This is a big week in the career of actor Marc Blucas. Tonight, after a year-long absence, he reprises his role as Buffy Summers's wholesome ex-beau Riley Finn on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (8 pm/ET on UPN). And come Friday, he can be seen on the big screen opposite Mel Gibson in the brutal Vietnam drama We Were Soldiers.

"[The back-to-back gigs are] nice for me and my family," Blucas admits to TV Guide Online, "but the verdict's still out on whether anyone else thinks it's nice or not."

Well, as far as his small-screen comeback is concerned, the modest 6'2" hottie need not worry about receiving a warm reception: Buffy fans have been drooling for Riley's return ever since he left his Chosen One in tears at the Sunnydale Heliport. Of course, there is one obsessed Buffy disciple who almost certainly won't be rolling out the welcome mat: the Slayer's current love slave, Spike.

Blucas — who turned the big 3-0 last month — reveals that Buffy's latest dalliance with the undead is one of many things that Riley "gets caught up to speed on." But he points out that his alter ego hasn't exactly been cooped up in a cabin writing poetry during his time away, teasing that Riley "drops a bombshell" of his own.

Although Riley's Hellmouth homecoming is short-lived (read: one-episode only), Finn-ites can get a second helping of Blucas just by going to the cineplex to catch Soldiers. But brace yourself: His on-screen counterpart, too-eager-for-his-own-good Lt. Herrick, meets an untimely end. And making matters worse, director Randall Wallace (The Man in the Iron Mask) chose to shoot the wrenching death scene in extreme close-up.

At the time, the cameraman warned Blucas that when the movie made it to the big screen his mug would be super-sized. "He commented, 'Your face is going to be like 60 feet wide on this one,'" the Summer Catch star recalls.

Making the sequence even more of a challenge, he says, was the fact that Lt. Herrick was a real person. "He has a family that's going to see this movie," he says. "And more than anything, I just wanted to make it an accurate depiction. I've never seen anyone die in person and I hope I don't have to."