Episode Title: All The Way
Original Air Date: October 30th 2001
“Mist, cemetery, Halloween…This should end well.” – Giles
It’s Halloween in Sunnydale once again and with the monsters taking their traditional break, the gang are being kept busy at the Magic Box which is bizarrely having its busiest day ever. This of course is kind of strange for a town were the residents seem to be oblivious that anything supernatural is happening and yet somehow there is enough magic users to make a magic shop a thriving business venture.
Early in the shows run it was established that in this world Halloween is seen as a night off for monsters who consider the whole thing kinda tacky. Of course this rarely seems to be the case for Buffy and this week it would seem is no different as Dawn and her friend Janice sneak out with a pair of older boys unaware that they are actually vampires.
A surprisingly solid episode, though one which will no doubt slip under the radar of most fans constructing their favourite episode lists and yet its an episode which gives us so much development especially for key events which will unfurl over the season such as Anya and Xanders wedding which the group only discover is happening this week, only for Xander to find himself soon greeted with more problems concerning the course of his relationship and impending adulthood than he initially expected.
The other key development we get here is the casual magic use by Willow getting further out of hand much to the concern of Tara, who is dismayed to see Willow using magic for tasks she could easily do such as decorating for a party and more so how she sees no issue in transferring a room full of people to another dimension when they attempt to find Dawn later in the episode. Willows magic getting out of hand will be a major aspect to this season and the issues its already causing especially with Willow no longer showing any reserve with her magic use its clear that already that its not taking her on a good path as we will see as the season progresses.
Still the rare thing about this episode though is that its a Dawn centred episode with her getting up to general teenager antics by having her sneak out to meet older boys, only here we get a supernatural twist of the boys being Vampires. The really great thing about this plot though is how smoothly the tone switches between these two from first kisses to general vampire antics the line is perfectly blurred between the two which works perfectly.
While the episode might seem like a lot of angst with added fangs, turns out to be fun ride throughout, with even the light flirting between Buffy and Spike being not as invasive or irritating as normal especially with Spike being more about the one liners here than anything else, memorably berating one of the vampires for breaking the Halloween traditions for a misguided attempt at being a rebel.
A fun little episode which really plays to the strengths of the show, let alone giving us Giles being an absolute badass which is always great to see as he gets into a fist fight with a vampire. True it might not be a top 10 quality episode but still not one to be overlooked.
Next Episode: Once More, With Feeling