airdate: 4 Apr 2000.
This episode is fun and fluff, really. A nice break from Adam/Buffy/Riley dramadramadrama. A palette-cleanser after that whole Buffy/Faith debacle.
Jonathan, dweeb from high school, is the hero in an alternate universe. Even the credits are altered with clips of Jonathan kicking ass a bunch. This is a pretty cut and dry episode, really. Jonathan was always a little effed up (he almost killed himself in "Earshot") and underappreciated/beat up as a nerdy kid. So he does a spell to become the best of everything. He beats Buffy at slaying, beats Giles at chess, and is even a sexy musician. There's a James Bond-y theme and everything.
Spike calls Buffy "fluffy battle kitten" and "Betty". Everything else in the universe is intact, all the Adam/Initiative stuff is the same, etc, it's just Jonathan has been added and and everyone is unnaturally obsessed with him and a little less actualized than they normally are. Buffy is even dressing more juvenile and insecure-like with barrettes and weird fringey jackets.
Adam's the only one not fooled by the Jonathan spell. Tara gets chased by a beasty that was a side effect of Jonathan's spell. No magic without consequences and all that. I like Buffy with curly hair. She's kind of catching on. She calls a meeting at Giles', which is a first without Jonathan. He usually leads the meetings in this universe, apparently.
Jonathan and Buffy fight the demon together. Jonathan knows if the demon is destroyed the world will go back as it was, but he lets it happen, because he's essentially a good guy. He could have pushed her off a cliff, but he doesn't. She defeats the demon. Fluff episode endeth.
Commentary (by Jane Espenson) notes added 5.12.13: Little tidbit during the teaser: Anya didn't react when Xander said "bunnies". One thing that is kind of cool about the writers and directors talking about little hitches in their writing is that I see how all of this came together. With pitfalls and multiple writers and little inputs from actors, etc. It took a village to make Buffy, it really did. So, that (a bit) takes the pressure off me when I start writing fiction, which may still be a long way off. I have NO IDEA how to go about it yet, but I'm hearing these writers say they knew they had to get Buffy mad at Dawn in an episode, and then had to write the circumstances for how. Everything in plot seems to begin as a skeleton that later gets muscle and flesh. Edit, edit, edit. That's cool, I think. To see the process and know that perhaps fiction isn't as far out of my grasp as I believe it to be. If only I had begun this process before the age of 30. Perhaps I would have if 2005 and 2011 hadn't happened. Perhaps I would be where I am now at 27 instead of 30. Or even earlier 20s if I hadn't spent soooo many years trying to be a "good girlfriend" to several unworthy men. They weren't unworthy in general, but all people are unworthy of your full attention at all times. Anyway, back to commentary notes.
Except, I'm at the end now and have had nothing to say so far. It wasn't a boring commentary, but just not one I want to comment upon.