Overall Rating: 6.8
A solid bounce-back this week, but Giles underscores how silly it is that the writers themselves are wasting time with stuff like this.
A summary can be found here - a lot going on here, and so little of it will really be deeply relevant to the conclusion as to make me wonder if perhaps there was more they could have been doing.
There were actually three things about this episode that I found legitimately hilarious. Despite the dire plot landscape, they managed to insert a running joke about Giles' total inability to speak Chao-Ahn's particular Chinese dialect that was seriously side-splitting. I got a kick out of Xander concluding that the solution to his demon-attracting ways was to go gay and demanding that Willow (as the resident expert on such matters, presumably) gay him up. "Let's go, Will, make with the gay!" Of course the hilarity is interrupted by Giles' quite-correct and yet sorry little speech about how these are serious times and they need serious fighters. And I enjoyed Anya's "of course it's working - can't you see the wave of hormone-induced jealous rage, here?" moment. She somehow manages to be both petty and adorable at the same time. Kind of impressive!
Here's the thing...Giles is right. I get that these guys are still human and in times like these, they need mental breaks - they need to be able to focus on something other than their impending doom. But...we, the audience, don't really need those breaks as much. We're running out of time to tell a satisfying story (and in fact, the end does feel rushed, albeit still pretty cool) and there's a lot to do...do we really need to spend so much time on dating minutia? It's OK...it's not badly written and it's entertaining...but...I kind of wish the light-hearted moments were worked into the more meaningful parts of the story instead of given a whole episode of their own.
Actually the script carries this one...it's a solid filler script...but I wish they had higher ambitions for these middle episodes. This is the season to pull out all the stops, not to fritter about with silly half-romances and jealousy and such.
Nothing really stands out here - I am not at all impressed by D.B. Woodside here...he gets better material later, but here, trying to date Buffy, he seems...um...flat. The main cast gives their standard, solid performance.
I don't really get all that much out of this one that hasn't already been triple-covered in other episodes and done better. So I'll hold back the bigger scores for the finale - I don't think the writers had a huge moral agenda here.