Buffy attempts to repair a leaky pipe in her basement only to have it burst and flood the basement. At breakfast, the gang discusses the damage while Xander and a plumber examine the damage caused by the pipes. The plumber advises Buffy that a full re-piping is necessary and hands her a very large invoice. The size of the cost leads to Buffy finding out that, with the hospital bills and the costs of the funeral for their mother (along with the costs of living in the home), the Summers girls are pretty much broke. Anya suggests charging for slaying which leads to an argument with Xander about telling the others that they are engaged, but Buffy manages to keep her cool and is determined to find a way around the problem.
Buffy goes to a bank to consult with a loan director, which is hardly a positive experience as Buffy finds that without a job and no real collateral, she can't get a loan. A demon breaks through the office window, interrupting the meeting and Buffy fights it, despite her conservative clothing. While money is stolen from the bank, a security guard tries to intervene in the fight, but is unable to help the situation. The demon escapes and Buffy returns to the loan officer to discuss the possibility of getting paid for saving his life.
Later that night, Willow tries to upset Buffy purposely in order to get her to express some real anger but Buffy doesn't fall for it. Anya continues to try and force Xander to announce their engagement and he's ready to but not until everyone has arrived. Dawn wants to help with research, but Tara thinks she's too young and that fact is proven when Dawn looks at a picture in one of the books. Buffy isn't pleased that Dawn is researching with the gang, but Dawn is able to identify the bank-robbing demon Buffy encountered earlier. Giles returns to have a happy reunion and intense discussion with Buffy before meeting up with the rest of the gang.
The bank robbing demon, a M'Fashnik, throws a fit in front of his "controllers," Jonathan, Warren, and Andrew (brother of Tucker) complaining that the Slayer still lives even though they got the money from the bank. The three guys argue both with the demon and each other, then Jonathan, Warren, and Andrew think up a way to accommodate the demon without killing Buffy. Giles takes the couch at the Summers' home and talks with Buffy, telling her he'll help her take care of the financial problems in the morning. The three nerds discuss their mission — taking over Sunnydale — and somewhat agree unanimously that none of them want to kill Buffy, but Warren secretly provides Buffy's address to the M'Fashnik demon so he can kill her.
Later that night, Giles asks Willow for specifics regarding the spell she cast to bring Buffy back to life. Willow, eager to impress Giles, begins to boast about how scary the spell was, but Giles quickly takes the wind out of her sails by reminding her why such spells aren't practiced, including the possible consequences, noting that he left her in charge of the group because he thought she was the most responsible, which he now sees is clearly not the case. Although he tries to keep calm throughout the discussion, Giles ultimately loses control when Willow continues to boast of her performance and demands praise, and thunders that she is lucky to be alive after casting such a spell, calling her a "rank, arrogant amateur." Willow's tone of voice suddenly turns dangerous, as she warns Giles that she's powerful and pissing her off might not be such a good idea, before regaining her normal composure and telling him to just focus on the fact Buffy is back. Giles, however, reminds her that the gang still have no idea where Buffy has been or what she has been through.
Spike finds Buffy on the back porch, and the two exchange small talk about life and money. Giles and Dawn both have trouble sleeping and go for a snack. The M'Fashnik crashes their late night cereal party, but Buffy catches him. A fight ensues, with Buffy and Spike working together against the M'Fashnik.
The fight ends up in the basement where the demon latches on to one of the pipes and Buffy immediately attacks as the expensive pipes are threatened. The nerds consider their future plans and agree that hypnotizing and making Buffy their willing love slave is a priority.
The Scooby Gang regroups after the demon is taken care of and hopelessly attempts to save the furniture that was destroyed in battle. A phone call off-camera reveals that Angel needs to meet with Buffy and she needs the same so she leaves to meet him at an intermediate location.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Jonathan and Warren eventually agree Andrew unleashing flying demon monkeys on the school play was pretty funny.
- Action Dress Rip: Buffy delivers a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner and goes to kick the demon...then can't because she's wearing a dress. The demon knocks her onto a table where she uses a handy letter opener to fix the problem.
- Aesop Amnesia: Jonathan has clearly ignored Buffy's cautionary words at the end of "Superstar".
- Armed with Canon: Buffy rejects the idea that she should charge money to innocent people for saving their lives. Take That!, rival channel!
- Basement-Dweller: The headquarters of the Trio is in the basement of the house of Warren's mother.
- Big Bad Wannabe: The Trio.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: Anya suggests Buffy charge people for saving their lives. Buffy replies, "That's an idea...you would have."
- Black Comedy: Buffy's "post-post-mortem comedy".Willow: Buffy, I know you're still getting back on your feet after...Buffy: Lying flat on my back?
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The whiteboard list of the Trio's evil plans.
- British Stuffiness: Buffy asks Giles if he's miserable or just being really British.
- Broke Episode: Buffy finds out the money her mother had left her is pretty much gone and then the plumbing breaks
- Butt-Monkey: Jonathan is still the loser of the group, with Warren and Andrew conspiring to give him the lowest score even though his time-loop spell was most successful in the next episode, and hailing him the leader when the M'Fashnik says he's going to kill their leader.
- Call-Back: Spike sits next to Buffy on the verandah and she jokes, "Why do you always turn up when I'm miserable?" referencing when he did the same at the end of "Fool for Love".
- Chekhov's Gunman: Warren created the Buffybot in Season 5 "Intervention" and first met Buffy in "I Was Made to Love You". Jonathan has appeared as a minor character since Season 2 "Inca Mummy Girl" — his Butt-Monkey status rivals Xander, but without The Power of Friendship and sex with hot ex-demon chicks to compensate. He was last seen in "Superstar" where he also tried using magic as a quick route to fame and fortune. Tucker Wells was the villain in "The Prom", but the actor was unavailable, so the character of his brother Andrew was created.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: While Neck Lifting Jonathan, the demon threatens to kill him, then suck dry his bones and use them to beat Warren and Andrew to death.
- Deadpan SnarkerWillow: Giles, I thought you'd be impressed.Giles: Oh don't worry. You've made a very deep impression.
- Description Cut
- Giles wonders who would be powerful enough to control a M'Fashnik demon. Cut to the demon in question roaring at the terrified Trio.
- Jonathan talks of their "clear, super-cool mission statement". Flashback Cut to Warren casually asking if they want to team up and take over Sunnydale.
- Dude, Not Funny! (In-Universe): The Scoobies reaction to Buffy's morbid humor. Also Buffy's reaction to Willow trying to make her 'angry'.
- Dumb Muscle: The M'Fashnik, from "a long line of mercenary demons that perform acts of slaughter and mayhem for the highest bidder".
- Epic Fail: Buffy tightens the coupling on a leaking water pipe. Suddenly, nearly every pipe in the basement bursts, causing water to pray everywhere.
- Establishing Character Moment: Warren slipping the demon Buffy's address shows his lack of morals compared to his colleagues.
- Evil Plan: According to their whiteboard list the Trio plan to; "Control The Weather, Miniaturize Fort Knox, Conjure Fake I.D.s, Shrink Ray, Girls, Girls, The Gorilla Thing, and Workable Prototype Jet Packs." Oh, and make Buffy their Sex Slave.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: The M'Fashnik is tearing up the bank when he's confronted by Buffy.
"The magics I used are very powerful. I'm very powerful. And maybe it's not such a good idea for you to piss me off."
- From the above Evil Plan, the Trio create the Cerebral Dampener which can turn any women into their Sex Slave, as well as workable jetpacks.
- Buffy avoids dealing with real life problems by running off to see her vampire Love Interest.
- Willow threatening Giles.
- Earlier Giles rants at Willow over the incredible risks of her Black Magic, such as "killing us all, unleashing Hell on Earth, need I go on?" In Season 7 it's revealed that the resurrection of Buffy destabilized the magic affecting The Chosen One, and the Big Bad plans to kill off the Slayer and all her potential successors, so that with the Hellmouth unguarded The Legions of Hell can sweep across the Earth.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Dawn insists she's old enough to look through the books on demons."That's a strange place for a horn..." Beat, Beat, Tara grins as Dawn gets it. "...it's not a horn."
- Covert Pervert: She then opens the book again for another peek.
- Grevious Harm with a Buffy: The M'Fashnik throws Buffy at the security guard so he can escape.
- Held Gaze: A platonic love version this time, between Buffy and Giles when they first lay eyes on each other.Giles: You're...Buffy: A miracle.Giles: Yes. (strokes her hair) But then I always thought so.
- Hypocritical Humor: Warren wearing 3D glasses and playing a computer game."Andrew, you're such a geek."
- I Did What I Had to Do: Willow justifying her actions. Giles has more of a What the Hell, Hero? response.Willow: Giles, I did what I had to do! I did what nobody else could do.
Giles: Oh, there are others in this world who can do what you did. You just don't wanna meet them.
- Jedi Mind Trick: The Trio have to get rid of the demon who is demanding their magical help to defeat the Slayer, but with no powers to offer...Warren: (whispering) Here's the Slayer's address. Make it so.
(Demon leaves. Andrew and Jonathan look impressed)
Andrew: What are you, some kind of Jedi?
Warren: The Force can sometimes have great power on the weak-minded.
- Limited Social Circle: When someone calls Buffy at the house, she wonders aloud, "Who's calling me? Everyone I know lives here."
- Mook: Buffy calls the demon a mook when he breaks her designer lamp, though he's more of a Monster of the Week. One assumes she was using its original insulting definition.
- He's a mercenary for the Trio, so it's not entirely inaccurate as a trope.
- Neck Lift: The M'Fashnik does this to Tiny King Jonathan.
- Nerd in Evil's Helmet
- Noodle Incident: Andrew Wells trained flying demon monkeys to attack the school play.Jonathan: Remember, everyone was like, "Run, Juliet!"
- Not So Dire: Buffy moves slowly through a Creepy Basement wielding a heavy spanner...to repair a leaky pipe.Buffy: We meet at last, Mr. Drippy."
- Percussive Therapy: Buffy pounds her punching bag after being turned down for her loan application.
- Pride: Willow doesn't take kindly to Giles saying she was "lucky" the spell worked.
- Punctuated Pounding: "FULL! COPPER! REPIPE! NO! MORE! FULL! COPPER! REPIPE!"
- Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akërDawn: I'm guessing on how you say it. It's got an apostrophe. I think it's "Mmm, Fashnik". Like "Mmm, cookies."
- Sunnydale Syndrome clearly has it's limits — the bank manager mentions the town's "unusually low" property values.
- There Are Two Kinds of People in the World / Get Rich Quick SchemeJonathan: It's true, my friends. The way I see it, life is like an interstellar journey. Some people go into hypersleep and travel at sub-light speeds, only to get where they're going after years of struggle, toil and hard, hard work. We, on the other hand ...Andrew: Blast through the space-time continuum in a wormhole?Jonathan: Gentlemen... [lights cigar with flaming bill] CRIME is our wormhole!
- There Was a Door: The Scoobies have clearly learnt to lock the front door this year. Unfortunately Buffy's debt would be less if they'd left it unlocked again.
- Reference Overdosed: The Trio work in plenty of geek sci-fi references.
- Reliably Unreliable Guns: Buffy reprimands a security officer for using a gun on a demon, tosses it aside and winces at the subsequent discharge.
- Respect The Pipe
- Rock Bottom: Buffy fixes the leaky pipe only for water to erupt from every other pipe in the basement. She just stands there getting soaked as Dawn shrieks and flees.Buffy: "There. All better."
- Silence, You Fool!Demon: ENOUGH!
- Stiff Upper Lip: And not just Giles — Buffy is visibly trying to maintain her pre-Season 6 perky image, as everyone notices. She later complains to Spike what a strain it is trying to avoid making her friends worry.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
- Instead of previous villain Tucker, who attacked the school prom with hellhounds in The Prom, the Trio is rounded out with his never-before-mentioned younger brother Andrew, who attacked a school play with flying monkeys. Becomes a Running Gag as characters over the next two seasons don't know Andrew until he's introduced as Tucker's brother (including Spike, who wasn't even on the show when Tucker appeared).
- Ultimately averted, as Tucker was intended to become The Sociopath Big Bad of the Trio, a role that ended up assigned to Warren.
- Tap on the Head = Running GagGiles: Well, I know I'm back in America now I've been knocked unconscious. (Tara hands him an ice-pack) Thank you.
Buffy: Aw. Poor Lumpy!Giles.
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: Buffy rehearsing for her loan application.
- The Triple: Anya greeting Giles."Giles! (hugs him) We're so glad to see you. We missed you. You can't have the store back."
Giles: "You're alive. You're here. And you're still ... (strained) ...remarkably strong."
- And Buffy greeting Giles, also with a hug.
- Un-Evil Laugh: The Trio do an Evil Laugh to convince the demon they really are supervillains. It needs some work.
- Wham Line: The prelude to a very harsh rant:Giles: (pointedly; to Willow) You're a very stupid girl.
- Who's Laughing Now?: Warren and Andrew when the M'Fashnik makes it plain he's still gonna kill them all (see With Friends Like These...)M'Fashnik: (addressing Jonathan) You pitted me against the Slayer. For that, I must kill you. (Warren and Andrew snicker at each other) Then I will suck dry your bones and use them to beat your subjects to death. (Warren and Andrew are suddenly alarmed)
- Why We Can't Have Nice Things: The M'Fashnik adds to Buffy's debt when he barges into her house and trashes it during their fight."That's a designer lamp, you mook!"
- With Friends Like These...: Unimpressed with these 'wizards', the M'Fashnik demands to know which one of them is the leader. Each member of the Trio points to himself. The demon says he will kill the leader. All point to each other. The M'Fashnik says he will kill all of them. Andrew and Warren drop to their knees and hail Jonathan as their leader.Warren: Yes! Truly, Lord Jonathan is the wisest of us all.
Andrew: Uh, yeah, long live our noble lord and master.
Jonathan: You guys suck.
- You Owe Me: After saving her bank manager from a rampaging demon, Buffy tries to pull this card to get a loan. It doesn't work, partly because the Trio stole the money while Buffy was fighting the demon.