As career week arrives, Buffy feels isolated and apathetic because the students around her are exploring their choices for the future, while her fate as the Slayer is already set in stone. Even so, she must join Willow and Xander in filling out career questionnaires. Spike works on a cure for Drusilla as she lays out Tarot cards. He becomes frustrated with Dru's childlike behavior and ruminates on Buffy's interference in his plans. Dalton, a vampire transcriber, is unable to decipher the book stolen from the library a couple of weeks earlier which contains a cure, but then Drusilla informs Spike that they need a key because the book is in code. The cards indicate the location of the key, much to the delight of Spike.
Buffy witnesses Dalton stealing an object from a mausoleum, but he escapes when she is distracted by another vampire. She enters her bedroom through the window out of habit, despite the fact that her mother is out of town for a few days, and finds Angel waiting to warn her of grave danger, and she notes with irritation that he does this a lot. He discovers her childhood obsession with Dorothy Hamill (Dorothy dolls, posters, and haircut), and offers to take her ice skating the following day. At school the next morning, the test results are revealed, much to the chagrin of Buffy and Xander. Buffy reports to Giles, and he is distressed and disappointed when she tells him about the theft from the mausoleum.
Spike and Drusilla examine the key stolen by Dalton, a gold cross. Spike decides to call the Order of Taraka, an ancient guild of assassins, to rid himself of Buffy once and for all. Back at school, Willow is taken into a secluded lounge area to be recruited by a leading software company, along with Oz, the boy who has been watching her for weeks. At the mausoleum, Giles realizes with concern that Josephus du Lac (a member of a religious sect that had been excommunicated by the Vatican) is buried there. He is the author of the book stolen from the library, and Giles believes the key was stolen from the tomb.
In the meantime, the assassins begin to arrive. A large, intimidating man exits a bus, and a door-to-door beauty salesman walks down the sidewalk past Buffy's house to her next-door neighbors'. He gains an invitation inside, the door closes, and the lady of the house screams. A young woman attacks an airplane worker in the cargo hold of a plane, escaping with little difficulty.
Giles tells Buffy, Xander, and Willow about the "du Lac Cross" which can be used as the key, and he enlists their help with further research. Buffy manages to keep her ice skating date with Angel. She is attacked while ice skating, and Angel arrives in time to help her fight off the assassin whom she kills with the blade of her skate. Angel, recognizing the assassin's ring, asks Buffy if she knows what it means ("I just killed a Super Bowl Champ?"), and then warns her that she should leave Sunnydale and hide. Angel is wounded and doesn't want Buffy to have to touch his vampire face, but she removes her gloves to touch his face with her bare hands, assuring him that she hadn't even noticed, and kisses him. The female from the plane watches from the shadows.
The assassin next-door to Buffy's house feeds on the body he had killed by disintegrating into hundreds of writhing mealworms which can reshape themselves into limbs at will. Buffy is paranoid and jittery, suspicious of each person who passes by in the hallways at school. As Oz passes her, she panics and pins him against a locker. Oz declares her to be a "tense person". Buffy arrives at Angel's empty home and falls asleep in his bed. Angel goes to Willy's bar for information, and Willy finally confirms Angel's suspicions that Spike is behind the assassins, but before Angel can leave, he is attacked by the mysterious female. They fight, and she locks him in a metal cage in front of an eastern window, with only a few short hours until sunrise.
Giles awakens Willow, who had fallen asleep ("Don't warn the tadpoles!" she exclaims, subsequently explaining that she has "frog fears"). He reveals that the missing manuscript is a ritual to restore a weakened vampire back to health. Xander and Cordelia enter Buffy's house, and Xander searches for her while Cordelia waits downstairs. She hears a knock at the door and lets in the mealworm assassin, again appearing as a make-up salesman promising free samples. In Angel's bedroom, Buffy awakes to find herself being attacked by the mysterious woman. They fight, and the woman tells Buffy that her name is Kendra, the Vampire Slayer...