Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
When Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) nearly stumbles on the lair of the super-nerd troika, Warren (Adam Busch) and his cronies sic a demon on her. The fiend manages to stab the Slayer with its talon, sending her in and out of an alternate reality where her life as a demon-hunter is nothing but the delusions of an insane, institutionalized young woman. As she wanders through her day, jumping back and forth between realities, Buffy finds her alternate life terrifying but alluring. She's overjoyed to see her mother (Kristine Sutherland) alive and her parents still married, but the non-Slayer Buffy is still just a hopeless basket case in a straitjacket. Elsewhere, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) seeks to reignite her relationship with Tara (Amber Benson) and learns that Xander (Nicholas Brendon) still loves Anya (Emma Caulfield), despite having left her at the alter. Later, while Xander and Spike (James Marsters) capture the creature who has infected Buffy, Willow listens to the Slayer's musings about the depression that has plagued her since her resurrection. Ultimately, when Willow brews up a cure for the demon's spell, Buffy dumps it out, preferring to retreat into the comfort of padded walls in a world where Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) doesn't expect her to be a parent and Spike isn't threatening to reveal their illicit tryst. Only Tara's surprise intervention keeps the comatose Slayer from "exorcising" her friends as if they were figments of a troubled imagination. Bidding farewell to her parents, Buffy jumps back into her Slayer self. Back in the alternate reality of Buffy's vision, her folks cry over the shell of their brain-dead daughter. Originally broadcast March 12, 2002, on UPN, "Normal Again" marked episode 117 of the cult-favorite series.