Story by CN Winters
Written by CN Winters
Directed by CN Winters
Produced by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Edited by Sharon Kierein and Angie Wilson
Sound by Steff
Art Direction by Chris Cook
Artists: Chris Cook, David Zahir, Libbi, Rob, CN Winters
Last Season: At the close of last season, Willow was targeted to act as a living mystical battery in order to power a device that would have opened an extradimensional rift. This newly activated portal was to allow an overwhelming demonic force to invade from Vor, a dimension controlled by The Presidium. This army has already done this over and over to other dimensions in an ever-expanding demonic empire. While the plot was foiled by our heroes, the Presidium remain unvanquished and are still nearby, awaiting another chance to annex Earth. Other things that happened were...
Giles has a steady romantic interest in Becca, a bookstore owner. Faith has completed her G.E.D. and is excelling in her role as the Lead Slayer for Cleveland. After a rocky start full of serious mistakes, Kennedy has embraced her role as Faith's Lieutenant in the trenches. Speaking of Kenn - she and Willow have broken up and Kennedy has gained the interest of a newer Slayer - Mia. Meanwhile, Willow has begun persuing an attraction to a fellow Watcher, Rowena - who is ambivalent and conflicted about this relationship. Ro has left for the summer to bring the London branch into shape, as the Cleveland branch has found it wanting. In addition to losing Slayers and Watchers in the conflict with the Presidium, we've seen the death of Rona, one of the last of the Slayers-in-Training from Sunnydale's conflict with the First Evil. We've also visited Buffy and have had her return (for the end-of-the-world mission only) to the old Sunnydale fold. Dawn Summers had decided to stay in Cleveland and finish her education as a member on staff of the Watchers Council. She's brought along her romantic partner, Skye, a young woman who we're still learning about.
Teaser: The first scene is a great little moment for Xander and Willow as they watch a 1950’s era horror-movie with all of the clichés. But, of course, this is the WATCHERSverse, which means that the B-Movie monsters aren’t the only ones wandering… In a scene echoing the monster movie, a demon attacks a woman near an alley. She’s forced to run away, but ends up directly in the arms of a vampire. I thought at first, this was going to be a Slayer-trap and that the vampire and the demon were going to get a quick defeat.
It turns out to be better than that. Bonnie is the soon-to-be-victim… the betrayer to all of humanity. She’s obviously been on the run since the Presidium’s defeat and all of the demons who put their muscle behind her plans are now out for a little revenge. As this vampire tells her:
"You've got nowhere to go now. Just like my friends in that damn hole. Where's the big payoff? Where's our reign of this city?"
Thankfully for Bonnie, she hasn’t lasted this long without being smart and tough. The vampire is quickly reduced to dust and she quickly mows down the hunting demon in a stolen taxicab… but… She released a heavy sigh when suddenly the demon popped up next to her as he shatteres her window. Hmmm… just like the horror movies where the victim doesn’t make sure the monster is dead? Or, just doesn’t stomp on her gas and get the hell out of there, in this case? We fade out on her scream… of course. (grin)
Act One: Possibly later that night, or the following night, Willow is out with her charge, Marsha - the little Slayer that could. We find out more details here of our youngest Slayer - she's 14, she doesn't like 'home' because her dad is a drunk and her mom practices beating on her with household implements. We also find out that for the summer break, instead of going home, she spent it hitchhiking around the country.
Willow is disturbed that she didn't know any of this, but Marsha's all like, 'no big deal'. We also find out here that there has been a few completely random floods in buildings around the area. So far, it doesn't seem demon related, but since they bothered to mention it at all, I think we know better. We also find out here that, at least in Cleveland and among the authorities, they're hip that the Council is more than a school. Here a police officer notes Marsha's lapel pin, and answers her questions (you know - despite her being a bit young to be pestering the police while they deal with an emergency) letting her know that they have it under control. Willow doesn't only have her hands full with her Slayer, though - there's also Dawn to look after. Since she is still a minor, the ground rules were 'no sex' with Skye until she's "legal"... and Skye has been slipping into Dawn's room at night. So a discussion ensues with Will putting her foot down, that if they can't handle the wait, then she'll have to reconsider Skye remaining in the Council.
The Following Day: Here we get some caught up on some more dangling issues left from 'Another Apocalypse'. We know that Ro left for London following the episode (if you watched the little music video the WATCHERS staff made) and that Willow was left a bit miserable by it all. Things haven't changed on that score - Ro continues to be in London and only asks to check in with Giles when she calls. Willow is still pining away after her.
The other dangling thread addressed in this part of the episode is a bit more serious - Lily (mother to Jeff Lindquist) was left in a coma by the Presidium attack on the Council. It's now three to four months later (Watchers is 'scheduled' just like BTVS, so the season finale was at the end of May and now we're in the beginning of September). Lily Lindquist was still lying in the infirmary this entire time, being seen to by the Watchers' medical staff with no change in her condition. As the season gets under way, we find out here that Lily has died without awakening, leaving Jeff without a needed base of support at the Council. Willow takes on the responsibility of both informing him and helping him decide on whether he'll stay or leave the Council. A complication is that Jeff's dad is "beyond absentee", but he is still technically a minor leaving his fate largely in the hands of the State of Ohio.
With Rowena in London, we now go 'across the pond'. She's in a dark pub, smoking, drinking and looking like warmed-over crap. It's obvious immediately that her feelings for Willow and the nascent lesbian attraction between them has been preying on her mind.
Commentary: I should probably mention here, that this was my least favorite subplot from Season One. I like Rowena's character as she evolves, but her lukewarm/cold 'relationship' with Willow was really a lot of sturn und drang that was hard to get into emotionally. Mostly I think, because the way it was presented it always felt more like Willow wanting something that Ro didn't... until the end of the Season, where suddenly Ro WAS interested... except when she wasn't... which strung the subplot along too much, imo.
Anyway, Althenea points out some truths to Ro... like the fact that she's not taking care of herself, she's not helping in London anymore, so much and hiding and that she's allowing past hurts to blow her chance at real love right now by not confronting her feelings and being honest to Willow about them. Ro tries to shock and appall her by bringing up Willow and Athenea's sexualized ritual during "May Day", but Al doesn't rise to the bait, instead answering her as if she asked an honest question.
It forces Ro to confide her fear in the fact she hasn't spoken to Willow over the entire summer and that it might now be far too late for any mea culpas regarding her attraction. Of course, Al tells her she's being ridiculous.
On this side of things, Jeff is not responding well to news that Lily has passed away, as you could imagine. It's the same problems any of us would face... the questions of why... what could we have done to change things... etc. But, in the WATCHERSworld, there's also the fact that Jeff is supposed to be a powerful witch, and yet the coven's healing spells didn't reverse what had happened to her and allowed her to live. He storms off and Willow looses track of him in the bustle of the Council. She recruits Andrew to help look for him, but they're search is aborted by Bonnie ... still in fear from the opener.
And, she has the gall to ask for "Sanctuary"; Willow rightly tries to throw her out, but Bonnie has an ace in the hole... her knowledge of the Presidium and the fact that their first defeat in no way made the danger disappear - something that the Council hadn't considered once their forces were rooted from under the the compound....