During the last three years, I’ve been slowly making my way through a re-watch of my all-time favorite TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Here are my thoughts on the Season 3 episodes!
Anne ***1/2 (out of ****)
A dynamite season premiere written and directed by Joss that sets up one of the strongest seasons of the show. Mostly a stand-alone about Buffy living in the big city, it’s rich not just with action and bigger and better set pieces, but also fascinating thematic material. Love the hug at the end!
Dead Man’s Party ***
One of my favorite aspects of Buffy is how there’s always consequences for everything. Episode 2 could just focus on a new monster-of-the-week (well, it kind of does), but it also focuses on the fall-out Buffy has had with her friends, who are pissed that she just took off for the summer without a word. This episode has that, but it’s also super fun, too, with zombies!
Faith, Hope & Trick ***
Faith!!! I forgot how early she shows up in season 3, and her darker version of the slayer makes for such a great chemistry between her and Buffy. Another monster-of-the-week, but mostly memorable for Faith’s introduction.
Beauty and the Beasts **1/2
Episode that focuses on Oz isn’t as memorable as some of the other early season 3 episodes, but I like when any episode zones in on a character who’s not normally the centerpiece.
This episode is a little too similar to Out of Mind, Out of Sight, but it’s still fun to see Cordelia and Buffy in scene after scene together, especially when it’s known that Cordelia will be leaving Sunnydale for Angel’s world in just a few episodes.
Band Candy ***
This one is very silly… like super silly… but oh my God, it is so much fun to not only see Giles and Joyce in scenes together but to see them acting like annoying teenagers while Buffy in many ways plays the adult. Doesn’t amount to much, but it’s great fun.
What I’ll remember most about this episode is the Scooby Gang’s reactions when they learn Buffy has been hiding Angel… that scene where Giles lays into Buffy for being irresponsible is chill-inducing.
Lovers Walk ***1/2
This Spike-centric episode is the first truly revolutionary episode of the season, where some big shit goes down! First, Willow and Xander’s affection for each other finally comes to light before Oz and Cordelia. Second, this is the episode where Cordelia falls and then the director cuts to a funeral scene, panning down to find Buffy saying “So Cordelia’s gonna be fine, that’s good.” Third, Buffy tells Angel good-bye, once and for all. So much happens, setting up the rest of the season!
The Wish ****
One of the very best season 3 episodes, that shows what Sunnydale would look like if Buffy never came. Willow and Xander as vampires, and they die! Angel dies! Buffy dies! Such a powerful what-if episode, one of the show’s best!
Not super memorable, but I love the end where snow falls over Sunnydale, and Buffy and Angel walk hand-in-hand through the town. Love it!
A pretty weak Buffy episode that lacks much excitement still entertains due to Joyce. I love any Joyce-centric episode, and she’s great in this one, taking on her ridiculous mission with gusto!
Powerful episodes has Buffy stripped of her powers on her 18th birthday in order to see how she’ll defeat a demon as just a regular girl. Love the scene where Buffy lashes out at Giles. And a new Watcher is coming!
The Zeppo ***
I always enjoy Xander-centric episodes, and while this isn’t quite as memorable as the love-spell one, it’s super entertaining. And he sleeps with Faith!
Bad Girls ***1/2
YES! Now the season really starts rocking. Faith kills a PERSON and ultimately doesn’t care. Sets up the great dynamic between her and Buffy the rest of the season.
Further explores the consequences of killing a person, and what it does to both Buffy and Faith as they try to move on. Another moving and chilling episode that shows the dark road Faith is going on.
Evil Willow’s back!! Loved Hannigan’s performance as Evil Willow early in the season, and the great twist of this episode brings Evil Willow to the main reality with Good Willow. Lots of fun!
Effective episode where Angel FAKES being bad… messes up Buffy big time!
One of the best Season 3 episodes, one that was supposed to air right after Columbine, but was pulled at the last minute. Aside from a goofy reveal of the actual killer, this is one of the seasons stand-outs!
What’s Buffy going to do after high school? Where is her life headed? This episode introduces these weighty questions, and then some!
The Prom ***1/2
Love this episode! Angel breaks up with Buffy for her own good… and she receives that special gift at the graduation ceremony. Love!
Graduation Day Part I ***1/2
Buffy fights Faith! Great finale to this first part.
Graduation Day Part II ***1/2
Lame CGI work is the only detriment to this fantastic season 3 finale, with Snider being eaten, Buffy and Angel saying their long good-bye, Willow and Oz having sex, Cordelia and Wesley’s awkward kiss, so much goodness here! “We survived high school.” Now time to go to college!
BEST EPISODE OF SEASON 3: The Wish (3×09)
WORST EPISODE OF SEASON 3: Beauty and the Beasts (3×04)