Season 6

 

Opening Credits

 

6.1 Just Like Old Times
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Tuesday, September 5th, 1995.
It's a new school year, with new living arrangements for our heroes. Joshua traded his junior room draw for a lovely dormer tower room in Houdini House overlooking the science quad. Tori has a single-room cubicle in the newest dorm on the edge of campus, with easy access to the road to the airport. Sam and Drew continue renovating the Brew Pub into a real home. Erik and Juanita have set up housekeeping in her father's basement with their son, Drake, who although only six months old, already appears a toddler. Although some things are new, others seem oddly familiar. Tuesday night, Sam patrols High Acre Cemetery, but instead of the undead, she finds a newly dead body—an attractive Asian girl in a Martense T-shirt and jeans. The back of the girl's head is smashed, and a bloody truncheon lies in the grass, but there's no sign of her killer. Out of the shrubs springs a male vampire in game face, with long, ratty blond hair and shoulder pads right out of the 80s. "Twisted Sister?" The vamp grabs Sam and hisses, "Slayer!" before going for a bite. Sam meets him with a head-butt and the fight is on. This time, she doesn't throw him in the river immediately, but draws it out a little before she swings her axe. Dust flies. When Sam looks around, the girl's body is gone, but there are fresh tracks in the grass. Sam runs after, right into more deja vu: Christine Blackwolf, in a black leather cat suit and her trademark clawed gloves, waves her fingers at Sam and disappears into the shadows. Meanwhile, down at the Sacred Grounds, Ada is reading a thick tome behind the counter. At a corner table, Drew and Erik page through the new comic featuring art by "E. Sorensen". Erik has Drake in a hiking pack on the seat next to him, and the baby's bright yellow eyes miss little going on. Walking up to the front door, Tori is suddenly covered in vampire dust, which misses Joshua walking beside her. Another figure lands nearby and strikes a Slayer pose: Britta Kessler, armed with a pointed stake rather than her sword. Six vampires in game face, all dressed in identical black minion-wear fan out around her. Since they're geared for patrolling, Drew draws his rapier and runs outside. Erik hands Drake to Ada, but Ada has no idea how to deal with children. Tori decapitates two of the vamps, taking two more blasts of dust. This outfit is ruined, but she doesn't whine about it this time. Taking a hit, Britta bleeds thick, white goop from her elbow, but it doesn't seem to slow her down. Drew softens up more vampires for Joshua and Britta to dust. After the fight, Britta gives Drew a little bow and skips off down the street. Credits.

Sam walks down from High Acre and Slayer Club confers. The Kittens are back from the dead? Or is something mimicking them with illusions, or shape shifting? Or, they might all be caught in a time loop, re-living the night Sam was called. The dead girl like Vivian, Twisted Sister, and the Kittens are all compelling evidence. But then, they have Ada, not Hartsdale. Not to mention Drake. Erik offers to go to the library to research shape shifting or illusion making demons that bleed white goop "like in Alien." The rest decide to test the time loop theory by going to the Marshalls' carriage house. If Britta shows up, they'll know a little better what's going on. At the Marshalls', Joshua has no problem picking the lock, but instead of cars and gardening supplies, they find Callie's moved in to get some privacy from her parents, although she's not here now. Hanging on one wall is her seven-foot tall Valkyrie costume. Another wall is covered in newspaper clippings about the Solomon Slayers super-team. A small table holds a picture of Callie, towering over Marcy and Stephie, and another picture of Stephie in her Mesmerix costume next to a votive candle. Slayer Club doesn't disturb her stuff, and Britta doesn't show up. Next: the Paradise Theater, the Kittens' former lair. On the way, they pass the Vastarleys' house, with a moving van in the driveway and Cora, looking forlorn, on the front steps. Sam pulls over and asks what's going on. The Vastarleys heard about an opportunity in Eastern Europe that they can't pass up, so they've already left. Their stuff will catch up with them later. Cora is sad, and a little pissed. She's been living with them for the past two years, training in Wiccan magic and belly dancing with Mrs. Vastarley, and now they're not even renting to her, but to some guy named "Puddle." Drew stifles a laugh, remembering Pundle, the Chronos-Sankara demon, who said he'd be living here "in the future." Apparently, the future is now. Cora has to find somewhere else to live. Sam wishes her luck. Cora turns to one side and speaks with a ghost—Jenny Lu, the dead girl from High Acre. Cora says she can help Jenny find her way on to the next world. It would help if they can find her body. Sam mentions that some of her blood fell on the ground where she died, and Cora decides to take the ghost there. She has a taser, and promises to be careful. Slayer Club continues on to the Paradise Theater.

Joshua climbs up on the roof, remembering how he almost fell through the ceiling and just avoided getting eaten by Kitty. Now, the attic is renovated, clean, and empty. Noises drift up from below—a second-run of 12 Monkeys instead of Silent Screams. Outside the theater, Christine Blackwolf steps from an alley and beckons. Drew follows, and Sam follows him. Blackwolf agrees to talk, but only if the Slayer stays well back. She knows that no Slayer or potential Slayer—not even a psychotic undead one—has anything to fear from Drew. Sam, though, is another matter. Following Drew's hand signals, she keeps her distance, but not so much that she can't still hear everything they say. The Satanic Kittens are nearly all back. Britta and Blackwolf are able to move about, but Gwen and Kitty still have "issues" to work out. Kitty never was the most stable, although now she's "living the dream," according to Blackwolf. Gwen somehow "came back wrong." Vivian is still missing, but will be here soon. Drew's questions: came back from where? And who brought them? Christine won't say, except that it was a dark place where they were, and her outfit was her patron's idea. "He's a fashionista—total flamer." She obviously doesn't think much of him. Drew sets up a meeting the next night at Blaire's to talk to Britta and Gwen. Christine agrees to pass on the invitation and disappears into the shadows. Slayer Club picks up Erik and Drake at the library, and then go to the Sacred Grounds. Erik had no luck on the research, but Drew has another theory. Blackwolf mentioned a 'patron.' If this patron was a mage, then the Kittens aren't demons. They're re-animated, like zombies. Sam figured Blackwolf for a vampire, but there was a strange smell about her, organic, like old fry oil in a bio-diesel engine. Drake pages through Erik's textbooks, looking at the pictures, including "The Death of Koryzoon"—a giant creature like a Krakken, covered in sores and tentacles. Climbing on its back is a figure of a woman with short, blonde hair, carrying a curved blade with a spike sticking out the handle. Drake is delighted. "Monster go ouchy!" Sam sighs. Another picture that could possibly be her, from an ancient manuscript penned by a visionary. Ada says that she's been dreaming about that same scene, Sam fighting the demon that sleeps under Solomon's hill. Either that, or Sam plunging into the Abyss. Either death is harrowing, but Sam isn't daunted. Certainly all last year gave her the ability to laugh a little at death. But not when it strikes her friends. Up in High Acre, there's no sign of Cora. Sam returns to the place where she fought Twisted Sister (twice now) and Jenny Lu died. Just a few graves over, they find Cora's body, her throat punctured and blood on her lips. Sam and Tori are both devastated. Tori berates herself for the lapse in tactical judgment. They shouldn't have let Cora come up here alone, but now it's to late. Like Alex McClintosh, the Scottish exchange student who died before Slayer Club could help him. The blood on Cora's lips is worrying. Sam beheads the body so it will never house a vampire. Jenny's blood is still on the grass. Sam spreads a map and casts a Seeker spell to find her body. A single spot falls on Martense Campus: Buell Hall, the Natural Sciences building across from Joshua's dorm. Sam carefully wraps Cora's body and head in a tarp and drops everyone else off on campus. The Vastarleys are gone, but there are other members of their coven who should be notified. Sam also calls Juanita and the Benandanti to let them know what happened.

In Buell's parking lot is a red Ferrari with the license plate "Bad2Bone" and a small W&H sticker in the back window. Tori spots Gwen perched on the roof like a gargoyle. Joshua runs across to his dorm and up to his own window above the science quad. With a running leap and a summersault, he lands with a roll on the roof of the science building. Gwen turns to face him and smiles. Her red-gold hair gleams in the moonlight and she's wearing a set of armor right out of a fantasy magazine. The torso covers just enough for modesty, if not protection, leaving her well-muscled midriff and thighs exposed. Her knees and shins are covered by greaves, and her arms twined with bands and bracelets. Gwen draws a sword and gives a formal salute. Joshua responds by shooting her in the right knee. But the wound doesn't slow her down and there's no blood, either red or white. Joshua draws his katana, adding a chill to the air. Gwen moves in. In speed and skill, they are almost equal. Almost. While Joshua and Gwen trade cuts and parries on the roof, Drew and Tori walk through the front door. Guessing that any kind of "special" laboratory would be in the basement, they take the stairs. There are two levels below ground. The first is strictly mundane. The second is locked with a card reader. Stymied, they go back and try another staircase. Just as they reach it, the door opens and Kitty steps through. Right hair, right clothes, right attitude, but her eyes are enormous, with huge pupils. Her mouth is very small, and there's something not quite right about her movements. She spots Drew, grins, and suddenly punches him in the gut. Tori draws her sword and slashes Kitty's face, revealing wires. Kitty is completely focused on making Drew her punching bag, so Tori stabs her and sparks fly, giving Drew a chance to decapitate her. Kitty curses in bad Japanese while Drew puts her head in a supply closet, facing the back. Sam returns from meeting the coven and spots the rooftop fight. She notices that while Joshua is fighting all-out, Gwen is not. She's feinting and attempts to disarm him, which Joshua parries easily. Interesting. Joshua calls for a parley and Gwen immediately stops. She seems to think that she is a Paladin, and her "liege lord" made her for a summer project. When asked how he 'made' her, she peels back her right greave. The wound where Joshua shot her is a chip in an otherwise smooth stone leg. Gwen is a statue. Kitty is a robot. Blackwolf is something organic, maybe a flesh golem? Britta bleeds hydraulic fluid. And as for Vivian—the pieces fall together. Jenny Lu's missing body is going to be the new house for Vivian's soul! Gwen breaks down the door from the roof with one blow. Joshua is stunned. He was never going to win that bout, was he? She smiles and leads him downstairs.

Sam meets the others in the basement, in a Frankenstein-esque laboratory with a viewing gallery to one side. Jenny Lu's body is strapped to a table, with electrodes leading to various pieces of machinery. Bradley Rothschild, a handsome boy with perfect blond hair, wearing an immaculate lab coat, rubber gloves, and goggles, is laughing maniacally. In the gallery sit four other young men with Britta and Blackwolf nearby. Gwen points out her "liege lord:" K.C. Santino, a tall, thick-bodied fellow with the look of an art student about him: long, dirty-blond hair, painter's pants, and a D&D T-shirt. Britta's patron, Gary Templeton, is a short, slight boy with curly hair and pale blue eyes, dressed preppie. He squints at Drew with contempt. Blackwolf's "fashionista," Mitchell Ray-Harris, is a painfully slender young man with a long black ponytail, black clothes, and makeup. The anime fan, Byron Ross, has messy hair and a food-stained manga T-shirt. The others give him extra room on the bench. Joshua and Gwen flank Bradley. Tori makes sure Jenny/Vivian doesn't get loose and tips over some of the equipment, starting a fire. Blackwolf vaults the gallery railing. Sam intercepts her. Gary orders Britta to "Defend me!" She moves between him and the rail, but doesn't join the fight. Sam cuts Blackwolf's head off and her dust smells of rancid french fries. Wide, eyeliner-rimmed eyes meet Sam's. Mitchell face plants at her feet and begs for his life. Bradley pulls a gun on Joshua and threatens to call his father and bring down lawsuits on all of them. Joshua laughs and shoots him in the kneecaps. Drew blocks the doorway. Tori leads the questioning as she plays with the fire. Stupid, stupid boys!

Professor Otto Montano gave these five special students their summer project: to bring back the Kittens' souls and instill them into some physical form. K.C. carved the stone body for Gwen, but it seemed she had two sets of memories, the dominant one from this world, and a second set from Nazi-world. Gary breaks down and admits that Britta was originally a complex animatronic toy—"she was a sex doll, okay?" Britta is not pleased. Mitchell gibbers at Sam's feet, explaining how he'd made a homunculus out of Blackwolf's DNA, which he distilled from some hair he found in an abandoned house near campus. That was why she came back as a vampire. He dressed her 'nice and sexy' and gave her gloves like she asked for, but he really couldn't control her. Sam prods the rest of the story out. Earlier that night, Blackwolf killed Cora while Mitchell watched. Afterwards, she evaded him, again, and went to the Paradise Theater where she talked to Drew. Byron quietly asks what became of his robot. Drew brings in the pieces and Byron turns Kitty off. Japanese cursing fades to silence. As for Bradley the techno-necromancer, Joshua wants to shoot him in the head, but the others overrule him. Jenny's ghost has been following Sam around. If Bradley put Vivian's soul in Jenny Lu's body, then he can put Jenny's soul right back, and let Vivian's go free. On threat of Joshua, Bradley complies. Minutes later, Jenny Lu's eyes open. She has a splitting headache and a nasty concussion, but she's alive. Tori quenches the fire and takes Jenny to the campus infirmary. Drew demands K.C. and Gary release their controls over Britta and Gwen. K.C. chisels off the runes that made Gwen obey his commands. With a sigh, Gary re-programs Britta. Byron is resigned to get an "incomplete" on his project. It should have worked, but Kitty's soul was just too fundamentally damaged. Their summer project was very specific. The professor told them which souls to bring back, because they were "available," inside the corpse of the beast under the mountain. Sam groans. The demon isn't dead, just asleep. They'll have to tell the Bricklayers about this. Slayer Club has many questions for Professor Montano, but they want to tell their own faculty advisors first and get their support. Professor Gersham would be especially interested in Gwen-as-statue. From an academic standpoint, of course. If he gets too fresh, she still has her sword. Drew suggests that Bradley and Mitchell be turned over to Michael for trial and incarceration. Gary, K.C., and Byron, whose creations were completely artificial and didn't actually hurt anyone, can go free. Joshua argues that Bradley and Mitchell will just become political pawns, or be released as part of a prisoner exchange. He still wants to shoot Bradley. The others overrule him again. Jenny is restored, but Cora is dead. The best thing is to turn the perpetrators over to the authorities.

 

6.2 Old Man Jenkins
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Wednesday and Thursday, September 13th and 14th, 1995.
The Sacred Grounds is rocking to the Eco-goth beat of the "Hex Sisters," a trio in green and black leather and lace. The lead singer, Thorn, has black hair with red stripes. The keyboardist, Luna, has curly auburn hair; and the drummer, Dusk, is blonde with raccoon mascara. All three have prominent fangs and bumpy foreheads, but they're also sweating and flushed under the lights. Sam is quite sure that their "game face" is just make-up, but several members of the audience are vampires, and Sam's keeping an eye on them. The music goes quiet. Thorn raises her hands in invocation to "Nancy McNight, the First Witch of Solomon!" A cloud of smoke billows and a witchy silhouette descends from the ceiling. A scratchy, old-woman's voice demands retribution for how she was treated in life, "beginning with you!" the silhouette points at Drew, and one of the vampires standing behind him falls to dust. She points again, and a second vampire disintegrates. That's when the screaming starts and the audience stampedes.

Joshua convinces the band to follow Slayer Club down to the basement to avoid the crush. Once the Sacred Grounds empties, they return upstairs where the Hex Sisters peel off their latex foreheads and plastic teeth. The witchy figure is a mannequin suspended from the ceiling. The band denies that it's theirs, although they wish they'd thought of it; other than the scaring off the audience part, that is. Written on the back of the witch's neck is the name "Jenkins." When he touches it, Drew has a brief vision of being taken out of a box and sold to someone with gnarled hands, who pays with twenty-five two-dollar bills. When asked about the invocation, Thorn claims Nancy McKnight was a distant relative of hers. Sam can tell that Thorn—whose real name is Sally—does have a touch of magical talent. Ada tells about Nancy's life from her research on Solomon's history. If all the stories are true, Nancy McKnight had an exceedingly long life, with more than the usual eccentricities, leading to suspicion of dark powers or demonic association. Although she lived well after the time of the Salem witch-burnings, McNight was supposedly run out of town by a committee of prominent citizens and never heard from again. Her farmhouse still stands outside town and is a popular tourist spot around Halloween. Perhaps the coincidence of ancestry and location caused Thorn's invocation to work, or maybe the scene was a hoax perpetrated by this "Jenkins". It doesn't seem like something Pandora would do, but perhaps one of her relatives is in town. Slayer Club suggests the Hex Sisters not leave Solomon in case they have more questions. They're staying at the "Maroon Roof Inn" until their manager, Carl Ferguson of Wolfram & Hart's entertainment division, can arrange another gig for them.

After the Hex Sisters leave, a blue van screeches up in front of the coffee shop and a familiar figure tumbles out: Graham Diehl, sole survivor of the 1993 Solomon High soccer team. A buxom blonde wearing a snug purple dress and bright purple eye shadow hops down from the driver's seat, and a lanky young man with the beginnings of a ginger beard slides open the side door. Lastly, a sixteen-year old girl with a bobbed haircut climbs out, leading a Great Dane on a leash. Graham greets Slayer Club as long-lost friends and heartily approves of Tori's "smokin' hot!" new look. Tori flicks her lighter on and off with a smile. The blonde, named Violet, looks annoyed at this. The girl, Wendy, Graham's sister, is standoffish until Sam and Tori deny that they're really Graham's friends; classmates, yes, and occasionally rescuers, but not really friends. Wendy nods understandingly. Her parents asked her to keep an eye on her brother, and help him out if he should get in trouble. As if he ever doesn't. She introduces her canine friend Marmaduke, and then takes him for a walk. Ben's bloodshot eyes and case of munchies reveal his profession: junkie and sometime drug dealer. Graham also dabbles in dealing with some "associates" from Kazakhstan, where his parents are still stationed. While Graham and Ben fill up on Andrea Czarbach's brownies, Joshua steals their stash out of the van. Then Slayer Club ditches Graham and goes over to Blaire's. With some monetary grease and Slayer arm-twisting, they thoroughly ruin Blaire's night, but get the names of the vamps who were dusted at the Hex Sisters' performance: Adrian and Eve, members of the Order of Aurielius who arrived in town two nights ago and were staying at the Motel 6. As Sam leaves, one of the demon regulars twists the head off the vampire who talked. No one likes a squealer, and besides, he called himself "Vlad" and wore a cape. At the motel, Drew gets the manager to call up to Adrian and Eve's room, and notes the number. Joshua easily picks the lock. Searching the room, they find a photograph of a craggy-faced old man, wearing a wide-lapel trench coat, black shirt, pants, and combat boots, with a handful of amulets around his neck. His long gray hair is bound back and he appears hale, with a straight carriage and piercing stare. On the back is written "Jenkins, NYC" and a date within a week of Nikki Wood's death. Sam finds in a spiral notebook: "Usually hangs around the Slayer; Extremely elusive; Seems to know we're coming." Whoever Jenkins is, he's evidently no friend of the Order, and he likes dusting vampires, so that makes him a tentative ally, if Slayer Club can find him.

The next day between classes, Drew visits Pandora to show her the photo and ask what she knows about this Jenkins character. It turns out, his picture is featured in her Legends & Lore textbook, from several eras: a Civil War era daguerreotype, to similar paintings going back to the 1600s. "Old Man Jenkins" or "Old Man Parr" is described as a witness to history who is seen near places and times of historical significance. Sam goes to Professor Audley's office hours to find out more about Nancy McNight, about whom Audley has written a book. He's very pleased that Sam is "reading ahead" and waxes eloquent about his research. It's his belief, based on ship itineraries and manifests, that McNight traveled extensively in Europe, shipping home chemicals and equipment useful to both physicians and alchemists. He's skeptical about those who think there were actually two Nancy McNights, mother and daughter, to account for her unusually long life. Audley believes that, rather than consorting with demons or devils, McNight discovered an alchemical method of life extension and that on the night they "chased her out of town," the "good citizens" of Solomon actually killed her and destroyed any notes or samples she might have left. There is no proof of her death, but it is interesting that those citizens who raided McNight's home had abrupt shifts in their fortunes afterwards. Some, including a barrister named Clark, had a run of good luck and rise in community stature, while others succumbed to "hexes" of disease and bad luck. Some of their families died out entirely. Later that afternoon, near the Sacred Grounds, Joshua spots Eve and Adrian's car by its expired California plates. He ransacks the vehicle, taking away two sets of robes and ritual paraphernalia, including black candles, chalk, and vials of strangely colored liquid. Then he calls Samuel Kessler to come tow the car away. Sam, Drew, and Tori check out the costume shop. The cashier remembers the old guy with the $2 bills very well, but doesn't add much, except that he bought the mannequin two days ago. Outside the store, Drew notices two men in dark suits who seem to be watching Sam. Tori notices a third man in a beige trench coat who also doesn't let Sam out of his sight. Joshua follows the man in the beige trench, who leads him into a men's clothing store, and then ducks out the back in a different coat. Joshua isn't fooled and keeps following to an apartment building. The old man enters, but doesn't leave. The two suits follow Joshua, until one of them breaks off to follow the old man inside. Joshua leads the other suit into an ambush and frisks him at gunpoint. He's from Wolfram & Hart's Boston office, and claims that his partner is right now eliminating Mr. Jenkins. Joshua shoots him in the head, takes his weapon and ID, and returns to the apartment building, where he pulls the fire alarm. Once the building empties, Joshua sneaks inside and finds the second W&H suit, dead of a stab wound to the chest, lying in front of door #403. He takes this man's weapon and ID also and ducks out before the fire trucks arrive. The name on mailbox #403 is Sukharayev. Russian, or Kazakh? Maybe Graham's arrival in Solomon isn't a coincidence.

Slayer Club finds Wendy at the library, reading Euripides in the original Greek. She says that Graham and Violet had a fight, so he and Ben went to Peppermints, a dance club on the edge of town, to "find some more chicks." Wendy didn't want to go, so they dropped her off here. Joshua gives Wendy a card with the phone contact for his government associates. She's smart, young, pretty, grew up in Kazakhstan, and her parents put her in charge of keeping an eye on her brother and pulling him out of trouble, when he's dealing drugs for the Russian Mob? Darn right Joshua wants to recruit her! She already has a summer internship, but if that's too boring, he urges her to call the number for something more adventurous. Wendy says she'll think about it, but smiles when she says it. At Peppermints, Graham is half-drunk, and garrulous as long as Tori's asking the questions. Ben is confused over what happened to his stash. Joshua smirks. Like taking candy from a six-foot tall baby with bad teeth. Graham has a number for Sukharayev, but he already owes the man a lot of money. Slayer Club convinces him to set up another buy, and they'll go with him. The meet is set for O'Toole's parking lot. Sukharayev shows up with three armed goons. A rustling in the bushes reveals a giant, hairy figure—a Sasquatch! Sam decks the creature, but soon finds a zipper among the fur, and reveals Ben inside the costume. He'd hoped to scare the Russians into dropping the goods and running. Instead, Old Man Jenkins appears, stabs three of the Russians with a cavalry saber, and runs away. Drew chases him, and Sam chases them both, tackling the old man in a copse of trees between O'Toole's and an apartment complex. Four hooded vampires emerge from the trees and surround them. A sniper on a rooftop opens fire. And, if that weren't enough, in an upper window of the nearest building, an eldritch glow outlines a trio of mages, all pointing wands in their direction. Tori borrows a gun from Joshua and shoots the last Russian mobster, but he's already moving and her first bullet hits Graham in the buttocks. Her second shot hits the Russian between the eyes. Joshua mounts his motorcycle and rides toward the apartment building, getting as close as he can before shooting at the mages. Green ectoplasmic fingers race out from the wands, grasping towards Sam and Drew, but then suddenly are sucked back in. The magic backlash kills the mage-circle instantly and destroys the three-story building they were in. On his way back, Joshua shoots the sniper, who is also from Wolfram & Hart. The four vampires draw curved knives. Drew decapitates two and Sam stakes one. However, the fourth cuts the cord on Jenkins' protective amulet, releasing a flare of magic that weakens the old man like a mortal wound. Sam kills the last vamp and tries to re-tie the amulet, but Jenkins tells her, "Take it. You are the one who comes before. It's good you have the axe. Seek out the Guardians." He gasps, and vanishes to nothingness.

 

6.3 The Curious Case of Nancy McKnight
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Wednesday and Thursday, October 4th and 5th, 1995.
As the story goes, "it was a dark and stormy night." Hurricane Opal lashes Solomon with gale-force winds and driving rain. Up in High Acre Cemetery, Samantha Kessler still cuts a heroic figure in her black greatcoat as she searches for vampires to slay. Loyally beside her, Drew looks more like the Gordon's fisherman in bright yellow rain hat and slicker. A clawed hand emerges from a grave, thrashing in the mud. Sam reaches down and pulls the vampire out. It hisses "Slayer!" She stakes it and lets the dust wash from her hand. "Pathetic!" An opalescent shape bobs among the tombstones. Cora leads Sam and Drew under a mausoleum overhang to get out of the wet and talk. There's something in the air besides the hurricane. An ancient, powerful spirit is coming to Solomon, soon. Sam should watch out. Sam thanks Cora for the warning. In Drew's blind spot, directly behind him, a long-limbed, knobby humanoid figure emerges from a tomb and lumbers into the woods.

At the Foundry restaurant, Joshua leans on one elbow across a candlelit table from Sally McKnight, "Thorn" of the Hex Sisters. Her Eco-goth look with the red-and-black striped hair works surprisingly well with his moody anti-hero bit. They're talking and actually seem to enjoy each other's company. This is the first date Joshua has been on in a while where his companion wasn't cursed, or turned out to be a vampire. Up in the balcony, Tori's enjoying a meal out with her mother, Marilyn. It's the first time in a while they've been able to have some mother-daughter time without interruption, either. But the night is still young. Over creme brulee and tiramisu, there's a crash of breaking glass, and a seven-foot tall, naked humanoid leaps through the window, straight at Joshua and Sally. Patrons scream and run for the back door. Joshua throws a steak knife, which sticks in its shoulder, but doesn't seem to faze the creature. Sally hides under the table just as the creature swipes at her. The table flies in one direction. Sally flies in another, right through the kitchen door. Tori jumps down from the balcony onto an abandoned table, but mis-steps and sits down in a dish of pasta. Since he left his katana at home, Joshua tries shooting the creature, but the 9mm bullets don't faze it, either. Dodging the huge hands and kicking it in the legs to try and slow it down, Joshua grabs a pair of blacksmith's hammers off the wall (the Foundry's decor runs to ironworks) and clobbers it in the head, which stuns it for a moment. Tori grabs a candle off a table and shapes a rope of flame that she winds around the creature. It shrieks "McKnight!" Sally appears in the kitchen doorway with a book in her hands. She reads a spell from it, and the troll-creature collapses in a pile of greasy ash.

Marilyn beams with pride at how her daughter fought that monster. Of course, Joshua helped, and that spell did something, but Tori was the star! Never mind the pasta sauce on her skirt, it's a good excuse to go shopping tomorrow. But Sally is hurt and dazed about what happened. Marilyn offers to drive her to the hospital to get her broken wrist splinted. Joshua follows on his motorbike. On the way, Tori asks Sally about the book she used. The Hex Sisters' manager, from Wolfram & Hart's entertainment division, gave it to her. She's not sure where he got the book, or how she knew which page to read, but it seemed to be the right thing to do at the time. While Sally gets her wrist tended, Tori calls Sam and Drew at the Brew Pub and asks them to meet them at the hospital. They've just gotten cleaned up from their patrol, but when they hear that Wolfram & Hart is involved, they head right over.

When Drew touches Sally's book, he gets a strong vision of a candlelit room lined with shelves containing small wooden boxes labeled with the Latin names of herbs, glass bottles with body parts or small animals floating in them, pottery jars sealed with wax, and various tools, a mortar and pestle, alembic, and copper tubes, all neat and tidy. A well-organized laboratory. The person whose eyes he's seeing through is sitting at a table, writing in a journal with a quill pen. Her hands are small and soft, with ink stains and writer's calluses. Just as she finishes her entry, the door bursts open. Men crowd the doorway and gunfire smashes the bottles behind her. Drew wakes up in Sam's arms, since she caught him as he passed out. He thinks the woman was Nancy McKnight, "the first witch of Solomon" and that the posse who "chased her out of town" did indeed actually murder her.

The next morning, Joshua goes to the Orchards to check on Sally. Their date was interrupted, so he feels responsible for her. At first, she doesn't want to leave her room. Through the door, he can hear her talking, psyching herself up to go outside. "It's okay. I'll just be gone a little while. It'll be fine." She appears looking rumpled, like she hadn't gotten much sleep, with her hair tied up in a black bandana. Slayer Club meets at the Solomon library to do research on Nancy McKnight and the monster that smashed up the Foundry. The fact that it seems immune to bullets is worrying; but fire hurt it, so that's a plus. Sam sneaks in a bag of donuts and coffee from the Sacred Grounds for breakfast, and everyone hits the books. Drew flips through microfiche of the earliest newspapers he can find. Along with ads for corsets and various kinds of snake oil, he finds reports with sketches similar to the monster that Joshua and Tori fought. In the late 1700s, it was seen periodically outside town, and blamed for killing sheep and even taking a child. Joshua finds Professor Audley's original draft of his book, with more information about Nancy's life that didn't make it to the printers. She was born in 1662 in Danvers, Massachusetts. Her family fled the witch trials and settled in Solomon. When grown to womanhood, Nancy took over her father's import business, travelling to Europe and Asia to find medicinal herbs and chemicals. One of her contacts was Bela Varcoy, a Hungarian gentleman who later raised a boy named Joseph, who he claimed was Nancy McKnight's son. Sally shows them some papers that her manager gave her. A page of genealogical charts details her family's descent from that boy, Joseph, down to her. Joseph was born in 1768. Nancy was either banished from Solomon or killed in 1771, which would have made her 109 years old. According to Prof. Audley's book, most skeptics believe that there were actually two Nancy McKnights, mother and daughter, and Joseph was the original Nancy's grandson. Audley doesn't believe the two Nancy theory because there was no record of a daughter being born, either in America or Europe, and all written materials authored by "Nancy McKnight" have identical handwriting. Audley wrote that he believes Nancy wasn't a witch, but an alchemist, and that she found the proverbial "Philosopher's Stone," an alchemical method of extending life. When she was killed or banished, all her notes and equipment were burned, so they'll never know exactly what she discovered. But Sally has her journal, somehow preserved by Wolfram & Hart for such a time when it would be useful? Drew helps Sally study the book. Parts of it are in Latin and Aramaic, other parts in languages he doesn't know, but he finds a reference to the Codex Apocalyptica, which currently resides with Hartsdale in Jamaica. There are hand-drawn pictures of a monster like the one that attacked Sally and Joshua, and notes on how Nancy McKnight summoned it from the grave of a genetic giant buried in High Acre Cemetery. The lumpy covering was grave wax; very tough and waterproof. She mentions summoning several of them to work for her, doing manual labor on the farm. The last entries mention "cheating death" and four pages in an alphabet that Drew doesn't know, except for one word—Koryzoon.

All this information freaks Sally out. She's just a singer. She never meant to get into any of this occult business. That song about Nancy McKnight was just a wacky idea, you know? She didn't know it would work! But now, there are monsters after her, and the other thing. She tells Joshua that last night, she woke up and there was someone in her room. Someone who looked just like her, but older. She was chanting something over Sally's bed. It seemed like a dream, but in the morning, the woman was still there. That was who Joshua overheard her talking to. That's why she didn't want to leave.

If Nancy McKnight is back from the dead and summoning zombies again, then Slayer Club's taking the fight to her. When they arrive at the Orchards, the front desk clerk and several guests are dead. Sally's luggage has been ransacked, but there's no sign of Nancy. Would she go home? Slayer Club drives out to the McKnight farm on the edge of town. There, they find several more grave-wax zombies in the main house. Sam decapitates and Tori flambes them. While they are busy, a woman wearing an Orchards bathrobe runs downstairs and towards the door. She does bear a striking resemblance to Sally, except her hair is longer and light brown, and she isn't nursing a broken left wrist. Joshua fights Nancy, but she TK blasts him and gets away. He chases her to the river. A bridge spans the water, but Nancy jumps underneath it. Joshua doesn't hesitate, but jumps in after her. After a moment of catching up, Sam and Drew follow suit. Under the bridge is a culvert, which drains water down into a deep cave. An iron ladder set into the wall leads up to a series of caves under the farm, all pitch-dark and dangerous. Echoing footsteps show the way, as Joshua chases Nancy into the dark, with Sam and Drew on his heels.

Topside, Tori decides to stay with Sally, in case any more zombies come after her. They sit in her car, out of the rain, and listen to the radio. Slowly, Sally calms down. Unfortunately, there's another problem—that spell Nancy cast over her last night forged a magical connection between them, so Nancy McKnight's spirit can take over Sally McKnight's body. Just as Joshua catches up to her, Nancy does the switch. Rather than a fight, Joshua finds a sobbing "Nancy" who clings to him and begs him to save her. Meanwhile, "Sally" tries her TK blast on Tori. But Tori's Mars-sense tells her an attack is coming; she diverts the witch's arm, and the blast instead smashes the windshield. Tori tries to knock out "Sally" with a punch, but the witch's spirit flees back to its other body, and Tori hits Sally, instead. Almost instantly, Nancy is back, and jumps out the broken window and runs into one of the farm's outbuildings, down to a sub-basement with a long, dark stairwell down into the earth.

With Sam, Drew, and Joshua chasing Nancy from one direction, avoiding pits with zombies in the cave floor and fighting several more demons as they go, and Tori chasing Sally down the stairs from above, they all arrive in the same cavern at the same time. It's an enormous space, of which their small flashlights barely illuminate a fraction, but Nancy raises a lantern that glows with eldritch green light, showing what she came here for. The room is shaped as a perfect pentagon, with a pentagram engraved in the stone floor. The tunnel from the caverns lets into one corner, and the stairs from the farm building leads to another. In the opposite wall, there is a face: a giant, forty-foot tall, flat, reptilian face, with closed eye-slits and drooping barbells around the mouth. Tori screams and bolts back up the stairs. This reminder of death is just too much for her. Sam, Drew, and Joshua stare and swallow lumps in their throats. They all know what this face is. It looks like a carving in the rock, but it's not. This is the other end of the demon whose belly has a hole in it under the Brew Pub where Sam and Drew now live, several miles away.

Nancy raises her lantern and begins chanting. Drew shakes off the shock first, and notices that the carved pentagram in the floor leads to a groove, running directly towards the demon's mouth. And the floor is slightly tilted that way. Whether it's for blood, or what, he doesn't want to find out. In a deja vu moment, he lines up his crossbow and shoots the lantern out of Nancy's hand. Sam leaps toward the witch, axe raised, while as gently as possible, Joshua knocks out Sally to keep Nancy from switching with her again. Sam intends to knock Nancy out also, but with Slayer strength behind the Slayer's weapon, Nancy McKnight's head flies from her shoulders and her body slumps to the floor. From the caverns behind them, the remaining zombies wail at the death of their creator. Sam and Tori will go back to clear out the catacombs with fire later. The demon under Solomon's hill sleeps on. For now.

 

6.4 'Tis Better...
Written and directed by Jodi Roosenraad.
The events of this episode take place on Monday, October 30th and Tuesday, October 31st, 1995.
Mischief night in Solomon, Massachusetts means serious mischief, so Slayer Club splits up to do—or prevent—more damage. Joshua tracks the latest location of the floating Kitten Poker game to a warehouse next to the train station. Tori and Erik cover the bus depot to keep any vampires from slipping into town that way. Sam and Drew walk in Greenfields Cemetery, both patrolling and carrying flowers to plant on Sam's mother's grave. Fifteen years ago today, Irene Logan Kessler succumbed to ovarian cancer. Jacen Crowe—last seen summoning comic book characters last season—oblivious to all the vampires' activity tonight, is attending a showing of Dead and Loving It followed by Nosferatu at the Paradise Theater. Before they get to Mrs. Kessler's grave, Sam and Drew run into a giant, bone-plated beast that looks like a cross between a triceratops and a bulldozer. It's busily digging up graves with its long tusks, and eating the skeletons. The thing is so big that Sam calls in the cavalry via walkie-talkie. Everyone gathers at Greenfields as fast as they can get there, except Jacen who's just emerging from the dark theater, but including Michael, taking a welcome break from grading papers. After they destroy the demon, Mr. Tyler appears around the corner of a mausoleum. He applauds their fight, having summoned the demon to attract Sam and Drew to this place, and then demands restitution from Drew for losing the Amulet of Neperkin last spring. They had a deal, and Drew broke it. Drew protests that it wasn't his fault the amulet was drained before he could get it back, but Tyler points a wand at him. Sam steps between them and takes the blast instead of Drew. A ray of pink/gold light hits Sam in the chest and spreads out into a sphere, engulfing Slayer Club (and, oddly, Jacen) in its light.

Drew wakes up in a dorm room; it looks nothing like his, but it's full of his stuff. Drew just sighs—another alternate universe. Good news: his science fiction collection still contains books by Isaac Asimov and other Jewish authors, it's not Nazi World. Bad news: he isn't wearing a wedding ring. Weird news: the view out the window isn't Martense, it's MIT. That's going to make finding the others a lot harder. He checks his closet, hoping to find some of Sam's clothes, but all he finds is a preppie wardrobe he barely recognizes as his. He puts on the most unobjectionable thing he can find—an MIT sweatshirt and khakis and checks his class schedule. After all, this might be an alternate universe like Nazi-world that will go away when he fixes whatever brought him here; but it might be a parallel universe and he's just switched places with his alternate self, in which case it's important not to screw up each other's lives until he they can switch back. But all the schedule says for today is "Halloween Break." Halloween break? That explains the mostly-packed luggage on the floor. But where is he going? A quick search of his room doesn't turn up any airline tickets—or weapons. But what it does turn up is a picture of him and Stephie Newberry in their Solomon High graduation caps and gowns, with their arms around each other's shoulders. Just as the implications of that start to sink in, there's a knock at the door. Stephie. She gives him a quick kiss and asks if he's ready to leave for their weekend trip back to Solomon for Halloween Break. He carefully goes to grab his bag, wondering what to do about her. If Stephie has her Mesmerix powers, it will only be seconds before she realizes he's not her Drew, and only barely longer before she realizes that he might be working erase her universe in favor of an alternate where she's dead. He could never bring himself to hurt her, and her powers make her impossible to con, so what can he do? And she does have her powers. But, for some reason, she's not using them on him. It's going to be a long drive back to Solomon.

Speaking of Solomon, Joshua finds himself already there. Unfortunately, Solomon's county jail, on account of his stealing the deputy's police car and joyriding, drunk; just the kind of crime Solomon's finest can actually solve. His father bails him out, but says it's for the last time, and shows him a flyer for a military academy where Joshua is going to go, right after Halloween Break is over. That's a prospect Joshua would gladly exchange for a root canal, so he's got this weekend to find his way back to his universe, or he's in big trouble.

Tori is flying high over the Atlantic in a Wolfram & Hart private jet. On the table in front of her is a leather portfolio full of clothing designs, signed with Tori's initials. Judging by the other papers lying around her seat, she's just spent a year at the Sorbonne, studying fashion design. Not that that wouldn't be amazing, but she hasn't thought of doing that since junior high. Also, Tori discovers that her year-round tan is gone, and her hair is not highlighted, but jet-black as it was years ago, before she chose to become the Avatar of Mars. She can't sense any conflict in the air. She is no longer the Avatar, embodiment of war, fire, and the 4th planet. Then, who is? Or is anyone? When the plane lands at Solomon's airport, a uniformed demon with tiny horns holds a card with her name, and hands her into a limousine to drive her home, where both of her parents wait to greet her. Tori hasn't seen her father in years, so it's a wonderful surprise that he's there, and her parents are still wearing their wedding rings and seem happy.

Erik wakes up in his parents' basement, surrounded by dirty clothes mingling with congealed plates of food and overflowing ashtrays. Erik isn't sure that all the cigarette butts are tobacco, either. All around the walls stand canvases: finished paintings, and works in progress; dark, moody pieces, as if Hieronymus Bosch collaborated with Jackson Pollack. Depressing. The painting standing on his easel is a cemetery scene with a grave marked "Kessler." In the foreground are a red rose and a bunch of yellow feathers, and a watch like one of Dali's liquid timepieces. Time. Those images are important. Something about time bending, but he can't remember what it was; everything seems foggy. His mother calls downstairs, "Breakfast!"

Jacen wakes up in his own bed, with bacon and eggs aroma wafting in the air, and his dog Pickles, licking him on the face. Whoa! What's this? Pickles has been dead for years. He had bone cancer when Jacen was just a kid. But here he is. Same dog, just a bit more grizzled, and with a small gold disk imbedded in his skin at the back of his neck. Jacen recognizes some of the runes on the disk from his classes—bone, and health, and strength. Cool! He has no idea what is going on, or what happened to him, but strange things happen in Solomon. The last time something like this happened, well, not exactly like this, but weird, you know, like comic book characters coming to life, his teacher Mr. Sayier and these older kids from the college helped him out. Maybe he should go find them, and see what's what. But after breakfast.  And maybe a few rounds of fetch with Pickles.

Michael Saiyer doesn't 'wake up' per se, because he never sleeps, but suddenly finds himself face-down in a puddle, somewhere in a torch-lit tunnel, with someone poking him in the back with a gun. "Get up, you lazy djinn! The Slayer needs your help, so go help her!" The person holding the gun is Russell Barrows. Michael feels fishhooks in his mind, a sensation he hasn't felt in centuries: the order of his master, and he must obey. There are rough, iron bands around his wrists, magical bindings, and he's in his natural shape, half-man, half-whirlwind. Per orders, he moves. In a cave ahead, he finds a Slayer fighting a nest of serpentine demons with the Kessler Sword. But the sword is much too big for her to handle. It's not Samantha Kessler. It's Kelly Hargrove; the last-in-her-class student Elizabeth Bathory was going to sacrifice years ago when she was Dean of St. Germain's. If Kelly's the Slayer, what happened to Sam? And how did Michael get bound to anyone, let alone Russell Barrows?

Drew's drive back to Solomon with Stephie is both relaxing and terrifying. It's not just that this is the date with Stephie that he alwasy wanted and never had. It's everything. Stephie's still Mesmerix but, as in his world, the Solomon Slayers have gotten tired of crime fighting; Stephie's studying psychiatry so she can use her powers to help people. This Drew is going to a great school, with great prospects for the NASA career he's always wanted. He's got a beautiful, popular, long-term girlfriend with superpowers that aren't going to kill her. He has, in other words, a future. On the other hand, he might be here to destroy this universe and he's sitting next to a telepath who can pluck that thought out of his head with no effort at all. But she doesn't. And this world's Drew isn't that different from him; it's so, so easy to falll into the role of this Drew, and everything he does appears to seem completely natural to this Stephie. It seems like both forever and not nearly long enough before they arrive in Solomon, just in time to get a good spot to watch the start of the big Halloween Parade.

Drew offers to pick up some hot drinks while Stephie tracks down their friends (i.e., Marcy and Callie), and makes a bee-line to the Sacred Grounds. Fortunately, the others had the same idea. Sacred Grounds may still be a hippie hangout in this universe, but Tori, Joshua, Erik (who's recovered from his unaccustomed drug hangover to develop a sense of urgency about returning to the wife and son he doesn't have in this world), and even Jace are all there. But not Sam. In fact, there's no Sam Kessler in the phone book and no Kessler's Auto Body in the yellow pages. Drew realizes that he has to either ditch Stephie completely or get back before she gets suspicious enough to read his mind, so he leaves the others to continue their investigation. The rest of Slayer Club mingles though the parade crowd hoping to find someone they know. Erik is thrilled to run into Juanita until he realizes she's there with Cora; then he's still thrilled, but in a different way. That ends awkwardly, so there's two potentially-helpful mages who won't be. But they also find Kevin Vastarley, and he's more helpful. He doesn't know anything about dimensional travel, and neither do his parents, but he does know who might be able to help—the town's most powerful wizard, Mr. Tyler.

After an enjoyable afternoon at the Parade, Drew tells Stephie he needs to go meet up with Erik. Sure, Erik's an unemployed stoner who lives in his parents' basement, but Drew's been friends for their whole lives. And how is he ever going to get clean if his friends don't support him? Stephie is proud of him for being such a good friend... but not so proud she wants to come with, which is just fine with Drew. She'll stay with Marcy and Callie and then he'll rejoin them for dinner later. Drew tracks down the rest of Slayer Club and they head off to find Mr. Tyler. He's hosting a Halloween block party with is wife, the long-lost love he's spent years trying to recapture back in the real world... Irene Kessler????? Well, that certainly explains why there's no Sam in this world. Fortunately, Mr. Tyler's spell doesn't seem to have worked quite right and he doesn't appear to have any memory of their world. From Erik's description of the wand, he tentatively identifies the spell—the caster thinks of a great love that they've lost and the spell will transport them to an alternate universe where they still have it. And, indeed, everybody's recovered something they loved and lost—Mr. Tyler has Irene, Drew has Stephie, Jace has his dog, Tori has her family back together, Erik has his freedom from responsibility, and Joshua has seen Cora alive and happier than she ever was with him. To undo the spell, Mr. Tyler helpfully tells them, they need to assemble all those who were affected at the place and time the spell was cast, and perform a certain ritual. That means finding Michael. Fortunately, Mr. Tyler can help with that, too—Grant Barrows, his son, and their pet Slayer have an enslaved djinn; perhaps that's the one Slayer Clubis looking for? If they can liberate him, they'll need to head to Greenfields Cemetery near midnight to cast the spell. Mr. Tyler agrees to teach them the ritual, but extracts one promise— their spell isn't going to be the only thing going on at Greenfields tonight. No matter what they see, they must not interfere. Slayer Club promises, and Mr. Tyler tells them what they have to do.

The first thing they need to do is bust Michael out of of the Barrows's clutches. That could be a problem, since they have to go up against two mages and a Slayer without any of their heavy hitters—Sam doesn't exist in this world, Tori's lost her War powers, Erik doesn't have any of his magic items, and Michael might be fighting for the other side. But Drew has an idea about that. Now that they know it's a parallel universe, rather than an alternate, Drew can come clean to Stephie. And if she still has her powers, then Callie and Marcy must, too. While the rest of Slayer Club heads back to the Sacred Grounds, Drew heads off for his dinner date.

He's late and Stephie's irritated; he's been acting a little strange all day and she wants to know what's going on. She even peeks into his mind for a moment, before catching herself and apologizing. While always thought it would be hot to have a girlfriend who could read his mind, apparently it's not all it's cracked up to be, because Stephie and her Drew have strict rules about personal space. But now Drew wants her in his head, and she's more than happy to oblige. The contact leaves them both drained, especially Stephie as she struggles with his memories of a world where she's dead and he's married to somebody else. Drew apologizes for the deception, but is eager to enlist their aid; it's the chance to fight alongside Stephie that he's always wanted. But only Callie wants to do it; Marcy finds superheoring so four years ago, and even Stephie is reluctant. Drew finally manages to convince her and, out-numbered two to one, what can Marcy do but tag along?

Everybody meets up at the Sacred Grounds and the raid on the Barrows's house goes down at sunset. This proves to be fortuitous tiiming, as sunset on Halloween just happens to be when Grant has to renew the spell that binds Michael to his service for a year. Even with the superheroes, Slayer Club isn't really a match for Grant, Russell, and Kelly, but they manage to distract them long enough for the sun to sink below the horizon without the binding spell being renewed. Suddenly Michael is free! And pissed. The angry djinn makes short work of the Barrows and Grant and company are forced to flee. On a shelf with various other magical artifacts and looted archaeological treasures, Michael finds an urn containing the ashes of Shu, the Egyptian queen he loved 3,000 years ago. Michael says a few quiet words to Shu, who's gave he hasn't been able to visit in millennia, and then Slayer Club burns down the Barrows house, just like they did back in their universe four years before.

With everybody accounted for, it's off to Greenfields Cemetery. Marcy and Callie bow out, but Stephie tags along; after all, someone will need to take care of her Drew if he switches back into his own body in the middle of a cemetery at midnight. Drew leads the group to the spot where Irene Kessler's grave is in their world, and Erik leads the others in preparing the spell. While they're doing that, Drew sees a flickering light in the distance and he and Stephie go to investigate. They see Mr. Tyler and Irene watching a magical duel between Dean Bathory and a girl who looks just like Sam, except for being far more fashionably dressed. Stephie recognizes Janie Tyler, last in her class at St. Germaine's, now fighting for her life against Dean Bathory. The fight is evenly matched; Janie might not have been much of a student, but now she has something worth fighting for—in a pack on her back is a baby who looks disturbingly like Drake. The Tylers can't interfere and Drew promised he wouldn't; but, he points out, Stephie made no such promise. The fight is very close; a tiny mental distraction could make all the difference. Stephie balks; her powers are completely non-combat. Interfering would horribly dangerous and, anyway, what could she do? Drew remembers that first night at High Acre all those years ago, Sam stepping between monsters and people she barely knew... before she even knew she had powers. The other Drew may have a lifetime with a girl with superpowers, but he'll never reach their childhood dream of being married to a hero. From behind them, Tori yells that the spell's ready. Drew makes one last plea for Stephie to intervene. She's not sure. Maybe... There's an awkward goodbye and then Drew turns back toward his friends. But Stephie catchies his arm and pulls him back into the one real kiss he and Stelphie will ever have. It's goodbye, in more ways than one. But Tori's yelling that it's time to go and Drew runs back to his friends and the things they've all loved and kept.

 

6.5 Terra Tori
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Tuesday, October 31st, 1995.
Directly after Slayer Club arrive back at Greenfields Cemetery, Mr. Tyler takes his leave of Solomon, for the last time. Now that he's back home, he has his memories of his life with Irene in the parallel universe, and there will be no more attempts at vengeance, at least from him. As he walks off through the gravestones, all around Slayer Club appear Venusians, followers of the Venus orb. They are beautiful, androgynous figures armed with recurved bows and short swords. At the same time, a squad of Tori-ites, followers of Mars, appears, forming a defensive circle around Tori (and her friends, since they're standing right next to her). The Venusians accept a moment of parley, but demand to know what Tori is doing. The balance has shifted. The fires at the eternal altar of Mars are burning more than twice as high as they ever have. Tori has no idea what's going on. She certainly didn't mean to change anything, but she promises to find out what happened and redress the balance as soon as possible. The Venusians are grudgingly mollified (for now) and disappear back into the night. Tori dismisses her minions. This is a job for investigative subtlety. Not the Tori-ites' strength.

Sam offers to follow Tori home, in case something is there and she needs backup. When they arrive, Tori finds her mother in the living room, talking to... Tori! But it's the black-haired, pale-skinned, non-Mars enhanced version of Tori from the universe that Slayer club just quit. Now that she's here, Tori 2 discovers that she likes the power! She wants more, and in fact, she wants Tori out of the picture all together. She's contacted her father, brought in Wolfram & Hart goons, and is half way to convincing Tori's mother that there's an impostor who has magically taken her face, and wants to kill her! They confront each other and verbally spar. Marilyn retreats to her bedroom to take a headache pill, and let her daughter(s) work it out between themselves. Tori 2 displays her fashion superiority by sketching out new "Patrolling uniforms" for Slayer Club on a piece of newspaper; and you know, they're pretty good! Even Drew likes his, which is heroic looking enough to appeal to his love of comic books, but not so much that he looks like he's going to a gaming convention. Sam's and Joshua's outfits have a multitude of pockets for holding weapons and ammo. But Tori's choice for herself is a micro-mini and furry boots, a la Paris, 1964.

If Tori didn't want to kill Tori 2 before, she does now.

Tori 2 leaves the Clark house and takes Marilyn's car. Cue chase scene through downtown Solomon, culminating at the Sacred Grounds coffee shop. While Tori confronts her alternate self in the alley out back, Drew calls the Benandanti helpline, to ask their advice on how someone could take orb-power back from an alternate version of themselves. This is a situation that has never happened before. The Benandanti are stumped, but they call Melina, who knows more about the orbs than anyone else alive, to see what she says. It takes a few minutes for them to return his call.

Meanwhile, Tori can feel the ebb and flow of power between Tori 2 and herself. When one of them is aggressive, or thinking tactically, the power flows to that point naturally. So, she simply needs to out-Mars her alternate self and prove that she is the one true avatar. And kick her retro Prada-wearing butt!

Tori knows better than to wear couture on patrol. You can be stylish, and still not mess up your most expensive clothes—or shoes!—In the process.

Cue epic fight scene! In one corner, Tori, with permanent highlights in her hair, wearing sexy, yet sensible boots, black jeans, and a vintage leather bomber jacket for both warmth and protection, vs. Tori 2, wearing an outfit more appropriate to a Parisian boulevard than a Solomon, Massachusetts alley. And that's not her only mistake. Sam and the others stand back to witness the fight, but don't get involved; the Mars power requires the Toris to settle things between themselves. Tori 2 tries to use them as human shields, and that really pisses Tori off. She flicks her lighter and shapes the fire. Tori 2 tries to take the flame away, but doesn't have the years of practice that Tori has. With precise control, Tori engulfs her nemesis in fire, burning off only her outer clothing, leaving her smoldering, plain white undergarments. In shame and disgrace, Tori 2 loses all shreds of Mars power, as well as her dignity. The Wolfram & Hart goons fiinally show up, and Sam and the others chase them off before they can try to interfere. Speaking of late to the party, Drew gets a call back from Melina—single combat is the key to claiming Mars' power.

Well, they figured that out on their own.

Tori lends Tori 2 her jacket, and Slayer Club escorts her back to Greenfields, where Erik and Jace collaborate on a spell to send Tori 2 back to her own universe. It's not all bad for Tori 2—her stint in Tori's shoes has given her a taste of being a hero and a sense of what she's capable of. And, while all this was going on here, in the other universe Drew had been reconstituting the Solomon Slayers, who were, after all, Tori's clique before they were superheroes. With the proper leadership, maybe they could make difference in their world. The walls between the worlds are at their thinnest on Halloween night, and the spell is unexpectedly easy to accomplish. The only thing left on the ground is Tori's jacket, smelling of smoke.

 

6.6 Gears to Ground
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Saturday, November 11th and Sunday, November 12th, 1995.
It's an uncharacteristically sunny day for November in Solomon, Massachusetts. In the Martense College science quad, Sam and Tori play Frisbee while Drew sits under a tree with a book. Strolling through the quad, Professor Saiyer spots an odd sight on campus: Ada pushing a baby stroller. She looks very frazzled, and mutters a singsong chant under her breath. The baby, Drake, surrounded by dangling protective charms, is now to all appearances a plump three-year old, even though he was born only seven months ago. Ada spots Michael and signals for him to follow. He throws an illusory blinking arrow into Sam and Tori's game to get their attention, and offers Ada his cup of coffee. She finds a place in her chant where she can pause, and gratefully swallows the drink. The group goes to the Sacred Grounds, which is closed for the day. The shop is tricked out with wards and charms, either to protect the baby, or to protect everything else from the baby. Every table is covered with books: Erik's art textbooks, Ada's Watcher tomes, and also some children's books, like Where the Wild Things Are. Drake's mental development is even more advanced than his physical age, and he dives in to the tomes, flipping pages to the most "funny" (i.e., hideous) monsters he can find.

Ada desperately needs a break. Erik and Juanita discovered something apocalyptic in Texas that they had to go take care of immediately, and the best person they could think of to baby-sit their offspring was the Watcher. Sam and Tori help distract the little guy while Ada goes to take a nap in her office. One of Erik's art books has copies of paintings from a medieval grimoire called "The Book of the Guardian." One features a short-haired blonde woman wearing dark blue trousers and a blue-and-black checked shirt, fighting a giant, lizard-like demon. It's labeled "The Death of Koryzoon"—the demon that sleeps under Solomon's hill. A couple pages later, another Sam-lookalike stands beside a woman with long, silver-white hair. Between them they're holding a weapon identical to Sam's axe. Drake says the white-haired woman is a "Guardian" and that she's "coming here soon." A third picture catches Michael's eye, and he has to sit down for a moment as memories come rushing back. In a style more like Erik's comic art, Sam, Tori, Drew, and Michael are drawn battling a tidal wave of geometric shapes. Drake is proud of his artwork, and points out the triangles and squares. Michael's arms are flung wide, protecting a female figure wearing a cloche hat with an ornament of a circle surrounded by teeth, or cogs.

Flashback: 1920's New York. A much younger-looking version of Michael is shackled in irons and dragged before a barrel-chested, red-skinned demon, wearing a pinstriped zoot suit. Hanging on the demon's arm is a lovely, dark-haired young woman in a red flapper dress and Louise Brooks bob, chewing gum. She's wearing a cloche hat with a pin shaped like a piece of clockwork. Michael catches her eye before he's dragged off to a locked room, to await execution for "messing in the Boss's business." The woman, Etta Bly, sneaks into his cell. Michael appeals to her for help, and she leaves. In the next room, she pulls out her trusty "Wonderbuss" (a sort of blunderbuss that shoots various unpredictable magical effects) and shoots her boss through the wishbone. Michael and Etta escape New York together and share a kiss, with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

As Michael finishes his story, a wave of energy, first warm, then cold, passes through the Sacred Grounds. The sprawled books are suddenly neat and tidy and arranged alphabetically. The shelf of coffee tins behind the counter and the bakery display are dust and crumb-free. Even their hair and clothing are spotless and perfect. Ada emerges from her office demanding, "what happened?" Michael borrows Ada's computer to check his mystical chat rooms, while the others go outside to ask the neighbors. Everyone's commenting on the sudden wave of cleanliness and order that swept northward through downtown; and suddenly, the sun is setting. Six hours went by in the blink of an eye. Dark clouds mass on the horizon. There's going to be a storm tonight.

Michael's contacts give negative reports from the rest of the state. It seems the wave of neatness is confined to Solomon. Having had a rest, Ada again takes responsibility for watching Drake so Slayer Club can investigate the phenomenon. They get into Sam's Jeep and drive north. Halfway to Martense, Drew spots something flying in an alley: a three-foot-wide granite-colored sphere with feathered wings, skinny arms, big bulging eyes, and a wide mouth. Sam pulls over and attempts to speak to it. The creature makes a clattering sound, like Morse code, and a glowing portal opens and closes. It disappears too quickly to follow. Slayer Club looks around the alley for anything it might have left, and another dimensional portal opens behind them. Eleven more spheres emerge, armed with long spears, led by a quadruped rectangle carrying a clockwork crossbow. The strange creatures arrange themselves into three ranks of four and march to attack. Sam counters their orderly movements by jumping over the first two ranks to land directly beside the leader. Michael, Tori, and Drew smash the first row of creatures. Silvery oil and clockwork gears spew when they die and vanish back to their home dimension. Sam cracks the rectangle down the middle with her axe. It falls apart and the rest of the spheres fly up through escape portals. From his gaming experience, Drew identifies them, or something like them, as D&D monsters called Modrons. But in D&D they're flesh and blood, not rock and gears. It's like someone made golems of Modrons, but why?

Unfortunately, the expert on golems, Dr. Gersham, is on sabbatical this year. Slayer Club continues toward campus. One by one, the streetlights fizz out and a bulletin goes out over the radio: "People of Solomon, turn over the heart gear of Galactus Prime and no one will be harmed!" It repeats, giving a precise number of seconds before the truce is rescinded and the Modrons attack anyone who is in their way. Drew adds up seventeen hours and fifteen minutes, exactly twenty-four hours from the moment the Modrons arrived in Solomon, minus the six hours it took them to clean up the town. The Modrons surround Martense College with ranks on ranks of spheres, cubes, hexagons, octagons, and even one dodecahedron, the general who is directing the army. Although the college's wards keep them out, they swarm on the ground, fly in the air to a height of a low-flying plane, and even crawl down in the witch tunnels. Sam and Tori talk to the leader and convince it to let them through to search the campus. After all, Martense is their school, and they can probably find the heart gear more quickly than the Modrons searching through everything, even in a grid search pattern.

In the library, Slayer Club finds a book with a picture of the heart gear. It does match the picture Drake drew in Erik's book, and Michael's memories. A thief stole it from the Modrons, centuries ago, and it's passed from hand to hand ever since, giving its owners vaguely described powers and greatly lengthened lives. Sam uses the book to focus a seeker spell, and sure enough, the gear is on campus, in the basement of the Philosophy building. They hurry there and find it, still pinned to the hat worn by the ever-lovely Etta Bly, who is trying to find a secret tunnel out of the school, which used to be here, somewhere. When she sees Michael, she stops searching and they kiss, but decide to catch up on the last seventy years later. There's the crux of the problem: the Modrons outside want their heart gear back. Etta needs it to keep on living. If she gives it to them, she will instantly be aged ninety-five years, and surely die. Sam won't force her to give it up, but they have to convince the Modrons that it is no longer in Solomon, so they will leave and search elsewhere. They are extremely logical creatures, as you would expect of living geometries, so it might take them another seventy years to find it again; but, if they suspect Slayer Club of helping smuggle the gear through their lines, they'll consider that a violation of the truce and may take their revenge on Solomon.

Drew has an idea that just might work, but they need some time to set up some magic. They have a little over fifteen hours left.

As the deadline approaches, Sam Kessler drags Etta Bly, kicking and screaming, out to the army of Modrons. Her friends follow in a cordon, making sure no humans are nearby to get caught in the crossfire. Etta swears they will never take her alive, and throws a flash grenade (summoned by Michael from Slayer Club's arsenal at the Brew Pub) at the line of Modrons. The blinding light and smoke covers her for a moment as she cuts a glowing line in the air with an athame and chants a spell in Aramaic (there are seventeen words for 'dimensional portal' in that language; a few of them work here). Sam makes a show of catching her again, but Etta blasts her with a magic beam, which knocks Sam back on her butt. With a final rude gesture to the Modrons, Etta disappears through a dimensional doorway, and closes it behind her.

On the other side of the door, amid heat and sulfurous smoke, Etta triumphantly flashes a pin that Tori gave her. Acknowledging the token, three red-skinned Tori-ites escort Etta to the palace of brass that is Tori's base of operations in the hell dimension that her minions are conquering for her. Etta can live there quite comfortably, although Tori figures she'll probably steal as many valuables that were left there by the previous owner as she can smuggle out before she gets bored and leaves. Now that Etta knows where Michael lives, she might pay him a visit sometime. But that is an adventure for another day.

Back in Solomon, the Modrons are very upset that their goal was so close, and vanished. But they are patient creatures. They will search again, and find the heart gear again, no matter how long it takes. The General Dodecahedron admits that Slayer Club did honor the letter of their agreement in bringing the heart gear to them. It cannot be their fault that the woman escaped. Can it?

Since the heart gear is no longer in Solomon, or on Earth, the Modrons open their own portals and vanish back to their own home dimension.

 

6.7 Working Stiff
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on the night of Monday, November 20th, 1995.
Ever since Halloween's adventure in an alternate-dimension Solomon, Jacen Crowe has been training in magic with Professor Saiyer, and occasionally joining Slayer Club on patrol. Tonight, Sam, Drew, Tori, Jacen, and Michael are in Rosehill Cemetery. With its new age ambiance and lack of mausoleums, the undead don't often hang out here. But there are several new interments that Sam wants to check out, just in case. While scouting, Jacen spots a pair of legs sticking out from behind a tombstone. Not vampire legs; they belong to a middle-aged man wearing work boots, flannel shirt, and a jacket with a Rosehill logo on it. The caretaker is quite dead, his body frozen like a statue, lying on his back, arms curved upward, and his lips puckered like a kiss. His pants are puddled around his ankles, and all parts of him are as stiff as a board. Sam does her best to ignore his state of undress as she checks his neck for bite marks. There are none.

Watching the cemetery's perimeter, Drew spots something moving in the shrubbery. He signals the others and gives chase. Across the fence is a suburban neighborhood. Drew hears an animal howl, quickly cut off. Then, he sees an amorphous, semi-humanoid form of living sewage eating the remains of someone's dog. Drew levels his crossbow and shoots the monster. The bolt passes right through, but gets its attention. With a hideous shriek, the thing opens its "mouth" wider than would seem possible. Half-digested pieces of Rover fly out and slime Drew. Sam throws holy water at the sewage monster and it sizzles. Michael summons a bottle of lighter fluid and douses it. Tori flicks her lighter and throws a rope of fire around the monster. There's a stench of burning excrement and howls loud enough to wake the neighborhood. The nasty thing roils and burns, and finally explodes. Everyone gets filth on them; Drew gets another face full.

Everyone together now: Eeewww!

Before the neighbors come investigate, everyone runs back to the cemetery. There, they spot two young women, one holding a sword, the other a video camera, obviously filming the fight. Both make snide comments about "the current Slayer" (she's so butch!) and Solomon in general (so hokey!). Sam confronts them. Michael makes a tiny gesture and places a black spot on the camera lens, blocking the picture while Slayer Club and the two girls size each other up. The one with the sword identifies herself as "Elena Rodriguez, future Slayer" from San Antonio. But Sam doesn't recognize her from her dreams. Her friend with the camera is Nan Castello. Elena's Watcher, Allen Hathaway, brought them to Solomon specifically to meet the current Slayer, "who's supposed to be really old." Sam and Michael share a glance and a smile. What's old? Tori approves of Elena's Spanish steel rapier as the right weight for her size and strength. Jacen thinks both girls are hot, but is more attracted to blonde Nan. Unfortunately, he smells like a sewer right now. That's really crimping his style, but Jacen gives her his phone number anyway. Elena asks Sam what she's going to do about the dead guy. "Call the morgue. We can't do anything for him now, except maybe cover him up." Elena also expects Sam will go to a "post-patrol debriefing" with her Watcher. But Sam has more immediate plans involving a long shower and a tomato-juice bath for Drew. It works for skunk stink. It might work on this.

Everyone goes their separate ways. Elena and Nan have their own car. Michael clears himself of any traces of sewer muck and gives Jacen a lift to his parents' house, instead of going back to St. Germain's. There are girls at St. Germain's; Jacen can't show up reeking of sewage if he wants any hope of ever dating any of them. To explain the smell, Michael tells Jacen's father a story of how Jacen kindly helped a fellow student who got sick on a field trip.  Mr. Crowe offers Michael a beer, which he politely declines, and they watch Monday night football together while Jacen showers and gets a snack.

Sam covers her Jeep's seats with camping tarps and drives Drew and Tori to the Brew Pub. Tori has a change of clothes and a bottle of baby shampoo, which doubles as body wash, here for after-training cleanup, so she uses them now. Once clean, she "purifies" their soiled clothing until it is ash. Sam douses Drew in tomato juice and then hands him a lavender-scented soap her father gave her for Christmas. Never been opened. Drew comes out of the bathroom scrubbed pink, smelling of tomatoes, lavender, and sewage. An infernal reek isn't going away for mere Christmas soap. So, on their way back to the Sacred Grounds, they stop by Martense to find Pandora, teen queen of all things magically useful.

Pandora is in her room studying with headphones on while her roommate blasts a boombox. When Sam opens the door, Drew's stench gets everyone's attention. Pandora drags Drew into the girl's bathroom, after chasing two other girls out, and casts a spell, cutting a fresh orange and squeezing the juice at him. It stings his eyes, but Drew doesn't care. He's ready to let Tori set him on fire, if that would help. Pandora's spell cuts the stench until it's just a whiff of sulfur. Not perfect, but it's livable now. They thank Pandora for the help, and Sam, Drew and Tori continue on to the Sacred Grounds.

Just down the street, Sherriff Lee is giving an "on the scene" interview to a local TV news crew. At least, he's trying to, but Marcy and Callie are there in their Solomon Slayers costumes, taking all the attention. Jonathan is with them, posing in a domino mask and cape, and Elena and Nan are capturing the scene with her video camera. Another stiff body was found nearby. Mr. Xavier, the coroner, is wrestling it into a hearse. Part of the draping falls off, and it proves to be the local video store clerk. His arms are raised, like he's shielding his head and cowering in fear. Completely petrified. Sherriff Lee deplores the state of "kids these days" and "drug culture." According to him, a bad batch of something came into Solomon, and ten people have died from it.

Inside the Sacred Grounds, Ada sits at one of the tables, her face a mask of British stiff-upper-lip covering raw fury, her hands clenched in her lap. The source of her discomfort is striding up and down, waving a finger in the air. The presence of tweed points to this being Allen Hathaway, Elena's Watcher. When Sam comes in, he points the finger at her. "You are tardy, young lady." Sam stares at him, then Ada, who shrugs minutely, then back at him. "Would you prefer I came right over, without taking a shower, after fighting a crap-demon, which exploded all over us?" That takes the Watcher aback, but not for long. He pooh-poohs Drew and Tori's presence when Sam introduces her best friend and her husband, with extra emphasis. Then, Michael arrives. "Ah, yes. The one who has been doing Ada's job for her." Sam finds herself in the strange position of defending Ada. While she's verbally sparring with the Watcher, Drew spots his satchel on the floor, bulging enticingly with books. Drew catches Sam's eye, and they communicate without saying a word. She turns her shoulder and pointedly asks Ada about the trail of petrified bodies. Ignoring Hathaway, as Sam suspected, infuriates him. Ada pulls out a large map of Solomon and together, they start plotting the locations and times the bodies were found. Hathaway tries to insert himself back into the discussion, which leaves his satchel completely unattended.

Unfortunately, because of the extreme rigor, time of death is just a guess, but the first body was found this morning, when a bellhop at the 1842 Inn discovered one of the cooks frozen over her baking. The croissants were saved, but the cook was a goner. There were two at the mall: a clerk at the "Extras and Stuff" kitschy jewelry store, and one of the janitors. Nothing was stolen, so the alarms didn't go off, and the janitor was just assumed to be taking a nap, standing up, leaning on his broom, until the broom slipped and he fell over. Another one was a student at St. Germain's. While Sam and the Watchers pore over the map, Drew slips into the men's room with Hathaway's satchel to peruse the books in private.

There's nothing much of interest in Hathaway's books, but the fact that at least half of the bodies have shown up in places where Hathaway and his charges have been is just too much for Drew's suspicious nature. And when he steps back into the room, he founds the others clustered around the TV—another body has been found downtown. Drew suggests that the others check out the latest crime scene, while he hits the Martense library and sees whether he can find a connection between the sites. He suggests Elena accompany him so that he can show her a real, high-quality occult library. As soon as they're away, though, he heads, not for Martense, but for the 1842 Inn. On the way over, he gives the Potential Story an earfull on the "real story" behind the Watchers—the Cruciamentium, their lack of consideration for the health of their charges, their general unhelpfulness, etc. By the time they arrive at the inn, Elena has a lot to think about. But a thorough search of the hotel rooms turns up nothing incriminating, although Drew pockets a couple books from Hathaway's luggage and encourages Elena to do the same.

From his house, Jacen bicycles back to his dorm, through the secret entrance in the hedge that Pandora showed him last year. His roommates are watching the local news on a tiny TV. They're watching the story about the body found downtown, but mostly they're checking out the body on Marcy Lee, and also Callie, although seven-foot tall girls are just intimidating, and she is so obviously dating the dude in the cape. Jacen sees Nan on TV, and the rest of Slayer Club in the background. What's he doing here? There's serious investigating, and impressing young hotties, to be done! Jacen evades the RAs and goes down to the front gate where one of the "stiffs" was found a few hours ago. Jacen gets close enough to the chalk outline to see it's bizarrely contorted, but if you look at it from a certain angle, and squint, and imagine it in 3-D, it's almost as if the victim's arms were shrugging, palms up, and his head tilted to one side. One of the teachers collars Jacen and sends him back to his dorm, but he doesn't stay there. He hops on his bicycle, back out through the corner of the hedge where it doesn't quite meet, and pedals down to the Sacred Grounds.

By the time he gets there, Drew and Elena are back and Jacen spots Nan and Elena and pauses to chat them up again. Since he no longer reeks of sewer and isn't hampered by "the old folks," he's much more cool this time. Nan seems friendly and lets him look at her camera. She even gives him a pinch on the tush, somehow, even though she was standing in front of him. Or maybe it was Elena who pinched him? Maybe they both like him! Jacen can't believe his luck. When Marcy and Callie leave, the TV crews pack up, so Elena, Nan, and Jacen go inside to get coffee. They look at the map full of pins marking the places people have died, and Elena mentions that they're staying at the 1842 Inn, and they were at the mall that morning, too. Drew notices something strange about Jonathan. Back at work behind the counter, he keeps making cups of coffee, but nobody is taking them. Then, he grimaces, makes a fist, and—freezes—for just a moment, before banging his fist on the counter and grabbing two of the coffees to pour them out. Drew asks him, "Who are those for?" Jonathan waves, "The blonde girl, with the tail, over there. She keeps ordering precisely four ounces of cappuccino, half-inch of foam, sprinkle of cinnamon, no, chocolate, no, nutmeg, but then she doesn't drink them." Jonathan is extremely frustrated. Drew looks all around, but he doesn't see anything. Taking a deep breath, he touches the rim of the last coffee cup.

Sam catches Drew before he can hit the floor. When he wakes up, he whispers the vision that he saw: something is here, in this room. The thing that killed all those people feasts on strong emotions, sucking them out until the body goes completely stiff. Frustration, fear, lust, confusion, boredom. It's been following Elena and Nan around all day, invisible. It came with them from San Antonio. It tried to kill Jonathan just now, but Jonathan's dubious power as "Whipping Boy" makes him neigh invulnerable.

Sam looks out of the corner of her eyes and just barely discerns a purplish shimmer hovering beside Elena. The Watchers are oblivious. She has to get Elena away from that thing, and figure out a way to fight it. Sam offers to show the Potential Slayer their training room in the basement. Hathaway thinks this is a capital idea, so Sam and Tori take Elena and Nan downstairs to ostensibly do some sparring. While Nan and Tori face off, Jacen borrows Nan's camera. Through the lens, he catches a glimpse of a purple-scaled demon with a long tail and claws, whose face looks like Nan's. He points out where it is, and Sam corners the demon on the stairs. Nan suddenly reveals much more fencing ability than she's shown before, and nearly catches Tori off guard. But not quite. Michael bars the upper door to protect the Watchers, and then sprays the fire extinguisher, covering both Sam and the demon, making it visible. Sam cuts the purple demon in half, and Nan falls unconscious.

The answer lies, partly, in Allen Hathaway's books. Drew finds a description of a demon of two phases—one solid and appearing human, the other, intangible, but feeding off of human life force. Neither can completely die without the other, but if the intangible half is killed, the human half is incapacitated until the intangible part re-grows to full strength. That's exactly what happened here. Elena's best friend was a demon, and neither she, nor her Watcher ever noticed. Michael is incensed by Hathaway's callous lack of attention to his charge, and the world around him, and tells him, in so many words, that he is an idiot. Hathaway tries to puff himself up once more, "by the authority of the Watcher's Council..." but Michael roars back "I am a Templar! If you want to get into a pissing match of secret societies, we have a few centuries on you." Then he pulls out a glove—a mailed gauntlet—from his pocket and slaps Hathaway across the face. Hathaway recognizes the challenge, and that he is outmatched, as all of Slayer Club, and Ada, stands beside Michael, against him. Hathaway swallows his pride at last. Elena, in tears, asks if they can do anything to help Nan. They need to find out more about this type of demon. Sam stays with Elena. Jacen races back to St. Germain's to raid—or research—in their library. Drew and Tori do the same at Martense. Michael makes a phone call to his associates in Jerusalem. Sam also calls Father Leoni, to ask if he could perform an exorcism. Jacen finds the proper tome in St. Germain's Restricted Section, leaves a note, and races back to the Sacred Grounds with it. As the book explains, the two halves of the demon can't be separated, and if the evil half is exorcised, then the whole dies. So, Sam calls off the priest, who is disappointed. Instead, they have to do a ritual to combine the two halves into one whole, but it can only be done while the invisible part is re-growing, after being killed. So, they have a limited window of opportunity. Slayer Club gathers the required items for the ritual, and Jacen and Sam perform it.

Nan's eyes open, and her body convulses as her alter ego flows into her, staining her skin bright purple, her hair lavender, and her eyes deep red. She doesn't grow a tail or scales, but when she wakes up, she's no longer quite human. She remembers everything her other half did, but she had no control over it. All she could do was watch and record through her camera. If Nan was an accomplice to murder, she was unwilling. Sam and Jacen can tell her sincerity with their Sight, but the Watchers are skeptical. Hathaway tries to make Elena renounce Nan and go back to San Antonio with him. Elena won't abandon her best friend, just because Nan's a demon. Part of her was evil, but she's not anymore. She's more human than ever, capable of choosing evil or good actions. But, she doesn't look human and returning to San Antonio seems out of the question. Michael offers to introduce the girls to his colleagues at the Temple of Jerusalem. It would be a good fit for Nan, and Elena wouldn't be the first Potential Slayer he'd sent there, either. They confer on what to do. Up until now, Elena's possible destiny has dominated both of their lives. But now, Nan's dual nature could determine their course. Elena agrees. Nan has always stood by her side. Now, it's her turn. Michael returns Nan's videotape from her camera and suggests that she either destroy it, or keep it very safe. Hathaway is crestfallen. He will be shamed at the next Council meeting for losing his Potential Slayer to a rival organization, and missing the signs of this demon so close to them. Plus, leaving his Potential Slayer alone with Drew can't be a good career move. But he won't force Elena to do what she doesn't wish to do. Hathaway returns to San Antonio to take stock of his life, while Michael, Elena, and Nan board a plane for Israel.

 

6.8 Science Faction
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on the night of Friday, December 1st, 1995.
Martense Campus is plastered with posters advertising Solomon's first-ever science & technology conference, "TeslaCon '95". Three students emerge from the Physics building, new faces: Carsen Ramsey is tall and thin, with curling sandy hair and glasses. She's fiddling with a brand-new Palm Pilot and lugging a large backpack filled with textbooks and #2 pencils. Sofi Eklund is shorter, with a shiny, black bob and heavy makeup. Harold Irwin has messy blond hair and wears a Buzz Lightyear t-shirt. (Toy Story came out last week.) The trio walks towards St. Hubert's dorm, which was Slayer Club's home last year. Someone has stuck nuclear and biological waste stickers on the door to Erik's former room. From Tori's former room a young woman is screaming along to Pink Floyd. Harold opens the door to Mari's former room. Sofi shares Juanita and Marcy's room with a girl named Jennifer Delaney. Carsen climbs all the way up to the tower room (formerly Xiu Mei Chen's aerie) and sets her backpack down with a sigh of relief. Lying on each of their beds is a thick, ivory envelope with dark red letterhead of the Promethean Society: invitations to a special demonstration at the conference tonight. "Guaranteed to change your view of the world forever!"

Back at the physics building, Drew Killian emerges into the winter afternoon. Erik Sorensen, his hair slightly scorched from alchemy class, and Samantha Kessler meet Drew in the quad and they walk to the dining hall for lunch. Erik and Sam have classes until 4:00, but Drew is free for the day. He's beyond excited about the conference. Can't stop talking about it. Sam will go with him, of course, although the techy stuff isn't really her thing. Erik wants to try the "Virtual Reality" games and see how they stack up against the magical VR world they encountered last year. Across campus at the stables, Tori Clark looks up and sniffs the air. Ozone. The hairs on her neck stand up; Mars-instincts on high alert. She wonders if someone at the conference is building a high-tech weapon of some kind. Drew has always wanted an orbital death ray. That would be really cool.

At St. Germain's boarding school, Jacen Crowe bravely struggles to keep his eyes open during potions class. Theory of magical emulsions. Boring beyond words. Professor Flipwit's droning voice is better than a sleeping potion. When the teacher announces that there will be a field trip to the conference tonight, Jacen nearly misses it, but his classmates' cheering wakes him up. They'll be going to hear the keynote speaker—William Gibson—although Jace is one of the few who's actually read "Neuromancer."

Eight o'clock, hundreds of Martense students, many in costumes, cram into the atrium of the Franklin Science Center. Neon lights line all the windows. One wall has projection of a game of Tetris. On either side of the atrium, VR rigs are set up with areas roped off for the players. Drew and Erik join lines of students waiting for their chance to try the game. Bulbous goggles and cumbersome suits are connected to banks of computers, designed to give a full-body impression of shooting polygonal pterodactyls with laser guns. When hit, the pterodactyls explode into rainbow-hued pixels. Cool enough, but nothing like the full-color interactive VR world that Erik and Drew experienced last year, or the real pterodactyl from Tori's demon-dimension. Sam and Tori keep to the edge of the room, but not to join the games. They gaze out over the crowd—Tori standing on the stairs to do so. Sam spots a flashy young man in a 1950's jacket leading a group of Martense students upstairs to the laboratories. Sam's not the best judge of fashion, but her Slayer-sense tingles. Tori agrees. That outfit is just wrong on so many levels. So they follow in time to hear the end of his speech about "new scientific horizons, to expand your senses beyond the ordinary!"

In the laboratory, Severin, the 50's dropout, displays a large flask of swirling, neon-green fluid "Fnord Goo!" and takes a volunteer to try it. Roger drinks some, and pukes. Severin takes another volunteer: Carsen, and smears the goo in her eyes. It burns! Her eyes water and rainbow lights swim through her vision. Painful, but trippy! Severin is just about to smear more goo into Sofi's eyes, when Sam kicks down the door. Sam and Tori casually behead two of the vampire goons to get to Severin, but he runs out the back of the lab. One vamp grabs Carsen and slings her over its shoulder. Two others grab Sofi and Roger, and they all run. In the middle of her vampire's back, Carsen sees a red spot, like a target. "Stab me." It seems to say. So, she stabs the red dot with one of her trusty #2 pencils and pierces the minion's heart. It falls to dust, dropping her. Sam keeps Carsen from falling off the catwalk, but the others get away. The girls pick up Drew and Erik coming out of the VR game. Jacen catches up to Slayer Club in the lobby. The speeches were boring, so he ditched his class to look for something more exciting to do. Hunting vampires is exciting, and Carsen looks just like his fantasy of a 'maiden in distress'. Not that she needs saving.

Outside of Franklin Hall, Slayer Club finds seven Jovians, followers of Jupiter, ringing the building. Jupiter is to lightning, as Mars is to fire. Ozone and electricity crackles around them. Tori's Mars-sense screams that they are a threat, like a gathering storm. She demands to know why they're in Solomon, on her territory. But they're just here to enjoy the conference. They have no other agenda than promoting electricity and the technology that goes with it. "Have you tried shooting the pterodactyl?" Slayer Club leaves them in peace.

Back at St. Hubert's, Carsen gets Sofi's hairbrush for Sam to do her seeker spell. She's very close. Fired by a sense of urgency, Sam doesn't wait to arm up, but heads right across campus to a robotics lab. There are rows of computers with glassy-eyed students chained to chairs. All the monitors show Drake, asleep in his crib. A male vampire grad student in a lab coat with a clipboard oversees the project. A young witch dressed for a rave, with rainbow ponytails and a necklace of glow-sticks, guards the entrance. When Sam kicks down this reinforced door, it takes a few blows. The grad student activates a giant robot to engage Slayer Club while he tries to escape. Carsen grabs one of the witch's glow-sticks, which is full of potion that smells like lemons and cordite. On a trippy-vision inspired hunch, she drinks it. The potion gives Carsen a one-shot magic blast, which is powerful enough to destroy the robot and set fire to the lab. Flying shrapnel kills the grad student. Sam breaks all the students' chains and lets them free. Why they were forced to watch Drake, no one knows. All the computers and filing cabinets are burned up in the explosion, but the grad student's clipboard has the insignia of the Order of Aurielius.

 

6.9 Adventus
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Saturday and Sunday, December 9th and 10th, 1995.
"And lo, my Bretheren, I tell you this shall come to pass, in a future time when the Slayer lives into her twenty-third year, on the night of the feast of St. Lucretius Adventus, twelve nights before the Winter Solstice; in the place of northern hills where the Beast lies chained in stone. The very stars of the skies will seem plucked from the darkness, to adorn the buildings of the chattel. They will strive to hold back the darkness with lamps that burn without oil and torches that shine without heat, but they will fail. In the earth beneath their scurrying feet and rolling carriages, sans equine, the Beast will stir. While the Guardians sleep, the Abomination will flee and hide underground. War will burn out all her fires, and the Slayer will at last refuse to fight. Then will the spiral path be written in blood: seven chakras extracted from the innocent, placed above the Heart of the Beast. The Old One will waken at last, and the Order of Aurielius will show the way."

Darla and Luke stand on a hill overlooking Martense campus, Luke holding an ancient book, reading the prophesy in his deep voice. Darla (Sarcastic): "You think they'll do the right thing?" Luke: "Mercer will find the box tonight, and put it to good use." Darla: "Come on, we have a plane to catch. You know how the Master hates it when we're late."

It's the second weekend in Advent and Solomon Massachusetts is covered in snow. Twinkling Christmas lights glimmer from every roof and tree, all very Currier & Ives. At Martense, on the steps of St. Hubert's dorm, three students bundled in winter gear are on their way to a party. Monster-cam swoops through the air, down towards them, veering and circling. One of the students looks up. His eyes widen, and he screams. The two girls with him also scream, and sprays of blood blossom across the snow. Roll credits.

On the edge of town, in their converted Brew Pub home, Sam and Drew are working with Torii to train Carsen Ramsey with sword and crossbow. For the past week, since her weird encounter at TeslaCon, Carsen's been seeing strange things—rainbow auras around people and glowy lines in the air and on buildings, even without apparent light sources. Sam and Erik, who Carsen thinks is a cool dude, have tried to explain about ley lines (glowy things in the air), magical wards (glowy designs on buildings), and magic in general (people who glow are magically "gifted," or sometimes demons). Whoa! Back up. Demons? It's all too trippy for words, but Carsen joined Slayer Club's practice sessions out of a strong sense of self-preservation. These bizarre folks do know a thing or two about fighting, and they did save Carsen and her housemates from being kidnapped. But Carsen's sampled enough psychotropic substances (she is a chemistry major, after all) to sometimes think this whole past week has just been one weird trip, and she's bound to come down—eventually. But then, she'll watch Sam shadow boxing so fast she almost blurs, or Tori playing with the flame of her lighter, making little fireballs go poof! Times like that, Carsen has to ask herself: what if she isn't high, or crazy? Life just got a whole lot scarier, in a big hurry. Maybe she should put in for a transfer to UT and go home to Austin.

After training is done, Sam offers Carsen a ride back to St. Hubert's. Tori is also returning to campus, so they all four pile into Sam's Jeep. Carsen admires the painted flames and smiles at Sam and Drew's names over their respective doors. When they arrive at Hubie house, the police are there and a large section of the front lawn is cordoned off with yellow tape. Carsen's housemate, Maria, the angry woman who lives in Tori's old room, screeches about protecting the crime scene, "you never move the bodies! What are they, idiots?" Maria plans to join the FBI after graduation, so even if she weren't being influenced by residual Mars energy, the lack of professionalism would still piss her off. Sheriff Lee is already coming to his usual conclusion that drug-related gang warfare is to blame for the slaughter. Drew accidentally kicks a ball of ice, which turns out to be Jennifer Delaney's head, across the snow. Jennifer was another of Carsen's housemates. The other two bodies were Adam McGowan and his new girlfriend, Wendy Martin, who lived in another dorm. Adam was aspiring to be quite the ladies' man, until now. The rest of Hubie House's inhabitants gather in the common room, except for Ozzie Kaufman, who looks out of Erik's former room, and then ducks back inside. Everything the police have done to "investigate" ("Wrong! All wrong!" Maria yells) doesn't leave much room for actual investigation of the scene. Sam and Carsen take Carsen's housemate Sophie, who's now witnessed two supernatural crimes in the space of a week, upstairs to talk. Sam offers advanced self-defense training for her too, but Sophie says "no thanks." She's understandably upset. Tori talks to Maria, who was the first person to hear the screams. When she saw the bodies, Maria called the police, not knowing that Solomon's finest are less than fine at investigating murders. Great at giving parking tickets, though. Everyone at Hubie House gets one, whether they have a car or not.

With their gift of Sight from the Fnord goo, Sophie and Carsen notice several spirits—ghosts of the dead students—drifting around the crime scene, but they can only see them, not talk to them. Another ghost is hanging on Drew's left shoulder. A soft, familiar voice whispers, "help us," in his ear. Sam suggests looking for Cora, the ghost who talks to the living, but there's no telling where she might be. Drew offers to go back to the Brew Pub and get the magical tricorder, so they can see the ghosts more objectively. It can't hurt. Sam hands Drew her keys. When Drew gets to the car, Stephie Newberry's ghost appears in the rear-view mirror. He tells her he was acutally going back to the Brew Pub to get her old stuffed bear and try to contact her, and she says that would probably seem "less creepy" and vanishes. At the Brew Pub, Drew gets the tricorder and her teddy bear from his desk. Rather than establishing a psychometric/telepathic connection, Stephie actually possesses the bear so she can talk to him, which doesn't exactly meet his definition of "less creepy." She says that all the ghosts, everyone who's ever died in Solomon, are trapped somewhere dark, except for a bright, greenish-yellow light that spirits are being sucked into against their will. Stephie isn't sure, but either the demon Koryzoon is keeping the spirits trapped, or whatever magic keeps Koryzoon asleep, is also holding the spirits. Either way, no one can move on to the true afterlife. They need help. Drew takes the teddy bear with him. On the way back to Martense, he hears an interview on the radio. A student, who sounds either drunk or stoned, says he saw another attack and "the thing looked just like Santa Claus!"

Sam, Drew, Tori, and Carsen meet Pandora at the library for a good, old-fashioned research party. They're looking for a fast-flying demon that may look something like Santa Claus. Red and white coloration? Reindeer, or a sleigh? Tori remembers a legend from Germany about an evil spirit, Santa Claus's opposite, that punishes bad children, while Santa rewards good children. One book, Tobin's Bestiary of Flying Demons, describes three different demon species that are humanoid, red in color, and could be mistaken for Santa Claus, if one were drunk. Carsen finds a book of hideous, Geiger-esque pictures that seem to move across the page. If she didn't think this was all a bad trip anyway, she might have screamed or fainted. Instead, she just shudders and puts the book back, quickly. Drew researches another topic, spirit entrapment, and finds a reference to the Feast of St. Lucretius Adventus, which happens to be tonight, December 9th. The book states that "the Old One will awaken" and "The Order of Aurielius will show the way." That's disturbing, because they've already run into the Order of Aurielius a number of times, and it's never good. After researching as much as they can tonight but finding no solid leads, Sam and Drew walk the others back to their dorms, before driving home.

On Sunday morning, the papers are full of the story. Besides the attack at St. Hubert's, four other people died, their bodies gored and bloody, "like an animal attack." One reporter tried to talk to Sophie and Maria, but Maria gave him a black eye. From the reports, Sam plots the attacks on a map, and finds a pattern: a spiral—centered on Erik and Juanita's house! They call Tori and Carsen and go pick them up on the way.

At the Madera house, they find the outside door unlocked and the wards broken. Tori checks upstairs first. The house is empty. Down in the basement, they find Erik and Juanita, asleep in their bed. Drake's crib is empty and cold. Drew tries to shake Erik awake, but it doesn't work. Sam and Carsen examine the magic web keeping them asleep, and Sam begins unwinding it. Drew takes a deep breath, and touches Drake's crib. The vision he gets is vivid, but confusing. Beginning deep in the past with a battle among demons, of all different shapes and levels of disgustingness. One falls out of the sky and causes a rockslide of an entire mountain. Another long, serpentine form lands on the earth and covers itself with layer on layer of rock. Drew feels time passing: centuries, eons. Small figures climb the hills covering the dragon's hiding place. Drew recognizes himself, Erik, Sam, and Juanita sleeping in the dragon caves. Then, Juanita returning alone to mediate. A quick jump in time, and Drake climbs out of his crib. He touches his mother and father and deepens their sleep before he walks out the back door, untethering the wards that are supposed to sound an alarm if he should wander out.

Drew comes to in Sam's arms and tells them what he saw, and which way Drake went. Sam uses her axe to cut the Gordian knot of magic and Erik and Juanita wake up. Carsen spots a tendril of magic floating away from Drake's bed, through the backyard in a wide circle. In the middle of the yard they find a pile of human organs: brain, eyes, larynx, heart, spleen, a uterus, and a pair of testicles. They are arranged in a spiral, with the brain at the center. Juanita recognizes the pattern as an awakening spell, although it's usually not so literal and gory. Tori burns the pile to ash before moving on. They track Drake to the far edge of town, to the Solomon Mall.

It's Christmas shopping season, so the mall is packed with people, and also crowded with ghosts. Each ghost possesses a human host, and they swarm like creatures guided by instinct. The stairs and elevators become blocked and impassible. Tori observes the crowd's movements so Slayer Club can stay ahead of the mob. But only for a little while, because as soon as the ghost/human combos catch sight of them, they swarm at them. Drew slips off to the nearest dressing room, hoping Stephie will manifest in the mirror, but she doesn't, although he does get a brief sense of someone standing on the mall's second-floor balcony looking down. He's separated from the group, but Sam knows that Drew can take care of himself. She stays with Carsen, keeping her from being overrun. The crowd seems to be heading for the basement. There's no way to get downstairs through the crowd inside, so Sam and the group head outside, working their way through the parking lot and into the basement through the boiler room.

Drew steps back out of the store and looks for the person who would have the perspective he saw in his vision—one of the mall janitors, leaning against the Plexiglas railing around the stairwell. Drew runs that way, climbing up the banister when the crowd gets too thick. He reaches the janitor and tries to talk to him, but gets no response. He takes a deep breath, blanks his mind, and grabs the janitor's hand, hoping Stephie will possess him before one of the other ghosts does. The janitor screams and runs away. Drew's mind goes foggy, and he finds himself in a black space with Stephie, who's concentrating all her mental powers, firing a beam of energy to hold back a monster that looks like it escaped from Alien; "help me," she whispers. Drew puts his hand on her shoulder and tells her to draw on his energy to help power her mental attack. Their combined strength is enough to drive back the monster. "You're my hero," Stephie tells him. But there's no time for celebration, as she tells him the spirits are being drawn to the basement. Being possessed, Drew moves with the crowd, attracting no attention, and makes his way through the throng to the basement.

Running just a few steps ahead of the mob, Sam, Carsen, and Tori, with Erik and Juanita, force their way into the basement through the loading dock. Sam can't use her weapons, or even take much advantage of her Slayer strength. All these people are innocent bystanders. If she starts killing them, it'll be a bloodbath. So, she digs deep into her judo skills and, as gently as possible, turns them away with misdirection and throws. Juanita helps with TK shoves while Erik and Carsen stay out of the way. Finally, they reach the mall's boiler room. Or, rather, the hallway leading to it, which is completely blocked off with a green bubble of energy, against which the hordes of possessed shoppers are pressing. As they're trying to find a way through, Drew walks up, slipping through the crowd like it isn't there. He tells the others to fall him and walks up to the wards. As he reaches them he asks Stephie to project his voice forward as much as she can and whispers, "open up Drake, it's us." The wards ripple as he approaches and he and Tori step through, but the shield springs back too quickly for the others to follow. In the boiler room, Draw and Tori find Drake, sitting cross-legged in lotus position, three feet above the floor. He smiles when he recognizes them and holds out his hands to Tori. "Now is the first battle. I need you." Tori places her hands in his.

A great burst of heat and light. Hot wind knocks everyone to his or her knees, or through the doorway out into the parking lot. All the ghosts are thrown out of the possessed bodies and rush away into the cold winter air. Drew grabs Stephie, unsure of whether they're being released or destroyed, but she reassures him, "Thank you. We're free now." She gives him an insubstantial kiss and fades away, for good this time. After she is gone, Drew hits himself on the forehead. He forgot to ask her about the bear's name. Tori and Drake are sprawled on the floor, completely exhausted. The wards are gone and Sam and the others rush into the boiler room. For the first time, Carsen can look directly at Tori without suffering inner-eye strain. Tori's Mars-fire is down to a candle's strength. Juanita and Erik go to their son, both to make sure he's all right, and chastise him for knocking them out and running off to the mall. Erik is both chagrined and proud. "That's my boy!" A much taller, older-looking Drake gets to his feet. He's aged four years in the last couple of weeks, but the expression in his yellow, slit-pupil eyes is older than continents. And Drew thinks again of what Stephie told him back in the Brew Pub and wonders—did Drake's dismissal of the spirits remove a source of Koryzoon's power...or loosen the bonds that hold it?

 

6.10 The Ghosts of Christmas Yet to Come
Written and directed by Greg Pearson.
The events of this episode take place on Monday, Sunday, and Monday, December 25th, 24th, and 25th, 1995.
Christmas Morning, 1995, 4:23 AM. Slayer Club is at Blaire's, and Blaire's is under siege. By elves. Three foot tall, fanged, clawed, off-key singing, evil elves, wearing green and red fur-trimmed suits and curled up shoes with bells on the ends. "Jingle Bells, Jin-gle-bells! Jing-gle all the way!" They're swarming over Blaire's snow-covered parking lot and the tree with the Plymouth Valiant-sized dent in it, jumping on the roof, squirming through broken windows and pelting the building with icy snowballs, all while singing. Badly.

Slayer Club fights alongside the cast of an all-demon production of "A Christmas Carol" who stopped at Blaire's for the after party. And what a party it's turned out to be! Nothing like a common enemy to bring enemies together at Christmas time. The ghosts of Christmas Past and Present each cover one of the windows with a pointy wand and holly-covered staff. Marley swings and clobbers elves with his chains, which seem to be magical. Scrooge bashes evil elves with his silver-headed cane. The Cratchit family takes turns at the back door, swatting elves with chairs, table legs, and Tiny Tim's crutches. Erik wields his hammer and a large shield, covering the front door. Sam stands on a table with her bow and arrows, shooting elves through the high-set windows. Jacen fires a shotgun, killing one of the elves, but also accidentally blowing Tiny Tim's head off. The child vampire collapses in a pile of dust. Oops! Carsen has a crossbow and cover behind an upturned table. Tori stands behind the bar, making Molotov cocktails. Blaire cowers next to Tori, cradling her cash register. Even Morn is getting into the fun, blocking the doorway to the back hall and kicking any elves that get in that way. He seems to be enjoying himself immensely. In the farthest corner booth, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, robed and hooded in black, works a magic spell with candles and colored powders.  Drew stands beside him, concentrating on his watch, counting down the seconds.

TEN!—Erik swings his hammer and throws it through the open front door, blasting the mob of elves outside.
NINE!—The thunderclap sends dozens of elves flying and all the glass in the remaining windows blows out.
EIGHT!—The hammer flies back to Erik's hand, and the singing hits its crescendo: "Oh what fun it is to ride, in a one-horse open sleigh!"
SEVEN!—Circles of light grow enormous on Blaire's front curtains.
SIX!—Carsen and Jace run and jump over tables toward the corner booth.
FIVE!—With a ROAR and a CRASH, two flying motorcycles towing a red and gold sleigh destroy what's left of the front wall. Two vampires—one male, one female—ride the bikes, and two more male vampires ride in the sleigh, all in game face and "Sexy Santa" costumes.
FOUR!—Sam jumps off her table and knocks the female vampire sideways off her bike, into her male counterpart. Tori throws her fire bottles into the sleigh, but the vampires jump out before the flames reach them.
THREE!—Erik and Tori vault over the bar and tables towards the corner booth. Sam flips a table over, forming a temporary barrier between the vampires and Slayer Club, buying them the two seconds they need.
TWO!—Everyone in Slayer Club reaches the corner booth with Drew and the "Ghost."
ONE!—The digital clock on the wall clicks over to 4:24. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come finishes his spell, and stands up, his hood falling back as he sweeps his arm around the booth. It's Pundle, the Chronos-Sankara demon. A wave of silver temporal energy envelops Slayer Club.

Twelve hours earlier. Blaire's bar is completely silent and intact. The clock on the wall still reads 4:24, but now it's PM instead of AM. In a flash of silver light, Slayer Club and Pundle appear around the corner booth, sweaty and dirty from the battle. For a few seconds, no one moves. Then everyone starts talking at once. Pundle warns the group that everything must happen, just as it happened, or risk serious temporal whiplash. There are rules even he can't break. Slayer Club's past selves have to be at Blaire's by 4:15 AM when the elves attack. Pundle is going to the Paradise Theater, to sit in the audience and watch what will be Tiny Tim's final performance.

Erik's eyes glaze over. "Oh, man. I've totally got to call myself." Sam and Drew exchange a glance, and shake their heads. They know what happened, and didn't happen. Jacen has to laugh. "You guys suck! Why didn't you tell me?" Everybody shrugs. He was at a hockey game that afternoon. No one knew where he was, until he showed up at Erik's house. Carsen looks dreamy, examining the pretty swirls in the residual magic all over Blaire's. She's going to have some fun with this.

Erik uses Blaire's phone to have a conversation with his past self: "Hi, Erik. It's me! I'm you! From twelve hours in the future. Yeah, totally! Pundle. Pretty cool, huh?" (Pause, answering himself,) "Of course! You think she'd let us get away without?" (Another pause) "Well, you guys have got to go do the family thing, downtown, yeah. You know what? I'll be there, and fill you in more, but you can't tell Drake a thing. No. Well, yes. But not that. Okay, the parade starts at six o'clock, and then there's the Santa pictures. Yeah. Santa's totally evil. And his assistant's evil too. But she's hot! But don't tell Juanita I said that. You'll see. Okay. Bye!" He hangs up, and looks at everyone staring at him. Erik smacks himself on the forehead. "I didn't tell myself what time to be here!" Drew points out their cars won't be here for another eleven hours. They'll have to walk back to town. It's daylight. Blaire's asleep down in her cave and Morn is wherever Morn goes when he's not at Blaire's. The performance of "A Christmas Carol" begins at midnight at the Paradise Theater. Sam and Tori lead the way outside. No elves. They have until four in the morning to come up with a plan to deal with the little monsters so they don't ruin Christmas for everyone, but they can't actually prevent them from being summoned. They also can't get in their past selves' way, any more than they remembered doing already.

It's going to be a very confusing night.

Walking along the road, Tori feels her Mars-sense tingle. A silver-blue Rolls Royce pulls up alongside and the passenger window opens. "Need a ride, boys?" A beautiful, blue-skinned woman smiles at Drew, Erik, and Jace, ignores Sam and Carsen, but frowns at Tori. "Lady Mars can ride in the back." She's a Venusian, dressed in a silver gown with green and blue crystals around the low, low neckline. All three males try to get into the front seat at once, but Sam has faster reflexes than any of them. She takes the seat next to the driver and pulls Carsen in beside her.  That leaves Tori and the men in the backseat. Disappointed, but safer that way. The Venusian is not pleased with Tori. What is Mars doing, doubling her power, on this night, of all nights? It's supposed to be Venus's night. Their planet will not shine this brightly for another three hundred years! In fact, the planet Venus is twinkling just over the horizon, in daylight. Impressive indeed. The Venusian drops Slayer Club off in front of Peppermint's dance club. Jace nearly follows her inside, but the others stop him. Hockey game. Right. Reluctantly, Jace trudges off to the park where his past self tried to magick the puck to be attracted to the other team's goal. Instead, it got magicked to his own goal, and his team lost 15-0. Even more embarrassing to watch it, knowing it's going to happen. And he can't even place a bet on the outcome.

Carsen has nowhere in particular to be, until the showdown at Erik's, and she knows Jacen will come get her for that. So, she wanders back to Martense, lost in sparkly lights of the Christmas ornaments, and other lights only her inner eye can see. There's a pattern there. If she can just figure it out, she could solve the mystery of Christmas magic! Who needs drugs when you've got the Sight?

Sam, Drew, Tori, and Erik go to the Christmas market downtown, which is decorated like an Alpine village, with booths selling hot mulled cider and roasted chestnuts, handmade knickknacks, and yummy pastries. With two Toris in town, tensions run high and several fights break out in the crowd. Ada and Jonathan are busy with urns of coffee and spiced tea, but the Sacred Grounds is still open. Ada hired Magnus to fill in for the holiday season. He's pleased to see Tori come in, but confused to see her come in twice. Sam and Drew catch their earlier selves coming out of the evening Mass at St. Catherine's. One pair is dressed up for church, the other for fighting. Future Sam has some bruises from where she got hurt earlier. Or later to her other self. Erik finds his family at the fair, and Juanita gets hugged and kissed by two Eriks. Drake is happy to have two daddies for the evening. Twice as many bedtime stories! Juanita also wants bedtime—as soon as possible! But Future Erik knows there are things that have to happen. Drake has to see "Santa Claus," and Erik has to stay in the background, so the vamps don't see him too soon. The vampire Santa isn't in game face, but still looks—inappropriate—in an open-front jacket and red leather pants. His assistant is even more sexed-up in a super-short dress with a plunging neckline. However, several Venusians are wandering through the crowd, turning heads, so no one's paying much attention to Santa's attire. Santa asks, "What do you want for Christmas, little boy?" Drake answers: "To take over the world." Santa pulls a brightly wrapped present out of his sack and hands it to Drake. "We can help with that." Future Erik wants to yank the book out of his son's hands and rip the damned thing up. But he can't.

At the Sacred Grounds, Tori starts a droll game of finishing sentences for herself. Both Toris think this is hilarious, but after a while, it seems almost telepathic. Which is why past Drew doesn't buy for a minute that this is really himself from twelve hours ahead. It could be a demon, or a shapeshifter, or a clone, or a robot. He could go on and on about what this doppelganger could be. A doppelganger! Now, he'll have to fight himself? While future Drew argues with his past self, trying to convince himself that he is really who he says he is, Sam just gestures to one of the booths. "Shall we?" Past Sam and future Sam sit opposite each other, simultaneously put their elbows on the table, and begin arm wrestling. Neither holds back, and it's an exactly even match. That convinces past Drew like nothing else would, except maybe watching his wife spar with herself. That kind of match could go on for days. Both Drews get glassy-eyed just thinking about it. But unfortunately, they don't have that kind of time tonight.

Future Slayer Club briefs their past selves on where to be, at what time, and then they all split up. Past Sam and Drew have dinner at her father's house, and then patrolling to do. Past Tori decides to go out to Martense's stables for a while, both to minimize the number of fights and avoid the Venusians. At the Madera house, Drake insists that both his Daddies read his new book before bedtime. And then he wants to read it himself. He needs some help with the big words, but the third time is the charm. Finally, the little tyke falls asleep. And then Juanita puts on her sexy lingerie and gets out her toys. (Fade to black, with excited murmurs and heavy breathing.)

Meanwhile, Jace re-lives his humiliating defeat at hockey, but then consoles himself with hot chocolate and the idea of fighting bad guys and rescuing the heroes who rescued him last spring. He meets up with Carsen, who's been examining some magical runes carved into the bricks on the outside of St. Hubert's. They seem to be invisible to everyone else, but she can't be positive. Anyone she's asked if they see anything just assumes she's drunk. Some of them play along, but others just shake their heads and walk on. Their loss. This is so cool! Jacen can see the runes, of course. He also smeared the Fnord Goo in his eyes. Carsen's Sight keeps getting stronger. Future Jacen explains that there's going to be a vampire attack at Erik's house later tonight. They can go and get more demon-fighting experience. And, you know, save the day. Or night. Whatever. Carsen's up for that, so the four of them wander through the Christmas market and over to Erik's neighborhood.

The future versions of Sam, Drew, and Tori walk over to Kessler's auto shop in search of alternative modes of transportation. There's the armor-plated ATV Sam's dad has been working on in his spare time. With some modifications, it would do quite well as an elf-crushing device. Sam and Tori get started modifying the vehicle, while Drew hands them tools. After that, it's off to the brew pub to pick up some extra weapons. Then, they pick up their past selves to go to Erik's house. Six people in the all-terrain-vehicle is a snug fit, but Sam and Drew don't mind, and Tori gets to sit in the dual turret they fitted with a multi-shot crossbow and a minigun they had in the armory. Tori briefly considers bringing the surface-to-air missile to use on the sleigh, but it has to arrive at Blaire's intact. She can't shoot it out of the air tonight, as much as she'd like to.

Right at 11:30, Santa, his assistant, and two hench-goons arrive at Erik's house via flying motorcycles and sleigh. They want their book back. Reading it three times triggered the summoning. Evil elves are coming through an intersection of ley-lines out near Blaire's. But they can't let the "demon spawn" keep the book. He might figure out how to cancel the spell. Sam, Tori, and Drew, squared, arrive in the ATV and park across the street. Carsen and Jace arrive, just in time to interrupt Erik and Juanita's ménage-a-trois by waving through the window. Past Erik sees Jacen and goes to investigate, much to Juanita's displeasure. What follows is a fight, half inspired, and half remembered. Even though there are two Avatars of Mars, and two Slayers, the vampires escape. They have a flying sleigh! Past Sam grabs onto a runner and tries to climb aboard, but the sleigh takes off nearly vertically, and she has to let go. Crunch! That's how Future Sam got her bruised ribs. One consolation is that Future Erik keeps the vampires from getting the book. Drake finds on the very last page, the incantation to close the portal. It has to be read three times within sight of the portal itself. So, all the doubles get into the ATV for the drive out to Blaire's. Juanita is not happy that Erik has to go, and when he returns, there'll only be one of him. But there's nothing she can do about it.

The ATV is crowded, and doesn't drive very fast. It takes almost an hour to get from Erik's house to Blaire's. The past versions of Slayer Club get out, armed for vampire, and the future versions find a place to hide the vehicle, covering it with snow. When past Slayer Club goes into Blaire's, all manner of vampires and demons come running out. A while later, the cast of "A Christmas Carol" shows up, celebrating a successful performance. Tiny Tim rides on Scrooge's shoulders. Pundle, in his black cloak, looks directly at where future Slayer Club is hiding, but then looks away and says nothing. Elves start arriving, in greater and greater numbers, then the vampires with their motorcycles and sleigh. Much as Sam would love to confront them here, she can't do it. They have to crash into Blaire's and see the spell go off. That's when Slayer Club has to close off the elves' portal. It has to be timed perfectly. Inside the bar, the fight rages. Outside, Slayer Club waits. Both versions of Drew have their eyes on their watches, counting out the seconds. Then, the motorcycles rev up, towing the sleigh directly into Blaire's front windows.

Erik reads the incantation three times. A flash of red and green light washes over the parking lot, at the same time the silver light shines out from inside. It's almost over. The portal is closed, and their other selves are back in the past. Sam puts the ATV in gear and smashes into the mob of evil elves, crushing them under its wheels. Up in the gun turret, Tori lays down suppression fire and annihilates scores of elves. When she runs out of ammo, Erik, Drew, Carsen, and Jacen jump out and take care of any stragglers with crossbows, shotgun, and hammer. Sam parks the vehicle and leads the way into Blaire's. All is quiet, except for soft sobs from behind the bar. There are toppled motorcycles, a burning sleigh, and tons of broken furniture lying around, but no vampires, except for Blaire. However, there's a great deal of magic residue of teleportation, and all the local ley-lines are warped. Whatever was in that spell Erik read, Jace and Carsen decide that Evil Santa and his assistants were sucked up into the closing portal and taken somewhere—the home dimension of the evil elves? The North Pole? Cleveland?

Morn helps himself to a bottle of liquor and sits down in his usual seat at the bar, as if nothing happened. Blaire stands up behind the bar, screaming. She even throws her cash register—her precious!—at Sam, demanding that they clean and fix up her bar! They owe her a freaking bar! Sam catches the register, and tosses it back. She briefly considers finally staking the annoying vampire snitch, but doesn't do it tonight. They still have a deal. Blaire doesn't drink, or serve, human blood, and she is sometimes useful to have around. Maybe Slayer Club will replace all the windows—and add a couple of skylights in the bargain.

 

6.11 Web of Destiny
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Sunday, December 31st, 1995.
First Night in Solomon means: street party! Most of Solomon's population is downtown, eating, drinking, and making merry. Jacen and some of his friends from St. Germain's are trying to buy gluhvine from the street vendors, but failing. In spite of their magical talents, none of them can make a convincing fake ID. Pandora, on the other hand, has a nice, steaming cup of mulled hard cider. At the Sacred Grounds, Tori sips hot chocolate laced with Peppermint Schnapps. Sam and Drew take their chocolate unadulterated. Sam is sketching a suit of armor on graph paper while Drew makes suggestions. Although there's a band playing pretty loudly on the stage in back, Sam's ears catch subtle notes of a stringed instrument floating in the air. Vaguely Asian in tone, she can't figure out where it's coming from. Carsen sits in a nearby booth, trying to make sense of some half-scorched notes from her latest chemistry experiment. She spots a customer picking up a tray of to-go cups, dressed all in black, with facial piercings and tattoos, and also what looks like a silvery astral cord coming out of his back. The cord winds through the crowd and out the door. No one else seems to notice, except Jacen, who holds the door for the guy in order to get a closer look. The guy carries his tray of drinks across the street and enters a building that has an electronics store on the first floor and a several apartments on the second floor. However, when he goes inside, his cord continues down the street, as if the other end is not upstairs, but somewhere else.

Curious about this phenomenon, Sam, Drew, and Jacen follow the cord back toward it source. Tori and Carsen stay to keep an eye on the building, in case the guy comes out. As they follow, Jacen tries to walk through the cord, which moves out of the way, until the last instant it "snaps" through him. He doesn't feel anything, but when he tries to "pluck" the cord with his fingers, it attaches itself to him, splintering off like a raveling thread, but continuing in the same direction. Jacen tries to shake it off, but the string sticks. The other string stops moving and falls to the ground.

Back at the apartment, there are unusual lights, both mundane and magical, and loud music: Nine Inch Nails' "Mr. Self-Distruct." Tori and Carsen circle the building through an alley and find a vampire about to bite a woman. Tori throws a stake, which sticks in his chest, but misses his heart. He drops his snack. Tori shouts, "Run!" and she does. Carsen draws her pistol-crossbow and shoots, but also misses. The vampire grabs Carsen and pulls the stake out of his chest to stab at Tori, who disarms him, and stakes him again. This time, he puffs to dust. Carsen climbs up a fire escape, trying to figure out the pattern of magical lights. A dark red and silver pulse of magical energy travels down a wire from the apartment. Carsen watches, fascinated. It reaches a cable box, and then shoots out into the phone lines. There's a scream from inside, and Tori kicks the window in. They find a crime scene with their cyber-dude and two other guys, similarly dressed, with lots of tattoos and piercings. Their bodies are slashed and blood pools on the floor, painted with a magic circle of symbols, with a computer in the middle. Whatever they summoned killed them, and now it's in the phone lines.

Jacen is attached to the silver cord now, so he, Sam, and Drew double back to get the others, and their weapons. At the building, Tori waves them upstairs to see what she and Carsen found. Michael isn't in town, unfortunately, so Drew takes a look at the hackers' computer. "Bianca's Smut Shack" webpage is on the desktop. Someone just typed, "What kind of underwear do you have on?" Drew glances at Sam and quickly types "Flannel" before closing the screen and going on to the computer scripts, but he can't read all the magical symbols. Tori spots Erik, Juanita, and Drake in the crowd outside, and calls them up, too. Juanita identifies the symbols on the floor as similar to Anansi, an African spider-god/ trickster, but the vever isn't quite right. Erik riffles the music collection and puts on Front 2-4-2's "Headhunter."

Slayer Club goes back to the coffee shop. Sam calls Sheriff Lee so he can notify the hacker dudes' families. He can handle that. Strangely, the Sheriff asks her probing questions about the crime scene. Usually, he's not so curious about actual causes of death, just attributes it to drugs, or gangs, or gangs on drugs. Sam just tells him that it's safe for his men to go in now. Slayer Club gets weapons from the Sacred Grounds's basement, with extra holy water for Carsen and a silver short sword for Jace. But he wants even more armament, and asks about the things kept in the Brew Pub vault. Drew gets suspicious and whispers to Sam to watch Jace, who seems to be pumping them for information.

Before Slayer Club can leave, a local TV news crew interviews them about their plans for the New Year. The interviewer also has a thread coming out of her back, and the questions get very personal, about the violence in Solomon and how Sam specifically plans to keep people safe. Sam just wishes everyone "Happy New Year" before pushing her way out the door. More people in the crowd are connected to what seems to be a growing network and it's difficult to avoid the strands, because only Jace and Carsen can see them clearly, and Jace already has one, so nobody really trusts his advice. Ada also picks up a strand and starts questioning Sam about her training routines. As usual, Sam ignores her. Slayer Club follows Jace's strand to the point where it diverges from Ada's, near Erik's grandfather's congressional campaign office. Jace's strand goes inside. Ada's continues away from downtown.

Down the street they see Erik, Juanita, and Drake. Erik has a strand, too, and he starts asking questions in obvious Erik-style. Drake reaches up and pinches off Erik's strand, then pulls Juanita away from the web. Erik has keys to his grandfather's office. Inside, they find a staffer named George working late on a computer. When George hears Slayer Club, he pulls a gun, but Erik calms him down. Sam spins a tale about starting a petition about gun control laws. Jace and Erik join in, and before George knows it, Sam has her hand around his throat, and as gently as possible, knocks him out. They lay him down on the floor, out of the way, and Drew examines his computer.

Sam uses her axe to cut Jacen and Ada free of the strands. There's some debate about whether to cut George loose, or whether that would alert the puppet-master. He has a lot of strands attached to him. Most go towards downtown, but one seems thicker than the others, and runs in the opposite direction. They decide to let him be. In George's in-box, somebody with the AOL address Rothschild sent a picture of Sam and her axe, with a circle around the weapon and a question mark. Drew deletes it and empties the trash. George has compiled several dossiers on Solomon people: Sheriff Lee, the Solomon Slayers, Sam and Drew, Erik, and Tori. Nothing in there that isn't common knowledge, but it's disturbing. There's nothing at all on Michael, Carsen, or Jace. Jacen doesn't know whether to be glad or peeved that he's not famous. Drew starts deleting all the files, but before he can finish, the computer goes Blue Screen of Death and the power goes out. This inner office has no windows, but even in the pitch-black, Carsen and Jace can see magic. Drew decides its time to trace the problem to its source and asks Carsen to guide his hand to George's threads. Drew's psychometry takes him all through the web of information. Mundane gossips, minor occultists, some small-time vampires and demons. Blaire. Anyone who knows people; the more people, the more threads they collect. He reaches a scary, Addams Family-style house on a hill, and faces a choice: stay in the web, or return to his body. Well, the whole reason for doing this was to find out who's behind things. He chooses to stay in the web, for now.

Combat in the congressman's office. Windows smash. Cobwebs dangle down from the ceiling. Six demonic thugs and one androgynous figure in dark robes. Sam casts FIAT LUX! Tori slashes one of the thug-demons with her sword. Jace TK-pushes the same one back out the door. Erik gets caught in the spider webs. Carsen shoots into the outer office with holy water and splashes three of the demons and the robed spell caster. But the caster negates Sam's light with magical darkness. Visualizing the battlefield, Tori moves to get on top of the desk and a higher tactical position.

Next to the scary house, Drew takes a sidestep behind someone's eyes and sees a young woman carrying two old-fashioned carpet bags, getting out of a taxi. "So this is Solomon." She shudders. Drew sees "his" reflection in a window: a green-skinned demon with a camera and a silver thread. Then, he's inside the scary house, walled and carpeted with webs, both astral and real spider silk. An elegant woman in a silk kimono is playing a stringed instrument with one hand, while plucking at the astral strands with the other. She plucks the one Drew is on, and snips it off. Drew's spirit is spun up, wrapped in the strand.

Sam flicks her lighter and, with a Hail Mary, throws it up into the crawl space above the drop ceiling. Tori reaches out to the fire; although she can't see it, she still controls it, engulfing all the spider demons up there. Jacen counters the darkness, dispelling the spell. Bright light. The demons brought in a multi-bolt ballista, and are just about ready to shoot. Carsen pelts the trigger-demon with more holy water. That blasts them all backwards and ruins their aim, but the ballista goes off. Javelin-sized bolts crash through at shoulder height. Tori leaps off the desk to dodge them. Everyone else hits the floor. No one is hurt, but George's office is splintered. Sam and Tori attack the demons. Jacen follows. Carsen shoots the hooded spell caster, spoiling its concentration. It retreats, dissolving into smoke. Sam retrieves her lighter from the ceiling and checks on George. He's still breathing, but his computer is toast. No loss there.

To find Drew's soul, Sam spreads a map on Congressman Sorensen's desk and focuses on Drew's body as she casts her seeker spell. He twitches and points to one of the wealthier neighborhoods. When Slayer Club reaches the three-story Victorian house wrapped in astral webs, Sam cuts threads in all directions under Carsen and Jace's direction. The spider lady has been interrogating Drew, but her opening question, "tell me everything" may not have been the best move—he's been telling her his life story in as much detail as he can manage, starting with his birth. So far, she's managed to learn all the secrets of his pre-school education. When the rest of Slayer Club arrives, she leaves off the interrogation and invites Sam in. Sam asks, nicely but firmly, for Drew's release. The spider lady calls her a barbarian. Sam's okay with that. First, they must drink tea while they discuss terms of surrender. By this, she means Sam's surrender, and allows that Sam may bring "her minions" with her. She clearly has no idea who she's dealing with. None at all.

Tori touches the spider webs, and they burst into flames. So the spider lady orders her minion, another androgynous robed figure (or maybe the same one they saw before), to bring a second low table to serve Tori tea. Everyone else gets to stand and watch. The spider lady seems to believe that Solomon—this entire reality, really—is ripe for invasion and she doesn't care if Slayer Club knows her plans. In Carsen and Jace's Sight, she's not even half-human. Her front part is delicately beautiful, but behind is an enormous spider body with arching legs and wicked stinger. She claims to be the avatar of an other-dimensional deity, and she wants to know more about Sam, what a Slayer is, and why there are no True Demons left on this plane. She's spun her webs throughout Solomon, but found little information of substance. She offers Sam and Tori a proposal of complete surrender, in exchange for favored status under the new, spider-centric regime. Sam rejects the proposal and Tori declares that she never surrenders. Battle ensues. Darkness. Webs ensnare most of Slayer Club, and these webs are stronger than the spider demons they saw earlier.

Sam isn't caught, and cuts off one of the spider's legs. Tori sets controlled fires among the webs, releasing Carsen from her bonds first. Carsen sees the spider-woman detach her human half from her spider half, and calmly walk away. Intrigued, Carsen loads another bulb of holy water into her crossbow and splashes it all over Spider Lady's human half. It burns! A web-shaped portal opens in the parlor wall and the spider-lady runs to it. Drake and Juanita chant a spell that closes the portal, catching Spider Lady halfway in, bisecting her. The huge spider half of her body thrashes and dies.

 

6.12 Sweetness & Light
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on the night of Friday, January 12th, 1996.
It's snowing! And will keep on snowing for a while. Sam's been spending time up in the forge, keeping warm while she makes plates for several suits of armor that Drew helped her design. There's some discussion about whether the suit she's making for Drew will be so protective, it'll be too heavy for him to wear. Erik says he'd make a suit like Iron Man—red and gold, and full of high-tech gizmos. If only he had the gizmos to put in it. Carsen says she'll get right on that for her Ph.D. project. Give her six years—and an 8- or 9-figure budget—and she'll make some awesome gizmos. For J-Term classes, Sam is taking Advanced Sculpture with the gorgeous Professor J.P. Malion, along with half of the straight women and gay men at Martense. Tori is taking Japanese Calligraphy to expand her bushido arts. Carsen and Drew are both in Medieval Romance Literature, reading Celtic precursors to the Arthurian legends. Erik is taking cooking, since Juanita doesn't cook (except for potions) and someone in their family has to. Plus, you get to eat all your projects! Yum! In the student-taught Free University, Sam is teaching basic auto maintenance for the third—and probably last—year.

Friday night at the Sacred Grounds: the band Lush is onstage, playing their song "Sweetness and Light." Professor Malion is holding court in a corner booth, surrounded by a "study group" of admiring students, including Marcy Lee. Erik brought a large plate of gingerbread cookies from his cooking class to share. Carsen sees magical sparkles in the gingerbread, and mentions this to Drew. So, to test if they're evil cookies, Drew gives one of them to Jonathan for a taste, figuring that he'll be resistant to any poisons. Jonathan says they're really, really good and grabs a second one. He doesn't die, so everyone else tries them. Carsen hears a faint "ow!" when she bites hers, but the cookie is so delicious, she doesn't care. While Slayer Club enjoys the cookies and music, Professor Malion comes over to their table and admires Tori's beautiful hands. He says she could make lovely sculpture with them. But Tori isn't interested in goopy clay, or even marble. Unless someone else is using it to carve a statue of her, anyway. She's the only female in the room who's not infatuated with Malion's manly charms. Marcy glares daggers at them, until a tall, dark figure in a long cloak jostles her. Moving directly toward Slayer Club's booth, the cloaked figure draws a long knife wreathed in flames, and aims at Professor Malion. Tori pulls the professor into their booth, out of the line of fire, which makes Marcy even more glarey-eyed. Sam intercepts the cloaked figure with the fiery knife and they fight on the dance floor. Tori raises the room's ambient temperature to encourage people to leave, which they do. Especially when the heat makes the "person's" face melt off, revealing a demon underneath. Drew directs the band toward the back door. Juanita takes a reluctant Drake home. He wants to see the fight! Sam doesn't have her axe on her, but she grabs the demon in a headlock and wrenches its head off. The demon explodes, spraying molten goo all over, which badly injures Sam and Erik. The rest of Slayer Club had enough cover behind the table to avoid most of the super-hot spray. Tori covered Professor Malion with her body, so she has an extremely grateful professor lying across her lap.

Outside the Sacred Grounds, Marcy speaks to a shadowy figure in an alley. "I want him. If I can't have him, no one can!" The thing whispers, "He shall join us, as you did. You will be together, as you wish. Just beware the Bearers, and stay with the others. I will help you." Marcy nods and they go their separate ways.

On the way to the hospital, Tori quizzes Professor Malion. The professor doesn't know why that demon was after him. Ada is actually helpful, identifying the demon, called an Azath Azar, or "bearer of the flame," once associated with the true demon G'hon Sharlok. They are sentient, but not too bright, so to speak. Given orders, they'll follow them to the letter, and their fire is hotter than any other, except only dragon fire. It might even hurt Tori. It's certainly left Sam and Erik in a lot of pain. Drew does the driving. At the hospital, Sam and Erik get first aid for their burns. There are a lot of other burn victims here, and someone else from Erik's class brought a big basket of gingerbread cookies for the nurses. Carsen sees the gingerbread men moving, placing themselves in each recovery room and close to all the nurse's stations. Everyone is obsessed with eating cookies instead of taking care of their patients. When Carsen and Drew try to remove the cookies, the nurses threaten them with needles and sedatives. Sam has to knock one of the nurses out—it's much more difficult than it should be—to save Drew, who's all too prepared to risk a sedative for another cookie. Carsen shoots one of the cookies with holy water, and it screams and "dies" in a pool of cinnamon-scented goo. Faced with that unappetizing sight, Erik manages to shake his addiction to the cookies, and explains that his cooking professor brought in the cookie recipe this morning along with a "special spice" to put in them. An interesting story, but it doesn't stop Drew from munching on a couple more cookies. With two problems to solve, Slayer Club decides to split up—Tori will take Professor Mallion back to his studio to see if she can find any reason for the fire demons to be after him, will the others investigate the evil, yet extremely tasty, cookies.

Sam, Drew, Erik, and Carsen go looking for the professor and the source of the cookie madness. Crossing campus, they notice smoke—and an inviting aroma—leaking from St. Hubert's kitchen. Inside, a bunch of animate gingerbread men are baking more batches of their bretheren. When they see Slayer Club, their little frosting mouths open in high-pitched screams, and the cookies attack! The battle is quick, but messy, as several hundred cookies get reduced to crumbs. The box of "special spice" looks like cinnamon, but Carsen has never seen cinnamon glow green before. That reminds the others of the "evil beer" that Marcy, Callie, Jonathan, and Juanita drank five years ago, that gave them their super-powers. The smell of burned cookies is finally too much for Drew and he vomits up the cookies he's been eating.

Professor Malion keeps close to Tori. He's been having nightmares of a monster with a flat face; a wide mouth ringed by barbells, and closed eyes, fighting in the sky with a giant dragon; a battle that ends with both crashing to earth and burying themselves under the ground. Back at his studio, he shows Tori his latest sculpture, depicting the flat-faced monster. Tori has seen this face before—deep underground. It scared the spit out of her then, and its frightening Malion now. As soon as he finished the statue, he wanted to smash it. But he couldn't bring himself to do it. "Let me." Tori picks up his hammer and chisel. That's when the second assassin catches up to them and attacks. Tori fights it, and manages to get Professor Malion out of the art building. But more Azath Azar wait for them outside. Tori uses every bit of her tactical expertise to get to the river. If they can cross the water, they'll be safe, she thinks. But there are too many. It's impossible to douse their fires with her fire-control power, so Tori tries to overload their flames with her own. This makes them explode in a cataclysmic chain reaction. Tori covers Professor Malion again, but although she's fireproof, he's not. Being only human, the professor dies.

Meanwhile, somewhere on Solomon Heights: Callie, Marcy, and Jonathan stand back-to-back in the middle of a circle of dead assassins. Marcy's skin is steaming. Jonathan is rapidly healing from a lot of 2nd and 3rd degree burns. "Thanks, babe." Callie kisses him. "We need to get out of town for a while," Marcy says. "Maybe a long while." They get in her car and drive off.

Tori can't carry Professor Malion's body by herself, so she looks for help, and finds the rest of Slayer Club coming out of St. Hubert's. Sam gently carries her professor's remains back to his studio, and then smashes the statue of Koryzoon with her axe. Slayer Club goes to Erik's professor's house, a cute little pale blue cottage with white "gingerbread" designs on all the eaves and windows. The front door swings open to an interior filled with "country kitsch." In the kitchen, they find the cooking professor, his body charred to a blackened husk—the Azath Azar have been here first. The burn victims at the hospital, mostly from Erik's class; the cooking professor; the spice glows just like the evil beer did all those years ago; Mallion's statue of Koryzoon—Drew puts it together first. The Azath Azar are after everyone connected with Koryzoon and that means... Erik dashes out before Drew can finish. He has to get back home to Juanita!

But, at the Madeira house, nothing is amiss. The wards are intact, there's no sign of the Azath Azar, and Drake and Juanita have disposed of the remnants of Erik's cookie-baking project—without eating any of it. Everything seems fine. While Erik fills Juanita in, just to be safe, and the others take a breather, Drew slips down the basement to play Nintendo with Drake. Drake is kicking his ass, but Drew mostly just wants to talk, anyway. "Marcy, Callie, and Jonathan are on our side," he tells Drake. "Call your demons off them." Drake is confused; why would the Azath Azar be after Marcy, Callie, and Jonathan. Drew tells him that they got their powers years ago from drinking the evil beer. Drake smiles, "how interesting." "Yeah," Drew says, "and so did your mom." "My mom is not a follower of Koryzoon!" Drew nods, "Exactly." Drake turns back to the game without another word, but, for just an instant, Drew sees a flicker of something in his eyes. Drew relaxes; he doesn't think the Azath Azar will continue to be a problem. Not for a while, anyway.

 

6.13 The Calm
Written and directed by Greg Pearson.
The events of this episode take place between Tuesday, January 14th and Thursday, January 16th, 1996.
Late Tuesday night: At the Darwin biology lab, a grad student and a professor take delivery of a large crate from a white panel van and wheel it inside to a 2-story laboratory. In the middle of the room stands a gigantic tank of murky water with ropes of kelp and a layer of thick silt in the bottom. The grad student lifts the crate up on a gantry, opens the lid of the tank, loosens the crate's nails, and then dumps the whole thing into the tank. Silt billows up and obscures the creature that bursts out of the crate. While the professor calmly fills out paperwork and signs for the delivery, the grad student heads over to the computers and starts bringing the tank's monitoring equipment online. The professor asks if the grad student remembered to chain the lid and the grad student admits that he can't remember. The professor remarks how dangerous the creature is, but neither seems overly concerned. The grad student unhurriedly finishes what he's doing, then heads over to check the locks. Yup, he forgot them all right. As he goes to secure them, the thing in the tank erupts out of the water. The student gives a strangled cry. Blood spatters. The thing turns on the professor, who looks up from his paperwork and raises an eyebrow. "Oh, dear. This isn't good at –" Splat!

Wednesday dawns bright, sunny, and above freezing at last! Tori's dorm room has undergone renovation since last time we saw it—all the Tom Cruise posters are gone, replaced by Braveheart, Hunt for Red October, and Platoon. While she's taping up the last poster, there's a knock on her door. Two Venusians, male and female, ask for her by name, "Mars?" They tell her that they have come to investigate Professor Malion's death. He wasn't just any worshipper of Venus; he was a high priest, and they want to know what happened to him. Tori tells them that she tried to protect the professor, but they were attacked by fire demons—not hers—and were caught just outside the Martense wards. The Venusians ask where she first saw the fire demons, and if she knows who summoned them. Tori says the first one was at the Sacred Grounds, and letter-of-truth, she doesn't know for sure who summoned them. So the Venusians thank her for her help and go to the coffee shop. Tori immediately calls Erik and Juanita to warn them. She doesn't know, but everyone suspects that Drake was the summoner. Then, she calls Ada.

At the Sacred Grounds, Ada is harried, pissed, and over-worked. Saturday morning, her answering machine had Jonathan's verbal resignation on it and she's been trying to hold the place together by herself ever since. So she's commandeered Jace to make coffee and help her out, at least until he has to get to school. He gets creative with the espresso machine, creating new drinks nobody has ever seen before, and probably shouldn't ever again.

Erik and Juanita sit Drake down for a "little talk" about good demons vs. bad demons and why one shouldn't summon bad demons to kill people. Even if they have drunk the beer, or eaten the cookies your enemy provided.

Carsen is in one of the abandoned science rooms, working out equations and formulae for new magical elixirs on three of the blackboards.

Sam and Drew are up at the forge, working on more suits of armor. That is, Sam's working. Drew is appreciating her work, and occasionally trying on pieces that are cool enough to wear.

The Venusians arrive at the Sacred Grounds, and Jace gets blinded by the gorgeous female Venusian. 'Tongue-tied' doesn't even begin to describe it. 'Drooling imbecile' comes close. She tries to ask him some questions about the night Professor Malion died, but he can't even answer. He's a seventeen-year-old male, and she's the sum total of all hormone-driven fantasies he's ever had, or might ever have. So, the male Venusian approaches Ada and asks for more details about the fire demons. She is much more in control of her reactions than Jace—though not so much that she doesn't completely spill her guts. She tells what she knows about the Azath Azar and details the research she's done about them. She also gives the Venusians a list of other victims that the demons killed, which proves that they weren't just targeting Professor Malion. He was caught up in a wider sweep of attacks, which is tragic, but not malice directed specifically at them. Ada suggests that they talk to Tori about it, since she was right there the whole time.

In the science building, Mari Jergen sticks her head into the classroom where Carsen is working, asking if she's seen Professor Mortensen of the zoology department. She hasn't. Carsen's now busy working with Bunsen burners, beakers, and Erlenmeyer flasks of chemical goop.

At lunch, Slayer Club all convenes at the Sacred Grounds to discuss what to do about the Venusians. Mari comes into the shop and approaches Sam. After small talk and catching up, Mari and asks if they could help her break into the zoology lab. Her professor and his TA both seem to be missing and she needs to feed her J-Term project. It gets cranky when it's hungry. They all head for the science building, where Sam breaks down the lab door so Mari can feed her black Labrador/hellhound cross. (It's cute! And very protective. And good with children.) Sam spots water on the floor, and follows it into the main laboratory, where the giant tank and crate are sitting in a large puddle of pinkish water, with blood spatters across the walls and desks. Drew accesses the professor's computer and finds the camera logs. But they only show the tank itself, and not too clearly. The creature that was in it is only caught briefly before it escaped, as nothing more than a vague shadow. The boys look around the professor's desk while Sam takes a dip in the tank, looking for a sample of fur, scales, or whatever to use to seek the creature. Drew finds a bunch of articles going back over a hundred years, about ships going missing or losing their crews in the Bermuda Triangle. Highlighted portions reference a book called "The Calm" that's supposed to have more details. Tori looks for the trank gun that must be around here somewhere. If they'd brought a large, dangerous creature here, they must have planned how to subdue it. Why they didn't remains a mystery. She finds the tranquilizers, but no gun for them. Sam gets a sample of the creature's scat from the bottom of the tank, but isn't sure it'll be useful. They don't know if the creature is intelligent or if it has a soul. But if her seeker doesn't work, they could ask Juanita to use her dowsing-rod type spell, which should work.

Sam attempts to track the creature downhill to the river, where it would have sought out more water. She finds a large hole in the ice, and asks Tori if she can heat the water, to attract the creature back toward the bank. However, there are students around, skating, sledding on dining hall trays, and having snowball fights. If they lure the creature out now, there could be collateral damage. Sam and Tori warn the skaters about the hole and get everyone off the ice. Then they go to the Madera house and ask for Juanita's help. Juanita makes up a big pot of... stuff... from the creature's fecal matter that Sam brought in a beaker, which she says the creature will find irresistible. Once it's steeped, which should take a couple hours. Slayer Club decides to set up a trap for the creature back at the biology lab. That's a place it's familiar with, and they can control the points of entry. They block the inner doors to the lab with desks, while leaving a path open from the loading dock. Carsen builds a webbing trap around the pot of "stuff" and Sam and Drew look through the papers and computer for more information about the creature.

At the Martense "special" library, Erik finds the book about "The Calm" which surrounds "sightings" of the creature, although no one who ever actually saw it survived. The ships were becalmed, and the crews taken without any signs of a struggle. Tori finds that same book in the card catalog, but Erik got to it first. Jace finds a book about the Venusians, and it's illustrated. He goes looking for the copier.

Everyone convenes back at the lab. Carsen makes plastic explosives. Erik makes highly unstable alchemical explosives to arrange around the sticky-trap kill zone. Since they don't know how big the thing is, or anything about it, overkill seems a prudent way to go. However, the evening and the subsequent night pass uneventfully—perhaps the creature is diuranl?

The next morning. there's a knock on the loading dock door. Sam goes to investigate. "Brand, Jane Brand," (she doesn't even pretend that's her real name) presents herself as a British hunter tracking "The Calm" with a high-powered rifle. She says that it killed an entire Russian village on the Caspian Sea, and she's been on its trail (such as it is) ever since. She asks if she may join Slayer Club in their fight, and brings scones from the Sacred Grounds as a peace offering. Tori doesn't trust her. There's something about her that doesn't seem right. Sam has no reason to doubt her story, so accepts the offered help. The morning passes on stakeout. Drew goes out for lunch and brings back sandwiches. Then, he gets engrossed in a MUD were he's raiding with Michael, who's still in Israel.

By early afternoon, the stinky mixture is fully steeped and the "Dire Otter," as Drew will later dub it, crashes into the lab. It's huge, furry, sinuous, and strangely enough, most of the group don't seem that concerned about it. That's it's super-power: calming its prey, so it won't fight back. Drew looks up from his MUD, and sees that everyone else is on the case. He goes back to virtual raiding—he doesn't want to leave Michael's character on his own to get killed, after all. Jace is engrossed in his photocopied pictures of Venusians. Carsen does manage to set off her webbing trap, but then forgets to arm her explosives. But that's okay; Slayer Club has this under control. Sam shakes off the calming effect and attacks with her axe. Even webbed, the thing is fast! It hits her with its tail. Tori stabs it with one of the vials of horse tranquilizer, but that takes a while to affect it. Jane Brand shoots, but hits Erik in the back instead of the creature. Either she's a terrible shot or Erik was her target all along. Erik throws his hammer at the wall beside Jane. He doesn't intend to kill her, just knock her down or unconscious, but he forgot about the explosives. The shock wave sets them off, blowing out all the doors and killing Jane. Sam disembowels the Dire Otter. Snapping out of his calm, Jace shoots it; but it's already dead by that point.

Sam, Drew, and Tori go to the Sacred Grounds to talk to Ada. Carsen and Jace return to their dorms. Alone in the lab, Erik casts a "speak with dead" spell on Jane's corpse to ask her why she shot him. She's an agent of Venus, and shot Erik to even the score with Malion's death. "One of yours for one of ours." But now, two Venus followers are dead. More will be coming. Erik apologizes for blowing her up, and wishes her a happy afterlife. The Venusians collect her body, and the Martense zoology department, at long last, has a creature called "The Calm" to study. It's dead, sure; but better dead than snacking on the faculty.

Epilogue: A European street, at night. Jonathan, Callie, and Marcy are skulking in the shadows. "Come on, we have to go!" Marcy opens a box and a blue glow shines. She closes it quickly. "I'm good." Behind them, three bodies lie in an alley.

 

6.14 Monsoon
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Friday, January 17th, 1996.
TV weathermen and cameramen in yellow slickers are everywhere, covering "the Blizzard of '96" followed by "the great flood of '96." They're predicting a nor'easter to hit Solomon sometime in the next 48 hours. Either more snow or rain; either way, it'll be huge on top of all the snow melt from the last couple days. Some are even calling it the Snowpocalypse. Sandbagging is going on all over town, and all the stores are out of toilet paper, milk, and bottled water. At Harris's Hardware, there's a run on generators and shovels.

Next door at the Sacred Grounds, Ada is running around in a tizzy. Since Jonathan quit, she doesn't have anyone to make coffee, and there's still research to do, information to collate, reports to write for the Watcher's Council. She's still a little foggy about what exactly happened on Christmas, and Sam hasn't been very forthcoming. Her Slayer has been surly at best, sequestered up in her forge, bashing away at metal plates. In a moment of extreme fatigue, Ada hired "Moist" for a gig at the Sacred Grounds. What was she thinking? The band drinks more coffee than the customers, and their contract specifies free coffee. They're doing a second show tonight, because they can't get out of town because of the weather.

Speaking of, it's 60 degrees out. Melted snow runs down the sides of the streets and washes the sidewalks. Most of Slayer Club is wearing shorts and T-shirts, but Carsen, from Texas, is still dressed in heavy coat and winter clothing. She's wigging out big-time because of the snow. Anything that cold and wet just seems unnatural, and there seems to be even more energy fizzing around than usual. She's getting used to this new way of seeing. Her "new normal" is neon-colored. Looking up at the sky, Carsen sees a wave front rushing toward Solomon, comprised of three parts: liquid blue, electric-purple, and damp-earth brown flavored energy. Just as she's about to figure out what it is, she trips and goes face-first into a big pile of slush. Picking herself up, Carsen stumbles into the Sacred Grounds. Inside, Tori is sitting at a corner table, practicing her Japanese calligraphy. Whoosh! It's like a hair dryer, and Carsen feels warm and dry, but is still damp. Tori looks up, getting a "feeling" herself about the Venus Orb. It's nearby. And something else... the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.

Sam is feeling angry, edgy, and out of sorts. She and Drew are down in the witch tunnels, knee-deep in water, chasing three creature-from-the-black-lagoon type demons. One of them has stolen a human baby. They confront the creatures in a room that Drew recognizes as a bolthole the Solomon Slayers once used. One of Stephie's posters is curling from the damp. Drew shoots one creature right through the eye. Sam saves the baby from falling in the water, but the other two creatures tackle Drew and take him down under the surface. Half-drowned, he sees a vision of Stephie, saying, "She's coming," just before Sam kills the monsters and pulls him out of the water. They take the baby back to the hospital and then go home to get showers and more appropriate gear for patrolling in the wet.

Carsen tells Tori what she saw, and Tori gives Carsen the back-story of the Orbs of Creation while Carsen takes a turn behind the bar, using her knowledge of chemistry to make excellent coffee. So tempting to tinker with the espresso machine! A famous TV weather woman is standing on the corner outside the Sacred Grounds, covering "the Blizzard of '96." She and her crew come inside to interview anyone they can about the weather. The band poses for an impromptu commercial for their music. Carsen has a feeling that with the right gear, she could manipulate the energies she's seeing and feeling. So, while Tori covers the counter, Carsen slips next door to Harris's hardware to get some tesla coils and other random stuff. "All the copper wire you have!" Just then, a tsunami of water breaks through the front window of the Sacred Grounds, knocking down the TV crew and spoiling their camera. They leave to get more gear from their van and set up elsewhere. Some of the water flows around Tori, down the stairs toward where Ada is. "Oh brilliant! Hello, Monsoon." Carsen also sees Marcy in the water, flowing into the Sacred Grounds. Tori chases Marcy down the stairs, where Ada stands up on top of her bookshelves, holding as many books as she can out of the water. A shipping box marked "Par Avion" and "Italy" floats by. Marcy sorts through the rest of the books and takes "The Draculon Diary", which just arrived from the Benandanti. The Diary was written by an acolyte of the Master, who was researching the demon G'han Sharlok about a century ago. Upstairs, Callie arrives as Norse Goddess extraordinaire and calls out to Tori, but ignores Carsen outside. Heather Baumgartner, the assistant at the hardware store, helps Carsen put together a jury-rigged device on the second floor of the store's storage area. She winds up with a backpack-sized Rube Goldberg-esque machine with a long, squiggly extendable probe. A "cosmic energy diverter!" SCIENCE!!!

Meanwhile: While Sam is in the shower, Drew communes with Stephie through her bear, named "Fuzzy Bear". She manifests almost physically and tells him that Marcy, Callie and Jonathan are coming to Solomon, and how they claimed Orbs of their own in Italy. Marcy is, not surprisingly, Venus. Callie is Jupiter, with associated lightning powers, while Jonathan got Saturn. The phone rings. It's Tori, who corroborates much of what Stephie said. Tori tells Drew to get to Erik & Juanita's house immediately. Marcy specifically wants revenge on the one who killed Professor Malion. And that means Drake. Sam walks in from her shower just in time to see Drew kissing Stephie's ghost. She's pissed! But there's no time. They arm up and head out. Drew's new armor does look a lot like Iron Man, down to the red and gold paint, but without the cool gizmos or ability to fly. It's protective, and heavy, and very, very ferrous (unfortunately). He clanks when he walks. Sam's armor is spiky from head to foot, all along the sides, at elbows and knees. Any strike from any body part would be a knife, or even short-sword blow. Drew stays as far away from her as he can in the car, not even trusting the new armor to protect him from her jealous rage.

All the storms, both mundane and magical, converge on Juanita's father's house. Drew and Sam, Carsen and Tori, confront Callie and Marcy in the darkened street. Jonathan is nowhere in sight, although he's probably nearby. Earth-aspect powers of Saturn mean he can probably move through the earth. Which, combined with his Whipping Boy power, means he can touch either Callie or Marcy at will. They'll be neigh-invulnerable.

Drew asks Marcy what she wants for the book. She has what she needs from it, and he needs it now. She wants a kiss. Drew's not thrilled with the idea; he knows she's just doing it to mess with Sam. But they need that book; what choice does he have? The kiss pisses Sam off even more. In the middle of the very wet, very arousing kiss, Drew gets the book away from Marcy, but he feels something slipping out of his head as he does so.

Carsen uses her energy diverter to steal some of Tori's power, and blows up a nearby tree. It's too wet to burn, but smolders.

Marcy flows away toward the house, and Sam runs after her.

Callie throws her lightning spear at Sam, which sticks in her armor and ow! Sam pauses to break the wooden shaft and pull it out of her side.

Drew knows he'd be more useful in the fight outside, helping Tori face off against Callie, where his star metal sword might give them the edge. But he's also the only one who understands what just happened with Marcy. And, more importantly, it's given him an idea for getting out of Sam's doghouse. Sort of, anyway. He runs for the house, leaving Tori and Callie on their own out in the street.

Tori uses fire from the tree to throw a fireball at Callie's face to distract her, and then she proposes a truce—let the others fight inside; they can just sit this one out. After all, this is Venus and G'han Sharlok's fight—Mars and Jupiter have no stake in it. That's true, but Marcy's still Callie's friend. She calling a lightning bolt down on Sam, to slow her. Sam dodges, but the electricity zaps her armor, before she kicks down the Madera's front door.

Inside the house, it's pandemonium! Marcy is a many-limbed water hydra, seemingly everywhere at once. Juanita summons a giant snake to chase Marcy around the room, while she throws green energy bolts in all directions. Erik's hammer blows out all the windows. Drake is sitting cross-legged, levitating in the middle of the mess. Carsen climbs in a window, trying to decide where she should apply her energy diverter. Talk about a target-rich environment! Drew stabs Marcy with his rapier, which wounds her water form, but she instantly heals. When Sam swings her axe, Carsen is ready. She applies the diverter wand, siphoning away Jonathan's power, allowing Marcy to be hurt.

Callie appears in another window, catches Erik's hammer, and throws it at Sam, who dodges again. A portal opens, disgorging Melina, Sylvia, and a white-haired woman. The hammer flies through the portal, just before it closes.

Drew shouts "Stephie! End this!" She does. Marcy's watery aspect changes to Stephie's face, and she swirls around the room, grabs a bunch of metal things: tools, discarded weapons, and the like, and bends them to bind Drake in chains. The water drains away. Marcy lies on the floor, naked and unconscious. That wasn't at all what Drew expected, but it works. He tells Callie to take Marcy and leave, now! She does, in a flash of lightning.

The white-haired woman is a Guardian, the much-prophesied arrival. Sam is not impressed, even when she touches her arm with a calming spell and the Venus-enhanced pissy mood eases. The Guardian asks to look at Sam's axe, and declares that it is exactly like something called "The Slayer's Scythe." exactly like it. They have to talk. But first, Sam desperately needs to find a vampire to slay—preferably a whole nest.

Drake is bound and catatonic. Juanita goes nuts, grabbing things to put together a spell. She has to get her son back! Carsen probes Drake with her cosmic energy diverter, and comes face to face with a demon! She recognizes the hills of Texas, except for the egg-shaped hill with the barely-felt humanoid figure pounding on the inside to get out. In the sky hangs a giant, draconic face that regards her soberly. "Let me in. The first one failed, but there can be another." Carsen freezes, staring at the face in shocked silence. The demon waits.

Back in the real world, Drew knocks Carsen away from Drake, and with the touch gets a vision of the same Demon. A psychic snake lashes out and bites him, with real damage. Sam quickly does first aid on Drew, sucking out the venom and bandaging his wound with torn padding from her armor.

Slayer Club leaves Juanita to do her thing while Erik first tries to console her, and then just gets out of the way. Everyone piles into Sam's Jeep. Once she takes off her armor, Sam drives them to the Brew Pub. Drew studies the book and Tori compares intelligence with Sylvia and Melina. Carsen tinkers on her energy diverter. Sam goes out to work out her aggressions. It's pointless to be jealous of Drew's old crushes, even when they come back from the dead and kiss him. But if she can channel that anger to bring about a few more vampire dustings, then maybe a few more people will be safe tonight.

 

6.15 Paradox Place
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place beginning on Friday, February 2nd, 1996.
At O'Toole's Bar—the Guardian, Pamela, wants to go out for a drink. Sam is not happy about the scene. Her Dad is sitting at the bar across the room, drinking just like always. Stan O'Toole brings Pamela a glass of white wine, and Sam a Shirley Temple with extra maraschino cherries. Pamela admires the fact that Sam is 21 years old, "a full-grown woman," and married, and has found time to develop skills, like blacksmithing. She has a life outside of vampire slaying, and Pamela hopes that "everything that's coming" won't get in the way of that. One strange note (besides Samuel's drinking): Pamela says that Sam's axe is supposed to be in Sunnydale. It obviously isn't, but she doesn't know why. Sam isn't buying any of it. She's suspicious and paranoid, and also annoyed that they're in O'Toole's in the first place. But the Sacred Grounds is still trashed from Marcy's water jets. Ada is doing her best to dry the place out and fix the windows (again), but it's going to take time. Pamela shows Sam an ancient linen scroll of a painting: someone like Sam, wielding an axe like hers, fighting a demon like Koryzoon. Except that it's supposed to take place in Sunnydale, approximately three thousand years ago. Sam's Dad falls off his barstool, drunk. Sam picks him up and carries him home, stopping off on the way to drop the Guardian off at the Wisdom, where she's staying.

Meanwhile, at Fashion Square Mall, Trident-wielding Atlantean Venusians and lightning-javelin bearing Valkyrie Jovians are fighting Tori and her Minions through the lower level. Drew stands on the second floor, directing the three Benandanti (Melina, Sylvia, and Ilia) through a walkie-talkie. He's also trying to coordinate the Tori-ites, but they ignore his orders. He's not Tori, and they only follow her lead. Jace is ransacking a sporting goods store for more equipment. Carsen is in the thick of the fight with her cosmic energy diverter and other magic tech gear. Both Jace and Carsen are seeing the battle in neon-colored, 3-D, HD effects, and getting the wiggins about the state of the mall. Not just the battle, the whole scenario seems subtly... wrong. This is not new for Carsen, and she rolls with it. But Jace starts wondering what's really going on. Beside Carsen, Alderick is skewering Jovians with his flashing rapier and rapier wit. "Ah, so good to do battle alongside long-time companions in arms. Take that, lightning bug!"

Two of the Jovians are quickly building some kind of magic/tech weapon in the middle of the mall's atrium, beside the fountain. Carsen attempts to "snatch" some of their SCIENCE!!! Power with her energy diverter, and catches Alderick in the backlash. Everyone in that quarter gets blown backwards away from the almost complete weapon. Above, Drew sees his chance and lobs a hand grenade down, blowing the weapon to smithereens. Tori attempts to to unleash a blast of fire to push back the Venusians crowding her, but building rage supercharges her blast and she accidentally sets fire to her favorite clothing boutique. Noooooo! Jace comes out of the sporting goods store armed with a hunting bow and quiver of arrows, several baseball bats in a golf bag, and wearing a Nike headband. With his Sight, he sees two scenes of battle, nearly superimposed one on top of the other. In one version, Alderick is fighting next to Carsen. In the other, Erik is there instead. Scanning the battle, Jace spots a massive Atlantean hefting a giant trident, closing in on Tori, so Jace shoots him first, using the Sight to find chinks in the Venus-minion's magic armor. The shot is good, and hurts a lot. Tori sticks the Atlantean with her sword to finish him off.

After the battle, Slayer Club re-convenes at the Paradise Theater, where Sam and Drew live. Tori gives her minions a post-battle debriefing and sends them back to the hell dimension they're conquering in her name. It keeps them out of trouble. Erik is at the theater, looking a little rough. "Juanita's a wreck." Everyone remembers: Drake is still bound in the Iron Briars. Erik's been scouring the Martense library looking for spells that might reverse it, but with no luck (Drew having gotten there first and removed them all). Erik picks up some magic supplies and leaves. Jace feels really weird. Carsen also feels weird, but then she always does. Maybe self-testing her latest batch of potion wasn't such a good idea. Jace looks up at Alderick's poster on the wall, frowning. It's one of Erik's works, perfectly catching the insouciant nonchalance that the Frenchman brings to everything he does. He comes from a very old family and likes using words like "insouciant" a lot. In the poster he has his rapier in one hand, and a 1st edition Rimbaud in the other.

On the one hand, Jace remembers perfectly the day five years ago, he was just a kid in Middle School, when he saw the Slayer for the first time. She was tall, and tough, dressed in flannel, even in the summertime, and she was fighting a giant, knobby, horned demon in an alley behind the ice cream parlor. Suddenly, this beautiful girl with high cheekbones long, straight blond hair, wearing a puffy white shirt and tight leather pants swung out of an upper window, landed on top of the demon and stabbed it in the back of the neck with a silver knife. "You need silver to fight a Fyarrl demon, dear girl." She slid to the ground and bowed to Sam Kessler with an elaborate flourish. That's when Jace realized that the beautiful girl was really a guy, and his ice cream cone fell on the ground. Then, just as suddenly, Jace remembers Michael Sayier fighting demons beside them, and giving him good advice about how to talk to girls. Michael was his mythology teacher in alternate version of Solomon, and had been mentoring Slayer Club for almost as long as Alderick has. Had. Whatever. But when Jace mentions Michael's name, all he gets are blank stares from the rest of the group. Carsen never met Michael, he's been in Israel for a long time, now. But the others, Sam and Drew, and especially Tori? They should have known who he was.

There's a storm coming. Jace and Carsen can both see it, billowing green clouds of lightning and trouble racing in from the horizon. No one else can, though. Carsen sets up her lightning equipment on the roof, muttering about flux capacitors and wondering exactly what kind of power source this storm is coming from. Jace tries to tell Sam and the others about the world discrepancies he's noticed. But what does it mean? While Sam does the heavy lifting for Carsen, Jacen spots Pundle lurking across the street and calls him over. Pundle is reluctant to talk. Doesn't want to get involved. But he is, anyway. They're caught in a temporal shift rushing up from the deep past. The green clouds are the next wave catching up to the present.

The time storm hits, and the door the Paradise Theater gets kicked in, glass shattering in slow motion.

The broken door swings inward, and Britta, Gwen, and the Master walk into the theater, all three in "game face" and ready for battle. Gwen has the Kavanaugh rapier in hand. Britta has a long sword, and a bandolier of wooden stakes. The Master "calls out" Sam, again. It must be Thursday. Tori's look is so First Season, with black hair and pale skin. She's sharpening a sword that looks like the one she made herself, but obviously isn't quite as keen. Alderick has his ever-ready rapier and fountain of French curses, which Gwen returns in kind. Carsen has her cosmic energy diverter and a bunch of potions on a bandolier. Jace realizes that he's standing on the opposite side of the room from where he just was, and Pundle is trying to make a break for it. Sam runs up the middle of the room, directly at the Master, her axe held high. Britta throws a stake at Sam, which the Slayer attempts to catch, but just barely misses. The wood lodges in her left shoulder, just beside, but not in, her heart. The battle engages! Carsen pulls the fire alarm, unveiling her latest project—holy water in the sprinkler system! Pundle's also not happy about this. Alderick loses his rapier to Gwen, but Drew steps in before she can follow up and the two fence, although it's not entirely clear if they're fighting or flirting. Sam wounds the Master, and Britta steps in, letting him retreat. Stepping back from Gwen once Drew has her engaged, Alderick nonchalantly uses his main gauche to cut one of the ropes at the back of the theater, dropping a sand bag down on Pundle, keeping him from fleeing. Tori shoots Britta with a crossbow, but misses her heart. Britta kicks Sam's axe out of her hands, and they devolve into fisticuffs to see who can grab it first. Drew sends the Kavanaugh sword flying and grabs it before Gwen can get to it. Jace gets the axe, holding it over his head. That's when Sam smiles, pulls the stake out of her shoulder, and plunges it into Britta, dusting her once and for all. Gwen salutes Drew with Alderick's blade and Drew salutes her back with the hers. They will meet again, but for now Gwen and the Master retreat.

Jacen explains, once again, about the time storm and the alternate universes, and Pundle finally speaks up and explains how Sam and her axe are needed, thousands of years in the past, to right a great wrong and he's, um, supposed to take her there. Of course, they'll probably all be killed in the process, Pundle included, so if she'd rather not, he totally understands. As if there's any question. Of course she'll go. She's the Slayer. They are Slayer Club. That's what they do. Jace returns Sam's axe to her, and she gets a compression bandage for her shoulder. It will heal, given enough time. With everyone in agreement, Pundle reluctantly does his duty. Everyone touches Sam's axe and time and space whip past at a dizzying rate.

They arrive, somewhere in the vicinity of Sunnydale, California, several thousand years ago. A demonic temple rises out of the landscape not far away, and several one-horned demons turn to face the humans with snarls, or perhaps smiles? It's hard to tell on a face like that. Sam takes a grip on her axe. Drew says "Oh, boy."

 

6.16 Primal
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place around 1100 BC.
Night, somewhere in a valley among mountains. It's raining, a steady, soaking drizzle. Our heroes—Sam, Drew, Tori, Jace, Carsen, and Alderick—appear with Pundle, the lily-livered Chronos-Sankara demon, right in the middle of a crowd of eight-foot tall, cyclopean, one-horned demons, armed with spiky clubs like tree trunks. Pundle immediately looks around for an avenue of escape, but Jace clamps a hand on his shoulder. At the front of the crowd, a rough wooden platform stands next to a bonfire and a cage of human prisoners. On the platform, two vampires in game-face lead a pep rally/human sacrifice. One is wearing a hooded robe; the other a loincloth and impressive musculature. Behind them, a robed human holds a banner with pictures of a snarling wolf, a curled-horn ram, and an eighteen-point buck on it. Sam reaches down to the thick mud and smears her face, giving her a harsh, primitive look. As the demons notice the humans in their midst, Sam unlimbers her bow, and rapidly puts arrows through several demons' eyes, opening a path to the stage. Tori takes that path, vaulting up to fence with the vampire lord; a challenging opponent, but no match for Mars. Her strength is greater, and reflexes even quicker than usual, although she doesn't have the same head for tactics, and no knowledge of technology in this primitive era.  The spellcaster vampire pushes the Wolf, Ram, and Hart flag-bearer into Tori, but she dodges and he falls off the platform. Drew clocks him upside the head with his pommel, knocking him out. Jace TK blasts the bonfire, scattering fiery logs, cinders, and smoke through one quarter of the crowd. Carsen examines the demons' auras for weaknesses, while Alderick guards their backs with swashbuckling aplomb. Only he can make rain and mud look good. Sam puts up her bow and takes out her axe, killing demons left and right on her way up to the platform. The spellcaster vampire builds a fireball in his hand. Drew shoots him, and he drops the fireball, immolating himself. At the same time, Tori ripostes so hard, she cuts the vampire lord in half. As his dust settles, the remaining demons scatter to the hills.

Sam cuts open the cage, letting the prisoners free. Most are Amerind men and women, but one man in an indigo robe is African. Beside him, a pubescent girl with a hard look in her eye. Drew asks the man "Do you speak Aramaic?" in ancient Aramaic. Not really, but he speaks a little of a language that's close kin to it. After a few minutes back and forth, they establish basic communication. The "Shadow man" calls himself Seth, and his young charge is "Soon-to-be-demon-girl". He recognizes Sam as "Demon girl," although he is taken aback by her height, age, and pale skin under the mud. The tribe takes Slayer Club back to their home caves, and offers them food and drink. Sam tries to pray for a better linguistic translation, but even the most ancient saints haven't been born yet. Jace and Carsen can see that the cave is full of spirits. There are salamanders in the fire, which cozy up to Tori like cats, and she pets them. A stone shelf of jars and magical tools each has its associated spirit. While Drew converses with Seth and looks at his sacred scrolls, Sam steps outside with the Potential Slayer to spar with her. She's good. Not as strong or quick, but very cunning, and they are able to teach each other a thing or two, even without a spoken language. Carsen quietly examines the bottles on the shelf. There are sleeping potions, demon suppressants, and healing balms. Since nobody is watching her, she pockets a few of each. With some tinkering, she could use these potions in her grenades. Jace has other ideas about the local spirits, and invites one of them to share his body for a while. This is a good idea, up to a point. The spirit is able to speak English, so it can share information about the "big demon" that lives in the next valley over, but it's really more interested in the food and drink and making passes at the local girls. Then again, so is Jace. Before that can go too far and Jace does something that he'll regret not being able to remember, Sam gently knocks him out, expelling the spirit. When Jace wakes up, hung-over and bruised, he realizes that Pundle has run away. They aren't stranded, yet, since he needs twenty-four hours to recharge his time travelling ability, but they need to find him before that time is up, or they're all going Land of the Lost.

Outside, the sun peeks over the mountains. Since the local people and spirits don't know very much about the next valley, Sam decides to take a look directly. She sits with her axe across her lap, and with Drew watching over her, sends her spirit flying on the wings of a hawk. From the air, she reconnoiters the demons' compound, which is built of massive redwoods. Not local trees; they were brought a long way from the north. There's a secondary palisade that closes off a huge cavern in the mountain, with counter-weighted winches on top of the gates to open them. That would be Koryzoon's lair. In between the inner and outer walls are dozens, if not hundreds, of demons and Atlantean humans wearing robes or bronze armor. Most are asleep, but some are up and about. Demon blacksmiths. Demon merchants setting up their stalls of trinkets and food. (Rats on a stick! Lizards on a stick! Something unidentifiable on a stick!) And scores of insect-like demon soldiers guarding the walls. Sam makes sure not to fly too close. Beyond the mountain, about a mile to the east, she spots a faint trail switch-backing up another slope, overlooking Koryzoon's compound. There's a smaller cave, which faintly glows in the dim morning light. She flies down and spots a woman with the face of an Egyptian queen wearing white robes, leading two Amerind porters carrying large packets and bundles. Sam can't understand their speech, but the woman's bearing and clothes are very familiar. She looks like a Guardian. Sam circles above the cave to fix its location in her mind, and then returns to her body to tell her friends what she saw.

The group decides to approach the Guardian woman before they go to the compound. Drew thanks their host for his hospitality, and then quietly pockets several of Seth's scrolls when he's not looking—it's tradition to take the Watcher's books, after all. Sam leads her group up the hidden trail, avoiding demon patrols that periodically sweep out from the stockade. The Guardian recognizes Sam as the Slayer, and the "weapon of prophesy" she carries. She speaks ancient Aramaic, and she and Drew are able to converse and exchange greetings. Tori has a shock of recognition at the wave of heat emanating from the cave's interior. It feels familiar. Kinship, even. She already knows who they will see before they go in. Sam also recognizes the rakish, fiery youth who's lounging on a stone throne, being fanned with stiflingly hot air from braziers by two handsome, bare-chested demons with small horns. Tori greets him as "Michael" while Sam goes for the older version "Milchamah." Jace cries out "Mr. Sayier!" And steps forward to hug his mentor. Michael holds up a hand "Who is this person?" His glamours allow perfect language translation. Drew explains that Jace is Michael's student—Michael is pleased. He could use an apprentice—but not right now. In the future. Everyone exchanges glances. They have to be very careful not to say too much about the future. Michael did the same for them when they first met, back, or forward, in 1990. "Paradoxical time travel, gives me such a headache!" Young Michael summons a Middle Eastern feast for them, spread on sumptuous rugs, in golden dishes and cups. Somewhere, a very confused pasha is missing his dinner. They introduce Carsen and Alderick, and then eat, drink, and talk. Drew says that they're planning to kill the demon in the next valley. Michael wishes them luck. He says that he owes the Guardian a favor. He doesn't say for what, and nobody asks. He's here to help with a binding ritual, and that was supposed to be that. But now that Tori is here, he is at her service. He bows deeply to the Avatar of Mars. Tori finds this most amusing, that the being she respects most in the universe is bowing to her. But she keeps that to herself. After refreshment, Michael has his servants fan up the braziers even more, and then dismisses them. The Guardian sets up a ritual circle with spinning shadow lamps. She, Sam, and Michael stand in the middle of the circle with Sam's axe. The others sit inside the circle's edge. Each person is given a syllable and a note to chant, over and over. The lights weave patterns across the walls. Sam's shadow seems to come alive, twisting and writhing. Another shadow oozes out of the back of the cave, touching each person with cold malevolence. It is powerful, and it wants to kill! Intensely frightening, but the circle holds. Everyone knew it was coming, and the chanting never falters. Between Samantha Kessler, Vampire Slayer, the Guardian, and Milchamah Kaspar Sayier, Djinn, they bind the shadow demon into the metal of the Slayer's weapon, making it even more potent than before. Forged of "star metal" meteoric iron, pure silver, smashed Djinni lamps, and a masterwork German broadsword, with the Slayer's own strength and blood, this is what the axe was made for: to be a receptacle for power; its purpose: to kill demons. Even true demons.

After the ritual is done, Tori gives Michael permission to leave, and he does. Only then does she fall over laughing. When she gets her breath back, Tori asks everyone to swear never to say anything to Michael about what just happened. They don't want to embarrass him. Everyone except Sam and Tori are exhausted and the day is waning, so they rest and the Guardian shares her provisions. Sam wants to move as soon as they are able. About sundown, drums echo up from the compound. The group hikes down the mountain path, Sam leading the way. They find a group of Atlantean guards outside the walls. One of Carsen's sleep grenades, artfully thrown by Alderick, knocks out the entire patrol. Slayer club binds them and steals their cloaks and weapons. Jace also pockets a bunch of gold coins. Cloaked and unremarkable, Slayer club sneaks into the demon's lair. It's a carnival atmosphere with merchants hawking their wares, demon performers, music, and everywhere the deep rumble of drums. At full dark, the camp is full of torches, and a new cage of prisoners is wheeled out, Seth among them. The Potential Slayer is the first one tied to the sacrificial cross. Winches creak. The inner stockade slowly opens. A giant, clawed hand pushes the gates wide, and Koryzoon steps out. Black miasma flows from him, covering the ground with a strength-draining mist. The last true demon on earth towers over the redwood fence, a four-armed colossus with a mane of tentacles, fishlike eyes wider than a man's reach, sleek scales, and waving palps covering his body. His enormous tongue unrolls and he hisses, "I will not perish because of a human girl!" Sam steps forward and throws away her cloak. "Want to bet your life on that?" She brandishes her weapon, and all hell breaks loose.

Carsen and Tori were waiting for just that kind of cue. Carsen's Fnord Goo-enhanced sight shows a kaleidoscope of possible targets for her Cosmic Energy Diverter. She focuses on one insectoid demon, larger than the rest, with an elaborate helmet and breastplate, a knight among demons. He's just turning to give orders to his cohort, when Carsen hits him with her wiggly probe, and strips away his charismatic ego, his hauteur, his je ne sais quoi, and spreads that energy widely through the camp. Fights break out everywhere. At the same time, Tori gathers as much of the torch fire as she can, concentrates it into a supernova-hot fireball, and hurls it at Koryzoon, hitting him in the shoulder. Half the torches go out. More panic and chaos. Koryzoon's scream makes ears bleed, and some heads explode. Carsen freaks out, laying all about her with the Energy Diverter, throwing any and every kind of magic in all directions. Drew, Alderick, and Jace each have one of the demon-suppressant grenades. Jace casually drops his, spreading white smoke along the ground that pushes back the black miasma around their group. From then on, he takes potshots at demons with his crossbow and TK blasts some of the merchants' stalls, looking for a particular demon he suspects is somewhere in the crowd. Drew shows the muscles he's developed as he winds up and throws his demon-suppressant grenade in a long, high, Hail Mary pass, directly down Koryzoon's throat. That stops the screaming. Alderick holds onto his grenade for later and fights his way over toward the cage of prisoners. Hair flying and sword flashing, Alderick cuts their bonds and lets the Potential Slayer free first, then the rest of the humans. They all run for the front gates, and the Potential is lost in the crowd.

Sam begins the long climb up Koryzoon's legs, using her axe as a driving piton, clinging to the folds in his skin, severing muscles and tendons as she goes. Koryzoon's long, snaky tongue swings to try and dislodge her, but Drew runs up and stabs the tongue to the ground with his sword. The Kavanaugh Rapier, made of star metal, holds tight, burning the demon's flesh around it. Drew takes aim and fires his crossbow up along the tongue, into Koryzoon's mouth. Tori gathers the rest of the torch fire, plunging the compound into complete darkness except for starlight and the flares of magic. She holds onto the fire, concentrating it as hot as possible, adjusts her aim, and throws it higher, hitting Koryzoon's left eye, blinding him on that side. Having freed the humans, Alderick heads for the scaffolding ladder up to the top of the inner gates. The trolls that work the winches there are staring, dumbfounded, at the spectacle below; oblivious to anything else. Alderick quietly sneaks by and cuts the ropes holding the counter-weights. The ponderous gates swing closed, catching Koryzoon on his blind side, throwing him off balance, and knocking the trolls to the ground as well. Rather than taking the slower route down the ladder, Alderick decides to swing down to the ground. He grabs one of the trailing ropes, but too late realizes that the rope is unsecured. On the ground below, Jace sees his friend fall down the redwood fence. Having only seconds, he points and shouts "Feather Fall!" While not an officially recognized spell, Jace's panic reaches deep into his innate well of magic, and it works! Just feet above the ground, where he was sure to break bones, if not meet an untimely death, Alderick slows, and lands softly.

Sam swings across the demon's belly, avoiding the swiping claws by hitching a ride on one elbow, severing the bicep muscle there. Then, she digs her axe into its upper triceps and pole-vaults up to his shoulder. Koryzoon reaches for her, and she slides around his neck, opening the veins and arteries, covering herself in molten-hot demon blood. It stings. But the demon is weakening, down on one knee, thrashing half-blind. Sam grabs onto the waving tentacles around his face, and stabs her blade deep above the damaged eye. With a heave, she pops the eye out of its socket, leaving a hole almost deep enough for her to stand up in. She swings inside the demon's skull, where there's a direct opening to his brain.

Outside, most of the demon horde has run away. Corpses, debris, and broken drums litter the ground. Carsen comes back to her senses, breathing hard, but pleased with how well her equipment worked. Tori is also fatigued by her fireball throwing. Alderick picks himself up and brushes the dirt off his clothes. Jace spots a smarmy-looking demon rummaging in a merchant's cart for things to eat, and he recaptures Pundle. The demon-suppressant mist also kept Pundle from teleporting away. He can't leave until it disperses. Drew is out of crossbow bolts, and Sam has disappeared, so he pulls his sword out of the ground and dances out of the way of flailing limbs and dripping ichor, waiting to find out what happened to her.

Koryzoon, last of the true demons, looks as if he's gone insane, clawing at his own head, ripping flesh from his skull, making hacking, rumbling noises, like he would be screaming, if not for the quiver of crossbow bolts buried in the back of his throat. Steaming ichor pours from dozens of wounds all over him. Finally, he stops moving, sways, and slowly topples like a felled tree. A moment later, the massive head twitches, rolls to one side, and Sam crawls out. Drew runs to hug and kiss his wife. No matter she's covered in twelve kinds of yuck. She's alive, and Koryzoon is dead!

Out in the middle of the compound, the Potential Slayer, "Soon," is also covered in gore, standing atop a pile of dead demons, holding one of the bronze Atlantean spears. There's a new set to her shoulders, and a more mature look in her eyes. She's no longer a Potential. She's been called. She and Sam nod to each other. There's no need for words. They both know. When Seth tries to order Soon back to the caves, she gives him another kind of  "look" and walks away. Sam and Drew grin. Another Watcher thwarted! They find barrels of water to wash up in, and return to the Guardian's cave to eat and rest. Jace keeps a firm grip on Pundle the whole time. Sam, Drew, and the Guardian sit together and talk as best they can with their limited shared vocabulary. There's still a prophecy to fulfill. Sam hates prophecy. It's her axe. She made it. Losing it would be like cutting off her own arms. But it's needed here, and she can't take it back. She asks the Guardian to promise they will make sure the Slayer gets this weapon when she needs it. Reluctantly, Sam kisses the handle, which used to be the Kessler sword, wielded by her family for generations to fight evil, gives it to the Guardian, and walks away. The sun rises again, and it's time to go home. Slayer Club all join hands, Jace and Sam holding onto Pundle, and the valley of the age of demons fades into the swirl of the time stream slipping by.

 

6.17 Loose Ends
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Wednesday, February 14th, 1996.
Wednesday, February 14th, 1996—Tori Clark's 21st birthday!

Tori's mother is planning a "surprise" party. However, Tori is wise to ambushes of all kinds, so she knows all about it. But she's pretending not to, so she won't embarrass her mother. That's her mother's job—embarrassing her. Starting with trying to bake a dessert. As the smell of burning sugar fills the house, Tori calls Andrea Czarbach's bakery to deliver some brownies, so her mother's creation isn't the only dessert available. Marilyn has her new driver, "Fritz," drive Tori to the mall to buy a new dress and get her out of the way while everyone meets at the house. Tori recognizes "Fritz," even with the new mustache. It's her father! He offers her a long, flat box wrapped in silver paper, and says that her "old friends" are raising all sorts of hell. The birthday present is a matched pair of Etruscan short swords, made of reddish-gold alloy with red leather wrapped hilts. Tori touches them, and knows their names: Phobos and Deimos, and they are hers. Although her father warns, the former "owners" might come looking for them. When they get back to the house, Mr. Clark offers to stay outside and watch the periphery. Marilyn has a new boyfriend: Dr. Jozsua Teodora, a teacher at St. Germain's. He's tall and dashing, with a salt & pepper beard, black turtleneck, and a slight European accent. Mr. Clark might just have to deck him on principle.

For the two weeks since Slayer Club returned from the long ago Valley of the Sun, Melina and Sylvia have remained in Solomon. Signs point to something big happening soon, involving the Orbs. Ilia stops in now and then. Sam's newly-found Guardian, Pamela, is enjoying the magical ambiance of Solomon. She's completed her mission and can enjoy some time off. Carsen set up a chemistry lab in the Monastery, in the wing opposite from the forge, so she can work on her experiments without endangering anyone else. She also works part time for Ada at the Sacred Grounds, replacing Jonathan at the espresso machine. Between reading the scrolls he took from Seth, the ancient Watcher, Drew makes a habit of tailing Erik to find out what he and Juanita are up to. She stays at home mostly, communing with the spirits who are willing to talk to her and brewing potions for Drake. The boy is still in a coma, wrapped in the chains of Iron Briars. She occasionally sends Erik out in search of books to help free him. But, thanks to their conversations, Drew has so far always been able to get to them first.

To avoid Juanita's bubbling brews and wrath alike, Drew, Sam, and Erik spend a lot of time at the monastery. Erik makes tools, magical bolt-cutters, trying to find something that can cut through the Iron Briars. Nothing's worked so far. Sam is sweating out her frustrations at losing her axe by pounding her spiky armor down into a singularity. Then, she split the super-dense ingot into two pieces and re-shapes them again. One half becomes a three-sided punch dagger for herself. It's not an axe, but it'll do. The other is a birthday present for Tori: an oddly shaped blob attached to a pedestal. Sam carves "Mars" on the base. One side shows a one-third sphere pocked with craters and crisscrossed lines, the famous Martian "canals." From another angle, the statuette resolves into a bust of Tori; crude, but recognizable. The third side is an abstract arrangement of cones and valleys. "Watch this." Sam swings the statue/ mace at a sparring dummy, leaving an imprint: "Tori was here." She grins, leans down into the forge and lights a cigarette off the coals. It's not like she has to worry about her health. But when she takes a drag, Sam coughs deeply, and then throws the rest of the cigarettes onto the fire. Not as good an idea as she thought it would be.

When it's time for Tori's birthday party, Ada and Carsen close the Sacred Grounds and go over together. Ada is not well. She's been having worse visions of Sam's death. Not sleeping. Lots of coffee. Sam and Drew pick up Pandora at Martense and give her a ride. Erik arrives, but not Juanita. Sam's dad is there, with two bouquets of flowers: fire lilies for Tori, and yellow roses for Marilyn. Drew's parents bring gift certificates for boutiques at the mall. Jezebel arrives just before Magnus, who carries a barrel of home-brewed mead on his shoulder. Then, Tiffany and Anthony, back together again; the only other college friends who could make it.

Tori's mother takes Tori by the hand and leads her up to the very well stocked bar. "For your very first alcoholic drink!" Even though it isn't. Tori endures the embarrassment and takes a glass of hot chocolate laced with peppermint schnapps. Sam and Drew have their hot chocolate plain. Erik has a glass of mead, but then has to leave. His tattoos itch. Juanita is summoning him. Carsen gets drunk on vodka and soda, which added to her Fnord-goo Sight, makes for a super-extra psychedelic experience.

Jezebel says "hi" and "congrats" and "Good to see you!" Sam gets a "something's different" feeling about Jezebel. Her aura doesn't look the same as the last time they saw her. In fact, it looks more like it did the first time they met: too "perfect." Obviously hiding something. At the time, she was hiding her half-demon heritage. Now? Who knows? Sam asks Carsen's opinon, but Carsen can't be sure, because she didn't know Jezebel before. To help, Drew and Tori tell her Jezebel's story: how her father, "Bill" a.k.a. Baal, god of fire, tried to extract the Mars Orb from Tori, which would have killed her, in order to give it to Jezebel, which would have required Jezebel to lose her soul. Instead, Tori stabbed Baal with a god-killer blade, which made him mortal, and Michael cut his head off. Apparently Jezebel (if this is indeed she) has gotten over any grief at losing her father. In fact, Tori spots her talking to the caterers on very familiar terms, while Carsen winds up talking to Dr. Teodora, who goes on at length about the celestial powers and the upcoming planetary conjunction. "Very exciting!" If you're drunk. Tori's mom tries to get all the parents to follow her down to the basement for games and embarrassing childhood Tori photos. But suddenly, Tori goes missing. Carsen can still see her, but no one else can. Tori is out of phase.

From Tori's point of view, it's everyone else who disappears. She's in her house, with her new swords, and a battalion's worth of guns pointed at her. Okay, maybe not, but there's at least a dozen gunmen surrounding the house, and they have a mage with them. Tori sends fire to engulf him, but he blocks it with dust countermeasures. When the attackers phase out, they move into the house to surround her. Tori draws her new swords and her Mars power spikes, almost out of control. Carsen sees all this, and sneaks outside to poke the mage with her new, pocket-sized Cosmic Energy Diverter probe. The gunmen start flickering in and out of phase. Sam knocks out one and disarms him. Drew tries to do likewise, but doesn't get the gun, so Sam tosses him hers. Carsen tries to take the mage's power away again, and gets Tori's instead, which loosens her hold on the swords. Tori goes Cuisinart on the gunmen, killing them all, including the mage, and comes back into phase dripping blood, radiating terror and war! With great difficulty she forces the swords down and quiet again. Carsen searches the bodies for magical items. Drew goes to check on the parents downstairs, and eavesdrops before sneaking down. "Jezebel" is berating her minions. These operatives aren't as well trained as the others. Sam, Drew, and Tori decide a quick assault has the best chance of taking them out before they can respond. Carsen lets loose with the energy her CED has stored in it, and Sam and Drew fire the taser-rifles they took off the bodies. "Jezebel" shoots Sam with a wand of "red tape," but it's no match for Slayer strength. Everyone reacts, pulling triggers, but every one of the guns misfires. Tori's Mars-sense tingles big time. While Sam and Drew subdue and tie up all the W&H operatives down here (different division from the ones upstairs; someone missed a memo), Tori and Carsen go outside to see what's going on.

A portal wreathed in flames disgorges Tori's minons Lenth, Tragnor, and Yarik. Lenth gasps: "They re-took the world. Santeri is back. He had allies. Saturnians. Lots of them." Tragnor is wounded and infected by Saturnian poison. Carsen treats him with a healing balm she brought back from the deep past and he recovers.

More news: when threatened with her own Red Tape, the Jezebel imposter, Susan of Wolfram & Hart's Apocalypse Division, reveals that the mage who once called himself the White Philosopher, Joshua Abernathy, is once again on the move and looking for the Orbs. Sam, Drew, and Tori look at each other with raised eyebrows. Isn't Abernathy dead? Yes, but not gone. Three years ago, he hanged himself in the Templar prison, then possessed one of the guards and walked right out. Slayer Club chased his ghost all across Europe. Last they saw, he'd forced a priest to jump off a catwalk in the Dom Cathedral in Koln, Germany. But Sam caught him and the priest recovered fully, so they thought that was the end of Abernathy. Not so. He apparently has a new host, and is making a direct line for Solomon, which is about to be ground zero in an apocalyptic planetary conjunction.

The gunmen upstairs were from the Artifact Acquisition Division and under orders to recover the short swords. Not Susan's area at all. She and Mr. Clark face off in a contest of contract writing, which gets Wolfram & Hart off Slayer Club's backs, at least for a while. Pandora is the resident expert on astrology and planetary conjunctions. Dr. Teodora is also an expert, although he does tend to blather on. Sam examines his aura closely to determine that he is not Abernathy. He and Pandora want to run the numbers to figure out exactly when the planetary conjunction is due to happen, so Ada drives them to Martense to use the library and computers. Everybody else returns home, or to Martense, as quickly as possible.

Best bet is that that apocalypse is coming sooner rather than later—Saturnian energy is all over the sky. Orb magic is happening all over town: lighting, flood, a sickly miasma of swamp-gas settles over Solomon that smells of earth and rotting things. Add to that a demon army bent on settling debts with Tori and Sam. Tori drives her minions back to the Brew Pub. Sam, Drew, and Carsen go in her truck. On the way, they pick up Sylvia and Pamela, who are injured. Sylvia has Melina's blood all over her; Callie has her, but as far as they know, she was still alive when Callie dragged her away.

Smoky wolves rampage through town. Citizens batten down the hatches. At Martense, Security Director Wilson and Artemus Topak work together to reinforce the magical wards surrounding the campus. At Solomon's train station, a tall figure emerges from the evening train from Boston, and walks straight into town. Jonathan emerges from the mist, several of his Saturn wolves coming to heel beside him, and meets the cloaked figure. "Do you have the other three?" "Yes. You sent me all over. Nice what you've done with the place." Russell pulls back his hood and looks around the murky street.

 

6.18 Eyes Open
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place in the early morning of Thursday, February 15, 1996.
A foul miasma covers the ground, almost obscuring the road where a beige rental car drives slowly. Inside, a middle-aged couple, aging hippies with matching long, gray ponytails are arguing over which way to go to get to Solomon. Suddenly, the car's engine dies and they roll to a stop. They get out and unfold a map over the car's hood. A wolf howls in the distance. Meanwhile, in the woods nearby, a familiar, debonair figure: Alderick, whom we last saw fighting alongside Slayer Club against Koryzoon, is trying to fence with a nine-foot tall wolf creature with huge talons. Long, blonde hair gleams and the slender, androgynous figure fights defensively, giving ground as elegantly as possible. His tactics put some room between himself and his foe, so he runs for the road, where he sees the stopped car.

The couple—Carsen's parents, Scott and Morna Ramsey—came to Solomon for Parent's Weekend, but they can't find the right road to town in all this mist. Alderick begs a ride. With the wolf crashing out of the woods, they all three jump in the car, which starts up again just in time. The wolf leaps on their hood, and Mr. Ramsey swerves, attempting to shake it off. That doesn't work, but driving erratically sends them out of control, over the side of the road and down a hill into the parking lot in front of the Brew Pub. Sam, Drew, Tori, and Carsen come out and together fight the wolf. Tori beheads it, and the head rolls right past Scott and Morna, who faints. Carsen is shocked to see her parents here, and they are shocked to see her, wielding her Cosmic Energy Diverter and keeping company with such violent people. But at the same time, they're very glad the wolf didn't kill anybody.

Downstairs in the Brew Pub, Sylvia and Pamela cast a Seeker spell on Melina's blood, which Sylvia wiped off of her. It shows Melina at Solomon City Hall, not moving. So that's where they need to go. But first, Carsen wants to take her parents to Martense, where they'll be safe. Sam drives the Ramseys in the Jeep. Tori gives Sylvia, Alderick, and Drew a ride. Pamela stays behind to hold down the fort at the Brew Pub. She's not good at fighting, but she is very interested in the books that Drew has "permanently borrowed" from the Watchers, especially the scrolls from Seth, the ancient Watcher in the Valley of the Sun.

Martense campus is mega-warded against anything from another dimension, including Alderick and Tori. Even Sam can't get through the wards. That's good for the Ramseys, who are staying at the Alumni House with several other parents from out of town. After they're settled, Slayer Club heads over to City Hall. The police station next door looks abandoned, as do many houses on the way. There's sparking to the north, which might be Callie, or some of her minions having fun. Slayer Club avoids that direction. With the square outside City Hall swarming with Saturnians, they enter the Witch Tunnels through the basement of the Sacred Grounds and walk the three blocks underground. There, they find a chamber beneath the City Hall basement with a permanent pentagram inlaid in the floor. They hear Jonathan and Callie before they're spotted, so the group stops and listens. Drew is able to make out the most of the muttering—something about the Orbs and what they've given and what they're going to get. Jonathan seems pleased as he writes something on the wall near the door, then the two of them head back upstairs. When the leaves, Slayer Club slips into the room and examines what he was writing:

Mars X
Jupiter <3
Venus ✓
Saturn *
Moon JM / RB / OM
Sun JM / RB / AT
Merc JM / RB / JA / IR

Slayer Club flattens themselves against the wall, as Jonathan returns with Callie and Marcy. Before they're noticed, Drew sneaks up the stairs to look for Melina. He finds her locked in a small room, guarded by one of the Saturnian wolves. The creature is able to speak some English, but is very stupid. Drew convinces it that he is no threat, and to let him see Melina. She can't leave, but she can talk. She tells Drew that Jonathan and Callie have put the other three Orbs up for auction. Bids are being taken in magic items, spells, or even magical abilities if they can be safely transferred. She doesn't know specifically who is bidding what, but she knows the competition is stiff, and voices have gotten loud at times. Even worse, she warns that if all the Orbs are incarnated at once—which has never happened before—it will trigger an apocalyptic planetary conjunction that could wrench the solar system apart. Drew and Melina pull the old sick prisoner trick and head back downstairs "to seek medical attention," trailing a trio of reluctant Saturnian guards.

Downlstairs, Jonathan, Callie, and Marcy confront the rest of the group. There's a brief scuffle when Callie draws her sword, sparking with electricity. Carsen diverts the energy from Callie, into Jonathan. It doesn't hurt him, but the bright flash blinds everyone. Sam can fight perfectly well in the dark and Tori has her battle sense to avoid the wildly swinging sword. Sam catches Jonathan in a bear hug, and tells Callie to stop, or she'll only be hurting him. They are at an impasse when Drew and Melina return. Now that he understands the situation, he announces that he will bid for the Sun and Moon Orbs himself. When they spoke before about what Callie and Jonathan gave up in order to bind themselves to Jupiter and Saturn, Drew thought he heard regret in Jonathan's voice. He suspects "JM" is Juanita Madera, and he has a hunch about what she might be offering. Drew can offer something better: he can restore what Jonathan lost. Jonathan is skeptical; even with two Orbs, he doesn't believe Drew can do what he promises. Drew just smiles and says that's his problem. Jonathan still thinks Drew's bluffing, but he also really wants what Drew is offering; he offers Drew until midnight the following night to arrange the ritual, and safe passage from the Saturnians until then. But Drew wants more: Melina's release right now, and Ilia's. Jonathan says Ilia isn't a prisoner—in fact, she's currently the leading bidder for the Mercury Orb—and is free to go with Slayer Club or not, as she chooses, and that he will allow Drew to take Melina home with him. Sam isn't thrilled that her husband's past-life girlfriend is once again under her roof, but it's better than the alternative.

Jonathan was right, of course: when they were negotiating, Drew was just saying whatever he thought Jonathan wanted to hear. But by the time Ilia has been brought downstairs and they turn to go, he knows what he has to do.

 

6.19 Soul Option
Written by Tim Ballew, Greg Pearson, Jodi Roosenraad, and Jennifer Povey; directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Thursday, February 15 and Friday, February 16, 1996.
Series finale.

 


HomeCastLocation SchoolTimeEpisodesQuotesDustingsLibrary