Well, that was fun. Not.
After the last episode lifted this season out of its muggy morass of moaney angst, I expected more from Two to Go. Instead, we went straight back to roomfuls of people all looking serious and telling one another that they can get through it if they work together. What a waste.
Dark Willow was great though - it's just a damn shame she didn't get to turn Dawn back into an energy ball. She was so right - everyone would be happier without kid Summers' constant whinging.
To round it all off, the least convincing stunt-double ever then gets a mass of screentime as kickboxing Willow in a pedestrian and over-long fight scene. Only the final cliffhanger rescues the episode - welcome back Giles, we've missed you!
It's great that Willow is finally evil, but I wish she'd gone bad ten weeks ago.
As it is it's far too little too late. Remember how shockingly awful it was when Angel turned into Angelus and went broodingly horrible? It was a devastatingly careful use of the situation - some weeks he turned up for just one magnificently menacing scene.
Instead we get Suddenly Really Nasty Willow who is Really Nasty In Every Scene. Loudly. She jumps on Really Big Trucks. She shatters Polystyrene Walls. She's Not Very Nice to Anya.
And it's not menacing or moving at all. When Angelus was around, we were painfully aware that someone we cared about had been turned into someone else entirely. Angelus had such a wonderful personality, motivation and psychology. Dark Willow's just had a visit to the wardrobe department.
You only realise the wasted opportunity when you remember the magnificent Dopplegangland - and how Vampire Willow was so interesting. Alyson Hannigan shone there. This time around, there's nothing much for the actress to do. Vampire Willow was a believable person. So too is the normal Willow we know and love. But this strange creature is barely a character - she doesn't seem particularly grief-stricken, or exactly possessed by a dark force with an agenda of its own. The only thing she's possessed with is a lot of sucky supervillain dialogue.
This is loud, messy and a terrible waste of a great concept. But it still has the best Buffy cliffhanger ever.
I think I should come clean right at the start of this review and admit that I love cliffhangers and one of the few things that are thin on the ground in Buffy are really good cliffhangers.
Thankfully this end of Season Six has them in abundance and this episode tops the list. In fact, all the doubts I had earlier in the episode are wiped away by the final shot. Superb.
Hannigan is again superb as Dark Willow, crackling with venom as she taunts Dawn with the fact that she is whiney and irritating, which is what we are all thinking at home. It’s the vindictiveness of Bad Willow that makes her so interesting and it’s a great shame that the only people she hurts deserve it, some innocent casualties caught in the cross fire would certainly add to the menace.
Overall, Two to Go is a very enjoyable episode but it does fall into the trap of playing to the fans. Still, I'd be quite happy to see an entire season with cliffhangers of this calibre.