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season three   >  dead man's party


I really, really hated this episode the first time it ran. I was all "they're being mean to Buffy, the fuckers! They don't even know what happened!"


Aw, the times, how they have changed. Now I cheer when they're mean to Buffy. ME, what have you done to my heroine? Besides changed her into a raging, whiny bitch with a (somewhat justified and unavoidable, as was so gracefully pointed out by the beloved and gone Holden) superiority complex? And, on a little side note, does anyone else think that ME really missed the boat on adding a wacky, WC supplied psychiatrist for the Chosen One? I mean, I know they're used to them popping off early, but if ever there was a job that maybe needed an on-site psychiatrist, this is it. Sending a young teenager out night after night to kill things and fight for not only her life but the lives of everyone around her? Sort of a pre-written prescription for insanity, yes? Not to mention that Faith could have truly benefited from it--heck, they might have even managed to nip that whole psychotic phase of hers in the bud. But then again, the WC was never really known for being on the ball. So, anyway, it used to upset me that her friends were so not of the understanding variety--Buffy's life was hard and different and blah blah blah, but now that I know that they never really talk to each other anyway and they're all pretty much unlikeable baboons, it doesn't really bother me so much as amuse me.


Anyway, Buffy's back home, and after what probably was a delightfully tense dinner with her mother, she decides to walk around and find the old gang. Joyce, for her part, is dealing with her joy at having Buffy back by hiding in her room hanging up angry masks. Buffy smartly decides to look for the gang in a dark, presumably dangerous alley in what appears to be the industrial district of this one-starbucks town, and finds Xander patrolling in an oversized coat and sporting a huge wooden cross around his neck. I really, really love the look Xander gives Buffy after almost staking her, by the way. It's almost like they were friends and he missed her and worried about her and wondered if she was even truly alive on a daily basis, and now having her just appear before him in those pants and that old-lady sweater after a summer of not knowing was too good to be true and that he must be hallucinating. Almost.


The rest of the gang interrupts their awkward moment after a vampire interrupts it first. And I truly love how self-sufficient the gang's gotten. Even Cordy, who didn't fight all summer and was bait just the previous episode jumped right on in with the sporty Rambo look and started fighting vampires. There's no way in hell her and Willow should have been able to pull that vampire off of anyone, but that's truly a minor quibble. I've survived season 6 and most of season 7--this I'm not even going to bitch about. Anyway, destroying their average, the gang is all tossed to the ground and Buffy stakes the vamp and everyone just sort of hilariously lays on the ground, looking up at her. Aw, I miss these characters. Maybe I should cave and buy the DVDs.



The gang arrives at Giles house, and he does his best not to cry. Aw, ASH. Back before your character became an insane, poorly written stereotype of a prick who left his Slayer who had just been pulled out of heaven just when she needed the love of those around her to remind her that the world didn't completely suck. They have tea and crumpets or something and the gang shifts into shifty, hey-we're-bitter-now-that-you're-back mode. Everyone gets weird and uncomfortable and Willow promises to go shopping with Buffy but she's really lying and then doesn't even call or email her, just ditches her, leaving poor Buffy outside of the Espresso Pump in some really impractical heels that she then has to walk home in. Also, she has something really, really odd around her neck. But that's just Cynthia saying "hi". Hi Cynthia!


Buffy comes home to Joyce's new "friend" Pat, and I use the quote marks because damned if Joyce actually having a friend didn't stir up the debate over whether or not Joyce had switched teams. This fanbase is nothing if not amusing. Buffy gets all in a snit because Joyce shared her feelings with Pat and Pat knew about Buffy running away. Whether Buffy is snitty because she doesn't like the idea of her mother having a "friend" and talking about her behind her back or if it's just because she had to walk from downtown in those shoes is never really delved into. We'll just have to assume the former.


Joyce wants to have Buffy's friends over but pulls out the good china. Never a good sign. Somewhere in here I believe Buffy gets berated for making bad choices and having to live with them, ie going to an all girls' school and being forced to play field hockey. Somewhere in here Buffy should have shot back that she's been fighting the undead for years now and that she did just save the world, and maybe she's not as stable as she should be, so to please be understanding and back off before she lets the undead get a crack at her mother. But she didn't. Instead we get something about how she's a Slayer and therefore not required to ride the little bus and wear a helmet. Not quite as witty or indepth, but hey, whatever.


While getting the good china, she finds a dead cat. She buries said cat. Joyce insists on speaking at its funeral. It's all very bizarre, but necessary so the cat can come back later as a zombie cat and terrorize the populace.


You know, I wanted forest pine or April fresh, but Mom wanted dead cat.


Actually, it just sort of sits in a corner of Buffy's house until Giles comes over with a cage. My version would have been funnier, though. But she calls Giles and he comes over and she tries to go with him to research because her mother is driving her up the fucking wall, but Giles tactfully tells her she's not allowed on school grounds, even though she was cleared of all murder charges. Maybe it's that top she's wearing. Snyder strikes me as the type that requires maximum cleavage and a minimum skirt length on his campus. Wouldn't want to encourage that disturbing thing known as teenage lust now, would he?


I'm quite sure that a girl with the talents and abilities of Buffy will land on her feet. In fact, I noticed as I came in this morning that Hot Dog on a Stick is hiring. You will look so cute in that hat.


Buffy, rather than doing backflips over this news, gets upset. What Buffy needs is a worldful of other young slayers or potential slayers so she can be surrounded by those that understand her plight. It's too bad she's alo-oh, wait. Scratch that.


The non-alone Buffy, even though she doesn't know it yet and won't really know it until year 7, also known as the year of the raging bitch in the Chinese calendar, sulks, unaware that her friends that missed her but are now bitter are sitting in the library where she's not allowed, plotting to turn the dinner party into a shindig with overtones of a hootenanny, just so they can avoid talking to her. Cordy volunteers to bring the dip. End scene.


Put yourself in Buffy's shoes for just a minute, okay? I'm Buffy, freak of nature, right? Naturally, I pick a freak for a boyfriend, and then he turns into Mr. Killing Spree, which is pretty much my fault --.


Buffy, all pretty in a peptobismol nightmare of a dress, sporting one of those butterfly hair clips that were ubiquitous in early-season three, answers the door to Pat and then to a band. The Dingoes are playing! Woo! Devon sings, Oz goes for that E flat diminished 9th while Willow gazes at him adoringly and Cordy and Xander make out. Buffy goes to take off again, after hearing her mother opine to Pat that maybe it would've been better if Buffy hadn't come home and Willow gives her the brush off with "everything's fine."


Willow's self-righteous ass follows Buffy upstairs and starts ripping in to Buffy for being so rude as to go again and she is soon joined by Joyce. Buffy, once again not standing up for herself, fails to tell Joyce that she just said she wished Buffy hadn't come home and instead goes the "you told me to get out" route. Ah, a mistake, that. Joyce gets all defensive instead of apologetic and the two harpies chase Buffy downstairs so Xander can get in on the fun.

Meanwhile, back at the library, Gile cracks the zombie cat mystery when he finds a picture of Joyce's mask in a book. It's something that brings back dead things. Evil dead things. I suppose I should've mentioned that it's eyes flashed right before the cat became undead, huh? So he hops in his little citron, tries to avoid zombies and spouts off one of the funniest lines ever.


Unbelievable. 'Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty? It raises the dead.' Americans.


He then has a brief interlude where the dumbass gets out of his car and wrassles with a zombie before heading off to the party. And dead people keep zombifying, by the way. And they're all converging, or trying to converge, on Joyce's angry mask, cuz the first dead person to the mask wins!


In the midst of a heated battle wherein Buffy mocks Xander's "Nighthawk" moniker and Xander gets all high and mighty, Zombies burst into the house and start offing people. Pat gets offed. Pat also makes it to the mask first, but she cheated. Joyce actually dragged her dead body into the same room they were all hiding (sans Cordy and Oz, who were in the downstairs closet. Not, we hope, playing 7 minutes in heaven. We're pretty sure not. I mean, the logistics would have been staggering.) in with the mask. Stupid Joyce. Buffy and not!Pat and not even anywhere near the same actress playing the demon!Pat, by the way, go out the window. Buffy sticks a shovel in her eyes and all the other zombies disappear. The gang loves Buffy again, and this time Willow actually meets her for coffee. Only, of course, to turn the conversation to her, with her "I needed my friend" and her "I've been practicing witch stuff" and let's not forget the "I set my blanket on fire" line. Buffy apologizes, agrees she was wrong, they call each other names and the end.



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