Sunnydale clocks in another October the thirty-first and we get the annual Buffy Halloween episode. The cast get to wear silly costumes for a bit and no evil terrors are meant to show their faces because its just not 'done' at this time of year.
Mainly the season six soap opera rumbles on, and I still don't find myself gripped by any of it. (Although I'm with Willow as far as the decorations are concerned, Tara really needs to remove that broom handle from her... ahem, sorry).
The main thrust of this story is very enjoyable, and some of the jokes are an absolute joy (Giles' glasses being particularly memorable). One group of demons blends into another after a while but there was something refreshing about the 'Buffy versus the vampires' fight, and not just that Giles got to knock a few heads this time.
Perhaps its just me but I'm finding the lack of a diabolical uber-villian to be really disappointing.
It's all getting a bit fraught and emotional chez Buffy, what with Xander's sudden matrimonial announcement, Willow and Tara arguing and that naughty minx Dawn sneaking off to "park" with hoodlums of the boy persuasion. This episode was almost shaping up to be Sunnydale-enders for the first half, but then the old Buffy magic kicked in with a great vamp fight scene full of sharp one-liners and perfect pratfalls.
Mixing the grim reality of relationship issues with the grimmer fantasy of vampires is this show’s strength, but here the two parts didn't blend so well. The highlights, all classic sparky, wisecracking and asskicking Buffy, didn't so much relieve the drabber soapy scenes as show up their flaws. Please, more staking and less belly-aching.
Another cracking episode, with everyone having a purpose and being given something to do. But this isn’t just a cosy ensemble piece - all the character’s storylines are advanced and there’ some serious growing up to be done.
Willow and Tara have their first row, Xander realises the responsibilities that come with a marriage proposal, and Dawn has her first kiss and commits her first slaying. Indeed, as much as I hate to admit it, Dawn grows from being the sulky teenager to a well-rounded sympathetic character.
But it isn’t just all teen angst. Once again Buffy works well when it plays up to the trappings of the horror film genre and turns them on their heads - the creepy old guy in the scary old house - with the laughs not coming at the expense of the tension.