Buffy drops out of college, notifying one of her professors about the decision and regretting the need to make the decision. Ben finds himself fired from his job at the hospital because Glory has been monopolizing the human form they share, and he has been away from his job for two weeks. Glory takes a bath while she demands that her blindfolded minions tell her everything they know about the Key. Dawn and Buffy are called into Dawn's principal's office where Dawn's poor grades are discussed, as well as the fact that Dawn has been skipping school since their mother's death. At the Magic Box, Anya talks about patriotism and how money ties into that.
Buffy seeks Giles's advice about being Dawn's mother figure then takes her sister home, attempting an authoritative role with Dawn. Glory's minions provide her with enough information to conclude who the Key is and Glory leads the way to gather it. Tara and Willow discuss their relationship and Willow's powers as a witch, but the discussion ends up angering Willow when Tara expresses first her concern about Willow's "frightening" power and then her fear that Willow may eventually decide that being a lesbian is not what she wants.
Buffy talks with Dawn about how Dawn's situation needs to improve in school or Buffy could possibly lose guardianship of Dawn. Depressed over her first major fight with Willow, Tara goes to a cultural fair, but finds herself sitting next to Glory on a park bench. Giles finds one of Glory's minions at the shop and questions him about Glory's plans. Willow goes after Tara who is in Glory's grasp, but can't get to Tara before it's too late. Glory discovers that Tara isn't The Key, and offers to let her go if she reveals the key's identity. Protecting Dawn, Tara refuses, and Glory drains Tara's mind of sanity.
At the hospital, doctors look after Tara while Willow plans her vengeance against the evil god, Glory. Buffy arranges for Dawn to be kept safe by Spike in some underground caves while she takes care of the issues involving Tara. Buffy seemingly manages to convince Willow to abandon her revenge plans, telling her that attacking Glory would be potentially suicidal, but Willow goes to the magic shop to gather dangerous magic supplies in preparation for her attack on Glory.
Back at the caves, Spike (heavily bruised and limping, the remainder of his injuries caused by Glory's torture of him in "Intervention") and Dawn talk. Dawn tearfully blames herself for all of the harm that Glory has caused to the citizens of Sunnydale (particularly Tara and Spike), and believes herself to be evil and a "lightning rod for pain", while Spike tries to comfort her and convince her otherwise.
Buffy soon accompanies her, believing that she has managed to convince Willow not to attack Glory; however, a skeptical Spike tells her that an angered witch, especially one as powerful as Willow, is not so easily reasoned with, and he would have done the same thing if Glory had done that to his loved one. After further explanation from Dawn, Buffy realizes that Willow has indeed gone after Glory, and rushes off.
At Glory's place, Willow makes an unexpected, but grand appearance, casting spells wildly, all in attempts to attack and destroy Glory. Although she causes Glory some pain (something no one else, not even Buffy, has been able to do), she is quickly defeated. Even at Glory's mercy, Willow cannot resist spitting right in the god's face in a show of pure spite, which leads to her nearly being killed. Luckily, Buffy shows up in time to stop it. Buffy and Glory battle ferociously, until one of Willow's force fields allows Willow and Buffy to escape.
The next day, Willow, Tara, Buffy and Dawn eat, with Willow and Dawn spoon-feeding applesauce to Tara, while discussing the responsibilities that Willow and Buffy have now. Glory makes a surprise appearance, tearing out an entire wall. Tara, distressed, unwittingly reveals that Dawn is the key.