Offhand: it was ok. It was a move-it-along episode, and yes, Never Leave Me, Bring on the Night, and Showtime could all have been one long episode, with the setting and players never really changing except for the addition of more Slayers-In-Training. That said, it's not a *bad* long episode, and better than I'd expect for the Christmas hiatus when really, most of us weren't expecting anything at all.
The SITs are annoying, yes, and I'm not one of the viewers who's terribly fond of Kennedy. She's not "Kill her! Kill her now!" material, but she's too bloody smug. I'm being led by the nose to like her, and I don't buy it. (Mind you, this is one of the very reasons that many people give for disliking Fred on Angel, and I think it's valid to point and laugh at me. My only defense is that I honestly like Fred, at times, while Kennedy doesn't impress me at all.) But I think the writers know the SITs are annoying; I think they're meant to be. So I'm good with it.
Xander was all... and sleepy and cute and all... see, not coherent on subject. See djinanna for coherent Xander comments.
Willow is famous for spouting academic/supernatural babble. However, when we're going to do this with her character, she needs to sound like she knows what she's talking about, not like someone gave her a script and it took her a week just to memorize the words without tripping on them. Alyson Hannigan can do this, is excellant at doing this -- so I dunno if it was the lines, or she was e-mailing the performance in, or what.
I had no problem believing the telepathy being initiated by Buffy, even though it's Willow who actually has the power. Why? Because it would only have taken a look or a gesture from Buffy to clue Willow in to "Please read my mind; I'm talking at you." And then Xander was brought into the loop as soon as Willow figured out what Buffy wanted. If we had that power as a tangible asset in *my* group, we'd damn well have figured out a signal the minute we knew it worked -- so I don't need to be shown Buffy obviously making that signal so that *I* nod my head sagely and go "Ah...." YMMV.
First Evil in any form but not!Cassie continues to annoy and be not scary. I'm with the folk who say "Why can Buffy suddenly beat the Uberschlub *now*, just because it's dramatically appropriate, and where was that rocket launcher? Or hello? Troll hammer?" But I'm glad he's gone, because the not-scariness of him was beginning to hurt my eyerolling muscles.
I may be alone in thinking Spike's reaction to real!Buffy was
the *eensiest* bit overacted on his part -- and wondefully done on SMG's. Nonetheless, awwww. Because dammit, someone should be good to him -- nothing to do with Spuffy-as-relationship, for me.