Blood Ties (Steven S. DeKnight)
This is the best episode of the season so far. It has a jolly exciting climax in the hospital: Spike gets put in his place (and there's more of that soon), the witches get to do something and Buffy's indignant "He is not my boyfriend!" is very funny.
Dawn and Spike's relationship is sweet while Buffy and Dawn's bitching at each other at the beginning is fun (and Glory is better looking).
Spike painting his nails and falling into the sarcophagus is a treat too.
Michelle Trachtenberg is mostly excellent (though I think she should be a tiny little bit more terrified in her scenes with Glory). Personally, I love her "get out, get out, get out, get out!, and her sad "Is this blood?" and "Am I real? Am I anything?" is distressing.
Actually, it's these lines that make me saddest: "she's a brain-sucker?...at least vampires just kill you."
The dialogue is particularly strong in this episode:
"How can she not be real?" "She's real, she's just...kinda...new."
"Well, we thought you'd get lots of crossbows, other killy stuff." "Yeah, so we figured, less killy, more frilly." "Gotta look. Oh, it's just so lovely! Oh, I wish it was mine!" "Oh, like you weren't all thinking the same thing." "I'm fairly certain I wasn't...I've got one just like it." ASH's delivery here is perfect.
"Look, it's blood. It's Summers blood. It's just like mine. It doesn't matter where you came from, or, or how you got here. You are my sister. There's no way you could annoy me so much if you weren't." Sisters. Adam can't believe it when I tell him what terrible things my sisters did to me when we young ("terrible" is a relative term, of course).
In the fight between the knights and the minions, one of the minions manages to find a rope to swing from which is a fun prop but strange.
Ah, tiresome tv trope, someone overhears a conversation but only hears the bad part. Has it actually happened in real life?
Just why is Giles looking behind things and in dumpsters? If he is serious that he may find Dawn in any of those places then he should maybe look a bit more concerned.
This had everything: good acting, a strong plot, fine dialogue, lots of new information, exciting action, funny situations, and a classic swearing but not swearing moment with Glory.