Synopsis of Same Time, Same Place
Written by Brandee Mode
[I think this requires a little bit of an explanation for those who are reading the episode without having seen it. For the majority of the show, Willow and Xander/Dawn/Buffy can not see each other. (Willow can see Anya & Spike and they can see her.) So throughout the episode, we see some scenes twice from different points of view.]
The show starts with Buffy, Xander and Dawn at the airport and we can see on the clock that it is 9:24 PM. Xander has a welcome back sign for Willow written in yellow crayon. He starts to tell the story of how he talked to Willow about the yellow crayon at the end of last season. Dawn and Buffy point out that he has told that story several times already. Buffy worries that seeing Willow again will be awkward and has to admit to the others that Willow is returning early. Dawn is worried that Willow is returning before she finished "being NOT evil" but Buffy assures her that Giles said it was really important that she come back early, but she was doing well and they shouldn't worry. Xander realizes that everyone is off the plane and the flight attendants are closing the doors, but they never saw Willow.
The scene starts over again, we see the same people leaving the plane and we see by the clock that it is still 9:24 PM. Willow is among the passengers arriving and she looks around to see if someone is there to meet her, but she doesn't see anyone. She is obviously disappointed and sadly says
WILLOW: "Welcome home, me."
Opening credits start.
At a construction site, a teenager is spray-painting some graffiti. He is attacked by a demon, who we later learn is called Gnarl.
Willow knocks on the front door of Buffy's house but when there is no answer, she enters through the kitchen door. No one is home and she wanders upstairs. Willow is looking at Buffy's day planner when she hears the door open and close. Willow hears the door close, drops the day planner and runs downstairs. She doesn't see anyone and lies down on the couch.
The scene starts over with Dawn and Buffy returning home, along with Xander. They are discussing where Willow might be. Xander slams the door closed, which must be what Willow heard. They hear a noise upstairs which I assume was the day planner hitting the floor. After looking around for Willow, the three of them sit on the couch. Buffy has called Giles and says he feels guilty that he sent Willow home early. Xander and Buffy wonder if they should have done something to make it more obvious they were willing to forgive her. Dawn gets irritated and asks if anyone will ever start asking for help when they need it. They all look a little sad and they slowly fade away and we see Willow is asleep on the couch.
The next morning, Willow wakes up and calls Giles. But he is in a council meeting so she doesn't get to talk to him. Willow goes to the Magic Box. She arrives just as Anya is leaving carrying a box. Anya is nervous at first. Anya wants to why Willow is back...
ANYA: "Just got back as in, you're all better or just got back to bring about a fiery apocalypse of death?"
Willow says neither is true but she is still studying. Anya tries to scold Willow for destroying the Magic Box [last season] but when Willow accepts that she deserves it, Anya stops. It's "no fun" if someone welcomes the scolding. They sit down on the curb and Willow asks where everyone is.
ANYA: "I'm back in my own apartment. Of course, vengeance takes me all over the world. I was in Brazil yesterday. They love their soccer."
Anya assumes they "must still be mad" at Willow but after a bit of coaxing from Willow, she continues to explain where everyone is...
ANYA: "At the new high school probably, everyone's all about the new high school. Buffy's got some kind of job there helping junior deviants, Spike's insane in the basement, Xander is there doing construction on the new gym. He likes to start early so he's probably there by now."
Willow goes to the construction site and climbs a ladder, down into the pit. She finds the dead body of the kid who was attacked earlier in the episode, but now he is without skin. Willow is horrified and hurries to leave. They have shifted the camera to let us know that Buffy and Xander were there at the same time. Because of the way the guy was killed, they wonder if Willow is back and evil. Willow makes noise going up the ladder and Xander hears it, but when he looks over, he doesn't see anything.
Willow goes to the high school and enters the basement. She tries to have a conversation with Spike, but it's difficult because he keeps stopping to talk to someone that only he can see. Willow tries to explain about the dead body and how she can't find Buffy. Finally, Spike says that everyone is talking to him but not each other, then says "my money's on the witch".
The scene starts over with Buffy and Xander entering the basement. They start talking to Spike. Again, he keeps stopping to talk to someone they can't see (which is actually Willow.) Spike was taking turns talking between Willow then Xander/Buffy. Spike says that "red's a bad girl" which causes Buffy to be suspicious of Willow. Xander doesn't believe that Willow did it.
[I didn't catch this the first time I watched the show, but I think Spike was actually referring to Willow causing the invisibility between herself and the others.]
Spike tells Willow that the "slayer and her boy" think she "took the skin" and Buffy realizes something else is there with them. But Spike ignores her question of who it is and he leaves, having returned to his lunatic ramblings.
[I noticed that was the 2nd time Spike has said Buffy is glowing and it feels odd to me. Like it might be important later, but I can't think of how it might apply.]
Willow goes to Anya's apartment and explains about the skinless body. They both accuse each other of doing it, but both say no. Willow wants to do something right and clear her name at the same time. She asks Anya for help. They sit on the floor with a map between them. They use powder on the map that creates a little glow for each demon in Sunnydale. Anya asks about the large number of demons in the middle of the map. Willow says that's the school and it's because of the hellmouth underneath it. Willow seems to think the demon she is after is this one off by itself. She asks Anya to teleport over and look into it. Anya says she can't. D'Hoffryn is punishing her for undoing the spell last week on Ronnie the worm -- she can now "only teleport for official business". Anya admits that she does not find vengeance as fulfilling as she remembers and claims that now it's upsetting. They bond for a moment over being afraid that they will lose control and end up feeling that it's OK to hurt people. Anya suggests a spell to locate the Buffy and Xander. Willow says she already tried, but the spell told her that Buffy and Xander don't exist.
At the house, Dawn is doing research on the laptop computer. She is trying to figure out which demon is responsible for the dead body. Dawn thinks she found it -- a demon called Gnarl. It has a paralyzing poison in it's fingernails, then it peels and eats strips of skin from the victim. Dawn says her information must be right because Buffy said there was no blood. Dawn says Gnarl consumes the blood also, calling it his "natural beverage". Buffy says whoever did it must have left a trail of blood, enough to track if you have the right equipment.
The scene switches to Spike muttering to himself, walking purposefully through the woods, with the others following. Suddenly Spike stops and tells them, "that's it, end of the line" and Buffy and Xander point out that it's only a rock cliff. Spike pulls aside a bush to reveal a cave, then he leaves. The cave has a small opening, just barely big enough for them to craw into. Willow has apparently arrived at the cave minutes before the others and walks around inside the cave while Gnarl taunts her. Dawn steps a little too far from the group and Gnarl jumps from the shadows to slash her across the stomach. Buffy and Xander grab Dawn and leave the cave. Then they use rocks to trap Gnarl inside, unaware that Willow is inside with him. Then they hurry to get Dawn home. Willow is aware she is being trapped inside but doesn't know who is doing it. Willow tries to use a spell on Gnarl but he is immune to magic.
[I am wondering why she doesn't use magic to move the rocks that are blocking her inside. The only reason I can think of is that it would ruin the plot of this episode.]
Gnarl continues to taunt Willow, saying that the others left her with him on purpose, calling her a gift. Then he slashes her across the stomach and she slumps to the floor of the cave. Gnarl grabs her ankle and pulls her over, saying that he can't wait to unwrap his gift. He bends to lick up the blood coming from her scratch.
Back at the house, Dawn has been put on the couch, unable to move. Buffy checks the computer for an antidote to the poison, but finds it is permanent until Gnarl is killed. They call Anya to come and stay with Dawn while they go back to the cave. They discover that they can pose Dawn, so they sit her up. Anya says she is happy to stay with Dawn because she's having a good day, and mentions helping Willow. At Buffy's prodding, Anya says that Willow went to a cave. Buffy orders Anya to come with them. They leave Dawn sitting on the couch, still unable to move. There is a brief scene of Willow in pain as Gnarl strips another piece of skin from her stomach. Then there is a brief scene of Buffy running through the woods, telling the others to hurry.
Buffy rushes in and knocks Gnarl away from Willow. Anya kneels next to Willow but the others still don't see her. Xander kneels next to Anya and reaches out for Willow but can't find her. Anya tells Xander that his hand is "going through" Willow. Buffy is off to the side fighting with Gnarl and Anya reminds Buffy to "get him in the eyes". Willow is worried that she still can not see Xander or Buffy. Anya assures her that they are there. Willow still can't move and is greatly relieved that is not alone.
[The way she say it seemed insulting to Anya, but she didn't seem to notice.]
Buffy stabs Gnarl in the foot, pinning him so he can't leave, then uses her thumbs to gouge out his eyes. [Eew!] Buffy kills Gnarl and Willow is able to move again. Dawn is also able to move again and falls off the couch. Anya tells Willow that Buffy killed the demon, then tells the others that Willow is "hurt really bad" and leaves to get help. Buffy starts babbling that she is glad Willow is back and suddenly they are all able to see each other.
The next morning Buffy approaches Willow's bedroom and finds Willow is sitting on the bed meditating. Willow stops and invites Buffy into the room, explaining that she was healing herself by "growing new skin". Buffy makes a joke in reference to Clem from last season, that he should "cut back" on the meditating. Willow says she is "drawing power from the earth" because Giles says "everything is part of the earth". Willow carefully leans back. Buffy starts to explain what Dawn's research has turned up in regard to why they couldn't see each other, but Willow admits she did it. Buffy looks concerned and Willow explains that she didn't do it on purpose. Buffy admits that when she saw the first victim skinned, she thought Willow might have done it and points out that Xander didn't think it was Willow. Buffy feels bad that she doubted Willow, but Willow points out that as a slayer, Buffy doesn't always have the luxury of assuming the best. Willow starts to meditate again. Buffy thought she was too tired, but Willow says it "hurts too much not to try" even though it takes a lot of strength. Buffy moves closer and takes Willow's hands, telling her that she is "so full of strength, I'm giving it away." They close their eyes to start meditating.
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