Season 3

Tori: They want me to lead them in a crusade to conquer the world, which... is kinda tempting. But not what I want to do with my life.
--3.10 Boosters

 

Opening Credits

 

3.1 Refugees
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, September 9th-11th, 1992.
Sam and Drew are having a picnic. The camera backs away, showing Tori and her mother at the next picnic cloth over, eating tiny sandwiches with the crusts cut off. The camera pans over to Hartsdale, reading a book in the shade of a tree, while Erik and Joshua play frisbee in the background. Kevin's family has a large quilt in a mandala-pattern, and two of their cats are lying in the sun. The camera pulls back even more to show that most of the population of Solomon is out on the grassy hillside, eating picnic lunches, talking, laughing, children playing, dogs barking. In the background, the St. Germain's campus is abuzz with activity: Sal's construction company has cordoned off the area surrounding the ziggurat and men in hard hats double-check wires that run across the ground. Finally, all is ready, Sal gives the signal and one of his men plunges a TNT-detonator. The ziggurat shudders and implodes with a roar and a thick cloud of dust. Everyone on the hillside cheers. The eyesore is history! But, just as the final spire falls into the pit, a second explosion rocks the ground. Evil green smoke replaces the dust, spreading out to engulf the workers and the edges of the watching crowd. People cough and run. Gasps of "Poison!" Sam immediately grabs a cloth napkin and the thermos of water and ties the wet cloth around her face. She plunges into the cloud and comes out carrying one of the construction workers over her shoulder and helping another to stumble out of the smoke. At the edge of the chaos, a heavyset man in a rumpled, pale-blue seersucker suit watches the whole scene with interest. When he spots Sam running in the opposite direction of the crowd, he takes out a small notebook and a stub of pencil and makes some chicken-scratch notes. Somewhere inside the cloud, the smoke parts for a moment and a hand is seen, slapping a concert-poster up on a telephone pole. "Malevolence, 1992 -- Friday, September 11."

Roll credits.

Wednesday, Sept. 9th -- the first day of school. Drew finds the school bus packed with students. He recognizes some from St. Germain's, but they're out of uniform, a little uncomfortable-looking in jeans and Polo or button-down shirts. A young girl (Pandora Jenkins -- the same one who beat up Drew last season) catches Drew's eye and frowns. She swings her legs, kicking very pointy shoes against the seat in front of her. Drew remembers those shoes and looks away with a shudder. In the school parking lot, Sam cruises back and forth, looking for a parking spot. Her Jeep sports a brand-new paint job with the Auto Shop's name and phone number on the back -- a rolling advertisement for her growing skills with an airbrush. There are no places. Even Tori's traditional spot is taken by a blue BMW with the license plate "Monsoon." So, Sam parks in the Greenfields cemetery lot across the street. Erik's black jeep pulls up, and Tori in her white Volvo, and a second black Jeep Wrangler, a few years old, which Kevin steps out of. "Hey, you got your license!" Erik greets him. His smile only slightly wavers when he sees Sam, but she greets her friends warmly and they all walk into school together. The halls are swarmed. Assistant Principal Teatart stands at the main intersection of the hallways, trying to direct traffic with as much success as a buoy in a riptide. Drew arrives, and Slayer Club compares schedules and then head off for their various classes. To handle the extra students from St. Germain's while their campus is decontaminated, Solomon High has added temporary classrooms and imported some of the St. Germain's teachers. Pandora is in Michael's Mythology class in spite of only being a fourteen-year-old sophomore (she skipped a grade). In Creative Writing, Erik chats with Juanita and she agrees to pose for him. At lunch, Slayer Club notices several reporters and the local TV news crew, interviewing students. Marcy, as usual, has claimed center-stage in front of the cameras. But there's something new: a tall, striking brunette (Jezebel Karellan) stands with Marcy, Stephie and Callie, and strangely, Marcy seems to defer to her. One of the reporters in a rumpled blue suit seems very interested in what Marcy has to say, which mostly seems to be talking trash about Sam, Tori, and their friends. Sam and company ignore the TV cameras and arrange to meet after school at the Brew Pub, as usual, for training. Throughout the day, Principal Kastran and the new Assistant Principal, Nicolas Rice, formerly of St. Germain's, offer certain 'exceptional students' the chance to sign up for additional courses with names like "Applied Theology," "Theoretical Thaumaturgy," "Esoteric History" and "Elizabethan Esoteric Cartography." Sam goes for the Theology, taught by none other than Father Stephen Leoni, the "connected" priest who heard her confession in New York -- and the replacement for Father Davidson, who is now ensconced in sunny Hawaii. Tori takes the Esoteric History and Kevin goes for the Thaumaturgy. Drew drools over Esoteric History, but his full schedule of AP classes doesn't leave him with a free period to devote to him. His only non-AP course is Aviation Science, which he shares with Sam. They are, of course, lab-partners, and excited about their big project: an aircraft (they plan to make a dirigible) that can carry an egg the length of a football field and land safely.

After school, Drew and Tori learn that it's not just the school that the St. Germain's students are taking over: St. Germain's was a boarding school and the out-of-town students need places to stay. Drew's family could use some extra money to help him pay for college and Mrs. Clark is suddenly worried about maintaining her standard of living with her husband missing, so both have agreed to take in borders. Tori is saddled with Jezebel, while Drew has to move down the basement so that his room can go to....Pandora. The two eye each other warily over dinner, Drew worrying that she'll try some sort of magic spell to subvert his parents, but come to an uneasy truce when they discover that both are fans of science fiction and role-playing games. Trying to be welcoming, Drew's parents insist that, if he really must go out with Sam that night, he take Pandora with them. That could be awkward but, when Pandora runs upstairs to "get her stuff," she comes back with a satchel of wooden stakes and a spellbook. She's fought Slayer Club once after all, and they did kill two of her school's headmasters, so of course she knows who they are.

Patrolling turns up a motorcycle gang of vampires, who attack the marching band at practice. The band scatters, except for the unfortunate sousaphone player, who can't run as fast, and so gets his neck snapped by one of the vamp bikers. Sam and the others give chase and, after a stunning battle, manage to dust all the vamps but one, who gets away. Once everybody has left the scene, a man peeks out from behind the bleachers -- the same rumpled reporter in the blue suit that has appeared before. This time, he has a camera. He goes back to his car, a rusted-out beater, and drives down to the Wisdom boarding-house. He retires to his room and begins two-finger typing at an old electric typewriter. Scattered across the bed and floor are several copies of the Star, the Enquirer, and the Weekly World News. The name scrawled on the return-address portion of a large manila envelope is Allen Linnell.

Elsewhere in Solomon, a tall, dark-skinned woman in a classy business suit hands out flyers to young people at the Sacred Grounds, advertising the upcoming Malevolence concert to be held in a field just outside of town. Other strangers post more flyers all over town. "Everything your parents warned you about will be there. Great music. Voodoo witch-doctors. Mosh pits. Herbs. Tattoos in ink or henna... Come on, you know you want to go." At Blaire's, while one of the pierced, tattooed guys posts a Malevolence poster outside, someone in the bar plunks a quarter into the jukebox. Thrash metal spews out into the street -- one of the bands that will be playing live on Friday night. A passing pedestrian begins coughing. Green phlegm trails out of his mouth, and then suddenly, he turns and puts his fist through Blaire's tinted-glass front window. When the music changes, the man shakes his head and hurries off. Blaire sighs and orders one of her regulars to "fix that." The demon immediately begins licking the edges of the glass, extruding some kind of slime that hardens to the same dark translucency as the rest of the pane.

Thursday, Slayer Club has their first meetings of the "alternative" classes. There are no reporters at lunch, but the damage is already done: local news carried the interview with Marcy declaiming the pervasiveness of drugs among "certain groups," implicating Slayer Club (oh, the irony!). When Sam gets home, her father confronts her with the Weekly World News article that Linnell wrote. She is grounded for the night, so there is no patrolling.

Friday, Slayer Club attends the concert, keeping an eye out for real monsters. They don't have to look far. The VIP tent is filled with vampires, werecreatures in half-human form, and other beings from Beyond the Great Beyond, none from the happy, shiny end of the spectrum. The tent is heavily guarded, but occasionally people are chosen from the crowd to receive "backstage passes." They are led into the VIP tent -- and never come out. A white-robed Messianic figure walks through the crowds, gathering up children to follow him "into the light." Sam tries to get over there to confront the man, but he disappears into one of the many tents before she can get there. She sees two of "his" children, dragging a third child that way. Sam stops them, but the third child claims that they're "only playing" and the "old broad" should leave him alone. Sam complies with his wishes, even though she's sure that he will regret it in a little while. Erik checks out the tattoo artists. Kevin is approached by both Madame Aiyeesha and Doktor Snake -- rival voodoo sorcerers who both want to recruit him. Clarisa, the tour promoter, tells Drew that there's a reporter who wants to talk to him. Drew goes with her, hoping to find out more about the reporter. Sam is kept outside by security. She plans to give them ten minutes, and if Drew doesn't come out, she's going in after him. Tori is turned away at the gate, in full view of Marcy and company, but Joshua figures out a way to get them in over the fence while a smoke-bomb distracts the guards. Tori disguises herself, buying a Malevolence tour T-shirt and a Bismark-style helmet. Tori's aspect of Mars is growing stronger: so strong, she doesn't know if she can control it.

The ten minutes pass and Drew doesn't return. Sam forces her way past the security guards and the warning goes out over the radio: all-come. Kevin notices the convergence of security at the back and also activity at the VIP tent. He casts an ionization spell to disrupt their radios. Behind the tour compound, Sam and Tori search the buses and vans for Drew, but before they find him, more than a dozen vampires converge on them. That's it!Samantha Kessler can't take any more. Hounded in the press, taunted by Clarisa, her boyfriend kidnapped, and caught inside one of the tour buses without her sword. She grabs a set of drum sticks and a spare cymbal, steps out, and goes berserker. The cymbal flies frisbee-style through the air, decapitating one vampire who doesn't duck in time. Sam becomes a drumstick-wielding, vampire-throwing dervish of destruction. Tori follows in her wake, wielding an axe-guitar like a real battle-axe. But in the end, there are just too many vampires for even a pissed-off Slayer and the avatar of Mars to kill them all. Tori is caught, and bitten. Sam leaps to her defense, but Tori's vision tunnels, centered on the drops of blood in the vampire's mouth -- her blood, saturated with the power of Mars -- suddenly, the drops ignite like nitroglycerin, and the vampire flames into oblivion.

Four buses over, a white refrigerator truck roars to life and a dark shadow leaps on top of it -- Joshua. Sam realizes that she's been distracted while one of Clarisa's goons is getting away with the most obvious place to hide someone they don't want bothering them -- in the deep freeze. Joshua holds on as the truck barrels through the back gate, then grabs onto the cab. He swings, feet-first into the passenger-side window and catches the driver with his pistol half-drawn. Joshua dumps the driver out onto the pavement, grabs the steering wheel and hits the brakes. The truck fish-tails and screeches to a halt a hundred yards down the road. Joshua picks the lock on the back of the truck (easy, for him) and opens the doors. Drew was thrown to the front of the freezer, wedged between a barrel of funnel-cake dough and a dozen boxes of frankfurters. Joshua pulls him away from the truck, then opens its gas-tank and drops in a match. The resulting fire is enough to thaw Drew out, and make Clarisa forfeit her deposit on the vehicle.

Back at the compound, Erik and Kevin find themselves surrounded by Clarisa, her goons and the remaining vampires. There is a moment of stand-off. Then with a superior smile, Clarisa lets the boys go. In the mosh-pit, several dancers foam green at the mouth, but there's nothing to be done about it now. Slayer Club regroups around Joshua and Drew, who is in serious need of treatment for hypothermia. Sam carries him and they decide to call this a night. The only thing that could stop Clarisa's Evilpalooza is the coming dawn.

 

Interlude: Sam Gets Grounded
Written by Jodi Roosenraad.
In which Sam's extracurricular activities finally catch up with her.

 

3.2 The Bricklayer
Story by Paul Chapman. Adapted and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place between Monday, September 21st and Thursday, September 24th, 1992.
Monday morning, Mrs. Linkletter, the AP Environmental Science teacher, displays "evidence of environmental degradation!" that she found at St. Germain's -- a three-legged toad, a two-headed snail, and a squirrel with no eyes. She also seems to have caught a case of the "itchies". After class, Drew tells Sam that the squirrel talked to him. "Like telepathy. It kept going on about nuts, and getting ready for winter." Pandora says that at St. Germain's, Professor Crum was known to experiment on animals. He might have created the "$6 million Squirrel" which is slowly going insane in that glass jar. After school, news on the radio -- a biker gang terrorizing people in Riverside Park. Sam has finally finished fixing and repainting the Volkswagen Beetle that once was Kitty's, so it gets its first trial as the new "Slayer-mobile." Plain, midnight-blue, with just enough room for her and Drew and Pandora in the backseat with her satchel of equipment. The bikers are definitely demons. Slayer Club moves in, more stealthily than usual, unseat the bikers first, and then take them out. While chasing one of the demons, Drew sees a stranger talking to Blaire in a nearby alley. They have just concluded some kind of transaction -- a plain paper bag for Blaire, and a burlap-wrapped parcel for the gentleman. He notes Drew's crossbow and Sam's sword, and introduces himself as Raphael Taylor. They small-talk for a bit, but lacking anything incriminating, Sam and Drew wish him a good night. Then, they go to Blaire's to lean on her (threatening to have the Slayer hang out all night, scaring away her customers) to find out what she sold the man. A R'xnor horn. A bit of research reveals a R'xnor to be a lumbering beast, barely sentient, seldom wandering out of its home cave, let alone its home dimension. It is a potent ingredient for barrier spells -- either raising them, or breaking them, depending on the rest of the ritual. How Blaire got the horn, or what the man intends to do with it is anybody's guess.

The next day, the Northeast Regional Gymnastics Championship is held at Martense. Joshua nails every routine with nimbleness and precision. Slayer Club goes to cheer him on, and Marcy, Jezebel, Callie and Stephie are also in the crowd. Jezebel seems the most interested, and keeps her eye on Joshua. After turning in a perfect "10", Joshua is swarmed with admirers, well-wishers, and athletic scouts from several big universities. When he gets a moment to catch his breath, he tells Sam that there was a man, the same Raphael Taylor that she and Drew saw in the alley, poking around the locker rooms, scraping foot-powder out of the gymnasts' shoes. (Ewww!) Joshua arranged a meeting with him later at the Orchards, to find out what was going on. Slayer Club all go with, much to the consternation of the hotel staff. Raphael is surprised to see Sam and Drew again, but is more forthcoming with information. He claims to be a member of an organization called "The Bricklayers" and that a 600-year old, immortal necromancer (another one?!) is buried under St. Germain's. The spell that keeps this evil from rising again was damaged by the destruction of Abernathy's ziggurat, and Taylor intends to re-construct it. He has a long list of ingredients and tools that he needs to get, as well as the proper location to cast the spell. Slayer Club agrees to help him gather the ingredients, but suspicions linger.

All day Wednesday, Slayer Club shakes their tree of contacts -- Temple, Coven, Watchers, Catholic Church, former St. Germain's faculty -- to find out anything they can about the Bricklayers, this ancient necromancer, R'xnor horns, and what kind of spell could be constructed from the things on Taylor's list. It's definitely a barrier of some kind, but the same spell could be used to either destroy a barrier or to build one. And a R'xnor horn is often paired with human blood to activate it -- a sign of dark magic. Wednesday evening is College Night. At first, Sam and Drew don't want to go. Drew has his list of colleges already mapped out -- MIT, CalTech, U. Hawaii, Arizona, and Martense, where he gets free tuition because his dad teaches there. Sam doesn't anticipate going to college at all, but working full-time at the garage, supplemented by nightly demon-slaying. But they go anyway, to hang out with their friends. Sam gets a big surprise when the Martense representative says that they would offer a scholarship, full ride, to someone of her "unique accomplishments." Hearing this, Joshua suggests to the others that they all have an obligation to go to Martense so that they can continue to help her in the fight against evil. Attracted by Martense's Weird and Unusual Sciences Studies program, Erik and Kevin agree immediately but Tori waffles and Drew flat-out refuses, saying that it's far too early to make any decisions and noting that, given the typical lifespan of a Slayer, by the time they do have to choose, they'll probably all be dead, anyway.

Meanwhile, searching for information on the necromancer, Michael contacts Professor Audley, an expert in local history and Native lore, who gives him an armful of books on the subject. Slayer Club (with Michael in disguise as Gwen Drake) has an all-night study party at Drew's house. Kevin begs off to map ley-lines to find a location that matches Taylor's requirements. Before dawn, he finds it: an elementary school inside the quarantined area around St. Germain's. The school's yard is filled with strange-looking mushrooms, and there's a vampire nest inside. Kevin backs away carefully and returns home. About the same time, Tori finds a revelation in the book she's reading: Native American legends dating back to the 1100-1200s that reference pale-skinned people who built with stone, carved sticks of wood (wands) and performed unspecified acts of atrocity that so terrorized the local people that their legends mentioned the evil and fear for generations afterwards. Pandora and Michael/Gwen go to the modest home Nicolas Rice, former St. Germain's professor, now assistant principal at Solomon. Pandora talks about her "project for mythology class" in roundabout terms, until he squarely asks her why she's asking him such questions. He looks away to get a book, and Michael transforms into his usual aspect, apologizing for the deception. They lay out what they know, and Rice fills in the missing pieces: The Bricklayers are an organization of St. Germain's alumni. Their charter is, in fact, to keep watch on this lich. That much is true. Rice contacts his man in England, who says that Raphael Taylor is dead. The man in Solomon is an imposter.

At dawn, Slayer Club leaves the books to take action. They pick up Kevin, get protective goggles and gas masks at Sam's garage, and then go to the elementary school. Blackened windows get smashed, until Taylor threatens to kill his hostage: Mrs. Linkletter! Sam climbs in one window while the vampires cower under blankets to keep away from the sun. Joshua and Michael take aim at Taylor's head and Tori runs around to the back to flank them from the hallway. Michael's crossbow-bolt catches Taylor in the shoulder, and the next instant, Joshua's hunting rifle cracks. Taylor's head explodes in a shower of blood and he crumples to the ground, upsetting his ritual brazier and setting the building on fire. Mrs. Linkletter screams. Erik continues smashing windows to let the sun shine in. Sam lifts Mrs. Linkletter out the window and then climbs out herself. Kevin attempts a spell to calm the teacher down, changing her hysteria and shock to hysteria and gratitude, at least for a while. Michael jumps in, impervious to the flame, and draws his sword: "By the Temple of Light I quarter thee, by the Temple of the Winds I disperse thee, by the Temple of God, I banish thee!" He cuts the false Taylor's body in four pieces, throws the quarters to the four cardinal directions, and plunges his sword into the middle of the schoolroom's floor, where a complicated pentagram and circle of symbols is chalked, surrounded by a wooden framework to support the ritual that would have released the ancient necromancer from his sleep. Before escaping, Michael scoops up the power tools scattered around the room to return to Kevin's father. Around back, Tori finds a door already forced and two blanket-covered vampires inside. She gets the cover off of one, and sunlight burns it to ash right in her face. The heat is exhilarating! The second vampire runs for the stairs, but four more run down. The fire is her plaything, so Tori reaches out and takes a burning a globe, hovering inches from her palm, and tosses it to one of the vamps. He explodes in flame. Her skin tingles, her jeans and blouse are on fire! The vampires rushed her, but with a wave of her hand, she forms a wall of fire. The vamps hit, and burn to dust. Tori turns and walks out of the school, patting cinders out on her clothes. Her footprints flame, setting the mushrooms on fire. She makes it back to her friends before passing out in Joshua's arms. When slayer Club arrives in Tori's neighborhood, Joshua carries her up to her mother's front door and rings the bell. Mrs. Clark takes one look at the local gymnastics hero, carrying her unconscious daughter, whose clothing is burned through in spots and her hair still faintly smoking. "Hot night, eh?"

 

3.3 Princess
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Thursday, October 1st, 1992
Tori is kidnapped in her sleep by a pair of bumbling demons, bed and all, and wakes up in someone's idea of the "perfect girl's bedroom" -- all pink and lace, with posters of boy-bands and a closet full of clothes. However, these boy-bands have green skin and horns, and the clothes are mostly brass bikinis and leather dominatrix outfits. And, for her personal amusement, a nearly-naked boy slave is chained to the back of the closet. The window's fake scene of an alpine lake opens to show a lake of molten sulfur tended by red-skinned demons wielding pitchforks. The castle she's in is even made of brass. "If this place were any more stereotypically 'hell' I'd expect..." a major-domo demon with "pompadour horns"? Maybe not. But one just like that, dressed like Liberace, invites Tori down to dinner. He calls her "Princess" and offers her a dress right out of Cinderella to wear to dine with the seneschal of the castle, as the master is not at home. Tori decides that she must get out of here, but first find out what in hell is going on.

Back in Solomon... When Tori doesn't show up at school, Slayer Club looks for clues to find out what happened to her. Jezebel provides one: her familiar intercepted a letter delivered to Tori's house, addressed to "His exalted Prince, Lord of Armies, Scourge of the Abyss..." etc. etc. The letter is written in Nkonka, a demonic language, but Jezebel thinks it might be a ransom note of some kind. She seems far more upset than the situation warrants, and offers to help Slayer Club as much as she can. She even volunteers Marcy, Callie, and Stephie to help, too. After school, Joshua and Erik go to Tori's house to check out the scene of the crime -- pointedly avoiding looking in Tori's diary or her lingerie drawer, despite nearly insurmountable temptation to the contrary. Erik copies the symbols that surround the place where Tori's bed used to be, and Joshua awkwardly tries to console Mrs. Clark, who is distraught at her daughter's disappearance. The rest of Slayer Club, including Pandora, as well as Jezebel and company, go to Martense library, where they are able to find a Nkonkan/Phoenician phrasebook -- a travel guide for demons vacationing in Phoenicia. Then, Phoenician/Greek, and finally, Greek/English. After hours of studying, it seems that Jezebel's impression was correct. It is a ransom note, for certain "land concessions" and "traditional sacrifices" in exchange for return of the "Princess." The note is signed by Lord Santeri, and Banethor, Seneschal of the Brass Palace. Erik calls in Juanita to provide magical backup and he and Joshua pick up weapons at the brewpub. Back at the library, Sam and Drew manage to get Stephie alone and Drew gets her to reluctantly admit that her telepathy registers something odd about Jezebel's mind, although she can't quite put her finger on what it is. The gang regroups in a meeting room at the library, where Erik draws a circle and symbols just like the ones in Tori's bedroom. Erik, Pandora, Stephie, Kevin and Juanita stay behind to keep the portal open, while Sam, Drew, Joshua, Jezebel, Callie and Marcy go through the portal to rescue Tori.

Meanwhile, Tori is doing her best to escape. She frees her slave-boy and promises to take him home. The prospect both delights and terrifies him, as he's apparently been away from Iowa a very long time. She "plays with" several of the seneschal's guards, finally killing them with their own weapons, and then faces the seneschal himself. At dinner, he was very suave, but now he is not pleased with her "impudence" at getting away -- this is not how these things are done! About that same time, loud noises from the basement and a rush of guards toward that direction herald the arrival of the Slayer and team. Battle commences. Callie (in Valkyrie mode) and Sam rack up the body count. They discover several other prisoners in the dungeon wing, including a pair of Norse colonists of Vineland from about the thirteenth century, and set them free. Joshua spots the saddled pterodactyl in the courtyard and runs over to mount it and try to fly. This has mixed results -- flying is great! Landing, however, involves a sprained ankle, although though being thrown off a balcony by the seneschal may have helped just a bit. With Joshua injured, the gloves finally come off and Tori quickly beheads the seneschal and joins her friends, helping Joshua hobble along. Just as they are about to go back through the portal, its swirling blue energies turn red, and a large, hooved foot and ankle poke through -- the lord and master himself is coming home. Before he can get all the way through the portal, Sam cuts his foot off and he retreats in presumable pain and surprise. Callie lifts everybody up through the portal on the ceiling and back into the library at Martense. As soon as the last of the prisoners is pushed through and Callie herself chin-ups through the portal, the five amateur wizards collapse in exhaustion. A passing librarian demands that they leave at once, or she's calling security. Sam forestalls her, offering to clean up the mess they made, if she gives them a few minutes. "Hey! Aren't you the Slayer?" Sam admits, yes. She is. "Well, in that case, take all the time you need. I'm a big fan, you know." Sometimes, it's good to be the Slayer. But mistaken identities can be a real pain. It turned out, the demons got the wrong girl -- Tori isn't they one they were after, Jezebel is. Seems that, although her mother is human, her father is some kind of demon prince who the kidnappers had hoped would pay a hefty price for her return. Although wounded in the fight, Jezebel is grateful for Slayer Club's help in teaching Lord Santeri and his goons a lesson they won't soon forget.

 

3.4 Hectic
Written and directed by Chris Roosenraad.
The events of this episode take place between Thursday, October 15th and Saturday, October 17th, 1992.
Life is getting hectic for Slayer Club, everyone going in different directions.

Hartsdale has been recalled to England for no reason that the Watchers care to explain, although Drew has his suspicions.

Thursday night, Michael comes home from a disastrous faculty dinner spent fending off the attentions of Principal Kastran's spinster sister to find another Templar agent in his kitchen, making himself at home. Agent Faiez is on his way to Montreal to talk to a renowned Talmudic scholar about the Cult of Baal. As they are talking, two robed figures armed with short swords smash Michael's living-room window. One of them grabs Faiez's briefcase. The other stabs Faiez. Michael takes them both out, but not before the one with the briefcase manages to get outside and throw it to a car full of robed figures, who peel off into the night. The police arrive and take Michael downtown to answer some questions about the headless bodies in his living room and on his lawn. With his one phone call, Michael calls Tori, because her family is still influential in town (despite her father leaving for another dimension with no forwarding address). She calls the rest of Slayer Club, beginning with Kevin and his mother, who puts on her "lawyer duds" and goes to spring Michael out of jail before he has to teach class the next day.

Friday is Homecoming, and classes are cut short for campaigning and pep fests. Tori and Jezebel are going at it tooth and nail (smiling and painted) in the battle for popularity that is the Homecoming Queen competition. Andrea Czarbach, with her yumilicious brownies, and Jennifer Marshall, who returned from Paris with a chic new haircut and French accent, round out the field of competitors.

Joshua is running for Homecoming King, along with the captain of the football team Tom Hayden, soccer team captain Graham Diehl, and Russell Barrows (who attempts to cheat using magical mind-control cookies, which prove no competition for Graham's 20-proof rum balls). But Joshua takes the whole competition much less seriously than the girls. As a lark, he uses his campaign speech to denounce "the man" who's "keeping him down" and doesn't last three minutes before Assistant Principal Teatart yanks him off the stage. Still, his speech is much more popular than Andrea's interpretive dance.

With the speeches out of the way, Slayer Club (sans Joshua and Tori) skips out of the pep fest early to research the Cult of Baal. According to the Old Testament, Baal was one of several gods (including Molech and Beezlebub) who became demons during the reign of Kings David and Solomon. Baal demanded live sacrifices every year at the time of the harvest festival. His altars were built on high places in the middle of valleys, near crossroads, and included a hollow brass statue inside of which a fire was built, and through the mouth, a baby was given to be burnt. If babies were in short supply, an adult could be immolated on a pyre instead.

By game time, the weather had turned stormy to the tune of 60-MPH gusts of wind and scattered rain. The weather makes the Homecoming football game much more interesting. With interceptions thrown on almost every pass, both teams switch to a running game, and Solomon wins, 13-3 over their rivals from Pittsfield. The game safely won, Slayer Club's separate responsibilities pull them apart.

Kevin and his family spend the weekend at their traditional ritual spot preparing for Samhain, which this year coincides with Kevin's 18th birthday.

With Sam's 18th birthday also less than three weeks away, Drew is getting increasingly paranoid. He and Joshua only half-jokingly form a plan: anyone who comes to Solomon speaking the Queen's English, or wearing tweed, is going to be tied up in the basement of the Brew Pub until well after her birthday. Possibly until Christmas.

Oblivious to their plotting, Sam has been busy at the garage with her father, working on a "secret project" to be unveiled at the Solomon 100 racetrack on Saturday. Erik gets a sneak-peek when Sam asks for his help to paint the car that they've been working on: a sleek, 1971 Dodge Charger, with super-charged engine and custom-tooled everything. Erik covers the car with logos for Kessler's Auto Shop, Harris's Hardware, and O'Toole's Bar. Sam vetoes putting mystic symbols into the design, but Erik works in a sword, crosses, and flames anyway.

In addition to helping Sam paint the racecar, Erik helps his grandfather set up for a political rally. Erik feels guilty because his grandfather's campaign is not going well. After the new set of political posters went up -- the ones with Erik's "artist's mark" in the corner (including the rune for "avoidance") -- his grandfather's poll numbers plummeted. The fact that Granddad has no idea why this happened, and has plunged into a bleak depression, makes the guilts even worse.

For Drew, Saturday is Prospective Student Day at MIT, where he finds himself in the middle of a crowd of pale, skinny nerds and is surprised to find that he no longer looks the part. Although he can still "talk the talk" with the best of them, Slayer Club activities have given him muscles, as well as confidence (having the Slayer for a girlfriend doesn't hurt, either), and he favorably impresses the University's recruiters. On the way home, Mr. Killian attempts to have a "man-to-man" conversation with his son. However, "birds and the bees" speech is at least a year too late to be anything other than embarrassing. Still, Drew is quite taken with the whole MIT experience and comes home to his family burbling with excitement until even Pandora tells him to shut up.

Meanwhile, Sam and her father take their 'Secret Project' to the racetrack. Four guys from her Auto Tech class serve as pit crew, and with some cajoling, and a test-run to prove that she can handle the car, Samuel agrees to let Samantha drive it in the race. When the flag drops, Sam takes off, keeping to the middle of the pack at first to avoid tipping her hand. An early wipeout nearby causes her to run into the grass and lose some time. In order to catch up, Sam puts her foot down and takes the wraps off her Slayer reflexes. Lap by lap, Sam advances through the positions. Her pit crew performs superbly, and at the end: a spectacular finish where the two lead cars collide and Sam darts her Charger through the gap under one of the cars that goes flying, to take the checkered flag. In the stands, Michael photographs the end of the race. The developed photo will be a gift to the Kesslers later, with a copy kept in the Templar archives. Sam and her father are presented with a giant trophy and check that just about covers the cost of building the car, plus a little extra to pay Erik and the pit crew guys for their help.

Saturday night, Tori's mother invites the parents of Slayer Club "and their Seniors, and dates" to a special dinner at the Foundry. Tori asks Joshua to go with her just one day before Jezebel does, so she asks Graham to go with her instead. She realizes her mistake too late, when an already drunken Graham spends most of the dinner hitting on her mother. All together now: ewwww. Sam and Drew are a pair, of course. Drew hangs on every word of Sam's description of the race, but when she asks him about MIT, he just shrugs and says it was "okay". Erik comes with Juanita, who shows up wearing a surprisingly modest dress that shows very few of her tattoos. Kevin is still busy with wiccan preparations, so RSVPs regrets. Michael is invited also, as he is a chaperone for the dance. During dinner, Michael notices two heavily-muscled men paying too much attention to Slayer Club's table. They also show up in the parking lot at the hall where the dance is held -- it turns out they are bodyguards hired by Jezebel's father, to keep her safe after the attempted kidnapping.

At the Homecoming Dance, it is announced: the Homecoming King is Tom Hayden. Homecoming Queen is Tori Clark! The royalty are crowned; dances are danced and much fun is had, until Tori notices that Jezebel is missing. Sam finds her in the girls' bathroom, crying out her disappointment at losing the competition. While searching for Jezebel, Tori spots robed cultists gathering behind the dance-hall. She pulls the fire alarm, causing a stampede of teenagers. In the confusion, the cultists grab Homecoming King Tom and drag him off. Slayer Club follows, driving in the rain, through town to Rte. 7. With Drew in the car, Sam drives much more sedately than she did that morning, but between her, Erik, and Tori, and their CBs, they keep sight of the cultists. Erik and Juanita get into a shoot-out with them in a saddle in the road and lose their tires. Tori stops to pick them up and Sam takes point again. Finally, the cultists turn off into a small motel parking lot near the intersection of Rte. 7 and the Mass. Turnpike. Not far away, AT&T has been installing the first cell-phone towers in the area: high places, in a valley, near a crossroads, and also an intersection of ley-lines. Perfect. There Slayer Club finds the entire cult of Baal, and a twenty-foot-tall wooden effigy surrounded by bales of gasoline-soaked hay. While the cultists chant in the rain, their leader carries Tom up to the top of the effigy in the basket of a cherry-picker. With the howling storm and crackling fire for cover, Slayer Club takes out most of the cultists around the base. However, some of them run off into the night. Michael cuts the hydraulic cables on the cherry-picker, and the cult leader and unconscious Homecoming King plummet back to earth. The ritual is thwarted and Slayer Club calls an ambulance for the cultists who are only wounded, as well Tom who has a season-ending fracture of the leg and a concussion, and Erik, whose crossbow string snapped during the fight. The weapon disintegrated under its own tension and mangled his left hand. Prompt attention saved his fingers, although he will have to wear a cast for several weeks.

All in all, a very hectic weekend.

 

3.5 Who Watches...
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Friday, October 30th and Saturday, October 31st, 1992.
Samantha dreams of the woods. It is warm September, early evening. Her father is sitting by the fire with his friend Larry and Larry's son J.J. Sam is up in the blind, watching... Their voices fade. Footsteps behind her. A hand across her mouth. "Don't fight. It won't hurt..." Pain. Panic. Sam twists and lashes out, fighting with her full Slayer Strength. J.J. reels under her fists, blood on his nose and lips... a wooden stake in her hand, in his chest. Blood pours out. Sam pushes his body and he falls, out of the blind, spread-eagled on the bushes beneath. Women's laughter, mocking. A curving smile, red hair... Britta and Gwen standing in a graveyard near a tree. Blackwolf jumps, clawed gloves catching on a boy's T-shirt, pulling him down from the branches. He weeps and pleads, but Blackwolf only claws harder. Blood spatters across her face. She licks it with relish. Britta smiles. "I told you. You're not like them." Her eyes on Sam. "You're a killer."

Sam wakes up, the alarm clock buzzing. Time for school. Her father allowed her to borrow his old flight-suit for a costume. U.S. Air Force, Lieutenant Kessler reporting! The lingering rush of adrenaline and... fear? dread? possibly guilt?... from her dream frays and vanishes. At school, Tori is wearing a Disneyesque witch's outfit: long, black dress with a high frill around the back of the neck. She carries a silver-metal "magic wand" that has some heft to it. Jezebel also dresses witchly, with a little more cleavage showing and her black hair teased up high. Drew, Erik and Juanita all go with pirate costumes so they can wear their swords. Erik sports a plastic hook at the end of his cast. Pandora is dressed as Rogue from the X-Men and carries a large plastic pumpkin full of cookies, which she offers to everyone. Michael reprises his Beduin costume with authentic sword and loaded musket. Joshua goes simply as himself, too cool for costumes. Out of the corner of her eye, Sam thinks she sees a skinny boy with a backwards baseball cap and a T-shirt that says "Gecko Man," but when she turns to look directly, he's gone. A man in a tweed suit visits Father Leoni during sixth period. Sam sees him leave just as she goes into Applied Theology, catches his eye and gives him a salute. He returns it in the British fashion, and leaves. After school, Joshua heads for the gym to practice his gymnastics, joined by Jezebel who is preparing for the upcoming women's season, while Tori watches from the stands. Joshua seems to be deriving entirely too much enjoyment from having the two girls competing over him.

Elsewhere... Hartsdale is in a library, hiding from flying bullets. Men in black suits aim through the shelves. He fires back, then dives to take a book off of a reading stand before rolling for cover behind the stacks. Hartsdale shoots again, runs out the back to his car. Cut to: Hartsdale's car rolls into his driveway. Bullet holes riddle the trunk and the back window is shattered. He limps, clutching the book to his chest, and disappears inside his house.

The man in tweed who talked to Father Leoni is Ralph Jenkins, Pandora's father, and a Watcher from London (so that's how she knew all about Slayer Club!). He's brought two other Watchers with him to oversee Sam's Cruciamentium, the ritual testing of a Slayer on her 18th birthday. He contacts Michael, as well, and asks him to deliver a message to Drew that they wish to meet with him. When Drew learns that Pandora's father is a Watcher, he is incensed. He warns Sam to not to eat any more of the cookies and accuses Pandora of spying on them all and trying to poison Sam. He agrees to meet with the Watchers, but only after making Sam promise not to try to rescue him if they take him prisoner, as they probably will. And he goes loaded for bear, selecting an automatic pistol and a hand grenade from Joshua's arsenal and clearly expecting a fight. Pandora is practically in tears. Fed up with Drew's behavior, Sam glares him and pointedly takes a big bite of one of the cookies. Drew splutters but, knowing when not to pick a flight with the Slayer, stalks off to meet the Watchers.

The meeting takes place at the Sacred Grounds, where Drew pointedly refuses their offers of refreshments and won't let go of his gun and grenade even to shake hands. They insist the are allies and that they hope to enlist Drew's aid in preparing for Sam's Cruciamentium, but he's having none of it and threatens to blow them all up with his grenade and end things once and for all. But he can't resist when they offer him the book Hartsdale found, the lost diary of Percy Hardwick, Watcher to Marie Christine, a Slayer during the French Revolution. Drew takes the book home, and starts to read it.

Meanwhile, Sam and Michael go out on patrol. There are no vampires about, but they spot three men dragging a young woman into an alley. It should be an easy fight, but Sam nearly freezes when she sees that one of the men is a dead ringer for J.J. Even once she throws herself into the fight, her reflexes seem a little off. Even so, they're only street toughs, and she and Michael manage to drive them off.

That night, Sam dreams again. She's in a graveyard, fighting vampires. Blood pumps in her veins. Each dusting is glory! One, two, three vampires disintegrate under her hands. The last one, she sweeps and he falls to his knees. Just before she plunges the stake into his heart, his face changes. Gecko Man looks at her reproachfully. She dusts him, and wakes up. Shaking in reaction, Sam kneels by her bed. "Holy Mary, mother of God..." She prays by rote until the beating of her heart slows and her knees get sore. Sitting cross-legged, she tries to find the mind of no-mind, which at times has allowed her to take flight with the birds, clairvoyant seeing through animal eyes. That level of relaxation is beyond her this morning, but she does manage to meditate enough to let the surprise and horror... and again, the guilt... ebb.

The early parts of Percy's diary chronicles his relationship with Marie Christine, which was warm and cordial. He often referred to her as being "like a daughter" to him. When her 18th birthday came near, Percy received a letter from London detailing the ritual that he was to perform. He refused to do it. As a result, he was summoned to face the Watcher's Council. He protested, without much success, and then began to research the history of the Cruciamentium and its results. Besides killing Slayers, it seemed to have beneficial effects on those who survived. He arranged an exchange of information for artifacts with the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, and so acquired texts that had been missing from the Watchers' archives -- texts about Rogue Slayers who went evil, killing humans and demons indiscriminately or using their powers to set themselves up as warlords. (This exchange was corroborated by Michael and the Temple's archives.) In his researches, Percy determined that, once the Watchers began to administer Cruciamentium, the number of rogue Slayers dropped dramatically. Those Slayers who survived the experience rarely went rogue and many went on to become the greatest Slayers in history. Percy went on at great length about his researches, which took some time to compile (and took Drew all night to read). When Percy was finally convinced to administer the test to Marie Christine and returned to Paris to do so, he was too late. In his absence, Marie had fallen in with a group of Revolutionaries, including a charismatic vampire who convinced her that to save most of humanity, some had to be sacrificed. She went from house to house, staking aristocrats in their parlors and bedrooms, until she was finally taken to the guillotine and lost her head.

While Drew reads, Sam and Michael spar. The results confirm Sam's suspicions: she's still stronger and faster than a normal person, but her powers are definitely fading. Meanwhile, Tori and Joshua are tailing the Watchers. They spot them moving a large crate into an abandoned house. Tori wants to just note the location and report back the others, but Joshua can't resist taunting them. In the process, he confirms that the crate does, in fact, contain the vampire that will be used in Sam's Cruciamentum. They consider staking it, but decide that the Watchers will just get another, so there's really no point. They return to the Brew Pub and fill Sam in, speculating about the Watchers' motives. Joshua argues that, like Drew's always said, it's all about making sure they can control the Slayer. Michael isn't buying, though. His past experience with the Watchers leads him to believe that they're just not that evil. Sam says it doesn't matter: regardless of the Watchers' motives, she wants to undergo the Cruciamentum. Michael and Tori offer to help her try to adapt her combat tactics to compensate for the loss of her powers. Joshua wants to know if they're going to tell Drew. Sam hesitates, but Michael insists that she talk to him, and she reluctantly agrees.

She catches Drew just as he's finishing the diary and asks for the "Cliff Notes" version. He fills her in, but stresses that the Watchers don't really understand how the Cruciamentum works. He discounts the Watchers' theory that it somehow reconnects the Slayer with her human side and instead theorizes that there's something about the test that makes rogue Slayers more likely to fail. He says that it's more like a diagnostic tool for potential rogues than a means of reforming them, and one with a terrible price -- based on the number of rogues in the pre-Cruciamentum days, he estimates that four or five "normal" Slayers die for every rogue who falls in the test. Nonetheless, Sam tells him, she wants to take the test. Drew argues, long and passionately, that she has nothing to prove and that she'd be crazy to try it. Sam counters that she's not doing it for the Watchers, she's doing it for herself. They argue for a long time, but Sam won't be budged and eventually Drew has no choice but to give in. She asks that Drew not stop her, but stand beside her at the door when she goes to face the vampire that the Watchers have prepared for her. He's not happy, but he agrees.

Sam and Drew join the others downstairs and everybody agrees that they need a break -- and the Halloween extravaganza at Kevin's sounds like just the thing. Drew tells the others to go ahead, he wants to stop off on the way at the Sacred Grounds and return the diary. Suspicious of his motives, Joshua asks if he wants to take backup, but Drew declines. Joshua extracts a promise that he will neither try to stop Sam from undertaking the Cruciamentum nor sabotage the test. Drew agrees readily, saying that, while he doesn't like Sam's decision, he respects it. Joshua still isn't mollified, even when Drew leaves the gun and grenade behind. Sam dismisses his concerns, though, and they head off to the party.

Drew goes back to the Watchers to return the book and give them Sam's answer. He gives them the book back, although he asks them to make a copy for him. He also delights Mr. Jenkins by telling him that Sam has agreed to undertake the Cruciamentum voluntarily. But, he goes on, there is one catch. To make it fair, they'll need a second vampire. He plans to stand beside Sam, all right -- for the entire test.

Drew catches up with Sam at the party and tells her that the Watchers have agreed to let him take the test with her. She tries to talk him out of it, but he uses the same arguments she just used to convince him to let her do it. Recognizing a losing battle, she just grabs Drew and kisses him. They spend the evening dancing with a passion greater than any they've shown before, while Erik watches darkly. Juanita drags him off to dance, but Erik can't keep himself from watching Sam and Drew. At one point, they run into Pandora and Drew tells her that he's made up with her father. Well, maybe not made up, but at least they're not threatening to kill each other anymore. Pandora squeals with delight and kisses Drew on the cheek, calling him the big brother she never had. Joshua dances with Tori. Kevin spends the entire evening upstairs with a Wiccan girl named Lydia. Much speculation is made about that part of his 18th-birthday "coming of age" ceremony. Pandora finds lots of good-looking boys at the party to dance and flirt with. One of them joins her in a search of the Vastarley's library and cupboards. Several other couples are doing the same, in search of pleasure-herbs or spells, but Pandora has a different idea: divination. She and her beau cast a spell to catch a glimpse of what the future holds, but nothing seems to happen. She tells Sam about their lack of success. Sam answers that "The future is in God's hands." At that moment, an explosive wave of force knocks the entire party on the floor. A flash of light leaves after-images both amazing and disturbing. When people start to stir, there are two figures lying in the center of the dance-floor who weren't there before. One, a small, scaly demon with slightly pointed ears and batwing eyebrows, looks around and tiptoes for the door before anyone can move. The young woman he left behind opens her eyes and struggles to stand. Michael offers her a hand up.

Michael: "Are you all right, miss?"
Mystery brunette (adjusting her low-cut blouse and very short shorts): "Five by five."

 

3.6 Coming of Age on the Hellmouth
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place between Sunday, November 1st and Thursday, November 5th, 1992.
The demon who appeared is the first to stir, and slinks out the door with an embarrassed look around the room. Next, the girl who appeared with the demon and Michael get to their feet, then Sam, and then everybody else. The girl asks Michael what year it is. He tells her, "1992." She curses and runs out the door, back-handing Michael across the room when he tries to stop her. Sam checks on Michael and then follows. Pandora and Michael piece together a vision that Pandora had. She writes everything down -- a vampire named Angelus who has a soul, a rogue Slayer named Faith, a Watcher, a prison-break, something very important about Faith and that vampire, and getting his soul back. Kevin (coming downstairs in a red bathrobe and pink bunny slippers) remembers hearing something about an ensouled vampire, and asks his mother. She gives him a name (they do not speak it) and a book to look in. There is the story of Angelus, and how the gypsies "cursed" him. Nothing about him before that time, and nothing about him afterwards, but enough to corroborate Pandora's vision. Sam doesn't find Faith. Joshua has more success when he goes off on his own to search. He finds the Chronos-Sankara demon, Pundle, who appeared with Faith, and brings him back to the Vastarley house. Pundle fills in some details, with Drew looming over his shoulder to make sure he doesn't let slip anything they don't want to know: Faith is a full-strength Slayer from the future. "Not very nice." She gave him a black eye, was known to hurt humans as well as demons and vampires, and spent some time as henchwoman to a seriously powerful demon. She was trying to get back to that year in order to do something, Pundle doesn't know what. Joshua is deeply disappointed that he's unwilling to part with sports scores, stock tips, or anything else that could be bettable in Atlantic City. Although the demon does mention something about how "Y2K is a complete joke." That could be worth something, but Joshua isn't sure what. He leaves Pundle to recuperate with the Vastarleys (time-travel is exhausting!) and goes back out in search of the future Slayer.

Joshua finds her at the second house that the Watchers had chosen for Sam's Cruciamentum. After Joshua and Tori surprised the Watchers at the first house, they'd moved shop, but Joshua neglected to tell them that he also knew where the second house was. He finds Lois and Alan tied up in the basement, with Faith smacking them around. Joshua convinces her to "leave the tweed alone" and come out drinking with him. He picks the lock on O'Toole's bar, impressing Faith, and feeds her vodka until she's drunk enough to forget her beef with the Watchers (temporarily). Drew's carefully-cultivated ignorance goes for naught, as Faith tells Joshua that she's from the year 2000 and that she became a Slayer in 1998. She also says something about there being a second Slayer, with a really stupid name, but she isn't making a lot of sense by that point. Unfortunately, she doesn't follow sports much, so Joshua still can't get the information he really wants. She can tell him Clinton will win the election and win again in 1996, beating "that banana guy". She may not be able to help Joshua with his gambling, but she decides she likes what she sees in him. And what she likes, she takes. Joshua wakes up between the bar and the overturned pool table, covered in bruises and scratch-marks, but with a goofy smile on his face. He calls the Vastarleys to share what info he got from Faith before things got hot and heavy... and sticky... and wow! and... can you really do that?

Back at the Vastarleys', Cora puts Sam in better touch with the two ghosts that have been following her around: J.J., the boy who raped her when she was fourteen, and Gecko Man, who was killed by Blackwolf while Sam stood by. Now, Sam can not only see them, but talk to them as well. Sam talks to Gecko Man first. She regrets her complicity in his death. She was afraid of the Kittens and outnumbered, but there was something else, too. She finally acknowledges that, deep in her heart, she'd lumped Gecko Man with his two friends -- Thermonuclear Man, and Super-huge Guy, who enjoyed throwing bombs and cars and generally wreaking havoc. But Gecko Man wasn't a bad guy. He could change colors and stick to a wall, but he never hurt anybody. Sam had damned him by association, and she was sorry for that. Gecko Man accepts her sincere apology, and moves on into the afterlife. J.J. swears that he won't leave so easily. He'll be around to gloat and laugh when Sam dies.

Joshua has lost track of Faith, but he has an idea of where she went: back at the Watchers' house, he finds Mr. Jenkins tied to a chair, bruised and battered. Joshua unties him and, hearing slurping sounds from the basement, goes down to find that the two vampires have gotten loose and are feeding on Lois and Alan. Faith appears and stakes the two vamps. Joshua manages to get the three Watchers into their van, and drives them to the hospital himself, a trip that is almost as harrowing as the attack they suffered inside the house. The rest of Slayer Club meets him there, a tearful Pandora in tow. Lois and Alan are DOA, but it looks like Mr. Jenkins will recover, although he'll be in the hospital for a week. Drew mutters something about karma and hopes that they might be off the hook for Sam's birthday. But Sam is adamant, if these Watchers can't do it, the Council will just have to send more. Drew reluctantly makes the phone call, if only to ensure that the new Watchers know that he's intending to participate in the Cruciamentum. They do. The Watcher on the phone calls his decision "admirable", although it's clear from his tone that only British politeness is keeping him from saying "stupid" instead. Pandora asks to be let in on the next Slayer Club meeting and growls about killing Faith herself. Michael and Sam both try to lecture her about killing humans, but Drew says it isn't the time for that and does his best to comfort her on the way home.

Sunday, Sam goes to High Mass for All Souls' Day. Afterwards, she talks to Father Leoni about her ghost problem, and prays about it, but J.J. still follows her around, taunting her at every opportunity. Monday, school is back to usual. Erik is super-busy with last minute jobs around his grandfather's campaign. Once he took down all of the rune-enhanced posters (almost all of them, anyway; there are still one or two that people are giving odd looks to), Congressman Sorensen's poll-numbers rebounded, and it looks like he might keep his seat after all. Joshua calls in sick, and keeps both eyes (and hands) on Faith. Tori is not pleased by the amount of attention that Joshua is paying the future Slayer. Slayer Club discusses what to do about her. She obviously doesn't belong in 1992, but she's not willing to go back to her own time. Kevin suggests shooting her with his mother's tranquilizer gun and letting Pundle take her back involuntarily. Joshua, however, thinks they should let her make her own decision, even if it means letting her stay in 1992. Nobody's buying that one, though, and Pandora has another idea. She could make more of the "special" cookies her father taught her how to make -- the ones that took away Sam's powers. Joshua could get Faith to eat some, and she'd lose her powers, too. Joshua agrees. If he can convince Faith that her weakening was a side-effect of the time travel she might change her mind about going back. Pandora bakes the cookies. Joshua takes them to Faith. They eat the chocolate chips together, and then engage in more bruising activity. Sam's condition continues to weaken, every day a little closer to "normal" for a girl of her size and athleticism. Tuesday, Kevin casts his very first ballot in a Presidential Election. Joshua calls a friend-of-a-friend in Atlantic City and places a bet on the election's outcome, although Clinton is a heavy favorite by now and he doesn't get good odds. When the results are announced, Clinton is president, Joshua is a few dollars richer, and Congressman Sorensen has another two years to represent Massachusetts in Congress. The victory party is at the Four Seasons hotel just outside of town. Drew, Sam, Juanita, and Tori go to keep Erik company. Joshua brings Faith to meet Sam. Two more different Slayers there probably never were, but Sam is willing to call Faith "sister", even though great-granddaughter is closer to the truth. It's a little disturbing for Sam to know approximately when she is going to die. Faith was Called in 1998. If the future unwinds even mostly as it did in Faith's time-line, that means six years. No more. Probably less. She won't live to see the Y2K crisis that Pundle had called a "joke." She probably won't live to graduate from Martense. All she can do, is make sure she lives through the next two days, to beat the Cruciamentum, and then live each day the very best she can.

Wednesday, Sam tracks down the new Watcher, Daniel Wong, and tries to enlist his aid in her plan to keep Drew from joining her in the Cruciamentum. He nods at all the appropriate places, but doesn't really promise anything. That night, Sam sits down in her bedroom with J.J.'s ghost and finally asks him the question that's been eating her up for the past four years: why? What happened to him, to make him hurt her? J.J. confesses that it wasn't really ever about Sam. Another girl embarrassed him in front of all his friends. She'd laughed at him when he asked her out, and it was that utter humiliation that made him angry enough to lash out at the first girl he saw -- his childhood friend, Samantha. At last, she understood where the anger came from, and he admitted the pain that he'd caused her. He apologized to her, and at that moment, faded away.

Thursday, November 5th is Guy Fawkes Day, and Sam's 18th birthday. Drew sticks to Sam like a barnacle, afraid that either Sam or the Watchers will try to cut him out at the last minute. He and Sam spend the afternoon practicing, but neither of them has their heart in it. Sam is frustrated by the loss of her strength and Drew is more nervous than he was before the SATs. Meanwhile, Faith is panicked by her own loss of strength. Joshua approaches her warily, and sets out his "theory" of why she's losing her abilities. It's a mystical power, which he's the first to admit that he doesn't understand, but this is a point in time before Faith was Called to be Slayer. In 1992, she was only twelve years old, living with her mother in South Boston. Maybe, because she's here, now, when she wasn't Slayer yet, she's losing the Slayer's abilities. It took a couple of days for them to drain away here, and it would probably take a few days for them to build up again on the other side of the time-hop. (Thus explaining the length of the cookies' effect.) It's a plausible theory, and Joshua sells it for all he's worth, but not too much. Faith buys it, and the extended warranty, too. Immediately, she wants to find Pundle and go right back to 2000. Joshua agrees. Once the Chronos-Sankara demon is back to his full strength, which should be tonight, they'll find a good spot in an open field for Pundle and Faith to go back to her own time.

At sunset, Slayer Club splits up: Joshua, Tori and Erik to bid good-bye to Faith and Pundle; Sam, Drew, and Michael go to the Watchers' house. There's no one outside, which puts the final nail in Sam's plan to keep Drew from going in with her. At this point, she doesn't really want to, anyway. With crossbow and sword, holy water and a super-soaker/flame thrower, Sam and Drew go into the house together. In the basement, they find the two surfer-dude vampires that were left for them. Sam and Drew fight as a team and dust the vampires fairly quickly. Outside, they show the dust to the Watcher, who has come out of hiding, receive his congratulations, and then share in a picnic of food and drink that Tori and Erik filched from his grandfather's victory party. Tori is still sulking over Joshua and Faith, but Michael suggests that she should stop worrying about such things and just enjoy life. Now that she's no longer quite mortal, who knows what the future will bring her. Drew and Sam are just thrilled that they survived their ordeal, although Drew says wistfully "Kevin still got a better birthday than you." Sam smiles. "It doesn't have to be that way. Want to go for a drive?" Drew doesn't have to be asked twice.

 

3.7 Family Matters
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place between Tuesday, November 24th and Thursday, November 26th, 1992.
On patrol, Sam, Drew, Erik, Joshua, and Tori track a minotaur-demon in a Land Rover to O'Toole's bar. There, the minotaur leaves his driver and goes inside. Sam follows. Joshua approaches the Land Rover to talk to the driver, and the poor man nearly has a seizure from shock, begs not to be hurt, and tells Joshua to just go away before "Coliban" comes back. Meanwhile, the minotaur has a message for Sam's father. While the entire bar watches with dropped jaws and forgotten drinks, it delivers an engraved invitation to Thanksgiving dinner at the Clark house, signed by a whole string of titles, which Sam has heard before. When Tori was kidnapped, the ransom note was addressed just so, to Jezebel's father. And Samuel Kessler's not the only one. All of Slayer Club's families get invited to the dinner, with much hysterics from Drew's and Joshua's mothers at the sight of the seven-foot tall, bull-headed messenger. But he's well-dressed and impeccably polite, so it would be rude to turn down the invitations. Drew and Pandora blame Tori for the "Halloween-costume prank" to try and soothe his parents' upset nerves. But Sam doesn't think of this, so she just acts as if nothing were unusual. For her, it's not, but her father doesn't understand how she can be so blase about talking to a minotaur, when he's so rattled that later that night he goes on a binge and passes out on the sofa. Erik's parents wonder if they might be flashing back to some things they saw on a "trip" in the '70s. Only Kevin's parents are not taken aback at all, and equally politely decline to attend, as they already have plans for their own harvest celebration.

At school the next day, it's found that not only Slayer Club, but Juanita and her parents, as well as Marcy, Stephie, and Callie and all their parents are also invited. At Tori's house, Jezebel's mother, Ariel Karellan (Bebe Neworth), arrives with a small army of faceless minions (literally, no faces) and mountains of food, decorations and extra silverware, china and crystal. Tori's mother decides that she is going to do all the cooking herself, which means that Ariel is going to be busy "magicking" everything just in case. Pandora reports from her father that Hartsdale is being recalled to England, permanently. As soon as he has recovered from his wound and is strong enough to travel, he will be replaced as Sam's Watcher. Exactly who will be replacing him is unknown. It won't be Daniel Wong, who came to oversee Sam's Cruciamentum, as he has his own Potential to train. But Pandora quotes her father "he'll be 'younger, and hipper." Whatever that means. Joshua gets a letter from the Junior Nationals gymnastics committee -- the next phase of Olympic qualifying. The letter includes a list of all the regional qualifiers, their hometowns, and the previous gymnastics events that got them to this level. There are two qualifiers from Solomon: Joshua, and Derek Becker, a former St. Germain's student, who has a "special waiver" listed in place of his CV.

Thursday night, Sam and her father are the first guests to arrive at Tori's house. They meet Jezebel's father -- the Viceroy of the Outer Spheres, Scourge of the Abyss, Being of a thousand and one titles -- or, as he soon asks, "just call me Bill." He arrives in a classic green Jaguar with tan leather interior, and the Minotaur Coliban and twitchy Mitch turn out to be his bodyguards, or one bodyguard and a sidekick, as it's unclear just what Mitch's job is other than driving the Land Rover. Bill could be a model for the cover of GQ, if they had a special feature on beings with three-inch horns and red, slit-pupiled eyes. Sam is slightly overdressed for the occasion in the black dress she bought in New York, but Tori is, as usual, perfect in a dark green sheath with her hair pinned up. Bill makes a point of speaking to both of them, and there seems to be a frisson of recognition between him and Tori. As soon as she can, she pulls Sam aside and explains in whispers -- "He knows about my connection to Mars, and he also has a mystical connection to warfare. Then, he asked if I'd like to play chess with him!" Of course, Bill knows exactly who, and what, Sam is, and if possible he's even more polite to her than to everyone else, although he doesn't understand why she asks him not to call her "Slayer" in front of the parents, as if she were ashamed to admit it. She's not ashamed, but trying to explain the concept of "secret identity" to the obvious demon is an exercise in futility. In threes and fours the rest of the guests arrive. Before dinner, Bill proposes a toast to the younger generation who he is pleased to see "coming into their own." He thanks all the young people for making Jezebel feel so welcome here at Solomon High. Dinner opens with a pumpkin soup with an unusual zing to the spices, thanks to Ariel's magical help in the kitchen. When the turkey is brought out, Bill is given the honor of carving, which he does with surgical precision. There are all the traditional trimmings to go with it. Everything is delicious, and everyone is having a great time. At one point, Joshua's father goes out on the back patio to smoke a cigarette and "talk shop" with Coliban about security. Even Drew's mother is more relaxed around the strange beings she's meeting. Of course, the wine helps.

Just before dessert, all the lights go out -- even the security lights out front. The only illumination is from the candles on the table, which reflect redly in Bill's eyes. Sam, Tori and Joshua are the first out of their seats. They instruct everyone to keep calm, and fan out to investigate what happened. Drew goes with Sam toward the front of the house to look outside and get their weapons out of Sam's Jeep. Joshua and his father head toward the basement to find the fuse box. Tori goes upstairs to fetch her weapons. Erik and Juanita also go outside to get their supplies. While this is going on, a horde of snakey, humanoid demons attacks the house. Some come up from the basement, some come in the windows. One of them makes the mistake of lighting a candle in Tori's room. She uses the fire it so conveniently provided to incinerate it, along with a second one who came in her other window. Sam, Drew, Erik, and Juanita battle several in the front yard while Coliban takes on more than a dozen in the back. In the dining room, Bill leads the defense of the non-combatants, throwing forks with great precision, while Joshua and Jezebel employ gymnastics-as-kung fu and Callie, Marcy, and Stephie go into super-power mode. Ron Archer bashes heads while Sheriff Lee tries, unsuccessfully, to get his gun to work. He finally gives up, and tries to radio for back-up, with similar lack of success. Once everyone is outside, Juanita points out where the snakey demons, or Squinkos, as Bill identifies them, had put up a ritual circle around the house. Once the circle is broken, the lights come back on. Bill explains that he has many enemies, and doesn't often manif -- er, visit this part of town. Someone obviously took advantage of the fact and sent these creatures to attack him. Good thing that Slayer Club just happened to be in the neighborhood. "Don't worry about the bodies, they'll melt away to acid in just a few minutes." At that news, Sam quickly asks Tori if she can borrow some clothes -- her dress is spattered with Squinko blood, and probably on its way to the rag pile. Coliban piles up the bodies in the corner where Tori's neighbors insist on raking their leaves into her yard and Mitch is discovered, passed out cold on the patio. After some discussion, it's decided that there are just too many pies in the kitchen, with ice cream, to let go to waste, so everyone goes back into the house to finish Thanksgiving dinner.

 

Interlude: Drew Gets Grounded
Written by Greg Pearson.
One half of a telephone conversation, the day after Thanksgiving.

 

3.8 Karate Kids
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Thursday, December 3rd, 1992.
Slayer Club troops toward Martense College Gymnasium, carrying signs -- "Joshua Rules!" and "Atlanta or Bust!" It's the finals of the Men's National Gymnastics trials, and Joshua Archer is one of the favorites. Among his competition is the elusive Derek Becker, formerly of St. Germain's, who trains with the Nordic Dragon Gymnastics Club. As they take their seats, Sam scans the crowd and competitors for anyone unusual. The hotdog vendor is one of Blaire's humanoid "regulars," so Slayer club makes mental notes not to eat the hotdogs. Pandora makes a run to the concession stand and returns with popcorn, soda, stuffed animals, and pennants. With her is a young woman in her late 20s wearing rectangular, black-rimmed glasses and crayola-red hair braided up with many brightly colored rubber bands. She leans across Pandora to offer her hand to Sam. "So nice to meet you at last. I'm Ada Godfrey, your new Watcher."

While Sam and Drew comment on the most un-Watcherly aspect of the Watcher, the gymnasts take to the apparati with gusto. The first few events receive marks in the high 9s. The judges do not want to award 10s too early in the competition, although Joshua's parallel bars and Derek's floor exercise are both good enough to warrant them. It's Joshua's floor exercise that blows the top out of the marks. "Very nice. I especially like the subtle vampire-staking that he worked in there," Ada comments with dry humor. After that, Derek is rattled and no amount of Germanic bellowing on the part of his coach can wring more than an 8.9 out of his last two events. Joshua wins the competition, and is swarmed with well-wishers, photographers and reporters whom he allows his mother to deal with for him. Sam signals him that they will meet back at the Sacred Grounds when he is able to get away.

Outside the gymnasium, the Nordic Dragons pile into their black van with a red dragon painted on the side and roar off. Ada notices that Pandora is not with Slayer Club. Sam goes to check the girl's bathroom, and Drew checks the concession stand to see if she went back for more stuff. She's not in either place, so Sam heads up to the third floor to do a door-to-door search, asking if anyone has seen Pandora. She's nowhere to be found, and the Martense library is on the other side of campus. She couldn't have gone there without anyone seeing her leave. Puzzled, but not yet worried, Slayer Club heads to the Sacred Grounds for hot chocolate. The place is packed. Ada's doing her best to turn the coffee shop's finances around, but warns Slayer Club to be circumspect with the Council about her success...she's hoping to siphon off some of the profits into a slush fund for Slayer Club's use. Sam calls the Watcher hotline from the office, to double-check that this Ada Godfrey is who she says she is. She checks out, so Sam accepts that Hartsdale is not coming back from England. Erik and Juanita groove to the band, "House of Love," that Ada booked especially for tonight -- her first night in America, as the Slayer's Watcher. Quite an honor for someone so young. Even Drew is having a hard time disliking her, although he's trying his best.

Sam asks Juanita if she can help them find Pandora with a "seeking" spell. Juanita agrees and makes a little poppet out of a couple of napkins and an espresso spoon, using a page of Pandora's homework to orient the spell. The poppet stands up on her palm, and points the way to a wooded hill at the edge of St. Germain's. Slayer Club follows a barely-visible path up to a stand of bracken, and a stone door carved with a very faint symbol of the Freemasons. Once open, their flashlights show a shallow room with an altar-like stone in the back wall, a passageway going off to the right, and three giant spiders, the size of golden retrievers. Ada is pushed down by one of them, and Erik is bitten by another before Slayer Club can kill the vermin. Ada offers to take Erik to the hospital, as long as someone gives her a full report.

Deeper in the cave, natural earth gives way to worked stone, secret passageways and rooms full of life-size statues of headmasters of St. Germain's, dating back to the 1200s. The earliest names carved on the pedestals are Nordic and Germanic, giving way to English names as the years passed. Among them stands the image of Elizabeth Bathory, which Sam makes a "hex" sign at. Finally, Slayer Club finds where Pandora is hiding from several of the Nordic Dragons, who have somehow been changed into zombie-like beings, but without losing any of their agility. A gymkata-style fight breaks out. Joshua is completely in his element and stoked from his earlier win. Tori and Drew acquit themselves well with crossbow and rapier. Pandora and Juanita cast spells, but Sam has her hands full, literally, as three of the gymnasts take her on at once. One of them kicks her sword out of her hand, and a second one jumps up and wraps his legs around her neck, effectively blinding her, while the other two try to punch and trip her up. Even blind, Sam manages to dodge the attacks, but the one on her face is stuck like a starfish, until Drew comes to Sam's aid and together, they finish off the last of the gymnast-zombies.

Even deeper in stands a dead tree that Pandora says was alive when she was first brought down here, but it did something to the gymnasts that touched it, turning them into the zombies, and now it's dead. The Nordic Dragons kidnapped her to translate some writings on the walls for them. Those carvings refer to a 'sleeping dragon' -- the Midgard Serpent, its 'keeper' named Torsten, and three items needed to wake it at Ragnarok, the end of the world: a helm, a horn, and a sword. Slayer club finds a statue, broken, that seemed to once have been holding a sword. A pedestal with an empty indentation -- the horn? And a small wooden chest, also empty, that could have easily held a helmet. Beyond that last room is a chamber of darkness. Complete, utter blackness that none of their lights can penetrate. Sam experiments, poking stakes into the darkness, and throwing the end of a coil of rope. There seems to be a floor, and the items aren't harmed by it, but there could be hidden pits or who knows what in there, so Slayer Club leaves that chamber alone. Retracing their steps, there is one room with a well in the middle of it, which they decide to investigate. They tie the rope around Drew's waist and Sam lowers him down. Halfway down the well, Drew finds a small, hidden door and opens it. Inside, a tiny room with three pedestals that are apparently meant to hold the icons, but they are empty. So, apparently, the Nordic Dragons' coach, and possibly Derek, who wasn't among the zombies, came here in search of the items, which are now missing, but didn't find the room to place them to wake the dragon. That's the good news. The bad news, which they find when they return to town, is that the Nordic Dragon Club is abandoned. Hastily. Even the front door was left ajar. The next day, Slayer Club goes out to a small farm on the edge of Solomon to talk to Sven and Inga -- the Viking couple whom Tori released from prison in the Hell-dimension where she was kidnapped. Sven and Inga have set up a homestead here on an abandoned farm, trading handcrafted items for tools and other things they need. They are pleased to see Slayer Club again, and willing to talk about their home, seven hundred years in the past. They knew a man named Torsten. A big man, with a big horn that he could blow to call a dragon to him. He was it's keeper, and Sven had even seen it once. When they battled the Skraelings, Torsten called the dragon to fight with them. It was a huge serpent that went through the Skraeling war-party like a water moccasin through tall grass. But what happened to it, or Torsten, Sven and Inga don't know. They were kidnapped themselves and only knew the walls of the Hell-dimension prison until Tori let them out.

So, in addition to a true demon and a necromancer, the hills of Solomon shelter a sleeping dragon. And somewhere out there, a fanatic gymnastics coach has the items needed to wake it up and end the world.

 

3.9 The Greatest Tori Ever Told
Written and directed by Greg Pearson.
The events of this episode take place between Friday, December 18th and Monday, December 21st, 1992.
Teaser: In the spring of 1582, Donovan and Melina attack what was once a Christian church, but has now been converted to other uses. The sanctuary is filled with weapons and guarded by a robed demon priest. The battle is not swift, even two-against-one, because the demon's hide is proof against Melina's claws. While they fight, he taunts the pair with stories of a prophecy that says he will win the fight. But in the end, amid splinters of pews and shards of glass, Donovan plunges his sword into the demon's heart. Melina scoops up the object that was resting in the bowl on the altar: The Mars Orb. As they leave, the dying demon smiles and whispers that the prophecy has been fulfilled. Four hundred years later, a trio of demons similar to the dead priest arrive on Solomon Heights. They look over the town below and speak of how their centuries-long quest to recover that which was taken from them is finally about to end.

Winter Carnival is in the air! Sam and Tori compete, with Jezebel and Andrea, for the title of Snow Queen. As usual, Andrea's brownies are the talk of the town. Sam uses the pageant as an advertising gimmick for Kessler's Garage -- "Vote for me. I can protect you from the snow and cold! Just $99.95 for a complete winterization package, and 10% off all snow tires!" Erik, Joshua, Tom Hayden, and Pete Finlon design and build an ice carving to enter the sculpture competition. Their theme (inspired by the reigning Snow Queen) is "Fire and Ice," with real, propane-fueled fire engulfing a glass ball suspended over a bowl of ice carved into the shape of flames and lit red from underneath. "Pyro" Pete and Mr. Saiyer provide faculty sponsorship and advice.

On the last day of school, Pandora overhears two girls, Tanya and Traci, talking in the locker room about a "Rededication ritual" and the charms they made for it. An offhand comment -- "now if only Russell doesn't mess up the sacrifice, everything will be fine" sends Pandora straight to Slayer Club to warn them before she must catch a plane home for Christmas. In the Aviation Science final exam, Sam and Drew's propeller-driven dirigible prevails against a stiff breeze to carry a fresh egg down the length of the football field and through the upright posts to score an "A" for both of them. In the crowd watching from the bleachers, Tori and Jezebel agree to use neither magic nor super powers for the duration of the Snow Queen contest. After school, Slayer Club investigates rededication ceremonies with Ada's help, but there are too many possibilities under that broad heading. So, the team splits up to go to Andrea's house to ask her about the girls, who were at St. Germain's with her last year, and Russell's house to shake him down for info about the sacrifice. Andrea provides some information that Tanya and Traci were supporters of the Bathory regime, as was as the drama professor, but Russell plays dumb, though it's apparent he's lying.

That evening on patrol, Sam and Drew find three mottled-green demons wearing dusty-red robes and carrying battle-axes, trashing lockers at the school. Sam and Drew take them on, but find these demons are a lot tougher than most they've fought before. Just as one of them knocks Drew down and goes in for the decapitation, Tori arrives and all three demons stop what they're doing (even in mid-swing) and bow to her, presenting their axes and begging to be allowed to kill something for her. They are the "Followers of Mars" and they all worship Tori, as the Incarnation of Mars... Which would be disturbing enough by itself, but there is a whole dimension full of their "brethren" just waiting for Tori's call to battle. Problem is, Tori doesn't want to call them to battle. she wants them to go home and leave her alone, but that's not possible either. So, what is Slayer Club to do with three battle-hungry demons who worship Tori? Michael offers to let them stay at his house, hoping to learn more about them. They like to eat fast-food, especially fried chicken, because they can get it at the drive-through. They also like picking fights in biker bars, which is how they acquired ID, cash, and do we really want to know what else? They like conquest. They like destruction. They are knowledgeable about tactics and strategy, and rather confused about why Tori doesn't want to invade Canada, for a start. It takes all of Tori's command ability to keep them from hurting Jezebel and Andrea, who are Tori's "enemies" in the Snow Queen competition. After much debate, Slayer Club decides to send them on reconnaissance, With strict orders to just observe, not to act without authorization. One demon is sent to Russell's house, one to Tanya's and one to Traci's to watch them, and notify Slayer Club, through Professor Sayier, if any of these three meets the others, or leaves their houses. Erik and Joshua continue work on the ice sculpture all weekend, while Drew finally gets to work on his college applications. Sam, Tori, Andrea, and Jezebel finish distributing their baked goods. Michael gives the three demons illusory human faces, takes them food-shopping, and then teaches them how to cook good Jewish food so they don't have to eat take-out all the time. Sunday night, Tori and Sam model their new dresses and go to dinner with Councilman Bright and the Chamber of Commerce. Tori's gown is bright red and low-cut with cut-outs across the stomach, while Sam's is cool blue with a neckline shaped like the crescent moon. Andrea's dress is pure silver this year, with a big white bow, and Jezebel goes with an elegant black gown with long gloves to offset her pale complexion and black hair.

Monday evening is the Winter Carnival parade, in which Tori and Sam are required to be on the Council's float. Joshua and Erik put the finishing touches on their ice sculpture and leave Tom and Pete to represent the group at the judging. The demons call in at dusk that Tanya, Traci, and Russell seem to be converging on St. Germain's. Joshua, Erik, and Drew go to meet their demon-scouts while Michael alerts Sam and Tori at the parade, which is scheduled to end at the exact moment of the Winter Solstice. At the same time at St. Germain's, Tanya, Traci, and Russell meet another boy and the drama teacher who favored Bathory when she was in power. They form a square around an altar built in the middle of the remains of the school. Russell brings a small package, which he was seen to buy from a demon at Blaire's, which squirms and cries plaintively when he hands it over to the professor. Just as the professor raises a knife over the package, Joshua aims his pistol and shoots him in the leg. Erik swings a baseball bat at Russell, and Drew sprints for the altar to grab the package. Even as Drew screams out that it is a kitten, the demons act. This is what they've been waiting for! Traci and Tanya fall under their axe-blades, and the other boy collapses with one leg severed at the hip. Joshua screams at the demons to stop. Russell screams "what the hell is going on?" and the professor screams in pain at his wound. Russell is apoplectic, or maybe just terrified. "What are you doing consorting with demons? You're supposed to be the good guys! Sure, I was going to sacrifice a kitten to rededicate St. Germain's to the dark powers once it was re-built. Okay, big deal. But demons killing people?" In his babbling, he also lets slip that the Winter Carnival had been scheduled for this evening specifically to keep Slayer Club away from the ritual. By the time Joshua and Drew look around, the demons are gone. Erik drives the professor to the hospital, but it's too late for the other three students. They're dead.

Back at the parade, the winners of the ice sculpture competition are announced -- the professional team that works on the Foundry's ice sculptures every year won, again. Although Pete and Tom glumly receive a small trophy for "best sculpture by a new team." Sam, Tori, Jezebel, and Andrea stand on stage with Councilman Bright, who with great flourish opens the envelope to announce -- "We have a tie! So, as head of the Winter Carnival Committee, it falls to me to choose the new Snow Queen for 1992!" At that moment, Tori spots out of the corner of her eye a spinning blade aimed at councilman Bright's head. She dives, knocking him to the stage, and the battle-axe imbeds itself in the side of the (real, this year) Christmas tree. Michael causes illusory smoke and flames to spring up along the edge of the stage, obscuring the view of the audience. Sam retrieves the axe and brandishes it at the demons, who claim that Councilman Bright is Tori's enemy, the one behind the ceremony that Slayer Club was trying to stop. If he was the head of the Winter Carnival Committee, they figure he must be the one who scheduled the parade to coincide with the solstice, guaranteeing that both Tori and the Slayer were nowhere near the ritual spot. Tori orders "her" demons to stand down, but it is only with great reluctance that they abandon the fight. Councilman Bright comes to himself quickly as the demons depart and Michael allows his illusion to fade. Most people probably thought that was part of the show, and a shaken Councilman Bright asks for a round of applause for the "guerilla theater." Back at the podium, the Councilman announces that the new Snow Queen is -- "Jezebel Karellan!" Aside to Tori, he whispers, "Thank you for saving my life, but... winter in New England, and you think a someone with a tan is going to win? Not in this town..."

 

3.10 Boosters
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Tuesday, January 12th, 1993.
Teaser: Cynthia Vastarley calls a meeting of all the Slayer Club parents for lunch at the Foundry. Samuel Kessler, Jillian and Steve Killian, Marilyn Clark, Sabrina and Lars Sorensen, herself and her husband Roger; even Tabitha Archer comes up from New Jersey to discuss their children's "after school activities." Cynthia plans to do some counseling and give all the parents amulets to help them deal with the shocking news of what their children are really up to at night. In an adjoining semi-private room, several St. Germain's faculty, including Luke Ottenmeyer, leaning on a brand-new cane, meet for a similar discussion -- but for a darker purpose. Glances and glares are exchanged over the potted plants, especially from Cynthia, who recognizes the Bathory-supporters for who they are. Suddenly, windows break at the front of the restaurant and in leap several suits of plate mail -- with nothing inside them. The animated armor brandishes weapons and clanks toward the Slayer Club parents. Roger murmurs, "You'd better put a bit more juice in that, dear" as Cynthia hands out her amulets. Roll credits.

At school lunch time, Slayer Club meets to talk about training and patrolling that night. New classes for the semester are compared, and nothing strange is noticed by anyone. Even Tori's "minions" seem to have taken the week off. After meeting at the Brew Pub for some sparring and target-shooting, Sam and Drew go home for dinner and plan to meet for patrol later on. But before that can happen, Sam finds her father, shirtless, in the living room, dismantling and cleaning a tripod-mounted machine gun. That's far more of her dad's tattoos than Sam ever wanted to see. Drew's parents are poring over stacks of books in their kitchen -- both Pandora's magical texts, and Drew's Monster Manual. At the Archer household, Tabitha puts Joshua through the third degree about his training -- and not just his gymnastics training, this time -- and mentions that she should also learn Kung-fu and get back into shape. Erik's parents pull out Lars' old suit of chainmail in which he used to compete in SCA tournaments and polish up Sabrina's longbow. Tori's mother is on the phone, ordering hawthorne staves with gold-plated handles and any other kind of "occult" paraphernalia that she can find in catalogs.

What is going on with the parents? Slayer Club casts around, compares notes, and then meet at the Vastarley's to ask Cynthia just what kind of mojo she put in those amulets that all the parents are wearing. "It's just a little self-confidence booster. And helps with seeing the world around you clearly, for what it is." In Solomon, that alone could be very, very dangerous. Under Attorney-client privilege, Joshua and a very reluctant Tori explain why the St. Germain's faculty are so incensed at Slayer Club that they targeted their parents -- Joshua shooting Ottenmeyer in the leg, and Tori's minions who killed three students, even though Tori didn't ask her minions to kill anybody (they took that on themselves). She's planning how to take care of them once and for all. Meanwhile, Kevin contacts Ilia to ask Melina for any information regarding the sword that she and Donovan had made to take on the Followers of Mars, back when they first collected the Mars Orb. If Slayer Club can make more weapons like it, that would even the odds.

As well as Cynthia's amulets, the attack at the Foundry galvanized the parents, and they've all agreed that they want to help Slayer Club fight evil, from accessing the faculty collection at Martense (from Steve Killian), to armoring their vehicles and making steel inserts for body-armor (from Samuel). All the parents meet at the Brew Pub to go over their children's armory. Samuel evaluates its defensibility while Marilyn tours with an eye for decoration. It's all Slayer Club can do to keep their parents away from the more dangerous tomes in Ada's collection (Ada, meanwhile, is both confused and furious at this breach of protocol). Samantha tries to explain to the new Watcher what's going on, when the entire group gets a conference-call (of sorts) from Ilia and Sylvia. The two Benedanti are somewhere in the Middle East, so they contact Slayer Club through a mass waking-dream of Persian carpets and satin pillows. The parents are as much awed by the surroundings as how Slayer Club takes this sudden shift in their reality in stride. In response to Kevin's question, Melina sent on several pages of notes and diagrams of the process of forging the blade, as well as everything she knows about the demons themselves. When Drew touches the pages, he has a flash-vision of seeing the process himself, or as Donovan, so he now knows as much as Melina does about the rapier he wears at his waist. If they can find enough "Star-metal" -- and a skilled blacksmith -- Slayer Club could make more weapons like it. After passing on the info, Ilia murmurs "You're being tracked..." and dumps everyone back at the Brew Pub.

That's when more suits of armor attack. Sam, Drew, Ada, Erik, and Tori take the front, where ranks of animated armor are marching toward the pub. Joshua and Kevin go out the back, where human members of the Nordic Dragons are hiding in the woods. Cynthia, Roger, and Pandora cast a bubble of protection around the pub, while other parents take up weapons and provide supporting fire from the second story. Kevin casts a spell calling on the spirits of nature to protect them -- and the light snowfall that began at dusk doubles, and then triples in strength. Before they know it, Slayer Club is fighting in the middle of a winter nor'easter with thunder and lightning in addition to snow, sleet, and rain. Visibility goes to nil, which hampers both the attackers and defenders. Sam gets her Jeep started and drives up to the curve of the road, where she finds four ranks of suits of armor marching toward the pub. She barrels the Jeep into them and spins out in the quickly-accumulating slush, sending most of them flying into the ditch to lie still. Other suits bypass her to attack Drew and Erik, while some of the Dragons gymnastics team take on Tori and Ada. Out back, Joshua uses his position high in a tree to scout out the Dragons' positions -- until Kevin's storm makes that impossible. So, he drops down near one of the Dragons and cold-cocks him with his pistol-butt. Calling out to another one, Derek Becker, Joshua lures him closer, until he can subdue him also. Out front, the fight continues, with Drew taking a scimitar cut in the belly that looks messy but is actually shallow. Tori and Ada trade blows with the Dragons. With a prayer to Archangel Michael, Sam "turns" two of the suits of armor, smashes a third and is facing a fourth, when a call rings out -- "For the Incarnation!" All the suits of armor collapse simultaneously, and three heads roll in front of the Brew pub. One of them until recently belonged to Luke Ottenmeyer, and the other two are also grey-bearded. All three wear expressions of great surprise. Tori's minions have struck again.

 

3.11 Enter the Dragonkeeper
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Wednesday, January 13th, 1993.
The morning after Boosters... Under the duress of listening to Marilyn Clark's interior decorating ideas, Derek reveals that there is a ritual going on at the old monastery on the "Night of the Dragon" -- which is, conveniently, tonight. He doesn't know that much about it, not having passed his final test to join the Nordic Dragons' inner circle, but knowing now that his sensei wants to end the world, he offers to help Slayer club stop the ritual. Cynthia makes three charms -- "to help the wearer in battle" which are given to Erik, Tori, and Sam, although Sam is a little leery about calling on "pagan" spirits for help. Not against it, just cautious. The snowy result of Kevin's latest summoning is still lying in six-foot drifts all around town. Kevin himself is missing, but his parents assure everyone that he's all right. Ilia came to get him sometime during the night, so he is now in Turkey. Joshua claims the katana from the pile of armor and armaments while Sabrina and Lars begin sorting it into "usable", "good", and "crap" piles. Slayer Club and Derek strap on skis to make the trek into town for supplies. They raid Harris' Hardware, leaving behind money to pay for their pilfering. With skis, ropes, binocs, flashlights and extra batteries, food and water for at least a day, and one of the CB radios strapped to Sam's pack, they all set off across the Green River to the cliffs where stands the old monastery, a crumbling heap of mixed architectural styles, with newer walls and turrets built right on top of older ones. Once the group scales the cliffs, they find themselves facing the back of the structure, slightly above the highest tower. Joshua jumps across with a rope and establishes a zip-line for everyone else to take across. However, the floors of the old tower are rotten. Behind one door, they hear voices. Sam goes inside to investigate, and falls through to the next floor -- and the next. And keeps on falling, to the basement. Joshua and Erik capture the two Nordic Dragons in the room (avoiding the hole Sam made) and take their ritual garb to try and fit in with the ritualists, and stop what they are planning to do. Tori and Derek plan to shadow the two impersonators, while Drew rappels down the hole to join Sam in the basement.

In the tower, before they can follow, Derek and Tori get ambushed by the two Nordic Dragons, who turn out to be vampires and use their super-human strength to easily break their bonds. Derek gets his neck snapped, but Tori uses the flame of a nearby torch to toast the vamps, and then follows Erik and Joshua. Sam and Drew find themselves in a small cell with iron manacles attached to the walls, complete with skeletons, and a pile of straw that they landed on. Beyond the cell stretches a corridor lined with mirror-glass, which soon branches into a labyrinth of mirrors. Upstairs, Erik and Joshua's attempt to blend in doesn't last long, as the sergeant-at-arms tests their knowledge of the ritual and the Dragons' fighting style. They fake it, but are soon taken to a room filled with satin pillows, and three scantily-clad female vampires. ("Ooh! play-toys!") Joshua pushes the Sergeant into the room, and he and Erik slam the door and booby-trap it with one of Joshua's hand-grenades. Then, they run down the hall, around the corner, and throw his second hand-grenade into the ring of ritualists in the courtyard. Erik uses his battle-amulet, and goes Berserker. Tori tries hers, but the spirits summoned defer to her superior abilities and go help Joshua instead. His skin turns into black marble, immune to both fire and weapons. Realizing this, Tori gets an evil grin and calls down a flamestrike on the courtyard, setting vampires alight like campfire marshmallows and scaring the bejesus out of Joshua. Back in the corridor, the sergeant is blasted to dust by Joshua's grenade, but the three women manage to escape the firestorm and drive away. In the basement, Sam and Drew smash mirrors until Sensei Franz shows himself. He and Sam fight, and are fairly evenly matched. But Sam has Drew on her side, and it's his crossbow-bolt that sends Franz to dustville.

Slayer Club celebrate their victory, although Derek's death is a somber note. Joshua begins exploring their "new secret lair" even though it still technically belongs to Sensei Franz and Drew has qualms about its lack of power (and heat). They find Franz's office, and files of papers, including one letter from Grant Barrows, mentioning that "The ritual must not be disturbed. Keep the Slayer busy. If you can kill her, all the better, but she's tougher than she looks." Sam snorts. This whole thing was a set-up. A distraction while the real ritual was being completed elsewhere.

A dark room -- Russell and his father, wearing brown hooded robes, holding candles on either side of a rune-marked pentagram. The three objects -- horn, helm, and sword, are in the center of the circle. A flash of blue-green light, scintillating, a tall shadow rises, lifts the helm to its head, takes the horn in one hand, the sword in the other. A deep voice, "Who summons me?" Grant, formally, "I am the Summoner, Dragon-keeper." Russell, wondering, "You know, he looks sorta familiar..."

 

3.12 Shadows
Written and directed by Tim Ballew. Based on an idea by Steve Winter.
The events of this episode take place on Monday, February 2nd, 1993.
Teaser: Sam is meditating in her bedroom. A black crow lifts from the window-sill and flies away. The camera follows, a crow's-eye view of Solomon from the air, mostly deserted in the early morning darkness. At St. Germain's, the crow lands on a signpost and caws. A chipmunk looks out of its burrow and scampers back into the dark. Fade to: an underground chamber, the walls covered in shelves filled with books and scrolls. Stephie Newberry is poring over one of them. Callie is examining book spines. Marcy looks on, bored. Stephie looks up, startled. "There's something here. Something powerful." Her eyes roll back in her head. "It knows we're here!" Elsewhere, Mr. Barrows and Russell talk to their new visitor, whom the camera never shows. "He's crazy! He can't just go walking around town." Russell protests. "What if someone recognizes him?" -- Words in Old Norse. -- Mr. Barrows shakes his head. "He can do as he likes, Russell. No one will know who he is... Anyway, I don't think we could stop him." The Dragon-Keeper says something else in Old Norse, more animated. Mr. Barrows shakes his head again. "Silly girls. Can't have them poking around like that." Russell starts for the door, but Mr. Barrows waves him away. "No need for that. I'll just try out one of my new... toys." He opens his hand to show a small, black icon.

At school that day, there's a new student in AP European history -- Magnus Anderson, who is over six feet tall and ruggedly handsome, with long blond hair. All the girls swarm around him. Even the teacher, Ms. Bonnie Emery, seems taken with him. "He's from Norway!" She squeals. "Why don't you tell us about yourself?" He's from Oslo, his father is in international shipping, and they just moved to Solomon a week ago. In the hall between classes, Drew introduces Magnus to Sam and Tori. Tori turns on the charm, but Magnus seems equally impressed with Sam. Sam doesn't mind the attention. Drew does, but he is distracted by the sight of a terrified-looking Stephie. She tells him there's something very powerful and dangerous in the school, but she can't pin down what or where. He offers to help, but she says she just needs to go outside and get some air. Reluctantly, he lets Callie shepherd her out. An hour later, Sam heads to her next class, in the basement of the shop wing. She gets there to find everyone bolting up the stairs, yelling about a wild animal. Sam lets the crowd go by and then runs toward the sound of sobbing. It's Marcy, crying a flood that runs down the hall. Callie is in Valkyrie-form, and Stephie is lying between them with large gashes across her body. Something growls and grabs Stephie -- a black dog the size of a small horse. Sam swings up onto its back and keeps it at bay long enough for Callie to pick up Stephie's body and for her and Marcy to escape. The dog gallops at the corner of the Janitor's closet. Sam rolls off at the last moment, and it vanishes into the shadows. School closes early. There will be a memorial service for Stephie the next day. Sam gathers Slayer Club and briefs them on what happened. Marcy and Callie go to Tori's house to blame Jezebel -- they went to St. Germain's to get a book for her, and that's where Stephie first sensed the dog was after them. Jezebel claims no responsibility for what happened. Drew goes home to tell Pandora and his parents what happened, asking them for research help. He tells them he plans to do some research of his own, then shuts himself in his room and stares at the ceiling for the rest of the afternoon. The rest of Slayer Club go to the Sacred Grounds to get Ada and then to the Brew Pub to hit the books. Not wanting to do research, Joshua stays at the Sacred Grounds with Callie and Marcy. As soon as the group leaves, the dog appears. Jonathan ("Whipping Boy") touches Callie, making her invulnerable and probably saving her life, as this time the dog focuses its attack on her. Joshua beats it with frying pans and Callie uses knives from the kitchen, but these don't hurt it. When it sees that it's not hurting Callie, the dog stops, confused, scratches itself behind the ear, and disappears into the shadows. Callie picks Jonathan up and gives him a big kiss for saving her life. They go off to find a beer together.

Tori spots a notice in The Auction Quarterly. Le Chien d'Onyx, a small onyx dog, was recently sold for a five-figure sum at the Solomon Auction House. Erik recognizes the D&D reference -- an onyx dog is a small figurine that turns into a real dog. The buyer remained anonymous, but the seller was Emmanuel Le Strode, of Solomon Mass. Joshua and Marcy decide to check out the auction house. It's a large, brick building, a former factory that was converted into a showplace for modern art, with vast windows and indirect lighting. Being a tad underdressed to fit in with the highbrow crowd, Marcy takes Joshua to the mall to outfit themselves, using Jezebel's credit card and leading to an awkward moment with Sheriff Lee, who is now convinced that Joshua is dating his daughter. At sundown, Sam and Tori go patrolling, but first, they go to see Drew. He tells them that his research has turned up nothing (no kidding!) and they fill him in on what they've found and invite him to patrol with them. He uncharacteristically begs off, claiming he'd be more useful at the Brew Pub helping Pandora and Ada research the dog. Sam isn't fooled, but leaves him to his bleak mood, remembering that once Stephie had touched his mind telepathically. No wonder he's upset.

At the auction house, Joshua finds a secret passage behind a particularly ugly painting, just as seven demons with tommy-guns show up and start shooting up the place. Marcy runs for the Ladies' Room, where she can transform without causing (even more of) a scene. Returning in the form of a puddle, she oozes under the door then takes a semi-human form to open it for Joshua from the other side. Beyond, they find ladder that leads down into the tunnels that thread under Solomon. In those tunnels, they find vampires, but not so many that they can't handle them. Marcy swirls around their feet to keep them off-balance, and Joshua alternately kicks them in the head and stakes them. Sam and Tori show up just in time for the party. Demons shoot at them, and they take cover in Marcy's BMW. Sam manages to hot-wire it, running over one of the demons and taking out a large window. Dodging around cement statues, they also find the door in the wall. Down into the tunnels. More vampires, which Tori "fires" to dust while, further ahead, Marcy electrocutes others by connecting to a generator. Meanwhile, back at the Brew Pub, Drew slips past Pandora and Ada to make a surreptitious visit to the armory. Back in the tunnels, Sam and Tori catch up to Joshua and Marcy. In one room, they find a man tied to a chair, his face bruised and bloody. When asked if he is Emmanuel Le Strode, he spits on the floor. Le Strode stole the Chien from him, and then sold it to Mr. Barrows. Now this person, Delacey Otage, wants his property back. Slayer Club wants to keep the dog from hurting anyone else, and punish Mr. Barrows for killing Stephie. Delacey offers to help, so Slayer Club releases him and takes him back to the Brew Pub. He was supposed to meet with Barrows the next night, but Drew gets him to call and move the meeting up, using the auction house shoot-out as an excuse. Midnight, at the Orchards. Joshua takes Pandora (riding on the back of his new dirt bike) to scope the place for bugs, and plant a few of their own. A couple of Mr. Barrow's flunkies arrive with the same idea, but Joshua knocks them out and leaves them tied up with the guard in the security room. They confiscate a couple of magical doohickeys that the flunkies planted behind the bar and get rid of them. Sam gets her father's tow-truck and retrieves Marcy's BMW from the auction house, promising to fix the bullet-holes and replace the windshield as soon as she has a spare moment. Then, it's off to the Orchards. Marcy, not wanting to face the dog again, stays behind, with Erik and Ada guarding her. Sam gives Drew a questioning look, but this time he's eager to come along.

At the Orchards, Delacey meets with Barrows, who brings four of his tommy-gun toting demons, and the dog, while Slayer Club watches from the security room. Lacking sound from the cameras, Sam finds a cockroach in the corner and attempts a remote-viewing spell with it. While Sam prepares her spell, Joshua gets the idea of taking the fight (and a couple molotov cocktails) to the Barrows residence. He figures that a nice fire could destroy many of the Barrows's magical devices, while Russell should be able to run fast enough to escape the blaze. Drew encourages him in his plan but whispers that it might be even better if Russell didn't manage to escape. Joshua nods grimly and heads off. Sam's spell is successful and the cockroach scuttles down the hall, listening in on the conversation, which Sam relates to her friends. Barrows threatens to kill the dog if Delacey doesn't tell him what he wants to know. It seems that he's looking for a certain set of orbs and Delacey knows where they are. Delacey tells him that six of the orbs went back to Europe, but the seventh one is still missing, and he doesn't know where it is. Slayer Club (especially Tori) breathes a sigh of relief, and go to cut the meeting short before Delacey gives away exactly where in Europe the orbs are being kept. There is a brief interlude of witty banter, before Mr. Barrows waves a hand and says, "kill them." Drew obliges by shooting one of the demons right between the eyes with his crossbow. Sam disarms Mr. Barrows, letting the dog free. Barrows ducks behind the bar, looking for his magical doohickeys, which aren't there. One of the demons disarms Tori, so she grabs another one's gun and shoots the one that disarmed her. Sam stabs the last two, stacking them up on her sword. Drew turns toward the bartender, mouths the word "Jump!", and pulls Joshua's last hand grenade, which he'd liberated from the armory earlier in the evening. Drew throws the grenade, and everybody hits the deck. When the smoke clears, Drew draws a pair of Joshua's pistols and carefully goes behind the bar to see if Mr. Barrows somehow managed to survive the explosion. Sure enough, Barrows is stunned, but still alive. Drew fixes that by emptying both guns into Barrows's head.

"Sorry about the mess." Sam apologizes. The bartender shrugs. Drew pulls out his wallet and gives the bartender $10. "That's all I have." Delacey retrieves the Chien d'Onyx and the dog happily licks his face. "Do you feel any better?" Sam asks Drew. "Not even a little. I spent all my... no, all her life being ignored by her... and now, she's gone." It seems there was more than just one mind-touch between Drew and Stephie, at least on his side. Sam doesn't know what to think about that. Delacey promises that the dog will cause no more harm, and thanks Slayer Club for their help. At the Barrows residence, Joshua manages to throw a couple molotov cocktails through the windows before being driven off by magically-animated gargoyles. It's enough to burn town the house though, a loss which results in a very irritated Dragon-Keeper smacking around Russell before they're forced to flee.

 

Interlude: Thoughts
Written by Greg Pearson and Jodi Roosenraad.

 

3.13 Vacuum
Written and directed by Chris Roosenraad.
The events of this episode take place between Friday, February 12th and Monday, February 15th, 1993.
Teaser: Sydney Opera House (Subtitle: Sydney, Australia)/ A large, rambling house with a wrap-around porch/ Inside, a group of a half-dozen children practice summoning things. One gets a wisp of smoke, another a flash of light and a popping sound. One waves his wand over and over, but gets nothing. The teacher (Bryan Brown) gives the lad instruction. Another man enters, whispers in the teacher's ear. Teacher: "Grant's dead? You can't be serious! You are serious." Laughs. "Where should we send the thank-you card and congratulatory bubbly?" Second man: "We don't know. But he is definitely dead." Teacher: "Send Howard to find out. He's always very resourceful." Cut to: A Spanish-style mansion surrounded by palm trees. (Subtitle: Coral Gables, Florida) Inside, a sunny room, close-up on an old-fashioned rotary phone standing on a Louis XVI table. A manicured, masculine hand picks up the phone. VO: "Mein Gott! He's dead?" Long pause, "To whom do we owe our... gratitude?" (Pause) "I see... A retrieval team? No, I'll go myself. There must be no mistakes." The phone cradles. End of the credits: "Guest starring, David Duchovny" David Duchovny stands on a porch, wearing a gray overcoat, holding a vacuum cleaner. The door opens. "Good morning, madam. Might I take a moment of your time to tell you about the patent-pending Vacu-suck 2000? It's the best piece of vacuum technology on the planet today!" A pair of long, hairy arms grab him by the shoulders and yank him into the house. There is a high-pitched, girlish scream and a hand reaches out to pull the vacuum cleaner inside. The door closes.

Solomon, Massachusetts, Friday afternoon: Slayer club bolts from school, but Sam stops short in the parking lot. She gives Drew a big hug, "Don't worry about me. I can handle this." But she looks a little uncertain. Drew: "You know I'll back you up... however I can." Now, he looks scared, too. "I know." Sam lets him go, squares her shoulders, and turns toward the light blue Volvo where Tori's mother is waiting for her. Marilyn has decided to take the Slayer out for a day of hairstyling, facials and shopping, "to get to know her better" and prepare for the ski-party she has planned for Tori's birthday. Friday evening, Drew finds two plain, white envelopes in his backpack with strange, black squiggles in the places where return-addresses should be. Inside, blank pieces of paper read aloud messages of congratulations for killing Grant Barrows, and almost identical requests for contact between "the one who affected Barrow's termination" and the senders of the notes, "T.J. Howard," and "Marcus." Each one lays claim to certain, unnamed, artifacts from Barrows's collection, and wishes to arrange for their return, and payment for same. "Please reply by Messenger, at your soonest convenience." Messenger? Drew is stumped. So begins the long process of research to find out what a Messenger spell entails. Meanwhile, Erik teaches Pandora how to snow-board on the small hill behind the Brew-Pub and Tori practices her sword-forms on the catwalks in the basement. During the night, it snows.

Early Saturday morning, Erik snowshoes up to the monastery to find a good place to sketch the fairyland-view of trees covered with fresh snow and icicles. After several hours, he comes away with a notebook full of striking landscapes, the best of which seems to shimmer in the corners of a viewer's eye. Tori walks around Martense, watching the fraternities competing to see who can build the most fantastic snow-sculptures. Drew receives two more audible pages from his mysterious correspondents. They're more urgent, specifying that Drew respond within 24 hours. Having exhausted all other possibilities -- the Slayer Club and Martense libraries, Pandora, Michael, Kevin's parents, Sam's priest, his Esoteric Geographic teacher -- Drew finally gives in and consults the Watcher. Ada is indeed familiar with this type of message, and the two of them cast a spell to summon a messenger -- a birdlike air-sprite -- to carry his message of greetings to Howard and Marcus. Drew writes that he is glad to return any artifacts to their rightful owners. All day, Sam and her father plow roads and pull cars out of ditches. The snow has made this a very profitable weekend. Saturday night, Slayer Club goes patrolling in the tunnels under the former auction house. They find a nest of vampires and eliminate them, although Sam takes a vicious blow to the throat and Tori has to resort to throwing fire bolts when the vamps pull guns. Among their stuff is a letter, written in gutter-Spanish, from someone in New York, apparently to the leader of this little gang. Tori translates: "With the (rude words) Nordic Dragons gone, Solomon is wide open. Get your (more rude words) butts up there. That town will be ours!" Well, maybe not.

Sunday is Tori's 18th birthday, and Marilyn's grand plan for a ski-party goes into full swing. On the bus up to Jiminy, Erik takes over the boom-box, so rocking tunes start the party off right. Slayer Club enjoys the rare opportunity for a whole day of fun, with absolutely no monsters. Pandora shows off her new snowboarding skills. Sam and Drew take on the double-diamond slopes while Erik 'boards the moguls, Marcy hits on the ski instructor, and Tori basks in everyone's attention and graciously accepts her mountain of presents. Even Sam's father gets into the swing of things. Marilyn is favorably impressed, and they chat companionably for most of the evening. Tori winks at that, but Sam's just happy to see her father having a good time, with a mug of hot chocolate, instead of buttered rum. Before dinner, everyone changes into semi-formal attire. While Drew is changing, the mysterious T.J. Howard (Duchovny) and Marcus finally track him down. They're a bit taken aback by his youth, but manage to recover to discuss the artifacts that their respective employers want. Drew stresses that they haven't yet completed the inventory of items taken from the Barrows basement, but if he has the artifacts in question, and if they are the rightful owners of same, then he is willing to turn them over. At dinner, Sam and Tori have to laugh -- because of Marilyn's suggestions, they're wearing the same outfits: cashmere sweaters, mini-skirts, and boots. Sam's is powder blue, and Tori's is hunter green and shows off a bit more cleavage, but otherwise, they're twins. Dinner is delicious, with chocolate birthday cake and ice cream for dessert before the bus trip back to Solomon.

The bus drops everyone off at the Sacred Grounds, and Slayer Club rushes to the Brew-pub to find out what exactly they have before Marcus and T.J. show up again. Lacking a key, and with their locksmith (Joshua) laid up with the flu, Sam simply smashes the lock on the chest. Inside are an assortment of smaller boxes and paraphernalia useful to a wizard (rings, wands, etc.). Slayer Club is still trying to figure out how to open the boxes when Marcus and T.J. show up. Of course, it turns out that they're looking for the same item, a star-shaped brooch set with a large, green crystal. Drew says that, if he has the brooch, he'd be happy to turn it over to the proper owner...once they settle its true ownership among themselves. Marcus and T.J. immediately begin fighting, first physically, then with spells, while Sam and Tori critique their style from the balcony. During a rest break, it finally dawns on Marcus and T.J. that Drew and his friends aren't the powerful wizards they'd expected and Drew admits to killing Mr. Barrows with a hand grenade, not a spell. Erik mentions, in passing, that Sam is the Slayer and T.J. suddenly remembers an urgent appointment elsewhere. This appears to leave Marcus as the only claimant, but Drew still doesn't know if they have the brooch. He points out that they lack the magical abilities to fully search ruins of the Barrows house, at which point Marcus suddenly remembers an urgent appointment elsewhere.

Erik discovers that Mr. Barrows's gaudy St. Germain's class ring is the key to open some of the boxes, lined with silk, that contain a metal wand, several crumbling scrolls, and the brooch, as well as a matching earring. Unfortunately, once used, the ring won't come off of Erik's finger. Shortly thereafter, T.J. and Marcus return, this time with their employers, Mr. Tyler -- headmaster of a Sydney School for Wizards -- and Gerhard Cole -- agent of the Illuminati. Slayer Club offers them tea while they sit and tell their stories. Tyler and Cole were once classmates of Grant Barrows, and all three received special scholarships to Oxford to continue their thaumaturgical studies. After Oxford, the three young men set out on a series of archaeological "adventures" in South America and the Middle East, where they found many artifacts that they took into "safe keeping." The green crystal brooch is by far the most powerful artifact they acquired, from a hidden tomb in a desert-swamped city in what used to be the Fertile Crescent (today, Iraq). Possession of the brooch led to a falling out between the three men, particularly when Barrows absconded with it in the middle of the night. Neither of them will say exactly what it does, but both of them want it. Drew declares that if they can agree about who should have it, he will give it to that person gladly. But he's not interested in deciding which of them it should go to; they have to work that out themselves. And he doesn't care what they offer in the way of bribes. That decision will take a lot of discussion and negotiation. So, both wizards and their henchmen agree to abide by Drew's condition and will return when they've worked it out. Hopefully.

 

3.14 A Little Bird Told Me
Written and directed by Jodi Roosenraad.
Fight montage -- Monday: Sam and Drew fight vampires from Boston. Tuesday: Sam and Tori fight vampires from Buffalo. Wednesday: Sam, Erik, and Joshua fight vampires from Montreal. Thursday: Sam and Michael fight vampires from Chicago. It seems that every street-gang of vampires east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon line is trying to take over Solomon.

Friday, at school:

1st period -- AP Literature. Drew's class discusses "The Destruction of Sennecherib" by Lord Byron. Drew notices several starlings land on the windowsill and chirp at each other, acting out the battle in the poem. At the end, they all "fall" off the sill and fly away. Strange.

2nd period -- Creative writing. Erik and Kevin notice that Sam is not in class. More birds land on the windowsill and perform a "kick-line" dance while the teacher, a "hippie-dippy-trippy" holdover from the 60s, reads aloud "the Tyger" by William Blake. When she notices the birds, she quickly announces the homework assignment and dismisses class, muttering, "it must be another flashback." Very strange.

3rd period -- Tori's AP spanish class discusses Cervantes and Don Quixote, in Spanish. A great horned owl lands on their windowsill and begins methodically pecking the windowpane. Tori recognizes the Morse-code triplets and writes down the code to translate later. Meanwhile, Erik and Joshua discuss the strange bird-behavior in their sculpture class. About half-way through, a flock of starlings swoop into the room and rain down bits of paper, carried in their beaks. Erik picks some up and reads ads, torn from a phone book, for farm machinery and "pick your own" apples.

At lunch, one of Tori's minions shows up. He's new in town, recently summoned by his brethren because he's better able to disguise himself as human and is more eloquent in speech. Jeremiah Malus is a bard among his kind, and the other Followers hope that he will speak to Tori for them and better understand her wishes, since they are baffled by her reluctance to conquer anything. Tori tells him to meet her after school, at the Sacred Grounds, and they will discuss everything then.

In AP Environmental Science, the teacher attempts to capture some of the starlings that "clearly have been tampered with" but they evade her butterfly-net. She springs a pop-quiz on meteors, meteorites, and tektites, the melted glass "beads" formed by the intense heat and impact of a meteorite striking the earth. Drew finishes the quiz in record time and rushes off to AP Physics.

Joshua, Erik, and Tori all have Study Hall for their final class, so they meet in the library. Joshua picks the lock on the office and takes a nap on the sofa in there. Tori translates her Morse code message and finds it is a series of directions, in longitude and latitude degrees, minutes and seconds. Using an atlas, she's able to narrow down the location to an area about ten miles west of Solomon, along the Green River. Erik finds Sam, sound asleep in one of the study carrels in the back of the library. She resists any attempt to wake her, and can't be moved easily, as her arms and legs are frozen stiff. They spend the rest of the period speculating about various forms of possession. When they get Drew after school, though, he gets it immediately: Sam asleep, birds behaving strangely, and that spell she's been practicing, where she can see through animals' eyes. Sam was possessing the birds and now she's stuck. Drew takes one of the starlings over to the computer, where it pecks out "Flew to NYC got stuck found something interesting follow me." After the halls clear out, Slayer Club carries Sam out to her Jeep and Drew drives her home. He tries to explain what happened to her father, but Mr. Kessler just tucks his daughter into bed. On the way out, Sam's dog, Yukon Jack, bounds over and licks Drew's face. Apparently, she can control animals as large as a pit bull mutt, at least for a short time. They follow the Morse-coded directions, and the birds that fly along with their cars, out to the Olsen's apple orchard. All the trees are bare and Mrs. Olsen is suspicious of three teenage boys armed with shovels. With an inspired spiel, Drew convinces her that they are on a field trip for biology class, studying the strange behavior of the birds around here, and they have to get samples of the birds' droppings, thus, the shovels. Mrs. Olsen allows them to go into the orchard, but warns against going too close to the river, since the ice is melting. Of course, that's exactly where the birds insist on taking them. They find a tree that appears to have been struck by lightning. The birds circle around a spot about a third of the way out in the river, perpendicular to the tree. They make a plan to get a wet-suit, a canoe, and a lot of rope, and return the next day to find whatever is in the river that Sam is so concerned about.

While Erik heads off to meet Juanita and Joshua goes to steal a wet-suit, Tori and Drew head for the Sacred Grounds where, sure enough, Tori's bard is still waiting for them. He has a beautiful baritone voice and dedicates a rousing march-song to her. Ada is all ready to offer him a contract to sing at the Sacred Grounds regularly, until he includes her in the category of peons (along with everyone else at the coffee shop or, for that matter, on Earth), so she retracts the offer and goes to the back room in a huff. Tori tries to convince the bard that War has changed since the Followers had their heyday, and she is an Incarnation of a modern Mars. Subtle. Low-key. Fighting not just for the sake of fighting, but for a cause she believes in. (Everyone together now -- Tori, subtile?!?) Jeremiah says he understands, but begs for a task, anything, to take back to its fellows, to keep them from getting bored and perhaps displeasing Her (he speaks of Tori as "The Lady" with capital letters) without meaning to. Drew takes Tori aside and suggests sending them after Russell. It's probably a wild-goose chase and, if it's not, finding Russell could be useful. Tori agrees and Drew takes a picture of Russell torn from last year's yearbook that he's been carrying around in his wallet (???) and shows it to Jeremiah. "Find him." Tori nods, specifying that Russell is not to be killed, or maimed permanently, but brought back to her intact. (Only later does Erik ask if they mentioned anything about collateral damage... oops.) The bard leaves, well pleased with the task.

Meanwhile, Joshua goes to Martense's biology department, betting that one of the professors might have scuba gear. While there, he runs into a pretty blonde named Aimee who invites him to a ska party on Saturday night. He does find a suit, but it's too small for Erik to wear. So, the next morning, Joshua dons the wet-suit, mask and snorkel, and plunges into the icy river. A few minutes later, a sleepy river trout swims up and helps him dig. Taking many trips to the surface to breathe and warm up with coffee, Joshua gets a rope tied around the object -- a rock the size of a small safe. Erik, Drew and Tori haul it to the shore, and up into Erik's Jeep. Once they get Joshua home and into a hot shower, the others take their prize up to the monastery, where Erik plans to build a small forge. They clean the rock of river-muck and find a shiny, pock-marked, ferrous mass. A meteorite. Star-metal. Enough to make weapons for everybody. The last thing they need -- a metallurgy teacher -- arrives in town that afternoon. John Smith of New York, New York drives up to the Wisdom boarding house, checks the address against a very small piece of paper, and goes inside. When Drew and Pandora attempt a "de-birding" spell on Sam, she resists, leading them through town, right to the Wisdom, where Drew and John Smith meet. Then, Sam is willing to give up flying (at least for a while) and settle back into her own body.

Saturday night, Joshua, Erik, and Juanita go to the party at Martense. Magnus calls Tori, and asks her out for coffee. Drew and Sam spar for a while, until he's convinced that the two-day sleep hasn't hurt her reflexes. Then, they go out patrolling. In keeping with Joshua's luck with women, Aimee is vampire. She lures him outside where she can try to bite him, but he evades her and stabs her in the back, twice. This only makes her mad. She runs off, and Joshua unwisely follows until he realizes that she's leading him into a trap. Then he goes back to gather the rest of Slayer Club via the CB. They get Sam and Drew, Tori and Magnus, and a half-dozen truckers to come to the party, but the truckers don't stay long. Erik convinces Juanita to teach Magnus how to dance Ska, to keep them both out of harm's way. Slayer Club tracks Aimee down into the tunnels beneath Martense, where they manage to dust six of her minions, but Aimee herself gets away.

 

3.15 Mama's Boy
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place between Friday, March 19th and Monday, March 22nd, 1993.
Teaser: A swirly background, with a small hole moving across it, centered on a tuxedoed figured walking across the screen in a dignified manner. James Bond music plays in the background. The figure pulls a pistol, turns toward the camera, and shoots. It's Joshua. Cut to:

A slim, ninja-like figure sneaks along the corridors of a castle, dispatching the occasional guard with precise, but non-lethal, blows to the head. At one intersection, it jumps and clings to the ceiling beams to avoid detection by a group of women wearing fancy robes, among them Sylvia and Ilia, talking and laughing. Once they are past, the ninja drops silently to the floor and creeps ahead into a darkened room, where a spotlight shines on a small chest -- the casket holding the Orbs of Creation. A shimmering, blue field surrounds the casket, but after some hesitation, the ninja squeezes through without negative effect. The ninja opens the casket, and light pours out from the six Orbs. She reaches up, and removes her mask, revealing -- Joshua's mother! An unseen person hits her across the back of the neck and she falls unconscious. Roll credits.

Spring Break starts this weekend. Marcy, Callie, and Jezebel are all excited about going to teh Bahamas. Magnus tells Sam that he's going back to Norway to visit his family. Sam has to work at the garage and put the finishing touches her final project for sculpture class. Magnus says that he greatly respects someone who works with her hands, which makes Sam blush and Drew mutter, "he's evil. I just know it." Erik and Joshua have been burning the midnight charcoal up at their forge in the monastery, working together on Joshua's katana, which is nearly finished. Acceptance letters from colleges have begun arriving -- although not yet from the schools he's really interested in -- and Drew's parents made him a "wall of honor" to post the letters. At her locker, Sam is visited by a poltergeist that throws her books on the floor. In the snow outside, she writes the alphabet with a stick and asks the ghost to name itself. The stick plunges into the letter "K" and then flies out of her hands. On a hunch, Sam goes to the Vastarley's house to see if Kevin is there. Meanwhile, Joshua goes down to the Sacred Grounds, where a man in a trench coat is speaking to Jonathan. Jake Valen is from "a government agency that doesn't officially exist" and he has a folder of very interesting photographs of Slayer Club: carrying weapons, investigating crime-scenes, etc. Nothing overtly magical, but plenty that seems odd, and Valen does know about at least some of Solomon's supernatural properties. Valen wants to know what Slayer Club is up to. Joshua wants to know why he wants to know. But first, Joshua needs to return a confused, but worrying, phone message from his father. His mother -- who supposedly went to visit her mother in Ohio -- never showed up at Grandma's house. It turns out that Valen knows Tabitha Archer from before she married, when she was a competitive gymnast... and they were secret agents together! Valen's Agency retrieved the photos from Gregor Zorkin, a former KGB agent who also has history with Mrs. Archer. Her last point of contact was Rome, where Gregor has been openly looking for the Orbs of Creation. Valen doesn't know what these are, but if Zorkin wants them, they must be valuable, and/or powerful. Too right. Characterizing the Orbs as "magical weapons of mass destruction," and citing Slayer Club's history with them, Joshua manages to convince Valen to use the Agency's resources to send Slayer Club to Italy, although not necessarily with the full knowledge of his superiors.

Without telling anyone, Joshua calls his father again, telling him to meet them at JFK airport and buy a ticket to Rome. Slayer Club drops all their previous plans and packs their bags. Despite Valen's desire for secrecy, only Drew tries to hide the involvement of the Agency from his parents. Sam's father is particularly proud to see his little girl serving her country. It takes Tori all day to find her passport and get the very most stuff into her suitcase to still come in just under the weight allowance. Drew gets the Benandanti's phone number from the Watchers (despite his usual reluctance to work with them, he has no qualms about using their 24-hour emergency hotline as directory assistance) and tries to contact them. He gets their cleaning lady, who came in that morning to find all the Benandanti unconscious. Alive, but un-wakeable. With Mrs. Vastarley's help, Sam contacts Kevin, who was with Sylvia and Ilia when they were attacked. A "feedback charm" disabled their wards and reversed all magic spells on the caster. With the Benandanti neutralized, the attacker got away with the Orbs. Drew tells the custodian not to call the police, but to lock up, and someone will come investigate the matter as soon as possible. Sam tells Father Leoni that she is going to Rome and he gives her the name of a priest to contact, if she should need to. Joshua pulls in a favor from Uncle Sal, to get some "friends of friends" to provide Slayer Club with weapons once they arrive in Rome. Drew decides to take his rapier (it is Italian, after all), so Valen makes those arrangements. When they meet at JFK, Joshua gives his father Tabitha's file to read. Ron never suspected that his wife was a spy, so that is a real eye-opener. The flight is uneventful, until Tori discovers that Russell is also on the plane. Unable to resist, Drew goes over to taunt Russell. It seems that he's going to Rome for the Orbs, too. Someone (Zorkin) is offering them up for auction. Drew makes sure that Russell is aware that he personally killed his father and that he knows where the seventh Orb is, before going back to his seat, leaving Russell to stew.

In Rome, Slayer Club is met by Bill Purcell from the Agency, who has a car for them. Joshua tells him to have someone follow Russell's cab, and Drew gives him the Benandanti's phone number to track where the line ends. Slayer Club goes to a Family trattoria where they have an early lunch and Joshua's contacts come through with the promised firepower, some nice blades and a high-tech sniper's crossbow that has Drew drooling. Sam drives through Rome traffic, stopping only for nuns, and they follow the phone line to a small town, now a suburb of Rome. There, Sam activates a seeker-charm that Mrs. Vastarley gave her, to zero in on Kevin's body. The charm leads them to an old Roman ruin. Slayer Club buys tickets to go in and finds the Benandanti headquarters in a secret door at the back of a maintenance shed. Once inside, Drew calls overseas back to the Vastarleys to ask for magical help to get the sleepers to waken. With a ritual from the Black Sutra, Slayer Club carries Sylvia upstairs away from any residual effects of the magic-reversal, and wake her up. She tells them what she witnessed, and casts a seeking-spell with a drop of Tori's blood to track down the Orbs. They're not in Rome. Joshua gets a globe and an atlas from the library to find out where they are. Sam carries the rest of the sleepers upstairs, starting with Melina, Ilia, and Kevin. With the maps and a few more drops of Tori's blood, Sylvia finds that the Orbs are in Dunvegin, Scotland, near Inverness. Drew suggests taking Melina with them to Scotland, since she's their expert on the Orbs. She's happy for the excuse to get out of her "house arrest" for a while and spend some more time with Drew. Purcell and the Agency get tickets for Slayer Club, plus Melina and Ron although, sadly, they'll have to leave their mafia weapons behind. On this plane, Russell is seated right next to Drew and three of Tori's minions are in the back row, hoods down around their faces, hot on Russell's trail.

At Aberdeen, the Agency provides a Range Rover and some guns for Slayer Club. Russell and the three "Tori-ites" take off in separate cabs, everyone heading for the same place: Castle Dunvegin. After the mysterious death of its last laird, the lands reverted to the Crown and have since been the occasional site of tourist visits, attacks by "the beast of the moors," and meetings of wizards for mysterious rites or illicit auctions. Sam drives, of course, as the others are too exhausted from all the travel to think straight. Erik claims Drew's usual spot in the front seat, so he can stretch out and sleep. Instead of arguing, Drew just crawls into the back and dozes, with Melina resting her head on his shoulder. As the near the Castle, they find the Tori-ites' cab in a ditch, with the driver dead.

Arriving at the Castle, they send Joshua ahead to climb one of the towers and take a look around. While waiting for him to return, Drew spots something moving in the shadows. Sam and Tori quickly dispatch a large, wolflike creature, possibly putting an end to the legend of the Beast for good. At the castle-keep, Joshua climbs up the wall to the room where his mother is held prisoner, and passes her a pistol through the barred window. Then, he climbs up to the roof and heads down the stairs to the security room. He easily distracts and knocks out two of the guards, taking possession of the security grid and listening in on the radio chatter. The rest of Slayer Club divides into two groups. Sam leads Tori, Erik, and Ron up the wall to one of the towers while Drew and Melina take the frontal approach, walking arm-in-arm right up to the main gate, where they ring the bell and announce that they're here for the auction. No, they don't have invitations, but their promise that they can out-bid anyone in the room gets them in the door, anyway. A helicopter lands on a pad across the courtyard and more guests disembark, including Magnus (Drew: "I knew he was evil!"). Magnus points them out to Gregor, who questions them. Drew breezily thanks Gregor for giving Melina an opportunity to escape from the Benandanti and warns that his "former friends" may arrive looking for the Orbs in an hour or two. It quickly becomes clear that Gregor is really clueless about occult matters. Pretty much all he knows about the Orbs is that people will pay big money for them, and he hopes that this will be the big score that allows him to retire. Drew and Melina are taken to one of the very comfortable "guest rooms" and locked inside (Russell is in the room next door).

At that point, the "Tori-ites" arrive at the front gate, with extreme prejudice. From the security control room, Joshua sounds the alarm and helpfully directs all the guards to the gate to be slaughtered, before going off to free his mother who, while pleased to see Joshua, is not happy that he brought his father along on the rescue mission. Rushing downstairs, the two of them subdue Magnus and Joshua leaves her to guard him while he continues into the basement in pursuit of Gregor. Drew and Melina break out of their room and smite several of the demonic guards, who are nicely vulnerable to Drew's sword, but in the process, Drew gets walloped with a large hammer. After everybody but Joshua meets up in the great hall, Ron stays with his wife, Tori, Drew, and Melina go after the orbs, and Sam and Erik head downstairs to back up Joshua, who is trading bullets, sword-cuts, and vicious taunts with Gregor in the basement. In the end, Joshua decapitates Gregor and then nearly collapses from his wounds, just as Sam and Erik arrive. But Drew and Melina can't stop Magnus (who cold-cocked Tabitha and evaded Ron) from getting away with the Orbs. Trying to bring the helicopter down, Melina over-draws on her magic and tumbles off the parapet. Fortunately, she lands in some shrubbery, which cushions her fall, although she's still injured seriously enough to be out of action for a while. Final shot, on Joshua: "Mom, Dad, we need to talk."

 

3.16 Sins of the Father
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place between Monday, March 22nd and Wednesday, March 24th, 1993.
Spring Break, 1993 - A tropical beach, umbrellas and three beach-chairs with fruit-topped foofy drinks on each arm. Marcy, Callie, and Jezebel are tanning and gossiping. "What's with you and Jonathan?" Callie: "Well, he's indestructible. I like that in a man." "What about Magnus?" Three "MMMmmmmm's" "He's hot!" "He's taller than me, well, most of the time." Nearby, in a striped cabana, Coliban the minotaur sips espresso, while Bill speaks on the phone with Thomas Clark. "Don't worry. We'll work this out to the benefit of both our daughters... Where are you now?"

Scotland -- A terrible storm rages outside Aberdeen Airport. Slayer Club and Joshua's parents are sprawled across two rows of plastic chairs with their duffel bags, and Tori's suitcase on wheels. The arrivals/departures board flashes "cancelled" across all flights. Sam gets everyone up and out to the Range Rover again. They find a small hotel where they crash for what little is left of the night. Joshua and his parents go to one room to have their much-needed talk about his mother's life of espionage before she married and had Joshua. Tori and Drew are asleep on their feet, so tumble onto the twin beds in another room, while Sam and Erik take the third room to try casting Sylvia's Seeker spell to find where Magnus took the Orbs. They don't have the proper herbs, and they aren't 100% sure of the pronunciation of the Latin, but they riffle Tori's makeup case to borrow some eyeshadow and blush (after all, they're also taking several drops of her blood) to draw the circle and scatter across the map. Erik does this twice, with no results, before falling fast asleep. Sam gently carries him to one of the beds, while Joshua comes in and sacks out on the sofa. So, Sam tries the spell herself. Carefully speaking the words, and adding a little prayer to St. Andrew (patron of lost things), she casts the makeup dust into the air. Three streams of dust fall very near to the hotel where they're staying. One falls directly on it (Tori asleep in the next room) and a fourth stream, very faint, falls far to the north, just off the coast.

In the morning, it's still raining, but the storm has passed. Tori finds three of her minions skulking near the hotel. They report that there are followers of Saturn converging on a small island off the north shore. Apparently, each of the Orbs has its own sect of demonic followers, except for Mercury, which the Tori-ites have no knowledge of. ("Of course not!" Tori scoffs. "They probably pride themselves on the fact that no one knows they exist.") She thanks her minions and sends them off to keep tabs on Russell, but not to kill him. Now that the airport is open again, Joshua's parents give a number where they can be reached, and leave for Antwerp to sell the diamonds that Joshua took from Gregor's pockets. Slayer Club buys lunch (haggis for Joshua and Erik, fish and chips for everyone else. They challenge Tori to eat a deep-fried Mars bar.) and maps and some herbs from the market (dried oregano, thyme, basil -- this is an Italian spell, after all -- and fennel). Slayer Club drives north, through towns such as Gill's Bay and John O'Groats, stopping only to take some photos and buy postcards to send home. When they get to St. Margaret's Hope Ferry, Erik tries the seeker-spell again, this time with the proper herbs, and the falling dust clearly points toward a small island off of Muckle Skurry. So, they gas up the van and take the first ferry across. From there, they will need to hire a boat to take them to the island.

On the ferry, there are other passengers -- lorry drivers and traveling salesmen, a pair of elderly Japanese tourists, and four women of unusual aspect. They seem to be from the Middle East, or perhaps India, wearing all-covering clothing in shades of blue and green, with veils and scarves, and there is a lilt in their voices that bewitches the boys. They also don't seem to mind the salt spray at all, standing in the prow of the boat where it is wettest. (Three guesses which Orb they're following.) Joshua and Erik introduce themselves, and soon disappear with the women, down into the car-deck where they have a vehicle for some privacy. Sam and Drew stroll the deck hand-in-hand, watching the birds and "ork"ing at the occasional seal that surfaces beside the boat. Tori takes numerous photographs, bemused by the four women's deference to her as "the Incarnation." After an appropriate interval, Sam suggests that they should go looking for Joshua and Erik, because they're approaching the harbor. Sam, Drew, and Tori find Erik and Joshua -- naked, bound, and gagged in the trunk of the Venusian's car. Their borrowed van was riffled, and Drew's sword is missing. So, they release their friends, tidy up the van (hiding their firearms again) and return the favor, searching the Venusian's car to see if Drew's rapier is hidden there. It isn't, but they do find a brass object, like a compass, which points directly towards the island where they're all heading. Slayer Club confronts the Venusians, arranging to exchange the compass for Drew's sword, once everyone arrives on land. The last town at the edge of the mainland is named Skail, and Slayer Club finds rooms at an inn there, and a fisherman who is willing, for twenty pounds, to take them out to the island on the morning tide, and even stop by again in the evening, if they need a ride back. But he warns them, as everyone they ask warns them, that the island is haint'ed, and sometimes hikers or other tourists just don't come back.

Early the next morning, Slayer Club rides across the channel with the fisherman, and he leaves them on the rotting pier with a final word of warning against ghosts. That doesn't faze Slayer Club in the slightest. Sometime in the past, someone attempted to build vacation cottages here, but the effort was abandoned. All that remains are the construction machines, going to rust, and a half-built manor house. Slayer Club heads that way, but on the side of the first hill, they find a large cave. Going inside to investigate, they find -- zombies! Dozens of them, wearing the remains of Viking armor and weapons, although a few have clothing of more modern style (the missing hikers, and a few construction workers). Sam and Erik wade in with blades. Drew and Joshua shoot some, and Tori lights up a fireball that toasts the majority. In the back of the cave (once things have cooled off) they find Viking runes written on the walls. Erik translates the story of Torvald, Dragon-summoner, who came to this island to fight a duel with a rival clan chief. Torvald summoned the dragon, killing his rival, and the responsibility for the next summoning, at Ragnarok, fell to his son, Torsten. Slayer Club continues toward the manor, shadowed by mysterious, wolflike creatures with green and brown skin and long claws. At the base of the hill, the wolves trap Slayer Club by a rock-fall that must be climbed to reach the manor. Sam holds most of the wolves at bay while Joshua and Drew climb up to spots advantageous for sniper-shots. One of the wolves attacks Erik, poisoning him with its claws. Another wolf attacks Tori, but in clawing her stomach, its paw is immolated by her blood. Tori uses that fire to toast several other wolves and send the rest of the pack running. At Drew's suggestion, Sam takes some of Tori's blood and applies it to Erik's wounds. The resulting fire purges the poison from his system, and the three of them struggle up the shallow cliff to join Drew. Meanwhile, Joshua has spotted the followers of Saturn, masters of the wolf-pack, at the top of the cliff. He shoots them, to little effect, but manages to trip up and throw two of the three off the cliff. The third one spots Tori making her way up to the top, and apologizes profusely for interfering. They had no idea that Slayer Club had an Incarnation with them. That makes all the difference.

At the manor, Slayer Club investigates the house, and then the long, spiral stairs down to the basement. There, Torsten/Magnus kneels before the rotted shape of his father Torvald, Dragon-Summoner and Viking lich. Against one wall, two of the Viking zombies hold Tori's father by the arms. Torvald has the six Orbs in a small dish near his hand. Sam establishes that yes, this is Torvald, and yes, Magnus is Torsten, and he is geased to help his father, although he doesn't want to. He likes high school. He likes the life he's found at Solomon, in spite of having to hang out with Russell, who is a big jerk. And it's also clear that Torsten is a bit smitten with Sam, which doesn't endear him to Drew. Tori frees her father by cutting off the arms of the zombies holding him. As Torvald lifts the Jupiter Orb to attack Slayer Club, Drew shoots the dish, and the rest of the Orbs go scattering. In the ensuing rush to grab Orbs, Sam gets the Moon. Drew gets the Sun, Joshua gets both Saturn and Venus (appropriate enough), and Mr. Clark gets Mercury. The fight begins with lighting bolts and Tori rushing at Torvald. Because she is immune to all the other Orbs' powers, she tries to shield her friends by making Torvald go around her. Her father doesn't know this, however, and begs her to leave the fight and escape with him. Joshua makes friends with the two Orbs he grabbed, although they struggle to get away from each other, drawing his arms as far apart as possible. Saturn's gravity grounds him so the lightning doesn't harm him. And Venus is wily, but at least doesn't get in his way. Sam moves to attack Torvald, but every time she tries to approach him, Torsten gets in her way, even though he doesn't want to. The geas forces him to do what his father wants. Changing tactics, she attempts to use the Moon's influence, but doesn't quite get the hang of it, and Torvald staggers her with a lightening bolt from Jupiter. Meanwhile, Drew very carefully cradles the Sun Orb in his hands, imagining something from D&D -- a massive flame-strike, purifying, bright flame to hurtle down and immolate the putrefying undead thing. The Sun complies with this wish, and fire pours down from the heavens. Everyone goes flying backwards, except Mr. Clark, who was already crouched against one wall. He mutters a spell, opening a portal to somewhere else. He catches Tori and pulls her through with him. The Jupiter Orb hurtles through the portal with them before it closes. Torvald, Dragon-Summoner is, at long last, dead. But even his death doesn't break the geas on Torsten. He still feels the need, the compulsion, to raise the dragon that sleeps under Solomon, and thus end the world. Sam smiles to herself as she places the Moon Orb next to the Sun, Saturn and Venus in the Benedanti's casket. "I have an idea..."

 

3.17 Mr. Baal
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place between Thursday, March 25th and Sunday, March 28th, 1993.
Time: Thursday morning; Camera POV is Tori's, waking up to the music of Journey's "Separate Ways." Long lashes flutter, focus on Jezebel snapping off the stereo, and the music dies. Caliban the minotaur, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, welcomes her to Aruba. They lend Tori some clothes, take her swimming and ply her with tropical fruit, lobster and foofy drinks. Not a bad ending for Spring Break, after all, except that Tori overhears her father and Jezebel's discussing obtaining the Orbs as part of a transaction to "benefit our daughters." She confronts her father, but he won't tell her what he has in mind -- he wants it to be a surprise. He laughs off her concern for his soul, saying he sold that long ago. Tori stalks off and to enlist Jezebel's help in doing a scrying spell to find out what happened to her friends. Jezebel agrees, but that must wait for sunset, to be most efficacious. In the meantime: conga!

Scotland (still nighttime). Smoke clears in the basement of the manor house. Slayer Club discovers that Tori and her father are missing, but Magnus joins their group, since Mr. Clark piloted the helicopter he came in on and no one else knows how. They make their way down to the beach and catch a ride with the old fisherman back to Skail where they left their van. The trip back to Aberdeen goes by quickly. Drew visits Melina in the hospital, where she is mending, but won't really be up and about until the full moon. The Benedanti send someone to get her, but ask Slayer Club holds onto the Orbs' until they've had time to repair their defenses. Erik casts the 'seeker' spell again, locating Tori in Aruba. Unbeknownst to Slayer Club, in Aruba, Tori, Jezebel, Callie and Marcy put on diaphanous white robes to cast their own scrying spell. Using a tide-pool as a mirror, they see Erik and Joshua snoring away in their hotel beds, while Magnus is awake, honing a sword that he picked up at the castle. In the next room, Sam and Drew are probably just as glad not to know they're being watched. (Callie: "Let's go back and look at Magnus again.") The next day, Joshua catches a plane to Antwerp to join his parents for the last few days of Spring Break, and the rest of the group heads home to Solomon.

The first thing Drew sees when he gets home are five very thick envelopes from five very prestigious colleges. His parents and Pandora are waiting for him to open them. Of course, he got in everywhere. Giggling like a girl, Drew immediately calls Sam to tell her. Erik's parents are rather blase about him going off to Italy and Scotland at a moment's notice, but Juanita is not thrilled that he got hurt. She gets even more pissed when Erik accidentally mentions the Venusians. Sam's father wants to know all about the trip, tickled pink at "my daughter, the secret agent!" Sam asks him not to call her that. Dad also has a message from Slayer Club's favorite teacher. Michael Sayier is finally back in town and has some free time, after being heavily involved in mysterious Temple business for the last several months. Now, he's tracking some killings associated with a cult of Baal. Sam recognizes the name from the night they saved the Homecoming King. There've been two deaths: a 19-year old Martense student named Emilio Sanchez, and old Percy Evans, owner of Solomon's riverfront canoe-rental shop. Both were found with their hearts cut out, and extensive claw and bite-marks, as if they were mauled by wild animals. But Michael was able to get to Emilio's body before the police forensics team. He found a necklace with a symbol of Baal around Emilio's neck, and bits of orange fur in the wounds. Nearby, a used syringe had contained a powerful narcotic, and the body had a tiny puncture at the base of the neck. It seemed that the killers anesthetized their victims before cutting out their hearts and setting some kind of animal on them to make it look "natural." Percy's body had the same mark on the neck, but Michael had to break into the morgue to find it. On the way out, he was spotted and questioned by one of Solomon's finest, the only cop on the force not willing to turn a blind eye, and Michael had to fight his way clear. Now, his disguise as the "old Greek man" is wanted for assault on a police officer.

Michael calls Sam, Drew, Erik, and Tori, but only gets to talk to their parents. Tori's mother asks him point-blank if this is for "Temple business," which surprises Michael. He had no idea that the Boosters were now up to speed on Slayer Club's real activities. Tori's mother invites him to a welcome-home party she's throwing for the kids at the Brew Pub. A catered welcome-home party. She seems to be having a little trouble with this "secret lair" concept.

At the party, Michael tries to find out just how badly his cover's been blown from Erik, who can't keep a secret to save anything, but Erik denies that he ever told anyone that Michael is a... you know... (looks around quickly) a djinni. So, that secret is still safe at least. Meanwhile, Ada asks Drew about his college plans. He irritates her by suggesting that her relationship with Sam would no doubt improve if he went off to California or Hawaii. Still, she says that he has a real aptitude for the occult and seems to be about to suggest that he pick Martense, when Sam comes over; neither one of them is willing to continue this topic of conversation in front of her. Indeed, Ada is mighty annoyed at Sam for going to Britain without taking her along, or even telling her! Sam apologizes. Drew wanders off, his giddiness erased, as he starts to contemplate the magnitude of the decision he's going to have to make. He tries to talk to Tori about it but -- surprise, surprise! -- she only wants to talk about herself. She's concerned that her father's evil and is going to do something terrible in her name and she's powerless to stop it or help him redeem himself. She pours out her fears to Drew, not noticing that he's not even really paying attention to her. Meanwhile, Joshua and his parents have skipped the party altogether. They're off touring the monastery and making plans for how they can use their new-found wealth to fix the place up into a proper secret lair.

The next morning, Ada and Pandora cast a seeker-spell on the amulet of Baal and find four more nearby: three in residential neighborhoods and one on the move, going to the Solomon Mall. Slayer Club splits up to track the amulets and find out who is wearing them. Tori and Pandora go to the mall, where they spot the amulet, worn by Michael Zahn, the Solomon High Latin teacher. Michael goes to one of the houses and hears a loud explosion in the back yard. Disguised as a paperboy, Michael runs around back to find chemistry teacher "Pyro" Pete demonstrating how to make a flour-bomb to several wide-eyed neighborhood children. Joshua finds the second house empty, so picks the lock on the patio door and goes in. This turns out to be Principal Kastran's house. A small altar in the corner of the den has candles and the amulet of Baal in the center. Ada insists on going with Sam and Drew to drive by the third house. Drew thinks he sees Stephie Newberry's ghost in the front window, pleading for help. So, they park the car and approach carefully. The front door is open, and there is loud growling coming from the basement. Stephie's mother is dead like the others, and a large, orange, tiger-demon is still munching on her. Sam sends Drew to call and alert the others, and Ada to get their weapons out of the car. Then, Sam takes on the tiger, breaking its back and strangling it. Stephie's ghost chastises Drew for being too late, again. Sam tracks dusty footprints from the basement, through a secret door behind a pile of boxes, into the witch-tunnels under the hill. The footprints lead to a barricaded room where three demons -- the same kind who kidnapped Tori back at the beginning of the year -- place Mrs. Newberry's heart on a pedestal at one corner of a hexagram. Sam, Drew, and Ada fight and kill the demons, but Ada is badly hurt in the melee. They obliterate the hexagram and take the three hearts to return to their proper bodies, along with a large book that outlines a ritual, not for Baal, but against him. Six hearts of true worshippers, sacrificed in a certain way, weakens the entity worshipped. Rather than being responsible for the murders, the followers of Baal were being hunted. Sam and Drew take Ada to the ER to get patched up, and then return to the Sacred Grounds to tell the others what happened.

When shown the book, Tori makes the connection: Jezebel's Father is Baal! All the pieces fit. The botched kidnapping. The assault at Thanksgiving. Mr. Kastran's recognition of Tori as a peer in the arena of fire and warfare. Even his name -- Bill/ Baal. Michael learned from "Pyro" Pete that the teachers worship Baal as a god of fire, yes. But benevolent, cleansing flame. They are not the group that sacrifices babies -- and football stars -- to him. Incense, gunpowder, the occasional flour-bombs, yes, but nothing living. They are a New Age cult, trying to protect their school and town as best they know how. If only Assistant Principal Teatart knew his boss was in a cult!

 

3.18 Trouble in Paradise
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place between Wednesday, April 28th and Thursday, April 29th, 1993.
Several weeks, and a full moon have gone by since Slayer Club returned from Scotland. The weather is positively balmy, with highs in the 60s and clear, cool nights. Sam is enjoying her evening patrol, when she runs into Magnus. Sam asks more questions about his geas, and the dragon, and his version of the end of the world. While they're talking, they arrive at High Acre cemetery. Four vampires with shovels and picks are stealing tombstones. Sam lends Magnus a stake. One of the vamps pulls a chainsaw, and they fight. Magnus proves that he can hold his own. Although he and Sam are both wounded, all four vamps are dusted. On the way out of the cemetery, Sam hears the click-whirr of a camera.

While Sam patrols, Drew has a project of his own. All day, he's been alternately worried and excited. He has until Friday to get his replies to colleges in the mail. Should he go to MIT or Cal Tech? Arizona or Hawaii? (DUH! Sam says: Hawaii, just for the excuse to come visit.) Or Martense? Even more distracting, he keeps seeing what might be Stephie's ghost out of the corners of his eye. After school, he swings by her locker, now empty, and the place downstairs where she died, hoping the mental powers she had in life will help her contact him from beyond. Nothing. There's only one other place he can think of to find her -- her house -- but how to get in without alerting her dad? There are the witch tunnels, but they're too dangerous to go into alone and he really doesn't want to go to Sam with this. He goes to the Sacred Grounds and tries to talk Jeremiah into hiring out as a bodyguard, but, just when he starts making headway, the Venusians arrive and the Tori-ites suddenly have more important things to do with their evening. Out of better ideas, Drew goes to Pandora. She agrees to come with and makes up a handful of vampire-repellant spheres. In the tunnels, they avoid confronting a couple of vamps, who talk loudly about 'the ritual the boss-lady wants done on Friday' and the concert they're planning ('bloodbags dancing!'), and get to Stephie's basement, where all her stuff is stored. Drew sends Pandora to guard the tunnel entrance, leaving him alone to try to contact Stephie. He touches a teddy-bear, and she appears. All the ghosts in Solomon are agitated. No one seems to be able to 'go on' recently and they could use some help. And Stephie's mom is not taking it well. She's all poltergeist-y, throwing furniture around. Stephie teases that it's "obvious" to her where Drew's going to college and offers to clue him in in return for his aid. Right then, Pandora screams. Vampires coming! Drew throws the vampire-repellant, which bursts in a bright flash of light, dusting all the vamps at once. Drew takes the bear with him and he and Pandora sneak out a window. When he's touching the bear, Drew can talk with Stephie regardless of where he is and the two of them spend the evening chatting amiably, almost as if they were actually friends.

The next day, the photos of Sam's patrol make the front page of the "alternative" newspaper. Retouched, the vamps just look like punks, "getting rowdy" with a local girl. Whispers follow Sam down the hall, but she ignores them. In sculpture class, they have a new model -- a green-eyed beauty named Aphrodite. Erik, Joshua (and also Cora) don't get much work done. Tori's minions find her at lunch. She pulls them into an empty classroom and they report that there are other minions in town -- the Luna-ites, and Saturn-ites, and also the Venusians (we knew that!) and something else is on the way. Something big. All around town, posters are going up -- the band Drama Dirge is playing the Paradise Theater on Friday night. Joshua remembers what happened the last time Clarissa brought a band to town, so, he cuts his last-period studyhall and goes to recon the theater. The Paradise has been renovated into a gothic dungeon, with real weapons mounted on the walls. Up in the attic, Joshua meets Jesus, one of Clarissa's flunkies. Jesus tries to get Joshua to look into a particular box, without looking himself, but Joshua isn't that stupid. He knocks Jesus out, ties him to an air-conditioning unit up on the roof, and for good measure, pantses him and puts the pants into the mystery box.

It's April 29th, the night before Walpurgisnact, when the veils between worlds are thin. Professor Saiyer is back in town. When he hears about the concert, and the tombstone robbing, and the ghosts, he thinks there must be a connection. He disguises himself as a high school student and goes to the City Planning office. With a little fast-talk, he gets to see the plans for road construction around Solomon. Almost a circle, with streets crossing in the middle, it looks like a rune of some kind. And even more suspicious, this project is on time, and on budget! How often does that happen? Even the two night-guards that went missing a few weeks ago from the city's materiel depot leads to the conclusion that someone is messing with the roads. Grinding up bits of stolen tombstones and adding them to the concrete would make for a powerful symbol. He copies down the rune and takes this evidence to Ada. After some hours of research, they find it in a spell used to bind ghosts to the material plane, usually to make them into servants or invisible assassins. One this big would bind every ghost in town to do the will of the mage who cast it. But the ritual would require hundreds of participants chanting the words of the spell, and there's no way there could be that many cultists in town. But tomorrow night, there'll be hundreds of people singing along to Drama Dirge's lyrics...

While the others research the rituals, Drew researches ghosts. Desecration of a grave can keep a ghost from passing on, which explains most of the problem. But Stephie died long before the grave robbery started, so why is she still here? Unfinished business can also keep a ghost trapped in the mortal world. Perhaps she owes Drew for avenging her death? Looking for the missing Orbs is too dangerous, but Magnus doesn't seem to have much connection to the supernatural, so Drew suggests she follow him and try to find the artifacts he'll use to raise the dragon. She tries, but no luck, and now that she's dead, her mind-reading powers pretty much only work on Drew.

More Orb-followers arrive in town. The Luna-ites are barking mad, literally, barking with Sam's dog before being chased off. The Sun-followers are bright, robed, androgynous figures. The Jovians wear purple spacesuits, complete with fish-bowl helmets. The Saturn-ites bring their hounds with them. And one elderly-looking gentleman calls on the Vastarleys. He's the only known follower of Mercury. (Of course, if you believe that...) They are all eagerly awaiting the arrival of 'their father'. But how does this tie in to the ghost binding ritual at the Drama Dirge concert?

Slayer Club decides to take pre-emptive action. Sam, Tori, and Michael go to the night-construction site. If the workers are vamps, they'll dust them. If not, they'll 'borrow' a jackhammer, and go to another part of the rune-street, and break it up. As it turns out, the construction workers are human, so Slayer Club leaves them alone and instead inflicts some property damage on the local roads. Hopefully, this will be enough to keep the ritual from working. The problem is, there's no way to know if it worked until the ritual takes place.

Back at the brew pub, Drew comes to a horrible realization: The inability of the living to let go can also bind a ghost to the mortal world. Could he be what's keeping Stephie from passing on? He tells her that she can go, but it doesn't work. He admits to feeling guilty over her death, which pushes Stephie over the edge. Not only is he not to blame, his self-deprecating comments are really getting on her nerves: he's a hero, why can't he just admit that? Drew protests and heated words are exchanged, culminating in Stephie reaching into his mind and seeing the thing he least wants anyone to know -- how Pandora beat him up last year. Drew tells Stephie that she should go, now, before she can tell anyone else about that. He's kidding...except maybe he's not, because Stephie flickers out of existence for a moment. Drew really is keeping her from passing on. Really meaning it this time, he tells her she can go. And Stephie does, with one last word for him, "By the way, you're going to Martense." Drew nods. Of course he is. Sam needs him. Not because he's her boyfriend, but because she's the Slayer and he's a valuable member of her team.

Drew is still coming to terms with saying goodbye to Stephie -- for real, this time -- when Michael shows up, with Melina in tow. She's back in town, all healed up and ready to take the Orbs back to Italy. A research trip to the Vastarleys' library finds everybody in a magical sleep and the follower of Mercury missing, along with the Vastarleys' copy of the Black Sutra. They head for the Martense faculty library (getting in using Mr. Killian's ID) where they find a book that tells the story of Chronos -- the ancient power that was broken apart in the Well of Creation, to make the Orbs in the first place. This ritual requires the sacrifice of hundreds of living souls...like Drama Dirge fans. That would fit in with what the vamps in the sewer were saying. Further research shows that the stars aren't even aligned properly for the ghost binding ritual; the road rune is just a distraction for the real goal of the concert: raising Chronos. And if Chronos is coming back, he'll want his body -- the Orbs -- returned. What then happens to Tori? This must be stopped.

Across town, Joshua's already on it. He and Erik 'borrow' a fuel-truck from the Solomon Energy Commission, take it to the Paradise Theater, to burn the place down. However, the Paradise theater is swarming with Wolfram and Hart black ops lawyers. That doesn't stop Joshua from pumping fuel-oil into the Paradise's basement. There's part of a shoot-out: the W&H guards can't shoot the boys, because they're standing in front of a fuel truck; however, Joshua has no compunction about shooting back. Then, Joshua drops a lighter in the basement window, and he and Erik run like hell. So do the W&H goons. No theater means no concert, which means no Chronos-raising ritual. With the threat averted, Slayer Club gratefully turn the four Orbs in their possession over to Melina for transport back to Italy and the safekeeping of the Benendanti.

 

3.19 I Want My Mummy
Written and directed by John Gianopoulos.
The events of this episode take place between Monday, May 16th and Wednesday, May 18th, 1993.
Teaser: Vast desert, blowing sand. Subtitle: Egypt, 3000 B.C. A dozen men in Sumerian armor with spears threaten a woman who is crouched over the body of a man, facedown in the sand. She chants, then screams at the soldiers, and the wind picks up, spinning a tornado around them. An almost-human figure in the sandstorm pummels them, tearing them, leaving only scrubbed breastplates and bleached bones lying on the ground. The woman weeps bitterly and rolls the body over. He has Michael's face.

Solomon High, May 1993. A special archaeological exhibit has come to Martense and Michael Saiyer's Mythology class is on a field trip to view the exhibit early. Drew and Tori are serving as student-chaperones. But before anyone is allowed to view the artifacts, Professor Audley requests a promise not to reveal what they see to anyone who has not already seen it. Everyone agrees, on his or her word, and the vow is enforced by a gentle geas. The artifacts include a mummy of a very important woman, judging by the craftsmanship of items that she was buried with, miraculously preserved by the hermetic seal of her urn, which seems to be all of one piece of stone. The urn is covered in enameled hieroglyphs, inside and out, and some still retain traces of magic. Her headdress is displayed in a glass security case and her walking staff is kept in the Martense vault. Unlike the later mummies of dynastic Egypt, this one has not had its organs removed; only desiccated by the arid environment. The artifacts fascinate the students, but Tori notices that Mr. Saiyer seems about ten years younger than usual. Losing control over his glamour is not a good sign. After the students are bused back to school, Tori tries to get Michael to talk about his reaction, but he gently demurs. Drew calls Sam to tell her about the exhibit, but finds it difficult to say much. So, after dinner they go to Martense so she can see the mummy for herself. Professor Audley asks her to make the same promise as everyone else, and Sam agrees. Audley shows them a special mark, directly behind the mummy, which he didn't show the earlier group. A simple, elegant swirl etched into the stone that doesn't correspond to any known hieroglyph. Sam thinks it could be an artist's mark, and she has a guess who that might have been.

At Michael's house, Sam and Drew find his front door unlocked and the living room trashed: knick-knacks broken, books torn apart, and a Napoleon-era cannonball embedded in the floor. Michael sits in the middle of the room, weeping. Sam puts her arms around him. He confirms that he knew the mummy-woman, Shu, five thousand years ago. She was the reason he took on human form. This is a story that he needs to tell. There is some discussion about whether Ada should be invited to hear it. Sam trusts Ada to an extent, but no one in Slayer Club trusts the Watchers. So, again, Ada is left out. Sam, Drew, Erik, Tori, and Joshua gather at the Brew Pub, where Michael left a scroll for them to read. He has not felt the weight of his centuries quite this acutely in a very long time, and is grateful to Slayer Club for their trust and acceptance.

The next day, the Dance Troupe of Harlem has a special performance at Solomon High to kick off their New England Tour. Erik's art class was asked to help paint scenery for them, and Erik recognizes some of the design elements as voodoo vevers like ones he saw at Christophe's church. They're all benign vevers, for the enjoyment of the audience and protection of the dancers. He also recognizes Christophe's little sister among the troupe. Joie has grown up, from a gawky pre-teen to a graceful nymphet. At the end of the performance, the dancers leap of the stage and out into the audience. The magic helps them land safely on the arms of the seats and platforms built in the aisles. Joie lands right across Erik's seat, before leaping away again. Juanita is not amused. At the after-performance party, Joie finds Erik and gives him a warning: something evil has come to Solomon. It tried to get a foothold in New York, but the spirits of New York repulsed it and it came here. Then, she gives Juanita a warning: "Erik is soul-brother to my brother and me. If you damage his soul, I will flay yours." Juanita is impressed by the girl's moxie. Everyone thinks that Shu is bound to come to life and wreak vengeance for something, but there are other possibilities. With Shu's exhibit came protestors, People for the Ethical Treatment of Museum Exhibits (PETME), led by a man wearing full Egyptian regalia, who calls himself Ramses. They want the artifacts returned to their 'rightful owners' (not necessarily the Egyptian government) and to cease displaying the mummy like a sideshow. Audley is disgusted by their behavior and incorrect Egyptian grammar. Martense has already placed security, both mundane and magical, to keep the artifacts safe. There's also a glut of Egyptian-themed soft drinks hitting the market, but only Erik's parents think that's evil. Sam and Drew interview the protesters "for the school paper," while Erik and Joshua find the soft drink manufacturer in a factory outside of town, armored like a fort, with barbed wire and armed guards. Maybe the soda is evil. They decide to stage an accident to get one of the soda-trucks to pull over, knock out the driver (and pants him -- stealing trousers is becoming Joshua's trademark), and investigate. But it turns out that the shipment is just RC Cola, being relabeled by local marketers. Sleazy, but not evil. To cover their tracks, Erik spray-paints "PETME" and Egyptian glyphs on the outside of the truck. Joshua sets the steering wheel, puts a brick on the gas, and lets the truck plough into the factory's front gate. Soda everywhere. Cops en route, and also reporters. Hopefully, this will give both PETME and the marketers a black eye. Joshua and Erik leave quickly.

The next morning, Ramses calls a press conference. If the artifacts are not turned over in the next twenty-four hours, he will unleash the plagues of Egypt on Solomon, not one at a time, but all at once. Rivers turned to blood, toads, locusts, sickness, flies, and the death of the first-born. Most people scoff at this, but Michael lived through those plagues once before. It hinged on the river -- poison in the water turned it red and killed or forced out all the animals. Thus, the frogs escaping the poison, the flies from the decaying flesh, the locusts that flew out of the reeds, sickness, and death of the first-born. Because the oldest child was traditionally given the chore of gathering water for the family, they would be first exposed to the poison. It's possible it could be done again. Joshua recognized one of Ramses's bodyguards as one of the guards he saw at the factory, which is up-river of town. Maybe there's something more sinister than re-labelling going on, after all.

Slayer Club puts a call out to the fellow students and faculty they trust to band together to save their town. "Pyro" Pete assembles a team of his best chemistry students to make explosives for the assault on the factory. Kevin and his parents assemble their coven. Michael reaches out to the small Jewish community to help protect homes the same way the Jews were passed over by the plagues in biblical times. Professor Audley's archaeology department makes exact replicas of all the artifacts, except for the mummy herself. Tori volunteers to take Shu's place as an Egyptian Trojan horse. Michael reveals the powers of Shu's accoutrements -- the headdress was made for use in war, demoralizing the enemy, causing defections and disorganization. Michael made the staff for Shu when she grew older and walking was difficult. It allows a person to walk steadily on any surface -- even water. It can also form a shield around the wielder, or a spear of energy out of the ankh. The headdress cannot be used by anyone except a descendant of Shu's family. However, that was so long ago, her genes could be in just about anyone. In fact, they're in Joshua. When he touches the headdress (with Audley's permission) it glows softly. Audley allows Slayer Club to use the items to help defend Solomon. So, Joshua, Pandora, and Marcy approach the factory from the river-side (Joshua uses the staff to walk on water and carries Pandora on his shoulders while Marcy swims) while Sam drives one of the museum's flat-bed trucks, loaded with the fake artifacts and Tori's urn, up the front drive and into the factory courtyard. Guards confiscate the truck and escort Sam, Drew and Erik back to the gate. Pyro Pete's class provides explosive distractions. Sam disarms (and de-legs) several of the guards so she, Erik, and Drew can follow Tori. In back, Joshua and Pandora find four amber-covered portholes set into the bank above the river. Inside, a dozen sorcerers chant a ritual. Joshua cuts one of the portholes out of the wall so they can get inside. With bullets and spells and Marcy's swirling water-form, they disrupt the ritual long enough for the fighting at the front to reach them. Tori bursts out of her hiding place and Pandora sets her linen wrappings on fire. The remaining guards and several animated mummies are killed by Tori's subsequent fireburst, but at the last minute, Ramses escapes through a portal in the floor to another dimension. The Curse of Egypt is averted, and Solomon is safe. Or as safe as it ever is.

 

3.20 Queen for a Day
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Tuesday, June 1st and Wednesday, June 2nd, 1993.
It's the night before Prom. Everyone in Slayer Club has their dates, dresses, and tuxes lined up. Joshua asked Jezebel, Magnus asked Tori, Marcy asked Graham (just to say she has a date), and Callie and Jonathan are still attached at the lip. Sam and Drew, of course, have had this date set in stone for over a year, provided that they both survived to see it. After dinner, Sam sneaks back into the school to put some finishing touches on her metal dragon before going out patrolling with Tori. Magnus finds the girls at school. He warns them that the stars are lining up, and his geas is getting stronger. They have everything they need for the ritual, except for the Orbs of Creation. Two are with Mr. Karellan (a.k.a. Baal) and the other four are supposed to be back in Italy with Melina. Magnus says that as the time gets closer, he can 'feel' where the Orbs are, and he'll be compelled to collect as many as he can. He gives Tori a good look-over, and she gets the feeling that there's something he's not telling them.

At Drew's house, Pandora is kicking Drew's butt at head-to-head Doom. At the Monastery, Joshua is working on the electrical system, installing a hidden garage for his motorbike so he can ride out like Batman. Erik shows him the star-metal weapon that he made for Sam -- a throwing ring engraved with runes to make it return to the thrower. Daniel Wong, the Watcher who administered Sam's Cruciamentium, arrives at the Sacred Grounds to speak with Ada. The Council is concerned about the lack of detail in her recent reports. Ada is still miffed about the trip to Scotland -- and other ways Slayer Club doesn't trust her. It is difficult to report on complex issues when she doesn't have all the facts. Daniel claims that's why he's here, to help. Ada doubts that his 'help' will be all that helpful, but she welcomes him to try. Meanwhile, in a house at the edge of town, a red-haired figure, bound with shiny metal bands, struggles in the dim corner of a closet. Camera pans fast through the room, the house, to the front porch. Three women in blue scarves ring the doorbell. The door opens. A revolver shows around the door-jamb, and fires. The Venusians fall. A moment later Magnus comes up the front walk and asks if that was really necessary.

Sam and Tori take the metal dragon to Sam's garage, then go to the Brew Pub to pick up Tori's crossbow. Ada and Daniel arrive, looking for Sam. Three of Tori's minions attack them in the parking lot. Tori comes out, incensed, and threatens the demons with her new star-metal sabre. The Tori-ites bow and scrape, and she sends them off. Daniel is perplexed, but accepts Sam's invitation to go patrolling with them. At Greenfields, they interrupt two vamps helping a third out of the ground. Sam decapitates the new one. The male catches Tori from behind. Ada shoots the female through the heart with her crossbow, and Sam cuts the male's head off, over Tori's shoulder. Daniel spots more figures farther in the cemetery: a follower of Saturn, and a pack of hounds. Sam hails the Follower, and Tori calls off the pack. When the Saturn-hounds turn tail and run, Daniel is impressed, but confused. How does Tori have power over demons? The Watchers agree to meet Slayer Club at the Sacred Grounds for breakfast, where all will be explained.

The meeting goes about how everyone expects. Daniel thinks Ada has been remiss in her duties and Slayer Club should show more respect to the Watchers. Drew only has respect for their books. Joshua doesn't care one way or another, and Erik is too wrapped up in Juanita (who is looking very hot this morning) to pay much attention to the discussion. Sam and Tori take turns explaining about the Orbs of Creation, Magnus/Torsden's role in the apocalypse, Jezebel's father (Baal) trying to get the Orbs, and finally, the reason Tori now has blonde highlights. Tori emphasizes that she does not want this information logged anywhere in the Watcher archives, because anyone can get their hands on Watcher books. Daniel takes the news that Tori is the avatar of Mars in stride, but the fact that there is a whole hell-dimension full of Tori-ites just waiting to help her conquer the world finally cracks his British calm. After breakfast, Juanita leaves to start preparing for Prom-night and Sam goes downstairs to cast the Orb-seeker spell, with Tori's help. Sure enough, four of the Orbs are still in Solomon. The blue one (Venus) is on the move, while the green, yellow, and white Orbs are stationary at St. Germain's. Slayer Club and Watchers head to the Brew Pub to arm themselves and go to get the Orbs back.

At St. Germain's, they find Mitch, Coliban and Jezebel walking around with a metal dowsing rod. When she sees Joshua, Jezebel loses interest in their search. Joshua offers to take her for a ride on his bike, lunch, and then drop her off at her afternoon hair appointment. She happily accepts. Mitch and Coliban wander off, and the rest of Slayer Club spreads out to look for the Orbs. Three Moon-followers surround Slayer Club and inflict maddening illusions on them. Erik believes he is back in the clutches of the Dark Druid. Drew and Tori are unaffected, and after a moment, Sam throws off the illusion, too, but Daniel and Ada think that Sam is Britta, and try to shoot her. Sam parries their crossbow shots, then takes out her new throwing-ring, lines up on the Lunatics, and lets fly. One-two-three Lunatics are decapitated, the ring flies back, and she catches it. Sweet! Drew notices that it's now 1 PM. Somehow, they're losing time as they get closer to the Orbs. Nearby, a group of seven Sun-followers recognize Tori and decide to follow her, hoping she can lead them to their Orb. In the middle of the St. Germain's construction zone, Slayer Club finds a cave. Inside, Coliban and three Tori-ites are fighting Magnus while Mitch cowers in a corner. Sam and Tori stop the fight. Mitch finally proves capable of something, casting a spell of darkness to counter the Sun-followers' flare of blinding light. When Slayer Club looks up from cover, the minotaur and mage are gone, and the Sun-demons are dead. The Tori-ites head elsewhere, while the others interrogate Magnus. He has the Sun and Moon Orbs on him, and claims he found them here in the cave. He was looking for the Venus and Saturn Orbs when he was attacked by the others. Coliban got the Saturn Orb, but Venus is still missing. Drew is suspicious. If the four Orbs that were supposed to go back to Italy are still in Solomon, then where is Melina? Magnus admits that Juanita has both her and the Venus Orb, which she's going to give it to him tonight. But first, she has plans for it.

Joshua spots the Tori-ites running to Tori's house, because 'the girl at St. Germain's has one of the Orbs'. Joshua speeds off to get there first, and warns Jezebel's father that the followers of Mars are on the way. Bill thanks him for the information. Tori is late for her own party, and she and Sam missed their hair appointments, which frustrates Mrs. Clark no end. Joshua heads back to St. Germain's to find out what's taking so long. Drew decides to go find Melina. Erik, Daniel, and Joshua decide to go with. Sam wants go, to have one female in the group in case Juanita uses the seductive power of Venus on them. But Tori reminds her that it's almost 5 PM, they are both late for the pre-Prom party, and they still need to get dressed and do their hair and makeup. Magnus seems to have himself under control again and promises to meet Tori at her house. Reluctantly, Sam agrees, and they go to Tori's house to prepare for the dance.

At Juanita's, Erik and Joshua almost come to blows with jealousy, while Daniel waits in the car reminding himself that it would be unbecoming of a Watcher to give in to the Venus-inspired lust. However Drew, concerned only about Melina, manages to resist the effects of the Venus Orb. Juanita agrees to give him the keys to her closet, as long as he gives her a good head-start. He does, and she takes off. Melina has not been harmed, except by the silver bindings, but she is 'going hunting' as soon as Drew finishes questioning her. She was on the airplane to go back to Italy, but Magnus was on board, too, and tried to take the Orbs from her. She wolfed-out, and they fought. He got the upper hand, and made off with the casket. The whole incident was reported as an attempted terrorist hijacking. Juanita volunteered to keep Melina out of the way, in exchange for use of the Venus Orb.

At the Clark house, Sam and Tori make their entrances, Tori in a swirling gown of black velvet studded with a galaxy of silver dots, and Sam in a dark crimson dress that leaves one arm and shoulder bare. Jezebel wears emerald-green satin with her hair up in an elaborate twist. Everyone meets their dates, drinks a toast with a special vintage of Phoenician wine, provided by Mr. Karellan (except Sam and Drew, who toast with ginger ale instead) and then go off to dinner. Joshua and Jezebel take a limo (driven by Mitch) to a French restaurant -- Le Jardin -- just north of town, while everyone else goes to the Foundry. After dinner, the Prom-chaperones, including Ada and Daniel, a last-minute addition, arrive first. The gym is transformed into a vision of Arabian Nights. (Michael provided ideas to the Prom committee and Mrs. Clark lent her decorating skills to the plan.) Photos are taken. There's music and dancing and punch and pastries. As the dance proceeds, Magnus becomes more agitated. He corners Juanita in the girls' bathroom. Sam and Tori intervene to keep them from hurting each other. Juanita gives the Venus Orb to Sam moments before a red-furred arm snakes in the window, grabs Juanita, and pulls her outside. Melina disappears into the woods with her prey before anyone can stop her. Sam and Tori escort Magnus out of the girls' room, and Sam alerts Drew that it's time to leave. The stars are nearly aligned. But before they can leave the gym, Andrea steps up to the microphone to make an announcement. Several students step between Tori and Sam and the door. The voting is done, and the 1993 Solomon High Prom Queen is -- Samantha Kessler!

Sam is completely flummoxed. Magnus says they can wait five minutes, so Sam grabs Drew to be her Prom King. Up on stage, she is presented with a rhinestone tiara and a bouquet of roses. In the front row, applauding loudly, are Michael, "Pyro" Pete, the Watchers, and more than a dozen students who helped Slayer Club deal with the Curse-of-Egypt threat two weeks ago. By the time speeches have been made and pictures have been taken, Magnus and Tori have slipped away, with the Watchers in pursuit. Sam and Drew have to dance together as Queen and King. Joshua pulls the fire alarm. In the ensuing chaos, Sam and Drew are able to make their escape (Joshua stays behind to keep Jezebel as far away from the Orbs as possible). Magnus and Tori arrive at the Kessler Garage, hoping that raising Sam's dragon will satisfy the geas. But Magnus insists that this is not the right place. He has to go to the Well of Creation. Tori leaves a note for Sam, and drives as slowly as she dares to St. Germain's. The Watchers follow Tori's car. Sam and Drew get to the garage, find the note, and load the dragon-statue into her truck. Erik is with them, confused about what happened to his date. Drew reassures him that Melina probably just wants to scare Juanita a little.

At St. Germain's, Magnus begins his ritual, glassy-eyed, drawing Norse runes on the floor and wearing his helmet and sword. He blows the horn and begins chanting in Old Norse. Tori tries to distract him, to give the others time to arrive. She kisses him, which temporarily distracts, but then he blows the horn again, and starts over. Sam and Drew arrive and set up the metal dragon in front of Magnus. The chant continues, and the earth rumbles, but the metal statue remains inert. When the giant doors begin to crack open, Drew shoots Magnus with his crossbow. Tori's minions attack him, too. Magnus stops chanting to defend himself, but the rumbling continue and the doors behind which the dragon -- the real dragon -- lies are beginning to open. Daniel and Ada wipe away the runes from the floor, and then try to push the doors back together. Sam defends Magnus against the Tori-ites. Drew calls to her to throw him the Orb. She does, and Drew uses the power of Venus -- not of lust, but of water, the heavy pressure of the deepest ocean trench, to push the doors back together and keep them from opening again. While Sam parries away attacks, Tori confronts her date. "If I can keep the world from being engulfed in war and flame, you can fight this!" Just as Magnus comes to himself, the Tori-ites throw their axes at him. Sam can deflect only one of the three. The other two lodge deep into Magnus's body. Tori is furious with her minions, and they beat a hasty retreat. While Sam administers quick first aid to keep Magnus from dying, Drew confiscates the Sun and Moon Orbs from him. Using the life-giving power of the sun, Drew heals the worst of the damage, saving Magnus's life. "You owe me now. First: never try to end the world again. Second: Stop hitting on my girlfriend!" Magnus readily agrees. He never wanted to end the world in the first place, and now he has a girlfriend of his own. He thinks. Tori just smiles enigmatically. Watching from the background, Ada challenges Daniel, "I'm looking forward to seeing your report on this." Daniel nods, feeling her pain.

After all the excitement winds down and the Well of Creation doors prove to be sealed once more, Slayer Club heads for the after-Prom party at the Solomon Lanes bowling alley. Tori bowls perfect game after perfect game (it's only calculating ballistic trajectories, which she can do in her sleep) with Magnus cheering her on. Joshua and Jezebel talk and laugh, and he teaches her how to bowl as an excuse to get his arms around her. And Sam and Drew dance together, making up for their interrupted coronation. Only Erik isn't having the time of his life, wondering what happened to Juanita.

 

3.21 Gift Horse
Written and directed by Tim Ballew.
The events of this episode take place on Thursday, June 10th and Friday, June 11th, 1993.
Melina and Juanita have been missing since Prom night, and Erik is getting worried, despite the best efforts fo the others to reassure him. Slayer Club arranges to meet Sylvia at the Sacred Grounds to hand over the three Orbs of Creation still in their possession -- Venus, the Sun and the Moon. Jezebel's father has the other three Orbs -- Saturn, Mercury and Jupiter. Mars, of course, is off-limits.

At the Sacred Grounds, Tori's minions prove treacherous. When Sylvia arrives, Jeremiah blows a blast on his trumpet. The bay window smashes and half a dozen orange-robed demons attack. Tori orders them to stand down, but they tell her that their loyalty is to the Orb and they no longer find her a worthy host. Sylvia wolfs-out and tosses Followers around the room. Sam throws her star-metal ring, severing demon limbs all around. Michael herds the non-combatants out the back door, although some townies want to stay and watch the excitement. Tori stabs the treasonous bard, getting a soliloquy of remorse as he dies. Joshua catches Mitch, Baal's henchman, on the way out the door and knocks him cold. Sam hands the Orbs over to Sylvia, who casts a portal-spell back to Italy and vanishes. Joshua runs back in and says that dozens more Followers are on the way. Slayer Club beats a hasty retreat, splitting up to meet at the Monastery. The only Follower of Mars that remains loyal to Tori, for now, is Lenth, the oddball demon who likes strawberry snow cones (the other all preferred cherry). He takes great delight in questioning Mitch. Baal has suborned Tori's Followers to his cause -- to get the entire set of the Orbs, one way or another. He's opened a portal to their dimension and brought 66 over...and this is just the "first batch"!

Sam, Drew, and Michael stop by the garage to pick up more weapons and equipment. Sam's father starts the phone tree -- all Boosters meet at the Vastarley's to set up defenses. Drew has always suspected that Melina took Juanita to the caves on Solomon Heights, so he borrows Sam's Jeep to go find her. Sam and Michael take the second Jeep that Samuel has armored like a tank to drop off her father and his tripod-mounted machine gun, and pick up Pandora at Kevin's house. Unwisely, they decide to go to the Brew Pub to save any weaponry and books they can before the renegade Followers show up. Which they do, with a trebuchet that launches fiery projectiles through the Brew Pub's upper windows. Sam, Michael, and Pandora retreat, smashing through the Follower's rented K-cars.

In the caves, Drew finds Melina, just as he suspected. He tells her about the attack at the Sacred Grounds, and that Sylvia got away with three of the Orbs. But there are dozens of suddenly hostile Followers of Mars around and Melina is the only one with any experience fighting them, albeit 400 years ago. Melina agrees to come with and provide whatever help she can. Before leaving, she pushes a plate of food near Juanita...too bad her hands are still bound behind her back!

At the Monastery, Slayer Club hatches a plan. Joshua takes a white flag to Tori's house to invite Baal to a parley. Drew and Lenth go to the Brew Pub to talk the other Followers into returning to Tori's side. Lenth is field-promoted to the rank of General and Favored One by Tori. (Even though he failed his officer-training course, he knows the chain of command.) He's given a dapper orange beret as a mark of this favor. Drew gives an inspiring speech and manages to convince about half of the Followers to come back over to Tori's side. The repentant Tori-ites are given black berets (the non-repentant ones are killed or flee) and ordered to put out the fire in the Brew Pub. Meanwhile, Joshua arranges a parley for the school gymnasium at 3 AM. Baal arrives, alone, exactly on time. After appropriate small talk, he agrees that Tori can have her minions back. They are far too "enthusiastic" for him. He claims to have no designs on Graduation other than to ensure that Jezebel's special day goes without a hitch. Graduation and the party afterwards, which coincide with Jezebel's 18th birthday, are declared truce-territory. If any third party tries to interfere, Baal and Tori will join together to fight them. Then, Tori and Baal sit down to a game of chess. After some debate as to a proper wager (Slayer Club doesn't want to risk the Orbs), Drew suggests that the loser must answer one question from the winner, truthfully. The game lasts all night. About dawn, Baal sits back with a toothy smile. "Check." Tori raises her eyebrows and scans the board, carefully makes her final move and, "Checkmate." Baal claps his hands. "Well done. I did not expect that. You can discuss the question among yourselves if you like, and ask me later." He disappears. Slayer Club heads home for showers and a little sleep before Graduation.

The ceremony goes without a hitch, everyone dressed in their seal-grey caps and gowns to receive their diplomas and toss their caps in the air. Then there's the party, sponsored by 'Bill Karellan' at the Solomon War Memorial Estate. There's a DJ, a catered buffet, and even private rooms where alcohol is available. While Sam, Tori, Jezebel, and Joshua dance under the watchful eye of Bill and the other chaperones, Drew sneaks around back to meet with Melina, Marcy (already a bit tipsy after having spent some time in the private rooms), Callie, Pandora, and a paroled Juanita. He has a plan, which he hasn't told the others, to raid Baal's home dimension and swipe the remaining three Orbs while Baal's attention is focused on the party. He figures Baal will be keeping his eye Sam and Tori and even Joshua, but he won't be watching for their less-powerful friends to make a move on their own. Just to be sure, Drew asks Michael to occasionally appear as the conspirators at the party, so their absence isn't noticed. Sam does notice that Drew isn't dancing with her, but Tori is also partner-less, since Magnus is still in the hospital, so they dance in a circle and have a great time.

Drew takes his "B-team" through the witch tunnels to Steffie's basement, where Mr. and Mrs. Newberry had their altar to Baal, which Melina is able to use as a focus to open a portal to his home dimension. They appear at the bottom of the castle's privy, which smells just as bad as you'd imagine. Callie grows to full height and lifts the others up into the god's bathroom, tiled with alabaster and gold. They take a moment to clean their shoes, so the guards won't smell them coming. Immediately outside, they hear Coliban talking with a Sileni, a horse-headed demon. Pandora casts a silence spell on the room and they attack. Pandora and Callie knock out Coliban and tie him up, but Marcy's water jet knocks the Sileni off a balcony. He's unconscious, but not well hidden. Pandora hurriedly casts her Orb-seeker spell they stealthily follow the trace through the castle's nearly deserted corridors to a vault. The vault is well guarded, but against attacks from the first floor. Drew and company are on the second floor, overlooking a pedestal on which the Orbs are displayed. Melina TKs the three Orbs off their pedestal behind the guards' backs, catches them, and then releases her portal-spell, snapping everyone back to Steffie's basement. Drew calls the Benedanti and gets Ilya on the phone. Over Drew's objections, the twelve-year-old witch opens her own portal to bring Melina home, and everyone except Drew (including, somehow, Coliban!) disappears to Italy. Very soon, all six of the loose Orbs will be shielded in their casket and hidden in a very remote and safe location, which Drew emphatically does not want to know about. After using the Orbs repeatedly in the battles against Magnus and his father, he's kind of getting then hang of it and the temptation of all that power scares him.

Back at the party, Bill invites Slayer Club to a private birthday celebration for Jezebel. They go down into the basement of the War Memorial Estate, through a brass door that wasn't there before, to the Well of Creation, glowing with a pale, blue light. Baal makes a very nice speech about celebrating his daughter's special day, the beginning of a new phase of life, and all that, when the Sileni comes running in with the news that the Orbs have been stolen. Baal is incensed; those Orbs were to be used in his daughter's ascension to godhood. But there's still one Orb he can get to. He tries to grab Tori, but Sam and Michael intervene. Tori asks her question: "When I merged with the Mars Orb, I gave up the potential to be a Slayer. If you somehow took Mars out of me and gave it to Jezebel, there would still be a price. What would you take from her, to force her to become the Incarnation of Mars?" Baal hisses, "Nothing that she would miss. Only her soul." Jezebel turns white and tries to slip away, but her father commands her to stay and she finds herself frozen in place. She begs Joshua to get her out of there, so he slings her over his shoulder and sprints for the stairs. Sam stabs Baal with her star-metal dagger, but unlike the Followers, Baal is not susceptible. Tori also has a holdout: the Hydra-blade that she bought in New York. "This is what I was made for," the knife whispers in her mind. Tori hurls it precisely between the third and fourth rib, just to the left of the sternum. Baal looks down at his chest, surprised. "A god-killer blade. I wasn't expecting that." Michael swings his falchion. Baal's head rolls into the Well of Creation and the body and knife disintegrate until all that remains is the hilt.

Upstairs, Tori tells Jezebel that her father is dead. Joshua consoles her. Drew explains the Orb-napping and tells Erik that Juanita is going to be spending the summer in Italy with Melina, learning to channel her inner bitch in a more positive direction. Erik decides not to think about that too much. Joshua suggests to Tori that conquering Baal's now-leaderless hell dimension would be a worthy task for her minions. She smiles, they'd love the idea and it would occupy them for decades. The party continues until dawn, celebrating surviving High School.

 


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