Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 5, Episode 8: ShadowWritten by David Fury; Directed by Daniel Attias
This is an episode in which quite a lot is happening, but the episode doesn't really have an overarching theme. The key elements, I think, are the discovery that Joyce has a potentially fatal brain tumour, while Riley realises that, no matter what he does, he's of no help to Buffy. The thing about Riley in Season 5, I think, is that, without the Initiative, his whole life revolves around Buffy. (Does this guy even have a job? I think not.) Buffy, meanwhile, has a hell of a lot of other things to concern her, including friends, a family, a demon to fight and a mother who could be dying. And even at this incredibly difficult time, Riley can't deal with that.
I also love Glory coming to the Magic Box and Giles selling her the devices she needs to summon the giant CG snake she wants to seek out the Key (which, while still pretty bad, is at least a step up from the one at the end of Season 3). We also get our first hobbit with leprosy (horrible, horrible idea), who, incidentally, is played by Kevin Weisman from Alias.
Overall rating: 8/10.
Next time: Listening to Fear.