The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
When asked why he chose to have Riley cut from the series, creator Joss Whedon says he tried to give Buffy a healthy relationship, but "people didn't want it. They did some great work together. But at the same time, when they were happy, it made people crazy."
The episode title "Into The Woods" is derived from the Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name. The musical explores the tragedy that befalls fairytale characters after their 'happily ever after'; much like how Joyce's 'happily ever after' is followed by tragedy in Buffy's relationship.
After his intense conversation with Buffy, Xander tells Anya that he is in love with her, therefore their relationship is cemented as something more than just a high school romance or a sexual relationship.