Directed by David Solomon
Xander works to repair the living room window while Dawn, Willow, and Anya helped clean up and discuss the potential danger that was Spike. Wearing a trench coat, like Spike's, Warren coaches Andrew to continue playing his part in the game. Warren explains that because he cannot take corporeal form, Andrew's a crucial player in their "plan". Warren then morphs into Jonathan to continue the encouragement. Andrew stresses that he can't kill anymore, but Jonathan doesn't consider that to be a problem. Buffy tries to offer comforting words to Spike while she ties him down to a chair.
Principal Wood lectures two students about damaging school property, convincing them that they're better off cleaning up their mess. Dawn interrupts the meeting by informing him that Buffy's too sick to attend work. Back at the Summers' home, Buffy calls the Watcher's Council, trying to track down Giles, although Quentin Travers informs her they've had little contact with him since he left Sunnydale. He promises to look into the matter, and upon hanging up he tells the group of Watchers in the room that Buffy knows nothing. He adds that they need to find Giles, and quickly. Buffy returns to check on Spike, but, after tasting so much human blood, his thirst was getting hard to control. Although he remains tied to his chair, he vamps out and snaps at Buffy. Outside of the room, Willow offers to get Spike some animal blood to help ease his cravings.
Warren coaches Andrew on killing a pig, but Andrew lets the pig escape. Instead, he resorts to getting the blood they need from a butcher. At the butcher shop, Andrew orders an array of meats and pig's blood, but as he leaves, he literally runs into Willow, spilling his purchases on the ground. He runs from Willow, but she catches up to him. Willow, knowing Andrew believes she is still "evil", takes advantage of the situation and frightens him. She's able to take him back to Buffy's house, pointing out his suspicious behavior and purchase of animal blood to the rest of the group. Xander and Anya interrogate Andrew while tied to a chair, but he's unable to provide any useful information. After Anya slaps Andrew in the face, Xander drags her out of the room, and, behind closed doors, the two rave about how well their performance with Andrew went.
Upstairs, Buffy gives Spike some of the animal blood Willow bought, and it calms him down. He tells Buffy that he still remembers very little, if anything, about his killings. He also explains how he was able to get his soul back, and how he now realizes that Buffy was using him because of her own self-hatred. At that point, after falling in love with her and acquiring a soul, he had come to hate himself.
Xander returns to Andrew and changes his tactic to politeness. He unties Andrew and offers him water while using Anya's ability to hurt men as a threat. Anya comes charging in and attacks Andrew, intending to beat the knowledge out of him. Buffy leaves Spike momentarily to investigate Andrew's cries for help, though Xander and Anya reassure her that all is well. While Buffy is away, the hallucination of Spike reappears and starts to talk to the real Spike. Buffy hears Spike talking and humming a song through the door, and when she opens the door, she finds him acting different. He asks for blood, but as soon as she turns away, he breaks free from his chair and knocks her down. In the next room, Andrew is finally revealing some information about the Seal of Danzalthar. However, Spike punches through the wall, grabs him, and viciously bites him. Buffy pulls Spike off of Andrew and knocks Spike out with a powerful kick.
Downstairs, Buffy talks to the gang about Spike's strange behavior. Based on Buffy's information, Xander concludes that some sort of evil is using a trigger to activate Spike's killer instincts. Buffy instructs the gang to begin researching so they can figure out what they're dealing with. At the high school, Principal Wood is leaving his office, but curiosity gets the best of him, and he goes into the basement. There, he finds Jonathan's body on top of the seal.
Buffy goes down to her basement to clean up Spike's wounds while he lay chained up to a brick wall. While she wipes away the blood, he wakes up, and tells her to kill him, claiming that she has never seen all of what Spike is capable of. Spike also says he was not something she was prepared to handle, and taunts her with details of his past assaults and person insults. However, she is undeterred by his words, and thinks that he's changed; she's not ready to give up on him yet.
Suddenly, the windows and doors break all over the house as robed figures attack the Scooby Gang. In a deserted location, Principal Wood buries Jonathan's body. The gang fights a vicious battle with the robed figures that attacked them. Most of the figures end up disabled or killed, but they didn't come for Buffy and the gang: they came for Spike.
Down in the basement, Buffy and Xander find Spike nowhere to be seen. Buffy recognizes the faces of the robed figures as Harbingers of Death (aka "Bringers") working for the First Evil, the entity that attempted to coerce Angel into killing himself in "Amends". She then discovers that the ghosts haunting them, the games being played on them, and the impending danger that would come from beneath are all connected to the First Evil.
Meanwhile, Watchers report to Quentin about the numerous attacks on the Council around the world. Quentin confirms that the First Evil was responsible, and tell the group to prepare for battle. Seconds later, the Watchers Council headquarters explodes. In the school basement, Spike has been strapped to a wheel and the Bringers are cutting symbols into Spike's chest. The First talks to Spike — in the shape of himself — and blames him for the situation he's in. The First then morphs into Buffy and continues taunting Spike as the wheel is raised up to the ceiling, turning him face-first over the symbol on the ground. As Spike's blood falls onto the symbol beneath him, the seal begins to open, allowing a real vampire to emerge.
- After-Action Patch-Up: After kicking Spike in the face and chaining him in the basement, Buffy washes the blood from his lips. Which kinda sums up their whole relationship to date.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Played With using the Watchers' Council—-their headquarters are attacked right as Quentin Travers is announcing their plans to go to Sunnydale and help Buffy fight the First.
- Analogy Backfire: Xander tries to frighten Andrew by telling him that Anya is a vengeance demon. All Andrew knows is that he saw her having sex with Spike. Xander quickly changes the subject by saying Anya's killed more people than smallpox. Andrew points out that people don't die of smallpox now. Xander then tells how a man who once hurt her had his heart replaced with darkness, but he had to carry on his life like that without his friends knowing any different. Seeing Andrew is underwhelmed by this metaphor for his own condition, Xander adds that Anya then tore out the man's intestines, rubbed his face in them and took pictures. That gets Andrew's attention.
- Audible Sharpness: The usual shinnng! sound when the Bringers draw or wield their knives.
- Badass Boast / To the Pain: Andrew vs. Willow.Andrew: I'm protected by powerful forces. Forces you can't even begin to imagine... little girl. If you harm me, you shall know the wrath of He That Is Darkness And Terror. Your blood will boil, and you will know true suffering. Stand down, she-witch! Your defeat is at hand!Willow: Shut your mouth! I am a she-witch, a very powerful she-witch, or witch, as is more accurate. I'm not to be trifled with.Andrew: But I—
- Badass Longcoat: Andrew trying to be like Spike (instead people think he's trying to look like Neo from The Matrix).Andrew: I have to do work right now? Can't I just walk around for a while in my coat?
- Bait-and-Switch: Andrew apparently going to sacrifice a girl; it's actually a pig, which he fails to catch anyway. More seriously Quentin Travers rallies the Watcher's Council, saying they're relocating to the Hellmouth to fight the First Evil only for everyone to die in a massive bomb explosion.
- Barrier-Busting Blow: Andrew is in the midst of spilling the beans when hands smash through the wall and yank him back through it so Spike can chomp on his neck.
- Bastard Boyfriend: Spike suggests this is the real reason Buffy hasn't staked him. "You like men who hurt you. You need the pain we cause you. You need the hate. You need it to do your job, to be the Slayer." Buffy denies she feels this way.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Still averted. The slash to her face from "Conversations With Dead People" has still left its mark on Dawn.
- The Big Board: In the Watcher's Council meeting, showing the world-wide scope of the battle against the First.
- Blatant Lies: Travers telling Buffy they're not interesting in finding Giles.
- Blood Magic: Jonathan's blood wasn't sufficient to open the Seal because he was anemic. The First then tries to get Andrew to sacrifice a pig, then buy some blood; finally cutting open Spike does the deed.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Andrew (in his new Badass Longcoat) goes to the butcher shop and orders steak, some pork chops, eight quarts of pigs' blood (which he needed for an evil magical ritual), and toothpaste. The butcher responds with a scowl. "This is a butcher shop, Neo. We don't sell toothpaste."
Andrew: Twelve pork chops, two pounds of sausage, eightquartsofpig'sblood-three steaks.
- Andrew deliberately invokes this as well as Breathless Non Sequitur, trying to be inconspicuous. (It doesn't work.)
- Breaking the Bonds / Bench Breaker: When Buffy is tying him to a chair, Spike tells her to tighten the bonds as he can break free. When Spike's trigger is activated, he breaks the chair enabling himself to slip free.
- Butt-Monkey: Andrew. The man at the butcher shop is annoyed by his requests, Willow is easily able to intimidate him during a chance encounter, Xander and Anya demean him during an interrogation about The First (with Anya getting so into the Bad Cop routine that she devolves into slapping him), and Spike almost kills him after The First activates his Manchurian candidate switch. He's even referred to as "Tucker's brother" yet again when Buffy recaps the attack to Spike later on, despite the fact that everyone should know him better than Tucker at this point (especially Spike, who never knew about Tucker in the first place due to being away for most of Season 3).
- Continuity Nod
- Xander repairs the damage to the Summers' house from "Conversations With Dead People".
- Anya asks if they shouldn't stab Spike in the chest for killing all those people, a snarky comment re Buffy doing the same to her in "Selfless".
- When Buffy says she Spike heard singing, Anya suggests they might be in another musical.
- Xander's 'days in the army' refer to how he gained military knowledge after a spell turned him into a soldier in "Halloween". The knowledge faded midway through Season 4, which is why Xander admits to watching movies instead.
- Anya having sex with Spike happened in "Entropy" — their lovemaking was witnessed via the Trio's hidden cameras. On that occasion Andrew exclaimed "Spike is so cool!", explaining why he's trying to copy his manner of dress.
- Buffy told Spike she was just using him during her break-up speech in "As You Were".
- Dawn flips a Harbringer with the same martial arts move that she used against the vampire in "Lessons".
- When Quentin Travers gathers the Watchers' Council, some of the members include Nigel, Lydia, and Phillip who were all previously seen in "Checkpoint".
- Contrived Coincidence: Andrew buys blood at a butcher's shop for the ritual and just happens to run into Willow.
- Crash-Into Hello: Andrew turns to leave the butcher shop and bumps into Willow, sending his blood bags tumbling out onto the floor. Busted!
- Crucified Hero Shot: Spike is strapped to a wheel-like contraption and hoisted up to the ceiling, so his blood can drip down onto the Seal of Danthazar.
- Dual Wielding / Knife Nut: The Harbringers trying to kill Andrew. Buffy ends up stabbing them with their own blades.
- Due to the Dead: Wood removes Jonathan's body from the Seal and buries him out in the desert.
- The Easy Way or the Hard Way: Xander worries that this line was too cliche during the Good Cop/Bad Cop scene.
- Exact Words: After Buffy hears Spike talking to First!Spike in his room, Spike claims he was just keeping himself company.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: Andrew's constant attempts to be badass.
- Feet-First Introduction: Anya says that regardless of what Buffy thinks, it could be that William the Bloody is back. Description Cut to a striding pair of black combat boots, black leather duster and black shirt...worn by Andrew.
- Genre Savvy: Xander suggests that Spike's being triggered like how the military controls brainwashed people. This is left over from every Army movie he's ever seen.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: More like Bad Cop/Rabid Cop as Xander threatens a tied-up Andrew while trying to keep Anya, playing up how crazy she is, from slapping him to death. Played more straightforwardly later when Xander pretends to sympathize with Andrew, which devolves into a thinly veiled commiseration of his breakup with Anya.
- Grievous Harm with a Butt-Monkey: Buffy grabs Andrew and uses him as a blunt instrument to knock down a couple of Harbringers.
- He Knows Too Much: The First tries to have Andrew killed by Spike, and then his Harbringers.
- Hope Spot: The Watcher's Council are finally going to get off their behinds and make themselves useful. Then they all die.
- Hyde Plays Jekyll: Willow pretending to still be Magic Crazy to get Andrew into Buffy's custody when she spots him back in town. It's only afterwards he asks why her hair isn't black.
- I Am a Monster: Spike tries to get Buffy to stake him by talking of the atrocities he's committed in the past.'Cause it's not worth it if they don't cry... [snip] You wanna know what I've done to girls Dawn's age? This is me Buffy. You've got to kill me before I get out.
- Internal Reveal: This episode confirms what the viewers have suspected by revealing to Buffy that the enemy that has been tormenting them is The First Evil.
- Interrogation by Vandalism: Anya is searching Andrew's Badass Longcoat.Andrew: Careful with my coat. It's expensive.Anya: Is it new? (throws it on the floor, then steps on it)
- Killed Off for Real: Watchers Nigel, Lydia, Phillip and Quentin Travers.
- Kind Restraints: Spike is tied to a chair and when that doesn't work is chained up in the basement.
- Looks Like Orlok: The Ubervamp cometh...
- Lost in Character: Anya gets so worked up Perp Sweating Andrew that she slaps Xander too when he tries to intervene.
- Manipulative Bastard: The First morphs into Jonathan, who tells Andrew that he too has Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence and that it doesn't hurt much being stabbed by your best friend.
- Not Helping Your Case:Andrew: Warren killed Tara. I didn't do it. [Death Glare from Willow] And he was aiming for Buffy anyway.Willow: Not making it better...
- Not Himself: Buffy steps out of the room to investigate the racket Anya and Xander are making with Andrew. When Buffy returns she hears Spike singing and talking to someone, but no-one's in the room and Spike seems unusually calm — until he vamps out, breaks his restraints and tries to kill Andrew.
- Oh, Crap!: Andrew gets one when he runs into Willow in the butcher shop. His subsequent reaction indicates that she's probably had a recurring role in his nightmares.
- The Power of Hate: Spike suggests this is the real reason Buffy hasn't staked him despite his evolving role over the series as villain, untrustworthy ally, Bastard Boyfriend and now Manchurian Agent.We both know it's not love. You like men who hurt you. You need the pain we cause you. You need the hate. You need it to do your job, to be the Slayer.
- The Reveal: The Big Bad is identified when Buffy recognises the Bringers as the servants of the First. We also get confirmation that Principal Wood is more than he appears.
- Reveal Shot: Buffy on the phone to Quentin Travers, who's saying that he's not particularly interested in finding Giles. A wide shot shows that the entire Watcher's Council is listening in on the conversation. Also Andrew wielding a knife for a blood sacrifice...of a pig.
- Rousing Speech / This Means War!: Quentin Travers to the Watcher's Council before they're all killed.Ladies and gentlemen, our fears have been confirmed. The First Evil has declared all-out war on this institution. Their first volleys proved most effective. I, for one, think it's time we struck back. (paces) Give me confirmations on all remaining operatives. Visuals and tacticals. Highest alert. Get them here as soon as possible. Begin preparations for mobilization. Once we're accounted for, I want to be ready to move. We'll be paying a visit to the Hellmouth. My friends, these are the times that define us. Proverbs 24:6. O, by wise council, you shall make your war.
- Running Gag: Andrew is identified as "Tucker's brother" and "whatshisname", carrying on the Leaning on the Fourth Wall joke from Season 6 that no-one remembered who Andrew was because (unlike his brother) he hadn't appeared on the series before. This even happens with Spike, who never knew about the events of "The Prom", but has met Andrew before (in "Smashed").
- Sarcasm Mode: After Spike says that gaining a soul gave him new appreciation for the violence of their Destructive Romance, Buffy notes the irony that William the Bloody is the one saying this.
- Ship Tease: Xander/Anya get some genuine enjoyment out of working together, and without any snarking. And there's loads of Spuffy subtext as the former lovers pick over the rubble of their Destructive Romance.
- Shirtless Captives / Mr. Fanservice: Lampshaded by the First Evil (using Buffy's appearance) when she uses Spike's blood to open the Seal. "She" mentions that the original plan was to use Andrew, "but you look better with your shirt off."
- Shout-Out: Xander says he got his knowledge of Manchurian Agents from movies, saying it usually ends with them either blowing their brains out or stealing a submarine. The first is a reference to The Manchurian Candidate, and the latter probably to the 1972 thriller Madame Sin.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!:
- Buffy to Spike.Buffy: You think you have insight now because your soul's drenched in blood? You don't know me. You don't even know you.
- Willow to Andrew when the latter lamely attempts to pull off the Hannibal vibes.
- Buffy to Spike.
- Sickening "Crunch!": After Spike tries to kill Andrew, Buffy looks at him like he has to die. From a grounded perspective we are treated to a first person view of Buffy delivering a skull-crushing boot to the head, putting him down.
- Staking the Loved One: Although Spike believes no 'love' was ever really involved on her end, he practically begs Buffy to do this to him.
- Stealth Pun: Willow mentions that Xander is giving lectures on proper tool maintenance while he repairs the window, so she has to leave.Willow: Tool talk; not my thing.
- Suicide by Cop: While chained up, Spike tries to goad Buffy into killing him as a way of stopping the First from using him to hurt innocent people. It doesn't work, with Buffy refuting his attempts to build himself up as a potential villain and reaffirming that she believes he can become a better man.
- That Came Out Wrong: Xander's attempt at Cowboy Cop!Speak."He's primed. I'll be pumping him in no time."
- The Power of Hate: Spike suggests this is the real reason Buffy hasn't staked him.Spike: We both know it's not love. You like men who hurt you. You need the pain we cause you. You need the hate. You need it to do your job, to be the Slayer.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Xander's reaction upon seeing Willow drag Andrew into the Summers house.Willow: Look who I found.Xander": Oh, this can't be good.
- This Is the Part Where...: Principal Wood threatens two delinquent kids with suspension and a note on their permanent record. They tell him to go ahead. Wood admits that he was bluffing; it's too much paperwork and no future employer is going to look past their SAT scores anyway. Or he could just let the police handle it, giving them a criminal record. "This is the part where I'm not bluffing."
- This Means War!: Subverted when the Watchers Council decides to mobilise and head to Sunnydale to take on the First Evil directly. As you'd expect of an organisation of British Badass Bookworms, there is an appropriate quote: "Proverbs 24:6. O, by wise council, you shall make your war." Seconds later a bomb kills everyone in the room.
- Titled After the Song: "Never Leave Me" is from the lyrics to Spike's Trigger Phrase, the folk song "Early One Morning" about a girl who has been used and then abandoned by her lover, just as Buffy did to Spike in Season 6.Oh, don't deceive me,Oh, never leave me,How could you useA poor maiden so?
- Too Much Information: Dawn tells Wood that Buffy is sick, claiming her exact words are, "She has both ends going." Wood dryly thanks her, wanting to be sick himself from the mental image.
- Took a Level in Badass: Dawn demonstrates that the training Buffy has been giving her has taken hold by going toe to toe with Bringers and holding her own.
- The Unreveal: What happened to Giles?
- Unwilling Suspension / Blood Magic: Spike is hung over the Hellmouth so his blood will open the Seal.
- Wham Episode: The Watcher's Council is destroyed and a new, more powerful type of vampire is introduced.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Buffy hasn't staked Spike because of his genuine desire for redemption.Buffy: You faced the monster inside of you and you fought back. You risked everything to be a better man. And you can be. You are. You may not see it, but I do. I do. I believe in you, Spike.