Season 3 has been kind of a weird one to revisit especially as it played a lot differently than my nostalgic memories with this season being certainly one of the heavier “Monster of the Week” seasons while our big bad in Mayor Wilkins who basically spent most of the season hiding out at city hall. Occasionally he sent a henchmen to deal with Buffy or appeared to be playing the puppet master, but ultimately it was all a lot of distraction while we edged ever closer to the big finale.
Episode Title: Graduation Day Parts 1 & 2
Original Air Date: May 18, 1999 / July 13 1999
“Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense.” – Giles
So here we are at the end of another season and what a weird one it’s been seeing how our big evil in “The Mayor” has been happy to be the evil lurking in the background, coming out of his office occasionally to shake his fist at Buffy and the Scoobies so like their namesake you half expect him to complain that he would have gotten away with it, had it not been for you darn “Pesky kids”.
At the same time this season has really about Faith and her corruption to the dark side as she went rouge and teamed up with the mayor. Their father / daughter relationship really being confirmed here as in the first half of this two part finale she is tasked with poisoning Angel which invariantly puts her on Buffy’s hit list for more than one reason as it soon becomes clear the only cure is Angel drinking the blood of a slayer. Needless to say Buffy wastes little time here in her plan to feed Faith to Angel and giving us the long promised Slayer Versus Slayer showdown.
Episode Title: The Prom
Original Air Date: May 11, 1999
“Once again, the Hellmouth puts the “special” in “special occasion”.” – Oz
So with the season finale just around the corner it of course makes perfect sense to have a monster of the week episode. For while Buffy and the Scoobies are busy making plans for prom, it would seem that someone else has their own prom plans for a bunch of hellhounds.
Okay so perhaps it’s not just another straightforward episode as the threat of being mauled by hellhounds is more of a secondary plot here as the writers attempt to tie up loose plot threads in the run up to the Sunnydale High prom.
Episode Title: Choices
Original Air Date: May 4, 1999
“Raise your hand if you’re invulnerable…” – Mayor Wilkins
So here we are on the final few episodes of the season and it’s this week that the various pieces are finally starting to be brought together and that we also get the first real showdown between the Scoobies and the Mayor as they learn about his plans to obtain the “Box of Gavrok” essential for his Ascension. Things however don’t go according to plan as while trying to obtain the artefact Willow ends up being captured by the Mayor and leaving the two groups heading towards an inevitable confrontation
Episode Title: Earshot
Original Air Date: September 21, 1999
“Well, I thought I saw a four-legged demon. But it was just a dog” – Buffy
So with the Mayor still on his path to ascendtion and Faith seemingly occupied elsewhere it leaves Buffy free this week to instead get wrapped up in another one shot mystery as after being splashed with the blood of a recently slayed demon she finds herself suddenly able to hear everyone’s thoughts. However it’s not long before this new power starts to overwhelm her while worse still someone is plotting to kill the students of Sunnydale High.
Episode Title: Enemies
Original Air Date: March 16, 1999
“Demons after money. Whatever happened to the still-beating heart of a virgin? No one has any standards anymore.” – Giles
Another big week for the series as after weeks of posturing and teasing things out with his super nice guy evil style, the Mayor finally makes a move against Buffy and the Scoobies, as he plots to turn Angel back into Angelous. At the same time Faith also goes fully rogue as her alliance with the mayor is revealed setting everyone on the path now toward the forthcoming showdown between the two groups.
Episode Title: Dopplegangland
Original Air Date: February 23, 1999
“Old reliable? Yeah, great! Here’s a sexy nickname.” – Willow
Another of Joss Wheldon’s favourite episodes as this week we see the return of Vampire Willow a a character he seemingly liked so much that he wrote the episode specifically to bring her character back with Anya still attempting to regain her powers after being made mortal following the events of “The Wish”. Now she hits upon the idea of pulling the destroyed necklace which was the source of her power from an alternative dimension recruiting Willow to help her perform the spell. However when Willow screws up the ritual the Vampire Willow is instead pulled into their dimension.
Episode Title: Consequences
Original Air Date: February 16, 1999
“But, see, it’s that exact thing that-that’s just ticking me off! It’s this whole ‘Slayers only’ attitude. I mean, since when wouldn’t I understand? You, you talk to me about everything. I-it’s like all of a sudden I-I’m not cool enough for you because I can’t kill things with my bare hands.” – Willow
So regular readers of this column might have noticed that there was no review last Thursday and seeing how ho- hum this week’s episode is I wouldn’t have blamed you for thinking I’d tossed in the towel and headed to the woods to live with the squirrels. Still it’s time to bite the bullet and get this one out of the way.
Picking up after the events of the previous episode with Buffy still wrecked with guilt over her part in the accidently slaying of the mayor’s aide while Faith continues to show little remorse for her actions. Meanwhile the police start to investigate his murder after Faith’s plans to dispose of his body fall though.
Episode Title: Bad Girls
Original Air Date: February 9, 1999
“Whenever Giles sends me on a mission, he always says ‘please’. And afterwards I get a cookie.” – Buffy
A piviotal episode of this current series while also one whose impact will reverb thoughout not only the Buffyverse but the Angelverse as well with this being another of the best episodes of the series as not only to we have the introduction of the new Watcher Wesley Wyndam-Pryce but also the turning point for Faith who here we get to see starting to make her transition to the dark side.
Opening to Buffy and Faith teaming up together for their patrols somthing which certainly pays off when a cult of sword welding vampire seemingly ripped from the crusades turn up in Sunnydale led by the grotesquely bloated demon Balthazar who is looking for the amulet which was once the source of his power. At the same time the more time Buffy spends with Faith the more she starts to feed off her bad girl lifestyle and the love of the fight which is soon threatening to send them both down a very dark path.
Episode Title: The Zeppo
Original Air Date: January 26, 1999
“You know, it’s not like I haven’t helped before. I’ve done some quality violence for these people.” – Xander
Time for another underrated episode this week aswell one of the more creative pieces of writing on the show as we are given one plotline only for the real focus to be on the B plotline as the episode uses the same kind of misdirection we got with “Big Trouble In Little China” were the viewer is lead to believe they are following the hero only to in fact discover it’s the sidekick they’ve been following. This episode also being noted as key inspiration for not only the “Doctor Who” episode “Love and Monsters” while Joss Wheldon would go on to refer to “Agents of Shield” as being “The Zeppo Tv Show” which is probably a nicer description than the one I would give for that show.
Opening to Buffy and the Scoobies battling a group of demons in an underground nest which results in Xander being hurt after he is buried by rubble leaving Buffy to fear for the safety of her friend and suggesting that he stays out of the fighting and in turn leaving Xander struggling to find his place within the group especially as he is the only member of the group with any disenable power outside of his ability to collect a donut order and crack wise with the puns.