Synopsis of Conversations with Dead People
I'll warn you now that neither Xander, nor Anya are in this episode. The episode begins with a quick view of (almost) everyone to let us know what they are doing. Buffy walks through a graveyard and kneels near a fresh grave. A vampire rises from his grave and starts to fight with Buffy. Spike sits at a bar with a bottle of alcohol. Willow falls asleep on her books in the library. Dawn returns home to an empty house. Buffy has left money and orders that dinner should not be pizza. Andrew and Jonathan have returned to Sunnydale. Jonathan is nervous about being back. Andrew explains that they "have a plan" and we also learn that they have been experiencing the same dreams as Buffy about the girls getting chased and stabbed. Meanwhile, Dawn has gotten pizza anyway and sings...
DAWN: "Anchovies, Anchovies! You're so delicious. I like you better than all the other fishes!"
Dawn damages the wall with a crossbow but hides it by moving a plant. She is listening to loud music and puts a marshmallow in the microwave. There is a loud bang that doesn't come from the microwave and Dawn looks around.
Still in the library, Willow perks up when she hears a familiar voice. *Cassie's ghost* walks over and explains that "she asked that I come talk to you". *Cassie's ghost* comments that "she still sings" and this causes Willow to get tears in her eyes and ask "Tara?"
Back at home, Dawn has settled in front of the TV and is talking on the phone with a friend. The banging starts again, so Dawn puts the TV on mute and goes to investigate. The front door blows open and a strong wind makes it difficult to get it closed, but finally she is able to. Then the TV comes off of mute by itself. Dawn unplugs the TV but it keeps going.
At the graveyard, the vampire suddenly stops fighting because he recognizes Buffy. He introduces himself as Holden Webster and says they went to school together. It is obvious that Buffy does not remember him, but she pretends that she does.
At the house, the stereo in the living room and the radio in the kitchen both start playing music, and Dawn smashes the TV and a stereo with an axe, then moves toward the microwave, but it explodes before she gets to it. The kitchen radio gets some static, and we hear Joyce's voice say Dawn's name.
In the graveyard, Buffy finally remembers who Holden is and they start to talk as if they were old friends. He took psychology and she tells him she is the slayer. Dawn calls Buffy's cell phone but it's on the ground several feet away and Buffy doesn't hear it. We see a glimpse of Joyce on the couch, in the same position as when Buffy found her dead, but when Dawn turns, she isn't there. The lights go out and when they come back on the dining room chairs have stacked themselves and there is writing on the wall "mother's milk is red today" and it looks like it's written in blood. The banging starts again and Dawn asks "Mom, once for yes, twice for no!" Through a series of yes or no questions, the bangs answer yes, it's Joyce, she is not OK and she is not alone. The room starts to shake and light bulbs explode.
Jonathan and Andrew break into the school. Jonathan is nervous and suggestions getting Buffy. Andrew says she would not believe them about the Seal Of Danzathar and they need proof first. Then they worry about going back to "the big house". They split up to start looking around. Once alone, *Warren* comes around the corner and tells Andrew that everything is going according to plan. *Warren* nods in the direction that Jonathan went and says if "short runt" does his share "we'll both become gods".
[I am fairly certain that this is actually The First Evil pretending to be Warren. But I'm not sure if Andrew knows it.]
*Cassie's ghost* says that Tara can't come herself because Willow killed people. *Cassie's ghost* explains that "she misses you too" and Willow looks upward while she cries. *Cassie's ghost* claims Tara wishes they could touch. Willow agrees and says there is a "giant hole" and "everything hurts and it's not getting better".
A blonde woman puts a pack of cigarettes on the bar in front of Spike and sits down next to him.
In the graveyard, Buffy is lying on a cement-above-ground coffin while Holden sits nearby. They are talking about Buffy's relationships. He finally realizes they are going to have to "fight to the death" but she tells him she is going to win, she can't let him leave the graveyard. He tells her that she has a superiority complex and the reason she can't connect to guys is that "maybe you think you're better than them". He points out that after 7 years of being "chosen" it's understandable that she would feel superior. Buffy swears she isn't superior and starts feeling bad about "the things" she's done. Buffy starts talking about Spike, but doesn't mention his name; she just calls him "the last guy I was with". Suddenly, Holden hits her with a statue but she gets up and they start fighting again.
In the house, Dawn talks to the room, she can hear growling and breathing. It's dark in the house, but flashes of light show us Joyce's body on the couch, with all white eyes. A dark figure appears to be strangling her. Dawn tells it to get away from Joyce and let her talk. Dawn gets on her knees looking for the axe. Suddenly the axe swings toward her face and barely misses her. Dawn runs for the door and a creepy voice says, "get out" but Dawn gets a determined look on her face and tells the room she's staying because it's her mom.
After some confusion, Jonathan and Andrew find the spot they are looking for in the school basement and start digging a hole.
Buffy gets Holden pinned down but stops just short of staking him, she gloats that she was able to defeat him. He asks if she is killing him because he's evil or because she "opened up." This frustrates Buffy and for a reason I don't understand, instead of staking him while he is pinned down, she just gets up and starts to babble. Holden claims he has no worries other than wondering if a certain girl came to him funeral or not. This causes Buffy to go on a tirade about all vampires thinking sex, love and pain are the same thing. Holden tries to pass it off as typical male behavior. Buffy insists that she knows what she is talking about and Holden realizes that her last relationship was with a vampire.
Spike and the blonde woman are walking along a sidewalk. We don't hear what they are saying, but it looks like they laugh about whatever was said.
*Cassie's ghost* tells Willow that the power is too much and "they" have seen her path. *Cassie's ghost* tells Willow she can never use magic again, "not ever". Willow agrees not to use black magic and starts to explain that Giles says she shouldn't quit "cold turkey" but *Cassie's ghost* insists that she can't use ANY magic because if she does, she will "kill everyone".
Andrew and Jonathan have almost uncovered the seal. As they continue digging, Jonathan hopes Buffy will know how to destroy it and he also comments that he misses being in high school. He misses the people he used to see everyday. *Warren* appears behind Jonathan and gives an evil looking smile in Andrew's direction. Andrew tells Jonathan that none of those people miss him or wonder what he is doing now.
ANDREW: "You know what, They don't want to talk to you, all those people you just mentioned... Not one of them cares about you." Jonathan gives a sad smile
JONATHAN: "Well, I still care about them. That's why I'm here."
We get to see what they are looking for: it looks to me like a man-hole cover, only bigger and with a pentagram and other symbols on it.
Dawn has lit some candles and sits on the floor. She tosses some kind of power into the air and is thrown back against the wall. She begins saying an incantation but is slashed across the cheek. The candles blow out and the windows explode inward.
Buffy is still talking to Holden, explaining that "in his own sick, soulless way, he really did care for me, but I didn't want to be loved". She continues to explains that she feels beneath everyone, including her friends. She says she feels unworthy but at the same time feels like their opinions don't matter because they will never know what it's like to be a slayer. She realizes that sometimes this makes her feel superior to them.
HOLDEN: "You do have a superiority complex and you're got an inferiority complex about it."
Holden tells her that everyone feels alone and they are, until they die. They stand up to fight again and Buffy thanks him for listening because "that stuff with Spike is..." but Holden interrupts her asking, "did you say Spike?"
Elsewhere, we see Spike and the blonde woman approach what appears to be her apartment building. We still don't hear what they are saying. She gestures upstairs but Spike steps back and shakes his head.
Back at the house, Dawn's face and mouth are bloodied s she continues to say the incantation. Add what Dawn says
There is a strong wind blowing through the house. Whatever presence is in the house seems to howl in pain. Blood splatters against the wall, but immediately disappears. The wind stops and Dawn falls to the floor, obviously weakened. The living room is a total mess. Dawn looks up to see Joyce wearing a white robe, bathed in light.
Willow is horrified at the thought she might kill everyone and *Cassie's ghost* again tells Willow to give up all magic. Willow says that Giles told her if she quits cold turkey, it will cause her to go off the deep end. Willow worries that she is not strong enough. *Cassie's ghost* says there is something else she could do to save her friends and she could be with Tara again.
*CASSIE'S GHOST*: "It's just like going to sleep."
Willow realizes the she is suggesting suicide. Willow slowly stands up and asks, "Who are you?"
At the crypt, Buffy asks Holden how knows Spike. Holden claims that Spike is the one who sired him. Elsewhere Spike attacks the blonde woman, biting her neck. She becomes limp and falls to the ground. At the house, Dawn looks up at Joyce, who begins to speak.
JOYCE: "Things are coming Dawn. Listen, things are on their way. I love you and I love Buffy. When it's bad, Buffy won't choose you. She'll be against you."
Then Joyce fades away while Dawn begs her not to go. In the school basement, Jonathan is cleaning up when Andrew taps him on the shoulder. Jonathan stands up and turns. He is surprised to see *Warren* standing behind Andrew and while he is distracted, Andrew stabs Jonathan in the stomach. Jonathan falls back into the hole, landing on the seal.
*Cassie's ghost* realizes she went too far by suggesting suicide and taunts Willow about her grief over Tara. She tells Willow that last year will "seem like cake" after what she has planned. She continues that she is "done with the mortal coil" and promises a big finish. Willow states, "from beneath you it devours" but *Cassie's ghost* corrects her, "not it, me" and she steps back with a grin on her face that gets bigger and bigger, her head falls back. Then her body gets sucked upward and turns inside out on itself. Willow stands there in shock.
The show ends with brief scenes of everyone the same way the show started. They show Dawn sitting in the living room with destroyed furniture around her. Andrew pulls the knife out and Jonathan falls back into the hole, landing on the seal. Blood flows from Jonathan and begins to spread out over the seal. Spike pulls back from the woman's neck and lets her fall to the ground. Buffy is shown holding a stake and the only thing left of Holden is dust swirling in the air. She looks upset.