This episode raises questions rather than answers - quite appropriate for the point where a season gets into its stride. Spike really doesn't seem to know what he's been doing, and the shape-shifting is surely designed to keep viewers mystified about the Big Bad.
Such glimpses of this anonymous power's potential means the season is taking some hefty risks. It risks deflating us later on, but eight episodes in, the momentum and foreboding is highly impressive.
After Conversations' four-lane highway structure, this focus returns to Spike and Buffy. Rightly, she's more sympathetic now she knows about his regained soul. It ends up with Spike believing he deserves dusting, and Buffy sparing him. While their superb work together could be taken as read by now, Marsters and Gellar shine yet again as the realigned pair.
Oh, and three cheers for guest musician Aimee Mann. Not only are the songs great, but her overheard line when coming off-stage (probably the only time an act at the Bronze gets any dialogue) is the funniest moment in another fizzing script.
You have to admire Spike’s high-speed pulling technique. Okay, he has the cool hair and washboard abs thing going for him, but if I’d tried to chat up a young lady in a club queue late at night, I'd simply end up with a cigarette stubbed out on my forehead and a well-placed kick that would only assist in my ability to sing soprano.
Yet after about ten seconds of small talk, wacky William has easily lured his prey to a secluded corner with the promise of good times. How could he use a poor maiden so? I hate him.
Top marks for the ending, however - where Tony Head seemed destined to become Tony Headless. Although his appearances have been painfully brief so far this season, Head's scant seconds on screen make for one of the finest TV cliffhangers since Jean-Luc Picard was Borgified in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Buffy’s good run of episodes continues with Sleeper, which explores the after- effects of last week’s ghostly revelations. There’s also a mystery in the air as various people go missing and only one person seems to connect them; Spike.
In common with many an episode, not only is there genuine tension in the air, but great moments of humour are added to the mix. Anya being put in charge of keeping an eye on Spike provides some laughs.
Other points of interest include the bodies that emerge from man-about-town Spike’s safe house which, strangely enough, are not just female. What does this say about Spike? I think we should be told…
Plus, I loved singer Aimee Mann’s line, ‘I hate playing vampire towns’ - makes you wonder where else she’s been playing - Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Eastbourne Congress Theatre, perhaps?