The demon demands Buffy to pay her student loan. Buffy gives the demon "every penny" she has, but it's not enough. (Turns out, Buffy gave back everything she's got during her bank robberiy when Riley negotiated the amnesty between slayers and Interpol.) Eventually demon leaves, lamenting poor job conditions. El Draco visits Buffy's apartment in her absence and finds out that she is the slayer. Detectives Dowling and Cheung come to conclusion that dead bodies could be vampires: these persons went missing many years ago, back to 1941. Buffy meets Severin; she doesn't know about his slaying activities yet. To protect him, she dusts a vampire and gets arrested on suspicion of killing all the mysteriously dead people. She escapes from police custody and becomes a fugitive. Xander and Dawn refuse to hide her. She complains to Spike about this strange new world. Then she goes slaying and gets saved by Severin: he "burns" the demon essence out of a vampire body leaving just a corpse. "You trying to put me out of job?" Buffy says. "'Cause I might be okay with that". To be continued.
According to Allie's Q&As for #40, Joss has abandoned his initial Season 9 plan around issue #28 or so. Pretty close to "Harmonic Divergence" in which the world found out about vampires. So far, it looks like the season will be about the consequences of vampires going public as much as about the the destruction of the Seed. Because it looks like Joss decided to up the ante and to turn the killing of a vampire into... well, a real killing. With a fresh corpse. Very interesting.
It's not clear so far if Severin has an inner, physiological ability to "burn" the demon out of a vampire's body or he uses some technology. If it's a technology, it becomes especially murky, because in that case everybody would be able to kill vampires and demons quite easily. Just imagine a situation in which everybody can (and have the right) to kill Lorne. But most likely it's Severin's innate ability. Still -- creepy and reminds of inquisition and burning witches on a stake.
Buffy's new moral quandary is really Joss-worthy. People live next to another species who look more or less like them; who apparently work for human employers; who appear on television; who can't get away from Earth even if they want to. Is it okay to kill them?
So far, it's unclear where the story will go; but it's a new, intriguing premise. For a long time, vampires and demons were metaphors of human fears and frustrations. It's hard to face our fears; should we destroy them or should we learn to live with them without letting them to destroy us?
Plot-wise, it's interesting that in this issue Severin has switched from killing girls to killing male vampires. A coincidence? Or he did it to make a good impression on Buffy? I don't trust the guy; so far he looks like an Angel-lite: a handsome impeccably dressed stranger.
Buffy and Spike have two scenes together. One is a continuaton of the scene in a previous issue; it features Buffy, Willow, Spike and the demon who came about Buffy's student loan; it ends with a page from the preview -- "You used to be on my side". The other is below:
I like that the writers develop their relationship slowly. So far, I can see three scenarios:
1) Spike and Buffy's relationship stays purely platonic, he replaces Giles as her watcher. In that case, he stays on BtVS for the next season and beyond; maybe becomes a new Scoobie.
2) Joss replays Twangel scenario, the Spuffy way. Spike does something horrible and appaling, and Buffy "can't even look at him" anymore. So he either moves to A&F or to his own series, or disappears (highly unlikely, because he is popular)
3) Joss plans an epic and epically heartbreaking arc for them. Some impossible choice. Spike has to choose between Buffy and the world; Buffy has to choose between her baby and Spike. I don't know. Joss always finds the most painfyl choices. Something that changes their dynamics completely, but leaves a glimpse of hope that maybe, some day... etc.
I think I'll be okay with the first and the third option. I only hope that Joss won't choose the second scenario.