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All Episodes Talk: Season 3


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A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from the show's run. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

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Three! My favorite season! Everything about his season is prime. Out of this entire list, I only refuse to watch Gingerbread. Just LOOOOK at these gems:

"Anne"
"Dead Man's Party"
"Faith, Hope & Trick"
"Beauty and the Beasts"
"Homecoming"
"Band Candy"
"Revelations"
"Lovers Walk"
"The Wish"
"Amends"
"Gingerbread"
"Helpless"
"The Zeppo"
"Bad Girls"
"Consequences"
"Doppelgängland"
"Enemies"
"Earshot"
"Choices"
"The Prom"
"Graduation Day, Part One"
"Graduation Day, Part Two"

I would watch any other of these on any day, any time. To me they represent the best of the show as a whole. One caveat; as much as I like the Graduation Day duo for a season ender, nothing can ever beat season 2's Becoming, Part 2. 

I've said elsewhere that The Prom is my favorite episode. It has everything; Drama in the sewers, comedy with stupid Tucker, Andrew's loser brother, those awesomely really bad Hellhounds, Buffy saves the day AND gets her one perfect high school moment with Angel, and of course, the gratitude of the (for once) self-aware senior class. Cordelia is actually grateful for Xander's generosity (and looks SLAMMIN in that dress), and even Giles and Wesley get to have a little fun. 

One of my favorite things about this episode is the communication between Buffy and Giles. From the moment where she tells him "Angel's leaving me.", and his soft-spoken suggestion of ice cream, to their knowing nods at each other when she arrives at the prom, it's a testament to how well these two people know and care for each other that few words, if any, are necessary. 

The romantic in me melts inside when the two of them are talking about the evening:

Buffy: "And I got a little toy surprise!"

Giles: "I had no idea that children, en masse, could be gracious."

Buffy: "Every now and then people surprise you."

Giles looks over her shoulder at the approaching, tuxed-out Angel, gently takes her Class Protector award, and says my second favorite line of his: "Every now and then."

AUGGGH! Just the way he says it. He knows how important this is for Buffy, and he knows Angel's leaving, and that she loves him. The warmth and understanding in those few words gets me every time. 

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  • Love 3
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Season 3 is one of my favorite seasons of television ever. The Mayor is my favorite villain. The Prom and both Graduation Days are my favorite series of episodes. The Class Protector Award is my favorite moment. I mean, this is just perfection. I love Season 2 as well, and there's a lot to say for Angel being the Big Bad, but there are also a number of stinkers that season, and it takes a little while to get going. Plus we get Faith instead of Kendra, and while Faith was never my favorite character, that's clearly an upgrade.

  • Love 3
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Four has some of my favorite episodes and introduced my favorite character, but I always thought 3 was the best season overall because it was well crafted from start to finish and made Sunnydale itself into a character. The Mayor was a great villain because he was so nebbish and bland on the surface but was willing to send everyone else to hell in his bid for power. He and Faith had great father/daughter chemistry. Graduation was also the perfect cap to the series so far and was a great way to end one story and make way for the next.

Edited by KirkB
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Season 3 was a great season and ^ "The Prom" was so sad with Buffy and Angel breakup and Buffy crying her heart out with Willow "I can't breath Will, I feel like I can't breath" :-(

Also Graduation 1&2 were great episodes. since I'm such a BuffyandAngel4Ever gurl I did like when Angel fed from Buffy IMO it was the most sexual, intimate scene in the whole series of Buffy.

And how could I not mention when Buffy and Angel stared at each other for a few seconds in Graduation 2 and Angel walking off into the shadows, leaving Buffy and Sunnydale. Great season. I did love Faith

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Yes, that scene in The Prom where Buffy just admits her pain while crying in Willow's lap is so incredibly touching and well done. Both girls knocked it out of the park. I've felt what Buffy was feeling there and she conveyed it perfectly.

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Poor season 3. It was so good that crappy late seasons end up getting all the discussion. I mean, what's the worst thing you can say about 3? Maybe that Seth Green in a gorilla suit crawling around on his hands and knees was not the scariest of werewolf upgrades, but after that I haven't really got much.

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Oh, the werewolf suit. I liked the original one, but I guess it was too heavy or hot or something. The one they used until Seth left...yeah, it was less werewolf and more pissed off dog-monkey.

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Oh, I agree with that. I mean, I don't know if Seth Green was ever actually in the suit or not (just the initial makeup) but the wolf definitely had a presence that I always liked. I just always wished it could have been a little bigger. It didn't have much bulk, which I guess it why rarely ever went up against anyone too big. I would have liked to see him and Angelus fight though.

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There was that scene, in the first wolf ep I believe, where furry Oz came across Angelus having just killed a woman, and they had a bit of a growl session before Angelus walked off. If only Angelus wasn't inherently a coward, but then most bullies are, and as big a bad as Angelus might have been he was essentially just a bully.

 

You're right though. I'm not sure what Angel could have done against Oz, gorilla suit or not.

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I love Lovers Walk, and the Mayor is still my favorite Big-Bad. I was really into Buffy/Angel at the time, but I got over it. Loved Oz, too.

Interesting bit of foreshadowing (?) in Lovers Walk, where Angel, Buffy and Spike are all standing shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the magic shop. One day...

  • Love 2
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Up to Beauty and the Beasts so far. I feel like after the incredible epicness of Becoming I & II, and in general, most of the back half of season 2, so far it's a bit of a letdown. But that's more on how much I loved the second half of season 2, rather than an indictment on the quality of season 3. Conversely, the hubby is loving season 3. So far I think I liked Dead Man's Party the most. I loved the big fight because I didn't feel like I was supposed to be taking sides with either Buffy or the rest. It didn't feel like an either-or situation, I could see where both sides were coming from. Also, in a situation like this, people do often revert to passive aggressiveness which is what was going on here. And I loved the resolution too because it felt as natural. Ofcourse after a crisis situation like that, everyone would reconcile. That's what family does. The ep also had a really great Giles moment where he's making tea and just listening to the kids talk. His kids. 

 

I'm not sure about Faith yet. I'm not really a fan of this two-slayers thing. And so far she's the only character that's come off as a bit of a caricature. I hope they'll add more layers to her soon. 

 

Beauty and the Beasts was the weakest ep so far, saved by Oz and the return of Angel. I'm so happy Oz has an increased role this season.

 

I do have a question. How did Buffy get off the hook for murder? Was it a loophole or did I miss something?

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I think there was a throwaway line from Giles at the end of Becoming, Part 2 if I'm not mistaken. Something about the police investigation cleared Buffy so she should be there.

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You know what, I think you're right. They didn't really want to deal with the fallout of their own story decisions so they dismissed it with a throwaway line from Giles, much like they did Willow's magic addiction at the start of season 7.

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Although I really did love those scenes of Giles and Willow in England. Her working hard to control her magicks, bringing that flower all the way from Peru or wherever it was to sprout right in front of them, and him knowing exactly what flower it was. That was awesome. 


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  • Love 1
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Rohaina, good to "see" you again. Glad you're sticking with it.

Faith is the flip side of Buffy's coin. She hasn't had the same advantages Buffy enjoys. It makes her vulnerable. I was never her biggest fan, but it's interesting to see a different side of Slaying (IMO). 

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Just taking another look at Faith, Hope, and Trick again (as I mentioned in the Media thread) and when the Scoobies are approaching Buffy ("banned from school but not from our hearts") for the picnic scene at the top of Act 1, they're worried about seeming too "coupley" in front of Buffy (since, you know, Angel issues) and so they decide to "uncouple" and move forward without any overt PDA.  Foreshadowing?  I mean, it's only a few eps until Lovers Walk, after all…

Speaking of which, and Oz's Stupid SuperNose, not only is it ridiculous to believe that Oz can smell Willow across town but he couldn't smell her on Xander the previous 3+ episodes, but as somebody (Monty Ashley?) pointed out, if his nose is that great, wouldn't it be overwhelmed by the van's gasoline fumes?  Or Cordelia's perfume?  That's a heck of a selective nose, I'm just saying.

But getting back to FH&T, l always want to peek at "There is no spell" (wonderful acting from IMO the series' three strongest talents) and this time when I stuck around to the next scene (Buffy is waiting for Scott and says she wants to go to the film festival, after all), I noticed a gaffe.  When we see Buffy waiting by the door, there's the standard anti-smoking poster over her shoulder (it shows athletes and says "Strong" and "Fast" but then has "smoking" below it, so you know where that's going), but after we see the two-shot of Scott and Buffy in the hall, we go back to Buffy and the poster has changed to something promoting the "Eisenhower National Congress", whatever that is.

So, what happened?  Did somebody say "that poster isn't working, switch it out"?  Did somebody steal the poster for poster-ity and it had to be replaced?  Both seem pretty doubtful, but something like that must have happened.  Guess we'll never know…oh, well.

  • Love 1
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On ‎08‎/‎06‎/‎2018 at 12:13 AM, Halting Hex said:

Just taking another look at Faith, Hope, and Trick again (as I mentioned in the Media thread) and when the Scoobies are approaching Buffy ("banned from school but not from our hearts") for the picnic scene at the top of Act 1, they're worried about seeming too "coupley" in front of Buffy (since, you know, Angel issues) and so they decide to "uncouple" and move forward without any overt PDA.  Foreshadowing?  I mean, it's only a few eps until Lovers Walk, after all…

Speaking of which, and Oz's Stupid SuperNose, not only is it ridiculous to believe that Oz can smell Willow across town but he couldn't smell her on Xander the previous 3+ episodes, but as somebody (Monty Ashley?) pointed out, if his nose is that great, wouldn't it be overwhelmed by the van's gasoline fumes?  Or Cordelia's perfume?  That's a heck of a selective nose, I'm just saying.

But getting back to FH&T, l always want to peek at "There is no spell" (wonderful acting from IMO the series' three strongest talents) and this time when I stuck around to the next scene (Buffy is waiting for Scott and says she wants to go to the film festival, after all), I noticed a gaffe.  When we see Buffy waiting by the door, there's the standard anti-smoking poster over her shoulder (it shows athletes and says "Strong" and "Fast" but then has "smoking" below it, so you know where that's going), but after we see the two-shot of Scott and Buffy in the hall, we go back to Buffy and the poster has changed to something promoting the "Eisenhower National Congress", whatever that is.

So, what happened?  Did somebody say "that poster isn't working, switch it out"?  Did somebody steal the poster for poster-ity and it had to be replaced?  Both seem pretty doubtful, but something like that must have happened.  Guess we'll never know…oh, well.

In fairness, Will and Xander hang around with one another all the time so you expect them to have one another's scent. However as far as we know they were never intimate whilst Tara and Willow probably were which is the difference. 

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6 hours ago, lembergwatcher said:

Well and neither do I. In fact W/O reconciliation moment will forever remain in my "Things I hate Joss Whedon and Buffy writing staff in general for" list.

But those are really...

I loved it, partly you want him to jump her bones but it makes it all the more charming he turned her down AGAIN! What willpower! 

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3 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

I love that about Oz. 

And I loved that about Wolfboy too. If only he were that good and acted with restraint on more occasions later, say, in Graduation Day...  Sigh.

 

8 hours ago, Joe Hellandback said:

I loved it, partly you want him to jump her bones but it makes it all the more charming he turned her down AGAIN! What willpower!

I loved it but for different reasons. And it wasn't because of some "willpower", but rather Willow not being like him (wolf in human disguise). Besides, Oz was a domineering force in their relationship and wanted the first time to happen only when he decided to (they started dating after he assumed it was time in previous season). Everything had to be the way Oz wanted it to be, not the other way around - that was the whole point of  Willoz to begin with.
 

Spoiler

Then, when Veruca came along almost a year later, all of Oz's mystical "willpower" just vanished without a trace...

Edited by lembergwatcher
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4 hours ago, lembergwatcher said:

And I loved that about Wolfboy too. If only he were that good and acted with restraint on more occasions later, say, in Graduation Day...  Sigh.

 

I loved it but for different reasons. And it wasn't because of some "willpower", but rather Willow not being like him (wolf in human disguise). Besides, Oz was a domineering force in their relationship and wanted the first time to happen only when he decided to (they started dating after he assumed it was time in previous season). Everything had to be the way Oz wanted it to be, not the other way around - that was the whole point of  Willoz to begin with.
 

  Hide contents

Then, when Veruca came along almost a year later, all of Oz's mystical "willpower" just vanished without a trace...

I disagree, it was the right time and right place and meant more because of it. How often do you see the girl wanting it and the boy resisting? In fairness Verruca was more than Oz could resist, if she hadn't also been a  werewolf it wouldn't have been a problem for him. 

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So, in Bad Girls, Willow makes Buffy a minty-fresh protection pouch.  And, it turns out, Faith becomes "the accidental murderer" (to use her own phrase), rather than Buffy.  So was that the pouch's doing?

(And if so, where was Faith's pouch, Will?  Are you so jealous you went and screwed Faith over?  Is that why Faith signed off on the Mayor's "murder Willow" plan in Döppelgängland and enjoyed "playing with [her] new toy" in Choices so much? That's what you get for being skimpy with the lavender, girl.)

But…Döppelgängland posits that Buffy is driven to work on her reflexes (see her convo with Willow in the teaser) whereas Faith is "still a little sloppy" per Wesley.  And it implies ("Nice reflexes."  "Well, I work out.") that this is why Buffy was able to hear Willow's shouted "Buffy, no!" and spare VampWillow where Faith didn't hear Buffy's "Faith, no!" two episodes before, and thus de-Deputized Allan, permanently.

So which is it?
A) Lavender protection at work

B) Buffy is dedicated where Faith is sloppy

C) Buffy loves Willow and can always hear her.  Faith lusts for Buffy, but the thrill of the kill left her deaf, causing Allan's death.

D) some combination of the above

E) other

Vote early, vote often!

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I don't think Willow had so much power back than. She made that pouch to protect Buffy from harm, not from killing other people. Thus Willow has nothing to do with screwing Faith over, Giles does.

I guess C is the closest to the truth. Although I crack a smile whenever someone says Buffy loves Willow. Buffy likes to have Willow around. But love? Deep down inside the only person Buffy loves is Buffy. JMO, of course.

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So one of my critiques of Earshot is that it wastes pretty much the entire first act paying lip-service to the ongoing "Ascension" plot, which is actually completely irrelevant to this episode.  The mayor isn't in the episode.   Faith isn't in the episode.  Nothing happens to advance the threat of the Ascension.  No new knowledge is discovered.   All we get are "jokes" about Wesley not making any progress, which serve no purpose other than to pad out the running time and delay this episode's plot.  (Back when David Greenwalt was show-running, Buffy would have discovered her telepathy at the end of the teaser and the threat to the school at the end of Act 1, IMO.)

Thus this another case of "you could skip this episode and not miss a thing", I'd say.  That's a critique leveled against some popular later-season episodes, but that's spoilers for this thread.  But I'm sure most people reading this recall those examples.

The difference is, of course, that due to the tragedy at Columbine, Earshot was actually skipped, the first time around.  And I haven't found much in the way of contemporary reports that indicate that people were deeply puzzled when Choices thus aired with a "missing" episode between Enemies and it.  The only problem was that critics didn't understand what had happened between the "break" Buffy requested from Angel at the end of 3.17 and their being happily back together and out on patrol to start 3.19.  (With Buffy being so used to that routine that she worries they're falling into a rut, no less.)  So while 3.18 might be important on a romantic through-line, the larger plot was IMO proven rather useless. 

And thus when I hear people claim they prefer S3 to S2 because they dislike "standalone" episodes, I disagree.  Earshot (and The Zeppo and The Prom) are just as much "standalones" as Phases and Go Fish were, the previous season.  They're just papered over with hype for the season-arc, and I can't see how that serves any larger purpose.  

But JMO.

Edited by Halting Hex
Because "have" ≠ "haven't". Sheesh.
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So the one Alexander Lavelle Harris goes from being the "useless part of the group" (The Zeppo) to the "Key Guy" (Graduation Day, Part 2) and there's absolutely nothing in between for the audience to understand how the guy got from here to there.

There are eight episodes between The Zeppo and Graduation Day, Part 2. And even though we know Xander is kinda cool too since the whole 3x13 debacle, that's supposed to be the big secret for the Buffyverse, i.e. the thing no one is supposed to know, right? Even if Xander eventually told the gang about his nighttime activities when the Sisterhood of Jhe came to town, chances are nobody took him seriously. Yeah, they all believe in Xander doing something stupid like sleeping with Faith, but saving everyone's ass? No, no, no, can't happen here, really.

Let's have a quick look on Xander's activity throught post-Zeppo episodes.
 

Bad Girls - does nothing of importance.

Consequences - nearly gets himself killed after coming to Faithie. Has to be saved by non other than Angel. Which kinda proves the point the gang made at the beginning of The Zeppo.

Doppelgängland - does nothing of importance too exept for "saving" Vamp!Willow from Percy and helping Giles stake one vamp.

Enemies - does nothing to make the gang change their minds, gets knocked out by Angel. Kinda leads the "charge" on Angel's mansion, but Faith is still alive and Angel isn't dust so this doesn't count.

Earshot - nearly gets himself killed by the lunch lady, has to be saved by Buffy (hi there, Zeppo!).

Choices - minimal contribution from Xand-man. Buffy and Willow have each other and do not need him in any way, shape or form.

The Prom - pushes Cordelia out of harm's way when Tucker's doggo comes to April Fools. Brave move but hardly enough to make Xander the "Key Guy" in the upcoming battle. Besides, he agrees to take Anya to the prom which is kinda pathetic if you ask me. Because that Xander guy, he's such a scum. Not a single non-demonic girl in the whole SHS/Sunnydale/state of California will ever find him attractive so there's nothing left for him than to date a (former) demon and a very annoying one.

Graduation Day, Part 1 - finds a source of important information regarding the Ascension. Smart move but, once again, hardly enough to make Xander a "Key Guy" out of the blue. Besides, stealing the rocket launcher (Innocence) or asking Angel to go fuck himself (Killed by Death) was ten times more badass but apparently seems not enough for the Scoobs not to treat Xander like shit.

The showrunners hated Xander's guts. At least since the third season. So there's no wonder the guy was sidelined as fuck throughout most of the third

Spoiler

(and later)

seasons. OTOH they couldn't sideline Xander into oblivion. "See that Brendon guy? He still gets his paycheck so we kinda have to make his character matter a little bit every once in a while" - that's probably what Whedon and Greenwalt were thinking back in the day. A good explanation even though it has nothing to do with the series' plot.

Xander rarely doing something worthwile throughout the season but then all of a sudden having a moment closer to the season's end

Spoiler
Spoiler

will become a some kind of series' trademark in the later seasons. Like in season 4 when Xander rarely does anything important or useful (exept in 4x01, 4x05, 4x11, 4x14, 4x18 and 4x19) and then comes with a plan in the penultimate episode. Or in season 6 when the guy is nothing more than a glorified wallpaper for most of the time but then ends up at the right place at the right time with the right words. Weird.

 

To those who may object to the whole tirade: my point is not wanting Xander to steal the spotlight from Buffy therefore turning Buffy the Vampire Slayer into Xander the Glorified Bricklayer. Somehow Joss and his peers managed to keep Xander important enough without him outshining the main protagonist throughout the first two seasons. Unfortunately since season 3 most of the time Xander has a bit of the spotlight the only reason he gets there are Nick Brendon's contract obligations. Which, like I said before, has nothing to do with the story. Sigh. 
 

Edited by lembergwatcher
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When I watch Season 1 now I wonder if, in the original concept for the show, Xander was meant to have the primary role in backing up Buffy.

 

Sort of like "Pike" was to Buffy in the original feature film with Kristy Swanson.

It's Xander who resuscitates Buffy in Prophecy Girl. I wonder if, as the show progressed, the writers/producers realized just how much they could do with Alyson Hannigan as Willow and her role in the group and the show unfolded accordingly. Her direction is certainly set by the end of Season 2 (think Becoming Pt.2).

Edited by watcher1006
Typo
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Well, I believe Xander's "Key Guy" nature is specifically tied (in that particular episode) towards his directing the corps of bowmen (bowpersons?), which is probably based on his military knowledge from Hallowe'en, as used in Innocence.

Not that the 33rd do much work with bows and arrows, I grant you, but Buffy needed somebody to handle that part of the operation and Xander seemed a better bet than Cordelia…

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Quite possibly.  But Giles is on Detonator Duty and if he has to run back and forth from leading the bowmen to being in position to administer the final kibosh when Dickie goes "Well, gosh!", that increases the possibility of something going wrong, even if it's as simple as tripping over a root.

Far simpler for Giles to take his post and leave the bowmen to Xander.  To quote Tweed -Boy himself (in Owen is So Dreamy!), "it should simply be 'Plunge and Move On'".  Best to stick to the plan.

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