This episode is seemingly hated by a lot of fans, something I've never totally understood. Fear, Itself, while not remarkable in any way, is exactly what it's supposed to be. It's a Buffy spin on a haunted house horror movie, with the Scooby Gang trapped inside a frat party on Halloween night, getting split up and forced to endure their worst fears. It's not particularly ambitious, but there's a goofy charm to the episode that makes it work. It also has so many memorable 'moments' that, while not totally linked to the episode's story, are a lot of fun.
That 'moments' statement could actually sum up the whole episode, as it's more or less a collection of individual scenes and scares, only just about tied to the general theme of the episode. There's Anya in her bunny costume, Giles with a chainsaw, that genius face-off (or, you know, shoe-off) with the demon, and the hilarious final line.
Outside of those moments, the episode isn't entirely great. It's almost a throwback to the first season in how ultimately banal the storyline is, with some dumb kids accidentally raising a demon of some kind and having chaos ensue. But it's 'good' lightweight, not I, Robot - You, Jane 'lightweight'.
In terms of character, there isn't a whole lot of anything new. Buffy is still understandably mopey about Parker, Anya is still trying to understand her feelings for Xander, and Willow continues to be a little alienating towards Buffy. But, in general, Fear, Itself is fun. In a major filler episode kind of way. C+
Guest stars Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers); Marc Blucas (Riley Finn); Emma Caulfield (Anya); Adam Kaufman (Parker Abrams); Lindsay Crouse (Maggie Walsh)
Writer David Fury Director Tucker Gates