Spending an issue to get the gang back in one location, we are mostly spinning our wheels before the real storyline begins. One or two filler issues are nice, but here’s hoping we don’t make a habit out of it.
Note: This recap may contain spoilers!
We start the issue with Buffy’s return home. She wants nothing more than to fall into bed and rest but, alas, her hiatus from consciousness will not come to be. Her apartment has lost one roommate and gained two more. An overcrowded space is not ideal, and it finally pushes Buffy to put in her notice. The time for college mentality is over. She’s got to find a safe space where she can focus on her adult responsibilities — though, maybe she should have gotten a new place lined up before she turned down her current living situation.
Xander and Dawn are in the same boat. They cannot live together at the moment, not when they’re still working things out, so they have given their notice as well. And like Buffy, they are at a loss for where they’ll go. Prices are not supportive of a single, young adult in the city. And it’s not like they can, or want to, bunk with good old Andrew. His futons might be free, but the last time Buffy was unconscious around him she woke up a pregnant robot. An encore is not on her to-do list.
Even poor Mini!Giles is having financial difficulties. While his adult self might have been set up fine for money, a younger version will have a difficult time proving that he is the rightful owner of the Watcher’s assets. And attempting to age him up is not viable, for fear it would undo the resurrection. He’s just as stuck as the rest of them for where to go and what to do.
But like a bolt out of the blue, or a pretty long lead-up, their prayers are answered in the form of a new case. There’s a haunted building where twenty-five kids had previously disappeared. Now there are what’s assumed to be their ghosts hanging around, haunting the place. If they can fix it, then the landlady agrees to give them cheap rent. Seems like a good, or possibly their only, solution to the current situation.
Their plan, minus Xander and Willow, is to do a simple exorcism and be done with it. Except, that’s when the tentacled, multi-eyed blob comes crashing out of the floor. It’s never as easy as they think it will be. Giles tries to warn them not to get the creature’s fluids on them, but they don’t listen. Cue the trip to hallucination land where Dawn is younger and Buffy’s mom is alive and her dad’s actually there, too. Across the street we have Spike as William, with his mom in residence, and Giles in his first-round of boyhood. Ideal dreaming or a nightmare about to happen?
Xander and Willow are still in the real world and Xander can’t raise any of them on the phone. When they get to the building, Xander is sucked into hallucination land, too, where his parents are actually attentive. Xander sees right through it as being fake. He’s a smart man. And he will once again prove to be the catalyst for making things right, making a connection with first Willow and then Buffy in retrieving their memories. Spike joins in, too, and soon they are all about to conquer the dream-world.
All of them, that is, except Mini!Giles. He never had a childhood, so he’s quite unwilling to give up on this one, despite the destruction it might cause. The hamelin demon that caused this targets kids that are on the verge of losing their childhoods. The Scooby Gang all live up to that description quite well, either in the past or in current times. Thankfully, though, Giles is talked through his hallucination and not only are the adults all brought back to reality, the missing kids are retrieved, too. Happy families for those that were missing, cheap rent for the Slayer and her friends, and a promise that something is coming down the pipeline. I hope so, because all this work just to get a new apartment is tiring.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars