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The Prom

Waking Up Buffy wakes up in bed with Angel (fully clothed), and realizes that their "post-slayage nap" must have lasted a little too long. She wants to go fix her hair, but when Angel reminds her there are no mirrors, she tells him his place is not "girl friendly." She thinks they should add some mirrors, some better lighting ... and a drawer for her stuff. She mentions that she'd like to spend the night there after prom; which she reminds him he will blend into, since lots of girls have older boyfriends. He looks uncomfortable, and tells her she should go. Thinking it's still nighttime, she opens the curtain, but Angel is doused with sunlight and has to cower away from it.

That morning at school, Anya and Xander are discussing her powers of the wish (women would wish horrible things on their boyfriends and Anya would grant the wishes). Anya tells him she will get her powers back; she also tells him that men are evil, and then asks him to the prom. She claims it's his fault she even needs a date, since he was unfaithful to Cordelia, causing her to tempt Cordelia with the wish and then lose her powers and get stuck in the persona of a high school student — now she has "all these feelings" and just knows that she really wants to go to this dance. After Xander critiques her method of inviting him, he accepts. When Xander tells the gang about his date for the prom, Willow declares that Anya "better not try to cross" her, and Buffy figures it's their choice to go with demons. She's excited about her dress, about which she says, "Angel's gonna lose it ... but not his soul. His ... it." She's obviously not sure what she means by that.

At Angel's place, Angel finds a notebook of Buffy's on which she has doodled "Buffy and Angel 4-ever." Joyce arrives; she has come to talk about Buffy. She tells Angel that she's worried about them, and that there are hard choices ahead that he may have to make for Buffy. "I know you care about her. I just hope you care enough."

At the library, Giles overhears the girls discussing prom dresses and thinks they are talking about demons. He tells him that the pages Willow stole from the Books of Ascension taught them that the Ascension is "a human transform[ing] into a demon, becoming the living embodiment of an immortal, and Graduation Day, our Mayor Wilkins in scheduled to do just that." Wesley inserts that they don't know which demon he will become, and they shouldn't waste time on a school dance. Cordelia tells him that's too bad, since he would look great in a tux, so he decides to chaperone with Giles. Buffy suggests they look at a store called April Fools for Willow's dress, but Cordelia tells them they shouldn't go there. Buffy declares that one night of "prommy fun" is the least they deserve.

Next we are treated to a shot of an ugly monster, trapped in a cage in someone's house, watching videos on a television screen.

Wedding Dream In the next shot, Angel and Buffy are in a church, getting married. Once the ceremony is over, they walk outside into the light, where Buffy bursts into flames. Angel is startled awake by his dream.

That night, while looking for a vampire in the sewers, Buffy starts discussing the prom, and is disturbed by Angel's grouchiness every time she mentions the prom. He says that they need to talk, so Buffy tells him to say what he has to say. Angel tells her that the Mayor was right; Buffy deserves someone "who can take [her] into the light; someone who can make love to [her]." Buffy disagrees, saying she'll never have a normal life, but that's why Angel thinks she should at least have a normal relationship. She tells him she has thought about this stuff. When he says he's trying to think with his head and not his heart; she lashes out that it isn't even beating. She tells him she wants her life to be with him, to which he responds, "I don't." She asks how she is supposed to stay away from him, and he says that if they survive the Ascension, he is leaving Sunnydale. Buffy wonders aloud, "Is this really happening?"

The next day at Buffy's house, Buffy is telling Willow about the break-up. Willow is supportive, declaring Angel a jerk, but Buffy says he's right. Willow admits that she agrees. Buffy tells her she feels worse than horrible; she's just trying to keep from dying. Buffy lays her head on Willow's lap, sobbing and complaining that she feels like she can't breathe.

Back in the unknown house, the caged monster breaks free from his cage.

Xander spots Cordelia in a store looking at the same dress she was looking at last week. He goes in to bug her, and a coworker tells her she should stop goofing around because the manager has it in for Cordelia. Xander is surprised to learn that Cordelia works here. She tells him that she's trying to buy a prom dress that she put on layaway, because she has "no dresses, no car, no cell phone." It seems that her family has lost everything because her dad made a "little mistake on his taxes — for twelve years." She can't go to the schools she got into, and her family is losing their home. She tells Xander to go ahead and tell all his little friends how Cordy finally got hers and how she's a name-tag person now. Just then, the aforementioned monster bursts in through the store window. Xander jumps in front of Cordelia, but the monster instead attacks a boy who is trying on a tuxedo. He then is about to attack a girl in a formal dress, but suddenly leaves. Outside the store is a boy with some kind of remote-control type device.

Back at the library, the gang is watching the security tape from the store. Cordelia points out that the monster had good taste. Wesley tells them that this is a Hell Hound, which is trained solely to kill, and feeds on brains. Cordelia orders Xander to zoom in on the video, but alas, you can only do that on TV. Wesley asks what they were doing together, and Xander says that he ran into her "burning a hole in daddy's wallet." Oz tells Xander to pause, and Xander starts to say it's just a normal VCR; it can't do these fancy things. But it can pause. Oz points out the kid with the remote, Tucker Wells, who was in Oz's chemistry lab and seemed like a normal guy. Willow gets into Tucker's email account, where she reads an email he sent to another boy, about how the Sunnydale students' big night would be their last night. Giles figures out that the Hell Hounds are trained to attack those in formal wear and will attack the prom. When the group thinks they can't go to the prom, Buffy emphatically declares that they will go and have a good time; she is going to see to it no matter what. Buffy sends Wesley and Cordelia to Tucker's house, Oz and Willow to check out the kid who received the email, and Xander to the magic shop to see if someone's been stocking up on supplies. Buffy goes to the butcher's, where she gets the address of "a weird kid" who orders cow brains. She runs into Angel, who is getting blood. He tells her he misses her, but she doesn't want to discuss it. She tells him someone is trying to ruin the prom, and turns down his offer of help.

Later, at the clothing store, Cordy's coworker tells her that someone paid off her dress. Back at the library, the group tells her they found nothing. They want to keep helping her, but she insists that they go to the prom and "Have a nice time." Giles figures out that Angel is not taking her, and she tells him that he broke up with her. Giles tries to comfort her, but she says that kicking ass is comfort food.

At the prom, Anya is boring Xander with stories about what she has done with her powers. Giles and Wesley are hanging out together when Wesley is quite startled to see a stunning Cordelia walk in. Willow and Oz arrive, and Oz reassures her that Buffy won't let them down. Xander spots Cordelia with Wesley and practically begs them to talk to him. Cordelia subtly thanks him for the dress. He tells her she looks great in it, to which she replies "Well, duh" (in a friendly manner, not her normal arrogant way). It would appear that a truce has been called.

Buffy arrives at the house where Tucker is stashing the Hell Hound. She sees the movies that he used to brainwash the Hell Hound; he flashes back to some girl rejecting him when he asked her to the prom. She ties him up and is about to throw him in an empty room, but it's not empty. There are three more cages — he has already sent his "three fiercest babies" on to the prom. Buffy heads there and kills one before they get inside, then lures the other two into chasing her. However, they hear the song "Celebration" coming from the prom and head back. She follows, and finds them inside the school, but not into the prom yet. She rolls around with one, and is surprised to see a knife has worked its way into its chest. She grabs the other one just as it's about to attack a boy who has come out of the prom looking for the bathroom, and she breaks its neck. She goes back outside to get her prom dress from her bag of weapons.

Buffy enters the prom and spots Giles, nodding to let him know it's all taken care of. She goes to Willow and Oz, who declare that the prom is perfect. A bit later, class clown is announced; it's not Xander, and he's obviously upset about it. The mike is handed over to Jonathan, who asks if Buffy Summers is present. Buffy is confused. Jonathan says they have a new category, and reads a speech:

    "We're not good friends. Most of us never found the time to get to know you, but that doesn't mean we haven't noticed you. We don't talk about it much, but it's no secret that Sunnydale High isn't exactly like other high schools. A lot of weird stuff happens here [students shout out "Zombies! Hyena people! Snyder!"]. But whenever there was a problem, or something creepy happened, you seemed to show up and stop it. Most of the people here have been saved by you, or helped by you at one time or another. We're proud to say that the class of 99 has the lowest mortality rate of any graduating class in Sunnydale history. [applause] And we know at least part of that is because of you. So the senior class offers its thanks, and gives you ... this [gets umbrella]. It's from all of us, and it has written here: Buffy Summers, Class Protector." The Scooby Gang looks quite proud.

Last Dance Wesley asks Giles if it would be okay to ask Cordelia to dance. An annoyed Giles tells him she's eighteen, and to "just have at it." They dance, as do the other couples. Buffy tells Giles (referring to the surprise award) that "every now and then people surprise you," and he agrees — as he spots Angel entering the prom. Buffy turns to see him, looking spiffy in a tux, and goes to him. He tells her he didn't want to miss her big night, but that it's just for tonight. She understands, and they dance what will presumably be their last dance.

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