Buffy 3×02: Dead Man’s Party

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Marti Noxon | Director: James Whitmore, Jr. | Aired: 10/06/1998]

This episode has two distinct halves to it, one which is great and the other which is poor. The first half is dealing with the unresolved issues from Buffy skipping town in “Becoming Pt. 2” [2×22] . The second half is a somewhat poorly done zombie plot that seems to happen right when important dialog is about to be said. I can’t help but feel cheated by the fact that all is forgiven just because they killed some zombies together. This is a cheap way out of having to find real solutions to the problems everyone has with Buffy taking off and not telling anyone. There are a few really powerful scenes, though, which help elevate this a bit beyond failure.

The episode begins with Joyce telling Buffy she wants to put this whole mess behind them, which we find out later isn’t that easy. The group’s initial reaction to suddenly seeing Buffy back is perfect: they all looked kind of dazed and confused. None of their reactions can compare with the beautiful piece of subtle acting by Anthony Stewart Head when Giles, alone in his kitchen, gives us a potent emotional sense of happiness and relief just by his expressions. This is possibly one of my favorite “small moments” in the entire series.

I was very pleased to see that it isn’t going to be too easy for Buffy to get back into school. I do, however, love Giles’ pressuring of Snyder at the end. I have some real issues with some of the characters’ reactions though. First of all, while I can buy that the group has issues with how Buffy took off, they seem to be overdoing the anger and not at all understanding what she went through. This seems a tad out of character, especially Willow being so avoidy. However, the scene between Buffy and Willow in Buffy’s bedroom helps exlpain why she feels the way she does and is quite touching.

While walking around the stupid party she didn’t even want, Buffy understandably gets the impression that everyone is ignoring her and would prefer she not even be there. She hears a guy say the party is for a “chick on rehab.” Joyce even says that things were in some ways better before Buffy came back. I could feel Buffy’s sadness and can understand why she nearly took off again. This leads to the big confrontation downstairs where Joyce and most of the Scoobies all start attacking Buffy for leaving without telling anyone. The group should be more understanding of what Buffy went through! I agree that she should have left some indication that she was at least ‘okay,’ but poor Buffy! It’s great to see that at least Joyce admits she made a mistake when she gave the ultimatum to Buffy in “Becoming Pt. 2” [2×22] .

It’s here when the zombies come literally crashing in and ruin the rest of the episode. These guys are hokey, boring, and completely spoil the incredibly important argument that was being had. So the final verdict is that I loved most of the scenes dealing with Buffy’s return and really disliked all the zombie stuff. I would have been perfectly content if there was no supernatural threat. Overall it’s an ‘okay’ episode at best.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Principal Snyder’s “tingly sensation.”
+ Buffy yelling to get her mom downstairs when Pat comes over.
+ Buffy disliking the big gathering and wanting a personal dinner instead.
+ Two really annoying people get killed: the dumb phone guy and Joyce’s friend, Pat.
+ Good to know that Willow’s been doing a lot more witchcraft over the summer.
+ Zombies.


[Score]

60/100

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113 thoughts on “Buffy 3×02: Dead Man’s Party”

  1. [Note: jun posted this comment on March 22, 2007.]

    I completely agree with your comments about this episode. Wasn’t Giles wonderful throughout? The quiet emotion, the whole funny bit where he’s going “Do you like my mask? Isn’t it pretty?”, where hotwiring a car’s like getting back on a bicycle, and yes, the lovely bit with Snyder at the end.

    Everyone else, non-Buffy, was getting on my nerves.

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  2. [Note: Jessica posted this comment on May 1, 2007.]

    I’m so glad you included the hootenanny quote! I actually became friends with a person based on that final line. We were planning my friends(his girlfriends) birthday party when we both recited the line at the exact same time:)

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  3. [Note: spurious posted this comment on August 10, 2007.]

    I am in the process of watching the entire series through for the second time; the first time I watched this one, I thought it was pretty weak because of the zombie plot. But, with the knowledge of how things develop in the series, it is a little more interesting. What I think is interesting about this episode is that it is one of the first times we see a recurring theme, that Bs friends don’t know how to handle her when she is having problems. We see this several times, such as with their reactions to Joyce’s death in season 5, and especially throughout season 6. In some ways, her friends are a lot like many of the show’s fans, who prefer Buffy to be light and “quippy,” but don’t know what to do when she starts to struggle with her dark side. Like many of us, Xander and Willow can be quite selfish in their relationships, and this is highlighted here. Maybe this explains why Buffy starts to keep so many secrets as the series progresses (about Angel returning, the truth about Dawn, her relationship with Spike). Anyway, I like it when we see these consistencies in the characters’ personalities, played out over many seasons.

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  4. [Note: Austin posted this comment on August 22, 2007.]

    I thought the note that Joyce read at the end of Becoming was the I’m ok letter, at least thats how I took it. And about the zombies, especially their hokey music, I was under the impression they were supposed to be dumb, and I think kind of symbolic, crashing the party that Buffy didn’t want to have, giving her a chance to do what she does best, save lives and fight evil. Kind of like saying, at least the Hellmouth welcomes you back.
    I do agree, however, that they should have let the confontation pan out, I’m interested in what would have been said, and does she really ever work out these, issues, I mean other than revealing that the curse worked, do her friends really ever forgive her?

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  5. [Note: Austin posted this comment on October 5, 2007.]

    I also really liked how coordinated and cool the scoobies were while Joyce was freaking out – like when she asks if these are Vampires and Willow cooly tosses Buffy a stake and then responds “no when he doesn’t dust

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  6. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on October 21, 2007.]

    I don´t mind the zombies very much, what I really care about is her reintegration back in Sunnydale. The only person who I think is a bit harsh on Buffy is Xander. I can get Willow, though. I agree with Spurious here; her friends don´t want to deal with Buffy while she is depressed and sad, they want her happy. I think their issues stem from that too. They wanted her to move on, that she would kill Angel and just move on and be all happy.

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  7. [Note: gabrielleabelle posted this comment on November 8, 2007.]

    This episode’s always uncomfortable for me to watch cause of Buffy’s situation. The confrontation scene during the party just hits a little too close to home for me. I was actually grateful that the zombies interrupted before Buffy totally lost it. SMG, of course, does a superb job. I’m always amazed by her acting in the series.

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  8. [Note: MsFeasance posted this comment on April 14, 2008.]

    This episode always leaves me yelling, “Oh, f**k you!” at the TV set; starting with Xander’s assertion that she “ruined their lives”, particularly given his role in Angel’s trip to hell with the “kick his ass” deception. Given the arc of the full series, they all seem more accepting of the fact that Buffy slept with Spike than they do of her return here.

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  9. [Note: cdd posted this comment on April 23, 2008.]

    I just re-watched this episode for the first time in a couple of years. My recollection was that it was disappointing and, for the most part, it was. I too liked Giles. And SMG is, as usual, very engaging and exceptional acting. And I saw more interesting things in the dynamics knowing the future of the relationships.

    Regarding the idea that Xander’s attitude towards Buffy is out of character, I think it’s just a continuation of his jealousy of Angel.

    Of course, Xander knows (thinks anyway) that Angel is dead and Xander also has a girlfriend (though, as we’ve seen it’s primarily on the physical rather than emotional level). But perhaps Xander is responding to the fact that Buffy’s relationship to Angel seems to still override her relationship to Xander, even after she has “killed” him.

    In other words, Xander is thinking “Even after Angel’s dead (thanks, in part to me), she’s still thinking more about him than she is about me.”

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  10. [Note: Paula posted this comment on December 4, 2008.]

    Just re-watched this episode for the second time. The zombie part is boring. The other part – Buffy and her mom and friends trying to reconnect after her return – is a good effort at actually dealing with such mutual issues in a realistic way, and has many good and fairly insightful moments (I actually do buy the anger from Xander and Willow, particularly since they tride to hide it at first; yes, things have been and still are hard on Buffy, but the same goes for her friends and Buffy is far from blameless), although it ultimately just resorts to “solving” everything by having everybody fight zombies together.

    The most interesting thing about this episode, though, is that I’m pretty convinced that this is where the writing team first started thinking about doing something like Season Six. The connections and similarities between this episode and S6 are many (of course there are differences too), but three seasons later, it was done thoroughly and properly without resorting to any quick fixes.

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  11. [Note: Zillex posted this comment on March 14, 2009.]

    I enjoyed everything non-zombie related in this episode. It makes me sad that this could have been an incredible and pivotal episode in series, but the zombie attack and quick “resolution” (nothing was really resolved…just ignored) was disappointing.

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  12. [Note: Emily posted this comment on March 16, 2009.]

    I always hate the “kiss and make up” type scenes, except that here it’s “fight against evil together and make up.” It’s dumb and stupid. Xander continues to be an a**hole, but I understand Willow’s feelings. Willow was right, Xander was not- in the end, it’s really him who ruined their lives because he lied to Buffy in Becoming.

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  13. [Note: MissKittyFantastico posted this comment on March 16, 2009.]

    “…in the end, it’s really him who ruined their lives because he lied to Buffy in Becoming.”

    I really have to disagree with you here, Emily. Soulless Angel would still have opened hell up even if Buffy had known that Willow was trying to restore his soul. In fact, although Xander’s reasons for telling Buffy Willow said “kick [Angel’s] ass” (if this is the line to which you’re referring) were less than chivalrous, I could even make the argument that this is what Buffy NEEDED to hear. If she had known that Angel might get his soul back, she might not have fought as hard as she did – not on purpose, but because she was thinking about that possibly and trying to figure out how to save him if he became good again. This way, she focused on the fight and did what she needed to do to save the world, even when the tables turned at the last second.

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  14. [Note: Paula posted this comment on March 16, 2009.]

    Agreeing with MissKittyFantastico. It was selfish and bad of Xander to lie to Buffy, but it didn’t ruin any lives and didn’t change what was going to have to happen to Angel.

    (It’s a little strange though that Buffy didn’t – much before S7 – realize Xander had lied to her about Willow’s message, since it’s pretty obvious that it was Willow who had restored Angel’s soul and she would hardly have sent Buffy a message like that if she was working on the soul restoration.)

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  15. [Note: Sam posted this comment on March 16, 2009.]

    OMG, how can you forget the best line in the whole episode???

    Giles: Do you like my mask? Isn’t it pretty? It raises the dead! Americans.

    🙂

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  16. [Note: Emily posted this comment on March 23, 2009.]

    MissKitty and Paula, the Willow told Xander, “Go tell Buffy what we’re doing…maybe she can stall.” I think Buffy was a strong enough vampire slayer at this point to stall Angel for a few minutes. If she *had* gone in there knowing that Willow was trying, she would’ve stalled Angel, he would’ve never opened Acathla, and everything would be happy. of course, this is a Joss show and things don’t happen like that here, but the blame has to go somewhere. And it lies on Xander, because he lied. Straight out, right through his teeth, to her face. And he never even felt bad about it- never fessed up or anything. So yeah, I do blame him.

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  17. [Note: MissKittyFantastico posted this comment on March 25, 2009.]

    Emily–

    I honestly don’t think getting a message to “stall” in her fight with Angel would have been all that helpful to Buffy. Buffy didn’t know Angel might get a soul, but this didn’t change her needing to keep Angel away from Acathla – Whistler had already warned her about Angel being the key anyway. Buffy and Angel were in the middle of an incredibly intense fight when he finally managed to grab Acathla’s sword — it’s not as if she let him get it while they were fighting because she didn’t stall enough. Also, if Buffy had been more worried about distracting Angel than fighting her best, she could have ended up dead. I also disagree that “the blame has to go somewhere”. Buffy is a complex show. One thing did not cause Acathla to open; one person did not ruin all their lives. It was a combination of factors, and I don’t think it’s fair or correct to make it all Xander’s fault.

    … Maybe this is just something about which we have to agree to disagree. =)

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  18. [Note: Shinosai posted this comment on April 27, 2009.]

    Buffy telling Xander “it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye” while taking a stake from him is possibly foreshadowing. I’ve also always sided with Buffy over Xander and her mom. As Buffy tells Xander in season 6 about her depression, “You didn’t wanna know.” Xander doesn’t want to know what Buffy went through, and his moral superiority here is sickening. He says she should have talked to someone, but who, Xander? Has Xander ever given her a reason to think that he would be slightly understanding about what happened with Angel? And her mom told her not to come back. She couldn’t talk to mom, she freaked when she found out that Buffy had sex. I think her friends and family should have been more sympathetic. If my parents told me to not come back home, I wouldn’t come back for a long while, either. It’s just stupid that they get down on her for leaving, but not one of them attempts to talk to her about what happened with Angel except Giles.

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  19. [Note: Emily posted this comment on May 8, 2009.]

    “…Buffy and Angel were in the middle of an incredibly intense fight when he finally managed to grab Acathla’s sword — it’s not as if she let him get it while they were fighting because she didn’t stall enough.”

    That’s true, but I think that if she had known what Willow was trying, she would’ve tried harder to keep Angel away from the sword. Hope can change everything. Lack of hope can also change everything. Buffy had no hope because Xander lied to her. Maybe if she had *had* hope, she would’ve been stronger, would’ve fought better. She is always at her strongest when she is fighting for Angel (see 3×10: Amends and 2×10: What’s My Line? Part 2). If she had known that there was even the slightest chance that she could get Angel back and bury Angelus forever, she would’ve fought her hardest.

    I also agree with you that Buffy is a complex show, but there is a point where if one person had said something differently, things would’ve changed. Yes, it is possible that even if Xander had told her the truth, she still would’ve had to kill Angel. That doesn’t change the fact that Xander is arrogant and thinks he can make the choice *for* her. And he does this by lying.

    Maybe it is something we just have to agree to disagree on. Though I enjoy the debate:)

    Shinosai, I completely 100% agree with you.

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  20. [Note: Beth posted this comment on May 24, 2009.]

    I don’t really blame Xander, Willow and Joyce for their reactions to Buffy’s return. She did leave for months with no word that she was alive, if she was planning to return, if she was even going to be the slayer anymore, etc. Her friends fought hard for her, even though they had no real skills, and felt abandoned when she left. They continued to fight the good fight, always hoping that she would come back, but not knowing. On some level they did understand what she was going through, but a lot of time had passed which we, as the viewers, didn’t get a good sense of as we only saw one episode with Buffy out of town. As a viewer I feel bad for Buffy but intellectually I understand her friends’ and mom’s reactions.

    I really liked these parts of the episodes – the zombie parts were hokey and one of the weaker monsters-as-metaphor plots. Too bad, because the rest of the episode was great.

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  21. [Note: Christian posted this comment on May 25, 2009.]

    I always disliked Xander’s reaction to the whole situation. I understand he’s hurt on some level but he should be more sympathetic with Buffy’s feelings instead of going blind with jealousy over anything that has to do with Angel. I’m glad Willow can see outside the box and really understand, or at least try to understand what Buffy’s going through.

    I’m sure that if Xander was in Buffy’s place he would have had a meltdown… he showed it clearly in season 7’s “Selfless�. I hate it when people judge another’s condition before they have to face it themselves and realize how hard it is.

    I did like the episode… but I do agree with the discontent at how quickly they made up. I yelled, “yeah right� at the tv when Buffy and Willow shared the cheesy hug after the fight. Oh well… Sarah and Anthony’s acting made up for the flaws =)

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  22. [Note: Jen Bradley posted this comment on June 19, 2009.]

    Wow, it’s been a few years since I saw the episode, but I never felt negative about the Scoobies’ reactions to Buffy’s sudden return. I always enjoyed the episode, even the stupid zombies. The only part that bothered me was that Buffy killed her mother’s only friend and didn’t even feel bad about it just because Pat had the misfortune of putting on a zombie mask. Pat was still a human, after all.

    But back to the point. I think Willow and Xander were just teenagers, and they were thinking of their own pain rather than Buffy’s. It’s completely realistic that they would be angry with her. They didn’t know what Buffy had was going through because she didn’t tell them, and they (especially Willow) really felt bad that she hadn’t bothered to confide in them. Were they right in attacking her? No. It was completely selfish and immature of them to try to punish her for leaving. Yet I understand it, and I don’t think that it would be realistic for any of the characters at this point to just forgive and forget. That’s what Willow and Xander did after Buffy treated them so badly in “When She Was Bad,” but how could they really do it a second time? Especially after everything they’d been through together in Season 2? They deserved to be treated better, and if they weren’t understanding about Angel, well that’s Buffy’s fault for not telling them.

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  23. [Note: Lollypop75 posted this comment on July 30, 2009.]

    Er, Jen: Pat was killed by the zombies, dragged into joyce’s room (when they thought she was just hurt). She then became a zombie and put the mask on. So Buffy didn’t kill a human in this episode at all.

    On the episode as a whole – I felt what all the characters were feeling so much throughout this episode; it actually brought me to tears a couple of times (although it never has when I’ve watched previously). The zombies weren’t great and it would have been nice to see *some* resolution between them all; this did let down the second half. But still I think this deserves a lot more than a C-.

    Everyone really has a point in the episode; obviously we understand why Buffy ran away, and it’s a kind of realistic thing for her to do, and not helpful for someone to yell at her for that; but the others are just people too. As most people, I was really touched by Giles’ reaction – I can’t help feeling sad at the moment about all the stuff that comes between them in season 7 because of this.

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  24. [Note: KatieJ posted this comment on January 4, 2010.]

    I’m in agreement with Sam. That is the best quote. Humor again serves as the Gorilla glue, holding together the less believable parts (relationship issues and plot devices) of the episode.

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  25. [Note: Smallprint84 posted this comment on March 31, 2010.]

    Also a cool foreshadowing: When Snyder says to Buffy “I noticed that hotdogstand needs new amployees. You’ll look so cute in that hat.”.

    Wow, if Snyder could see Buffy in S6-Double Meat Palace he would have had several tingle-moments.

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  26. [Note: Max posted this comment on May 4, 2010.]

    Syfy just aired this episode in the UK.

    Love the scene when Buffy yells for “MOM”. Always has me in stiches for some reason!

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  27. [Note: G1000 posted this comment on May 17, 2010.]

    I’d have given this one a C . All the stuff with Buffy and her friends was extremely well-done. I personally didn’t feel it was out-of-character at all. I would have liked to have seen Buffy call Xander out for lying to her in “Becoming: Part Two”. Surely she’s figured that out.

    Loved Cordelia actually stepping up and defending Buffy. She’s become a far more mature and likeable character than she was in season 1.

    Zombies were awful. If they hadn’t shown up, this would have been an A or A- in my book (I don’t give perfect scores).

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  28. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on May 21, 2010.]

    I totally agree with MikeJer’s review, and with spurious’ comments. It’s always surprising to me when viewers talk about being annoyed by Buffy’s behavior, when what I find annoying is when characters keep a cheerful disposition no matter what they go through. Buffy makes a lot of mistakes in this series, but I can still usually sympathize. I think this is one of the great strengths of the show, and I think that they do a good job of this with most ALL of the characters.

    I love the way Buffy responds in the argument scene: she’s frustrated, crying, defensive, inconsistent and even a little incoherent in her arguments. I found it totally believable. That’s what people are like when they get in these kinds of fights with the people are close to. Too often you see fights like this where everyone’s in grand monologue mode, and this fight was way more emotionally authentic (until the dumb zombies showed up).

    The Giles scene when Buffy returns is one of my favorites in the series too. I think the episode is worth re-watching just for a few of the moments like that.

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  29. [Note: ShadowWeaver posted this comment on July 16, 2010.]

    I actually loved this episode. Buffy is a SUPERNATURAL drama series, after all. The characterisations were well-handled here and the series always needed some zombies to spice things up. Leave the deep, brooding darkness and hi-octane drama for the more mature later seasons (not that high school era Buffy hasn’t witnessed plenty of that already anyway). For now, just take this episode for what it is – the very really solid episode of the season (“Anne” was good, but not great).

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  30. [Note: Mapinguari posted this comment on August 10, 2010.]

    Honestly, I could’ve watched that argument in the middle of the party go one for a whole other episode. That was some really great character development, and was so rudely interrupted.

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  31. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on August 15, 2010.]

    The Good:

    Nighthawk the Vampire Slayer. Xander the cool hunter guy.

    Buffy pushing Cordelia out of the way to stake the vampire.

    The Giles apartment scene. Buffy and Xander. “Belgium”. Giles’ reflection.

    “Gathering, Shindig or Hootenanny.”

    The gang have a go at Buffy in a great scene. Jonathan by the dip.

    Giles threatening Snyder. Go Ripper!

    Buffy and Willow trading insults at the Espresso Pump.

    The Bad:

    Why was there a vampire behind a boarded up wall?

    No one takes into consideration Joyce’s feelings towards a huge party at her house, or the neighbours. It just isn’t in character.

    The party ruins the episode, too many extras. Good one of them got his neck snapped.

    The Future: Snyder says that ‘Hot Dog on a Stick’ is hiring. Buffy later works in the fast food industry at ‘Doublemeat Palace’.

    Everyone has a go at Buffy for her actions. This happens again in ‘Empty Places’.

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  32. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on October 3, 2010.]

    Can’t decide whether Joyce or Xander is the snivellest, whiniest, most self-centered asswipe on the planet.

    I couldn’t enjoy this episode, those two had me wanting to put my fist through the computer screen.

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  33. [Note: Shiny posted this comment on October 3, 2010.]

    On my current pass at the show, I’ve decided to watch the episodes (or an episode’s portions) that I normally skip, and that covers a lot of this episode. The humour’s great and I’m not actually bothered by the zombies, but I hate that it’s all reduced to “we killed bad guys, now everything’s okay”. I disagree with the view that a great big battle puts things in perspective, so everybody’ll just silently agree to never speak of their issues again – these guys fight the undead on a regular basis.

    I liked some of the negative reactions to Buffy’s return, particularly Willow avoiding Buffy – in Anne, we saw how much Willow missed her and wanted her back. But once she is back, Willow has to deal with something she couldn’t/wouldn’t express while Buff was absent: how angry she is that her best friend abandoned her.

    That said… when Cordelia is showing more humanity than Joyce and Xander, something’s very wrong. I can just about forgive Joyce, but this put me off Xander for at least half a season when I first watched the show (it wasn’t helped by the upcoming Xander/Willow lunacy). It fits his character, as he flips at Buffy quite a lot throughout the series, but it’s a real showcase for how selfish and aggressive he can be. That not a single person tries to defend her (except Cordelia, whose good intentions are obscured by her accidental insults) is surreal to me.

    On a semi-related note, it really, really bugs me that when Willow finds out that Buffy had to kill ensouled Angel, she reacts by asking Giles (again) if she can help him do a binding spell on Acathla. I like to think the writers just wanted to set up Giles’ next line (“there is no spell”), because the alternative is that she would rather think of doing a new spell than what Buffy had really been going through at this point. That’d make sense given her future attitude to magic, but it makes me like her a little less.

    Anyway – basically, yeah. Everybody attacks Buffy, and then zombies magically make it all okay. Unsatisfying.

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  34. [Note: David posted this comment on October 20, 2010.]

    While we the viewers can definitely sympathize with Buffy, I think that the anger/hurt that Joyce/Xander/Willow show is incredibly valid as well. Buffy only came back due to what happened in Anne. If she never met Ricky/Lily, maybe she would still be in Los Angeles working.

    Joyce: She has her daughter throw into her face that she’s basically the only option to fight off demons and save the world. Creatures that Joyce probably can’t even fathom. Then Buffy disappears, leaving only a note (of which we never see), and doesn’t return for months on end. Did Joyce take Buffy’s announcement well? No, but suddenly she becomes a mother having no idea what her daughter is up to and whether she is even alive.

    Xander: This is more dubious but I think Xander’s anger revolves around the fact that Buffy basically ran off on them just because she killed her boyfriend to save the world. Suddenly Buffy’s vanished (despite said boyfriend killing Jenny Calendar, somebody very close to Giles) and the Scoobies are left basically having to hold the fort and deal with no idea what is really going on. Xander has stated he’s never liked Angel and probably sees Buffy’s running away as choosing her love of Angel over her own mother (also remember that Xander’s parents are far, far removed from the way Joyce usually treats Buffy so it likely strikes him on an even more personal level).

    Willow: Probably the most understandable (see the in episode reasons she lists). She winds up in a wheelchair, after coming out of a coma (and performing an incredibly dangerous spell that did in fact restore Angel’s soul despite it being the second attempt). Her best friend has absolutely vanished with zero communication while Willow is stuck unable to convey in anybody else (Oz is still new boyfriend wise, Xander is a male best friend that she still has feelings for, and Cordelia is Cordelia). Willow is likely just as concerned as Joyce is that Buffy could be dead somewhere on any given night (see Willow’s admonishing of Buffy for just patrolling while sick in Killed By Death).

    In total: They have to deal with protecting Sunnydale and possibly saving the world. Xander, Willow, and Cordelia aren’t known much for their fighting prowess. Oz is a werewolf for 3 days of the month. Giles is skilled but also old and not nearly as spry. Any of them could have been killed (just look at the opening scene in Anne) fairly easily and if something “end of the world” happened, they would have had a very outside shot of stopping it. Buffy basically laid that burden on their shoulders.

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  35. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on October 21, 2010.]

    David –

    Oh, I can explain Joyce’s and Xander’s behavior, just as I can explain why a toddler shrieks and throws a tantrum and pounds the cement when he drops his lollipop down a sewer grate. But I can’t excuse it. No matter how many stupid and selfish things Joyce and Xander do, and they do a whole helluva lot, Buffy Summers does not preach to them in public. She does not shred her Mom in front of an audience, call her out and attempt to shame and embarrass her. She does not do that to her friends.

    What Joyce and Xander did was hypocrisy of the first order, and I may forgive but I will not forget.

    Good for Joss Whedon to get me to care so much. 🙂

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  36. [Note: Stilicho posted this comment on December 23, 2010.]

    As with regards to Davids remarks, I feel that Joyce is the one person whose reaction I can to some extend understand. But the Xander/Willow reation seems to me highly exaggerated. That they bear Buffy a grudge, granted, but that this TOTAL lack of understanding and empathy? I wouldn’t buy it, but here it is, and that makes the episode very annoying to me. All arguments that David brings forward are good points, but: Both Xander (he especially) and Willow (also Joyce, though as said in her case its more understandable) seem to lack COMPLETLEY the ability to watch it from a diferent, Buffy’s, angle. It think very much they have this ability, but Marti Noxon denied it from them to stress his point overly, I’d say. That bugs me. I don’t like his development and handling of the problems very much, and I don’t feel that it is plausible.

    Ah, and the killing of Pat and “Nice moves” comment nail it. Some potential there, but I can’t help, all in all an episode I really loath.

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  37. [Note: DCBuffyfan posted this comment on January 10, 2011.]

    Am I the only one who thought it was incredibly rude that Buffy’s friend invited a band and other guests to Joyce’s dinner party?

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  38. [Note: odigity posted this comment on January 17, 2011.]

    “I can’t help but feel cheated by the fact that all is forgiven just because they killed some zombies together. This is a cheap way out of having to find real solutions to the problems everyone has with Buffy taking off and not telling anyone.”

    Maybe not. After all, what exactly is the problem, and what’s the solution? You said it yourself:

    “This leads to the big confrontation downstairs where Joyce and most of the Scoobies all start attacking Buffy for leaving without telling anyone. The group should be more understanding of what Buffy went through! I agree that she should have left some indication that she was at least ‘okay,’ but poor Buffy!”

    The problem is that Joyce and the gang are still too upset by Buffy leaving them that they’re unwilling to sympathize with her situation, which is why the argument the zombies interupted was so unproductive. As Willow said, “talking isn’t working, maybe we should try violence”. She was being sarcastic, but she was right. Talking wasn’t going to get them through their anger to emotional release. All the relevant information had already been communicated. Re-bonding over a zombie fight *was* a solution to the problem.

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  39. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on January 17, 2011.]

    odigity: I understand that the episode intends for us to buy that the zombie fight was a solution to all their problems, but my issue here is that the resolution was not earned from a character perspective (as opposed to a story perspective). The fight was a far too simple a way out of the complex feelings that the group had brewing around. Now if the fight had simply served as an ice breaker to allow for more productive communication — communication that spilled into subsequent episodes, I would have been much happier with the results. As presented, though, the resolution feels abrupt, unnatural, and cheap to me.

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  40. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on January 17, 2011.]

    The end of the episode feels like a somewhat cheap copout of a complex conflict, but it becomes clear later on in the season that the problems *weren’t* resolved. This is particularly true in “Revelations”, when a lot of related problems come to a head (though not specifically the problem of Buffy running away). And MikeJer, you’ve pointed out a number of times that the gang isn’t as close in this season as they were in S2. I read the resolution after the zombie fight as a temporary truce that the characters can come to since they’ve blown off some steam, but the show demonstrates later that the underlying problems haven’t been resolved by showing the Scoobies’ increasing emotional distance.

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  41. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on January 17, 2011.]

    fray, all true, but the specific resolution to the issues surrounding Buffy’s departure were not satisfyingly dealt with for me. Angel returning in the next episode sure didn’t help matters there either. The follow-through from “Becoming” simply wasn’t handled terribly well by these opening S3 episodes. It wasn’t awful, but it could have been much, much better.

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  42. [Note: Rosie posted this comment on March 17, 2011.]

    [“First of all, while I can buy that the group has issues with how Buffy took off, they seem to be overdoing the anger and not at all understanding what she went through. This seems a tad out of character, especially Willow being so avoidy.”]

    [“But the Xander/Willow reation seems to me highly exaggerated. That they bear Buffy a grudge, granted, but that this TOTAL lack of understanding and empathy? I wouldn’t buy it, but here it is, and that makes the episode very annoying to me.”]

    I was not that surprised by the Scoobies’ lack of understanding. They have never really understood Buffy. Not really. Regardless of their affection or love for her, they tend to view her as “THE SLAYER”. To them, she is this ideal being of goodness and not an individual with both flaws and virtues. They have always expected Buffy to understand their needs and their flaws, yet they have always had trouble understanding hers. This attitude remained solid right up to the last season. And this is why I have always questioned her friendship with them.

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  43. [Note: A posted this comment on April 28, 2011.]

    They also don’t know that Angel was good again. They don’t know /anything/ about what happened. All they know is that she made a deal with Spike and disappeared. No explanation, no nothing. Knowing what they know, I might be angry too. And upset that my supposed best friend didn’t trust me enough to tell me hwat was going on.

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  44. [Note: Simon posted this comment on November 14, 2011.]

    I don’t think they knew she made a deal with spike as that was never mentioned. But you’d have thought they would have known the police were after her, she had been expelled and her mom told her to never come back.

    Totally disliked Buffy not standing up for herself and the hint at a resolution by a zombie fight.

    I can understand Xanders reaction and Buffys burial of the facts until she’s processed it. But I can’t tolerate the kill a zombie, get a hug approach.

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  45. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 21, 2011.]

    This episode is a one i have mixed feelings about, one thing it does do is give an insight into the resentment surrounding Buffy’s return. The strong feelings are most palpable in Joyce, who is trying to understand Buffy’s life but at the same time she makes some bad choices, she finds it hard to cope now that Buffy is back which is discusses at the party. The other character is willow. WIllow has been fiercely loyal to Buffy in season two, being on side when it comes to Angel, she was the one Buffy opened up to the most about her feelings for him most notably in the two parter Surprise and Innocence. Buffy picks up on Willow’s hurt subtly when she finds a photo of the three of them, looking so cohesive and together. WIllow’s anger and resentment of Buffy is believable, she is meddling with magic and dating, all things Willow is new too, Buffy failing to be there is hurtful. Willows, vote to go with the party is a means of preventing a heat to heart with her best friend, she is hiding. Xander too makes his feelings known in the library and once more at the party.

    This episode serves as in some ways a second part to Anne, seeing the reactions of her friends to Buffy’s return and Buffy finding her place within the world she left. This is expressed visually in the dream she has with Angel.

    The arguments at the party somewhat dilute the strength of this episode. It makes a travesty of the main song that was sung in previous seasons that Buffy must keep her identity secret these arguments are done a showdown way with a few witnesses although must of these die in the zombie attack.

    The attack itself adds to the episode, it is creepy enough to add fear and keep the pace of the episode going. It is that builds the bridges with the slayer and her slayerettes. Nothing like a penchant for violence to make things right! Giles even goes as far as to threaten Synder to get Buffy back into school! Yey Violence in this retrospect anyway!

    I do wish the episode would have dealt with or discussed the issues of the season two final, all the gang were in divergent but dark places, WIllow was in hospital, Xander’s arm was broken, Giles was tortured and nobody asks about Angel. But other than that it did what it was meant to.

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  46. [Note: Odon posted this comment on January 30, 2012.]

    Did anyone else like the gear the Scoobies were wearing? They should have kept it, with the requisite “Lock and Load” montage send-up.

    As for the zombie gate-crash, I see it as being entirely appropriate. The Scoobies *have* to put aside their disputes and issues because if they don’t, they and other people will die. They’re like soldiers in war. That’s why Buffy’s friends are angry at her – she left them carrying the can while she disappeared, maybe never to return. As a result quite a few vampires were freed to kill innocents and Xander and Willow were putting not only their lives, but their lovers in danger. Everyone *did* try to cut Buffy some slack but as we saw in Season 4 and 6 if problems aren’t discussed openly, it has serious consequences for their safety. So the Scoobies repressed what they were really thinking, only for it to explode when it seemed Buffy was running away again. The zombie attack reminds them of the reason why they’ve become friends in the first place.

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  47. [Note: Lilly posted this comment on March 29, 2012.]

    Just watched this ep. again. This time round, I think I can understand Joyce’s behaviour at the party because my Mother has humiliated me in this way too. I think it’s just, when you love & care about someone, every emotion becomes amplified and they’re really hard to hold in.

    The only character I cannot forgive is Xander. IMHO Xander’s dialogue was true to his character but I don’t understand how they kept on being friends with him. I hate the way everyone always seems to forgive him for all the things he’s done, the people he’s hurt. There’s never been any big consequences to his actions- he just moves on, not maturing (much). I just wish there was a Xander-centric episode where he has to deal with his flaws.

    Also, Willow attacking Buffy was a bit wierd. I’d have thought Willow would have been a bit more understanding, having already “bonded”.

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  48. [Note: Armando posted this comment on July 13, 2012.]

    -cons : Zombies

    …WHAT? how is that a con? zombies are always a PRO! because they’re zombies! This is actually one of my favorite episodes, it’s just so much fun!

    PLUS! NightHawk (coolest nickname EVER)

    A gather, a shinding or a Hootenanny

    Americans!

    What about you by the dip?

    This episode is all kinds of awesome! 😀

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  49. [Note: Pippa Hall posted this comment on November 7, 2012.]

    I really didn’t like the way they handled Buffy’s return and her friend’s reactions. I was surprised at how horrible they were.The only person who was decent was Giles. Poor Buffy. That dream that she has early on when she asks Angel about how she thought all her friends should be here and then she says she’s afraid and Angel says she should be?SO RIGHT. Joyce, Xander and Willow are truly unpleasant to the girl who has just saved the world and them. Why can Willow and Xander in particular not join the dots? Willow knew the spell worked she said she felt something go through her.Xander knew that there was a chance Buffy may suddenly be facing a souled Angel. He was sent to Buffy, by Willow, to tell her that. Once he got there, he deliberately chose not to tell Buffy. Whatever his reasons, because of that Buffy was made to be emotionally unprepared for what was going to happen. When Buffy disappears after this – can they not begin to piece together from what they know – that Buffy has had to kill Angel – and he was souled?So I was totally on Buffy’s side here. The only thing she did wrong was not to let them know that she was OK, but after what she’d just been through I can understand that.I particularly hate Xander cos of these disgusting lines:Xander: (interrupts) And what’ll we talk about at a gathering anyway? ‘So, Buffy, did you meet any nice pimps on your travels? And oh, by the by, thanks for ruining our lives for the past three months.’Buffy didn’t ruin anyone’s lives, she saved them.Also how dare he indicate without any proof that she supported herself through prostitution. Xander: Look. I’m sorry that your honey was a demon, but most girls don’t hop a Greyhound over boy troubles.WHOAA! What a hateful loathsome sneering condemnation! BOY TROUBLES?That’s an odd description for the series of events when Angel loses his soul and kills people while emotionally torturing Buffy and trying to end the world. Willow is also surprisingly insensitive – in Buffy’s room she starts to complain about her LIVE boyfriend when she must at least GUESS at this point that Buffy’s boyfriend is DEAD and Buffy might have had to kill a souled Angel to save the world. They complain that Buffy didn’t try talking to them…but then Willow, Cordelia, Xander, and Oz invited every teenager they know to Buffy’s house to avoid talking to her. Joyce invited Pat. So cos of THEIR actions Buffy literally can’t explain or justify why she was gone over their dinner party, since the details are intimate and painful, and the backstory is a secret. I dislike Joyce because she told Buffy; “You made some bad choices”. Buffy made a “choice” to run from the police. If she hadn’t, the entire planet would have been sucked into hell.Buffy made a “choice” to flee to the city? That was something Joyce drove her to do. Don’t tell me that Joyce doesn’t know what is really going on! She has had three months to go and talk to Giles who has all the details of Buffy’s life over the past couple of years and could explain some of why she had to do the things she did. Instead of trying to gain an insight into Buffy has been through she just blames Giles.She never apologises for what she did to Buffy; instead we get the flippant and dismissive words of “mom isn’t perfect.” Buffy won’t be allowed to complain or defend or even speak at all. Mom never ever has to apologize or fix things or change cos she isn’t perfect.So I was totally and completely and utterly on Buffy’s side here. How they could have written Joyce, Willow and Xander so horribly – I do not know.

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  50. [Note: Summer posted this comment on December 21, 2012.]

    I really like your post, Pippa. I just watched this and I had sort of forgotten how harsh everyone was. It really was an upsetting fight but I can see why everyone was angry. I mean even though it might have been an adrenaline rush and kinda fun to play “nighthawk” every night Xander, Willow, Oz and Cordelia were putting their lives on the line every night and in a moment everything could have gone wrong. Of course, they didn’t have to do that but I think once you know the kind of danger in Sunnydale and that you might be able to do something about it then it’s hard just to ignore it. So they were sort of forced into that position, much like Buffy was, but unlike her the scoobies really don’t have the means to handle it, which further separate them from Buffy. So as much as they try to understand each other’s lives there’s going to be a wall there. And it’s further exasperated by the stress of not know if Buffy was okay all summer. That’s gotta hurt.I side with Xander on the case of not telling Buffy about the spell. He tends to be the hardest on her. Sometimes the tough love works, sometimes it doesn’t. This time he’s especially harsh, yes, but he opens the door for everyone to tell her exactly how they were feeling. She could have done the same but the timing was all wrong. There were just a lot of secrets and feelings and you can’t keep those buried (IE Zombies, I thought that metaphor was a bit on the nose. How come they didn’t eat people, though?)

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  51. [Note: Gon posted this comment on February 21, 2013.]

    I tottaly agree with MikeJer 47: all this Buffy-coming-back-home / Angel-coming-back-to-life episodes could have been much much better.

    One thing I really love about this episode is PAT! I tink she’s fantastic. Not the zombi-Pat, of course, but the hippocrate, preachy, guilt-inducing, “I’m a morally perfect and yet active and super-fun” person. I’ve known people just like her, I think the actress was perfect. I guess she was meant to be a metaphor of how some people might judge one’s actions without knowing the circunstances.

    Apart from that, may I say that in the firt part of this episode (I mean, before the party) Buffy wears some of the worst outfits I’ve seen? 🙂

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  52. [Note: Arachnea posted this comment on February 23, 2013.]

    Rewatching Buffy when you’re older and a parent gives you another perspective on Buffy. This is, I believe, one of the shows I’ll still be watching when I’m a grand-mother.

    Contrary to the episode in season 7 when everybody ask Buffy to get out of the house, here I believe everyone is in character, albeit slightly over-written.

    I see them as kids, adolescents, which makes their analysis very selfish and flawed (some adults do the same…). Xander is the perfect guy to hate and like and was absolutely necessary on the show: his obsession over Buffy, his bad jokes, his over-jealousy, his bluntness. He doesn’t realise it, but he uses Cordelia as a substitute, he never loved her and all through their relation, I pitied Cordelia who had true feelings for Xander. Of course, that relation made her grow up and she’s one of the shining characters of the show(s).

    Sorry, I lost myself in typing… What I meant to say is what Xander tells has always a ring of true to it and the viewer may hate him for saying it the way he does (not very diplomaticly). He’s mean, but he has a point. You can also see the difference between Giles’ reactions and the scoobies – adult vs teenager – very interesting.

    Joyce is an adult, but also Buffy’s mom, which makes a great difference and parents often make the mistake of shouting first (emotional outburst because of the worries) and understanding after. So, even if many times I wanted to slap her, I believe it’s very much in character: more so, because we’ve witnessed her hammering the nail about Buffy’s past instead of encouraging and supporting. It doesn’t mean she’s a bad mother, she just makes mistakes along the way, but in the end, she truly loves her daughter.

    What I like is putting myself in everybody’s shoes and from that point, you can understand almost everyone’s behaviour. Willow’s grief is understandable because she always did everything to help Buffy, she was the more understanding and the less selfish of the lot. And when she needed her best friend the most, Buffy was not there. Her issues may seem (arguably) more trivial than Buffy’s, it doesn’t mean she didn’t suffer a lot too.

    Buffy’s big problem is that she carries the fate of the world (well, at least Sunnydale and america :p) on her shoulders because she is the slayer and she had to kill her boyfriend. Though very selfish, it’s understandable why she needed to run away. But while she couldn’t talk to her mother or Xander, she could have talked to Willow or even Giles. But the story is about a girl growing up; she did what many teenagers do, she ran away and then realised who she was and who she needed to continue on her path.

    Like Jammer, I really would have appreciated a lot more and the zombies stopped that. The setup was good, everyone being uncomfortable and not eager to talk. But then, where is the talk ? We only get the angry part, the bashing part. Where is the part where Buffy explains her reasons, her pain and her guilt ? When is it acknowledged that Xander made a huge mistake when he lied to her ? I would have been interested in seeing Buffy thank Willow for the risks she took by restoring Angel’s soul. I’d have liked to see a tension between Buffy and Xander because his lie changed a lot of things.

    But at least, this episode is good in showing mutiple points of view, all flawed but all relevant. From the anger to be left alone to carry out a mission, the worry to be left with no clue about the welfare of the missing one to the feeling of being totally lost with no one to turn to.

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  53. [Note: George posted this comment on March 2, 2013.]

    I agree with most everything you said. But really if we would have gotten the cathartic ending we all wanted. Everyone sharing their feelings openly and freely, without being interrupted by zombies, we really wouldn’t have the show that we have. Without burying their problems everyone might have chosen different paths and less dark endings. In short we wouldnt have the dark and flawed scoobie gang we all love. I think it shows that they are all well and truly on their way to kicking her out in season 7.
    The only thing I didn’t like about the zombies is that it wasnt explained. Why did the mask come to life? Why wasn’t it bringing everything to life everywhere it went. Why now? There is usually a cause and effect. But it seemed like that was all cut out.

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  54. [Note: Adeline posted this comment on May 12, 2013.]

    I think that the way her “friends” tore into her, in public, after she’d been missing for months, after she was forced to kill the guy she was madly in love with (who had just been en-souled), in order to save them and to save the world, was ridiculously overwritten. Being angry? Absolutely, I can see all parties involved being upset and hurt. But humiliating Buffy? Shaming her? Implying she was a prostitute? Accusing her of “ruining their lives”?

    This episode makes me so angry that I can hardly watch it, and usually choose not to. No one has the slightest idea what Buffy went through (except for Xander, who was directly responsible for robbing her of the chance to end the confrontation with Angel in any way other than death). And instead of making an effort to talk to her, or get her side of the story, or even sit back for a minute and think about it from her perspective, all of her “friends” and even her mother decide to rip her apart. The idea that she might have had to murder her boyfriend (Angel, not Angelus) has crossed all of their minds, but in their selfishness and spite, they’ve chosen to ignore it. I can understand teenagers being short sighted and angry. But the things the Scoobies said were totally uncalled for.

    The biggest failing in this episode was that Buffy was never given the chance to properly defend herself, and her “friends” never apologize for the horrendous things that they say to her (in front of half the school!).

    What’s the moral here? It’s fine to be ruled by your own insecurities, to be blind to the pain of others, to cause suffering in an effort to alleviate your own? And there will be no repercussions? No consequences?

    Even if I could get behind the Scoobies saying terrible, terrible things to the girl who routinely saves their lives and the lives of all the people they have ever cared about, I absolutely cannot stand the idea that they are never held accountable for their words and actions. No one apologizes to Buffy. No one even implies that they might have /slightly/ overreacted. It makes me sick. This episode is a “D” for me, and I will always skip it.

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  55. [Note: Adeline posted this comment on May 12, 2013.]

    I have to say, I agree with just about everything you’ve said. I’m really glad I’m not the only person who felt this way!

    The way the characters acted in this episode really colored my impression of them from then on. I could never look at them the same way again, especially Xander and Joyce.

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  56. [Note: Erin posted this comment on July 11, 2013.]

    I agree with Mike and a lot of the commenters. The first half of this episode was handled extremely well. Everyone’s reactions to Buffy being back, Joyce trying to get things back to the way they were but being hurt on the inside, and Giles’s beautiful moment in his apartment. The confrontation between Buffy and Willow in Buffy’s bedroom was heartbreaking and always brings a tear to my eye. I don’t see Willow as being selfish here, she is an incredibly selfless person who gives her all to helping Buffy and it isn’t at all surprising in my eyes that she feels hurt for being abandoned by her best friend in the one time she really needed her! I wish the episode had given us more insight into Joyce, because the complexity of her feelings about being abandoned by her only daughter, the person she cares most about in the world, would have added a lot of depth to the character which was only brushed upon in this episode which is why I believe a lot of posters are annoyed at her. Xander’s behaviour is inexcusable however. I feel as though we needed much more character time to get to the bottom of all the underlying issues here and the zombies ruined that. I think that character centric episodes are very valuable to the story and silly plots almost always destroy the episode.

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  57. [Note: BuffyFanX100 posted this comment on November 5, 2013.]

    I like the fact that this episode plays a great deal with our perception as viewers. We know, from having seen the previous episodes the sacrifices that Buffy has made and the toll that it has taken on her. Because we see and feel her pain it makes it that much harder on us when we see Joyce and the Scoobies attacking her in this episode.

    But for me that is the whole point of this episode! The Scoobies can’t feel Buffy’s pain because they don’t know about it. They can’t “connect the dots” because there is no evidence that they know what happened to her. All they know is that Willow did a spell, Acathla is dormant and neither Buffy or Angel are anywhere to be found.

    Also, it appears that an entire summer passes between Buffy’s disappearance and return. During this time, everyone’s life moves on. Joyce begins to move on. The Scoobies move on and find themselves focused on their relationships and fighting vampires. Although everyone misses Buffy, I suspect that they also begin to resent her for “leaving” no matter how justified. This is similar to the resentment that people feel when a loved one dies, even though they know logically that their feelings are “wrong”.

    Buffy is in terrible pain and but realizes during the episode “Anne” that she has to force herself to confront her feelings, her friends and her calling as the slayer. On the other hand, the Scoobies, Giles and Joyce begin to create a life without Buffy and to also develop feelings of resentment because they have not heard from her for a long period of time.

    These two very different perceptions have to come to a head and they do at the “party”. Buffy complains justifiably that nobody can understand her pain and Joyce and the Scoobies voice their own resentments. But these emotional issues are not neatly resolved because that is not how Joss Whedon does things. He prefers that the characters move on by meeting the challenges in their lives (in this case fighting Zombies) and forces everyone to deal with their “feelings” in their own way. To me this is one of the things that makes Buffy such a unique show. In real life, friends and relationships constantly change. Friendships breakup for inexplicable or seemingly insignificant reasons. People often cannot and will not put themselves in someone else’s shoes because they are too focused on their own feelings. Human relationships are often not fair, even if you are not a Vampire Slayer.

    Thanks to everyone for your comments. I enjoy this website because it gives me a chance to revisit episodes and look at them with a different perspective.

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  58. [Note: lavenderface posted this comment on December 1, 2013.]

    I find this episode pretty upsetting, the characters behaviours are so disgusting and they never seem to consider it.

    Perhaps because Buffy can’t stand up for herself properly, but it’s hard to when you’re being ganged up on by so many people, in public, and dealing with so many feelings.

    Also she loves them and just wants things to be okay between them.

    Everyone else? not so much. They’d rather tear her down than forgive her!

    And she bends over backwards trying to please everybody and snivelling like a puppy dog, and they never apologise to her.

    I completely understand her desperately attempting to leave again when they’ve made her feel so unwelcome – throwing a party in her house full of people who don’t even know her?

    If I were Buffy I would have cracked and told them all to take a hike, including the Scoobies.

    Who needs friends like that? So demanding and inconsiderate! The hypocrisy of calling her selfish yet thinking that she OWES THEM her happiness(!?), her presence, her respect, her trust when all they do is jump to conclusions and judge her (see Revelations, which almost got them all killed)

    But I’m neurotic and am never satisfied with discussions like this between characters, they never say what I think they should and often leave out half of the things that would help the other person understand them, like they just conveniently forget and not make any effort… it’s all contrived by the writers to make it more dramatic and screw realism. No one ever properly resolves their feelings through dialogue in shows, cue the zombies.

    And no, I’m not looking forward to season 7 (or even 6)… I don’t love a bunch of jerks in a dark sick world, constantly kicking Buffy when she’s down.

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  59. [Note: Dom posted this comment on December 26, 2013.]

    This episode was really hard to watch. The Scoobies and Joice treat Buffy very meanly and they only blame her instead of showing her some affection, they make her cry and almost run away again (the acting of SMG is fantastic here). The only exception in this episode is Giles, who is very happy to have her back (I also loved the scene with Giles in the kitchen). This idea of Buffy’s friends blaming her for taking “wrong decisions” (also: season 7 where they made her leave her own house) is actually an ongoing topic through seasons 2 to 7. To me it always seemed to be a bit too much, since Buffy saved their lives so many times and mostly knows what to do and helps them out.For me, this was always a point where I thought Joss Whedon was very destructive: He wants to show Buffy as down as possible sometimes, he wants to see her with nothing and noone. The only explanation I have: They wanna show how much of a hero Buffy is as a slayer, but also as a person. She is mentally stronger than all the other ones, shes the true hero, forgiving her friends and asking for their love and friendship again, almost crawling (scene with Willow in the coffe place). Where as the others (especially Xander here, but also Dawn and Giles in season 7) react selfish, human and not like heros. So in this sense I liked the episode, because it shows Buffy’s true heroisme.

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  60. [Note: Mary posted this comment on December 27, 2013.]

    I’m fine with the Scoobies reactions. It’s Joyce’s reaction that always disgust me. The way she blamed Giles in the first episode, and blamed Buffy in this one. I’ve grown to like Joyce, but can’t stand her in the first three seasons of Buffy.

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  61. [Note: Mary posted this comment on December 27, 2013.]

    I don’t really understand why so many people hate Xander in this episode, but not Willow. She acted just as bad as Xander did.

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  62. [Note: ML posted this comment on January 28, 2014.]

    No, she didn’t. She avoided the subject because she was not ready to confront Buffy about everything yet. But she certainly didn’t want to confront her like that nor humiliate her. When she joined the fight, she barely spoke, and by that time, things were already pretty bad, there was almost no way of making it worse. Also, while Xander did everything he could to avoid the restoration of Angel’s soul, Willow did the opposite and Xander’s lie was not just to Buffy: he also didn’t say Willow “Oh, btw, instead of telling Buffy that you were trying to restore Angel’s soul, I told her that you said to kick his ass”. Why is this important? Because I think, and the next episodes seem to reveal I’m right, that Willow didn’t really consider the hypothesis that Buffy had to kill Angel: even though she felt something go through her, she was new to magics; I think she actually thought Buffy had to kill Angelus and not Angel – and these two are very different experiences. I don’t even think Giles guessed that Buffy had to kill Angel. The only one who could have figured it out was Xander.

    Also, Willow did try her best to make things right in “Becoming” and finished the season on a wheelchair and all the other stuffs Willow herself mentioned. And let’s face it, she doesn’t know Buffy watched them before leaving, so she didn’t even know if Buffy knew she was ok: yes, she was recovering, but it had been said many times the spell was dangerous so things could have gone wrong for her. Her issues are minor compared to Buffy, but they shouldn’t be disregarded. Plus, like someone said already, while Buffy was away, they did risk their lives every night doing her “job” – this one works for Xander too. Still, I think they kind of have a right to be upset, Buffy running away was understandable, but it’s still selfish, especially because she never ever informed them she was ok. Let’s face it: how would you feel if one of your friends just disappeared without saying a word? It’s true they were harsh, particularly Xander, but they didn’t deserve to be abandoned like that either: they were not responsible for nothing that Buffy deal with (except for Xander – and part of why he deserves to be a lot more hated than Willow, he also goes more overboard with his emotions – “she ruined our lives” – I highly doubt this was what everyone else was feeling, but, then again, he is the most immature of them).

    Giles’ reaction is the best, because he’s just relieved she’s ok, mostly because he is older and more mature. So, comparing him to Willow and Xander is just observing how much Willow and Xander have to grow, which is normal, considering their teens.

    Joyce’s attitude is not very grown up, but, the pain of not knowing where her daughter was and the guilt she must have felt because part of that was her fault must have been really overwhelming. Someone said Joyce saying “Mom is not perfect…” is a way for Joyce to avoid apologizing – the point of apologizing is just saying an empty “I’m sorry”; it’s about assuming a mistake, at least, to me. And Joyce assumed it: “I handled it badly” – this was an apology for her behavior in “Becoming” – it may not be the best, but it’s acceptable. Of course, it doesn’t justify the humiliation she put Buffy through at the party, but let’s look at the bright side: most witnesses were killed by zombies!

    Also, would people please just stop saying how flawless Buffy is? It annoys me: she’s my favorite character because she IS flawed. Do you really think leaving without saying a word, spending months without even saying “I’m ok” is acceptable? Come on! Just because she had to go through hell, doesn’t give her the right to do the same to others – and, yes, letting people worry like that is putting through hell even if a very different one. Part of why I like this show because it’s complex: almost never someone is completely wrong or right, so why insist on trying to paint one of the characters as perfect? The beauty of the shows lies in their flaws too. This last part was actually because of Dom’s comment.

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  63. [Note: Cassie posted this comment on January 30, 2014.]

    I agree that the anger towards Buffy was a bit much. I never liked Xander much in Season 2 and this episode pretty much killed any positive feelings I had for him for the rest of the series. The only thing I liked about this episode was Giles, especially “Do you like my mask? Isn’t it pretty? It raises the dead!’ Americans!” Hilarious.

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  64. [Note: Luvtennis posted this comment on February 19, 2014.]

    Sorry, but I think the whole point of the zombie attack is that the conflict was unresolved. Thematically speaking, that lack of positive resolution to the internecine fighting ripples throughout the rest of the series. Joyce’s angst was understandable and bound up in her guilt at how she handled the news of Buffy’s calling. But Willow and Zander reacted as they did because they have been so dependent on Buffy. They are not as strong as she is and so they lash out at her because she ABANDONED them. Leading to the season 6 resurrection and it’s consequences.

    Only Cordy and Giles handle the situation properly. It’s easy to forget that Cordy defends Buffy because she is so blunt in her assessment of the situation. But she is pretty accurate.

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  65. [Note: FaithFanatic posted this comment on February 19, 2014.]

    I 100% agree with you, Luvtennis. I posted a similar argument on the “Unsung Episodes” thread over on the forums – which you should join, it’s great.

    Basically, the Scoobies give up on the argument because the zombies give them an excuse to do so. Instead of finishing the discussion naturally and working through the issues, they leave them unresolved and bond over fighting some bad guys. This seems perfectly in-character to me – I’m sure Buffy doesn’t want more people shouting and Joyce, Xander and Willow probably don’t want to do it either. More importantly, it is actually significant for the development of I’d argue *the entire series*. This failure to work through the problem means that the issues lay dormant and resurface over and over again, and the Scoobies are never as close as they were before. I can’t quite articulate what I mean, but I hope you get the gist of it.

    Looking at it like that, I think this is actually a really good episode that deserves at least an 80 or possibly higher. Although I think Xander is too aggressive to the point of being slightly OOC.

    Like

  66. [Note: Seele posted this comment on February 19, 2014.]

    It’s always nice to see when I’m not the only one who looks at the zombies as good writing of flawed characters rather than as flawed writing 😉

    “Although I think Xander is too aggressive to the point of being slightly OOC.”

    OOC relative to the more mature Season 6/7 Xander, maybe, but then again this is barely 3 months after “Willow wanted me to tell you… kick his ass.”

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  67. [Note: FaithFanatic posted this comment on February 19, 2014.]

    I can see how Xander rationalizes that his comment to Buffy is acceptable, though – he wants to motivate her to fight better against Angelus, to not distract her, and because it’s what Angelus deserves. These may not be the real reasons for his decision, but he can tell himself that they are. I also see that he may not have viewed that comment as harmful.

    On the other hand, here he is just angry and baleful and bitter. I don’t think it’s majorly out-of-character, but ‘slightly.’

    Like

  68. [Note: alfridito017 posted this comment on February 20, 2014.]

    This episode reminded me of the episode Ted. It’s almost like where half of the episode were good and the other half of the episode not quite as good.

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  69. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on February 21, 2014.]

    Baleful and bitter is just what high-school Xander does, though. Particularly when it comes to Buffy’s relationship with Angel.

    “I guess a guy’s gotta be undead to make time with you.” – Season 1

    “But the way I see it is that you wanna forget all about Ms. Calendar’s murder so you can get your boyfriend back.” – Season 2

    His comments in this episode seem quite in line with that.

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  70. [Note: Sasukespecialman posted this comment on February 21, 2014.]

    Honestly, I never found Xander’s rant to be out of place at all in this episode, though it has been a bit since I have watched. Everyone in the episode is pretty passive-aggressive, so it is not surprising that the result is a big argument. Still, I found Xander to be the most emotionally honest of the group here. Does he go to far? Probably. Was this the healthiest way of expressing those feelings? Not at all. But, at least he voices the general sense of hurt and frustration that they all probably felt. And I think his anger towards Buffy’s sense of entitlement is pretty reasonable. She runs off for several months without a word and then pops back expecting everything to be the same as before? Maybe had she been gone for 2 weeks, but after that amount of time it is quite reasonable that the rest of the gang, and Joyce, would have given up on her return.

    Part of the challenge of the episode, and the show as a whole, is that it tends to give us things from Buffy’s perspective. So, we see her slumming it in a cafe, and we feel her yearning for home, and we know her sense of loss regarding Angel. We never really get to see the long-term emotional responses of everyone else in the gang. A gradual shift from concern, to understanding, to hurt, to anger, perhaps even to resignation would not be abnormal and would surely feed their responses.

    At any rate, while Xander always allows his only feelings and selfish desires to permeate his words (who isn’t guilty in this regard), I find his outrage really ups the emotional tension in the episode and have actually always found myself sympathizing with his position on the matter. He is always the most likely to defend what he feels to be the best interests of the group, even if he lacking in tact. Of course, this outburst – and the one in Revelations – both add to the sense of growth over the course of the season, which is why its my favorite season of the show.

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  71. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on March 7, 2014.]

    I rather like what Joyce says when they bury the cat: Good bye, stray cat, who lost its way – we hope you find it.

    Kind of suits Buffy, too.

    Like

  72. [Note: Buffster posted this comment on May 13, 2014.]

    Giles was just perfect in this episode. I cannot believe you didn’t add this wonderfully hilarious scene in the quotes section.

    Giles: Unbelievable. Do you like my mask? Isn’t it pretty? It raises the dead! *scoffs* Americans.

    I think Buffy’s dream with Angel, Snyder’s ‘tingling feeling’, the subtle setup for the mayor and Giles throughout the episode is enough to rate this episode higher. Also, I’m surprised at how subtle this review is. Have you reviewed this yet?

    Agreed, the zombies jumped in at the worst possible time, I feel cheated and hate that all’s forgiven because they fought a bunch of zombies together. But I think you are letting your personal dislikes affect the rating, the zombies were overdone, but everything else was great.
    I loved everyone’s varying reactions to Buffy’s return, her own understanding of what could’ve been happening while she skipped town. I think you are looking at everything through Buffy’s POV. But I can sympathize with the others.

    I love Buffy, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to support her all the time. Joyce sums it up nicely, “You made bad choices Buffy. You’re just going to have to deal with the consequences.” She seemed to be giving up all too quickly, when she left Sunnydale, she abandoned the people who cared for her the most.
    Sure, she had it rough, she didn’t deserve this fate, she had to kill the love of her life and that’s why her actions can be pardoned, but that doesn’t mean we don’t look at the fallout it’s caused. She didn’t lose EVERYTHING, like people keep saying. She still had her friends, who are nothing if not loyal, she still had her mother and Giles (a father figure to her in many ways.) So I would hardly call that ‘losing everything’. I’m sure she felt that way, being a teenage girl who’d just gone through a horrible heartbreak and then had to kill someone who she was in love with. It’s tough going, but at the end of the day, she is the Slayer. Her friends had to take up her position, by trying to slay the vampires, a lot of jokes were made about this… But did anyone consider the seriousness of the matter? They had no slayer strength or experience on their side, they could’ve been killed SEVERAL times because Buffy wasn’t there. After Angel targeted her mom, the Ted incident occurred and she invited Spike into her home, she should’ve thought of the consequences. What if something got a hold of her mother while she was busy weeping away in another city? If any of the people she loved had been killed because of this, she would’ve never been able to forgive herself. What surprised me even more, was that after seeing the things that her friends dealt with in her absence, she still had the guts to just surrender and run off again! I wanted to scream at that moment, she’d always advised her friends to stay out of slayer business, and now she was throwing caution to the wind and saying “hell with that! They’re avoiding me, i’m clearly not needed. Buh-bye!” I found all of that slightly selfish and maybe even a bit out of character. But it was wrong, nonetheless.
    All of her friends did not understand what she was going through, how could they? But that doesn’t give her the right to abandon all of those people who cared about her and her duty as the Slayer so she could wallow and be depressed and live in a fantasy world with Angel. I just feel like she was let off the hook too easily. I’m not bashing Buffy, I’m just stating the things I found wrong here. On the other hand, Xander was being a little too harsh on her, he is clearly very immature and doesn’t know how to handle Buffy at her worst. He’s always judging her and having futile outbursts and fits whenever she does something that doesn’t fit his Fantasy Buffy’s requirements. It’s probably because of the pedestal that he puts her on, in his head, she wears this halo and can do no wrong. So when she does screw up, he lashes out and says horrible things that at least I’m hoping he doesn’t actually mean.

    Now, to Buffy’s favor, I’ve gotta say her friends can be jerks at times. They’re made her this poster child of perfection and competence. They’re friends with the funny, quirky Buffy, they’re also friends with the slayer Buffy, but they’re not considerate of the human Buffy. Afterall, she was just a teenage girl here, our problems can sometimes feel like the end of the world, and that’s what ir really was for Buffy. Her friends should’ve given her some more space. There was also an ominous feeling in me when I watched the argument in this episode, possibly because it reminded me so much of Season 7 when everyone except Spike was ganging up on Buffy and then turning towards Faith of all people to be their leader. Grr. I’ve always hated the way everyone starts to treat Buffy as the series proceeds, ESPECIALLY in Season 7. Which is when Spike’s dialogue always comes to mind, “You sad, sad ungrateful traitors.”
    I hate it when they all don’t have the slightest idea of what she’s going through but are more than ready to throw around the blame. It was so foreshadowy when Buffy tells Xander “Someone loses an eye.” And then he does in Season 7, also about how he says “Your honey was a demon.” and then his ‘honey’ turns out to be an ex-demon herself. Irony everywhere! In both situations these fights happen and then the matters have been resolved just like that. This is a big issue I have with the series, how things went back to normal so easily here, and in Season 7 after they all kicked her out of the house.

    I wish they’d handled the fallout better. All parties involved had their respective reasons to be majorly pissed, but we didn’t get to see the outcome of this. Having said that, I don’t think this episode was a total loss.
    The ending scene would’ve been more awesome if it wasn’t in this episode, but it was cute and hilarious nonetheless.

    Like

  73. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on May 14, 2014.]

    I must say that I think Buffy’s friends had a right to be angry with her. She should have at least let them know she was alive! (At least they knew she survived the fight with Acathla, as she left a note.)

    I also think it was very understandable of Joyce to blame Giles. Perhaps he did not make Buffy what she was, but he demanded that she hide it, even from her own mother. Kendra’s parents knew who she was (although they gave her up). Not only did the secrecy strain Joyce’s relationship with her daughter, but the ignorance put her into incredible danger.

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  74. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on May 14, 2014.]

    While that may be true, I’ve got to disagree on the point that Joyce was right about blaming Giles. Sure, maybe it would have been easier for Joyce to understand the severity of the situation if she’d known from the beginning, she probably didn’t deserve to be attacked with that sudden news about Buffy’s life as a slayer.
    But I always felt like, at least, on some level, Joyce was aware about all this.
    She just had the ability to repress things, in other words, denial.
    Come ON, Ted comes back to life, then the whole Bad Eggs incident, her daughter burnt her old school’s gym down, Spike and Buffy dusted a guy right in front of her eyes. She’d have to be exceedingly thick to have believed that all of that was just a cause of Buffy’s ‘delinquency’.

    Also, Giles had been there for Buffy when Joyce wasn’t. Giles was even there for Joyce! When Buffy got hurt, he told her that it wasn’t her fault and that she needn’t worry. But Joyce was always seemingly more invested in her art gallery, reputation and parenting books to truly fathom what Buffy could be going through. She was more concerned about whether she was a good parent or not than actually working towards being one. Who knows? Maybe if she’d spent more time with her, given her reason to trust her, Buffy would’ve come clean sooner.

    I can totally understand where all that envy comes from. But if she was ready to be a better parent towards Buffy, she would’ve taken the time to speak to Giles, to connect with him and ask him where she went wrong. She could talk to him about Buffy’s other life, as we all know, being the Slayer is a part of her. Joyce should’ve tried to reach out to him and then maybe she would’ve come to actively participate in Buffy’s life more.

    Sure, this would be a bombshell on any parent. I bet Joyce wishes that Buffy really was your average disobedient child rather than the savoir of the world. But she could’ve handled it better, she could have really mended her relationship with Buffy if she’d put her selfishness and resentment behind her for a moment. Anyway she does become a slightly better parent as the series progresses, so that’s to her credit.

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  75. [Note: ML posted this comment on June 5, 2014.]

    Giles supported Buffy with her “mistake” with Angel and Joyce didn’t because she didn’t know about it. I don’t think it was fair of her to blame Giles, but, in a way, it is expected. It’s partially (if not completely) because she doesn’t want to own up to her msitakes. The revelation that Buffy was the slayer was too sudden, so she reacted poorly, which caused Buffy to leave. It’s unfair to blame Giles, but had she known before, she could have handled it better. I think Joyce has a lot of flaws, but she actually does care for Buffy, unlike Willow’s and Xander’s parents. She was particularly good at being a mother, but she did try, not enough, but she did. I think Buffy and Joyce’s relationship started to suffer damages due to the fact that Buffy was the slayer and Joyce’s work, after that first push, it started to snowball and it got harder for them to fix it.

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  76. [Note: Ellie posted this comment on June 30, 2014.]

    It was understandable of Buffy to run off, she had to kill Angel (though good riddance IMO) who she was in love with at the time, she was being chased down by the police and had been kicked out of her house by her own mother! So Joyce’s spiteful and thoughtless comment to Buffy “you made some bad choices, you’re going to have to deal with the consequences” is perhaps much more easily applicable to herself here. What kind of mother can be so hurtful to her own daughter!

    Also it was clearly never Buffy’s plan to run from Sunnydale for good, only to clear her head while she recovered from the initial shock, and while the police were still searching for her (though it was never really explained fully why Buffy was suddenly in the clear when she returns). She trusted her friends fully to guard Sunnydale and Joyce while she was absent (they had surely by now gotten enough practice after all!)and was no doubt very worried about them the whole time.

    Their comments toward her were incredibly harsh considering everything she had been through and all of the times that she had saved their lives, especially those of Xander and Joyce who really were overdramatic and malicious to her. It was no wonder to me that she was on the verge of running away again, having been made to feel so unwelcome in her own house! Joyce even told that annoying Pat woman that things were better while Buffy was away (how unbelievably nasty!)

    It is as though they all expect her to be there all the time, yet there is clearly not always possible (she was on the run from the police for gods sake what was she supposed to do!) and they should learn to accept that, though clearly judging by the events of season 6 they never do!

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  77. [Note: Ellie posted this comment on June 30, 2014.]

    Also does no one else think it was very rude of them all to organise a big rave at Buffy’s house (including many people she didn’t even know) when she had only asked them over for a sit down dinner! No doubt she was intending to explain her actions to them; that she killed Angel rather than Angelus etc. and had this took place, perhaps the row would never had to have taken place!

    Giles has some great one-liners in this episode which I love! I also appreciate that the annoying Pat woman and the phone guy got killed by zombies 🙂 Brilliant!

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  78. [Note: the buffster posted this comment on August 3, 2014.]

    I’m just thinking back to when it’s said that Buffy didn’t even tell anyone she was ok but she left Joyce a note at the end of Becoming Pt. 2. Surely that was a indication that Buffy was fine and that she leaving and wouldn’t be back for a while. Honestly Xander makes me sick in this episode and just the way he treats Buffy and her relationship with Angel. It’s takes some time for me to be able to stand Xander again. Anyways I can’t wait for your rereviews Mike!

    Like

  79. [Note: Zach posted this comment on August 27, 2014.]

    I think you underrated this episode, I would give it at least a 75-80.

    While the zombie plot is boring and somewhat hokey, it is just the plot that is servicing the characters, and like you said in your original exposition to the buffy review, character developments/moments should be weighted more then plot elements in your reviews. Considering really the only bad part about this episode is the plot, I think your weighting it wrong. I would be much more inclined to agree with a 75-80, as the plot only brings it down so much, but we have great moments throughout with the characters.

    -Willow confronting buffy in the bedroom
    -Giles in the whole episode – “Americans!”
    -Buffy’s Dream Sequences (which i actually quite like)
    -Pressuring of Snyder

    Not sure it was out of character or unrealistic by any means that they fought together and kind of got over their issues. In battle the scoobies put away their feelings and work together, because they have to, and in doing this, after the fight, they are “over it” in a sense.

    Anyways, this is the one review i gotta disagree with, great reviews though, keep em up xD.

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  80. [Note: Beauty Effulgent posted this comment on February 10, 2015.]

    “Buffy and Angel were in the middle of an incredibly intense fight when he finally managed to grab Acathla’s sword — it’s not as if she let him get it while they were fighting because she didn’t stall enough.”

    Actually, Buffy was fighting some random vamp when Angelus grabbed Acathla’s sword. She was all the way on the other side of the room. It’s very likely that she would’ve been less worried about that random vamp and more focused on Angelus during that fight if Xander had given her the message. So I believe he is partially to blame for her having to send Angel to hell.

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  81. [Note: Beauty Effulgent posted this comment on February 10, 2015.]

    “The arguments at the party somewhat dilute the strength of this episode. It makes a travesty of the main song that was sung in previous seasons that Buffy must keep her identity secret these arguments are done a showdown way with a few witnesses although must of these die in the zombie attack.”

    Maintaining Buffy’s secret identity was never a “main song” at any point during the series. That’s one of the many things I adore about Buffy. I hate those tedious episodes in fantasy shows that revolve around the superhero almost having their “secret” exposed. Some shows make that a primary focus- Smallville and Charmed are two examples that come immediately to mind. But with Buffy that was never a primary concern.

    Also, during the argument, no one made any references to slaying, her being a slayer, or her having supernatural abilities so idk how you think the argument compromises the show’s alleged “main song”. They made a reference to supernatural beings when Xander says “Your honey turned out to be a demon” but 1. that could easily be interpreted as a metaphor and 2. As Jonathon says, “It’s not a secret that Sunnydale isn’t like other schools”. Everyone is aware that Sunnydale has monsters although most people choose to be denial about it.

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  82. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 11, 2015.]

    Generally speaking I agree with the review. I didn’t like Pat and the zombies and was very sad for Buffy and angry for how almost everyone attacked her. But I don’t think it was poor or that the characters weren’t believable. Actually the contrary. Xander reacted much at the same way he did in when she was bad, when he blamed Buffy for what happened, Buffy once more accepted the blame (even if this time she at least tried to defend herself), Willow was self-absorbed, Joyce a flawed mother. All the scene, ending included, was very realistic to me… in a very uncomfortable way. Everyone had their reasons and their wrongs (someone more than the others) and there wasn’t a real solution to be found. Nothing no one could say would have deleted the hurt and anger they had felt in those months, they just needed to vent.

    Oh, and even if I know it’s just my thought because there is nothing in the script supporting this, I feel that their anger, especially Xander and Joyce, was fueled by their guilt.

    Like

  83. [Note: Mike Hartley posted this comment on April 5, 2015.]

    I think the epsidoe is actually better than the score you’ve given here: although agree the zombies part at the end isn’t great.

    I think the bedroom seen with Willow and buffy is a great one, as is the confrontation downstairs.

    I also think Snyder is rather droll in his meeting with Joyce and Buffy.

    Like

  84. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on May 4, 2015.]

    I’m trying to superficially create some sort of parallel here where the zombie plot is relevant to the human one. Hmm. Maybe… Buffy feels dead inside? Buffy being ignored is like she’s dead?

    By the point they come crashing in, Buffy has nearly been beaten to death. The party seems lively, yet it’s really dead. It’s superficial, all surface and no substance like a zombie.

    I got it! Buffy hasn’t really returned yet, not emotionally, nor do the Scoobies feel she’s returned. That’s why she’s ignored. They don’t feel her presence despite her being tangibly there. Parallel that with a zombie, or walking corpse. There is no soul, nor even any sliver of it’s humanity unlike even vampires. They are tangibly there, yet on the inside they are hollow just as Buffy feels. They represent the body returning but not the person.

    So yeah, take it or leave it. Just thought I’d at least try since even I am baffled by it.

    Like

  85. [Note: SomeGuy posted this comment on May 4, 2015.]

    At least to me the zombies seem to make sense.

    The mask is there to simbolize the feelings repressed by the characters. It could be anything, but I believe they choose a mask exactly for that reason.

    Zombies (which I find boring) are used as foes also to show that, as in Xander words, “You can’t bury this stuff and expect that they go away”. Buffy herself have already buried the dead cat, it comes back, and then people. Again, Buffy foes are used in a away that represents problems in the real life of the characters. Sure, vampires also come back from the grave, but they are products of other vampires, while these zombies came back due to a mask in Buffy’s house – brought by Joyce, btw. And of course it was Giles, who was being the most careful with Buffy’s comeback, who found what the problem was (altough that’s his job, of course).

    When the mask goes away, their feelings spoken, they can remember how much they love each other and go on.

    Very good episode, IMHO. Has all the elements that makes me love the series – except that Zombies are always boring.

    Like

  86. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on May 4, 2015.]

    The zombies are a metaphor for the Scoobies trying to bury their problems at the start of the episode before they erupt at the party (the same time the dead begin rising en masse) until they fight them away and bury them again. It kind of ends up contradicting itself, but oh well.

    Like

  87. [Note: SomeGuy posted this comment on May 4, 2015.]

    It’ important to note that the zombies don’t get buried again – they desapear with a flashing light once the mask is destroyed, representing that now there’s nothing to be repressed (or buried) IMHO.

    Like

  88. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on May 4, 2015.]

    That’s a good point, although I think that’s, again, contradictory thematically given that they essentially have buried their problems rather than dealt properly with them.

    Like

  89. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on May 4, 2015.]

    What would have been proper? To me it felt like they just needed to let out steam, which is usually the case with things like this in reality. At least, that’s how it is in my experience. My animosity usually dwindles to near nothingness by simply expressing it. No need to carry grudges.

    Like

  90. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on May 4, 2015.]

    I suppose my point is what’s proper, or thoroughly therapeutic, for one individual – or individuals within a relationship in this case – is different. The series is rather consistent in this regard. Usually, one or more of them blow up, they fight, and all is better afterward. It’s why Buffy is so bewildered when Riley makes the decision he does. She’s used to the big verbal battle ending matters because that’s what works for herself and her other relationships.

    Unless you’re saying it’s a fundamental issue with the series in general.

    Like

  91. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on May 4, 2015.]

    They never actually resolve the issues they’re arguing over. It comes up over and over in this season with “Revelations” and “Consequences” in particular. Mike complains that this episode deals with the fallout too quickly; I’d argue it just suppresses the fallout which then resurfaces throughout the rest of the show.

    Like

  92. [Note: Jabari Jefferson posted this comment on December 31, 2015.]

    Watching this episode, with the exception of Giles (and possibly Cordelia and Oz), I wanted to reach through the screen and flog (or otherwise beat up) each and every one of these people in this episode for coming down hard on Buffy. She was tormented by her boyfriend’s villainous side for months, she was framed for murder, she was kicked out of school, she was kicked out of her own house and she had to sacrifice her boyfriend to save the world. After all of that, I can’t blame her for running away after Season 2. They should have given her more sympathy over what she had gone through.

    The person I want to beat more than ever in this episode is Xander. Because the only thing he could think about was how horrible his summer was when Buffy was away and because he didn’t say,”Buffy, Willow is going to try give Angel his soul back. Maybe you should stall the fight instead!,” that is something which lead to her having to sacrifice her boyfriend to keep the world safe and caused her lots of pain.

    I was glad that when Joyce gets mad at Buffy for running away, Buffy tells reminds her mom that she said to never come back home if she left the house in part 2 of the Season 2 finale.

    I wish these guys tried more compassion towards Buffy than focusing on their own pain.

    Like

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