Stephen: "Wiccan's quirky escape"
Another excellent Willow episode, though it doesn’t quite fire on all cylinders like Wild At Heart.
It seems entirely appropriate to deal with Willow’s very real depression following the departure of Oz. Sure, since he left she’s been sulky, bitter, yet shown stiff-upper-lipedness. This is how she really feels about her boyfriend having just skipped town.
There’s loads of great surprises. From Spike being the only one to see how hurt Willow is, to the wiccan’s quirky escape from her demonic captors. Great inventive fun, again bringing the Scooby gang closer together.
Dan: "Chained in a bathtub"
As much as this episode is centred on Willow, it's Nice Guy Spike who steals the show. He might be tied to a chair or wallowing in a bathtub for much of the installment, but James Marsters still not only gets the gal, he also gets all the best lines - personal fave: "I'm chained in a bathtub drinking pig's blood from a novelty mug. Doesn't rate huge in the Zagat's guide".
The liaision between Buffy and Spike is well acted under the circumstances - I always imagine it must be very hard to suddenly get down with someone you have worked with on a daily basis for years. Unless there is something boiling under the surface, and this is enough to leave you wondering ...
James: "Addicted to daytime soaps"
It's worth noting how confined this episode is - the story is told mostly on standing sets and existing locations, and is reasonably light on monsters and special effects. It's also a high point of the season - the plot is such an original idea, unravelling in constantly inventive ways - Spike and Buffy have such bizarre chemistry together.
Anya continues to be a delight, but the real star is still the new version of Spike - an interesting development for the character that is constantly rewarding. Who'd have thought he'd become addicted to daytime soaps?
Kim "What's with the crimp?"
Any Willow-centric story is fine by me and there were some great throwaway gags: Amy's cameo, Riley as a lesbian, and D’Hoffryn’s “Give me a chant” line.
But I want to address something more important. Hair.
What is with that crimp, Buffy? Now, you’re a pretty girl, and you just go and mar it all with, frankly, eighties hair. We had tatty dreds in Beer Bad, we even had plaits once (OK, so those were endearing in a girly kinda way...). I know that the slayage can get draggy, and a girl needs her beauty boost, but fixing your hair twice an episode? Curly, straight, curly... blimey.
And Anya - such lovely auburn hair. Why’d you cut it?
Sarah: "She won't bite"
It was fascinating to see the writers equating the use of magic with the abuse of beer!
Most thought-provoking about the episode though, is the dangerous turn of events that Willow brings about by the turning of her craft to serve her own will ... how dark is the human heart in pain!