Start of Season 3 (3.1-3.11)
While the scooby gang tries to keep up the fight, Buffy dreams of being with Angel forever.
ANGEL: I'll never leave... not even if you kill me.
We learn that Buffy's middle name is Anne. Also that Sunnydale is a plane flight away from Oakland. And that a chanterelle is an exotic mushroom.
LARRY: if we can focus, keep discipline and not
have quite as many mysterious deaths, Sunnydale is gonna rule!
This episode is a logical successor to Becoming - Buffy realises that a slayer has to stand and fight, not run and hide - but happily the point isn't laboured like in some episodes.
BUFFY: I don't even know what a tea-cosy is, but I want one.
3.2 Dead Man's Party
It's a transitional sort of episode, concerned with getting things back to normal, with Buffy needing to be un-expelled. Better that than "Miss Porter's" girls school.
BUFFY: How about home schooling? It's not just for scary religious people any more.
There's a lovely moment where Giles is in his kitchen listening to Buffy laughing with her friends and allows himself a little smile. This rings much truer for me than the later soul-baring.
We've seen Sunnydale's coffee shop before but I don't think we saw the sign saying the Espresso Pump.
Everyone's "fighting" and then zombies attack and there's real fighting - I see what they did there! Joyce has made a friend who turns into a zombie (with not terribly scary flashing eyes) then evaporates - tough luck for Joyce really.
JOYCE: So is this a typical day at the office?
BUFFY: This? No, this was nothing.
3.3 Faith, Hope and Trick
There's a new slayer in town. Well, we were expecting that after Drusilla killed Kendra. Faith was expecting Giles to be at the watcher retreat. We learn that there is a council of watchers.
GILES: There is a watcher retreat every year in the Cotswolds - lovely spot, very serene. There's horse riding and hiking and punting, lectures and discussions. It's an
honour to be invited. So I'm told.
I was wondering how come Giles never got invited, yet did get the honour of being sent to be the active slayer's watcher - then I realised, he was only the substitute watcher, sent after Buffy's original watcher was killed (in the film). Obviously not popular with the council.
Faith is popular with everyone except Cordelia ("yuck!") and Buffy.
JOYCE: It's probably good you were an only child.
Strangely personality-free potential boyfriend Scott is dealt a losing hand from the start: not only is Buffy not over Angel, but he inadvisedly tries to give her a ring before the first date (is he that stupid?), and by a mystical coincidence it turns out to be identical to the claddagh ring Angel gave her on her birthday.
Faith lets go of her fear and kills ugliest-vampire-yet Kakistos, and Buffy lets go of Angel - she tells Giles and Willow that the Ritual of Restoration worked, and leaves the claddagh ring in the mansion where she killed him. Cue excellent twist/cliff-hanger as Angel is yanked out of hell, landing actually naked and quivering on the floor of the mansion.
3.4 Beauty and the Beasts
Oz has another "might have killed someone while a werewolf" scare, and Buffy has to see the school psychologist:
PLATT: lots of people lose themselves in love. It's no shame. They write songs about it. The hitch is: you can't stay lost. Sooner or later, you have to get back to yourself.
BUFFY: And if you can't?
PLATT: If you can't - love becomes your master.
And you're just its dog.
In a werewolf episode - I see what they did there.
Buffy discovers Angel, wild in the woods (except for trousers and shoes) and chains him up. She's not sure what he's turned into and probes Giles hypothetically (with uncharacteristic subtlety).
BUFFY: What if I told you I had a dream
about Angel? And it brought up some questions.
GILES: I'd say it was to be expected. But it must have been quite a dream, I didn't think you knew what a card index was for.
It's an episode with a particularly high body count, of actual people.
CORDELIA: Now I'm going to be stuck with serious thoughts all day.
Buffy tells Angel she's seeing Scott, Scott dumps her and we meet the Mayor for the first time.
TRICK: Competition is a beautiful thing.
I'm starting to see a theme in this season where every episode is about at least two things, such as the election for Homecoming Queen and "Slayerfest '98".
Xander and Willow realise how good adults look in adult clothes, and Giles is in high spirits.
GILES: We have to find Buffy, something terrible has happened! ...Only kidding.
Cordelia looks so amazing in her ballgown it's hard to concentrate on the plot, which is a shame because she also has some great lines.
BUFFY: I'm going to take out the rest of these guys just in time for you to congratulate me on my sweeping victory as Homecoming Queen!
CORDELIA: I know what you're up to. You think if you get me mad enough, I won't be so scared. And, hey, it's working! Where's a damn weapon?
Cordelia and Buffy defeat all the competitors, but it's still hard for me to get past how stunning Cordelia looks. And with that dazzling smile how could anyone not vote for her?
3.6 Band Candy
GILES: This isn't meant to be easy, you know. It's a rite of passage.
BUFFY: Well, is it too late to join a tribe where they just pierce something or cut something off?
It's SAT time. Cordy tests well.
CORDELIA: What? I can't have layers?
The adults who have eaten the band candy turn into teenagers, which is amusing but not a terribly sophisticated plot. Everyone knows where the candy comes from so Buffy has no trouble going there - so it's quite surprising that Ethan hasn't anticipated her arrival.
The chemistry between Willow and Xander is still smouldering.
CORDELIA: You wanna swap?
WILLOW: What? Swap!?
CORDELIA: This book is really thick and I'm not sure it's in English.
By the time they figure out that the demon's tribute is babies, the babies have been snatched. It seems like overkill to drug the whole adult population just to steal four babies, but then again, vampires don't believe in overkill.
Luckily Giles knows the exact spot in the sewer network where the tribute will take place (handy, that) and they are able to go kill the demon, saving future babies and helping out the Mayor without knowing it.
The thing between Xander and Willow reaches enough importance to come up before the credits.
WILLOW: Your new boyfriend, who we made up. Unless we didn't?
We learn that there are 12 cemeteries within the city limits of Sunnydale.
WILLOW: Keeping secrets is a lot of work! One could hypothetically imagine.
Buffy's secret is out; Willow nearly confesses but doesn't. The climax is one of the cleverest set-ups that ends up pitting the slayers against each other.
3.8 Lovers Walk
Giles is going on a retreat "at the top of Breaker's Woods". Angel is reading "La Nausée" between Tai Chi sessions. Willow and Xander can't control their attraction for each other and Spike and Buffy can't let go of Drusilla and Angel.
We see the new magic shop, and its proprietor lives about as long as the previous one.
Funniest moment is when Spike is in Buffy's house with Joyce (invited in Becoming Part 2) and Angel can't get in. Once again, Spike is both funny, and an outsider who can tell things like they are - when he comes back in later seasons as a regular character, those are his main roles.
SPIKE: The last time I looked in on you two, you were
fighting to the death. Now you're back making googly eyes at each other like nothing happened. Makes me want to heave.
BUFFY: (Not very convincingly) I don't know what you're talking about.
SPIKE: Oh, yeah. You're just friends.
ANGEL: That's right.
SPIKE: You're not friends. You'll never be friends.
You'll be in love till it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other till it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood - blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it.
The vampires trying to dust Spike break into the magic shop - luckily only a couple of them come in through the broken door and most of them keep on battering at the window until they can get through that. Cordelia is hurt saving Xander and Willow, and the next thing we see is a funeral, for momentary misdirect value. Pan down to Buffy and Willow who just happen to be walking past.
BUFFY: So Cordelia's going to be OK?
Yes, but Xander and Cordelia are not OK, and neither are Willow and Oz, nor Buffy and Angel. It was a good idea not to have Giles in most of this episode - he wouldn't have fitted. (Also clever to leave Buffy and Faith not on good terms at the end of Revelations explaining why she's not around for a couple of episodes either.)
3.9 The Wish
One of the best ever episodes, built around a classic "what-if" scenario.
BUFFY: I'm supporto-gal.
Cordelia wishes Buffy away but it's not long at all before she realises "things were better when she was around". We see what the council really intended for Giles - sent to watch over a hellmouth with no slayer. He telephones Buffy's watcher.
GILES: Yes, I'm aware that there's a great deal of demonic activity in Cleveland.
It's fun to see what Sunnydale would have been like if the Master had risen, and Oz and Larry as Giles' scooby gang. Giles is cooler, but Buffy is less cool - a little more like Faith ("There's only one thing I'm good at" - didn't Faith say something like that?), and a lot more battle-weary.
BUFFY: You're taking a lot on faith here, Jeeves.
The final battle, in which Xander kills Angel, Buffy kills Xander, Oz kills Willow, and the Master kills Buffy just before Giles saves the world, is especially well done - not overdone. And the prophecy from season 1's Pergamon Codex still comes true in this world.
ANYANKA: You trusting fool! How do you know the other world is any better than this?
GILES: Because it has to be.
Angel goes to Giles for help, and Giles is still cool - wearing his specs less and holding big weapons more, like in The Wish.
JENNY: This is what you are, this is why we brought you back. Take her!
"We" at this point being a collection of all the people Angel killed. There's also a lot about christmas trees.
JOYCE: So, angel's on top again?
JOYCE: Angel or star?
This episode gives pretty much the whole cast something good to do with their character. They're all themselves but none more so than Willow, over-thinking and trying to over-compensate with a grand gesture, and Oz, who's all about understatement and quiet enjoyment of small things like noticing the background music.
Giles hits on the idea that the First Evil would have had the power to bring Angel back. Evidently it particularly enjoys manifesting as Jenny - actually she's not herself, she gets to be the most powerful being ever, "the thing the darkness fears".
JENNY: You never were a fighter, Angel, don't start trying now.
Angel decides to fight the First Evil by killing himself and the scene on the hill above Sunnydale where Buffy tries to convince him otherwise is one of their best scenes together. She casts doubts on the First's claim that she/they brought Angel back, but then again, she doesn't know that the First told Angel his destiny was to drink Buffy's blood - specific, eh? Their argument is resolved when a freak snowstorm covers the sun - conjured by the First, to keep Angel to his destiny, or some other power entirely?
A child murder brings out Willow's mom for the first (and I think only) time.
SHEILA: Willow, you cut off your hair! That's a new look.
WILLOW: Yeah, it's just a sudden whim I had. In August.
It all seems a bit trivial until Giles' books are threatened.
SNYDER: I love the smell of desperate librarian in the
Cordelia, irritated about having her black clothes confiscated, is the one to come to the rescue and wake up Giles.
CORDELIA: I came over here to tell Buffy to stop this
craziness and found you all unconscious - again. How many times have you been knocked out anyway? I swear, one of these days you're going to wake up in a coma.
Cordelia puts out the fire Buffy and Willow are burning on - Amy has already escaped by turning herself into a rat.
WILLOW: Diana, Hecate, I hereby license thee to depart. Goddess of creatures great and small, I conjure thee to withdraw.
BUFFY: Maybe we should get her one of those wheel thingies.