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18 June 2014
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Episode Guide
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

Review

As Valentine's Day approaches, Xander tries to improve his love life through witchcraft - and finds himself with too much of a good thing.

Of all the regular characters, it's Xander that's least likely to be the focus of any particular episode. He always plays an important role, providing much of the humour that's made the series so popular and accessible, but he's a follower rather than an instigator. In some ways, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered is a formulaic episode that seems to have been created as some kind of loyalty bonus for Nicholas Brendon to make up for this. Still, he manages to carry things very adeptly.

Writer Marti Noxon nails the spurned Xander's motivation for starting the trouble in this episode in one line: "I want her to want me desperately, so I can break up with her, and subject her to the same hell she's been putting me through". Thanks to Amy and the lovelorn Xander we get to see a whole new side to several characters, most notably a sultry version of Willow.

The episode is enlivened by Christophe Beck's wonderfully energetic score and, especially, by James Contner's imaginative direction. Contner manages to bring a sense of momentum to the story, and instils the episode with a sense of creeping terror. He also draws winning performances from the cast, who probably haven't had this much fun since Halloween.


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