Season 2, Episode 6 - “Halloween”
Original airdate: October 27, 1997
Project 310 re-watch date: Jan. 8, 2009
This was the first of three Halloween-themed episodes they did on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and it was far and away the best one. In fact, I’d rank it 4th among episodes that aired to this point.
First things first: Larry is actually a “Random Student Alert!” red herring. And he turns out to be a semi-regular character over the next couple seasons. Plus, Larry Bagby is actually a really cool guy (and a good musician to boot) so it’s fun to see his first appearance again.
This episode has so many good things going for it, outside of the main plot (which involves Ethan Rayne casting a spell to cause the residents of Sunnydale to turn into their Halloween costumes). In fact, let’s list them:
-the obliviousness of Cordy to Buffy’s stark honesty about Angel being a vampire
-Buffy’s real high school girl desire to have Angel like her
-Buffy’s phenomenal costume (again, Sarah Michelle Gellar is hot... seriously...)
-Willow’s costume which reveals her own hotness for the first time
-Drusilla’s psychic ramblings
-Spike’s sheer joy upon seeing the chaos unleashed upon Sunnydale
-the further hinting of the future Oz-Willow relationship
-the hints into Giles’ dark past
OK, time to expand out a couple of those.
- Drusilla’s psychic ramblings
This is another one of those little things that points to Drusilla, not Spike, being the big bad of this season. If it weren’t for Drusilla’s psychic ability, Spike never would have even known to go out on Halloween. Again, every action of Spike’s this season is driven by Dru -- and the same could be said of Angel once he goes bad.
- hints into Giles’ dark past
Up until this point, Giles has been exactly as Ethan described him, a “watcher... sniveling, tweed-clad guardian of the slayer”. Except, as we learn in future episodes (and get a glimpse of with his beatdown of Ethan here) that’s not really the whole story behind Giles. To this point, he’d been a semi-one-dimensional character. Not anymore.
Also, this episode laid the groundwork for Xander’s increased involvement in actual fighting from this point forward. His brief transformation into a soldier left him with a solid military knowledgebase, a handy skill to have working with The Slayer.
One minor quibble I have with this episode comes at the very end, when Angel and Buffy are having their talk about Buffy’s costume. Angel claims he hated the noblewomen of his time, but Buffy’s dress and hairstyle in her costume are a near-perfect match stylewise for what Darla wears when she turns Angel. Obviously, this wasn’t something ANYONE could have picked up on when this episode aired (since we don’t see Darla turning Angel until the end of this season), but much like the Angel in sunlight error of “The Harvest”, it’s something fans notice upon re-watching.
I leave you with the PALz Halloween box set, which featured the 4 main costumed characters (Willow, Xander, Buffy, Cordy) in their costumes and their school outfits from this episode.