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Contains Season 6 spoilers. Don't read if you don't want to know.
All The Way: Dawn gets her first kiss... and it’s from a vampire.
Season 6, Episode 6
First US airdate: October 30, 2001
Written by Stephen S. DeKnight, Directed by David Solomon
Anthony Stewart Head... Giles
Amber Benson... Tara
John O'Leary... Old Man Kaltenbach
Kavan Reece... Justin
Amber Tamblyn... Janice
Dave Power... Zack
It's Halloween in Sunnydale, and the Magic Box is in full swing with a "Halloween Bone-anza" sale. Willow, Tara, Buffy, and Dawn have been called in to help out Anya and Giles with the retail madness. In the midst of everything, Dawn steals a large gold coin (in a classic cry for attention). Buffy, still anti-retail from her experience in "Life Serial", suggests to Giles that she should really go patrolling. Giles reminds her that demons and such aren't active around Halloween, even though they've had previous bad experiences on Halloween. Buffy resigns herself to bagging. Elsewhere in Sunnydale, Mr. Kaltenbach, a somewhat creepy and possibly crazy old man, hums "Pop Goes the Weasel" while preparing "something special" for this year's trick-or-treaters... something involving a large knife.
After the Magic Box closes for the day, everyone is exhausted... except for Anya, who does the dance of capitalist superiority with the money (as she does every night when she closes out the cash register). As he watches Anya, Xander realizes that the time has come to announce their engagement. Everyone except Dawn is a bit thrown by the news, but they all head back to Buffy's house for an impromptu celebration. Willow whips up a quick party decoration spell, which thrills Anya but leaves Tara worried. In the kitchen, Tara says that they could have decorated naturally instead of using magic, but Willow tries to make it seem like Tara is the one with the problem. Back in the living room, Dawn announces that she's sleeping over at Janice's house.
Later, Dawn meets up with Janice. It turns out that she and Janice each told their families that they were staying at the other's house, and we now realize that they're up to no good. They head off to the park to meet up with Zack and Justin (*gasp* BOYS!!!). The four of them egg some houses, and Zack asks Justin in private whether he wants to go all the way with Dawn. Back at Buffy's house. Giles talks about Xander and Anya possibly getting a house, and Xander is clearly nervous about things. The juvies, meanwhile, have arrived at old man Kaltenbach's house. Dawn says that she'll do the prank thing, and she heads up to the front porch. She picks up a pumpkin, and is about to throw it back to the ground when the old man comes out of the house and grabs her. Strangely, he invites the kids inside, where offers to help in the kitchen. Kaltenbach picks up a knife, and it looks like Justin might be in danger. Instead, Kaltenbach is the one in danger - Justin is a vampire. After feeding, Justin runs out of the kitchen and tells the others that he took the old man's wallet. They all run out of the house, and Zack and Justin talk about going "all the way" with Dawn (i.e., turning her into a vampire).
Back at Buffy's house, Anya is rattling off plans for the future – cars, houses, babies! – and Xander isn’t looking too well. He and Buffy go outside for some air, and Buffy tells him that this is the way life is supposed to go. He agrees; he just didn't think it would be so much all at once. Buffy heads off to find Spike for some patrolling, and Xander goes back inside. Zack, meanwhile, kills a woman and takes her car. Buffy later walks by the scene of the crime and sees the woman being loaded into an ambulance, bite marks visible.
At the same time, Janice's mother calls Buffy's house, and everyone figures out that the girls have pulled a switcheroo. Giles goes to Spike's crypt to try to catch up with Buffy.
Dawn and Janice, meanwhile, are in the forest with Justin and Zack. Janice and Zack get out of the car and run off into the forest, while Dawn and Justin stay in the car. They kiss, and it turns out that this is Dawn's first kiss. The search for Dawn, however, has begun, as Willow and Tara make their way to the Bronze. The Bronze is very crowded, so Willow wants to do a spell to shift anyone who isn't a 15-year-old girl into an alternate dimension for a fraction of a second. Tara is understandably alarmed, and the two of them have a fight about Willow's magic. Back the car, Dawn and Justin are making out. Dawn pulls away, but Justin uses the "God, you are so beautiful" line on her, and they go back to kissing. Justin, however, vamps out and Dawn runs from the car.
Buffy arrives at Spike's crypt, where Spike fills her in on what's happening with Dawn. Giles has reached the cemetery, where he finds Zack biting Janice. Giles dusts Zack, and then goes to find Dawn. Giles finds them just as Justin is about to bite Dawn, but Justin has backup from a number of other vampires who are also parked nearby. Buffy and Spike show up just in time to help Giles fight the vamps. Dawn runs off to try to get away from Justin, but he follows her and continues trying to convince her to let him bite her. He eventually gets her pinned down, but Dawn stakes him just as he's about to feed on her.
After the fight, Buffy and Giles discuss Dawn's behavior, and Giles is somewhat surprised when Buffy expects him to take care of disciplining Dawn. Upstairs, Tara is still mad at Willow about her overuse of magic. Willow does a spell to make Tara forget their fight, and the two of them snuggle, with Tara completely unaware of their earlier fight.
Things to note:
Season Six found a lot of fans wanting Dawn to become Demon Chow, and it more or less started with this episode. Typical fan quote: "Buffy DIED for her, and she acts like THIS!!??" Dawn becomes obnoxious and whiny, and her shoplifting escalates - the writers were trying to show her going through a rebellious phase, but it doesn't work when it's a character that the audience is supposed to like.
As for Willow, her use of magic crosses a line here with the spell that she casts on Tara. It's no secret that her abuse of magic was a thinly veiled metaphor for drug abuse, and there is some classic behavior shown in this episode, such as Willow's claim that Tara is the one with the problem.
This episode makes use of a classic misdirection technique. The audience is supposed to think that Old Man Kaltenbach is the bad guy here... until Justin suddenly shows himself in vamp face. It turns out that the "something special" for the trick-or-treaters is nothing more than Rice Krispies Treats.
Amber Tamblyn, who plays Dawn's friend Janice, is perhaps best known to viewers from her role as Emily Quartermaine on General Hospital. She's currently starring in CBS's new drama Joan of Arcadia.
Anya: How 'bout you, ever play Shiver Me Timbers?
Tara: I'm not really much for the timber.
Buffy: What happened to Xander?
Giles: He kept poking me with his hook. I sent him over to charmed objects. With any luck he'll poke the wrong one and end up in an alternative dimension inhabited by a 50-foot Giles that squishes annoying teeny pirates.
Buffy: Did you know about this?
Giles: No. Unless I blocked it from my memory, much as I will Xander's vigorous use of his tongue.
Buffy: (shocked) Is that why you're always cleaning your glasses? So you don't have to see what we're doing?
Giles: Tell no one.
Buffy: Sorry about the party.
Xander: Ah, don't worry about it.
Anya: It gave me more time to plan the bridal shower. Where do we order obscenely muscular male strippers?
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode Guide