Overall Rating: 6.0
After the excitement of the previous tow episodes, this one is a major let down. Not only does Buffy INSTANTLY go back on her no-Spike vow, but the dynamic between Willow and the rest of the scoobies (and Dawn) is too cordial for my liking considering how much trouble she got herself into. There's supportive and then there's TOO accommodating.
Wikipedia has a good summary here - worth a quick read if you don't want to watch this filler.
Apart from some rather cheap chuckles involving Spike/Buffy in a spectacularly inappropriate scene given Buffy's current character arc, and a few other moments with the rest of the scoobies and with the nerd trio...this episode is pretty darned forgettable. I get the point it was trying to make regarding Buffy's life...and regarding Willow's real character strengths (she's an outstanding sleuth...it was nice to see that on display again)...but...it was a pretty tepid and uninteresting script to make that point. Yes...they can't all be masterpieces, but this is a fairly important moment in Buffy's life and especially for poor Dawn, and Dawn doesn't get but two minutes of screen time. I think they could have made Buffy realize she wanted to live in a more dramatic way than this.
I can't be too hard on them for giving us a light bit of fluff to allow for a pause in the drama before things go to crap later on...but this doesn't seem especially heavy on the effort. If you're going to do comedy...it should be a bit funnier than this.
James Marsters does the best work in the cast this week...the rest of the group seems a little on the mellow side for my taste.
This would have gotten a higher score from me if Buffy's discovery about wanting to be in her own life had been followed up on a bit sooner than the series finale and if the episode had made that point with more than a final tone-deaf conversation between Buffy and Willow. It just...doesn't have enough weight to be very exciting or to make the point it's trying to make.