Yeeeeeeeeeeah. Not the best episode out there, for sure. I definitely have issues with the way Xander treats a male foreign exchange student staying with Buffy versus the way he acts when she turns out to be female. I do, however, like that he’s willing to give that up for Willow, even if he’s not in love with her.
Other winning things: Sven. I love his conversation about how Cordelia treats him, because it’s hilariously awesome.
The best thing about this episode is Oz. I love how he is attracted to Willow because she’s in dressed in a big Eskimo costume. It’s so perfect.
Every other costume is totally stereotyping, though, and it’s clear that Willow is the only one who really tried for authenticity, other than Ampata…who is probably wearing the actual clothing she was buried in, which is both creepy and a question of how does it look that good? Does it get restored when she does?
Also, agreed on the Ampata story. She’s evil, but at the same time, she’s not. I feel bad that she was sacrificed for the good of the community, without giving a single thought to what SHE wanted out of life. At the same time, she kills people to get that life.
On the other hand, I did appreciate the implications Ampata’s story itself had in terms of this notion of a woman being robbed of her choices and put in a specific position because of some perceived or real overwhelming social need. Buffy compared it to finding out about the prophecy, but the bottom line is, it also implicates just her being the Slayer. She didn’t get to choose to be the Slayer, and in many ways it diminishes a lot of options she would otherwise have.
I do like Ampata laughing and having fun with Xander. He’s such a dork, but she really does seem to like him; she’s not just using him for his life force or whatever. She wants a Normal Life, just like Buffy, and Xander is a Normal Teenage Guy, and she likes that.