Synopsis: Buffy tries to runaway and hide under the alias Anne, but she is drawn into rescuing an old acquaintance from Hell. When questioned by an unfriendly demon, she declares that she is the one and only: Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Review: At its core, this episode is about identity. Add in a few fight scenes, and you have an exciting episode. For loyal followers of the series, Anne follows up on the consequences of many events in the season two finale. Running away is not a solution to your problems, which Buffy will discover over the course of the next few episodes, but you can empathize with Buffy after the trauma of killing Angel in the last episode.
To fill its forty-four minutes of running time, this episode must have a little more meat than runaway Buffy and the misadventures of the Scooby Gang filling in for her back at Sunnydale. Enter silly plot about a demon who kidnaps runaways and throws them into Hell to perform hard labor. This is where the otherwise great episode falters.
Buffy is dragged into this situation by a girl from a previous episode. I do not recall her name, because, frankly, she was unimportant in her previous episode, and she is unimportant in this episode (and she changes her name a lot). Her presence was more a contrived device to bring the real Buffy out of hiding than an attempt at series continuity anyway.
Where this episode excels is where many Buffy episodes excel: hammering in the moral while simultaneously hammering down the monster-of-the-week. A bullying demon in the Hell dimension beats down the other slaves until they answer his question “Who are you?” with “No one.” When he asks Buffy, she replies, “I’m Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.” She finally embraces her identity…and gets to kick demon butt. Anne is a nice addition to the Buffy mythology, but as a standalone episode, it only garners 6 out of 10.
Spiritual Content: Because of the subject matter of the series, almost every episode of Buffy contains something supernatural. Most of the time these are fictional monsters like vampires and werewolves. This episode sends Buffy to Hell, which is a very real place. The fictionalized Hell we see in Anne does not even represent a fraction of the horror of the real Hell. And unlike the runaways in this episode, nobody receives a second chance to return from Hell.
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)