With the magical side of things momentarily under control, Buffy and crew have a chance to deal with their personal lives: things heat up between Xander and Dawn, young Giles is visited by an old flame, Andrew introduces some new friends, and the Slayer is totally set for round one of speed dating! Then the bad guy shows up.
Buffy is trying out speed-dating, but only finds dissatisfaction with each of her prospective dates. After going through a man who just wants a peaceful, quiet life, a boy doing the exact opposite, someone who recognizes her as the leader of the Slayer Organization, a nerd who just wants info on vampires, and two vampires, Buffy finally gives up and storms out, griping that "speed dating sucks."
Xander and Dawn go out to see The Princess Bride, and then tries to take her to a fancy restaurant. Dawn ultimately calls it off as she still remembers how they had fallen in love even if she didn’t have those feelings any more, and thinks that he's trying too hard.
Elsewhere, Willow and Aluwyn meet at a Wiccan house party. Willow wants to discuss strategy regarding Aluwyn's coven, but Aluwyn is more concerned with flirting, declaring that now that Willow is shaping the new laws of magic, they're more equal now. Willow ultimately decides she needs to slow down and process everything, and departs.
At Hotel Luxe, Giles meets up with his old flame Olivia, now working as a supernatural consultant for the police, but Olivia is disenchanted to see him looking like a child. Although Giles assures her he was the same person she remembered, and insists on continuing their relationship, Olivia refuses, arguing he his insistence itself was an indication that he was not the same and the age difference is still not ethical. Olivia agrees to support him and assures him that she can still be his friend, but Giles is left even more frustrated with his condition.
In Oakland, Andrew visits a coven party with his old demonology student Julie, who uses the opportunity to play match maker with her coven leader Clive. Andrew expresses some discomfort, but explains that he's really after the potion she told him about, one that can create a new body. Julie explains that the Asclepian Vial doesn't actually create new bodies out of nothing, but in fact transforms the drinker into their perfect self. After drinking it, at Julie's urging, Andrew admits to picturing himself kissing someone like Clive... and finally comes out as gay.
Before they can say anything else, The Sculptor smashes through the wall with an army of flesh golems, demanding the vial. At that moment, the vial gives Andrew a tall, muscular body, which he uses to attack the Sculptor and rip apart some of his flesh golems, forcing the demon to retreat. Clive thanks him for saving them, declaring Andrew a superhero.
Elsewhere, Spike is out with Dowling investigating a crime scene at a meat-packing plant, involving the theft of a half-ton of beef and the loss of a guard's legs and left arm. While Dowling believes it may have been a pack of werewolves, Spike rules that out, pointing out that werewolves would have simply torn the man to pieces, and deduces that flesh golems are involved. Dowling also tries to set Spike up with Officer Hardwicke, a fan of Anne Rice's books, but Spike politely declines.
After leaving Dowling, Spike goes to question a group of demons at the Suppurating Sore Social Club about flesh golems, and they inform him of the Sculptor, whom Spike admits to having heard of back in World War I; since the Sculptor needs access to body parts, he'll be found near morgues, slaughterhouses, and cemeteries. Spike pays them for their services, but stops short when he sees the demons are about to play kitten poker, which had been outlawed since the supernatural became public. Looking at the cats, Spike decides to get serious...
Back in Buffy, Willow, and Dawn's apartment, the three girls help themselves to ice cream while bemoaning their current relationships. Willow admits that she can't bring herself to fully trust her and fears she may end up becoming addicted to magic again, but Buffy assures her she isn't. Dawn admits to feeling the same in regard to Xander.
In Xander and Spike's apartment, Xander is once again talking with the ghost of Anya, the two bantering back and forth over his relationship with Dawn. At that moment, they hear a knock on the door, and Spike enters, carrying the cats he rescued from the demons.
Back in their apartment, Buffy insists that Dawn should get back together with Xander, but Dawn turns the tables by calling her out on her current relationship with Spike, pointing out that he has a soul now and she should give him a chance again. Willow admits Dawn has a point, and Buffy ultimately grabs her jacket and leaves, remarking they suck at girl talk.
Meanwhile, Xander starts to object to keeping the cats, but Spike insists he'll find them homes tomorrow, but in the meantime, he has police business to take care of. As he goes out, he's met with Buffy, who offers to accompany him on his job.
In the graveyard, Buffy and Spike take care of flesh golems while exchanging banter, and afterwards, Buffy pulls him into a kiss.
- Buffy is publicly recognized as leader of the extinct Slayer Organization.
- Xander and Dawn go to the movies to watch The Princess Bride, as he had invited her in I Wish, Part Two.
- Willow and Aluwyn meet each other in Earth dimension for the first time.
- Olivia has her first appears since "Hush". She was mentioned in "Who Are You", seen in a dream in "Restless", and mentioned in Death and Consequences, Part Two.
- Olivia also learns about Giles' resurrection (What You Want, Not What You Need, Part Two).
- Olivia reveals to be working for S.F.P.D. Supernatural Crimes Unit.
- Andrew recognizes himself as gay for the first time; his sexuality had been previously hinted in comical contexts.
- Andrew reveals his sexuality with "I think I'm gay," as Willow did in "Doppelgangland" and "Tabula Rasa".
- Spike rescues seven cats from Kitten Poker and adopts them with Xander; this contrasting with when Spike himself gambled them in "Life Serial" and "Tabula Rasa".
- Anya replicates Anya Jenkins' dislike for rabbits ("Fear, Itself," "The Gift," "Once More with Feeling," "Tabula Rasa", "Chosen").
- Buffy and Spike kisses for the first time, as pointed out by Dawn, since he got a soul ("Grave"). Their relationship had ended in "As You Were".
- Buffy Summers
- Willow Rosenberg
- Xander Harris
- Rupert Giles
- Dawn Summers
- Andrew Wells
- Olivia Williams
- Drusilla (Only mentioned)
Organizations and Titles
- Scooby Gang
- San Francisco Police Department
- Xander and Spike's cats
- Slayer Organization (Only mentioned)
- Los Angeles Police Department (Only mentioned)
- San Francisco, USA
- London, England
- Langham Hotel (Only mentioned)
Weapons and Objects
Behind the Scenes
- This issue celebrates the 34th Birthday of Buffy Summers with a special cover by Georges Jeanty.
- The tile "Love Dares You" is based on a verse from the song "Under Pressure".
- Megan Levens debuts as guest artist for Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics in this issue.
- About Dowling mentioning that he "and a lady from the L.A.P.D. really hit it off" on a convention of supernatural law enforcement agents, Christos Gage said: "The funny thing is that I did have in the back of my mind that it could be Kate [Lockey], but after talking with my editors I agree that it would be too coincidental for those characters to just happen to meet. If there were a specific story reason, great, but without Angel being part of the book, there’s not much mileage to get out of it. So, probably, we won’t see Dowling’s lady friend. But if you like to think it’s her, go nuts!"
Pop Culture References
- Buffy mentions TV series Portlandia.
- Xander and Dawn watch The Princess Bride (1987) movie.
- The Asclepian Vial is a reference to Asclepius from Greek mythology.
- Julie mentions sparkling water Perrier.
- Andrew compares himself to actor Chris Evans as the character Captain America.
- Andrew quotes "No time for love, Dr. Jones," from the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom(1984).
- Andrew mentions the supervillain Doctor Doom.
- Dowling mentions Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles book series.
- Spike mentions sparkling vampires, from Twilight novel series.
- Anya mentions Sisyphus from Greek mythology.
- Xander mentions the character George Bailey and fictional city Bedford Falls from the movie It's a Wonderful Life (1946).