Cordelia is practicing on stage for the Sunnydale High talent show. Giles is shocked at how bad she is.
Buffy, Willow and Xander mock Giles for being forced into the role of talent show manager. Principal Snyder overhears them and forces Buffy, Xander and Willow to participate too.
An awkward kid Morgan bombs on stage during his act. His puppet develops a new voice and starts throwing out funny jokes. Everyone is impressed with him.
Emily, a ballet dancer, is changing in the locker room before being attacked by an unknown presence.
Buffy, Willow and Xander decide to do a dramatic scene as their talent on stage.
Emily's dead body is found; her heart is missing. They suspect a human did it as a knife was used to rip out her heart. After interrogating members of the talent show, Morgan becomes their top suspect.
Buffy interrogates Morgan and he acts strangely: his head starts hurting and the dummy defends him.
Morgan and his dummy are arguing over something; he's asking Morgan to do a task for him. Later at night, Buffy is attacked but the figure disappears into the dark.
Cordelia asks Giles to shift the talent show order, but he manipulates her into going away.
Morgan and Sid start acting up in class. The teacher confiscates Sid and locks him in a cabinet. When the class is done, the dummy is missing; Xander has stolen him.
Buffy decides to find Morgan while Xander looks after Sid, and Giles and Willow do research in the demon section of the library. The dummy disappears when Xander looks away for a second.
Buffy finds Morgan's dead body in the theater's prop room. Sid attacks her and the two fight. It's revealed Sid is a demon-hunter spirit in search of the final demon from a group of seven.
Giles conducts the power circle to see if anyone is missing from the show. Buffy and Sid watch overhead, but no one is missing. They think the demon isn't someone from the cast.
Buffy finds Morgan's abandoned brain. Willow discovers Morgan had brain cancer, so the demon still needs a healthy intelligent brain. At first they think it's Willow, but Giles is the real target.
Marc (the magician) is the true demon. He locks Giles in a guillotine trap and plans to slice off his brain. Buffy stops him in time from setting off the trap.
Buffy and Marc fight. Marc reverts back to his demon form; he's knocked onto the guillotine and his head is sliced off.
Sid stabs Marc through the heart. The demon circle is defeated and Sid passes away now that his mission is complete.
The curtain opens and everyone in the auditorium sees the Scoobies standing around the dead demon body and Sid's lifeless dummy form.
Xander, Willow and Buffy perform their dramatic reading. Willow runs away in fear from stage fright.