Continuity issue with the vamp showing up on the video camera in the first scene - I'm sure in Angel there were issues about whether he would show up on video footage ?
So we're still all with the Buffy angst - oh I am a Slayer and I don't get to have any fun. Wah wah wah. And it's Halloween which amusingly in Jossverse is the one night that the evils take a break - it seems this is the only time it's tacky to wreak havoc. According to Buffy, Halloween is the time to dress up as the opposite of what you are and "have a little fun". We see Xander dress up as a soldier and Willow end up as a ghost. Cordelia is a sexy cat woman which I think is her subscribing more to "Halloween is a night to dress up slutty" rather than Buffy's "Come as you aren't". Buffy dresses up as a fair lady from the 1700s - the kind of girl who faints at danger and waits to be rescued by a nice strong man.
So of course the plot twist comes in the form of Ethan - an old friend of Giles' who I always think acts more as a plot device than ever realising the potential that his character could have been. Ethan sets a spell in motion to play, since all the demons are at home watching TV - everyone really becomes the costume that they dressed up in and hilarity, of sorts, ensues. Of course Buffy is totally useless and Xander gets to be the hero that saves the day.
And then we see that of course Buffy likes being Buffy and Angel likes her that way ... awwww
Verdict: "Who is that *girl*?"
This is the first of the Buffy episodes that broadcast originally (in the States at least) around the time of Halloween each year. Like most dramas, BtVS doesn't react to the outside world apart from the mega-holidays that coincide with screening schedules (the other being Christmas).
This episode keeps a good hold of the tone between humorous and threatening. Gellar's Southern accent is a nice touch although her ongoing "Am I a real girl?" angst is starting to grate.
There is a very intriguing insight into Giles/Ripper's past, but I agree that Ethan is little more than a plot point. It also makes a lie of Giles' earlier claim (in Witch) that he had never cast a spell before.
Other revelations include Cordy learning that Angel is a vampire. "The cuddly kind. Like a Care Bear with fangs." To me this highlights the fact that she never discovered on screen that Buffy is a vampire slayer. During the episode "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" she thinks Buffy is in a gang, after that it is assumed she has learnt somehow of the whole slayer/vampire/demon thing.
Spike and Drusilla return in top form, solidifying their characters - Drusilla has a vision and Spike demonstrates his natural skill in commanding ragtag groups of demons. And yes, the second appearance of Crumpet-Oz!
I find this very satisfying, light Buffy.
Verdict: "Well, this is just... neat."