Urn of Osiris — Anya bought it on eBay.
- Family of Choice / Don't Split Us Up: The Buffybot charade is being kept up not only to fool demons, but also so Dawn won't be taken away from her two mommies.
- Fantastic Racism: The leader of the Hellions kills a vampire who asks to ride with them by ripping off his head. Then again he's the leader of a biker gang and the vampire wears a HANSON t-shirt.Razor: I'll think it over.
- Five Stages of Grief: Bargaining is the third stage of grief.
- Xander has been putting off announcing his engagement to Anya all summer, implying that he has second thoughts.
- The distortions moving over Willow's body when she's being 'tested' are the same as the malevolent spirit in "After Life".
- Willow killing a fawn shows this season is going to be Darker and Edgier, not to mention foreshadowing for Dark!Willow.
- Geographic Flexibility: Sunnydale has a regional airport with flights to Los Angeles. And apparently big enough to have airplanes large enough to fly to England, after refueling in L.A.note (Giles' flight has continuing service to Heathrow.)
- Grievous Bottley Harm: A vampire damages the Buffybot when he hits it in the head with a bottle.
- Half Truth: "Wine of the mother" (the fawn's blood)
- Heroic BSoD: Anya goes into a minor one when she realizes, just after getting the Magic Shop, the Hellions are damaging stores in Sunnydale.
- Hide Your Lesbians: Averted — Joss Whedon celebrates the new freedom of UPN by having Willow and Tara kiss casually and on the lips.
- Ironic HellAnya: "You know, I used to punish people like this when I was a demon. I made them double-check spreadsheets for all eternity."
- "Knock Knock" JokeWillow: I got her head back on, didn't I? And I got her off those knock-knock jokes.Buffybot: Ooh, who's there?Xander: You know, if we want her to be exactly—Spike: She'll never be exactly.Xander: I know.Tara: The only really real Buffy is really Buffy.Giles: And she's gone.
- Literal-Minded: The Buffybot making mega-sandwiches.Tara: Oops, um ... she wanted to help, and I got her started, but then I forgot to un-start.
- Malaproper: The Urn of Cirrhosis...Osiris.
- Man Hug: Between Xander and Giles.
- Mood Whiplash: Dawn is trying to talk Spike out of babysitting her when he suddenly slams a pack of cards down on the table.Spike: No. I'm not leaving you ... to get hurt. (softly) Not again.
- Morality Chain Beyond the Grave: Spike protects Dawn because it's what Buffy would have wanted.
- Multi-Part Episode: Type A.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Spike after Giles nearly gets throttled by a vampire.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The Hellions knock the Buffybot to the ground and proceed to kick and stomp the shit out of it.
- Not So Dire: "Buffybot is about to face her most dangerous challenge ever." Cut to a banner proclaiming "Welcome to Parent Teacher Day."
- Only a Model: Buffybot admires a model "City of the Future" at a science fair, but notes that she's never seen people that small.
- Our Zombies Are Different: When Xander worries that they might be raising a brain-eating Buffy, Anya reassures him that it's a myth — zombies only eat brains if they're instructed to by the person who raised them.
- Out of Character: Willow has to collect the last item, blood from an innocent fawn. Pretty dark stuff for her, until later.
- Previously On: An extended version summarizing all previous seasons for the benefit of UPN viewers who had never seen the show before.
- Promoted to Parent/Has Two Mommies: Willow and Tara now sleep in Joyce's room and act as Dawn's parents.
- Pun: A sticker in the Magic Shop says "Life's a witch and then you fly." After the Buffybot malfunctions and keeps running into the furniture, Spike decides not to let it out as there's already enough Things That Go "Bump" in the Night.
- Replacement Goldfish: Dawn curls up in bed next to the recharging Buffybot. Giles finds himself teaching the bot Eastern martial arts philosophy until Anya calls him on it. Averted with Spike who refuses even to look at it.
- Rise from Your Grave
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Willow vomits up a live snake during the ceremony, shocking the Scoobies who are unaware just how dark the magic she's using is.
- Robotic Reveal:Vampire: "You're... you're a machine!"
Razor: Another one!
- Inverted when Buffy shows up just when the Hellions tear the Buffybot apart.
- Seemingly Profound FoolBuffybot: "School is where you learn." Preach it, sister.
- Spanner in the Works: The Buffybot is programmed to return to Willow if damaged. As a result it leads the Hellions directly to the Scoobies in the midst of their raising ceremony.
- Stiff Upper Lippy: The Scoobies try to avoid tears while saying farewell to Giles.Xander: My face was getting sore from all that faux smiling.
- Stand-In Parents: The Buffybot for the real Buffy, so Dawn still appears to have a guardian at home.
- Talk About That Thing: The Scoobies discussing their plan around Giles, Spike or Dawn.Willow: Oh. I, uh, had to get that thing.Xander: Giles isn't around, you can dump the cryptic.
- Telepathy: Willow uses this to direct the Scoobies in the teaser where they run down a vampire.
- That Came Out WrongXander: House o' chicks, relax. I'm a man and I have a tool! (sees Dawn) Tools. Lots of plural tools. In my toolbox.
- Tragic Bromance: Willow has always been eager to test her abilities earlier than Giles or Tara would like, but with Buffy's death all bets are off. Her "success" will further convince her that magic really can solve all her problems, until she learns otherwise the hard way.
- Weirdness Censor: The Buffybot is regarded as an example for all parents.Tara: She did great; she impressed all the teachers.Xander: And they still thought it was Buffy?
- White Shirt of Death: When Willow gets her 'blood of the innocent', which also counts as foreshadowing for "Seeing Red".
- Wimp Fight: Giles and Anya get into a slapfight.Xander: Okay — when I'm marveling at the immaturity...be scared.
- You Are in Command Now/Rhetorical Question BlunderXander: Who made you the boss of us?Willow: You did. You said I could be boss.Anya: You said to take a vote and it was unanimous.Tara: You made a plaque that said "You're the boss of us!" with little sparkles on it.