Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
Mad with grief over the stray bullet that just killed Tara (Amber Benson) before her very eyes (see "Seeing Red"), Willow (Alyson Hannigan) forsakes all of her determination to avoid magic. She calls on the darkest powers to resurrect her lover, but to no avail; unlike Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Tara has died a natural death and cannot be revived. As Xander (Nicholas Brendon) accompanies the wounded Buffy to the hospital, Willow ransacks the Magic Box, imprisoning Anya (Emma Caulfield) and absorbing the blackest of magicks from the shop's most dangerous tomes. Her eyes and hair glazed black and her body crackling with supernatural power, Willow heals Buffy at the hospital, then heads off to have her revenge. Back at home, after Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) spends several grief-soaked hours cradling Tara's body, Buffy finds her, comforts her, and takes her to Spike's crypt for safekeeping. But Spike (James Marsters) is gone, having traveled to Africa to engage in a perilous quest to regain his former self. Meanwhile, when Xander turns to ex-fiancée Anya for a spell to locate his power-mad friend, Anya reveals that she's once again a vengeance demon. Nonetheless, she travels with Buffy and Xander to the cemetery, where Willow is in the process of torturing Warren (Adam Busch). As her friends watch in horror, Willow flays the villain alive, then destroys him in a burst of flame before vanishing. Originally broadcast May 14, 2002, on UPN, "Villains" marked episode 120 of the cult-favorite series. Astute fans will recognize Willow's final comment before flaying Warren -- "Bored now" -- as an echo of her vampire double's favorite saying (see "Doppelgangland").