Synopsis: A new--I mean old--vampire is in town. Also, Faith, Kendraís replacement slayer is in town, and Buffy is scared her friends will like Faith more than they like her.
Review: I am a big advocate of a television series being episodic. I believe an episode should be able to standalone. A new viewer should just as easily be able to jump into a series in the third season as in the first season. The sole purpose of this episode was to close up a few loose ends from other episodes and introduce some important story arcs for the future of the seriesónot your best standalone episode. But it still endeared itself to me.
In a movie, you only have two hours to get to know the characters. You do not feel attached to a character after two hours. In a television series, you have years to get to know the characters. The longer I watch a television series, I become more attached to the characters. My attachment helped me empathize with Buffy when Faith marched into town and started stealing her thunder.
The plot involving a vampire so old that his hands were cloven was not especially inventive nor was it boring. This super old vampire, Kakistos is supposed to be one bad dude, but in the end of the episode he gets staked. It was a very Buffy-like misdirection. Kakistos is not the one we should be afraid of. Mr. Trick, the younger more hip vampire who rode into town as his assistant, will play a big part in the rest of this season.
The clincher was the end of the episode where Giles slyly pries the truth about Angelís death from Buffy and clinches this episode an 8 out of 10. It showed how much Giles cares about Buffy. The episode ends with Angelís return from Hell. We are not given an explanation for his return, but at this point, I am putting faith in Whedon et al. to give a satisfactory explanation in a future episode.
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)