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The Freshman

The fourth season starts off with Buffy and Willow hanging out in the cemetery choosing Buffy's classes, as she was a bad girl and procrastinated on this important to-do. As they talk, a vampire rises from a grave behind them, but takes off upon seeing their weapon supply. The girls don't hear him, as they are too busy discussing how Buffy needs to balance college with slaying, and stay sharp at the slaying part. (You did catch that irony, right?)

UC SunnydaleBuffy wanders around campus during orientation, completely disoriented. She spots Willow, who is thoroughly excited and nowhere near as overwhelmed as Buffy. The two run in to Oz (answering the question, "Will Oz be going to UC Sunnydale?"), who is familiar with the campus, since his band has played there multiple times. The girls go in search of the library, mentioning along the way that Giles is unemployed and Xander is still on his road trip. The UC library is way bigger than the high school library, and Willow is practically giddy with excitement (she'll probably spend many an hour there). The two head off to spend some parental money on books. Buffy reaches up for a couple, and drops them on the head of (drumroll, please) Riley, who just happens to be the teacher's assistant for their psychology class. Buffy proceeds to make a fool of herself, while Willow and Riley bond over talk of psychology.

Buffy goes to her dorm room, where she finds here roommate, Kathy, unpacking. Kathy is quite a hyper girl, though she claims she isn't always. Buffy, uncomfortable already, looks distressed when Kathy puts up a Celine Dion poster. Even worse, as Buffy finds out later: Kathy snores.

The next day, Buffy tries to petition a class but is ridiculed and kicked out by the Big Bad Teacher when he spots her talking. Buffy then runs in to Riley, who doesn't remember her at first, then recalls her as "Willow's friend." They walk to psychology class, where Buffy sits with Willow and Oz. The teacher, Maggie Walsh, doesn't seem much nicer than Buffy's first teacher. She reveals that she teaches hard and fast — and that her t.a.'s call her "the evil bitch monster of death." (Any chance that this is foreshadowing or are we thinking too hard?)

Later that evening, Buffy tries too find her way back to her dorm and bumps into (literally) another lost person, Eddie. They find their way and chit-chat as they walk, discovering that they both have Professor Walsh for psychology, and agree to try to help each other with the class. Along the way, Eddie mentions that his favorite book is Of Human Bondage, which he keeps with him always, like a security blanket. Unfortunately for Eddie, he is attacked by vampires after he parts ways with Buffy. Afterwards, the vampires go to his dorm room, take all of his stuff (and we do mean all), and leave a forged goodbye note on his bed.

The next day in psych class, Buffy wonders where Eddie is. She finds his dorm, where his R.A. tells her that he just left, leaving a note saying that college was too much for him to handle. Buffy spots his security book in his nightstand, though, and puts on her thoughtful face.

Elsewhere, the vampires, led by a pretty blonde girl, go through Eddie's stuff. Eddie, it turns out, has been made a vampire.

Giles and OliviaBuffy heads over to Giles's house, where she finds a British woman ... wearing only a man's shirt. Giles then comes out in his bathrobe, explaining that the woman, Olivia, is an "old friend" (who refers to him as Ripper). Buffy, after telling Giles how gross this situation is, explains the Eddie situation and asks for help. Giles doesn't feel that his help is necessary, and reminds Buffy that she has to learn to take care of herself, as she no longer has an official Watcher. A rejected Buffy leaves.

That night, Buffy is on the hunt when she spots Eddie. Of course, he is a vampire, and she has to kill him. The blond vampire (whose name is Sunday) and her buddies arrive on the scene. Sunday, realizing Buffy is the Slayer, claims dibbs on her. They exchange insults. They fight. Pretty typical, until it becomes clear that Buffy is getting her ass kicked. Buffy, her left arm wounded, does the unthinkable — she runs away. Buffy goes home and favors her arm while her roommate snores.

The next day, a bruised Buffy spots Willow and Oz, but walks the other way before they spot her. At the vampire hangout, the vamps make fun of Buffy. Buffy goes home, and is disturbed to see that Joyce has filled her room with packing crates (while they do inventory at the art gallery) because she didn't expect Buffy to visit home so soon. The phone rings, and Buffy answers, but no one speaks. (If you watched this week's Angel premiere, you saw Angel make that call.) Buffy heads back to her dorm room, but finds her half of the room empty. There's a note on her bed saying she "decided to take off," with her forged signature.

Buffy goes to the Bronze alone, where a band is playing a slow song and happy couples are dancing. Buffy thinks she spots Angel, but she's mistaken (actually, it's a guy who looks suspiciously like Joss). Just then, Xander appears, much to Buffy's excitement. Turns out Xander didn't get farther than Oxnard, where his car broke down. Instead of traveling, he washed dishes at a male strip club to pay for the repairs — and he hints that he may have stripped at least once. Now he's home, where his parents have him living in the basement and paying rent. Buffy reveals that she was taken down by a vampire and is worried that she can't cut it. Xander tries to comfort her with inspiring movie quotes, but can't quite make it work. Instead he reassures her that she is his hero, and they team up to fight evil.

Buffy and Xander do some research and figure out that the vamps must be living in an abandoned frat-house. They get up onto the skylight, and find them going through Buffy's stuff. Xander leaves to get weapons, and Buffy proceeds to fall through the skylight, landing on her wounded arm. Sunday is pleased.

Willow and Oz are at Buffy's dorm, where they have found Buffy's note. Xander arrives, hugging Willow and Kathy in an amusing scene. Covering in front of Kathy, Xander says that the theft of Buffy's stuff was a prank, and he gathers up Willow and Oz to go save Buffy.

Buffy takes controlAt the frat house, Sunday breaks Buffy's class protector award, giving Buffy the impetus to start kicking butt despite her injured arm. The gang arrives, and Buffy gets her man ... er, woman. As the gang is carrying Buffy's stuff back, Giles runs up, weapons in hand. He has been wracked with guilt over leaving Buffy hanging. Though he's missed all the action, Willow finds him useful in taking a box off her hands. Buffy determines that college isn't so bad after all.

Elsewhere on campus, a vampire is suddenly shocked with a taser gun. As he lays there motionless, three guys in ski masks come out from the bushes and close in on him with their guns. The (odd) end.

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