This episode is a bit better than part one although it unfortunately retains many of that episode's poorer qualities including a slow pace, poor music, and mediocre fight sequences. This time around, though, Spike gets to interact with a lot of the main characters which creates a handful of good moments. Spike is the main thing that elevates this episode up a notch from the previous one.
Alright, we pick up right where the last one left us, with the discovery that Kendra is another Vampire Slayer and not the third Tarakan assassin. The conversation between Buffy and Kendra here is very entertaining and a good launching point for the episode. The scene moves into the library where Giles attempts to sort out what the heck is going on. It is during this scene that we find out how different Buffy and Kendra are, not only in personality but also in fighting methods and lifestyle. Kendra is the responsible "do it by the book" sort while Buffy is obviously the opposite. These differences are the beginning of all kinds of interesting discussing regarding the role of the Slayer, which method is better, and the possibility of Kendra replacing Buffy as 'the' Slayer.
The replacement issue in particular interests me a lot. By the end of this episode we find out that replacemnt won't work, so when Faith shows up in "Faith, Hope, and Trick" (3x03), nobody thinks about Faith replacing Buffy but instead think about Faith assissting her (aside from Joyce who didn't know all the Kendra issues). I also love Buffy's, "I could say, 'Kendra, you slay, I'm going to Disneyland.'" At this point in her life, that's really all Buffy wants. She would love to give up her Slayer powers and duty and just take off to Disneyland for a few months. If she knew what was going to happen soon in "Innocence" (2x14) she might better appreciate how decent things are in Sunnydale right now.
Unfortunately, I don't really like Kendra as a person very much. I like what her what her character does to contrast the uniqueness that Buffy possesses, but I find Kendra cold. Also, her accent is very grating and the acting behind her is mediocre. I do like how she mixes things up, though, and introduces an anomaly into the whole Slayer mythology.
A big development in this episode is the beginning of the Cordelia and Xander relationship. While I think their first kiss was ridiculously over-corned (and intentially too), the idea of the two of them together is oddly fascinating. Here's two people who have sparred from the very beginning of the series and now they have a 'thing' between then. They still mostly hate each other though. This is currently a completely physical attraction as these two have nothing in common. Only through time will they learn to actually care for each other. A few scenes in "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22) come to mind as evidence of that.
The third Tarakan assassin, Patrice, was a breath of fresh air compared to the other two. Guns are very rarely used on this show, but I've got to admit they make things interesting. Buffy's fight with her in the school was satisfying. I also love Oz's, "I, uh, I'm shot! (takes his hand away briefly and chuckles) Y'know. (laughs) Wow! It's odd! And painful." The final fight scene with the assassins and Spike is handled okay, but it could have been much better in the hands of a better director (maybe he was just off his game that week). There are two things in particular, though, that really anger me. The first is that Patrice stops attacking Kendra so she can say her dumb line about that being her only shirt. The second, which surprised me, is the poor "I'm good!" line from Buffy. It's very rare this show completely gives into cliched dialog.
The episode ends on a high note, though, with Kendra explaining to Buffy that being the Slayer is who she is and not a job. I also found the very final shot, where a newly restored Drusilla picks Spike up out of the rubble of the church and slowly carries him out, very haunting. So when looking back at this two-parter as a whole I can't help but be disappointed. It wasn't bad, but it should be been a whole lot more. This second part is a bit better than the first, but it still has similar problems. Once again, though, there's a lot of great stuff mixed in as well.