Guest Starring: 
 Camden Toy: 
  3. Same time, same place.  
  Willow returns to Sunnydale, but she and the other Scoobies are unable to see one another.  
  Great quotes:  
The Gnarl.
  • Xander: “I’ve avoided Giles loads of times; but that’s because I’m lazy, not evil.”
  • Willow: “I found a dead body at the high school.” Anya: “Yes, that can happen.” The writers are perhaps acknowledging the implausible number of deaths at Sunnydale high over the years.
  • Willow: “Will you help me?” Anya: “Is it difficult or time-consuming?”
  • Anya: “Causing pain sounds really cool, but it turns out it’s really upsetting.”
  • Anya: “Buffy killed the demon, it was gross.”
  Fantastic moments:  
  • The gnarl is a great monster. It’s like something out of a pure fairytale story, a creature of such pure and malevolent evil that it taunts its victims before paralysing them and tearing their skin off. BtVS hasn’t seen the like since the ‘Gentlemen’.
  • Willow gets to interact with Anya a lot in this episode; this is a good thing on a number of levels, mainly the fact that these two quirkiest of characters get to spark off each other – something which is surprisingly rare as normally they just bitch about each other. The best bit is when Anya asks if Willow’s spell will get “... all sexy”; Willow reacts with a mixture of confusion and understanding before accidentally burning a hole in Anya’s carpet. Anya insists that the spell did get pretty sexy none-the-less.
  Duff Bits:  
  • The explanation of the week – Willow cast a spell by accident – is laughable poor.
  • Thankfully this is later rescinded when it turns out that Amy was casting nasty charms on Willow all the time.
  • That scene, where Spike is able to see all the Scoobies while no one else can see Willow, is pretty clever. That’s all it is though, just clever. It lacks any sparkle or mystery as most of the audience already has realised exactly what is going on.
  • I’m not sure what to think about the moment when Xander suddenly becomes all stupid. The guy’s not that dumb is he?
  Dean's comments:  
Willow's back in town.
Who said ‘monster of the week’? Not an entirely fair accusation as this episode kick-starts season seven by introducing a brilliantly creepy and disturbing monster while bringing Willow back for more of her trademark quirkiness. The extreme convenience of the gnarl’s method of killing its victims – so that everyone can think Willow is at fault – can be excused simply because no one does the fantasy metaphor better than the BtVS team of writers. Willow is worried that no one will forgive her or accept her back therefore she becomes invisible. BtVS fans may with long memories may say that they’ve seen something like this before while the whole ‘phase slip’ device is a standard science fiction plot; there’s no need to overly criticise though, the dialogue is sufficiently witty and the acting sufficiently talented to pull it off. By the end of the episode the Scoobies are all back together and ready to shake off the season 6 blues before taking on the new big bad - ahh.
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