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Stew’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer Retrospective: Season 3, Episodes 3-4

August 18, 2023 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3-3 1 Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV


Episode 3

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

Moving along through season three of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, we start off episode three with Willow, Oz, Cordelia, and Xander all heading out of school and discussing how, as seniors, they finally get to have lunch off-campus. Where is off campus?

In the yard of the school.

So there you go, I guess.

Anyway, Buffy has set up a picnic for her friends. A passing by boy named Scott–who actually looks relatively close to age-appropriate for high school!–says hi to Buffy.

We cut to some fast food joint with a limo driving around to make an order. There’s a black man inside, so HE’S doomed on this show, though he makes a joke about SunnyDale being wildly Caucasian. The other man in the limo is shrouded in spooky darkness! He wants to kill The Slayer. They pull the poor drive-thru attendant through the window to feast upon him.

Buffy and mom visit the Principal, and it turns out that the schoolboard has overruled him and let Buffy back into classes for her senior year. I am, again and as always, super excited for YET ANOTHER plot resolution that takes place off screen. Buffy has to jump through some hoops to stay admitted, but I’m sure those will be as nothing.

Buffy and Willow head off to see Giles, and he tells them he is working on a spell to permanently seal Acathla away, so he is pressing Buffy for details of her fight with him. Willow offers to help on the spell with her new witchcraft, but Giles disapproves.

Buffy talks to Scott at the Bronze, and he asks her to dance, but she spies with her little eyes a dancing couple elsewhere and suspects one of them is a vampire. So she brushes off Scott to investigate. Oh! It’s Eliza Dushku! She dusts the vamp and introduces herself as Faith, the newly activated Slayer in Kendra’s wake. Poor Kendra. At least the cops aren’t looking into her murder at all anymore.

Faith came to SunnyDale to meet Buffy. Xander, right in front of Cordelia, starts hitting on her IMMEDIATELY. Kill him, Faith! Or Cordy! I don’t care who.

At school, Faith (why is Faith in the school? Security is very lax here, and you would REALLY think it wouldn’t be after the last two years) is hitting on Scott, much to Buffy’s annoyance. Xander is still all drooly over Faith, and Cordelia is showing resentment.

We see the men from the limo, and it turns out they are after FAITH the Vampire Slayer, not Buffy. The previously-shrouded one has a huge gash over his eye. He wants revenge!

Faith is at Buffy’s house, and mom is pressing her for Slayer stories. Buffy at some point refers to mom as “The Best Mom Ever”, and I HOPE that is sarcasm. Mom is angling for Faith to take over for Buffy, and through the conversation, she discovers Buffy has technically died. This goes over… actually not as badly as you would think.

Buffy and Faith are on patrol together, and Faith has picked up that Buffy is not best pleased with her presence. She knows all about what happened with Angel, and Buffy starts yelling at her… until vampires attack. Faith clearly has anger issues, and she leaves Buffy to a two-on-one attack so she can just mercilessly WAIL on a vamp. Buffy gives her more shit for that, too.

It turns out the guy after Faith is named Kokistos? I think. Aren’t those a brand of nachos? I’m going with that; even Spell-Check likes it. He is VERY old and has hooves! Giles wants to reach out to Faith’s watcher for more info, but her watcher is dead! Oh no! That’s very sus, Faith.

Scott tries to talk to Buffy again and invites her to a BUSTER KEATON marathon/festival thing. Wow, writers. Buffy reports that she enjoys Buster Keaton. DOUBLE Wow, writers. What was the 1999 equivalent of “Okay, Boomer”? I do not believe for one fucking second that Buffy likes Buster Keaton. And two separate 1999 seventeen year olds in the same school? Get the hell out of here.

Scott tries to give Buffy a friendship ring, but it’s the same ring Angel gave her, and she freaks out and runs away.

Buffy heads to Faith’s run down one-room apartment, where we see Faith is behind on rent. She’s been here for three days! How often does she pay rent?!

Buffy mentions Kokistos, and Faith bugs out and starts throwing her stuff together. She reports Kokistos killed her watcher in front of her. Before they can do much else, Kokistos and his minions break down the door, and Faith has a full-on meltdown.

While Faith is frozen in terror, Buffy starts fighting everyone off. When she turns her attention to Kokistos, his minions just… walk off? No loyalty these days. Buffy is ineffectual against the big man, but Faith impales him through the heart with a huge plank.

In the epilogue, Giles says he is given permission by the council to take over as Faith’s Watcher. Buffy finally tells Giles everything about her fight with Angel… including that he was cured and she still killed him. After Buffy leaves, Giles tells Willow there is no spell he was working on–the implication here being that he knew Buffy needed to open up about something.

Buffy then heads to where she slayed Angel and sets his ring down on the ground. After she leaves, THIS BRINGS ANGEL BACK SOMEHOW. That’s a fucking Disney moment, moment, bitches! Power of love and stuff.

Episode 4

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

Faith’s a part of the gang and Angel is back! Add that to Willow being a witch, Oz being a werewolf, and Cordelia having a car, and Buffy has a full-on Avengers team these days. Let’s see what episode four has to offer us.

Speaking of werewolf Oz, he is in library jail to kick us off. Willow is reading Call Of The Wild to him until Xander shows up to relieve her for the night. Willow heads home and Xander immediately goes to bed. Pulling the ol’ Johnny-Depp-In-A-Nightmare-On-Elm-Street, eh? Let’s see how that pays off for him.

Faith and Buffy are on patrol, and Buffy is now dating Scott, it seems, as they are girl talking about him. Somewhere nearby, a kid gets attacked and dragged off into the woods. Patrol better, girls!

At school the next day, Buffy and Scott are sitting with another couple, Pete and Debbie. Buffy has to go see Mr. Platt, the school counselor, and Debbie has also seem him in the past.

The guy that got dragged off was another SunnyDale student, and his body was found mauled. Xander realizes that while he slept, the window to library jail was open all night. YOU KNOW… far be it from me to defend Xander, but this actually feels like not his fault. He was a later shift in Oz duty, so he wasn’t the one who left the window open. Sure he dozed off, but this feels more like a Giles fuck-up.

Also–and I’m not going to check this out because I am lazy–I’m pretty sure the way library jail was previously shown to be set up, it couldn’t possibly have had a window where this window is. It was not a whole ass room with a corner to go around. It was just a little rectangle surrounded by walls.

Buffy attends her session with Mr. Platt, who is smoking in his school office in 1998. He acts like a total bad ass, slowly turning in his chair to reveal himself. He wants info on why Buffy ran away from home, and she gives him the non-supernatural details, basically making Angel out to be an abusive boyfriend who messed with her head and then scared her off.

It’s 5:35pm in, presumably, September or early October, and it’s apparently time to lock up Oz for the night. What? Doesn’t he have, like, THREE HOURS until nightfall? He is borderline despondent over the fact that he may have killed a dude, and he tells Willow to get away from the bars. Not very Oz-like, as he is suffering over his fate.

Buffy out on patrol, and she runs into ANGEL! He has blood on his mouth! He seems entirely feral and devoid of reason, but also somewhat prude-ish because he has put on pants. That was very Network TV of him. No shirt, though, because 1998 David Boreanaz. Buffy KO’s him.

She then takes him back to where she slayed him, and she sees the outline of where he returned from the dead. She chains him up for now.

At the library, Faith is on Oz Duty. Buffy relieves her and uses the night to look up some information. When Giles comes in the next day, Buffy is asleep, and no one gives her nearly the level of shit for this that they gave Xander. She hides Angel’s return from Giles with a clever round of “I DREAMED Angel came back. Tell me: what would it be like if he really did?”. Giles notes Angel was in Hell and may have been there for centuries’ worth of time… and torment.

Back to “Lunch With Pete And Debbie”. Debbie has also seen Mr. Platt before, and she thinks he is a quack. But Buffy defends him. Then she heads out to check on Angel. He still seems more wild animal than man, but this visit gives the show a reason to do a close-up of his chains, so…foreshadowing!

Pete and Debbie head to weird Abandoned Laboratory part of school to make out. Pete notices an empty jar which looks to have previously had Re-Animator serum in it, and he gets FURIOUS as Debbie. He flips the hell out that she dumped his juice, and after a REALLY STUPID transformation sequence (fast-forward footage of his shaking his head), he turns into a monster! He accuses her of “whoring around” and starts smacking her about. Then he turns human and tells her he is all she has.

Meanwhile, Buffy is in Mr. Platt’s office to bear her soul, but… he has been mauled, too! I mean, he was black, so I can’t say we didn’t see this coming.

The coroner reports that Platt was killed during the day, so Oz is cleared! But Giles still needs to lock him up since he is still a werewolf, and he tells us the sun sets at 5:30. Is it December this episode or something?

I know this is me at my most pedantic, but the whole sunset time in SunnyDale remains a huge issue for me dating back to last season, and I swear to god the writers of this show have never actually seen dusk or know when it happens.

Anyway, the gang IMMEDIATELY figures out Debbie and Pete have something to do with the murders because everything in this show boils down to “Who Have We Been Talking To Now That We Literally Never Met Before?”.

Pete spies Debbie chatting up Oz as he is on his way to library jail. He is not thrilled to see her talking to another boy.

Buffy and Willow confront Debbie, but she just blames herself for Pete’s violence. Elsewhere: Angel goes full Fleetwood and breaks the chain.

Pete starts threatening Oz, who is in library jail, and does not for one second question why Oz is in library jail, and I just love that. Like, he’s a crazed, jealous monster, so I get he is blinded by rage, but he’s not like “OZ I WILL KILL YOU FOR TALKING TO… hey, whatcha doing in there, guy?”.

Pete is much stronger than a werewolf and rips library jail door off the hinges. He chucks Oz around for a bit and asks if he kissed “the whore”.

The mouth on this guy.

Before Pete can finish him off, the sun sets; Oz transforms! WEREWOLF VS MONSTER GUY FIGHT! Hell yeah.

Debbie is a mess who can’t put herself back together, but she still refuses to hear anything bad about Pete. The gang hears the ruckus from the library and sees the big brawl. Debbie stops them from tranquilizing anyone, and Oz runs off. Willow and Faith give chase, and eventually tranq him down. Buffy starts fighting Pete when he threatens and shoves Debbie around, and you know what? I liked Monster Pete Vs Werewolf Oz more.


Then FERAL ANGEL interrupts! Holy poop! More monster fighting!

Angel straight-up breaks Pete’s neck with the chains still attached to his arms. He turns to his lover/killer, says “Buffy”, and falls to his knees, embracing her. In the foreground, we see Pete’s most recent assault has killed Debbie.

I am reminded that there used to be a time where I was annoyed that I knew school life would just keep on keeping on in the wakes of three students and a guidance counselor dying, but by this point, the show’s lack of care about literally anything has just beaten me into acceptance.

Buffy comforts Scott over the loss of his two best friends, but Scotty doesn’t know where she spends her nights: watching over Angel and reading Call Of The Wild to him.

Hey, that’s how the episode started!

So with episode three, we got the introduction of Faith, and some great early characterization on her. She’s a hardass, but she is hiding deep scars and a certain level of fear. We also had a black character survive A WHOLE EPISODE. Good for you, minion vampire guy!

With episode four, we had a MONSTER BRAWL, and that’s all I ever wanted.

So two good episodes in the book!

Until next time… take care!