This was the last episode I was spoiled for and luckily I chose to ignore most of the opinions of those who commented on the spoilers at the time. This wasn't the 'Worst Episode Ever', it wasn't total crap, and ME has not lost it. Will it make my personal top 5? No. But I was entertained and chose to view it as part 1 of what I believe to be a five part conclusion.
With the exception of Caleb's ominous remark to Xander "You're the one who sees everything", not much struck me as needing in-depth analysis. Though, jonesiexxx disagrees with me so I am most interested to read her thoughts. Perhaps, she will get my brain to analyzing too.
I quite liked Caleb (though I agree with those who said the accent blew). I'm aware that there was a lot of trepidation and concern over the introduction of the character. But, rather than provide an unnecessary distraction, I found that he added to the show and plot. I only wish that he had been added sooner - mid season maybe. I would have enjoyed he and Buffy in a battle of wills, brains, and power before she, I assumes, defeats him.
Curious to know who/what he is. Obviously the guy has a lot of issues with women and I got a definite serial killer vibe. But, throwing Buffy across the room like that shows there are some otherworldly forces at play.
Nathan Fillion did a fine job. In a lesser actors hands, the character could have been nothing more than a cliche. He made Caleb compelling, made me want to know more about him. Now, I'm not putting him in the same category with James, but as James did with Spike, he made evil interesting. I want him to stick around for awhile.
I enjoyed the Faith/Spike interaction (damn, James looked sexy tonight) but I didn't see any sort of romantic chemistry there. Faith was definitely flirting and, after three years in prison, probably interested in some action, yet Spike just seemed to be interested in conversation. These are two people trying to redeem themselves for their past sins. They can commiserate with someone who understands where they are coming from and isn't so quick to judge. Buffy may trust Spike completely, but no one else does. And Faith doesn't even have that luxury.
I also enjoyed the dynamic of the basement scene and the subtlety of it. Spike showed some discomfort of being 'caught in bed' with another woman. Buffy tried to reign in her uneasiness and jealousy. And Faith seemed to enjoy pushing Buffy's buttons. She still lives in Buffy's shadow and seeking ways to best her.
With the reality of war happening, I could empathize with Buffy and the decision she had to make. Unfortunately, no matter how good the intentions or belief that you are doing the right thing, mistakes are often made in a war. You choose the wrong battle and innocent lives can be lost. Buffy has to live with her mistake. Still, someone has to make the tough choices and I see no one else stepping up to do it.
She's right, how long do they sit around and wait for the next attack? Does she watch them get picked off one by one while doing nothing or does she take a chance and go on the offensive?The SIT's weren't really ready, but, then again, when would they be? Buffy doesn't have time for a long training sessions; the luxury of just worrying about newly risen vamps or the mindless demon on a rampage. And Rona's attitude summed it up best - she just wanted to be protected. Well, sweetie, you are a potential Slayer, you have no choice. Buffy couldn't sit back when she was called and hope someone would look out for her and save the world in her absence. Rona and the others have to accept what they may become, learn what it means, and do their duty.
Lot's of funny bit's tonight....FEBuffy (didn't Sarah look like she was having fun playing evil?) wondering why Caleb didn't recognize her by her "pert and bouncy hair"....Spike's argument on why he is "nothing like Angel"....Andrew not realizing what a vulconologist is (and imaging a Faith/Spock smackdown).....and, may not be PC, but Caleb's reference to the harbingers as the "Ray Charles brigade".
One question.....where was Anya during all this???