Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
While on a routine patrol, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) encounters Holden Webster (Jonathan M. Woodward), a high-school classmate she barely knew, just as he's rising from the grave as a newborn vamp. The slayer and her foe spend more time talking than fighting; Holden's affable demeanor weakens Buffy's emotional defenses, leading her to articulate her deepest insecurities. The vamp's most interesting insights -- that Buffy has a thing for guys who hurt her, and, when it comes to her closest friends, suffers from both a super-power superiority complex and a moral inferiority complex -- aren't nearly as shocking as the revelation that he was sired by Spike (James Marsters). Back at the Summers' house, Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) pigs out and plays with Buffy's weapons until a series of Poltergeist-like scare tactics reveals the assault of an unseen demon. Dawn fights back against the shadowy threat and eventually receives a chilling message from the shade of her own long-dead mother (Kristine Sutherland). Meanwhile, at the library, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) meets Cassie (Azura Skye), Dawn's recently deceased psychic classmate (see "Help"). The melancholy spirit claims to bear messages from Tara, Willow's late lesbian lover, but Willow sniffs something amiss when Cassie counsels her to kill herself before she loses control of her powers again. Suddenly, Cassie morphs into demon form, spits out a few nasty threats, and disappears, revealing herself to be the same shape-shifting demon who has been tormenting poor Spike all season. As for Buffy's bad-boy vampire ex, he does, indeed, appear to be feasting on human blood again. Even more blood is spilled by returning super-nerd Andrew (Tom Lenk), who ritually murders his compatriot Jonathan (Danny Strong) at the urging of a spirit who claims to be slain super-villain Warren (Adam Busch). Originally broadcast November 12, 2002, on the UPN network, "Conversations With Dead People" marked episode 129 of the cult-favorite series. After the events of this episodes, fans finally figured out that the season's shape-shifting villain is none other than the First Evil, who briefly battled Buffy four years earlier (see "Amends").