Guest Starring: 
 Anthony Stewart Head: 
 Rob Nagle: 
  8. Sleeper.  
  Spike has started to kill people again; Buffy faces tough choices in deciding how to deal with him.  
  Great quotes:  
Spike has become evil, again.
  • Xander on Spike: "He's a creature of the night Buff, he's probably out 'creaturing'."
  • Anya: "I used to tell the truth all the time when I was evil."
  • Spike: "I can't cry this soul out of me. It wont come."
  Fantastic moments:  
  • Emma Caulfield does a genius turn as the unconvincingly sexually alluring Anya when Spike catches her searching his room. "Well... I'm here obviously... for sex." They grapple without any real intent for about 5 seconds before Spike politely turns her down, Anya is bizarrely upset by his reaction, telling him that "... soulless Spike would have had me upside-down and half way to happy land by now."
  • The use of a song as a trigger for Spike's chip (thus allowing him to kill) was so subtle that I actually missed it upon first viewing. Well maybe it isn't that subtle and I simply wasn't paying attention; but anyway, it's a clever touch.
  • Once again we get to see two contrasting versions of Buffy; one taunts Spike into killing while the second - real Buffy - tries to understand what he is doing and stop herself from resolving to kill him. Gellar's acting is out of the top drawer, and the 'evil' version of Buffy is no longer as confusing as it might have been. Now the audience is beginning to piece the plot together.
  • The final shot of the episode involves a bringer about to chop Giles' head off with an axe. The shot cuts to the credits at an impossibly late moment. But don't wait till next week kids, this ain't gonna be resolved for a while yet.
  • There's a well-judged post modern moment in the Bronze when well-known singer Aimee Mann comments in an off-hand way to her band mates that she hates vampire towns.
  • The bouncer at the Bronze describes Spike as a Billy Idol look-a-like; Buffy corrects him, telling the bouncer that the singer actually modelled his appearance on Spike.
  Duff Bits:  
  • When Willow tells Dawn "It's the big bad Dawnie, the one we all knew was coming." and then "This big evil that's been promising to devour us, I think it started chomping." it makes me want to retch. They're such a corny and self-obsessed lines, they really have no place in the episode.
  • Why does someone have to keep an eye on Spike at Xander's flat during the daytime? The daytime!
  • Does anyone know how The First re-programmed Spike’s chip? No? Ok then, let’s not think about this plot too much then.
  • When Buffy goes chasing after Spike in the evening, Sunnydale is surprisingly crowded. I thought that people in that town would have given up on going out at night long ago. Maybe it's just a convenient plot device to on the one hand make Buffy think she's seen several Spikes while on the other giving Spike lots of people to prowl around.
  • Spike calls Buffy on her mobile. This is getting dangerously close to 'Dawson's Creek' now.
  Dean's comments:  
Now there are two Spikes!
In this oddly one-dimensional and occasionally flawed episode, we get more of the season 7 arc revealed to us in the form of Spike's 'trigger', Giles' re-introduction as a voice for the Watchers' council and more of The First's ability to appear as dead people. It appears to follow directly on from the events of the previous episode, indeed the next episode follows on directly from this. I’m not a big fan of story arcs spilling over into one another so early in a season as it tends to swamp the story writing within each episode; but it’s something new for BtVS – at least the writers can be applauded for trying to do new things with the format this late into the series’ run. The plot simply follows Buffy’s investigation of Spike and his current night time activities; he has been killing women and she eventually twigs that there is “... something playing us.” With that comes the realisation that The First is trying to get Spike’s friends to kill him, Spike’s importance for the ‘end game’ is beginning to become clear. An episode highlight is Buffy’s reasonably easy dispatching of 5 vampires in a basement towards the end of the episode; this girl’s certainly come along a lot since she first struggled to find the pointy end of a stake 7 years ago.
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