Generally pleased. Buffy did not angst, even when confronted by her failures; they supplied a good hook for Buffy to be hanging around the high school, even if the job offer was pretty strained. I'll reserve judgement on Xander, since they've pulled a bait and switch with him several times before. Maybe this time he'll get to *stay* Mature Xander, but I'm not counting on it. They just can't seem to think of plotlines for mature Xander, and it's always back to buttmonkey. Dawn was neither wimpy nor Wesley (Crusher); reasonably spirited but not overwhelmingly competent. The baby!Scoobies were bland but not annoying; I would have liked it a lot better if they had let us see that they were outsiders instead of having it hammered in explicitly by the principal. I do like him, but he was carrying an ugly freight of bad dialogue and lumps of exposition this episode.
I found myself uninterested in Willow. It's a good approach to take, and it was good seeing Giles again, but it bored me. Maybe because they wimped out on her so badly last season. The first third of the season was great, then they messed around with the stupid addiction plotline, and then suddenly snapped back. The resulting 'oh, time for me to destroy the world!' moment felt completely inorganic, and I bet I *would* have brought if they had kept the build up through the whole season.
So their attempt to differentiate Spike-with-soul and Angel-with-soul is insanity. Hmm. Should provide some good acting opportunities for James Marsters, and he was good tonight, but I'm uncertain for how long this will be interesting. His snarkiness was one of Spike's great charms. I'll be really annoyed if it all leads up to a 'we must remove Spike's soul to cure him!' moment at the end of the season.
Overall, the back to 1st season theme was good, but it'd be nice if they had stuck to reasonably subtle stuff. Spike's hallucinations were great, but they just *had* to hammer it in by having the Master declaim the theme explicitly.