TV From The Crypts: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3
You all know I had a bit of a rant recently about how kick ass Buffy is. Re-watching season 3 has only led me to stand by my previously asserted beliefs more strongly. I had forgotten how fun this show was and am so glad that I am reliving this isolated part of my teenage years so as to bring you my reviews of one of Whedon’s masterpieces. Spoilers to follow nerds!
Season 3 starts off Buffy-less. At least Sunnydale is sans Buffy. She ran off after the season 2 finale when she was forced to slay her lover Angel. Fleeing to Los Angeles for some alone time, Buffy left her friends for several summer months while she tried to deal with her inner emotions about killing Angel. Of course trouble always seems to find Buffy, and even while working as a waitress in LA she stumbles upon a demon run factory stealing homeless people for slave labor and makes quick waste to them. This activates her slayer side and Buffy does what we all knew she would eventually and heads back to Sunnydale and her friends and family, plus all the chaos and monsters that living over a hell mouth creates.
A couple episodes in we also get some important new characters. First and foremost is Faith, the second slayer. The same double-slayer condition that occurred earlier in the series continues since Buffy was first killed and brought back from the dead. Now every time a slayer dies another is created but there are perpetually two of them. And Faith is a hellraiser from Boston for sure. She’s sexy, strong, tough, and a pistol. Though Buffy and her start off on the wrong foot, they quickly become great partners.
And more importantly the same episode where we meet Faith, our dear friend Angel comes back from the depths of hell. Buffy is attacked by this new animalistic version of Angel but easily chains him and gradually he starts to remember his past, and Buffy. So just when poor Buffy thought things were going to be easy she is forced to struggle with and hide the fact that her Angel is back even though all her friends will mostly remember him as the monster he was before she killed him. What’s the best way to deal with this? Why to hide Angel away from anyone that might judge her of course.
There is sadly one part of season 3 that I did not like at all. Willow and Xander, the two best friends that are now happily dating other people, end up cheating on their significant others in a horrible relationship that is fueled by secrecy. We spent so much of season 1 and 2 feeling sorry for Willow who desperately loved her best friend Xander, but it all worked out when she started dating hot young Seth Green playing the quietly handsome Oz and Xander surprised everyone by snagging the way out of his league Cordelia. But then of course these two had to go and ruin it by cheating and having a pathetic making out relationship over the course of several episodes. They are luckily eventually caught red handed and rightfully are broken up with. I was secretly glad that Oz eventually forgave Willow and started dating her again, but that is solely cause I love his character and what other reason would he have to continue on the show?
Despite the lack of morals of our favorite Willow and Xander this season, at least some of our favorite characters remain just as wonderful as always. Buffy remains top notch this whole season, staying true to character. She is stronger than ever, proves herself as an amazing slayer again and again, and despite being thrown under the bus multiple times by her less than admirable cohort Faith still sticks by her side and tries to help her when everything falls apart.
Giles is also in top form this season. He becomes more of a father figure to Buffy, and despite the over-reaching Council’s advice that he remain impartial and use the tough-love method of training, he softens and becomes such a deeper character because of it. Sadly for him the Council throws him out as a watcher, but that allows us to meet awkwardly handsome Wesley he arrives to replace him. Having another watcher to compare him too just makes you appreciate Giles all the more.
Our new ultimate villain this season is the mayor. He turns out to be an ultra-demon that is centuries old with a plot to become evermore powerful through an ascension ritual at the Sunnydale graduation. What is really painful this season is watching Faith embrace the dark side. She starts out as a great side kick to Buffy, a little rough around the edges but ultimately a good person. But she starts to spiral out of control in the middle of the season, behaving more and more rash like stealing weapons from outdoors stores and eventually killing a person by accident. This death excites her rather than mortifies her like it did Buffy, and Faith tumbles down the path to evil, becoming the mayor’s side kick when Buffy reveals her evil tendencies.
Another sad storyline this season is the fact that Buffy and Angel start to grow as a couple and discuss more and more adult things in their relationship, but are forced to part ways at the end of the season so as to prevent either from holding the other back. It is especially painful since they can’t really be together, knowing that if they were to sleep together Angel would possibly be turned back in to his evil counterpart.
But probably my favorite theme this season is the interaction with Buffy and her classmates. A lot of bad things seem to be happening in Sunnydale, which comes as no surprise to our Scooby Gang since the town is centered over a hell mouth. But it does make you wonder what all the other residents of the town think when one episode they experience a zombie horde overtaking the town, and in another they are possessed in to trying to kill Willow and Buffy like witches at the stake. Then there are all the individuals who are saved by Buffy but had come face to face with a vampire, demon, or other monster in the process. Did they just block that out of their memory?
The answer is no. They realize it, and in a touching moment during senior prom they give Buffy an award acknowledging all the life saving good she has done around town. The senior class give Buffy an adorable and ornately decorated parasol, awarding her “Class Protector” for all the life saving she had done for them over the years. Brought a tear to my eye. To make up for it Buffy gets to ask the entire senior class on graduation day for their help, and they successfully battle the mayor as he is turned in to an ultra-mega-demon during his senior class speech ascension. Their senior class is like an army battling vampires, demons, and monsters of all kinds together in one united front.
Overall I did not remember season 3 much from my younger days and I am super glad I re-watched it. It was action packed, fun, and heart-breaking all at once. I actually do know that when I was younger I stopped watching Buffy after this season, so I am super glad to watch the following seasons and bring them to you in their glory in future posts. Next season: college. You know, that right of passage that very vampire slaying super-heroine has to go through.
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Posted on November 22, 2014, in TV, TV From the Crypts and tagged angel, Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the vampire slayer season 3, Sunnydale, TV From the Crypts, Willow. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.