First I really like Jane Espesons narrative, this arc is better told and developed than the last three were by far, Even though the main premise that they need to get rid of all magic to go unnoticed is still weird. But ok, we've put up with stranger ideas. Andrew's narrative is the usual geeky fun.
Andrew suspects that there is a spy among there little group in tibet, though he doesn't have any more clues than we have, only that Twilight knows a few things he can't possibly know of. The thing that is more interesting about this is how Giles behaves. First he tells Andrew not to tell anyone about this. That includes Buffy who is their leader. They probably don't want to put even more strain on her but she makes the decisions, if anyone should have all the facts it's Buffy.
Then later when Andrew states he suspects Willow, Giles crumbles a bit, but it's hard to tell if that's because he suspects Willow himself or because he half expected Andrew to catch him. As suspicious behavior goes, Giles is hard to top. I really hope they wont go there. I love Giles. I don't want to see him as the betrayer again, much less as a well meaning betrayer. Also it would contradict how he was shown in the comics up to now.
Bay explains how the slayers are getting rid of their powers by doing...uhm...house and fieldwork. Well, if there's still a feminist message in there, it's probably as weirded out as I am :), but we'll see.
They also learn to fight a bit without powers, though I'm still a bit foggy about how they do that.
Andrew focuses on three people who are not to happy with the simple life, namely Satsu, Kennedy and Willow (all three going of my suspect list), on those who don't want to let go of their magic I'm even foggier on how they do it, but ok.
Next scene Buffy/Faith: The cat makes it's first appearance and Buffy wears a count t-shirt. Hee. Makes me think of this vid.
This scene is actually very interesting as Faith states, that she doesn't really cares about having the responsibility that comes with the job. Buffy claims that Faith cares about every life she took and Buffy is not sure anymore if that's the case, very consistent with the things she did in S8. Buffy is tired of the big picture and who could blame. If she wants to save the world she needs to know what for, find the little things again.
Next is Xander and Dawn, they talk about humans pointing to save and it sounds a little like Dawn would like to leave the slayers and their troubles behind.
Next scene shows Xander and Buffy, illustrating how the "letting go of the power" makes Buffy more emotional than usual and more vulnerable too. This created lots of Bander buzz, and while I agree that Buffy looks like she considers Xander, now that she's allowing herself to feel again, I don't see any chemistry between them. If they ever really go that way, it's going to be lame as hell I'm afraid. But the way it is shown here, it looks like their friendship is only just deepening and possibilties open up.
Now the next scene is really interesting, this is Willow talking to Oz about how she feels her powers define her and she doesn't want to give them up, she even goes black eyed and calls Oz fake, because he turned his back on magic and became a normal human.
Ok, I'm feeling silly for still being desperate about this, but if you squint your eyes hard, there is maybe maybe a metaphore about how hard it is to combine empowerment with a traditional female role. Oz being the one, who chose family, Willow being the one who chose empowerment, both being real in their own way. But both don't seem to think that you can have both things at the same time.
Or maybe the metaphore isn't that simple anymore, I don't know.
Anyway Willow seemes to be convinced by the charm of the baby and goes to talk to Buffy, who reveals that she killed Willow in the future. She's completely unfazed. "It wasn't me." It's one of those lines where I strongly feel an actress would be needed to deliver it. Did Willow say that completely light hearted? Did she consider it for a moment and then carefully answer that this isn't what she's going to become?
At the moment she doesn't seem to see herself as going bad, she thinks she can turn things around. And that she and Buffy can have a future.
Buffy goes back to Xander and finds him with Dawn. Ok, so Xander and Dawn, huh? Masseltov. I hope they marry, have lots of children and live happily ever after.
Then Andrew calls them all together in a Poirotish show and tell and says Willow is not the betrayer. Meanwhile the cat dissapears. They immideately decide it must be Amy, but I'm not sure.
First how? Last issue Twilight could not find them, I guess he found them now via the inside man. But if he has someone there to spy already, why send Amy too?
Then Amy turning herself into a cat, really? She was a rat for years, she has had the worst of luck anyone could ever have with transformation spells. But I guess that could have changed.
As much as I hate it my money is on Giles. He's up to something, I'm just not sure if he's really working with Twilight (hope not) or if he's marely planning to sabotage the sitting duck plan, he doesn't participate at least and he always had some ties to magic.
So, final verdict, issue was ok. I was entertaine The writing was good and in character, there was a bit of personal plot of which there never can be too much in the books, but for most issues of the arc and the season there goes the same premise as for the last 27 issued, we'll have to wait and see.