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Buffy - Willow and Tara

Buffy Season 3 - Review

Posted on 2008.10.18 at 02:32
Current Mood:: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music:: Coldplay - Death and All His Friends
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Anne:
A better opening episode that season 2. This episode deals with how Buffy tries to cope with being responsible for Angel's death. i.e. How she doesn't try to cope with being responsible for Angel's death. There's a minor plot going on with the scoobies about everyone falling out with one another over the summer and then how they call come together again and fight vampires. Buffy's story in this episode is much better than the season season opener because while she is miserable in that opener as well (why is she miserable in every first episode of a season?) she has a more valid reason to be miserable in this one. In that one she'd just been dead for a minute or two. Okay not great news but I don't see the point of getting upset about it. Anyway Buffy goes to Hell, or a Hell at any rate. People there are being worked to death and Buffy's here to put a stop to it. Anyway enough recap because well everyone's seen the episode by now. I enjoyed this episode. It's a good episode to pull Buffy out of her miserable slump and straight into the next miserable slump. This season seems to start with a series of miserable slumps. Which was the less successful sequel to Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. Anyway into the next slump which is of course:

Dead Man's Party:
Buffy gets back and it seems like everyone's coping fine without her. They all appear to have moved on. Okay it's miserable Buffy time again, not that I blame her. If this happened to me I'd probably be a bit miserable as well. In fact I'd probably despair, but I'm like that. Everytime in a book or TV program or film I see a scene where it looks like every thing is ruined forever or whatever I think to myself that I would just wallow in despair. Of course I've never wallowed in despair in real life but hey is this a review or isn't it? I should be reviewing shouldn't I? The enemy in this episode is an evil mask that can wake the dead. Personally I'm not sure why if it could wake the dead hadn't it been doing it before Buffy's mum brought it home but whatever. Buffy's sad and everyone else isn't helping. She thinks she should run away again and gets into a fight with everyone. Then everyone gets into a fight with the undead. Best line: "Talking about it isn't helping. We might as well try some violence."

Faith, Hope and Trick:
Things still aren't going very well for Buffy. Everyone's pressuring her to go out with someone new, Scott Hope, because they feel a bit bad being all coupled up around Buffy. This would be handlable but then Faith comes to town. A brand shiny new slayer and one that everyone seems to like more than her. Buffy is somewhat mopey again and her and Faith don't get off to the best start. This episode is also Mr. Trick's debut. He's a modern forward thinking vampire. He's not all about the hunt and blood. He's about potential business opportunities and investments. He's there with Kakistos. A mysterious vampire who has a grudge against the slayer. It took me an alarmingly long time to realise that his grudge against the slayer was against the new slayer: Faith. Thanks to Faith's inability to move on from the past Buffy realises she has to move on from the past and tells Giles all about Angelus' sudden return to Angel moments before she killed him. Then Angel suddenly returns from hell and then the episode suddenly ends. It's a good episode, if a little cliffhangery, not that I actually had to wait any length of time for the resolution of the cliffhanger, but still.

Beauty and the Beasts:
I like the premise in this one. There's been a death and who did it? Is it our lovable recently reincarnated rascal of a vampire: Angel or our I've-run-out-of-alliterative-things-to-say werewolf: Oz? Well actually it's neither. It's someone who has read enough of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde to learn how to construct the formula but apparently not enough to learn that Mister Hyde isn't actually someone you want to go turning into. Buffy attempts to come to terms with Angel's surprise emergence from hell and attempts to figure out whether he's beyond redemption. Obviously he isn't and I'd imagine we get a glimpse of Angel in what I'd like to refer to as his wounded puppy stage. Where he's feral enough to not really be capable of communication but not feral enough to be blindly attacking everything in sight. I like watching Angel's recuperation in this season. He's so sweet when he's in the wounded puppy stage.

Homecoming:
Yay! I bet everyone can guess why I love this episode after all the giddiness with Spike from last season. Yep. This is the one where Spike's back and no wait that's a different one. I'm not as giddy in that case. I get them mixed up because mentally I've associated Spike coming back to Sunnydale with coming home and thus Homecoming. This'd be better titled Slayerfest 98. I like this episode as well though. Mister Trick is much more of an enterprising vampire before he gets all entangled with the Mayor. I really like this one for the different contestants and their different methods. From vampires, to humans, to spiny-headed things. It's a good group. Actually now I think of it this episode is good. It has some good Cordelia moments. Like Cordelia attacking a demon with a spatula and the best bit at the end of the episode where she coerces that cowboy vampire into taking a hike. In summary it's a good episode even if there is an absense of Spike.

Band Candy:
This is a fantastic episode. I absolutely love all the adults when they revert back to teenagers. Oddly enough despite how much of a git Principal Snyder was in all previous episodes his teenage version was strangely endearing and utterly hilarious. Looking back on it I would have liked it if they'd kept a supply of the band candy for Synder and had him as a part time member of the scoobies. Of course such a position would be ridiculous and untenable but damnit teenage Snyder is funny. Plus the episode gets awesome points for having Giles revert to Ripper and the bits between him and Buffy's mum (although I know her name some part of me feels really weird about referring to her as Joyce). It's a brilliant episode all in all. And Ethan Rayne is in it as well so that's good.

Revelations:
This one is the one with the fake watcher who wants the glove of something or other. Plus it's also the one where everyone finds out that Angel is back from hell. Personally I reckon that everyone was a bit harsh on Angel. I even thought that the first time through. Okay so he did kill Ms. Calendar and everything but he, the real Angel, wasn't in control. If you ask me Angel with a soul and Angel without a soul (Angelus) are classed as two completely different people. They happen to share the same body but that's it. Other than that they are completely seperate. Of course it's not that simple but you know...
Gwendolyn Post is the new evil fake watcher. She's a right bitch and I'd hate to have her in charge of me, even if she wasn't evil and in search of a glove which gives you smitey lightning powers. Which by the way looks like rather a painful glove to wear. What with it driving spikes into your arm and everything. Angel says that once you put it on you can't take it off and I believe him, but the fact remains how are you supposed to carry out your normal everyday tasks with that behemoth of a glove on your arms? Not easily that's for sure.

Lover's Walk:
Okay here we are, the Spike comes back and fucks up everyone elses love life. I love this episode. I especially love "Get out of Sunnydale. That's a good thing. What kind of moron would ever wanna come back here?" and cut to Spike knocking over the welcome to Sunnydale sign. Something that I was sure he'd previously done with Drusilla but apparently not according to School Hard. Anyway he's something of a mess and he's here on a determined mission not only to fix his relationship with Dru but to destroy everyone elses relationships. I absolutely love Spike. Just wait till I review the next episode. I expect that I'll be declaring every single episode to be the incredibly awesome or something. The best moment of this episode is Spike singing My Way as he drives away. Everyone else's relationship has been shattered to peices. Angel, Buffy, Xander, Cordelia, Oz, and Willow, I think even Giles gets a quick shot of him looking sad, and Spike goes away practically jubilant.

The Wish:
I love this episode as well. The introduction of Anya. It's so weird to see Anya back when she was a vengeance demon. It's especially weird to see her as the principle antagonist of an episode. She's just such a great character and her and Xander are perfect, but that's not of the now. This is a good episode even if it is a bleak outlook on the world as it would be if Buffy had gone elsewhere. Buffy is less Buffy-like. Everyone else is dead or dying. Willow and Xander and vampires. The Master is running a human smoothie restaurant. Okay that bit is a bit weird but otherwise it's fairly bleak and it's good. I love the very final bit where upon the wish being reversed Cordelia goes on to wish flippantly for lots more things and Anya feebly attempts to grant them.

Amends:
The first encounter that Buffy has with The First. Angel's being tormented by visions of his past and they're making it very clear that they want him to kill Buffy and himself. He's weak. He can't handle it. Buffy hunts down the Bringers of the First and sends it back to whatever hell it crawled out from. In the meantime Angel has resolved to kill himself at sunrise, but instead of sunrise there's just snow. Christmas snow. It's a great episode even though I didn't really get the incredulousness of the snow as it didn't click in my head: California = Warm. Snow = Not In California. It is a good episode though. Thumbs up for it.

Gingerbread:
This is a clever episode. I know that watching episodes like this get me a bit worked up though. Like when I watch Ted. Everyone's behaving like maniacs and I know and I feel like I should try and do something. Get Buffy's mum to snap out of the 'my daughter must die' phase. It's a good episode though and notably it's the one where Amy gets turned into a rat. The dead children being the monster was really clever. Plus Xander struggling to keep up with the whole 'fairytales are real' thing.

Helpless:
I kind of feel the same way about this one as I do about the last one. I want to grab Giles and shake him and go "what are you doing! How can you be poisoning Buffy. She trusts you implicitly. You can't do this to her." Then maybe he might have stopped and come clean sooner rather than later. It was after all sort of inevitable that he was going to get fired from the Watcher's Council so we could have avoided all that not-niceness of doing not-nice things to Buffy behind her back. Although that said the vampire in this episode is a really entertaining peice of work and the way that Buffy dispatches him is brilliant.

The Zeppo:
I love this episode. Apparently so does Russell T Davies of Doctor Who fame who claims it is the inspiration for the episodes where the Doctor doesn't appear much. This would be a greater compliment to The Zeppo if the episode in question wasn't Love and Monsters which was until recently the worst episode of Doctor Who ever made. The Zeppo on the other hand is brilliant and it follows Xander around as he has his own adventure. He gets a car, makes some friends, summons the undead, almost dies on a number of occasions, interrupts a dramatic romantic scene between Angel and Buffy, loses his virginity and saves everyone's life. This is an epic episode for Xander and shows just how good a character he has. He can seriously stand up for himself when he has to. Oh and there's a little subplot with the rest of the characters where the Hellmouth is going to open and the world is going to end and this time it feels different. More real. Like it can't be stopped. I love this episode.

Bad Girls:
This episode is the turning point of season three. It's the Surprise/Innocence of the season except without so much of the surprise. I like Faith's story in this season because it is a direct contrast to Angel's in the last. It isn't a sudden swap of allegiances. It's a slow build up that begins when Faith accidentally kills a person. You can tell that despite apparently not caring about people she does have some trepidation when she eventually teams up with the Mayor. She doesn't really want anything bad to happen to the scoobies (as evidenced by her hesitation in Doppelgangland) and she eventually comes around to the Mayor's side proper thanks to the way he treats her with great fondness. Say what you like about the Mayor. He's crazy, he's evil, he just wants to be a big snake, whatever. He really did love Faith like a daughter.
Oh and this episode also introduces Wesley Windham-Pryce. It's shocking to see him as he first appeared. Wesley is such a brilliant character once he gets going in Angel. He's strong, he's brave, he's heartbroken for a good portion of season 5 but he's a brilliant character. To see him floundering about like a fish out of water is seriously weird. He's a character that has seriously grown as the series has progressed. Anyway at the moment he's good for comic relief and interfering. Oh and there was a horrible demon called Balthazar or something. It was all fat and it had stubby little arms and was sat in the bath.

Consequences:
Buffy attempts to help Faith who is seriously not dealing with how she killed a man. At this point Faith isn't past the point of redemption but she is on a hard path and there's one obstacle that will derail her from this path. That she teams up with the mayor and ends up in a coma and all that is one person's fault. Wesley's. Had he decided to leave well enough alone as Giles and Buffy probably know what they're doing she would eventually have dealt with what she had done and the season finale: Buffy Versus The Giant Snake would have been substantially easier. Still though Faith is on a bad path. Xander comes to try and help her and she ends up attempting to rape and strangle him. Nice one Faith. Angel captures her and appears to be getting through when she's seized by the Watcher's Council to be taken back to England and put on trial. But she escapes and heads to the docks to skip town. An argument ensues and then Mister Trick gets killed. If The Mayor is the Big Bad, and Faith is the Medium Bad. Then Mister Trick is the Little Bad, which is only just better than Monster of the Week. Poor old Mister Trick. I used to like him when he worked for himself. He sold out when he went to work for the Mayor. Seriously. The episode ends with Faith going to see the Mayor about a job opening.

Doppelgangland:
I love this episode as well. Anya makes a return and she wants to be a demon again because life is hard as a teenage girl especially if you are over 1000 years old. Making her the oldest Buffy character ever. Anyway that's beside the point. Willow's sick of being seen as reliable and wants to show that she can have a wild side. Which is probably the most ironic time for a vampire version of yourself to show up. Vampire Willow is brilliant and normal Willow pretending to be Vampire Willow is even better. Best line of the episode: "And I think I'm kinda gay." Oh Willow, you don't know the half of it yet.

Enemies:
I really thought Bad Angel was back in this episode. The first time at any rate. I didn't think Bad Angel was back on second viewing because that would show a seriously poor memory. It's a cleverly done episode and provides vital information on the Mayor's plans and on Faith's allegiance with him. Personally I think the Mayor is one of the odder Big Bads. He's a reasonably effective Big Bad, although he does just want to be a giant snake (I can't think of the Mayor without quoting that line now) but for some reason I never really bought into him as a Big Bad in the same way as I bought into the others. Even the Master I thought of as the Big Bad. It's not the Mayor's fault. I think it's his personality. I simply cannot process that attitude and the role of Big Bad into the same person. Anyway since I've already covered the whole Angel pretends to be a bad guy portion of this episode there is little else to say. Onwards with the review!

Earshot:
Once again I like this episode, though I have one minor prop point that sticks in my mind as being wrong, or inconsistent or whatever. Jonathan's gun. It's a sniper rifle. Right. So he's going to go and kill himself with a sniper rifle? Whatever happened to using a pistol or a shotgun or something? A sniper rifle seems so inappropriate for the killing of oneself. Anyway I suppose that he had to have a sniper rifle else the suspense would be rather not suspenseful. I love Buffy eavesdropping on people's thoughts. Oz's thoughts are best with Xander's coming a close second. Plus I love the revelation that Giles and Buffy's mum slept together while under the influence of the Band Candy. Best moment: "We can work out after school. You know, if you're not too busy having sex with my MOTHER!" Then Giles walks into a tree.

Choices:
This is the episode with the box of spiders. They decide to get proactive on the mayor and find out all they can about this ascension and steal his box of tasty delicious spiders. Willow gets captured and they have a trade. Willow for the Mayor's packed lunch. The best bit of this episode is Willow's face-off with Faith. It shows you just how far Faith has come and Willow stands up to her brilliantly. The best line of the episode though is undoubtedly "You. All of you. Why couldn't you be dealing drugs like normal people?" Snyder can be really funny when he wants to be.

The Prom:
Angel and Buffy break up, Tucker Wells tries to ruin the Prom with suit-seeking Hellhounds, Xander buys Cordelia the dress she wants, Anya asks Xander to the Prom, Jonathan presents Buffy with the Class Protector Award, Angel shows up for the Prom. It's such a brilliant episode and it finally gives Buffy that one perfect high school moment she's been so keen to have. The best bit is definately when Jonathan gives Buffy the award. It's really emotional and it shows that even if she isn't the most popular girl in school she is appreciated. And Giles in a suit. God I love this episode. The best line is Giles telling Wesley: "For God's sake, man, she's eighteen. And you have the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone. Just have at it, would you, and stop fluttering about."

Graduation Day:
This is a great season finale. Okay it's not the epic of Becoming or the hilarious brilliance of Restless, or the emotional impact of The Gift, or the sheer powerhouse of a triple episode that is Villains/Two To Go/Grave and it isn't as awesome as the ultimate series finale End of Days/Chosen. Okay so I know I've just listed it lower than every season finale except Prophecy Girl. But it is still a good season finale. It just has stiff competition. There's a lot going on. Buffy and Angel investigate the death of a vulcanologist and Faith poisons Angel. Then Buffy goes to kill Faith and then has Angel drink from her to save him. Then the war is on. And what a war it is. It's a brilliant moment seeing that every graduating student is prepared to fight against the Mayor, who just wants to be a giant snake. I absolutely love this episode because the school falls to peices as Mayor McSnake chases Buffy through the school then Giles 'splodes it. It makes a brillaint finale to the season.

Overall:
It's a good season. I continue to struggle to get my head around the Mayor as a Big Bad but that's my issue. There wasn't as many two parters as I like in a series and Oz messed around with his hairstyle without warning a couple of times. Overall I think it probably gets an eight out of ten. Not as good as the second season but a damn sight better than the first.

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