In every generation there is a Chosen One. I alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of Netflix. I am the slayer! And these are my chronicles while watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer for the first time…. as a 35 year old woman. That’s right – I am a Buffy virgin.
Today we will be talking about Season 3, Episode 2. If you’re (re)watching with me, tell me what you thought about this episode in the comments!
For past posts, please reference my Handy-Dandy-Xandy-Guide.
Season 3, Episode 2: Dead Man’s Party
First thing I thought about when I saw the title for today’s episode was Oingo Boingo. Yes – Danny Elfman, you are genius! I cannot, for the life of me, get this song out of my head.
Oh boy. Hopefully you watched that video so that you too can have “Dead Man’s Party” stuck in your head. If not – let me help…. “It’s a dead man’s party, who could ask for more? Everybody’s comin’; leave your body at the door. Leave your body and soul at the door…”
Anyway – back to Buffy. *Long heavy sigh* – You guys – this episode was an interesting one for me. It hit me right in the feels.
In S3E1, Buffy figures out that running away wasn’t a great idea, and heads home. Now that Buffy is home – things are…shall we say…awkward.
And I mean – they would be, right? Buffy runs away, she’s gone for 3 months or so, and now she just magically appears and everyone has to readjust. I’m actually surprised we didn’t get to see Joyce go off on her in the beginning, something like:
Joyce: “Buffy! Thank goodness! Where the hell have you been?”
Buffy: “Mom, I’m sorry, it was stupid to leave, I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Joyce: “That’s right – you weren’t thinking. You are a selfish, spoiled, entitled little girl who obviously needs to get her head out of her ass and deal with shit. Jesus Buffy, don’t you care about anyone other than yourself?”
Or something to that effect. As a mom I would have been furious. But I’m not a mom, so I appreciate Joyce’s loving nature, because in the end, that does make transitioning a bad decision into a good one a lot easier. So in an effort to “normalize” herself, Buffy decides to go out and catch up with Willow and Xander.
And just like that, Buffy bumps into Xander when on the road to look for her friends.
Of course she mistakes him for a vampire, because who the hell lurks around alleys other than Buffy and tramp-vamps. But no. It’s Xander. And he’s – well – surprised to see her. And it’s weird. You can tell that something is off. But we don’t get too much because a stupid vamp crawls out of the local trashcan (of course he does) and they have to slay. Actually, the whole scooby-gang shows up, and as a team they slay. And this is when you can tell something is really off because the scooby-gang looks tired, not only from slaying, but because Buffy has been gone, and they have been trying to keep Sunnydale safe in Buffy’s absence.
Cut to Giles house. Of course now since the scooby-gang knows that Buffy is back, (SURPRISE!) they figure it’s best to tell Giles. Because, let’s be honest, Giles is the only one that constantly wanted to search for Buffy – I may go as far as to say he had vested interest as “The Watcher.” But off to Giles house they go. And it’s a precious reunion. You can tell immediately how relieved Giles is to see that Buffy is back. It’s a total “Awwwwwww” moment.
And for the first time after his beloved Jenny dies, Giles cries. Making tea. I never knew making tea could be so emotional. Just kidding. Giles is so sweet. I wonder if anyone ever cried because I was gone for 3 months. Survey says… no.
So the complications of Buffy being gone for 3 months, is that now people have to figure out how interact with her again. We find out that Principal Dick Head won’t let her back into school (which is ridiculous), and her friends don’t know what to say or do with her, since Buffy – well – abandoned them. So what we’ve got here is a case of abandonment issues.
To try and rectify this situation, and help get things back to normal, Joyce saves the day and asks if Buffy would like to have everyone over for dinner to – um – rekindle? the relationship between her and her friends. Sounds like a plan. But in the midst of all of this we also find out Joyce has a new toy from the art museum that she NEEDS to put on the wall of her bedroom:
Holy fuck sticks! NO!
That thing wouldn’t be caught dead in my bedroom. I don’t care how old, or how valuable, or what kind of cultural reference it was making – this is an automatic NO! Are you insane? Anything that looks like it came straight from one of my nightmares is automatically banned from the bedroom. Seeing myself in the morning is enough to scare the bejeezus out of me. So…see you later Demon Death Mask – you have a one way trip to the trashcan.
Damn it Joyce, I thought you had better sense than this!
A whole lot of “set-up” later – we find that the above Death Mask actually raises the dead, and attracts reanimated dead people towards it. And you probably guessed it…. we’re about to have a dead man’s party! Because here they come – attack of the zombies!
So it’s the night of the party – and everyone starts to show up to Buffy’s house. What we originally thought would be a smaller gathering of just her closest friends, quickly turns into a party – with a band – in Joyce’s living room – and apparently everyone thinks this is normal. Sure. Why not.
But this is where things get interesting.
Buffy – not knowing if her best buds really care to be there or not – tries to engage Willow in casual conversation, and Willow totally brushes her off. *GASP* Willow stands there more interested in listening to the band vs. talking to Buffy.
We jump to Buffy trying to engage Xander and Blah-Cordelia, and they too are more interested in each other than talking to Buffy.
Then Buffy inadvertently hears her mom talking to a friend about how things have been much harder for her since Buffy got back. OH NO – not you too Joyce!
Strike 3! Buffy is out!
Literally – Buffy wants to leave…again.
After feeling like none of her friends actually want to be around her, she feels the best thing to do is to leave. Thankfully, Willow follows Buffy up to her room where she sees her packing again and confronts her.
I loved this part. Willow goes ape-shit on Buffy. She tells her how hard it has been for them since she left Sunnydale, and how Buffy could have talked to them, or contacted them, or sent a carrier pigeon, or something, anything! But Buffy is still being obstinate at this point, and doesn’t really listen to Willow.
It’s not until Buffy is almost out the door, that Xander gangs up on Buffy too. He’s had enough of Buffy’s internal bull-shit. (Side note, this is now my favorite part of the episode.)
God I love Xander. He really just lays into her. Man, he is pissed!! He just let’s her have it, telling her how stupid, selfish, and hurtful it was for her to run off. He also mentions that she could have talked to them – or at least let them help her, but Buffy wasn’t having it. Actually – this is the part of the show I identified with the most. What do you do when you are going through a lot of shit, but you really don’t know how to talk to people about it? Do you run away like Buffy? Or do you confront it dead on like the scooby-gang suggests?
I kind of get where Buffy is coming from. Personally, I’m not a fan of sharing the deep dark stuff. You know – the “if I tell someone this, they will think I am crazy.” Or even “if I tell someone this, they won’t understand, and they will think I’m being a baby, or being dramatic, or tell me to just get over it.” I think we have all been there.
But Xander and Willow are right. When is enough, enough? When do you break down your own internal walls and ask for help? Do we always have to look strong on the outside whenever we may be hurting and feeling like crap on the inside? I struggle with this all the time – and we all know the answer is that sharing with friends is better than running away from your problems. But we also know that sometimes it’s just not that easy.
But before we get too far into the emotional pit of despair – ZOMBIES ATTACK!
No – just kidding – everyone almost dies, because of course the Demon Death Mask that Joyce had upstairs is the bringer of evil! Zombies are everywhere in house, people are screaming, it’s mass hysteria. Literally a dead man’s party. Thankfully the scooby-gang has had some practice in massive slaughter techniques. And after a very quick smash and grab – our heroic team of teens prevail.
And you know what – they all seem to like each other again. Funny how killing a few zombies brought them all back together.
But will it be that simple? This is the first time we see the scooby-gang stand up to Buffy and request more emotional investment from her. Specifically at the end, we see Willow and Buffy talk about a few MAJOR plot points…
Like holy-hell! Willow is practicing magic? She’s Wiccan? What? Okay. How do you drop a bomb like that at the end of an episode? Willow the Wiccan. Heh. That’s kinda funny to me. Typical. But funny.
And just like that – with a cup of coffee, things are starting to look on the up-and-up for Buffy and the gang.
Until next time – keep on slaying Buffy fans!