Buffy arrives back in her apartment, exhausted and in need of sleep. Tumble is there and introduces her to their new roommates, Brody and Brandon. They are doing keg stands in the kitchen. Tumble tells her that they can’t afford to live there without new roommates now that Anaheed has moved out. Buffy is exhausted and gives notice. Back at Xander and Dawn’s apartment, she is lecturing them about giving notice on their own apartment without finding a place first due to high cost of living in San Francisco. Dawn says that it would be weird living with Xander now that they’re broken up. Buffy tells them that someone has already rented her room at Tumble’s. Giles mentions that the bank has still frozen his money due to being a legally dead middle-aged librarian and that Dowling is working on it. Andrew offers to let them stay at his place in Oakland, but they decline. Giles excuses himself to meet with Willow and Dowling, Buffy asks him to check on vacant places in the area.
Giles tells Willow about them all giving notice with no other places lined up and she tells him that if she doesn’t find a job, she’ll be homeless as well. Willow tells him that she’s been looking into re-aging him, but he tells her he doesn’t want to be “magically” messed with any further. The meet Dowling at a bar, and he tells them that courts are still figuring out the “supernatural” stuff so his money can’t be released yet. Dowling goes on to tell them that he might have found a place for them to rent. He mentions there is a lady who keeps calling Supernatural Crimes who owns a building she says is haunted, with them being understaffed he thought they could look into it. He mentions there have been twenty-five kids disappear over the last three decades in the building. SFPD thought it was a serial killer, but now it’s a lot of spooky noises and sights. Willow and Giles agree that it would be good to look into it. Giles tries to order a beer, Dowling stops him noting his age.
Later, outside the vacant building. Buffy, Giles, Dawn and Spike are talking with the very unpleasant landlady. She tells them if they can fix it, they can live there cheap. Giles asks about a the serial killer and she gets upset saying there were never any bodies found. In the building, Buffy notes that things kicked up again after magic was restored. Giles lights several candles and starts performing the spell. The ground starts to rumble and a demon with thousands of eyes and tentacle arms breaks through the floor. Buffy and Spike start slicing at the tentacles and Giles cautions them not to get any ichor on them, but it is too late and green goo splashes on them. Dawn and Buffy reach for each other and then everything goes black.
When Buffy wakes up she is back at her home on Revello drive. She is much younger and Dawn is standing on the steps telling her that dinner is ready, also much younger. Their mom, Joyce, comes out the front door onto the porch asking them not to fight. Buffy is shocked to see her Mom and runs on the porch to hug her. Their dad, Hank, comes out on the porch with a tray full of hamburgers and tells them they are home. Buffy looks across the street to see a man reading poetry to his mother and a boy playing with an airplane on the sidewalk.
Across the street, Giles is playing with one of his model planes. A young Spike asks him about the plane he is playing with when his mother, Anne asks him to come and read her some of his poetry. Buffy looks on as Spike and Anne go in their home and Giles goes in his own home. Hank asks if Buffy is okay and she tells him that she feels like there was something she needs to do. He puts his arm around her and leads her into the house telling her that her only responsibilities are homework and cheerleading.
Back in San Francisco, Willow and Xander are making their way to the apartment building. Xander tells her that he is worried none of the others are responding to him. They go inside and Willow starts to tell Xander about a specific kind of demon, but Xander hears the voice of Dawn and starts to run. Unable to stop him, they are both transported into the same dreamlike world the others are residing in. Xander is back in his home, his mother and father (Jessica and Anthony) are having dinner at the table. Xander is astonished that his mom has cooked and quickly realizes that something is wrong. Jessica tells him that they just want to be a supportive family. Xander realizes that everything is fake.
Back at Buffy’s, Hank, Joyce and Buffy are all drinking coffee on the porch. She notices how peaceful she feels being there, but when she notices Xander storm out of his house she feels worried about him. Hank tells her that he is bad news and he doesn’t belong there. Joyce says that she is concerned Xander will take her away. Hank hands her the scythe and tells her she must kill Xander. Xander sees the old Willow in the street, her hair long and wearing overalls. Xander asks if it’s really her and she says it is. They both realize what is happening and change back to normal selves. Buffy tries to attack both of them with her scythe, but changes the direction at the last minute. Once seeing them in their normal form she realizes who they are. She goes back up to the porch and tells her parents that she wants this to be real, but she knows that it isn't. Once the illusion wears off, Joyce and Hank start change into a blue blob.
Spike is staring out the window at Buffy while his mother sits in a chair. Anne asks him to close the curtain as she can’t hear his poetry. She gets angry with him when he says he thinks that Buffy is important. He remembers her face as a vampire which helps him remember, shedding the illusion. Anne transforms into a blue demon, Spike attacks while lashing out about how she coddled him too much. He eventually kills the demon. Back at Buffy’s, Hank is pleading for help from Dawn who sides with Buffy making her transform into her normal self. They regroup outside and Buffy notices that Giles isn’t there. She turns to see him coming at her with 12 more kids and they are all angry. He wants to stay in this world where he can continue being a kid and having a childhood. Buffy is able to convince the other children that this is no life for them. Giles is still angry and does not want to go back, but being outnumbered the illusion shatters and they are returned to the apartment building.
Later, back in San Francisco, Buffy is leaving the police department. She tells the others that Dowling says most of the kids have surviving family. Giles is still beating himself up for not being able to shake off the demon’s influence. D’Hoffryn teleports in their path and tells them that the barriers between worlds are weakened and they need to find out how to prevent incursions. Buffy tells him to back off, but Giles stops her, acknowledging that they need to address the issue.
- Buffy decides to leave her apartment, first seen in Freefall, Part One.
- Buffy mentions Anaheed is still in Santa Rosita, as seen in New Rules, Part Two.
- There are two interns for Theo Daniels' startup; he was last seen in Guarded, Part Three.
- Xander and Dawn decide to leave their apartment, first seen in Last Gleaming, Part One.
- Xander mentions Buffy's money from working as a bodyguard, received in Guarded, Part Three.
- Buffy mentions her large student loan, as seen in Freefall, Part Three.
- Giles mentions his former job as a librarian, employed until the destruction of Sunnydale High School (Graduation Day, Part Two).
- Giles mentions Riley is unreachable, it's revealed he is missing in Where the River Meets the Sea, Part Four.
- Buffy mentions the last time she was unconscious around Andrew she woke up "a pregnant robot," in reference to the events revealed in Apart (of Me), Part Two.
- Dowling was last seen in New Rules, Part Two.
- Buffy described Willow's job, as she visited her in Slayer, Interrupted.
- Giles and Willow talk about his resurrection (What You Want, Not What You Need, Part Three).
- Giles mentions he's made dozens of exorcisms, some known cases were shown in Death and Consequences, Part Two, "I Only Have Eyes for You," "Where the Wild Things Are," and Live Through This, Part One.
- Spike threatens Andrew with his vintage Boba Fett figurine, as he had done with the Trio in "Smashed."
- Buffy mentions the return of magic (The Core, Part Five), and reference things being her fault, as she was blamed for the Twilight crisis and the end of magic (Last Gleaming, Part Five).
- Giles, as a child, likes to play with planes and has knowledge about the models, the same time his father sent him to the Watchers Academy, as seen in Women of a Certain Age,
- Spike, as a human, liked to read his poems to his mother, as seen in "Lies My Parents Told Me."
- Xander is suspicious of his parents' lack of fight, their usual behavior as seen "Hell's Bells."
- Spike remembers the trauma of his mother as a vampire ("Lies My Parents Told Me").
- Buffy Summers
- Xander Harris
- Willow Rosenberg
- Dawn Summers
- Rupert Giles
- Andrew Wells
- Robert Dowling
- Hamelin demon
- Haunted building landlady
- Joyce Summers (Only in visions)
- Hank Summers (Only in visions)
- Anne Pratt (Only in visions)
- Anthony Harris (Only in visions)
- Jessica Harris (Only in visions)
- Anaheed (Only mentioned)
- Sheila Rosenberg (Only mentioned)
- Clem (Only mentioned)
- Riley Finn (Only mentioned)
- Cordelia Chase (Only mentioned)
- Mr. Giles (Only mentioned)
- Theo Daniels (Only mentioned)
- Haunted building landlady's father (Only mentioned)
Organization and Titles
- Scooby Gang
- San Francisco Police Department
- Magic Council
- Deepscan (Only mentioned)
- Watchers Academy (Only mentioned)
- San Francisco
- Santa Rosita (Only mentioned)
- Oakland (Only mentioned)
- Andrew's house (Only mentioned)
- Hamelin demon's hell dimension
Weapons and Objects
Behind the Scenes
- "I Wish"
Pop Culture References
- Xander exclaims "Mighty sarlacc!" in reference to the fictional creature from Star Wars.
- Spike mentions Andrew's 12 inch Boba Fett figure complete with Wookiee scalps, from Star Wars.
- Buffy mentions the Shark Week TV programming from Discovery Channel.
- Buffy mentions "Clem's list" in likely reference to Craiglist classified advertisements website.
- Andrew wears a shirt with Captain America's uniform.
- Dawn wears a shirt with the image of the character Totoro, from the animated film My Neighbor Totoro (1988).
- Xander's mother says he's having a Dungeons and Demons themed prom.
- Xander calls his parents replicants, androids from the film Blade Runner.
- Xander asks if Willow is a pod person, a reference to the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, its 1978 remake, and the 1955 science-fiction novel it was based on.
- Xander compares the demon's reality to the science fiction franchise The Matrix (1999).
- A child uses a shirt with "Where's the beef?" 1984 catchphrase.
|Buffy - “You gave notice before you found new places? Do you know what it costs to live in this town? I do… now.”|
|Dawn - “Well, I mean it’d be weird for us to keep living together when we’re… y’know, working things out.”|
|Xander - “Wait! Giles! Our wealthy English sugar da-uh, friend! We’ve got a bit of a problem…”|
|Giles - “Yes, your shouting tends to carry. But I’m afraid my holdings are far from liquid at the moment. Shockingly enough, I’m having trouble convincing the banks that I am a legally dead middle-aged librarian.”|
|Buffy - “Andrew… last time I was unconscious around you, I woke up a pregnant robot.”|
|Andrew - “Ah. Yes. I can see how that would lead to unresolved trust issues.”|
|Giles - “Buffy said you had a job. As she put it, ‘something grown up with pantsuits’.”|
|Willow - “Turns out they frown on employees going walkabout in mystic dimensions for weeks on end. But I know computers. I’ll be okay. I hope.”|
|Giles - “Simple exorcism. I’ve done dozens. We can help the departed, the living… and ourselves. Thank you Detective. Allow me to buy you another stout. Oh, waiter!”|
|Dowling - “Let me. Or I might have to arrest you.”|
|Giles - “Yes, right. Bugger.”|
|Giles - “I was denied a proper childhood when Father sent me to Watcher Academy. It seems I never truly acknowledged how much that marked me. I suppose I’ll need to learn new ways to come to grips with feelings I suppressed the first time around.”|
|D’Hoffryn - “Yes. And quickly. For magic returned, the barriers between worlds are weakened. Wisdom is required to determine how best to prevent an incursion of-”|
|Buffy - “Hey. D’Hoffryn. Some of us have souls, and we’ve just had ‘em stomped on, so tell your magic council we’re gonna need some time-”|
|Giles - “No. It’s fine. After all… will anything truly be different tomorrow?”|