Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
A nervous Scooby Gang finally has reason to celebrate when Joyce (Kristine Sutherland) pulls through her brain cancer surgery. Just as her mother is returning to health, however, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) must confront her ailing relationship with Riley (Marc Blucas) and come to grips with the sick behavior he's been exhibiting. After the relieved couple enjoy their first romantic evening in ages, Riley sneaks away in the night to a vile brothel where human beings pay vampires for the thrill of being bitten. Spike (James Marsters) -- himself smitten with the Slayer -- takes it upon himself to tell Buffy about her boyfriend's deception. Spike leads her straight to the charnel house of ill repute, where she glimpses Riley in the throes of his new hobby. She flees, then learns the history of such sordid institutions from Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) and Anya (Emma Caulfield). Buffy returns to the brothel and burns it to the ground, shocking her friends with her vehemence. When she and Riley finally hash things out, he reveals that his nocturnal activities were an attempt, however pathetic, to find the one thing Buffy hasn't been giving him: a sense of being needed. He then delivers the ultimatum that unless she gives him reason to do otherwise, he's going to leave on a demon-hunting expedition to Belize the very next day. A hurt, angry Buffy takes out her frustrations on the keepers of the vampire whorehouse, then receives a stern warning from Xander (Nicholas Brendon) to make sure she won't regret it if she lets Riley walk away. the Slayer runs a desperate race to reach Riley before he leaves, but she arrives just in time to see his helicopter disappearing into the night. Meanwhile, an impassioned Xander reaffirms his love for Anya. Originally broadcast December 19, 2000, on the WB network, "Into the Woods" marked episode 88 of the cult-favorite series. Although this marks Marc Blucas' final appearance as a regular cast member, the actor would reprise his role as Riley Finn the following season in "As You Were."