Drinks Taken: 24
Vamps Dusted: 2
Follow the whole rewatch here!
Last week, Meredith walked us through season two’s super stressful finale and then Buffy ran away to parts unknown. This week, we’ll find out where a Slayer hides when she needs to lick her wounds. But first, check out the updated drinking game rules for season three!
The Buffy Season Three Drinking Game Rules
Drink once every time:
A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Cordelia says something cutting but true
Principal Snyder hates on students
Oz is ridiculously low-key cool
Spike has mad swagger
Willow gets witchy
You roll your eyes at Faith
The Mayor is a germaphobe
Drink twice every time:
We see the entrance to Sunnydale High
Giles drinks tea
Jonathan appears in a scene
There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house
Someone wears leather pants
Tuck in and get ready to feel like you’re back in high school with the amount of melodrama we’re about to witness.
An entire summer has gone by after Buffy rode away from Sunnydale to the soulful crooning of Sarah McLachlan. In her stead, the Scooby Gang have been fighting the good fight, though they still need to work on their team roles and quips: everyone laughs at Willow’s “That’s right, big boy. Come and get it.” Apparently knowing the perfect witticism to utter right before staking a vamp is ALSO a Chosen One power perk. The vamp gets away, but the team regroups and strategizes about what to do better next time since Buffy has been incommunicado for months.
So where has Buffy been laying her head all this time? We slowly pan up from a shot of her arms to see:
Chilling at the beach with her hunny!
We are clearly in dream territory, which is quickly turning to a guilt-ridden nightmare as Angel lovingly whispers in her ear, “I’ll never leave—not even if you kill me.” So where is Buffy actually? In a not-so-nice part of Los Angeles, waitressing at a diner where she goes by her middle name (Anne) and refrains from violence as asshole customers slap her butt when she walks by. She’s clearly not okay.
Back in Sunnydale on the first day of senior year, and the most extraordinary thing is happening: People are in the library! It’s like they’re giving books away! Cordelia’s back from her vacation and frets at Willow, wondering if Xander has found any monster-girlfriends to replace her. Willow manages to extract herself from Cordelia’s clutches and is surprised when she finds Oz out in the hall: “You came to visit me! You came with books? Are they books for me?!” Reason number eleventy-million why Oz is such a great boyfriend: a surprise visit with books is totally within the realm of their relationship. But alas, these books are for Oz because he failed senior year and never attended summer school. Xander interrupts them to have his own freak-out about Cordelia, but Willow is still processing her boyfriend’s lack of scholastic drive. Xander and Cordy bump into each other, and, filled with their own self-doubt, have a cringe-fest of a reunion.
Cut to Buffy, in a teeny-tiny apartment she’s renting, wallowing alone; then Buffy walking to work and wallowing, alone. There’s so much sad face, which SMG does well, but the vibe does make for a bummer of an episode. In an earlier scene, Buffy-as-Anne-the-waitress waited on a young couple, Lily and Rickie. They were very obviously in love, but homeless and clearly not making sound financial decisions as they spent all their money on giant matching heart tattoos on their forearms:
In the present, Lily calls out to Buffy on the street, but when “Anne” doesn’t elicit a response, she calls her Buffy, which definitely stops our Slayer in her tracks. Before this girl was Lily she was Chanterelle, one of the vampire-worshippers who hung out with Buffy’s childhood friend, Ford. She promises she kept Buffy’s identity a secret, even from Rickie, since she knows what it’s like to want to disappear. She herself changes names like she changes clothes, trying to find a life that fits.
Buffy dodges Lily’s attempts to hang out and runs into a 7th Heaven dad look-a-like who is handing out fliers about his “family home” for homeless and runaway youths. He lays on the do-gooder act really thick, and Buffy is kind of wigged out but can’t put her finger on why. To underscore the plight of the teenage homeless, there’s an out-of-place emo-y montage of homeless teens on the streets, which does not feel very Buffy.
Giles stops by the Summers’ residence to check in Joyce. He’s been flying off to investigate possible Buffy sightings (which is the cutest and saddest) and he wanted to give her an update. Joyce is distraught, and Giles tries to comfort her by telling her, “You mustn’t blame yourself for her leaving.” Joyce is stone-cold as she metaphorically bitch-slaps him with: “I don’t. I blame YOU.” Giles is shocked, but she goes on, “You’ve been this huge influence on her, guiding her. You had this whole relationship with her behind my back. I feel like you’ve taken her away from me.” We know Giles isn’t a creeper, but, yeah, I can understand Joyce’s perspective here.
Later, Lily shows up at the diner to ask for Buffy’s help in locating Rickie, who has been missing for more than a day. They stop by a sketchy blood bank he frequents, but the (lying) nurse hasn’t seen him. Buffy checks out some abandoned properties where the homeless like to camp out, and she finds a dead guy with Rickie’s Lily tattoo on his arm—the kicker, though, is the guy looks like an eighty-year-old man, not a person in their twenties. She relays this impossible-but-true info to Lily. One of her first concerns is about who will take care of her now, and then she turns on Buffy, wondering if something bad happened to Rickie because monsters follow her wherever she goes. Buffy harshly tells Lily that bad things happen and she has to pull her shit together and try to move on. Project much?
So Lily storms out…straight into the arms of 7th Heaven dad, who lies and says Rickie is at his halfway house. She goes with him and is forced to “cleanse” herself in a pool of water, which is actually a portal to some alternate hell dimension where a bunch of demons are using human slave labor to…manufacture…stuff… I dunno, y’all, but the product is not important.
At the same time, Buffy follows her investigative instincts and breaks into the blood bank. She warns Nurse Ratched that she knows something hinky is happening and to spill the beans before she has to go Slayer on her butt.
Some light B&B on a Tuesday. No big.
The nurse’s info leads Buffy to the halfway home, and she gets sucked into the demon dimension with Lily. They learn that in this realm, time moves more slowly, and years will pass there within a single Earth day. The demons work the humans for “decades” then drop them back on the LA streets when they’re too old to work. Usually they’re so messed up from their experience they end up killing themselves. Poor Rickie.
Buffy and Lily are sorted into a group of human slaves while a truly hideous demon (good job, makeup department!) tries to put the fear of god into them, but Buffy stares him dead in the eyes and delivers a quip. She’s back, baby! What ensues is an extended fight scene that must have been very fun to film. These demons subscribe to the general bad-guy school of fighting, i.e., attack one at a time while the others stand by for moral support. 7th Heaven dad stands above the fray holding Lily hostage, but makes a fatal error when he lets her go to gesticulate wildly and monologue. Lily shows her first glimmer of self-preservation and pushes him off the catwalk in a truly humorous moment. Together she and Buffy free the other slaves and escape back to Earth, while the portal collapses behind them.
Buffy realizes it’s time to gather her own shit together and go home to face her friends and family. She offers Lily her apartment and her waitressing gig. Lily spots Buffy’s “Anne” nametag and asks if she can be Anne. It’s a sweet moment, and we’re left hoping that Lily-now-Anne will try to emulate Buffy’s self-reliance and inner strength.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Carlos Jacott as Ken AKA 7th Heaven dad look-a-like
Carlos has been in bunches of things: Psych, Big Love, Desperate Housewives, Firefly, She’s All That, Grosse Pointe Blank…the list goes on and on.
Oz Skipped Arm Day
Oz tries a Slayer move and is as adorably chill as ever about failing:
Oz: “That really never works.”
Wouldn’t there be dead dude dust still floating around between them? EW!
Best Grrrl Power Moment
Demon Guy: “Who are you?”
Buffy: “I’m Buffy, the vampire slayer. And you are?”
Buffy to slaves: “Anyone who’s not having fun here, follow me.”
3.2 “Dead Man’s Party”
Buffy’s returned and it’s going to get messy. After unpacking, Buffy finds Joyce in her bedroom hammering a Nigerian mask from her art gallery to her wall. Looks great with the curtains! Buffy wants to take a walk, and though her mom is clearly uncomfortable with the idea of Buffy leaving the house ever again, she’s trying not to push Buffy away and lets her go.
On her pleasant stroll down a dark alley, Buffy runs into a man—oh, wait, sorry, not a man; just Xander out on patrol. Their reunion is interrupted by a vamp, and soon the whole Scooby gang shows up in time to get their butts handed to them. No matter how much patrolling they do, they will never measure up to a single badass Buffy.
They immediately bring her over to Giles’ apartment, and until Giles tells her welcome back, I don’t think we saw Buffy smile once. She looks so relieved that he doesn’t hate her. They pile into the living room and Xander makes inane jokes, and all is well again! Ha, if only. Giles goes to grab the screaming tea kettle and has a moment in the kitchen where he is just overcome with emotion and relief, and it’s so sweet:
Giles is such a good
The gang grills Buffy on her whereabouts, but she evades their questions. All she wants to do is get back to her normal routine: slaying, school, and hanging out with friends. Willow reluctantly agrees to change her plans to hang out with Buffy the next day, while Giles reminds Buffy she’s technically expelled. Buffy is confident her mom can wear down “His Ugliness”.
Except…she can’t. Snyder is taking sick pleasure in denying Buffy access to her public-funded education: “I have not only the right, but also nearly physical sensation of pleasure at the thought of keeping her out of school. I’d describe myself as tingly.” Joyce threatens to go to the Mayor, and Snyder simply smiles because he knows he’s got that crook on his side. After their failed appointment, Joyce drops Buffy off near a coffee shop on Sunnydale’s main street area (which we end up seeing a lot more of as seasons go by) to meet up with Willow. But Willow never shows. Getting stood up is the WORST. It’s also clearly a slap in the face, because we all know Willow is probably never late to anything.
After Buffy trudges home, Joyce suggests they host a dinner party—complete with “company” plates!—the next night for Willow and everybody. Buffy states “Willow and everybody” are not company plate people. Regardless, Buffy is sent to the basement to find said plates, but instead finds a dead cat. Okay? She and Joyce bury it in the yard, but in the middle of the night the mask on Joyce’s bedroom wall glows, and the cat suddenly digs its way out of the dirt and trots back inside the next morning. Buffy calls Giles to come and capture the dead thing from under Joyce’s bed, and she’s even excited to do research. Giles tries to gently dissuade her from joining him until he has to flat out tell her she’s not allowed on school property. Mee-owwch.
At the libary, Cordelia makes fun of Giles’ dead “pet” cat, but Oz, the sweetheart, declares he likes it and that they should call him Patches. (drink!) They take a break from serious research to chat about the dinner party, which, obviously, a bunch of seventeen-year-olds find less than thrilling. Buffy’s been looking to have more fun, so why don’t they throw a party and have Oz’s band play!? Giles tries to be the voice of adult reason but he is overruled. Adult me is offended they all think it’s fine to show up at Buffy’s house and throw a huge party without her or her mom’s permission.
Buffy is in her dinner-party best when a bunch of stereotypical teen movie party extras show up. A cut scene later and the party is in full swing. Willow is watching Oz play guitar and completely ignoring Buffy, doing that lame pretending she can’t hear her over the music. Xander and Cordelia are making out with little thought for anyone else. So Buffy is feeling shut out and snubbed, with good reason. She drags Willow to a quieter room and confronts her, but Willow is suuuuper passive-aggressive (“We’re all good!”) and it’s so hard to watch.
Buffy knows she was just dis-MISSED. Ouch.
The MOTW is kind of boring, so to sum up: the Nigerian mask is bringing dead people to life so someone can put it on and be imbued with its powers to command the dead. It reanimates a bunch of dead bodies around Sunnydale and they all shuffle towards the Summers’ home. Giles finally realizes what’s going on a bit too late and almost gets overrun by zombies, but he escapes and eventually shows up to impart the answers.
After several failed conversations with her friends, and overhearing (and misunderstanding) Joyce telling her book-club friend, Pat, that having Buffy home is difficult, our girl is at her wit’s end. She runs to her room and begins packing a bag, but Willow catches her and finally flips out on her. It’s rough. Buffy is wallowing in self-pity, and Willow is bitter with pent-up abandonment issues. Willow begs for Buffy to tell her what’s going on, but Buffy says Willow wouldn’t understand. And how CAN she even talk to Willow when she’s been avoiding her? (She forgets she deliberately avoided answering questions at the beginning of the episode.)
I understand Willow’s anger, I do. But this whole rest of the episode bothered me so much, then and now, because Buffy hasn’t told anyone what happened with Angel and she never gets to during any of these arguments! I feel like everyone would’ve chilled with the judgy attitudes if they knew Buffy’s side of things, and it felt like the writers deliberately left that out to make this episode more painful than it needed to be. Communication is key, y’all!
Joyce walks in and sees Buffy’s half-packed bag, and now she’s upset too. Buffy, completely distraught, runs downstairs into the middle of the party, and finally Joyce decides to go off on her, right there in front of everyone (even Jonathan over by the dip! (drink!)). Xander, as always, feels the need to butt his nose in and berate Buffy as well. As someone who directly contributed to the fact that Buffy thought she had no choice but to kill her “demon hunny” as he so gently put it, Xander—please kindly fuck off. He is INSUFFERABLE here.
Even Cordelia, who, as we all know, is not one to sugarcoat anything she sees as truth, tells Xander to chill out. Willow tries to intervene, but Buffy pleads that she can’t take it from Willow too, and Xander once again pretends he’s Buffy’s dad and snaps that Willow should get her time to air her grievances like everyone else. Buffy finally has enough of Xander’s shit and I would so have loved to see her lay the smackdown on him, but Oz steps in as referee because he is the best.
You may recall the zombies who have been shambling towards the Summers’ home this entire time? They pick this perfect shit-show moment to arrive. THANK YOU, zombies! Everyone runs and hides. Upstairs in Joyce’s bedroom, a zombie snaps the neck of Joyce’s friend, Pat. We hardly knew ye, Pat. Her corpse reanimates and crawls over to put the Nigeran mask on, and she becomes the death god. Whoops.
Her superpower is flashing light through her eyes so bright it’s like being blinded by a camera flash.
Buffy grabs Pat and jumps out the window so they can fight it out on the lawn. Thanks to Oz, Buffy gets the upper hand and jams a shovel through Masked Pat’s eyes, killing her and somehow making all the zombies poof away (but did they return to where they were when they reanimated? Or did a bunch of people’s loved ones’ bodies just disappear forever? Why do people still live in Sunnydale??).
Suddenly the Scooby Gang remembers the fragility of life and hugs and makes up, but I am dissatisfied because nothing gets resolved. Willow and Buffy do meet up at the end of the episode to talk it out further, but, God, I’m still salty about Xander.
Let’s end on a happier note. Giles pops by Snyder’s office and tells him he WILL allow Buffy back into school, or it’s Snyder’s professional career on the chopping block. Snyder sneers, but Giles shoves him against the filing cabinet and gives Snyder his Ripper glare. I don’t condone violence to get what you want, but people like Snyder will only respond to fear and power. We don’t see the outcome of their little tête-à-tête, but I’m reasonably confident we’ll see Buffy back at a classroom desk next episode.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Nancy Lenehan as Pat
She’s been in so many TV shows and movies; a classic character actor! But YOU may also remember her from another recent FYA Rewatch show where she plays Meghan’s straight-laced mom!
The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week
Buffy: “What about homeschooling? You know it’s not just for scary religious people anymore.”
As much as I hate him, Snyder’s glee at “another tingle moment” as he lists Buffy’s scholastic failures makes me giggle.
Snyder: “I’m sorry. Another tingle moment.”
Oz The Dictionary
Oz: “We should figure out what kind of deal this is. I mean, is it a gathering, a shin-dig, or a hootenanny?”
Cordelia: “What’s the difference?”
Oz: “Well, a gathering is brie. Mellow song stylings. Shin-dig: dip. Less mellow song stylings, perhaps a large amount of malt beverage. And hootenanny, well, it’s chock full o’ hoot, just a little bit of nanny.”
Xander: “Well, I hate brie.”
Cordelia: “I know. It smells like Giles’ cat.”
Cordelia’s Party Staple
Willow: “What about Buffy’s welcome home dinner tonight? I told her mom we’d help out. Bring stuff.”
Cordelia: “I’m the dip.”
Xander, after everyone looks confused: “You gotta admire the purity of it.”
Cordelia: “What? Onion dip. Stirring—NOT cooking. It’s what I bring.”
Giles For Life
Giles’ high-pitched mocking of Joyce and the mask as he drives to Buffy’s to warn them made me laugh:
Giles, mockingly: “Do you like my mask? Isn’t it pretty? It raises the dead. Americans.”
So what did you think about Buffy’s disappearance and reappearance? Did you pick a side when all the fighting started? And for those of you who watched this when it first aired, has your perspective on Buffy’s running away changed now that you are an adult? Do you think she had good reason, or was she just being selfish?
We’ll be back here next week with Sarah, same bat time, same bat place! We’ll be meeting a new friend in “Faith, Hope & Trick” and saying hello to an old one in “Beauty and the Beasts”.