Whilst Bargaining plays extremely well as a feature-length special, part two on its own lacks a certain something. There are plenty of thrills and spills for those who stick with it, but only after a lot of tedious running around and hiding behind plastic rocks in the woods.
Many may be baffled by the ease of Buffy's return - but the payoff, when it comes, puts this episode in perspective in unexpected ways. Trust me.
Sunnydale gets spectacularly trashed yet again (just how much do the townsfolk pay for their home insurance?) but the demon threat isn't satisfyingly resolved. Why do demon bikers always insist on starting unneccessary fires in oil drums too? Is it some kind of Feng Shui thing perhaps?
Buffy's alive, but she's not the Slayer we know and love. Mind you, I'm not sure how I would feel if I had to dig myself out of my own grave.
Spike has obviously not lost all of his evil ways as he steals motorbikes and leers in delight when a woman is being victimised by the demon bikers. He's still affectionate towards Dawn though, so we forgive him.
The Scoobies are back in force, with Willow and Tara using their magic powers to destroy the head demon.
Not the strongest episode in the show's history, the plot plodding on from last week at a gentle pace and finally picking up in the scene at the tower where poor, bewildered Buffy asks 'Is this hell?' and intends on jumping off it again. Wasn't once enough?
'You're home' Dawn tells Buffy. The final shot of the episode shows that's not quite true. Buffy's haunted eyes stare out at nothing. Nothing will be the same again.
Buffy season premiers have always been a little disappointing. They have to deal with the housekeeping necessary for the new season arc to take place, and so should be given a little slack, but this one seems even weaker than most.
The main problem? Buffy comes back too early. The end of the last season was an epic operatic tragedy with a supreme self-sacrifice and all the hand-wringing that this entails - well, as much as you can fit into the two minutes before the credits.
Now, one week and half a story into the new run, she's back. Half out of her mind and wearing a horrible dress, but back. Within minutes of crawling out of her own grave she is slaying bland demons and watching herself get pulled apart. It all seems so inconsequential. Especially after the supremely moving death of Joyce last year.
Fans of this episode will point to the remainder of the season as a defence of this choice but Scooby Gang plus Buffy-Bot for a couple of weeks had potential and it’s a shame to see it wasted.
Still, as the last shot hinted, all is not well in Sunnydale, and resurrection is not without its consequences.