Buffy 3×05: Homecoming

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: David Greenwalt | Director: David Greenwalt | Aired: 11/03/1998]

The battle for Homecoming Queen is on, and it’s a lot more fun than it has any right to be. This isn’t a mind blowing episode of BtVS, but it’s quite entertaining. Where it loses some credibility is in its choice of demon contestants in Mr. Trick’s SlayerFest 98. As example, the remaining Gorch vampire and his ‘wife’ are somehow cornier that when he appeared back in “Bad Eggs” [2×12] . Nevertheless, lots of other important stuff happens here. The Mayor is introduced, Buffy tries to compete in a popularity contest in hope that she’s chosen for something besides beheading, and there’s more Mr. Trick.

Early on we see Buffy visiting Angel at the mansion trying to explain to him that she’s moved on and that things are different now. Angel’s reaction to all this news is perfect because his last ensouled memory is sleeping with her. It’s no wonder that he still feels extremely close to her. Buffy also tells him about her relationship with Scott Hope. She thinks he’s a stable guy, but it turns out her “out of it” behavior hasn’t gone unnoticed, so he breaks up with her.

This (the emotional detachment with her boyfriends) is a problem that Buffy has throughout the entire series. She feels like she’s giving a relationship her all even though she’s not genuinely emotionally open. Like Riley says in “Into the Woods” [5×10] , “It’s about me taking care of you! It’s about letting me in.” In that same episode, Xander tells her that in order to have a working relationship you’ve got to be completely open with your partner, “I’m talking scary, messy, no-emotions-barred need.” Buffy fully understands and articulates her problem by “Conversations with Dead People” [7×07] , while talking to the vampire Holden.

The rest of the episode is completely focused on Buffy and Cordelia. Because Cordelia gets side-tracked by her Homecoming Queen campaign and forgets to remind Buffy about the photo shoot, Buffy takes a stand and decides to compete against Cordelia (and the others) for Homecoming Queen. She tells everyone it’s not a big deal to her, but it’s obvious it means a ton. Buffy breaking the glass bottle with her hand after she discovers that all her friends are helping Cordelia instead of her is the first striking example of its importance. It’s not until later and under attack when Buffy admits to Cordelia the true reason for competing. She simply wants to be chosen for something other than slaying for once so that she’s recognized as being a person, and not simply the Slayer.

It’s amazingly fitting, though, that neither of them win the crown. Cordelia is made for this competition, so when she loses too, Buffy doesn’t have to feel very bad about it. On an unrelated topic, we finally got to see the Mayor! Right from his very first scene he comes across as creepy and multi-layered. There’s a lot more entertainment and development for him on the way.

Overall this is a perfectly enjoyable episode with a few small problems. The only thing I outright hated was Willow and Xander’s kiss. This relationship is really coming out of nowhere, from a character development perspective, and I don’t buy it at all. It appears as though the only reason the writers made them do this is because Cordelia is moving over to AtS next season. Also, Anya (entering the picture soon) will need Xander to be free so she can put the fun moves on him. I find the Willow and Xander ‘thing’ one of the few times in the series where the characters did something I felt was out of character. In reality, though, it’s a small complaint in an otherwise very fun episode.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Oz breaking up the Buffy and Scott Homecoming stalemate. “The judges will accept that as a ‘yes.'”
+ Mr. Trick calls Buffy nubile.
+ Buffy’s favorite teacher from the previous year doesn’t remember her.
+ Mr. Trick’s speech on the recorded tape meant for Buffy and Faith.
+ Willow and Xander’s “formal clothes” scene before the kiss.
+ Willow and Xander deciding to swap Faith for Cordelia in the limo so Buffy and Cordelia can work out their ‘issues.’
+ Giles trying to make a joke about there being trouble then wandering off for mini sandwiches.
+ Faith insinuating to Scott Hope’s new girlfriend he has some kind of genital disease.

– Mr. Trick could have easily escaped police custody if he’d tried (unless they were vampires, but it didn’t appear that they were).


Foreshadowing

* This may be stretching, but the Mayor says, “You have all my faith,” to his assistant Allan. It’s interesting because Faith ends up killing Allan in “Bad Girls” [3×14] and then ends up taking his place by the Mayor’s side in “Consequences” [3×15] .
* During the Sunnydale yearbook photo shoot, the faces of the Scoobies while having their pictures taken really seems to hint at their futures. Cordelia ends up trying to be an actress in AtS, Xander ends up finding some ‘cool’ when he learns that he has it in him in “The Replacement” [5×03] , Willow is currently cute and happy but ends up a magic addict and quite sad in S6, and Oz’s face remains unchanged which represents his character.
* Faith suggests to Buffy that they use and discard “the studs.” This is proven to be quite true of her personality when she has sex with Xander in “The Zeppo” [3×13] , then immediately kicks him out of her apartment.


[Score]

75/100

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59 thoughts on “Buffy 3×05: Homecoming”

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

    I, too, have noticed the “You have all my faith” line. There does seem to be a slight stressing of the last word.

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

    This is pretty funnny and also insightful. It´s quite moving the speech Buffy has with Cordelia about wanting to be chosen for something else than slaying. Mr. Trick is also very amusing and so is the Mayor. Although I don´t like Willow/Xander relationship, I don´t think it´s out of character. First, it´s true that Willow has Oz now but a person never forgets that first special someone, their first crush, so she still has some feelings for Xander, she will always have a special place for him in her heart. Second, imo, Xander is acting mostly out of fear. It´s what Buffy told Xander in IRYJ, he was always the “belle of the ball” and was always the centre of Willow´s world and he´s afraid of losing that. In Phases, he gets jealous of Oz because he is building a relationship with her. And Xander is finding out he is not the center of her world anymore and that frightens him. Xander may not be in love, but what he feels for her is very strong and he doesn´t want to lose that.

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

    I, too, thought the Willow/Xander thing was off. Considering how happy Willow has been with Oz, it seems unlikely that she’d start up with Xander kissage. And given that Willow and Oz get back together shortly afterwards, it seems like it was done with the purpose of breaking up Xander and Cordy. There’s better ways to do that.

    I love the Mayor. I also noticed that line of his while rewatching it. It may be a stretch, but I can see Joss doing it.

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  4. [Note: Nix posted this comment on June 3, 2008.]

    Nobody’s mentioned the wonderful strengths/weaknesses board Buffy composes; a definite non-slaying organizational/analytical strength on her part, uncompromising (listing Xander as one of Cordelia’s weaknesses), accurate, funny as hell and just a little confusing (‘Brie’?!).

    I suppose this strength comes out again in S7.

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  5. [Note: Paula posted this comment on October 7, 2008.]

    My main problem here is that I just don’t buy the part where Buffy and Cordelia are supposed to be – or ever have been – friends.

    Yeah, Cordelia is a part of the gang now and she and Buffy get along better than they used to back in S1, but unless one defines friendship as something very superficial, that doesn’t mean Buffy and Cordelia are anything like friends.

    Likewise, I don’t think Buffy and Anya ever were friends, either.

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  6. [Note: Selene posted this comment on July 8, 2009.]

    Thank the goddess I’m not the only one who thinks the whole Willow/Xander fluke thing is TOTALLY out of character! I never understood it, at least from Willow’s POV. I mean she’s happy with Oz, Xander is supposedly happy with Cordelia, why is it that suddenly they can’t keep their hands off each other? It simply doesn’t make sense.

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  7. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on July 8, 2009.]

    I don’t necessarily think it’s out of character for them, but the timing, etc., is. It was much more natural and believable in the first episode of season two (with the ice cream nose, etc.).

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  8. [Note: Jenni posted this comment on July 28, 2009.]

    You forgot to mention the best part of the episode: the dry erase board!

    I paused the DVD to check out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. I love Cordelia’s. “Strengths: Designer Clothes. Good Teeth. Weaknesses: Xander.”

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

    I agree that Cordelia and Buffy were never friends, but I don’t think this episode is inconsistent with that. In fact, after this episode they seem slightly cooler with each other than they were before, showing that their “make up and be friends” moment wasn’t all that genuine.

    The scene where Faith humiliates Scott Hope as revenge for him dumping Buffy is funny, but also quite meaningful. At this point Faith is on her way to becoming Buffy’s friend. The events in “Revelations” undermine that, though, and even though they have fun slaying together for a while, they never can become close.

    This is tiny, but it drives me crazy that, in the coronation scene, Buffy doesn’t pull up the strap on her dress.

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  10. [Note: Elbie posted this comment on June 13, 2010.]

    I think that Xander and Willow’s kiss was totally in character. In season four when Willow is with Tara, she says that she likes having something that’s hers. I think Xander feels that way about Willow. It’s not attraction in the relatable sense but it’s something. More importantly, in I Robot, You Jane, Xander gets a little upset when Willow finds someone else to obsess over. In season three, Willow has found a man who treats her well and it’s somewhat threatening to Xander. As for his cheating on Cordelia, he’s demonstrated himself to be very weak emotionally and sexually so it’s not so unbelievable that he’d go that far.

    As for Willow, an infatuation as big as hers doesn’t just go away. Her relationship with Oz certainly would help take her mind off Xander as well as her diving in to magicks. However, I think it just puts her attraction to Xander on the back burner but doesn’t get rid of it altogether so when he’s up for it, who is she to say no? Also, Willow is seen to be “straight” in these earlier seasons because she hasn’t yet pursued a lesbian relationship. However, many homosexuals will attest to the fact that being gay doesn’t just hit you one day; it is an ongoing confusion that affects your life for a long time before you understand yourself and your feelings. Although she was in love with Oz, she likely felt slightly empty with him and, although it proved to be false, she may have thought that Xander would have compensated for that emptiness.

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  11. [Note: Monty posted this comment on July 23, 2010.]

    didn’t Angel spend like a hundred years or so in a he’ll demension and have his soul the whole time?

    willow Xander makes no sense

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

    The Good:

    Buffy and Faith “getting all sweaty” in the library. I stand by that comment.

    Willow and Xander getting dressed up in his room. ‘Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered’ anyone.

    Buffy threatening Cordelia. “Don’t you ever do that again!” “Vapid whore!”

    Slayerfest ’98.

    Cordelia taking the spatula over the telephone.

    The yellow demon landing on the grenade.

    Giles knocked unconcious for the 7th time in the series.

    The Bad:

    Buffy’s crucifix necklace. It is so small, what’s the point? She has at least 5 others. Only a religious person would wear one that tiny as it wouldn’t deter vamps.

    The spatula looks plastic yet dusted the vampire.

    No one heard the semi automatic gunfire in the school?

    Foreshadowing: Faith realises Buffy punches harder with rage. In ‘Flooded’, Willow points this out to her.

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  13. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on December 21, 2010.]

    Buffy wears that necklace because Angel gives it to her in the first episode. I doubt it’s meant as a weapon, it’s because of the sentimental value.

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

    “Mr. Trick could have easily escaped police custody if he’d tried”

    Sure, but he can do it later, too. Handcuffs aren’t going to hold a vampire. The way I read it is he wants to play it cool for now to find out what the deal is, which adds a lot to the character. “No reason to burn that bridge.” He’s got smarts and class. He’s on a mission to redefine vampiredom. Almost the vampire analog to Buffy, in that sense. I was sad to see him die later.

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  15. [Note: Elizabeth posted this comment on January 24, 2011.]

    How has no one mentioned Cordelia’s stand off against Gortch?? That may just be her best moment on Buffy!

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  16. [Note: Ana posted this comment on June 16, 2011.]

    What bothered me was buffy going on with the whole “Im with a stable guy” now when she hasn’t apologized/tried to rationalize the fact that she plunged a sword in him a few months ago? What happened to guilt? I definitely don’t think she did the wrong thing at all by sacrificing him but I mean come on, I’d feel guilty for killing “the love of my life”

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  17. [Note: Captain Haddock posted this comment on September 7, 2011.]

    I never thought the Xander/Willow incident was that unusual, mind you my best friends did the exact same thing at university, and like the show, her boyfriend took him back but not his girlfriend.

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  18. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 28, 2011.]

    I like this episode, plots about Buffy wanting a normal life are always strong and i thought the build up to her wanting to run against Cordelia for Homecoming Queen was believable, her misspent youth and missing out on the yearbook pictures were poignant for her quintessential desire to be a person. I always root for Buffy! This was a nice little competition 🙂 with Buffy and her ‘deep but shy’ campaign pictures!

    This is an episode with a myriad of plot lines, not all of them in my opinion survived and its the WIllow/Xander one i like least. I agree with you Mike regarding the WIllow and Xander affair it was never an easy on the eye moment to watch but i guess after the events of Becoming pt 2 the writers had to go there but i’ve never seen it as conducive to the story.

    I did want to ask you what you thought about Buffy killing the two germans? Its the first and i think ever time we see Buffy kill to human beings without remorse. Buffy has always had a cohesive stand point on authority, if the evil is human they should be dealt with by human laws, which is what she stress in season 6 and Warren.

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  19. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on December 28, 2011.]

    The way I see it, Gemma, Buffy didn’t kill the two German snipers. If I recall correctly, she tricks them into shooting each other. They were the ones that pulled the trigger and were trying to kill her. I don’t see this as being contradictory to what the character is about. Buffy’s not a pacifist — she simply won’t take human life with her own hands unless she has absolutely no other option to protect herself and the innocents around her (e.g. S5’s “Spiral”).

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  20. [Note: Alex posted this comment on January 4, 2012.]

    While it obviously makes a bit of a difference that the Germans are tricked into killing each other rather than being killed by Buffy’s own hands, I don’t really think that’s the most important point. I think Buffy’s stance on killing humans is more that she won’t dish out punishment or actively seek out human criminals to kill them as she would with demons. So while she won’t pursue Warren in order to punish and/or kill him, I don’t think that stance extends to her not killing in self-defence when two people are chasing her and others with massive guns. I kind of doubt she’d lose sleep over that no matter what her usual ‘policy’ on humans might be.

    Having said all that, I was never convinced that the two Germans were completely human. They almost seem like robots to me.

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  21. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on January 4, 2012.]

    I agree. The difference between this case and, e.g., “Ted” (before she found out he was a robot) was that in the latter case Buffy wailed on him a lot harder than she needed to given how much danger she (thought she) was in. She was entering punishment territory, not self-defense territory. That’s not the case for the snipers here or for the “role-playing rejects” in “Spiral”, and it makes all the difference to Buffy where humans are concerned, at least until Season 7.

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  22. [Note: JustJenna posted this comment on March 19, 2012.]

    @Iguana-on-a-stick

    The cross Buffy wore in this episode is NOT the cross Angel gave her in episode one. The cross she wore in this episode is much smaller and more delicate. I’ve noticed as the series went on that the crosses Buffy wore diminished in size before finally disappearing completely. I took this as Buffy giving up on expecting help from an outside power and depending only on her own inner strength to fight the good fight. After this season it’s almost as if she loses faith (the concept not the girl although she does lose both) and when that happens, she finally ditches the cross entirely. Perhaps its a deliberate metaphor though, and perhaps Faith’s impact on this season is more important than I ever realized. Hmm…

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  23. [Note: ros3bug posted this comment on May 1, 2012.]

    It is said later on that Willow has an addictive personality. She finally gets the attention she always wanted with Xander from Oz, but then when she finally does get that attention from Xander she’s compelled to be swept up in it. They are teenagers with crazy hormones, after all.

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  24. [Note: Kimmi posted this comment on May 21, 2012.]

    TRICK: Whatever the hell you are my brother. You got them spiny-looking head things. I ain’t never seen them before.

    KULAK: I am Kulak of the Miquot Clan.

    …….

    TRICK: Isn’t that nice.

    I lose it EVERY time at this part!!

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  25. [Note: JWH posted this comment on June 16, 2012.]

    I’ll have to totally disagree on the Willow/Xander thing. This is completely believable character development – as are Willow’s and Xander’s relationships throughout.

    To build on something that Elbie said way back in comment 11, remember what Willow says about Tara? She wants something that’s just hers. But to depart from Elbie’s comment a bit, I think that’s also what Willow wants in Xander. I don’t think Willow is actually all that in to the people that she’s with – she’s mostly looking for security. The speech she gives Xander in “Innocence (S2x14)” is telling in that way. Sure, she’s hurt that Xander “would rather be with someone [he] hate[s] than be with [her],” but I think there’s a lot to the bit about him being the treasurer of the “We Hate Cordelia Club” too. There’s a part of Willow who always wants it to be her and Xander against the world. They grew up together and were social outcasts together. Willow’s attraction to Xander is less sexual than it is just wanting a reliable comfort zone. With Xander, it’s mostly that he’s flattered. As many others have pointed out, Xander is deeply insecure sexually. He isn’t actually interested in her. He only shows interest when she’s interested in someone else – and then only when she’s reciprocating. You don’t get the idea that he would ever put any effort into a relationship with her – he just needs the validation. On the same note, I also have the feeling that this encounter wouldn’t have been possible earlier in his relationship with Cordelia. It’s only now that he’s starting to believe Cordelia really likes him that a think like this could happen. Remember from “Restless” (S4x22) – there’s some ambiguity about whether Xander is a conquistador or a comfortador. He wants conquest, but for the sake of comfort rather than for the sake of conquest itself.

    None of this is to say that these two don’t care about each other. They actually care about each other quite deeply – arguably more so than any other pair in the series. This is most evident at the end of S6 when Xander saves the world by making it clear that he cares enough for Willow to let her kill him if that’s what it takes. Likewise, that trick wouldn’t have worked pulled by anyone else: Willow wouldn’t have let anyone else distract her in that way. They love each other deeply – but not in a sexual way. But at the time this happens, they’re sexually inexperienced teenagers just starting to get their first taste of romance. It is not *at all* uncommon for people at that point in their lives to make exactly this mistake.

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  26. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on June 16, 2012.]

    I think it’s interesting that Cordelia had to impersonate a Slayer, and that we’re simultaneously reminded that Buffy used to be the alpha-bitch at her school, in that: Charisma originally auditioned for Buffy and Sarah auditioned for Cordelia before they were told to switch.

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  27. [Note: peter posted this comment on July 28, 2012.]

    In regards to the Willow and Xander affair the only explaintion I can think of is that they have been friends for years and always had feelings for each other and they couldn’t fight it any longer. The one part that confuses me is why does Willow cry when she finds out Xander had sex with Faith surly she would want it with Oz at that point

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  28. [Note: Luvtennis posted this comment on November 4, 2012.]

    Wonderful episode. Just want respond to a couple points. First, the willow/Xander relationship is both understandable and painful to watch. In a sense it’s like a reaction against their impending maturity. Both are in serious relationships for the first time and they are scared of the implications and the changes they are going thru. A silly, secret infatuation that evaporated as soon as it was exposed. Also, how many inexplicable bizarre relationships do you know about in real life. Among your own friends and families. Love, lust are often crazy and painful to watch form the outside. That’s life. It is also a strength of the show that beloved characters do painful, harmful things.Second, I think the best description of the Buffy Cordy relationship is sisters who don’t get along. They may not “like” each other but they love one another and would risk death for one another. Because duh, they have on many occasions. In fact, Cordy risks her life simply by joining the scoobies. Cordy says in angel that she loves Buffy. Cordy does not lie. Indeed, her name is that of King Lears truth telling virtuous daughter. That is no accident. Also, Buffy never truly approved of Anya because Anya was a mass murderer who never truly reformed until the end of the series. Cordelia is like Buffy. She may be snippy but she never truly hurts anyone or commits any great sin. This is true only of she and Buffy in the entire series.

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  29. [Note: Luvtennis posted this comment on November 4, 2012.]

    Also, I think the show’s continuity is extraordinary. The vampire breathing thing is silly. Vampires are magical creatures. Hybrids who are subject to all sorts of wacky rules. Why is it surprising that they can expel air without being able to revive life or need oxygen??? After all they cast shadows but no reflections. Crosses burn them. Hello!!! They are by nature contradictory and illogical creatures.

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  30. [Note: Shask. posted this comment on December 14, 2012.]

    Am I the only one who finds the notion of both Willow and Xander turning their back on Buffy for the sake of Cordelia highly infuriating?

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  31. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on December 14, 2012.]

    They were probably thinking that 1) they were making up for cheating on her and 2) Buffy wouldn’t be running against her to cause any problems.By the time it turned into them “cheating” on Buffy with Cordy, instead of on Cordy/Oz with each other, they didn’t know how to get out of it. Like when Xander didn’t know how to tell Anya that he was afraid of hurting her, and he did (hurt her).

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

    I really like the Buffy/Cordelia relationship. It’s like looking into Buffy’s future if she didn’t become the slayer. Would she really be that shallow? It’s a very interesting dynamic. Especially when you think about how they originally came across the parts. I see Cordelia as a mirror for Buffy. A twisted one. I love Cordelia though. She has that fearlessness quality that Buffy has. Although I really don’t think how Cordelia thought she was going win. She obviously not queen bee anymore. Her popularity was on life support.I also think Xander/Wllow was out of character. They had one of the most pure relationships on the show. It also hurts after the admission by Cordelia that she loves Xander. Maybe it stemmed from their insecurities about growing up and growing apart.

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  33. [Note: Jade Ferral posted this comment on May 30, 2013.]

    I don’t know if this is true or not, but I think it might be. In the scene near the beginning where Buffy is telling Angel how things are different and all this stuff, when she says “I’m involved with someone” he turns around sharply. She’s startled, and then he comes forward and touches her jacket briefly. Maybe it’s not true, but I think that’s the jacket HE gave her, no? The sleeves seem to fall past her hands. I guess it doesn’t matter too much, but no one else mentioned it.

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  34. [Note: canadaguy posted this comment on October 14, 2013.]

    I just read your comment on Willow/Xander and your thought that this came out of nowhere. Bolderdash!!! These two have been friends since children and Willow even called Xander her boyfriend (can’t remember which episode – but it was in season 1). In season 1 Xander may have been smitten by Buffy, but all during that season Willow wanted Xander to notice her. In S2E1 in the opening scene they almost kissed but the vampire and Buffy’s appearance interrupted them. A couple of episodes later Willow tried to get Xander’s attention by dipping her nose in ice-cream (a reminder of the S1E1 opening sequence) again which Xander brushed off. These are just some of the indications that these two could get together.

    In fairness I would say that Willow is more into Xander than he is into her.

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  35. [Note: Kyle posted this comment on October 15, 2013.]

    But they’re past that now… I just don’t see Willow being that unfaithful to Oz. The events throughout season 2 changed them, so this seems, to me, to be a bit forced. It’s been too long since Willow got over Xander.

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  36. [Note: T.G. posted this comment on March 9, 2014.]

    A big chunk of this episode does not do it for me at all. I like the humor, but I to think the willow and xander kiss is out-of-character, but that’s not the thing that bugs me, What bugs me is Willow, Xander, and Oz in the library scene. They are just so darn rude to buffy, of course buffy was being rude to cordelia. But I think buffy’s rudness was justified. This whole scene felt manipulative to me, mainly because I don’t buy that they would just leave buffy hanging like that. That scene alone would’ve gotten me to take the episode down to a C. I also didn’t like the whole slayerfest 98′ thing. Too corny. Anyway enjoyed reading the review, despite the episodes problems its always been a guilty pleasure of mine.

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  37. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on March 9, 2014.]

    Actually, I think Buffy was completely out-of-line in this episode. She may claim in the hut that she wants the prize to be remembered for something other than Slaying, and perhaps that’s true, but her primary motivation was pure bitchiness – she wanted to get back at Cordelia for her comments. Maybe I’m a bad friend, but I wouldn’t support Buffy in a situation like that – I’d be firmly rooting for Cordy.

    The idea of Slayerfest was not meant to be taken seriously – Mr Trick is hardly the most sensible or orthodox of vampires. In fact, if I have one regret about this season it’s that his presence is hardly felt whatsoever, which is a shame because he has a great personality and helps to fill the vacuum left by Spike.
    So although the concept and execution are corny, and I’d rather not be reminded of the disaster that is “Bad Eggs”, I don’t think it’s a flaw.

    I hope to see MikeJer knock this episode up a couple of points when it comes to re-review. It’s not the deepest or most substantial, but the humour is effective and the scene in the hut is quite touching. Personally, I’d score it a solid 80.

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  38. [Note: T.G. posted this comment on March 9, 2014.]

    I see your point about the slayerfest 98′. I also agree buffy was being out-of-line, as her motivations were clearly to get back at cordelia while also trying to be known for something other than slaying. But I still say that everything she did was justified. Cordelia, despite growing up some sense the first episode, is still very selfish and rude. Her selfishness is affecting buffy in this episode and on top of that, cordelia throws in a lot of rude comments. I actually like that buffy can take a stand against her. I still think that whole scene in the library has out-of-characterness. not so much from xander and Oz, but for WILLOW, that’s what bugs me the most. I don’t buy for a minute that willow would just leave buffy hanging. and even though it is in-character for Xander to help Cordy but the way he just leaves buffy in the library all hurt is stretching it.

    As for the slayerfest thing, I agree 100%. I shouldn’t of complained about that, because as corny as it is, there will always be ROBO moloch from “I robot, you jane” and the stupid grunting cavmen in “beer bad”.

    Sorry for the bad grammer. I’ve never been good in that department.

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  39. [Note: Kyle posted this comment on March 9, 2014.]

    I agree with T.G. What Willow did was out of character. Willow is not very fond of Cordelia. I guess she does feel guilty about kissing Xander but that leads to an even larger problem I have with this season.
    And sorry Freudian Vampire, but I think your comment about Buffy running for Homecoming queen being primarily motivated by bitchiness is completely unjustified, contradicting the major theme of not only this episode but the entire season. While Buffy did run for Homecoming queen to get back at Cordelia, I feel that was more of a spark rather than a motivation. Her ultimate motivation was to get a “perfect high school moment”. It saddens me that you’re only looking at this on the superficial level. If anything, Cordelia’s motivations were superficial, and her actions towards others, particularly Buffy, were really uncalled for. All Buffy wanted was a nice moment to remember from high school only to have Cordelia walking all over her and basically using Buffy’s friends to gain her own end against her. Now that was bitchy.

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  40. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on May 15, 2014.]

    I personally didn’t buy neither Buffy nor Cordy striving this hard for becoming Homecoming queen. Firstly, Cordy isn’t the Queen Bee, popular chick anymore, I presume ever since she dumped her old group for the Scoobies. So all out of the blue, Cordy wanted to be a major bitch again and queen of the school. Still, keeping her character in mind, I realize that this is a possibility because she probably reminisces the old days when she really was Queen Bee and wasn’t ready to give it up yet. As for Buffy, well, I thought she got the taste of her own medicine when she met Cordelia and realized that if she hadn’t been the Slayer, she’d probably ended up just like her. Anyway, to be honest I just feel both Buffy and Cordy are just so much better than that. They don’t need some stupid crown to prove anything. Anyway, it makes sense in a thematic point of view. And the catfight between them was hilarious, I always thought that if Cordy had come back on BTVS there would’ve been a chance for some serious bondage between them. I think they’d have an intriguing friendship. Especially when you consider AtS’s new and improved Cordy.

    Xander and Willow = Ack! Whyyy?? I truly feel so bad for Cordy when she says she thinks she might love Xander, and at that very moment he’s busy being all over Willow. Xander behaving this way is very believable unfortunately. But not Willow, I was super dissapointed in her throughout this episode. Oz is the nicest boyfriend she could have asked for, and this is what she does?
    Also, I don’t think the way she acted towards Buffy was very appropriate either.
    I don’t know if it’s just me, but if Oz really does forgive Willow and take her back after this, and then when he ‘cheats’ on her with that other werewolf girl, she didn’t have the right to be as pissed off as she was. She did it to him, too.

    Based on purely comical purposes, this episode is downright hilarious, and super entertaining. Love it! I would like to see the score go up a little bit.

    Like

  41. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on May 15, 2014.]

    I too think this episode is deserving of a better score, 80 or indeed higher. Personally, it made sense to me that Cordelia would be wanting to win Homecoming Queen, as proof to herself more than anyone that she was still a part of the popular crowd – and although I have little to no understanding of the machinations of American high school, I can’t imagine her support would have declined that much due to her relationship with Xander. On Buffy’s end I think it makes even more sense, particularly given what happened in “Becoming Pt.2” through “Dead Man’s Party”, although I did find her pettiness made it difficult to root for her.

    I also think there is more value to “Homecoming” than meets the eye, and would strongly disagree with anyone who said it was nothing more than a fun comedy jaunt. Season 3, among other things, was definitely aiming to close up and end the high-school era of the show, and for the most part I think it achieved this magnificently. As a result, I think the best way to view the season’s themes is to take into account the larger scheme of things and to contrast individual episodes with others. In this instance, “The Prom” and both parts of “Graduation Day” come to mind.

    Buffy’s failure to win the Homecoming Queen at the end was not merely a joke, although I admit her and Cordy’s reaction had me in stitches. Instead, I see this as a comment on how Buffy will never succeed if she tries to prioritize Buffy-Buffy at the complete abandonment of Slayer-Buffy. Both aspects of her personality are equally important, I feel, in understanding exactly who Buffy Summers is, and in the end one of her biggest flaws in the early seasons of the show is her inability to reconcile her duty with her own sense of self.

    I’m off topic. Anyway, I think it’s important to note that in this episode Buffy attempts to achieve recognition by going for a shallow, vapid, meaningless prize which she normally would have no interest in, and as a result fails miserably. However, in “The Prom”, she is rewarded for something real – her protection of the kids at school, which is far more than just her destiny but is a part of who she is. And then, finally, in “Graduation Day” that confidence from the students and that respect is what allows her to lead them in the strike against the Mayor, and allows them to win.

    (From a certain perspective. There is a compelling argument that their presence in the final battle did nothing whatsoever and that the Scoobies would have won regardless, but it’s a solid thematic finish nonetheless.)

    So I think this episode has more depth and meaning than meets the eye, and combines it with some great humour (loved the idea of the Slayerfest) and one quite emotional scene (Buffy speaking to Cordelia in the hut). I feel that while one could skip it on their voyage through season 3 and not miss much in the way of plot or character development, having it there enhances the season as a whole with its thematic relevancy. The fact that it can do this while being extremely entertaining (unlike, for me, “Some Assembly Required” and “Buffy vs Dracula”) means that this is easily a B/B+ episode for me, and indicative of why despite its apparent flaws I will always love season 3 more than I do 2 or 5.

    Off-topic again. Humour. Relevance. Fun times.

    Worth an 80 at least.

    Like

  42. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on May 15, 2014.]

    Aaaand a very belated response to Kyle’s words in comment #45:

    Your position baffles me. In no way is my position on Buffy’s motivations ‘superficial’ – in fact, it is anything but as I consider it to be important to the themes of the episode as I stated in the previous comment, which also contradicts your assertion that I am misunderstanding the meaning of this episode and the season at large. I do, in part, agree that Buffy was intending to achieve that high school bliss that has been denied to her since burning down the gym in L.A., but I defy anyone to watch the scene between her and Cordy when she says ‘I’m going to win [Homecoming]’ and tell me that her actions are not a direct response to Cordelia’s behaviour.

    Of course, Queen C’s attitude in said scene and beforehand is kind of reprehensible as well, but at least Cordelia’s motives in running for the prize are completely genuine – she wants to win, just as she has always wanted to win these things her entire life. It is totally true to her character. On the other hand, Buffy, as I mentioned before, wants to be known for something other than Slaying, which is in my opinion the completely wrong attitude to her life and one of the main stumbling blocks to her maturity in the previous two seasons (see “Never Kill a Boy on the First Date” and “Reptile Boy”, among other episodes). Indeed, the parallel to “The Prom” seems to support this interpretation.

    I also strongly disagree that the Scoobies were wrong in assisting Cordelia. Willow, for her part, is guilty about cheating on Cordy’s boyfriend, and so is going along with her – of course, this is no good reason to abandon her friend, but consider this: C’s always been into this kind of thing. Buffy, on the other hand, gets in a dispute with her and, at least superficially, appears to be trying to steal her glory. In fact, I think Buffy is being more than a little selfish here (the truth we learn about her motives later in the episode makes me forgive her somewhat, but I still consider her to be more or less in the wrong.)

    Xander is also motivated by guilt and a desire to appear faithful to his girlfriend, given what’s going on with Willow and him. Oz, meanwhile, follows Willow. Giles is impartial.

    What out-of-characterness or wrong intent do you see in this?

    Sorry for this long-winded response, but these comments kind of raised my ire, Kyle:

    It saddens me that you’re only looking at this on the superficial level. If anything, Cordelia’s motivations were superficial, and her actions towards others, particularly Buffy, were really uncalled for. All Buffy wanted was a nice moment to remember from high school only to have Cordelia walking all over her and basically using Buffy’s friends to gain her own end against her. Now that was bitchy.

    I strongly refute the assertion that my position is in any way superficial, and think that my posts across the breadth of this site very much prove that I am capable and willing to analyze the show on a deeper level – although I appreciate I was relatively new to CriticallyTouched at the time of that first post, so you may not have known this. Moreover, I think that the idea that Buffy wanted a nice moment and Cordelia stole it is in fact the opposite of what happened: Cordelia wanted the prize, and out of pettiness and self-esteem issues Buffy tried to take it away from her. In fact, Cordy’s loss of the prize at the end of the episode probably had something to do with the votes Buffy took away from her, and were it not for that she might have won. So I really cannot understand the position that Cordelia’s actions, at least in the second half of the episode, were bitchy at all. Buffy is far more deserving of that description.

    Aaand this was far too long-winded and ranty for a response to a comment made months ago. Ah, well. My argument stands.

    Like

  43. [Note: ericas623 posted this comment on June 13, 2014.]

    I love how Buffy goes to tell Angel about Scott and how great he is for her only to find in the next scene that he is breaking up with her. It’s hilarious that this all happens before the credits roll. I can’t blame him though; she only seemed invested in that relationship was when she was Angel about it.

    On a side note, did anyone else notice that the German boss is played by Mr. Pitt from Seinfeld? Awesome.

    Like

  44. [Note: Kyle posted this comment on July 16, 2014.]

    “Aaand this was far too long-winded and ranty for a response to a comment made months ago. Ah, well. My argument stands.”

    No problem… I just saw this comment today! 🙂

    Anyway, after reading the response I made to you 2 months ago, I just want to apologize for how rudely diminishing my comment sounded. I often type up my comments fairly quickly and don’t get the chance to read them over before I post. So, again, I apologize for any disrespect I have conveyed towards you in any of my comments.

    Ultimately, I believe our argument would boil down to petty differences in opinion (I do not mean this in a derogatory way).

    I personally side with Buffy in this episode because she is the one I relate to the most (being the main character and all). I get rather irritated when Cordelia makes rude little gibes towards Buffy and her life problems (“Choices” comes to mind), and, not only that, I tend to get a little annoyed when Cordelia shows complete disregard for the values of others (as evident at the beginning of this episode when she fails to undertake the simple selfless task of reminding Buffy of yearbook pictures) just so she can do what is most convenient for herself.

    Also, stating that “C’s always been into this kind of thing.” does not justify her rude behavior at the beginning of this episode (or at any other point in the series). Cordelia acted unjustifiably selfish at the beginning of this episode at the expense of Buffy. If she had carried out such a simple selfless task many of the events in this episode would not have transpired.

    Again, I stand by what I said in my earlier comment that the confrontation between Buffy and Cordelia at the beginning of this episode was, essentially, a spark rather than a motivation for Buffy’s actions. Buffy truly wanted to be Homecoming Queen because she wanted that perfect high school moment not because she ultimately wanted to get back at Cordelia.

    Like

  45. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on July 17, 2014.]

    No problem.

    I think we’re actually pretty close to agreeing on this. Our only real difference is that I put more weight on the ‘trying to spite Cordelia’ whereas you focus on the ‘perfect high school moment’. It’s a combination of both, ultimately, but since Buffy keeps her real motivations close to her chest I don’t think it’s unfair for the rest of the Scoobies to ditch her.

    And, as I said in a previous post, I don’t look at the ‘perfect high school moment’ as a positive motivation at all.

    Like

  46. [Note: Kyle posted this comment on July 17, 2014.]

    I don’t see the “perfect high school moment” as a positive motivation either. However, I don’t see it as negative. Rather, to me, it is an understandable motivation, one that is relatively neutral on the moral side of things. Yes, it shows us that Buffy can be extremely self-centered, as she ignores the values of others, but it’s something I believe Buffy deserves. She needed at least one positive experience in high school because it ultimately helps keeps her grounded. Remember season 5? All the loss Buffy had to endure during season 5 eventually lead to her death (albeit in an oddly happy way).

    One thing that bothers me about Cordelia’s behavior in this episode is how she thinks she owns Buffy’s friends. It is true that Xander is Cordelia’s boyfriend, so I can understand that, but Willow?! Part of my problem is that it is completely uncalled for for Cordelia to use Buffy’s friends in the first place (even though Buffy did make some pretty rude remarks to Cordelia both written and spoken) and I just don’t see Willow doing something like this to Buffy regardless of both Buffy’s behavior and how bad she feels about kissing Cordelia’s boyfriend.

    Anyway, just my opinion…

    Like

  47. [Note: Big Time James posted this comment on December 20, 2015.]

    Would give this episode at least a B.

    As for Willow and Xander, I had no problem with it. Made perfect sense.

    Willow had always had a crush on Xander, that was well established, so no surprise from her end.

    And Xander was a young man. Nuff said.

    Like

  48. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on December 29, 2015.]

    On watching it again I have to say how mean Faith is. Scott Hope was a nice guy who broke up with Buffy because she was never with him and then Faith ruins his Homecoming by pretending he might have an STI. He never did anything wrong and yet the episode treats him like the bad guy. Pretty silly.

    Like

  49. [Note: Samm posted this comment on December 29, 2015.]

    He had it coming.

    He first of all says yes just before homecoming, breaks up with her just before homecoming and has a date already. The man wasn’t honest in the first place, and Faith sticking up for Buffy is nice.

    Like

  50. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on December 30, 2015.]

    They were never really a couple but Buffy accepted his date proposal and then never gave him any time so of course he moved on. She had Angel returning on her mind but that wasn’t Scott’s fault. He needed someone that would be with him and Buffy wasn’t that person so he did what he had to do. If he didn’t break it off before Homecoming he would have been alone and Buffy would have broken it off the next episode anyway. He was the unfortunate one caught in the middle of the Bangel stuff. Faith was just being a bitca as Xander would say.

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  51. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on December 30, 2015.]

    It was most likely an attempt by her to stand up for her girlfriend which seems to be a common trope when it comes to men screwing over the friend of a friend. Sure she might not have known all the facts and it probably wasn’t the wisest decision but at least her intentions were good.

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  52. [Note: Samm posted this comment on December 30, 2015.]

    Basically what Louis said.

    But Scott isn’t as innocent as you make him out to be, clearly his heart wasn’t in the relationship too. And do you remember him flirting with Faith as well earlier?

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  53. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on December 30, 2015.]

    The flirting thing was funny because Faith was flirting with Scott also and then had the nerve to ruin his Homecoming even though she flirted with him also. As far as innocent goes, no one is innocent, but Scott was probably the most innocent of all the people that liked Buffy… maybe on par with Owen. He wanted to make it work and gets bonus points for using the word ‘mosey’.

    If Angel didn’t come back he would have been pretty boring and Buffy would have dumped him soon enough. Not really sure why they added him in the first place.

    Like

  54. [Note: Other Scott posted this comment on December 31, 2015.]

    Those two were also the people who were with Buffy for the shortest period of time though. Everyone is going to have their low moments enough to be considered “not innocent” if you give them enough rope to hang themselves with.

    (And trust me, no one named Scott should be considered innocent.)

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