After a shaky opening there was the hope that this season would follow the suite of the previous seasons by giving us more of a traditional episode which it does initially seem like we might get as Buffy and Xander try to track down a worm like demon which appears to be stalking a young woman after consuming her pet dog. Frustratingly this is an episode which is still plagued by plotting issues especially when the monster is pushed back to what almost feels like a b-plot.
So instead of some fun demon slaying antics we are treated instead to more drama from the still fractured group as Buffy finds herself with only Xander to support her, while she continues to put on a strong front for Dawn who actually shows herself as being more aware of the situation than we originally assumed especially when she threatens to set Spike on fire while he sleeps if he ever hurts Buffy again. Willow meanwhile continues to deal with her now permanent magical abilities as she recovers in England with Giles in a scene which really just felt like a rehash of the same scenes we saw in the season opener and here really only serves to remind us were Willow is.
The one saving grace of the fractured group is Anya who continues to be one of the persistently great elements of the show much like Xander and it’s actually pretty refreshing to see the show not just reducing Xander to pining for Anya. Instead the situation between them is acknowledged before the episode moves on.
The Spike plotline continues to be problematic especially considering that we are supposed to seemingly ignore the fact that he attempted to rape Buffy and that his new torment through having a soul is in some way to correct his actions. Now we are faced with a broken character who really can be explained away by the fact that Masters garned an important fanbase for the show runners. So for all the melodramatics they want to try and us to have us warm to this it really did little for me.
A real nothing kind of episode and while the opportunity to do something fun with the demon element to the plot which really end up being under utilised. Sure there might be hints of something bigger here with the monks attacking random girls appearing again but at this point the show has fallen along way from what it was.