What an apt title for a show that appears to have learnt a few lessons of its own since last season. It’s low on angst, high on thrills, snappy dialogue and, well, it's just more fun again. Buffy’s Mom hair, references to Britney Spears’ early work and the like are delightful gems from a much-missed Joss Whedon.
It’s a lovely showcase for Dawn too. With speculation rife that she might one day inherit her big sis’s mantle, it’s not hard to imagine Michelle Trachtenberg just about carrying the show - although I think she’ll need a better Scooby gang than the deathly dull Kit and Carlos.
An impressive debut from D.B. Woodside and a spine-tingling nostalgiafest at the episode's end surely bode well for Buffy’s final season.
This may not be the boldest, best executed, or most innovative episode of Buffy… But it's certainly the most enjoyable for a long time.
This proves that the writing team weren't joking when they talked about an "end of term" exhilaration creeping into the last season. There's an exuberance in the writing and performances that's been missing for a long time - it actually looks as though people are having fun.
The whole approach is so reminiscent of season one - new characters, new ideas, and a dazzling confidence. Plus a killer ending.
Lessons offers a glimpse of what could have been, if plans for a Dawn the Vampire Slayer series had been given a green light. Whether deliberate or not, the opening to season seven does have the air of a pilot, and that of a production team knowing that Buffy is coming to an end and trying out new ideas.
Whatever the intention, Lessons works well. Finally, Dawn has grown up and is no longer the whining brat we all tired of last year. Here she genuinely seems to be enjoying her sister's company and life, and is eager to learn about the life of a slayer.
Lessons also offers us a glimpse of the season to come. Along with the Dawn plot, we also have the opening set in Istanbul, and the whole Hellmouth under the new Sunnydale High. If all this wasn’t enough, Spike's back. Phew!