Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode Guide
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Season 6 spoilers ahead; peruse at your own risk.
Bargaining, Part I: Who needs the laws of nature? The Scoobies try to bring Buffy back to life.
Season 6, Episode 1 (First UPN episode)
First US airdate: October 2, 2001
Directed by David Grossman, Written by Marti Noxon
Paul Greenberg... Shempy Vampire
Anthony Stewart Head... Rupert Giles
Geoff Meed... Mag
Bru Muller... Teacher
Franc Ross... Razor
As the episode (and Season 6) begins, the Scooby Gang is chasing down vampires in the graveyard. Spike, Giles, and Tara go after one rather large vamp, Xander and Anya pursue another one, and Willow, standing atop a crypt, gets the lay of the land, communicating telepathically with the other Scoobies. Suddenly, Buffy makes an appearance… or rather, the BuffyBot from last season standing in as a decoy. The Scoobies want the world to believe that the Slayer is alive and well. After dusting the vamps, the gang heads out of the cemetery, resigned to the fact that the BuffyBot will have to suffice, since the real Buffy is dead.
Morning at the Summers house. Since the end of last season, Willow and Tara have moved into Buffy's house in order to take care of Dawn. Xander comes over, bringing tools for Willow's planned BuffyBot repairs. BuffyBot needs to be prepared for her most dangerous challenge ever: Parent/Teacher Day at Dawn's school. BuffyBot fares amazingly well, as her non sequitur comments kick off a discussion about the quality of the school lunch program.
At the Magic Box, Anya is on edge because she feels like Giles will probably never go back to England as promised, and she is very anxious to be in charge of the store. The last straw comes when she discovers that Giles plans to take the Ramadan Effigy with him when he goes, and the two have a slap fight. Xander breaks up the fight and tells Anya that she might want to be nicer to Giles, because he is, after all, going to leave her in charge of the store, and she just needs to be patient. However, Anya is sick of waiting for things - not only waiting for Giles to leave, but also waiting to announce that she and Xander are engaged. She doesn't understand why life has to stop just because Buffy is gone.
That night, Spike watches Dawn at Buffy's house. Dawn reminds Spike that she’s no longer the key, and that even if she is, she doesn't open anything any more. Spike, visibly upset, refuses to leave her to get hurt "again," a reference to last season's finale. Across town, BuffyBot fights a "Shempy Vamp" (that's what he's called in the credits, so I’ll go with it). During the fight, he smashes a bottle across BuffyBot's face, which reveals her wiring. The vampire escapes, realizing that the Slayer is just a robot decoy.
Meanwhile, Willow, Tara, Xander, and Anya meet at Xander's apartment to discuss Buffy's resurrection. Anya has found the last vital ritual ingredient, the Urn of Osiris, on Ebay. Xander asks Willow if they should slow down and think about what they're planning to do, but Willow is set on rescuing Buffy from the hell dimension she must have gone to. The group makes plans to meet and perform the ritual the next night. Willow goes home to find a BuffyBot in need of service – the bot is programmed to go to Willow when damaged.
The next day, Giles trains the BuffyBot. Giles tells the bot that he thinks Buffy would have been better off without him, that he did his job and got his slayer killed. BuffyBot asks him why he's still there if he's done his job, and Giles realizes that it's time for him to go back to England.
Meanwhile, at a demon biker bar, the Shempy Vamp is trying to get in good with a gang of demons. The vamp tells everyone that the Slayer is a robot, which wins him an audience with Razor, head biker demon. After repeating his rather embellished story about his robot encounter, the Shempy Vamp is dusted by Razor. Razor then tells his gang of hellions that they're heading for Sunnydale –after all, there's "nowhere like the Hellmouth for a party."
That afternoon, Willow sits in a lovely sunny spot in the woods working on her resurrection spell. She summons a fawn from the woods, and then stabs it and drains its blood. She goes to the Magic Box, where she meets up with Xander, Anya, and Tara, who all say they couldn't just sit still and wait for spell time. As the group talks, Anya finds a goodbye note from Giles, and Willow, Xander, Tara, Anya, and Dawn head for the airport. They barely have enough time to say goodbye before Giles boards his plane for England.
As the biker demons reach Sunnydale, Xander, Anya, Tara, and Willow gather around Buffy’s clandestine grave in the woods. Willow pours out the fawn’s blood and calls upon Osiris. Mystical forces test her, leaving deep cuts on her arms and a number of things moving beneath her skin. To make matters worse, there is the distinct sound of motorcycles in the distance; the hell bikers have arrived and are causing a great deal of trouble in town. Willow's spell becomes more intense, as a full-grown snake comes out of her mouth.
BuffyBot, meanwhile, comes across the demon bikers ransacking the town. The bot is damaged in the ensuing fight, and sets off to find Willow so that she can be serviced. However, Willow is smack-dab in the middle of the resurrection spell, and BuffyBot leads the demons right to the gang. As the demons ride over and around Buffy's grave site, one of them breaks the Urn of Osiris, bringing the spell to a grinding halt. The Scoobies take off into the woods in order to hide from the hell bikers. However, it appears that the resurrection spell wasn't a wash after all - inside the coffin, Buffy's soul returns to her body and she opens her eyes...
To be continued
Some things to note: Anthony Stewart Head (Giles) is no longer in main credits, and is instead listed as a guest star; Alyson Hannigan is now listed last, shown as "Alyson Hannigan as Willow."
Approximately three months have passed since the events of the last episode, in which Our Heroine Buffy sacrificed herself to save her sister Dawn (as well as the rest of the world). The last image of season 5, Buffy's tombstone, drove home what a unique show Buffy is - not many shows routinely kill the main character. Fans knew that a major change was brewing, both on and off-screen - in the Real World, Buffy the Vampire Slayer switched networks moving from The WB to UPN, with this being the first episode on the new network.
With Bargaining, the show needed to answer one main question, that of how Buffy would be brought back to life. This episode paved the way for the more character-oriented Season 6. Instead of focusing on the traditional Big Bad as in the past (The Mayor, Adam, Glory), the main conflicts in season 6 are based in the real world, such as Buffy's need for gainful employment. The recurring antagonist characters are, for the first time, human. Fans either loved this new tone or hated it - the word "depressing" made more than a few appearances on the Bronze fan forum at buffy.com.
In Bargaining, the demons are certainly present, but they are secondary, as the stage is being set for the rest of season 6. Willow, whose use of magic escalated throughout season 5, finally crosses the line here, violating life, death, and the laws of nature in one fell swoop. Season 6 finds Willow adept at controlling magical forces, but unable to control herself, which will be a major plot point later on in the season. Giles, now without a Slayer (and thus, without a reason to be in Sunnydale), realizes that this is no longer his place. Even when he returns later in the season, it is clear that he still feels out of place, leading him to leave again. In Bargaining, it is because he isn't needed; in Tabula Rasa, it's because he is needed too much, as he feels Buffy needs to be able to stand on her own. Finally, Buffy herself has a number of obstacles she'll need to overcome in the coming season, including her financial situation, her relationship with Spike, and her struggle to get past her experience in what she believes was heaven. In many ways, she spends most of the season digging her way out of her grave, gradually coming back and learning to deal with life again.
Parts that were cut in later (FX) rebroadcasts: BuffyBot and Dawn at the science fair (Buffy sees a model city of the future and wonders if future people will be tiny); a small part of the gift-giving at the airport, totalling about 10-15 seconds of dialogue.
Spike: Oh, poor Watcher. Did your life pass before your eyes? Cup of tea, cup of tea, almost got shagged, cup of tea?
BuffyBot: That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo!
Xander: House of chicks, relax. I am a man, and I have a tool... tools. Lots of plural tools. In my, uh... toolbox.
Willow: Nobody's changing their minds. Period.
Xander: Excuse me? Who made you the boss of the group?
Anya: You did.
Tara: You said Willow should be boss.
Anya: And then you said, "let's vote," and it was unanimous.
Tara: And then you made her this little plaque, that said "Boss of Us," you put little sparkles on it...
Xander: Valid points, all.
We saw her body, Will. We buried it.
Her body, yeah. But her soul, her essence... I mean, that could be somewhere else. She could be trapped in some sort of hell dimension like Angel was, suffering eternal torment just because she saved us, and I'm not gonna let her... I'm not gonna leave her there. It's Buffy.
What time do we meet?
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode Guide