“Are you kidding? It was like a meat party in my mouth… Okay, now I’m just a kid and even I know that came out wrong.” – Dawn
So after ending the previous episode on Buffy and Spike trashing a house as they hooked up while Amy and Willow embarked on a care free magic bender, this episode really comes like the unofficial second part because if anything the Buffy universe love to remind us that no action comes without its consequences and for some people they will hit home hard in this episode.
First off lets start by addressing the Spike / Buffy relationship which certainly has its fans but for myself it was and still remains a misstep for the series to have Buffy once more hooking up with a vampire, with the only edge coming from the fact that they used to be enemies. Even with this though you have to remember the only reason that they did become allies was because Spike got neutered by the Initiative.
Their relationship is more of a second plotline in the episode and as such is mainly kept to the background as Spike taunts her over what they did, while she generally tries to forget the whole thing, so as such we get pretty much them arguing for the most part, while being forced to locate Dawn whose been caught up in Willows decline into magic addiction.
Willow really is the focus for this episode which might have been great if this was the Willow of the early seasons, but seeing how its post season four, its far from the version of the character we really want as the main focus. Still that being said its important she be given so much time especially when this week we get to see her truly hit rock bottom as her addiction leads her through some questionable guidance from Amy to meet the Warlock Rack.
Rack here played by Jeff Kober who previously showed up at the insane vampire Zachary Kralik in the season 3 episode “Helpless” and here playing the powerful warlock Rack maintains his creepy edge, especially as he operates out of the magical version of a crack den, offering Amy and Willow more powerful spells with none of the cool down of her current magic. The power soon proving overwelming to Willow who finds her addiction reaching an all time low as drunk on magical power ends up getting into a car crash with Dawn after she looses control of the vehicle she was magically driving for their escape from the demon Marrack.
The similarlites between drug addiction and magic addiction are played pretty much on the nose for this episode with Willow talking about not missing the bleeding noses, while Rack’s lair is such a slum hidden in plain sight its hard not to see it as anything but a magical crack den. True they try to play the relationship card with Willow shown animating Tara’s clothes to try and find comfort, but to close on Willow going cold turkey and doubled over in bed with what appears to be cramps, its hard to deny the drugs link.
A pretty weak episode bar what it contributes to the general season plot line, while the one appearance of Xander feels like nothing but an afterthought and something that should really have been cut from the episode for how little it gives outside of the throw away comment that all the demons are starting to look the same.
Next Episode: Gone