Buffy used to have problems concealing her night job from people. These days, Sunnydale being what it is, that's not quite such a priority - most local residents have finally cottoned on to the fact that there's got to be something odd behind that sky-high mortality rate.
In Beneath You, though, she’s more worried about secrets from between the sheets than monsters from beneath the streets. Dealing very amusingly with the sleazy adult residues of the last season, this episode’s high point was watching the Scoobys squirm in embarrassment as all their dirty linen was gleefully waved about in public.
It was great to see such themes treated lightly, which is why it was such a pity when the episode suddenly spiralled dismally back into the angst pit. Insane Spike, especially with shirt off, is a thing of joy forever, but even he couldn't make the last five minutes of overegged symbolism and soap histrionics bearable. Make it stop, please.
Beneath You has a lot going for it with the big plusses being James Marsters given a chance to play mad, and doing it well, and the return of Anya – yay! These factors alone would be enough to satisfy, but the bonus is that both are contained in an episode that actually has a good plot.
Ok, so the fact that Anya’s the culprit is perhaps not a big surprise, but with a script so full of warmth and humour, who cares?
Stand out moment for me has to be the humorous exchange when Nancy comments about who has slept with whom. I felt sorry for her dog though!
This episode's almost as impressive as last week - it's got the edgy cosiness of a favourite pair of Doc Martens. While the regulars banter and bitch away to each other, we're also aware of a building menace that's really unsettling.
It's all done with power, beauty and subtlety… until Misery and Angst make an unwelcome return from their holiday, and we get the oh-so-moving episode ending.