Story by Rob Morton, CN Winters and Susan Carr
Written by Rob Morton and CN Winters
Directed by: CN Winters and Susan Carr
Produced by: CN Winters and Susan Carr
Edited by: Kate
Sound Department: Steff
Art Director: Chris Cook
Artists: Chris Cook, David Zahir, Mytryk, Cynthia Taz, and CN Winters
Teaser: Without surprise, we start this episode off on Halloween, with Andrew taking some pre-teen Slayers trick or treating. One of these kids gets a name, so we know she'll be getting more exposure. Marsha is the only one to compliment Andy on his SG-1, Col. O'Neil outfit.
While Andrew and the youngest Slayers are trick or treating, Kenn and Faith are on a patrol. As we know, Halloween is supposed to be the time for demons to stay inside, but as we also know, this doesn't apply to them all... two vampires in the graveyard is a case in point. One of them utters something strange, "If you kill me, she will rise". Hmm. Faith blows this off and slays him anyway.
In the meantime, Kenn is worried. You see, Willow is going to try to contact a spiritual presence she's been sensing, since this night is the one where the veil between the living and the dead is thinest. Will thinks it's Tara and Kenn hasn't dealt with her jealousy over Will's first love, yet.
It's not Tara... but it is a blast from the past, as Willow discovers.
Act One: So... who is this mysterious spirit? I'd rather not say, but there's some residual antagonism between this being and Willow. Of course, that's not the point of the visit. The real reason the spirit is there is to leave a message about one of our missing crew... Xander.
Meanwhile, Giles and Ro are researching the general history of the Cleveland area so that they're familiar with any future strange occurances that may repeat. This is interrupted by Robin, leading Faith and Kennedy in to report on their patrol. The fact that a vampire said that "she shall rise" apparently upsets Giles, because of that thin dimensional barrier deal and because this Halloween night is even more special. There's a return to the graveyard where the group discovers a dimensional breach which has allowed the big bad of the episode to escape... Eemia (Yancy Butler, under a great visual effect), the Corruptor. Giles is not at all happy. As he shouldn't be, considering how Eemia shows her utter disdain for the Slayer line by swatting Faith away as if she were nothing!
Eemia, the kick ass Corrupter
Act Two: So, what is the problem with Xander, you ask? He's been in a spiralling depression since BTVS: Chosen. We find out here that he left the whole "Slayer" thing behind, along with Buffy... but not 'with' Buffy... he's on his own, just travelling. Apparently the solitude is just driving him into further despair, however. "He's losing faith in everything in life", as the spirit warns Willow.
While Willow is finding out the danger to Xander, Giles explains what Eemia is and how she got here. And we have the first indication that Willow wielding that 'activation' spell for the Slayers has had more far reaching affects... some of them of the not-so-good variety.
While Giles is gathering up all of the new Slayers (not trick or treating - and their total numbers are kept unspecified), Eemia is out creating her own army.
Alas, Eemia is not only faster at recruitment, but she's also not afraid of the Council or their Slayers. She marches into the Council lobby like she owns the place and because of her telepathic abilities begins psychologically battering our heroes by pointing out the fears they've left unspoken.
Eemia retreats after nearly slaying Faith, when she sees how good Giles is with a sword. But the danger isn't gone by a long shot.
Act Three: We wrap up Willow's spirit-meeting, find out what's happened to Tara (sort of) and Joyce (sort of) since they died and then it's time for Will to be brought up to speed on Eemia.
Oh... we find out there are 22 Slayers, not counting the 'kids', Faith or Kenn. This number will increase fast, though, so don't hold onto it. Kenn returns from organizing the remaining Slayers and there's more tension between Willow and Kennedy, regarding Will's having been crying, but not wanting to talk about it right then. Kennedy can be kind of an impatient jerk.
The next scene is actually a bit fun with Ro throwing sarcasm at Kennedy; you see their mission is a bit complicated by all of the kids dressed as scary monsters and whatnot... who do they stake?
We find out from Faith... let the Slayer senses do the talking.
Act Four: Magic Battle! Ooops... that didn't go well.
Willow sends a magic blast at Eemia!
With Willow out of action and Andrew quickly following her, Marsha the pre-teen Slayer and her group of nine kiddie-Slayers rush into battle against Eemia. I like Marsha, the little Slayer that could. Go, kid!
I won't say how that battle turns out or what happens to Eemia. I'll just give you this:
Faith warns Marsha not to get cocky.
Act Four includes a great scene with Faith and Robin and it ends with Willow's phone call to Buffy. She's hoping that she's heard from Xander, cause how else is she going to find him in time?
The Good: Let's start with the bad guy... Eemia is a great creation from how she looks to her powers. She's smart, funny (for us to read, anyway, less so for the Slayers and Watchers, I'd guess), strong and capable. Marsha, the newest Slayer to be introduced into the series is great... feisty, but not a braggart. I like her already. It was also a good idea to make Willow her Watcher... Kennedy doesn't really need one and it'll be good for Will to have to actually 'Watch' someone coming up, rather than the easy job of watching out for somebody who already knows all the ropes. The artwork on Eemia and Willow's spell was very well done. The episode's pace was really good with no dragging points and the introduction of Xander's dilemma is a good way to bring him into the show (at least as a guest appearance). We get Rona with dialog again and a shout out to both Buffy and Dawn (in Rome... Joss' Season 8 revision isn't, of course, canon in the WaTchersverse since it wasn't written this far back).
The Bad: We-e-ell... I'm afraid some of the artwork still fails and shouldn't have been included. I can point to the group shot in the library (Act One) and Faith and, uh, somebody at the end of Act Two in the Council lobby. Nothing bad in characters, plot or story though and that's what we grade on here.
Verdict: A very well done episode throughout. This one is a highlight, though there isn't much going on that will extend beyond this episode (except Xander's situation, which isn't gone into here). The villain was well rendered and exciting which is always important in the Buffyverse. I really liked the majority of Willow's interaction with her spirit visitor. This gets a...
3.75 stars out of 5.