With its gloriously morose voice-over narration, Passion is a terribly sombre episode, darker in tone than any other in Season Two. Much of the episode is typical of the series, but it plummets into previously unexplored depths. For the first twenty-seven minutes it's all doom and gloom... and then it gets even worse.
It's a cruel episode, one that takes its cue from Angel's "gag gifts". It plays with the audience's expectations, setting them up for one thing, and then delivering another. Its pivotal event - Angel killing Jenny - is genuinely distressing, and completely shocking.
It marks a turning point in the series, and for several of its characters, ending the entente cordiale between Angel and Giles. It's a scene that's perfectly shot and beautifully mounted by director Michael Gershman, giving the Season one of it's most memorable sequences.
Ty King's grim tale doesn't quite achieve the balance between horror and humour, and some of the more comedic touches fall flat, like tasteless jokes at a funeral. Nevertheless, it's a compelling story, and one that will confound anyone who thinks that the series was going soft.
There are numerous almost incidental elements that make Passion so enjoyable: the character of the Juju man ("I just love those New Agers, they helped to send my youngest to college!"); the increasing sexual tension between Spike, Angel and Drusilla; Willow's temporary conversion to Catholicism; and "the talk" between Joyce and Buffy.