"I knew this 'I'm the only one, I'm the only one' thing was just an attention-getter."
This episode is huge. It's a crucial episode because we discover the existence of a second slayer in the form of Kendra. I'm going to totally skirt around the totally crap fake accent that she never ever manages to pull off.Oh oops! I did mention it after all. It's godawful! But anyway! The very important, critical information is that Buffy died "for a minute" and a second slayer was called. I couldn't care less about Kendra, I mean yes, sure she's a crossover actress from Dawson's Creek but other than that, there was very little of interest about her. However, this is such an important plot twist for whole the series because it brings us Faith and it also leads us into the final season, which I won't spoil now. I will only point out the genius that is Joss and the awesomeness of his plotting to have sown seeds so early for such a payout later. Or ... he makes good use of happenstance.
Other important things that happen this episode include Xander and Cordelia kissing for the first time. And Whedon can't quite resist playing the comic via the climatic, dramatic background music for what is otherwise Xander finally in a romantic light. Plus, then he gets to hose Cordie down in a naughty wet shirt contest moment. And still, ew! The gross bug man!
Now is this the first Jonathan moment? When he gets taken hostage by the fake policewoman or am I just getting excited about spotting a new one for me? Also in this episode we see a bit more of the Spike/Dru/Angel dynamic and we learn that Angel was Drusilla's sire.
This episode is such a pivotal plot point for all our characters. Kendra works to come in and hold a mirror up to Buffy and highlight the contrasts in her behaviour to that expected of a vampire slayer. For me there were a lot of small nuggets of dialogue like: "He is a vampire, he should die" and "There's a handbook? How come I never got a handbook?" which work so well to show how different Buffy and her approach is to that of all the Slayers who have gone before her ... and perhaps will follow after her? After all, she even changed how it works - now there is more than one Slayer. So too, Kendra serves as a reminder that Slayers are young girls for a reason - they don't tend to outlive their youth.
Oz takes a bullet for Willow. That sentence deserves a paragraph all of its own.
Drusilla's strength is restored by taking the lifeforce from Angel. Interestingly, whilst Spike moves heaven and earth to set this ritual up to restore her strength, he is yet again symbolically castrated by Angel because it is he who provides what Dru needs and Spike merely watches on. Finally, there's the awesome gothic ending which is just exquisite.
I like this episode a lot. Much happens in it. There is much revealed and much progress with the storyline and the character developments. I like too the themes that surface. For me, I am left with the moment of Kendra saying goodbye to Buffy: You talk like its a job but a slayer isn't a job, it's who you are. This job vs calling struggle runs throughout the series and I think Buffy uses the job image when she struggles against that which constrains her but ultimately being a Slayer really is who she is.
You've pretty much said everything there is to say about this episode, and I can't disagree with much of it. I like Kendra more than you do and I believe her accent is accurate for the location she is supposed to come from (Jamaica?).
The really weak part of this storyline though is the weakness of Angel His being locked in the cage with the flimsiest of locks, to his patheticness at the hands of Drusilla. I can't believe he didn't get angrier, or at least sardonic and broody. He kowtows to her and it's horrible! Also, "lifeforce", Alisa? He's dead! Undeathforce, perhaps?
This is the third appearance of Jonathan, after Inca Mummy Girl and Reptile Boy. He's becoming popular with the writers!
"So I'm wonderin', do the other cookie animals feel sorta ripped? Like is the hippo goin', 'Hey man, where are my pants? I have my hippo dignity.' And, you know, the monkey's just, 'I mock you with my monkey pants!' And then there's a coup in the zoo."