Overall Rating: 6.7
This has to be the most boring apocalypse EVER. Still and all, it's not a horrid episode...it's just...not very memorable and the ending for Buffy and Riley is pretty illogical.
A full summary can be found at BuffyGuide.com.
So...Buffy and Riley know their respective deep dark secrets. I am trying very hard to figure out how Buffy discovering that Rikey is also a demon fighter has convinced her that her relationship is doomed...but it's never fully explained. We get some generalities about how fighting bad guys is an adventure for him, but a calling for her, and how she thinks that means he'll get himself into trouble...and some reference is made to her past with Angel being somehow relevant to the current situation, even though Riley is 100% soul-fed human and totally capable of doing the hibbity-dibbity without going evil. But I don't think much thought went into the motivations for Buffy in this one. They needed her to have doubts about initiative Riley and then to decide she was OK with it and the rest of the story was sort of cookie-cutter pieced together.
Speaking of cookie cutter pieces...the ending of that story...after Buffy and Riley fight together to stop an apocalypse and Riley blows his cover with Giles...he decides it's "the end of the world" and that makes Buffy decide she's cool with dating him? I see...as long as Riley's a whiny, incompetent commando instead of a kick-ass one...then he's normal enough for the Buffster. Got it. I really fail to understand the point of that. On the other hand, I do enjoy Spike's subplot...upon realizing he can hurt demons, he goes from suicidal to gleeful...someone out there can still fear him! WOOHOO!! I found that bit hilarious.
Not a well-conceived plot, not an interesting apocalypse, not all that great in the dialogue department. But functional storytelling and it kept me awake...even had a few chuckles at Spike's expense, which is always a plus.
James Marsters and Alyson Hannigan were especially strong in this one. Marc Blucas cannot act. Period. His weird half-bent-knee-walk around Buffy's room during the opening scene was a classic example of him looking stiff and ridiculous compared to the real pros on the show. As was his "it's the end of the world" delivery. UGH. The rest of the cast had an overall "up" day, though.
Not sure there IS a message this week.
(one highlight in an otherwise rather dull script)
SPIKE: Oh come now...look at you two. Sitting here watching the telly while the forces of darkness are still at work? (Xander and Willow stare back, annoyed. Spike turns off the TV) We should be out there, doing some damage! What's the matter...can't go without Buffy? Too scared? Let's find her! Let's go out, do some patrolling! Come on! Vampires, demons, GRRRR! We should be out there fighting...you know...for justice and freedom and safety for puppies...right? Let's KILL something!! (cut to black) Oh COME ON!!! (ROTFL!!!)