Same Time, Same Place

Original Air Date: October 8, 2001

Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by James A. Contner

Summary

Buffy, Dawn and Xander are waiting at the airport for Willow to get off her plane from England. Buffy isn't sure how to act around Willow and she freaks out Dawn by telling them that Willow hasn't exactly finished her recovery period. Unfortunately Willow never shows up. Meanwhile, the exact same situation occurs as Willow gets off the plane, only she doesn't see her friends waiting there for her. Discouraged, she joylessly welcomes herself home.

At night in some back alley, a boy is spray painting a concrete wall when someone begins to whisper to him spookily. He's suddenly attacked by a violent demon with extremely long claws as he screams for help. Meanwhile, Willow goes to the Summers' home and finds it completely empty. She heads upstairs to her old room, where she suddenly remembers Tara's death and can hear the gun shots in her mind. She hears the door bang downstairs and runs down, expecting to see her friends, but finding absolutely no one. Tired from her long trip, Willow lies down on the sofa and falls asleep quietly. But at the exact same time, Buffy, Dawn and Xander return home. Buffy suspects that Willow doubled back to England and Dawn thinks she's gone evil again. They suddenly hear a noise upstairs but find nobody. They all sit down on the couch, where the unseen Willow lies.

Willow wakes up the next morning and still finds the house to be empty. She attempts to contact Giles but the Watchers' Council relays that he's in a Council meeting all day. Bored, Willow goes to the Magic Box where she runs in to Anya, who's less than pleased to see her. Willow offers her apologies and is even willing to let Anya take out her pain on her, but Anya doesn't want to when she realizes it's a little too easy. Willow asks about the rest of the gang and Anya thinks they'd all be at the high school, where both Xander and Buffy are working and where Spike's hiding in the basement. Willow heads there and finds no one in the under construction area of the school. She walks around until she finds a dead body, where the flesh of the victim has been entirely ripped from the body. At the same time, Xander and Buffy are staring at the body, and suspect that maybe this was Willow's work. Willow walks around the high school and into the basement where Spike startles her with his insane rantings. She asks him about the body and he only knows about her having done skinnings on humans before. Buffy and Xander locate Buffy in the basement and he talks to both Willow as well as Xander and Buffy intermittently, with neither groups knowing the other is there. Spike realizes that neither of them are talking to each other. But he mentions Willow and Buffy wonders if Spike has actually seen Willow do something.

Seeking help, Willow goes to Anya's apartment where she tells Anya about the body. Anya agrees to help her out a little, so they set up a map with a spell and sprinkle dust all over the map, tiny lights begin to flicker where the demons are located. Willow locates a point on the map that's close to the body and isolated from the other places and tries to get Anya to check by teleporting over there. But Anya informs her that her teleportation rights have been revoked since she withdrew a wish recently. Anya then tells her that she's not liking the vengeance as much as she used to. Anya then recommends trying a spell to find her friends, but Willow already did, and it told her that her friends don't exist.

Buffy, Xander and Dawn are busy researching but Buffy thinks that maybe it's just Willow all along and they're wasting their time doing research. Dawn pulls up a demon on the internet called Gnarl that fillets his victims, eats their skin and laps up their blood. But Buffy's not so convinced that this is their demon. She's convinced that Spike can just trace the blood trail, so they get him and have him lead them into their woods while he babbles on about his soul. He leads them right to a rock cliff with a cave in it. Willow locates the cave at the same time and crawls in to find it barely lit by a few torches hanging from the sides. A demon begins to whisper to her as the other trio climbs their way into the cave and they also hear the voice whispering to them. The demon suddenly jumps out and slashes his claws across Dawn's stomach. There's poison in his claws and it paralyzes her. Xander and Buffy drag Dawn out to save her and barricade the entrance emprisoning Willow inside. Willow pleads to the goddesses to protect her while Buffy and Xander drag Dawn home.

Meanwhile the demon jumps out at Willow and claws her across the chest, paralyzing her as she drops to the ground. The bony demon lays Willow across the ground and leans down to chew on her skin. At home, Buffy finds on the net that the paralysis will only last until the demon has been killed. In the cave, the demon tears a strip of skin off of Willow's stomach and chews it down, lapping up the blood as Willow watches him horror. At the Summers' home, they discover that Dawn's paralysis is poseable as Anya demonstrates on Dawn after having been called to watch over Dawn. Anya mentions that she saw Willow  and that she heading back to the cave, and she knows about the demon. Deciding she'd be handy, Buffy takes her along as they rush back to the cave. They race in to the cave and Buffy chases the demon away. Anya points out where Willow is laying on the floor though Buffy and Xander can't see her. Buffy fights the demom with her sword while Anya tells her to get Gnarl between the eyes. Buffy ends up squishing its eyeballs with her thumbs and the paralysis is released from Dawn and Willow. Anya goes off to get help while Buffy tells the invisible Willow that they're so glad she's back. Suddenly Willow reappears before them and she's ever so happy to see them again.

The next day, Willow is meditating on Buffy's bed, trying to grow back her skin. Buffy steps in on her and Willow explains that the reason they didn't see each other is because Willow accidentally did a spell. She was so worried that her friends wouldn't accept her that she accidentally cast a spell so that she wouldn't have to actually see them. Buffy then admits that she thought that Willow might have been the one to kill the guy, but Willow says that it's okay. Buffy's the Slayer and she has to think those things. Willow then starts up her meditation again but this time Buffy offers Willow her strength by linking their hands together and passing on her energy.

Summary written by Nika

 

Quote of the Week

Xander: We should have put a leash on him.
Buffy:
Yes, let's tie ourselves to the crazy vampire.

 

My Rating

4/5

 

Nika's Review

A much better watch the second time through. While I did like the Gnarl demon the first time I watched it, I just found the entire pace of the episode somewhat lacking. I had originally planned to give the episode a 3 or a 3.5, but while rewatching it I had to give it something higher. There were just far too many good points in this episode to warrant a lower mark. One of those points being that the cast is starting to feel a lot less heavy hearted. Despite Willow's somewhat dismal arrival (in a sense, I felt she kind of dragged the episode down. Well, until the end that is), the entire cast was full of punning goodness that had me smiling almost the entire way throughout and had me reminiscing about the good old times when BtVS was actually funny. Xander was back to his usual hysterical comments and I loved how they kept pointing out that he was being dumb, but he never quite got it. That was hysterical! But the absolute joy in this episode was Anya. She just can't get any funnier. Her odd sayings have finally toned down enough that makes her less a total whacko and moreso incredibly funny. Her little interlude with Willow was beautifully heartwarming. I loved seeing those two connecting.  Hearing Anya say "I wish it was better for you" to Willow was just beautiful. I'd love to see more interaction between the two of them.

One thing that really stuck out in this episode was the reference to Halfrek/Cecily. Since the same actress is playing the two characters, I'm going to ASSUME that it's the same character but she's just become a vengeance demon along the way. I could be wrong, but if I was, I think they'd try harder to disguise her face or something. In the basement, Spike said to buffy "You're all glowing. What's another words of glowing? It's gotta rhyme." He said the EXACT same thing to Cecily way back when he was human. Connection much? I think yes! I'm wondering how this storyline is going to blossom. Now that he's part demon, and so is she, and he has his soul back, maybe the two of THEM will get together.

I like how they're incorporating Willow with magick. When they first took it all way from her I thought it was so stupid, and a lot less fun. At least now they can find a happy medium between the two. I felt Willow, magickless, was just a waste of about 3 years of storylines. So I'm REALLY happy to see her back casting spells like she was before.

So all in all, I'm much more pleased with this episode as opposed to the first two of the season. May the following ones be even better than this one!

 

Cast

Sarah Michelle Gellar
Nicholas Brendon
Alyson Hannigan
Emma Caulfield
Michelle Trachtenberg
James Marsters
Camden Toy
Anthony S. Johnson
Matt Koruba
Nicholette Dixon
Marshe Daniel
  Buffy Summers
Xander Harris
Willow Rosenberg
Anya
Dawn
Spike
Gnarl
Father
Teen Boy
Sister
Brother