So I thought about it a bit more; and decided to actually do it. :-) This is part 1 (it takes a long time to do). If anyone can think of anything important I've missed, by all means let me know in comments and I'll edit. Note that there are, of course, spoilers here... in particular, I've assumed that everybody reading this will already be familiar with all four issues, so I'll be referring ahead to things we only find out about later.
The Long Way Home is copyright to Joss Whedon. No infringement intended. If you like this and haven't done so already, please buy a copy of the comic - the trade paperback will be available soon! Thank you.
THE LONG WAY HOME
Written by: Joss Whedon
EXT. SUNRISE OVER PLANET EARTH
The thing about changing the world...
once you do it, the world's all different.
EXT. AN OLD CHURCH IN THE MOUNTAINS - NIGHT
We see two BLACK HELICOPTERS against a starlit sky. Buffy and three other Slayers (SATSU, LEAH and ROWENA) are ABSEILING out of the nearest one.
>>Presumably the other Slayers who appear later in the scene were in the other helicopter. We never do learn who was flying them. Fashion notes: Satsu is wearing a 'Hello Kitty' hat. Rowena's baseball cap is pretty much her trademark. The three younger Slayers are all wearing body armour, but Buffy isn't - instead, she's wearing a red T-shirt which appears to have the 'Serenity' logo on the front. There's a continuity error in the art: Satsu has her katana slung over her back in some panels, but in others it's missing.
Everybody calls me "ma'am" these days.
>>Which implies that they did reconnaissance and planned this mission carefully, since they knew to take a forcefield-zapper. Also, this implies that the church has been protected by the forcefield for some time previously.
There used to be one Slayer in all the world.
Eighteen hundred now, that we've counted.
Almost five hundred working with us, in
ten separate squads. There's even three of ME.
Down on the ground, Buffy speaks over the radio to someone who, we will shortly learn, is XANDER.
Field's vaped and we're on the roof.
Access should be right in front of you.
Buffy's voice-over narration continues over the dialogue here.
Leah. Open her up.
The guys figured I was a target, set up two other
Slayers to be me. One's underground. Literally.
One's in Rome, partying very publicly - and supposedly
dating some guy called "The Immortal". That part
was Andrew's idea. He did research on the guy,
said it would be hilarious for some reason.
(looking through the now-open door)
Can't see a thing, ma'am.
Can SMELL a thing, though.
Here at Command Central, not so much
with the hilarious. More with the "what the Hell am I doing?"
What th'Hell is she doing?
It's not all that different, though. Still got my
demons. And I still got my Watcher.
INT. SLAYER COMMAND CENTRE - MEANWHILE - NIGHT
A large stone-floored room lined with eight or more CONSOLES operated by young WOMEN. In the background, two (young, female) MYSTICS kneel and manipulate a GLOWING PINK ENERGY BALL. In centre stage, on a podium, is XANDER. He is watching a large array of screens on which we see LEAH looking puzzled.
>>Since Xander is watching the pictures broadcast to him through Satsu's head-mounted camera, presumably Satsu is looking at Leah at this point. However, note that we can also see Rowena in another, smaller screen; so someone else must have another camera...
>>It's clear now, if it wasn't already from the helicopters and guns, that Buffy's new organisation has an impressive amount of resources. It seems a fair bet that they've taken them over from the former Watchers' Council after Caleb killed the old one off, although that's never stated specifically.
>>We later learn that Renee, who's manning one of the consoles, is a Slayer. Presumably all the women in the room are Slayers, except perhaps for the two mystics. What I'm wondering is whether the two helicopter pilots were also Slayers...
As in the previous scene, Xander's voice-over narration is interspersed with the dialogue.
I used to be in construction.
(Over the radio)
You're five-by-five, Buf. Satellite has them
clustered by the altar and our psychics read them
CLOSE ON XANDER
Soon as Rowena's placed, we're go.
Pay was good. Hours were way better than this.
They even ended occasionally. But when duty
calls... you don't exactly get to screen.
Mister Harris - we've got a development with
the Barcelona squad. Vamp nest looks a lot bigger
than they thought.
Xander walks over.
How many in the squad?
Seven. Donna's running them, but they're pretty green.
Andrew's still working southern Italy --
Tell him to pick his ten best, hop over.
Tell him ten best. Not ten best dressed.
We don't want another Orvieto.
Yes, Mister Harris.
"Xander", Renee, I told you, it's "Xander".
Or "Sergeant Fury".
Wasn't Nick Fury a COLONEL when he ran S.H.I.E.L.D.?
I like him better in the Howling Commando days.
But your nerd points are accumulating impressively.
I try, Sergeant.
Xander looks back at the SCREEN, where BUFFY is about to smash down another DOOR.
Okay, Buf. Game on.
INT - OLD CHURCH - NIGHT
BUFFY, with SATSU and LEAH behind her, smashes through the door into the church NAVE. Three HUGE SCALY DEMONS confront her. On the floor, we can see a couple of human CORPSES.
CLOSE on Buffy
Their first victims. Gotta get 'em past it.
Flank 'em. Now.
Buffy RUNS to the attack.
Thissss one... looks tasssty.
(dodging its blow)
Thanks, I work out.
>>The shrine with lit candles on it indicates that this is a Roman Catholic church. The Buffyverse version of Britain seems to have a lot more Catholics than the real one, unless this church is actually in another country. Continuity glitch: either these are magical ever-burning candles, or the demons have kept them replenished, because they're still lit... Maybe it's the demons themselves who are Catholic.
Sssad little girl... lossst the element of sssurprise.
CUT to REVEAL ROWENA and two other SLAYERS holding harpoon guns. They've just abseiled down from the roof to the windows.
Dat vent vell.
Sssstupid human, I am no vampire. You think I fear the cross?
Might wanna start.
PULL BACK to show the aftermath.
INT. OLD CHURCH - SHORTLY AFTERWARDS - NIGHT
That were a wee bit repulsive.
Went okay. 'Cept I feel a little weird about using a crucifix to kill someone.
Yeh dinno much about religion, do yeh?
Meanwhile SATSU is examining the human CORPSES. She adjusts the small CAMERA fitted to her headgear; clearly, this is what is feeding the images to XANDER's SCREENS.
Ma'am? What is that? On his chest.
>> This, we later learn, means that he was a member of the organisation called Twilight.
This isn't recent.
They were hostage for a time?
Satsu, zoom in. Xander, send this to Records. Copy Giles on it.
Vhat are you thinkink?
Self-inflicted. I don't think these are random victims.
>> The rifle Buffy finds is a standard US Army issue one, suggesting that these men have links to the American government.
I think these boys were looking for a fight.
I tink ta forcefield was deirs, too.
So they wanted to be alone with
those things? That doesn't add up.
Over the following we slowly PULL BACK through the broken window of the church.
This is all bad math. But that symbol...
that's gonna clear it all up.
>> No, we never do learn who this is or how he can fly. Based on the later issues it's possibly Ethan Rayne, in which case this would be a dream-projection of him rather than his physical presence. However, this figure is wearing different footwear to what Ethan will later be shown wearing.
That's gonna tell us what those guys are part of.
END OF TEASER
EXT. A HELICOPTER IN FLIGHT - DAY
>>It seems to be a different make of helicopter to the ones the Slayers were using, for what that's worth.
We see GENERAL VOLL talking to a nameless civilian holding a briefcase; we'll call him THE SUIT. The pilot and co-pilot fly the helicopter impassively, for they are extras and have no dialogue.
You don't think that's overstating it, General Voll?
Our intel says they're too loosely affiliated to...
I mean, they're scattered in those...
"Squads", right. Terrorists call 'em "cells".
We go ahead with this, we gotta be together
on exactly what we're facing, and that's an army.
They got power, they got resources, and they
got a hard-line ideology that does not jibe
with American interests.
CLOSE on Voll.
Worst of all, they got a leader. Charismatic,
uncompromising and completely destructive.
I mean for the love of God...
WIDEN to show the helicopter is flying over a huge, two-mile across CRATER in the middle of the desert. This is all that remains of SUNNYDALE.
>> I've shown elsewhere, using satellite photos, that it's perfectly possible for a two-mile diameter crater to appear in roughly the same place Santa Barbara is in real life, and for the crater to be within a short drive from the sea-coast without the sea actually appearing in this picture. Basically, the helicopter is flying over Kingman's Bluff northwards.
Look what she did to her hometown.
EXT. MILITARY ENCAMPMENT - DAY
A small group of TENTS and VEHICLES at the edge of the crater. A soldier stands guard as several more monitor SCREENS AND EQUIPMENT inside a tent. A MAN in shirtsleeves speaks over the radio.
We have you at sixty feet under. You
must be picking up some traces.
EXT. BOTTOM OF SUNNYDALE CRATER - CONTINUING - DAY
Three figures in HAZMAT SUITS gather around a HOLE, over which a WINCH and rope has been set. A fourth SCOUT has just been lowered down the hole.
That's a negative, sir. Unless you count the willies...
INT. UNDERNEATH SUNNYDALE CRATER - CONTINUING
The scout, in a similar Hazmat suit, is walking through a dark, eerie CAVERN in the wreckage that was Sunnydale. It's schmucky-the-bait time.
It's like a museum down here. But
no bodies, and no mystical readings.
I'm all alone down here.
>> Judging by the fact that the reflection on the Hazmat suit's faceplate has long hair, it's actually Amy who's attacking him here, not Warren. We also learn later that she doesn't kill him, just terrify him.
SMASH CUT TO:EXT. MILITARY ENCAMPMENT - DAY
As the soldiers in the tent tear their earphones from their heads, deafened by the scout's screaming.
CLOSE on the MYSTICAL SYMBOL from the teaser. It's a drawing, projected onto a screen.
So what's it all mean?
This room in Slayer Central is lined with bookcases. A built-in projector is showing the symbol on a screen on one wall. BUFFY and XANDER sit comfortably, Xander with his feet on the table that Buffy's perching on. Buffy is eating a huge SANDWICH while Xander holds the REMOTE CONTROL for the projector.
>> Buffy's been slaying. Buffy is now clearly hungry. :) This is obviously some time later, though - not only has she had chance to get home from wherever the church was, but Xander's had chance to get people to research the symbol. Note that Buffy's wearing a different top and jacket to the fight scene, but her boots and trousers look the same.
Nothing from the experts, but
I've been studying it a while.
I think it's a frown turned upside down.
And then turned upside down again.
So you think it's a frown.
Guy with a monocle frowning.
You're a terrible Watcher.
I'm not a Watcher.
Don't call me a Watcher. And
you need to talk to Dawn.
>>Of course, she's being avoidy and trying to ignore Xander's last suggestion here.
I think it's a beautiful sunset.
Seriously, you gotta see Dawn.
She's just gonna whine.
She's got a lot to whine about.
There's nothing I can do till we can find Willow.
You could be her sister.
INT. DAWN's ROOM - CONTINUING - NIGHT
CLOSE on BUFFY
Xander's so stupid when he's right.
But all Dawn does lately is talk about
her problems. Which, admittedly...
>> Some people have questioned how Dawn can still find clothes to fit her, considering she's now a size 300. The obvious answer would be "magic"; either her wardrobe grew big at the same time she did, or the local witches magically enlarged her clothes for her. The real reason, of course, is that the comic is intended for family reading. :-)
...have gotten bigger.
>> Which is an interesting visual effect. Dawn is in the same position in all four panels on the double page, but Buffy moves about in each one to show how much time is passing between each frame.
Thought I'd come and see you.
'Cause Xander made you?
What are you talking about?
Has Willow called?
I'm sure she will soon.
...but if you told me about it, I could at
least get some of the apprentice witches --
I'm not talking about it.
But you'll talk to Willow.
Willow understands. She taught me a lot,
especially when you were dead.
Taught you a lot of what?
Now Buffy is lying on the balcony at the back of the room, looking at Dawn upside down.
... because you act like it's my fault.
You were dating a thricewise.
Kenny never said he was a thricewise!
I said he was a thricewise. Leah said
he was a thricewise. Giles said he
was a thricewise and he only ever met him
on the phone!
Buffy is now leaving through the outside door to the RAMPARTS.
You should get out, run around on the moor.
It's frickin' freezing! Why do we have
to be in Scotland?
You don't have to be in Scotland.
You have to be at Berkeley.
Believe me, as soon as I'm
person-sized, I'm out of here.
I've got things to do.
EXT. CASTLE - CONTINUOUS - NIGHT
As Buffy goes through the door, Dawn's face looms huge behind her.
I could swat you like a flea.
Your butt looks big in those giant pants.
How does that happen? How do we
turn into twelve-year-olds all of a sudden?
Every time we talk? Face it. We haven't really
gotten along since...
...since we changed the world.
I miss my home.
I miss my mom. I miss the gang. And churros.
And sex. Great muppety Odin, I miss that sex.
She gets annoyed now.
Ooh! I just KNOW Dawn had sex with that Kenny
and won't say anything to me -- but she'll tell
Willow, fine, her first time and it all goes
wrong which I'm TOTALLY well versed in
and anyhow Willow's the expert on boys since
She cuts herself off mid-rant.
Outstanding. I can't even feel SORRY
for myself in a linear fashion. Suck it up, Summers.
You're a big girl now.
INT. UNDERGROUND MILITARY BASE - DAY
GENERAL VOLL is looking through the viewing slot on a door.
How is that thing alive?
We see he is accompanied by the man in a SUIT carrying a briefcase he was with in the helicopter, and a white-coated EXPERT.
Well, magic. Obviously.
>> There's a woman dressed as a nurse sitting behind the desk in the corridor, which contradicts something I said before about us not seeing any women working for General Voll.
We believe Subject One was keeping him
alive. Keeping both of them alive,
after the decimation.
But... I mean, did they eat? What did they eat?
Best guess? Whoever else was trapped in there.
Insane. At least tell me they had the decency to go insane.
Unstable, but surprisingly coherent. Subject
One is the more vocal right now. Once
our man underground got over his girly
screaming fit, he told us her first words.
"I'm gonna help you kill her."
Who compromised our intel--
Magic, general. You still have to learn the rules.
There aren't any goddamn rules.
That's sort of what I meant.
Do you think she CAN help us?
What does she want?
Access to all our magical hardware.
A weapons lab for her "boyfriend".
CLOSE on VOLL, who looks rather repulsed by that last thought.
You can't mean they--
Try not to picture it. Also release and
full immunity if they succeed in taking
Buffy Summers down. And, well...
She wants a lot of cheese.
Cheese. Of course. We got a
name on this nutjob?
INT. MILITARY BASE CELL - DAY
Kneeling on the floor in the padded cell, wearing a hospital gown and covered in sticking plasters, cupping a greenish magical ball of light in one hand, we see --
Amy. She says her name is Amy.
END OF ACT ONE