Willow: "I'm not coming back."
Directed by David Solomon
An ambulance arrives at the Summers house and Xander leads them to Buffys still body. Meanwhile, upstairs, a tearful Willow begs for Tara to return to her and calls upon Osiris to bring Tara back to life. The god denies Willows request, explaining that the death was natural and human and cannot be undone. The resurrection of Buffy was allowed because her death was the result of mystical forces, but Taras was a human death, by human means. Devastated and angry, Willow banishes the god with a violent, powerful scream, causing him pain before dismissing him. Xander accompanies the paramedics to their truck out front as a determined Willow exits the house. He tells her Warren shot Buffy, and she leaves on a mission (without revealing what happened to Tara), while Xander joins Buffy in the ambulance.
At the police station, Andrew and Jonathan talk about the fact that theyre in jail and debate about whether Warren will be rescuing them. Elsewhere, Warren buys a round of drinks at a demon bar boasting that hes just killed the Slayer, getting him full attention. He discovers that none of the patrons knew about the Trio and, after being asked for details, brags that after sending magic and demons after her he discovered getting rid of Buffy just required shooting her in her backyard. Everyone starts to laugh, but Warren quickly finds that theyre laughing at him and not with him. Then it turns out that the news has just reported on a girl that was shot in her backyard but survived. Warrens smugness quickly drains away as the vampire and bartender remind him that Slayers heal fast. Once shes out of the hospital, Buffy will hunt him down.
Willow barges into the Magic Box and heads directly for the black arts books, shorting out the lights as she moves. Anya, knowing whats happened thanks to her vengeance demon senses, tries to stop her, but Willow magically stops her from moving. Willow pulls the books off the shelves, sticks her hands into the pages and sucks the words into her body. Her eyes and hair turn black as she completely consumes the darkness. Dawn returns home from school to an empty house and walks into Willows bedroom, finding Taras dead body lying on the floor.
Warren visits Racks place (shown the way by one of Racks "regulars" for $20), demanding protection from the Slayer. Rack warns him that his biggest concern lies not with Buffy but with Willow. Warren is confused as to why Willow would be after him more, but Rack explains that while Buffy is alive another is stone cold. Warren is now terrified and gives Rack all of his money while promising more. Rack agrees to give Warren some powers to help him combat Willow, leaving him with the warning that, as powerful as Willow is, theres no guarantee that the protection spells will work as Willow is running on pure fury.
At a hospital, doctors and nurses struggle to keep Buffy alive but soon their job is taken over as Willow, now wearing dark clothing, enters the room and orders everyone else out. Xander watches as Willow approaches Buffys body, which has flat lined, and raises the bullet from Buffys chest, thereby healing the wound. Buffy wakes up, restored, and asks what happened. Willow welcomes Buffy back and calmly tells them that they must hurry to get to Warren.
Xander follows Willows directions as he drives down a deserted desert road and Buffy tries to reason with Willow about her choice to go after Warren, and that Willows using magic again. Willow snaps at Buffy by informing her that if she didnt use magic back at the hospital to heal her, Buffy would be dead right now. Buffy admits that this is true, but she and Xander then remind Willow that she promised them she wouldnt use magic again and try and talk her out of the pursuit. Rushed, Willow takes control of the car and leads it to another road where an overland bus is approaching. She uses magic to take control of the bus and once it is stopped, she orders Warren off the bus. He barely manages to beg for forgiveness before she wraps her hand around his throat and starts to strangle him. Willow is only angered more when she finds that she was tricked and it was actually a Warren robot. Willow finally tells Buffy and Xander about Taras death, that Warren accidentally shot her when he was shooting at Buffy. Buffy and Xander are devastated, but still plead with Willow not to kill Warren, because its wrong and it will take her to a dark place from which she might never return. Willow ignores her warnings and knocks both Buffy and Xander to the ground. By the time they get back up, Willow has vanished into thin air.
Buffy and Xander return to the house that evening and find Dawn crying and huddled in the corner of Willows bedroom, staring at Taras dead body. Buffy tries to comfort her sister, with no-one really able to grasp the situation.
The coroner takes Taras dead body away and Xander sees them out. When Xander and Buffy begin to talk about Willow, an angry Dawn jumps in with her view that Warren should be killed, and Xander quickly sides with Dawn, telling Buffy that Warren is "just as bad as any vampire youve sent to dustville". Buffy is clearly disturbed by this and doesnt think its acceptable for Warren to be killed just because he killed Tara. The way Buffy sees it, Warren is just a normal human and that its wrong for a Slayer or anyone to kill a human regardless of the bad deeds hes done, even though she knows that the justice system does not always work. Concerned for her friend, Buffy wants this crisis to end without Willow destroying herself, and promises them that Warren will get what he deserves. Though they still stick to their views that Warren is too evil to live, Xander and Dawn agree with Buffy that they must find Willow and bring her home. Buffy refuses to allow Dawn to tag along, and Dawn asks to stay with Spike. Xander immediately gets upset by Buffys willingness to let that happen and reminds her of Spikes attempted rape the night before, but shes confident Spike cant hurt Dawn and he is their only option. In Taras dorm room, Willow uses her shirt, splattered with Taras blood, and magic to create a map to guide the way to Warren.
Buffy and Dawn show up at Spikes crypt, but find Clem staying there instead who tells them that Spike left town late last night. Neither Buffy or Dawn know how to react to this news. Since Spike is gone, Buffy asks Clem if Dawn can stay with him for a while and hes more than happy to have the company. As she leaves, Buffy asks about Spike and his whereabouts and if he will be returning, but Clem can only tell her that hell be gone for a while. Across the world, in a remote part of Africa, Spike enters a cave, despite warnings from one of the tribesmen. Inside the cave, Spike greets a demon in the shadows, wanting a change. The demon assumes that Spike wants to return to his former self, and he doesnt think Spike has what it takes to earn that. Spike is confident that he will earn it, and he demands what he came for if he succeeds.
Back in Sunnydale, Xander talks to Anya as she recovers from Willows magic. She feels Willows cry for vengeance and Xander discovers that shes returned to being a vengeance demon. Buffy soon arrives, and she and Xander question Anya about where her loyalties are. Anya tells them that shes willing to help them find Willow, but only for Willows sake and not out of any loyalty to Xander or the Scooby Gang.
Trees part as Willow walks through the woods, hot on Warrens trail. As she reaches a small clearing, Warren sneaks up on her and plunges an axe deep into her back. She revives almost immediately, her powers much too strong to be hampered by an axe. Running off again, Warren uses some of the protection spells he purchased from Rack, but, as Rack predicted, none of them are effective.
As the now-captive Warren rambles and promises that hes going to escape from justice and will then return for revenge, Willow realizes from his posture and tone of voice that Tara wasnt Warrens first kill, and brings forth the spectre of Warrens dead ex-girlfriend, Katrina, which taunts him with comments about how she should have killed him a long time ago. When Warren gets angry, Willow makes Katrina vanish, thus confirming to her that Warren truly hates women, believing them all to be manipulative. She also finds out that his murder of Katrina was because he wanted power over her. All the while, Anya leads the way for Buffy and Xander to reach Willow.
Willow decides Warren needs to feel what Tara felt when he shot her, multiplied, actually gleefully torturing him. She produces the bullet that she extracted from Buffy at the hospital, and magically penetrates it into Warrens chest in slow-motion. He begs for mercy as she describes the damage of the bullet and what it did to Tara, and when he continues to interrupt her, Willow magically sews his lips shut so she can continue. She questions why someone like him gets to live when someone wonderful like Tara has to die. When hes free to speak again, Warren apologizes profusely and tries to convince Willow that shes better than this. As Buffy, Anya and Xander arrive at the clearing, an alarmed and unimpressed Willow says "Bored now," and in a moment both glorious and horrifying, Willow need only wave her hand to rip the flesh clean off Warren's upper torso, the sudden shock of the act plus exposed muscle and tissue killing him instantly. She then magically engulfs his dead body in flames and it disintegrates. Buffy, Xander, and even Anya look on in horrified shock at this summary execution as a satisfied Willow proclaims, "One down," before disappearing into thin air.
- Actually a Doombot: When Willow catches up to Warren on the bus, he turns out to be a robot.
- All Deaths Final: Osiris rejects Willow's attempt to resurrect Tara because she wasn't killed by supernatural forces.
- An Axe to Grind: Warren on Willow In the Back. She just gets back up again.
- Also a Call-Back. Tara saved Willow's life by axing a demon in the back early in the season.
- And I Must Scream: Willow has Warren tied up and his mouth stitched shut as she tortures him with a bullet.
- Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: The fan question about why demons don't just shoot Buffy is answered when they point out that while gunshots can kill them, it's not easy — Slayers heal very fast, and get really pissed when they get better.
- Asshole Victim: Warren. Buffy is about the only one who won't let Willow have this one, and that's only because she doesn't want her best friend to be a murderer.
- Backseat Driver: This is done literally when Willow uses magic to take control of a car from Xander.
- Badass Decay (In-Universe): The demon shaman (stated to be called "Lloyd" in "Selfless") re Spike.
- Bad Boss: Warren leaves Andrew and Jonathan to take the fall for him.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: The Slayer can't kill humans except in self defense. Dark!Willow obligingly kills Warren instead.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Willow goes Terminator Girl to kill Warren for his attempt to kill Buffy and murder of Tara.
- Big Blackout: Willow entering the operating room (causing Buffy to flatline, much to Xander's alarm). Even before Willow absorbs all that Dark Magick, she fuses out the lights in the Magic Box just by walking inside.
- Big "NO!": Willow banishing Osiris.
- Black Eyes of Evil: Willow after she absorbs all the magicks. Becomes Supernatural Gold Eyes whenever she's using her powers.
- Black Magic: So black it dyes her hair.
- Blank Book: What's left of the Tome of Eldritch Lore after Willow draws out their magic.
- Blood Magic: Willow uses her blood-splattered shirt to create a map of where Warren is hiding.
- Bullying a Dragon: Even when wrapped up by vines and facing a furious Dark!Willow, Warren just can't stop himself from mouthing off to her and threatening her:Warren: You're really asking for it, you know that?
Willow: I'm asking for it?
Warren: I'm gonna walk away from this. And when I do, you're gonna beg to go join your little girlfriend.
- Buffy Speak: Willow is going all wrathy.
- "Bored now...", the line used by Vampire!Willow in "The Wish and Doppelgangland." While we knew Willow had darkness in her, it's especially chilling in that Willow never heard her Evil Twin say it. Thus, while Vampire Willow delivered it in a pouty, childish way, Willow's delivery is cold and harsh.
- Willow taunts Warren with a ghost or illusion of Katrina, the ex-girlfriend he killed.
- Carpet of Virility: Warren, when Willow pulls open his shirt to torture him. Ironic given his nerdy characterisation. It's also visible at his unbuttoned collar starting when he's celebrating in the demon bar.
- Conflict Killer
- Crazy-Prepared: Warren had a robot-double of himself in reserve that he was able to pull into service as a get-away tactic.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Willow crufcifies Warren, sews his lips together, uses magic to slowly force a bullet (one which Warren had himself used to shoot Buffy) into his chest, and finally flays and burns him alive. The utter cruelty of it all would cement Willow's status as the season's new Big Bad.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: From the vampire at Willy's bar to Warren."I was going to eat you myself during the commercial, but now I think it would be more fun to watch the Slayer de-gut you."
- Darkest Africa: Spike goes to Africa to undergo the Demon Trials.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Willow's scream of agony and rage clearly causes Osiris pain.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Averted— Tara is dead before she hits the floor, and Willow holds her body begging for her to come back.
- Death Is Cheap: Averted; Willow can't resurrect Tara because her death was by 'natural' means and by human hands.
- Description Cut: Andrew insisting that Warren will be busting in to save them any moment, to Warren strutting into the Bad-Guy Bar to buy everyone a drink. Oh, and the Trio? "I cut them loose."
- Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: Clem jumps off Spike's sofa in a fright, spilling his popcorn, when the Slayer turns up without knocking as always.
- Due to the Dead: Dawn waits by Tara's body until Buffy returns home.
- Easily Forgiven: Xander can't understand why Buffy goes to Spike for help re protecting Dawn.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: When Warren is informed that Willow is out for his blood, he seems to honestly not understand why. This being right after he shot Buffy, Willow's best friend, in her own backyard, and killed Tara as well.Rack: She's gonna blow this town apart... starting with you.
Warren: Me? What did I... What did I do to her? beat Okay, okay. I-I shot her friend.
Rack: I feel death.
Warren: But the Slayer's alive! And she heals!
Rack: She might, but somebody's stone cold. And that... is why the witch wants your head.
- Evil Laugh: Unfortunately the demons in the Bad-Guy Bar are laughing at Warren, not with him.Warren: This... isn't the Evil Laugh of Victory - is it?Vampire: More like the evil laugh of "You're a dead man."
- Evil Makeover: Dark!WillowXander: And can I just ask, what's with the Make-Over of the Damned? I mean, the hair...!
- Evil Wears Black: Willow's White Shirt of Death is replaced by the Makeover of the Damned.
- Fade to White: Dawn finding Tara's body.
- Exact Words: The creepy African demon asks if Spike wants a "return to his former self". He does.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: Warren's attempt at a Badass Boast is stymied by the fact that no-one in the demon world has heard of the Trio.
- Failed a Spot Check: Willow's blood-splattered shirt fails to register with Xander as Buffy is being loaded into the ambulance.
- The FetteredBuffy: Being a Slayer doesn't give me a license to kill. Warren's human.Dawn: So?Buffy: So the human world has its own rules for dealing with people like him—Xander: Yeah, we all know how well those rules work.Buffy: Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't. We can't control the universe. If we were supposed to, then the magic wouldn't change Willow the way it does. And we'd be able to bring Tara back...Dawn: And mom.Buffy: There are limits to what we can do. There should be.
- Spike examines several cave paintings which include a man with his mouth sewed shut, and a dark figure pointing at another man who appears to have been flayed.
- Rack tells Warren that Buffy is the last thing he needs to worry about. Warren quips "Yeah, let's talk about my skin troubles!"
- For "Two to Go" — after Willow kills Warren she says, "One down..." then teleports out of there. Roll credits.
- Flaying Alive: Willow does this to Warren, Tara's killer, when she catches up to him. It was fairly gruesome for standard television, but he didn't survive for very long after his skin had been removed (mainly because she then followed up by burning him). He got better in the comics continuation, though. He still had no skin, and was being kept alive by magic, but when magic ended, he died instantly.
- From the Mouths of Babes: Xander says this when Dawn wishes death upon Warren.
- Get Out!: "Leave. Now."
- Healing Hands: Willow removes the bullet from Buffy (and presumably repairs her internal injuries).
- Human Notepad: Willow absorbs several Tomes Of Eldritch Lore — the text is seen flowing across her skin until its reaches her face and gives her Black Eyes of Evil and an Expository Hairstyle Change.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters:Willow: Please, please, bring her back!
Osiris: You may not violate the laws of natural passing—
Willow: How? How is this natural?
Osiris: It is a human death, by human means.
- Discussed later with Buffy, Xander, and Dawn; Xander and Dawn are in agreement that Warren is no better than the vampires and demons Buffy fights on a regular basis, and agree with Willow that he deserves to die.
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Buffy desperately tries to reason with Willow by invoking this, insisting that if she does this, she lets Warren destroy her as well; Willow is beyond caring, and the episode ends with her torturing Warren and finally flaying him alive.
- Jumping Off the Slippery SlopeBuffy: Willow, if you do this, you let Warren destroy you too.Xander: You said it yourself, Will — the magic's too strong, there's no coming back from it.Willow: I'm not coming back.
- Just a Kid: Rack tells Warren that taking on the Slayer is pretty heavy stuff for someone who's just a kid.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Let's see, Warren allowed a Sex Bot to go crazy with no regard for the destruction it caused or for the robot, wants to be evil, has made numerous attempts on Buffy's life, mind raped and nearly physically raped his girlfriend, killed her, finds that he enjoys killing women, shoots Buffy, kills Tara. Buffy's the only one trying to preach Thou Shalt Not Kill, and even then, it's only because she doesn't want Willow to become a murderer.
- Killed Mid-Sentence (only she's Not Quite Dead)Willow: Run all night, Warren. I'll still find-- (Warren plants an axe in her back)
- Laser-Guided Karma: Willow uses the very same bullet Warren shot Buffy with to torture him.Willow: Wanna know what a bullet feels like, Warren? A real one?
- Late to the Tragedy: Dawn returns home from school to an empty house and walks into Willows bedroom, finding Taras dead body lying on the floor. Buffy and Xander also don't learn of what happened until Willow tells them.
- Love Makes You Evil: Or in this case wrathy. It's only when Buffy gets in the way of killing Andrew and Jonathan does Willow go Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
- Mouth Stitched Shut: Willow magically sews Warren's mouth shut as she tortures him.
- Mr. Exposition: Osiris rocks up to tell the audience why Willow can't just bring Tara Back from the Dead like she did Buffy.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: After going Dark, Willow is adamant that Warren needs to die for shooting Tara despite Buffy repeatedly insisting that they don't kill humans and there are other options. On top of it all, Xander and Dawn are so disgusted and furious with Warren that they declare him to be just as bad as any vampire or demon Buffy's slain and fully support Willow's intent to kill... at least until the minute she actually goes through with it.
- Not Worth Killing: A vampire in the demon bar bluntly tells Warren the only reason he doesn't feed on the little twerp is because the Slayer will make it a much more drawn out process.Vampire: [to Warren] I was going to eat you during the commercials, but I think it might be more fun to let the Slayer de-gut you.
- Nothing Personal: Warren tries this. Willow's not impressed.Warren: It was an accident, you know.
Willow: Oh. You mean, instead of killing my best friend you killed my girlfriend?
Warren: It wasn't personal, that's all.
Willow: Well this is.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Warren is fleeing Willow behind him when he bumps into Willow standing in front of him.
- Oh, Crap!: Warren finding out the Slayer is still alive — and it's a virtual Humiliation Conga of Oh, Crap! moments from then on.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: There had been many villains in the series, from Angelus to Faith to Maggie Walsh. Warren is up there with the most vile, and for his crimes of murder, attempted rape and attempted sex slavery Willow gives him a horrific, and oh so very much deserved, death.
- Pet the Dog: Dark Willow makes sure Buffy is going to be alright first, before using her near death as part motivation to hunt down Warren.
- Powers as Programs: Warren goes to Rack and buys up a load of magic firepower. Willow just absorbs it straight from the forbidden books.
- Power Incontinence: When Willow stalks into the Magic Box, lights throughout the store explode at her approach.
- Pretender Diss: The vampires and demons in Willy's aren't impressed by Warren's attempt to identify as one of them.
- Prison Rape: Jonathan gives Butt-Monkey a whole new definition.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: This was building up all season; in fact hints are given throughout the series of a more darker side to Willow's Shrinking Violet nature her taste for revenge, her childlike petulance, her anger at being an Extreme Doormat or mere Sidekick leading to a desire for power through magic coupled with a total irresponsibility in its use.
- Pun: Willow yanks Warren's axe out of her back and says, "Axe — not going to cut it."
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: For both Tara's death and Warren's attempted murder of Buffy.
- Rule of Symbolism: The film Meet John Doe is playing in Spike's crypt.
- Run for the Border: Warren tries to flee to Mexico. It's Actually a Doombot.
- She's Back: The Return of Leader!Buffy.
- Shock and Awe: Willow putting the whammy on her friends and later Warren.
- Shooting Superman: As the demons point out to Warren, you can shoot a Slayer, they're just very difficult to kill that way. Turns out trying to kill a witch with an overdose of dark powers is just as hard.
- Some Kind Of Forcefield: Willow creates one against a flying bomb sent by Warren.
- Stock ShticksRack: If I were you, I'd be worried about the witch.Warren: Witch? Which witch?
- Straw Misogynist: WarrenWillow: You never felt you had the power with her [Katrina]. Not until you killed her.Warren: Women. You know, you're just like the rest of them. Mind games.Willow: You get off on it. That's why you had a mad-on for the Slayer. She was your big O, wasn't she, Warren?
- Tempting FateJonathan: Face it, NO ONE cares enough to come for us.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!Katrina: How could you say you loved me, and do that to me?Warren: Because you deserved it, bitch!
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Anya is asked why she's not with Willow, given that she's a vengeance demon. She says that normally she'd be drawn to her, but Willow wants to get her own revenge.
- This Is Unforgivable!: Xander agrees with Dawn that Warren deserves to die, declaring he's no better than the vampires and demons they fight every day. Despite being physically sick at the sight of Willow flaying him alive, Xander still insists that Warren deserved what he got.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill Muggles: Buffy preaches this, insisting to the Scoobies that they do not kill humans.
- To the Pain: Willow describes in detail the damage the bullet will do as it works its way through Warren's body."Wanna know what a bullet feels like, Warren? A real one? It's not like in the comics. It's not going to make a neat little hole. First, it'll obliterate your internal organs. Your lung will collapse, feels like drowning... when it finally hits your spine, it'll blow your central nervous system. The pain will be unbearable, but you won't be able to move. Bullets usually travel faster than this, of course. But the dying? It's going to seem like it takes forever."
- Traveling at the Speed of Plot: It would have taken Spike weeks, maybe months to get to Africa (unless he got someone to teleport him). Presumably the Demon Trials took place over the summer, but for practical reasons are shown concurrently with what happened immediately after he left.
- Twisted Echo Cut: Warren saying to Willow, "Are you done yet? Or can we talk some more about our feelings?" to Buffy asking Anya "What's happening? What do you feel?"
- Unflinching Faith in the Brakes: Willow does this with a bus while tracking down Warren. Seeing as how she was charged up with an insane amount of magic and was using THAT to stop the bus...
- Vigilante Execution: Dark Willow executes Warren in this way, first hunting down a fleeing Warren and effortlessly snapping his head off, then discovering it was a robot, then finding the real Warren and torturing him with the bullet Buffy was shot with, before death by Flaying Alive.
- Villains Want Mercy: As soon as he realizes that Dark Willow really does intend to kill him, Warren freaks out and starts frantically begging for mercy, pointing out that Willow isn't a "bad person" like him. His pleas fall flat, and Willow skins him alive.
- Willow: Bored now.
- Villainous Breakdown: Warren has one while being tortured.Please! God! I did wrong, I see that now. I need, I need jail! I need ... But you, you don't want this. You're, you're not a bad person. Not like me. Oh, and when you get caught, you'll lose them too. Your friends. You don't want that. I know you're in pain, but-
- We Have to Get the Bullet Out: Willow magics out the bullet that hit Buffy, but it's OK because she witch-fu's all of her wounds closed at the same time.
- Wham Episode: Willow becomes Dark Willow and kills Warren as revenge, intending on going after Andrew and Jonathan next.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Discussed between the Scoobies. Buffy insists that they don't have a license to kill, and Warren's a human, so they should let the human justice system deal with him. By contrast, Dawn and Xander openly declare that in Warren's case, Humans Are the Real Monsters and whatever Willow's going to do to him, he deserves it. The only issue anyone has with his death is how gruesome it is.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Xander is taken aback that Buffy is willing to let Dawn stay at Spike's place, especially after his attempt to rape her last episode.
- When She Smiles: Even in the depths of her rage and angst, Willow still manages a faint smile on bringing Buffy back to life.
- Willow's Weeds: Buffy changes into a black shirt after finding Tara's body. Willow has already done a black makeover, albeit for entirely different reasons.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Her:
- Turns out you can, but Slayers are rather difficult to kill.
- Even after everything he had done Buffy wants Warren arrested, not dead. This is an argument not just with Willow but the fan base as a whole. Most agreed with Willow killing Warren. It's everything else thereafter that tends to split the fan base.