Riley and a couple of friends, Forest and Graham, watch Buffy as she manages to make a mess of the soda machine and yogurt machine. They comment on what a catch she is, and how interested they all are, but Riley is reluctant to make fun.
Giles and Xander discover the commando guys are human and that their help will not be needed, again. Buffy arrives and while Giles tells her to patrol, she says she's going to party with Willow and hopefully cheer her up.
Spike, having been knocked out by a Taser at the beginning of the previous episode, wakes up in a facility where various types of demons are held captive behind electrically charged barriers. A packet of blood drops from the ceiling into Spike's cell but before he drinks it, a vampire in the next cell - Tom, captured in "The Freshman" - warns him that doctors starve the vampires and then feed them drugged blood before doing experiments on them.
In class, Willow asks about Oz but Riley says he dropped out. After Willow tries to tell him that Oz will return, Professor Walsh informs her that he won't be back to her class, whereupon Willow abruptly leaves, saddened. Buffy approaches the professor, and tells her off, prompting Walsh to comment to Riley that she likes her.
Forrest asks Parker about Buffy, and when Parker vulgarly brags about having sex with her, Riley punches him. Riley then realizes he likes Buffy. He visits Willow and asks her advice in wooing Buffy; Willow, still emotionally distressed, questions his motives, but eventually relents, listing some of Buffy's likes and interests.
Spike lies on the floor of his cell, pretending to have drunk the drugged blood, and when the doctors come to get him he attacks. He escapes the Initiative and returns to Harmony's lair, telling her he's "back for good" - then immediately leaves to kill the Slayer. Xander later discovers Harmony crying, burning some of Spike's things. The two get into an inept slap-fight, and then mutually agree to stop. Harmony lets Xander know that Spike is back.
At the party, Willow tries to help Riley flirt with Buffy, but his attempts are thwarted when Xander arrives to inform Buffy that Spike has returned. Riley is also called away; he and Forest break away from the party and, after passing through several electronic checkpoints, go down a hidden elevator to the underground facility where Spike had been held. The operation's head, Professor Walsh, informs them that "Hostile 17" (Spike) has escaped, and the guys suit up. Riley gives orders to three teams that he sends out all over Sunnydale to find Spike.
Riley's team spot Buffy sitting on a bench. Riley says she won't be their bait and goes out to get rid of her. Each unaware of the other's secret identity, Riley and Buffy try to send each other out of harm's way.
Meanwhile, Spike has found Buffy's dorm through the school computer system. Willow, moping in her room, hears a knock on the door and invites the person in without thinking. Spike swaggers through the door and attempts to bite Willow, but is stopped by an intense pain in his head. After a short, calm dialogue with multiple metaphorical references to impotence, Willow hits him with a lamp and runs out just as Riley and friends cut the power and then work their way up to the dorm room. They capture Spike but, while they consider whether to take Willow or not, Spike breaks free. Buffy arrives and fights Riley and his friends while Spike manages to escape through a window. Unable to make out the identity of their attacker, Riley orders them to retreat.
Professor Walsh is not happy with what happened or with Riley's report on the event. It is revealed that Spike cannot harm a human without feeling pain in his head thanks to an implant they placed there. Riley catches up with Buffy and they talk. Buffy tells him he's a little peculiar, which he says he can live with.