I hate this episode. Can I just say how much I hate this episode? We suffer just as much as Giles does during this pointless and painful talent show. The painfully bad acting isn't even funny or amusing. It's just PAINFUL. Like nails on a chalkboard. At least we know that there are some good actors in the show, because it takes a good actor to play a bad actor.
There is nothing redeeming about this episode. We have our WORST ANTAGONIST EVER!!!!! Well, at least we think he's the antagonist for most of the show. A ventriloquist dummy. A DUMMY!!!! With a Brooklyn accent, probably circa 1920s!!
Now, there is an extensive list of cases of possessed/haunted dolls and whatnot, but here's the difficulty with that: technically, the doll is neither haunted nor possessed. An old demon-hunter got his soul bound into the dummy by a demon. Since his inhabitance of the dummy is not intentional nor willing, its not really possession.
Since we know that his body is dead this is technically a haunting...kind of. Not your classic haunting though. He's being kept here by magic/unfinished business. Well, unfinished business is classic, but the unfinished business is killing the demon to release the binding on him so he can finally pass on. He knows perfectly well who he is, he never technically died, just got transferred to a different body.
And I'm sorry, but there is absolutely nothing at all threatening about a dummy trying to attack a full-size person. Especially not a big ol' demon. When he hops up on the demon's back and 'stabs' it, it just looks silly and unbelievable.
Anyways, our only significant points in this show that have any bearing at all on the rest of the series is A) the principal is a dick that likes to pick on students, and B) Buffy also fights demons in addition to demon lites, the vampires.
We also get a bit of a red herring in the episode...the same red herring gets dragged across the trail in subsequent episodes as well. This being of course that Principal Snyder knows about the paranormal goings-on and is working to protect the school. He obviously suspects Buffy for being involved in said paranormal happenings. The red herring is that it seems like once he actually figures out who she is he'll be on her side. Unfortunately no, we don't get that fun little sideplot. Just a red herring.
So, I'm just gonna stop this here. I can't take the torture anymore. If you really want to see the train wreck, I won't stop you. But don't say I didn't warn you.