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We open up with a vampire saying “ow” as he has a stake in his back. He turns to face an unknown Slayer who apologizes, and then runs off saying that she quits, she never wanted to be chosen. The vampire pursues her saying that he doesn’t want to hurt her, he just wants to suck on her for a while. As he runs around a corner, he asks if she’s heard that everyone wants to be a vampire n… ow.
A stake goes in his heart and he dusts.
Faith wants to know why they’re always so chatty. The unknown Slayer stands being held by Giles and says “”Oh, my god! You’re her! You’re Buffy!” Faith asks Giles why the girl is calling her names.
The new girls asks if Faith and Giles are there to train her, but Faith says they are there to find out why she left her squad. She says she was tired of them sitting around doing nothing, so she decided to go out into the field on her own. She wonders why Faith and Giles suddenly look scared of her, and she spins to look behind her, she accidentally stakes a vamp that had shown up behind her. She inhales the dust while saying “Gross…”. Faith says they need to teach her to keep her mouth shut while she slays.
She says she’ll remember that, and that it looks like she isn’t ready for “Slayer Sanctuary” yet. Giles doesn’t recognize the term, and the girl informs him it is a safe place for Slayers who don’t want to fight to go and hide out. Courtney finally introduces herself, and Giles asks for more information about the Sanctuary. As she tells them more, Giles says they need to go there, and Faith informs Courtney she is now their guide dog.
We next see the trio boarding a train for a town named “Hanselstadt” (we never learn what country this is all happening in, but it is obviously somewhere around Germany/Austria from the architecture and mountains). Faith wonders why Slayers are hiding in some place that looks like it’s out of a Dracula flick. Giles thinks seeing Faith may inspire the hidden Slayers to get back in the fight, but Faith informs him they aren’t there to recruit, and if these girls want to sit out, they can.
Giles tells Faith to look out the window and we see the countryside outside of this town is covered in vampires. He doesn’t understand why they would do that, and Courtney tells him they aren’t allowed in the town.
They pull into town and Courtney is telling Faith she may inspire them, but Faith doesn’t think the story of her first time will inspire “the Baby Slayers”. Before she can go any further, Giles tells her that’s enough, and Courtney says they sound like her parents.
They are met at the train by an older man who knows Giles, a Duncan Fillworthe. Giles seems surprised he is there, and wonders if he was expecting them. He says that he tries to meet every train that comes into town, and that it isn’t a pleasant time for Watcher or Slayer. He leads them to a building and they are soon sitting down to a meal.
Duncan tells Giles that the vampires know if they come into town there is an army of Slayers there, but they will leave them alone if the stay out. Giles says a stalemate is not a lasting solution.
Faith wants to know where the girls are and Duncan says he wanted to make sure of their intent before he revealed that. He says she can join them when they finish eating, and Giles wants to know what will happen if any of them decide to leave to join the coming battle. Duncan wonders why they should protect a humanity that now hates, fears and resents them. Faith says he sounds like she used to, and she almost feels like she’s home… which she left the first chance she got.
An older woman stands and says she’ll take Faith to the town library where the girls are. Giles says to take Courtney with her. As they walk through the town, Faith notices there are no kids in the town, and the old woman says that is why they are grateful for the Slayers being there. Faith says that this really obvious trap feels like a trap. Courtney asks what they should do, and Faith tells her she’s tired of beating around the bush, and it isn’t like they can come up with something she hasn’t seen.
When Faith opens the door to the library, an obvious expression of shock crosses her face. A greenish, frog-like vampire says “No… something you have.” Faith recognizes him and says “The third…”. The vamp torments her by asking her if she knows how many he has sired since her first steps as a Slayer, and how many those have gone on to sire.
We flashback to an obviously younger Faith in an alley, cornered by three vamps. They know she is the new Slayer, they can smell it, and they want to see how she tastes. She quickly dusts two of them, and she hurls her stake at the third, hitting him in the stomach. He taunts her that no matter what people say, that isn’t the way to his stomach. He runs off and Faith just says two out of three ain’t bad.
Back to present day, and the Third is telling her she could have followed, but now she reeks of failure and laziness, and it’s delicious, just like all her friends were. Faith screams “shut up” and attacks him.
Courtney is confused, she wants to know what is going on and who she is screaming at, and we see from Courtney’s viewpoint that Faith is fighting empty air. Faith says she’ll answer her “Slayer-in-training questions” later, she has a vamp to snuff.
The vamp tells Faith he is going to sire her, and then let Courtney kill her because she will be a better Slayer than Faith ever was.
Courtney screams for Faith to stop and that there are no vampires here. As she watches Faith fight thin air, we see numerous green tentacles creeping up behind Courtney.
We cut back to Giles and Duncan still sitting at the table. Giles is saying that teaching Slayers to hide, as well as hiding himself, only makes the vampires stronger. Duncan says as long as this town is a sanctuary, the vampire won’t come in, and the Slayers and the last two members of the Watcher’s Council will be safe. Giles asks if they are the last two for sure, but the question goes unanswered. (What happened to Wesley? Wouldn’t he still qualify, disgraced or not?- Sean) Giles says he doesn’t share the belief the vamps will stay out as they are just outside of the town waiting.
Duncan informs him a demon lived there. Giles wants to know if that is what they are afraid of. Duncan says:
Before I came to Hanselstadt, it was feeding on the children–upon the expression of their fears and regrets.
You see, children do not have the coping mechanisms of internalizing their problems and smiling through pain. Children are pure need… not unlike vampires.
The vamp sinks its teeth into Faith’s neck. Courtney watches Faith fall from the invisible attack, and she screams out “Talk to me! What’s going on?!”, but there is no reply. She finally asks who is there, and as she stands and spins, she just says “Oh my god…” to what appears to be an empty library.
Now tentacles are racing towards her, she calls out to Faith, but as the tentacles get to her, they turn to hands and it’s Courtney’s mom and dad, and they are hugging her. She is confused since they hate each other, but her dad says they love her. Courtney is so happy because she thought the family split was her fault, and it feels so good to have their arms around her again… we then see she is being hoisted up in the air by the tentacles of the demon.
Duncan and Giles are talking again, and Duncan asks Giles if he’s ever thought what it must be like to be a vampire. He says that the vampire is regret personified; a hunger for life that has been been damned to never be satisfied. He says this is why the vampires will never come there as the demon feeds on primal needs and fears, and… wel, the townspeople ran out of children.
Giles is shocked when he figures out the Slayers were lured there to feed the demon and keep the vampires away. Duncan’s rationale is that Watchers have always sent Slayers to their deaths, and his actions have saved everyone in the town, and Giles is welcome to stay in the town. Giles storms off to help Faith, but Duncan is yelling how the vamps slaughtered the Watchers for helping the girls that rejected them. He yells about Giles should think about what Buffy has done tim him, and how he should remember that Buffy ignoring him cost him the woman he loved, Jenny Calendar.
Duncan tells the other people at the table that Giles may die of regret over those thoughts before he even gets to the demon, but someone should still bring him his crossbow.
Giles races to the library, knocking the doors out the way as he busts in. He yells for Faith, but sees Courtney still in the embrace of the demon, apologizing to her mother. He runs over to pull her free, but Duncan shows up, and keeping Giles at crossbow point, tells him to let the demon have her. He says the vampires have been waiting for a Slayer to kill the demon, and he shouldn’t help them, and it is worth the cost of some disillusioned Slayers to save a town full of people. Giles says Duncan will regret this, but he says he regrets nothing, and that is why he is still alive.
Faith tackles him, knocking him into the demon. Duncan screams for help and fires his crossbow into the demon’s mouth. He screams that Giles is a Watcher and should help him, and that he’s sorry… he immediately tries to take the “sorry” back, but that is enough to make the demon want to eat him.
Faith gets the crossbow and starts hitting at the demon with it, saying that was its last meal. The demon bursts into flames, finally exploding.
As Faith, Giles and Courtney walk out of the smoldering library, the townspeople are staring at them. They want to know what they can do now that the vampires won’t be afraid to come. Courtney says they deserve it for being murderers, but Faith says Slayers don’t let people just die, and that if they want to live, they need to fight. Courtney says she hasn’t trained, but Faith says there’s only one lesson… aim for the heart.
That was it for this issue, and boy did it feel like it should have been two issues instead of yet another stand-alone. Not saying I wanted this story at all, but it felt very, very rushed, and I think it showed.
Come on folks, we’re two years in to this “season” now, can we please get back to the whole Big Bad storyline at some point? I am getting really, really bored with these stories, which, in turn, is making writing these synopsis that much more difficult. Seeing as each one takes me well over two hours to do. So, please, for my sanity, get back to the main story!
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