Season 4, Episode 12 - A New Man
Original airdate: Jan. 25, 2000
Project 310 re-watch date: Feb. 26, 2009
You know who was an under-utilized villain on “Buffy”? Ethan Rayne. He was the anti-Giles, and only got a handful of appearances, of which this was his last. This is the only time he really attacks Giles directly, and it leads to incredible comedy.
Giles as a demon is something I never would have expected the writers of the show to do, and it just extends the feeling of alienation he has earlier in the show.
Beyond just the direct comedy of Giles as a demon, he teams up with Spike to try and find Ethan and reverse the spell. That’s right, Giles and Spike, working together. Fun times.
There are two long-term effects this episode lays the groundwork for -- first off, Giles teaming with Spike sets up the back-and-forth helping they do for each other now that Spike is chipped. Sure, there are definitely times that Spike tries to go back evil, but for the most part, from here on out, he’s an uneasy ally.
The other thing comes from the conversation that Giles had with Ethan. Ethan, though drunk, mentions 314 in relation to The Initiative. There are no specific details, just that demons seem to be afraid of it. We’ll find out in the next episode exactly what 314 is and what it means, but in this episode, it’s just a door.
In fact, that kind of proves what’s wrong with this season. Here we are, at episode 12, and we’re just getting our first mention of the Big Bad, and we don’t even actually meet him until the next episode. Could this season be any slower?
Spike: “And I'm supposed to just help you out of the evilness of my heart?”