The Good; I never really liked Riley when he was a regular but in small doses I find him much more agreeable (and indeed feel the same way
The Bad; One thing that always shakes me about this ep is that Riley's wife Sam looks so much like Warren's ex Katrina. Also rather a spoiler when Marc Blucas' name appears in the opening credits. Have a look at the scene where the demon attacks on Main Street Sunnydale, the couple sitting at the coffee shop don't react at all. Since when does Sunnydale have this huge dam just outside it? Why do Riley and Buffy have to dump most of their weapons to go down on the line together, can't they just go down one at a time?
Best line; Buffy (staring shocked at Riley);"Were you always this tall?" (yes which is one of the reasons he and petite Buffy were so ridiculous as a couple)
Women good/men bad; Riley says he is in command of Sam. She says 'He wishes'. Buffy says she's not defined by who's she with, the beginning of her cookie dough philosophy.
Kinky dinky; Riley walks in on Buffy and Spike. Buffy changes in front of him but he doesn't look (seen it all before?). Buffy and Spike against the tree right in the open outside the Summer's house. Some very risqué comments about 'Letting you in' and 'Come outside' that could be open to interpretation. But Buffy's 'He's not getting any gentler' remark gives a different aspect to all this, it seems almost joyless for her. According to Spike he and Buffy have sex for five hours straight but this is
Captain Subtext; Xander is starting to dream of flower bouquets. Riley comments that he's seen enough of Spike's 'dead body' for one night. Willow comments how as a little girl she used to dream about marrying Xander but now seems glad to have ducked the bullet. After the events of 'Older and Farther Away' Buffy and Dawn seem much closer, getting on better, Dawn happy to go to school and kissing an ecstatic Buffy before she leaves. Spike seems to revel in flashing his nakedness in front of Riley, prompting him to comment that 'I've seen enough of your dead body for one evening'. Anya comments that if Xander is such a big fan of Riley he should just marry him. Buffy says she loves Riley's wife too. Once again Buffy says of guns "These are never useful" foreshadowing
Guantanamo Bay; Riley's glad to be back in Sunnydale where he knows who to beat for information. Spike objects to Riley's search of his crypt as unconstitutional.
Kills: one vamp and a dozen demons for Buffy. Weirdly the vamp wears a peace symbol on his jacket. Buffy: 104 vamps, 55 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot Giles: 8 vamps, 2 demon, 1 human, 1 god. Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon Will: 6 vamps + 3 demons +1 fawn. Angel: 3 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human Oz: 3 vamps, 1 zombie Faith: 16 vamps, 5 demons, 3 humans Xander: 6 vamps, 2 zombies, 1 a demon, Anya: 1 vamp and 1 a demon Riley; 18 vamps + 7 demons Spike; 8 vamps and 4 demons Buffybot; 2 vamps Tara; 1 demon Dawn; 1 vamp
Scoobies shot: Buffy uses Riley's shotgun and tranquiliser gun but can't hit anything with either. She makes better use of his belt of grenades. Giles: 2 Angel: 3 Oz: 4 Riley; 1
Spike; good or bad? Spike is dealing in demon eggs, evil as they come. This seems to open Buffy's eyes to his true nature although she still won't let Riley kill him.
Questions and observations; Obvious allusions to Aliens and all the better for them,
(also a series with a strong female heroine until Alien3 ruined the series, thankfully Joss 'resurrected' it). Poor Buffy, you feel so sorry for her that she get's rejected for UCSD (but surely she wouldn't have the money to go anyway?). Nice to give Riley some closure after the strained nature of his departure in 'Into the Woods'. Riley comments that Dawn has grown one and a half feet, well probably just half that. Note Riley asks if Dawn wants to leave due to the gory details but Buffy now lets her stay for the grown up stuff. Check out Willow's expression at Sam's 'disposable cameras' idea.
What book is Spike reading when Buffy comes into his crypt? It's a very Angel like touch. Riley says that Buffy is the first woman he ever loved and the strongest he knows (better not tell the missus that!). Buffy's final goodbye to Spike is very emotional, especially when she calls him William, that means more than ALL the sex in the world between them.
Marks out of 10; 8/10