- After two consecutive detours (Reptile Boy and Inca Mummy Girl), we finally have our Spike back!
- We have a new villain, Ethan Rayne. He’s like mischief turned deadly. Fun but fatal. And he’ll be back – another bit of bonus knowledge from my second viewing.
- Cursed costumes! Buffy gets to play the fainting flower, Willow winds up both ghost and dress-up slut, Xander regains some stolen masculinity as a soldier, and Cordy (uncursed) wears the ubiquitous skintight cat costume of the nineties.
- Kids turning into monsters on front porches!
- Memory/identity loss! I believe this is the first time that this happens to Buffy. Xander has been spellbound/cursed before – in The Pack. Keeping track of identity tampering/alteration would be another tallying task – each time one of the gang becomes not quite him/herself. (Willow alone could be a project – and a point of debate.)
- In fact, please note that although Willow did become her costume, the ghost, she never lost her wits like Buffy or Xander. Just Ghost Willow teetering around in the slut costume.
- Ripper! Actually, I wish I could be more excited about Ripper, but I don’t think they did enough with this phase of Giles’ life. I’ll return to my Ripper frustrations later, but hey, it’s a peek at Giles, who up to this point was a bit of a cypher outside the library save for his Miss Calendar infatuation.
- Spike on a tear through Sunnydale accompanied by tiny trick-or-treaters morphed into mini-monsters: priceless.
This was an episode that pulled off exposition of distant past, introduction of a new character, revelations about familiar characters, and chaos, literally a worshipped Chaos, loosed on the streets of Sunnydale. On Halloween!