Films like Fatal Attraction and The Hand That Rocks The Cradle helped popularise a sub-genre of thrillers featuring seemingly normal characters that turned into raving psychopaths. These were often referred to as the '..from Hell' genre of movies - this tale, for example, is about a room-mate from Hell.
However, in Living Conditions, writer Marti Noxon actually takes the concept to its logical conclusion - this time the character in question actually is a demon from a hell dimension!
Dagney Kerr’s nicely paced performance as Kathy helps sell the premise, but the story could have done with having longer to unfold. Instead, Noxon was forced to use shortcuts to convey Buffy’s creeping sense of paranoia. The result is a story with a rushed ending, short on subtlety and sorely lacking the wonderful dialogue nuances that
characterise most episodes of the show.
Despite this, it’s encouraging to find the regular cast so casually back together again after the worrying indications in the last episode that it would be difficult for the writers to find reasonable excuses for them to continue working as a team. This episode generally dispenses with explanations, and flows better because of it.