Season 7, Episode 6
Original airing: 11/5/2002
My Rating: 46
The Good: This episode felt like déjà vu. I can’t remember another time when the show has made such a retread of an old episode. To make matters worse, this version was much less entertaining.
Obviously, there are a lot of similarities between Him and Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered from season two. The show attempted to tell the story from the other side this time with most of the perspective coming from the affected ladies. And some of it did work.
Dawn’s behavior felt quite appropriate for a girl with her first serious crush. She falls hard and fast and it was portrayed with a true sense of realism. And I even liked the way Buffy’s lust caused her to throw caution to the wind and attempt to ravish RJ in an empty classroom. It was a stupid move, but fit with how lust can mess up a person’s ability to make rational decisions. I even thought the jump to Dawn committing suicide and Buffy committing murder was well handled in a comic turn. I liked how they wrapped up Buffy’s idiocy, but Dawn’s was pretty lame (see The Bad).
I also liked the use of Spike in this episode. He’s out of the basement and the comments about his sanity coming back really do point to a bit problem in the Sunnydale High basement. He and Xander were also used to good effect as the problem solvers while the women were incapacitated. The site of Spike running from Buffy while hugging the rocket launcher was nonsensical, but quite funny.
Willow had some good humor moments as well with her attempt to summon Hecate and her calm annoyance when Xander interrupted. I also liked both of them at the Bronze unknowingly checking out Dawn together. Who’d have thought back in season one that Xander and Willow would ever be sitting around pointing out hot chicks to each other?
The Bad: Unfortunately, the plot was a sieve of logic problems. The spell makes no sense and seems to attack each person differently, at different times, and sometimes not at all. It’s also amazing that it hasn’t caused people to wreak havoc like this already if it can turn our ladies to murder within a day. The lack of structure to its effects seems even more pronounced when we know the jacket has been out and about doing its thing two times before. This concept just isn’t well thought out or structured. I also find it annoying that we don’t know if RJ or his brother are aware of the jacket’s properties or just willing to treat people poorly. RJ doesn’t seem too concerned with Xander and Spike steal it.
Anya’s re-inclusion with the gang feels way too soon and any awkwardness that should exist is completely ignored. She and Xander can work together with absolutely no problems and nobody is concerned by her announcement that she’ll kill for RJ when she just killed about a dozen people last week. It feels like someone either wrote this episode without knowing what had just happened, or it was perhaps used out of order.
Finally, Buffy saving Dawn from the train tracks went weirdly “action movie”. On top of that, it was very poorly filmed and scripted. I couldn’t tell how many trains there were or where they were coming from or when Dawn was going to be hit. And Buffy picking Dawn up and pulling her out of the way felt very slow and was poorly green-screened. The whole sequence was awkward and really ruined the concept of the conversation afterwards which nicely conveyed that Buffy’s love for her sister is still paramount to everything else.
Favorite Moment: Xander’s plan to run up and pull the jacket off of RJ in the middle of the street was well set up and quite funny. It led to a bit of an off-beat and unusual ending that I actually enjoyed.
The Bottom Line: This felt like someone’s attempt to write a season one style episode with a silly story and no real effect on the world. But it was so incredibly inconsistent, and so similar to Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered, it fell completely flat. A few smiles pop up on my face now and then, but it just doesn’t have the right spark the last few episodes have been displaying.