Jenny: Wrong and wrong, snobby. You think the realm of the mystical is limited to ancient texts and relics. Since bad old science made the magic go away? The divine exists in cyberspace, same as out here.
Finally! A Willow story! After a couple of Xander stories it's about time Willow gets some play.
Willow gets herself an internet boyfriend, but her buddies suspect something is not right.
Buffy's overprotective nature is easy to identify with. Willow is just so adorable in these episodes that we immediately feel afraid for her, both physically and, in terms of her recent hurt at Xander's lack of attention, emotionally.
Xander's jealousy is cute, and Buffy has him pegged; "You got used to being the belle of the ball."
There's kind of a dark side to their protective sides too, though. Willow is clearly a little hurt that everyone assumes her love interest must be a psycho, and that's understandable too. Willow wants to believe that she's loveable.
Also, Jenny Calendar! I'd forgotten she appeared this early in the series. It's good to see her interplay with Giles. It would have been easy to give Giles a straw-man opponent in the arguments over technology, but Jenny gives as good as she gets.
Giles: It's been so nice talking to you.
Jenny: We were fighting.
Giles: We must do it again some time.
Jenny, too, is more than she seems, as we discover later in the episode. It's a nice surprise.
Again, this episode suffers a little from being quite linear and predictable. The sense of menace grows but there are few real surprises. Or perhaps I've seen it too many times.
The notion that a scanner can release a demon instead of a human reader is a cool one though.
And as the stakes grow the threat seems scarier. And anytime Willow is in danger the level of drama is immediately raised.
I didn't think the story made as much as it could have of some of the interplay between the scoobies, but then I guess not every episode can. And Willow gets a nice moment of hurt and anger at the end. Also, the final bonding moment between the three leads sharing their doomed relationships with monsters is classic.
I give it three ghosts in the machine.