Buffy Season Three: Spoilers and Foreshadowing

The Buffy Re-Watch continues! We're keeping spoilers out of the review comments, but they're very welcome right here. Post anything you like about the third season of Buffy and how it relates to the entire series.

We're assuming everyone who reads or posts comments in this thread HAS SEEN IT ALL, including all of Angel. Seriously! If you haven't seen both series in their entirety yet, leave now -- or you're certainly going to be spoiled! You can always come back and post a comment later. It'll be here.

76 comments:

sunbunny said...

The beginning of "Anne" reminds me of the beginning of "Bargaining," which I'm sure was intentional.

Lily reminds me of Anya in "Selfless," which I'm less sure was intentional.

Does Lily/Anne/Chanterelle stil have that god awful tattoo on Angel?

Anne is one of the Buffyverse's most minor characters, but she develops so well and so completely over the course of the two series. She is such an inspiration, to go from a girl so desperate for identity she would call herself "Sister Sunshine" to one who gives all her time and effort to help those less fortunate.

To anticipate the argument, Anne doesn't just take over Buffy's identity. If she had, she would have gone back to Sunnydale with Buffy and become a Scooby or at least dedicated her life to eradicating the forces of evil as opposed to making sure homeless teens had somewhere safe to sleep and enough to eat.

Billie Doux said...

Lily/Anne/Chanterelle appears in only a handful of episodes in both series, but I really like her arc as a character. She goes from victim, to seeker, to a strong, powerful woman who dedicates her life to helping kids like the victim she used to be. She's like the perfect example of the sort of person that we don't get to know, but whose life is totally changed by our heroes.

I don't think she still has the tatt in the Angel eps. We'll have to watch for it when we get there.

Annie said...

Maybe Buffy also gave her the details of her own magical tattoo removal guy :).

Is this the first time the potential for faster time in hell dimensions is introduced? Are we being introduced to this idea in advance of Angel's experience?

Josie Kafka said...

Yes, Annie, I think so. It's a nice subtle set-up.

Suzanne said...

Anne, I always thought it was a set up for Angel's return, too. That was something I loved about this episode the first time I rewatched it.

sunbunny said...

"Dead Man's Party"

Buffy says to Xander, "It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye."

I always forget that until I watch the episode and then I freak out.

Billie Doux said...

Sunbunny -- yeah, that quote gets to me, too.

Billie Doux said...

sunbunny mentioned that she wasn't a Faith fan on the review for "Faith, Hope and Trick". This isn't to diss anyone who doesn't like Faith, honestly. I really do get it, because she's a complex and not very likeable character. But I wanted to talk about why I *do* like Faith -- but it will move into spoiler territory, so I'm posting it here instead of on the review.

Sarah Michelle Gellar was only 19 when she started working on Buffy. Eliza Dushku is actually two or three years younger than Gellar, so she was only a teen, too. Playing an effective yet sympathetic villain at such a young age isn't easy, but Dushku did it so well that Joss Whedon didn't kill her character off, and eventually wrote an entire series around her. I remember going through phases with how I felt about Faith. I liked her, I despised her, I felt sorry for her, I rooted for her, and so on. Her arc was the best one they did in the season eight comics, and I'm still sorry we never got the much discussed Faith/Spike TV spinoff series.

What say ye, spoiler/foreshadowing crowd? Faith, yay or nay?

Josie Kafka said...

From a practical standpoint, I love Trick's function in the Season Three arc. The writers had to figure out a way to get the Mayor into the plot...even though there's no reason for the Mayor to interact with a high school senior.

So they create this awesome chain of events: Faith-->Trick-->The Mayor-->removal of Trick-->Evil Faith working for the Mayor. Trick's only real function is to make other things happen, narratologically speaking. And it's done really well.

Josie Kafka said...

I like Faith. I'm not sure I'm on Team Faith (who would we play against?), but I like her.

Jess Lynde said...

I'm definitely pro-Faith. I thought they did a great job of grounding her "bad girl" behavior, so that she was never a complete villain to me. More of a victim, trying to work through her abandonment and inferiority issues. They let her go to some truly dark places, but still allowed her to grow and make amends. It all worked for me.

I particularly liked the way her arc evolved on Angel, and thought her dynamic with Wesley was a thing of beauty. 'Five By Five' and 'Release' through 'Orpheus' are some of favorite Faith episodes.

Jess Lynde said...

I meant 'Salvage' through 'Orpheus' (which includes 'Release').

sunbunny said...

Like I said, my dislike of Faith is caused by my completely irrational and stubborn dislike of Eliza Dushku. That said, I love where Joss takes her character at the end of the season. Her relationship with the Mayor breaks my heart. She never had anyone the way Buffy did. The Mayor was the first adult to really care about her and love her in that special, Giles-y way. He was the first person to believe in her and it makes complete sense she would end up happily working for him. His grief over her in Graduation Day Part 1 is heart wrenching. He thinks of her as his daughter. His love for Faith is his only redeeming characteristic. Well, that and his sense of humor.

Josie Kafka said...

Well, that and his sense of humor.

And his very reasonable fear of germs.

Annie said...

I like the character of Faith because she's so complex and messed up. Buffy is clearly a bit hostile to Faith when she arrives and it makes me wonder if things could have worked out differently if she'd been more welcoming? Not that I can't understand Buffy's behaviour, she's dealing with a lot, and even she knows she's being a bit unreasonable. As the second slayer she's so much better than Kendra, who was a bit of a bore.

Josie Kafka said...

I'm totally not cheating on the rewatch, because that would make me a bad person. And I'm even more totally not on Angel Season Two, because--wow!--that would mean I have no life.

But if I were on Angel Season Two, I would probably comment on this element of Angels' return in "Faith, Hope..." and "Beauty and the Beasts": I love that Angel comes back, and how the reason for his return is left open.

The implication in "Faith, Hope..." is that the power of Buffy's love is what brings him back. That, or a terrible irony since she sets the ring down, ready to move on, and poof! there he is.

But I think there's more to it than that. I think Angel comes back to fulfill the Shanshu prophecy, which he can only do once Buffy has moved on. That is, Angel's return to "real boy" status can only occur separately from Buffy. It is based on redemption rather than on love.

What do you guys think? Does that make sense?

Lamounier said...

Wow, I think that's a great point, Josie. I don't think the writers were that far ahead on the planning of the stories, however seeing both shows as a whole, it makes sense The Powers That Be would only let Angel fulfill the prophecy with the right motivation.

I always think that fiction tends to overestimate the value of the eros type of love, and I like that on the Buffyverse it’s an important part, what with all the suffering Whedon will put couples through, but not the ultimate goal on the characters’ lives.

sunbunny said...

"Faith Hope and Trick"

Faith says slaying makes her hungry and horny. In season six, Dawn says that the fridge is the first place Buffy goes when she gets home from patrolling. "She's such a pig after she kills things." Also, there is plenty in future to suggest that Buffy does indeed get horny after slaying. I'm thinking both of Spike and Riley. Oh and Xander and Faith happened after she'd been in a fight too, didn't it?

There are two references to Buffy's being an only child in this episode. Joyce says "it's a good thing you're an only child" and Buffy refers to Faith as "her bestest new little sister."

rebecca_s921 said...

"Homecoming"

Interesting that Buffy failed to win homecoming queen but was surprised with a well deserved class protector award at senior prom. That prom scene always makes me tear up. You think the power that be is trying to tell her something?

Suzanne said...

I noticed how Cordy complains in Homecoming about always being dragged into Buffy's life of demons when she doesn't want to be a part of it. I found it ironic considering that she tries to escape it by going to L.A., yet it pulls her right back in. I guess it was her destiny, too.

Stephen said...

Re: "Beauty and the Beasts" - Does anyone else see Buffy's stance on domestic abuse in a different light when you consider her relationship with Spike in Season Six which, although not on the same level as Pete and Debbie's pairing, is also a self-destructive relationship? I understand that what people do and what they say can be two completely different things, particularly with such a delicate and taboo subject as domestic abuse, and there is a long time and a lot of character growth for Buffy's character between this point and Season Six, but while Buffy was having her little speech to Debbie, there was a little part of me that was thinking Buffy was being a bit..... hypocritical in her stance about abuse, considering what comes later on.
I'm not sure if that made a whole lot of sense, It's a difficult thought to put across, and may come across as a little controversial due to its relating to such a delicate subject, but I was wondering what other people thought about this.

On the subject of Faith, I love the character, though I do wonder if they might have taken her a bit TOO far down the dark path towards the end of Season 3, making her too close to being irredeemable. But I've always felt that her redemption story is stronger than that of Angel's, Faith is making amends for what she chose to do, while Angel is doing so for events that happened while he was posessed by a demon.
I recommend the Angel & Faith comic books, that run concurrently with Buffy Season 9. I've only read the first year of the run so far, but there is a lot of interesting character work on Faith, and her and Angel really suit headlining a series together. Planned storylines and characters for the undeveloped "Ripper" show were used for the series, with Giles having a strong presence in the series. I think its by far the strongest of the comics that have come along since the end of the TV run, and I'm enjoying it a lot more than the Buffy series

sunbunny said...

Stephen, I was never a huge fan of the disdain Buffy has in her voice when she refers to Debbie as "already broken." While she's not explicitly blaming the victim, it does suggest that a bit. I really don't think you can compare Buffy and Spike to Debbie and Pete. Buffy and Spike were damn messed up but it never struck me as abusive, even metaphorically. Of course, the attempted rape changed that drastically.

Do you guys think the Pete/Debbie relationship better relates to Angelus/Buffy? Still, if the writers were going for a callback there, I think they messed it up. Buffy says of Debbie "she's already broken," but Angel never broke Buffy. She struggled, certainly, but she was never broken.

Josie Kafka said...

To answer a question from up-thread: no, Anne does not have the tattoo in Angel Season Two.

But I'm not cheating.

Annie said...

I agree with Sunbunny, I don't consider Spike and Buffy's relationship in season 6 to be an 'abusive relationship', just very very dis-functional one. The attempted rape is was a one off assault that occurred after the relationship had been ended and doesn't really mirror the relationships dynamic.

Its a good point that there is a better parallel with the Angelus/Buffy dynamic although I doubt it was deliberate for the reason you mentioned Sunbunny.

sunbunny said...

Thanks Josie! I'm proud of you for not cheating. cough cough

Annie said...

Revelations: This is a real turning point episode for Faith. When I first watched Buffy, Faith was probably the only important character that I didn't have a clue about. I pitied her in this episode and had no idea that she was going to go to the dark side from here.

I wonder if seeing the blurred lines between good and evil with Angel makes her decision to approach the mayor easier.

sunbunny said...

I don't think blurry lines between good and evil is Faith's problem. In fact, I think she has the opposite problem. She sees everything as black or white, good or evil. Angel = vampire = evil. Later after she kills whathisface, it's easier to cope with being out and out evil than being a good person who made a mistake. She wants to be bad, because bad people don't have to deal with the consequences of their actions. She cares, but she desperately doesn't want to. She'd rather play the villain.

Annie said...

Good point, it was just a thought I had when watching the episode. I think that her alienation contributes to her inability to cope though and maybe if she had trusted Buffy more she would not have gone dark side.

I was surprised how bad Faith became and, for me, it never really sat very well with the way she was prior, it seemed such an extreme reaction.

Suzanne said...

Anne, I will have to see how I react this time around, bit I agree that Faith's change seemed extreme considering the way she acted in this early part of Season 3. I understand your point, Sunbunny, and I definitely believe the writers intended to portray her change in the way you describe, but it still seems a bit extreme to me.

In response to Billie's question above about reactions to Faith, I find that I like her more and more every rewatch. I remember being disappointed in her my first time around since I had read so much Faith love. I am starting to see it better now, though, especially after her arc on Angel.

Jess Lynde said...

re: 'Lover's Walk' --- I so love that we actually get to see Dru with the chaos demon later. And he's all slime and antlers. :) It's delightful when a fairly small bit comes back into play later down the line.

And, much as I hated the Xander/Willow thing, I do love that it resulted in Cordelia's wish. Maybe it was all worth it for the wish.

Billie Doux said...

What Jess said. And it was even in my favorite episode, "Fool for Love".

Suzanne said...

I liked the way Lover's Walk introduces what becomes a running theme of Spike having unique insight into Buffy's emotions. He seems to understand her in a way that the others don't. He can see behind the mask she often wears when the others can't.

Annie said...

Suzanne, I think that's maybe one of the most appealing things about Spike and its not just Buffy, he's just insightful, like when he proves that Tara is human, he saw right through her families lies and motives.

Suzanne said...

Annie, I agree that he seems to have insight into people other than Buffy. I seem to remember him seeing into Riley's emotions, too. Of course, he understood Dawn.

Josie Kafka said...

And there's that great scene where Spike realizes Willow is in pain after Oz leaving, but no one else does. I think it's when he's tied up in the bathtub. Spike. Not Oz.

sunbunny said...

From "Something Blue." Spike's all "she's hanging on by a thread. Any ninny could see that." Or something like that. LOVE that episode.

sunbunny said...

Oh, also, he knows Willow is gay despite no one telling him and he picks up on Wes and Fred before Angel in "A Hole in the World."

Billie Doux said...

Re: "Lovers Walk" -- we didn't know it at the time and I don't remember where I read it, but at this point the producers were thinking pretty hard about how they could possibly replace both Angel and Cordelia, and bringing Spike back in "Lovers Walk" was something of a test drive to see if Spike would work for them. And of course, it worked out just fine.

The first time I saw James Marsters in person was the summer between seasons three and four. He was a guest at Shore Leave, the wonderful con in Baltimore that I used to go to every year. He told us then that he was going to be a cast member and we were all thrilled. It was only his second convention and he was just blown away by how the fans were treating him. He said he felt like a rock star.

sunbunny said...

"The Wish"

One word: ANYA. :D

Jess Lynde said...

Re: 'The Wish' --- Is this the first time we get "Bored now"? So chilling. It was creepy enough seeing it in this first context, but knowing where they eventually go with it, it's even more upsetting. Again, with the little tidbits coming back into play down the line in interesting ways. Woot!

Suzanne said...

Billie, thanks for sharing that interesting tidbit about the thinking behind Spike becoming a regular and James Marsters at the con. I love season 3, but its only weakness in my eyes is so little Spike. What we got, though, was some of the best!

Billie Doux said...

Yes, this is the first time we get "bored now". If I remember correctly, they weren't planning to do "Doppelgangland" but this episode was so well received that Joss Whedon thought they absolutely had to.

I always thought it was fun that Xander and Cordelia broke up so violently in one episode, and Anya was introduced in the next. Again, not intentional, just an accident. They didn't know.

sunbunny said...

Gingerbread

Snyder says "I love the smell of desperate librarian in the morning," (a misquote from Apocalypse Now). He later takes a (different) Apocalypse Now role in "Restless." Also, there's that Angel episode "Apocalypse Nowish."

Josie Kafka said...

We could argue that the baddies in "Hush" had "headpieces filled with straw." :-)

sunbunny said...

I'm sure we'll argue more about this when we get there, but I'm going to prepare you all now: I hate "I Will Remember You." Why? Partly because it's just a (worse) rip off of "Helpless." There are other reasons, too. We'll get there. :)

But, seriously, our heroic main character has their superpowers taken away from them and is/gets frustrated with the situation because they can no longer adequately help in the fight against evil? Been there. Plus, Buffy handled it so much better.

Josie Kafka said...

Interesting, sunbunny. In the Angel re-watch that I'm not cheating on, I chose to skip "I Will Remember You." In fact, I've only watched it once, because I remember bawling so hard that my face hurt and didn't want to go through that again. I thought I'd go back (not that I'm cheating!) and watch it with the group so I could get some moral support.

I also have a confession about Buffy Season Three. I like so much about it: the Mayor, Faith, the last few episodes, Wesley.

But there's a whole string of episodes in the middle, from "Revelations" to "Enemies" (excluding "Lovers Walk" and "The Wish") that I just can't stand.

Or maybe that's the wrong way to say it: I don't dislike them. I just find them upsetting to watch, since it's so sad to see Buffy helpless, bad, confused, and making mistake. Watching them hits me in the gut in a way that's a tad beyond pleasant. Some of Season Six affects me the same way.

Does anyone else have this problem of over-identification? Or should I just get a life?

Josie Kafka said...

Or, possibly, "making mistakes." Since she makes more than one. :-)

sunbunny said...

Josie - That's why I love season six. It's so powerful to watch someone usually so super and strong dealing with life less than perfectly. I find it upsetting to watch the Parker-arc episodes of season four, though, because he makes Buffy so sad and it makes me angry. Stupid Parker. How dare he treat Buffy like that? She's Buffy!

rebecca_s921 said...

@ Sunbunny - I use Parker's horrible treatment of Buffy to justify "Beer Bad." He completely deserves his comeuppance there. ;-)

@ Josie - I didn't like season 6 when I watched it live. On rewatch I started to appreciate it a lot more.

Josie Kafka said...

I'm still not cheating on the re-watch, so I'm not anywhere near Angel Season Four and "Spin the Bottle."

But if I had recently watched that episode, I would marvel at the delightfulness that is Wesley's consistency from his Season Three Buffy self to his 17 year-old "Head Boy" persona, with the karate and "let's not lose probe."

sunbunny said...

"Consequences"

It's so weird to see Wesley interacting with Angel and Cordelia in his early appearances, given what his later relationship will be with them. He's terrified of Angel and totally swoony over Cordy, and it's just like...no! Stop it! That's not how it's supposed to be.

Also, the only times I really like Faith are when she's with Angel. It's more applicable to Angel than here, though. I think they just play really well off each other. They have a lot in common and Angel is so determined to help her (later, of course, it's Faith that's determined to help him).

sunbunny said...

"Doppelgangland"

Wow. I never quite realized how much foreshadowing there was in this episode!

Willow's long-standing dislike of Anya is first established and they even talk about chicken feet! Which episode is it where Anya wants to give them away with at the Magic Box and Willow makes fun of her for it?

But what really gets me is Willow's speech about Faith and Buffy and how Buffy could never kill anyone because "some people just don't have that in them." Oh, Willow, do you know yet that you're not one of those people?

sunbunny said...

So I was thinking today about the Buffyverse's most tragic moments and how I can't wait to get there and see all the newbies reactions to things and now I'm a little worried I'm a sociopath. :/

sunbunny said...

"Earshot"

I always love Willow's interrogation of Jonathan:

"We all have fantasies that we're powerful, more respected. Where people pay attention to us ... But sometimes the fantasy isn't enough, is it Jonathan? Sometimes we have to make it so people don't ignore us. Make them pay attention."

Were they already planning "Superstar" at this point, because you can't get much clearer foreshadowing than that.

Annie said...

I was thinking of that when watching earshot today, I hadn't noticed it before but it really couldn't be clearer...I wonder if it was retrospective or genuine foreshadowing.

Suzanne said...

I didn't catch the Superstar foreshadowing, but it is definitely there now that you pointed it out. I was actually thinking back to the way she interrogated him in the episode with the swim team creatures. Willow sure does like to exert her power while investigating. No wonder Jonathon ends up fearing her so much in Season 6.

sunbunny said...

My only problem with the end of season three is the break up of Buffy and Angel. Not because it happened, but how it happened. There really wasn't much of a given reason behind it. Angel thinks Buffy deserves a normal boyfriend, sure. But why now? Is it just that random people have been dropping in over the course of the season to tell him so (Spike, the Mayor, Joyce)?

I feel like the writers wanted to break them up without losing their epic, tragic, legendary love thing and that's just difficult to do. I really don't think Angel would've left Sunnydale if he hadn't had a spinoff to do, you know?

Juliette said...

sunbunny, I totally agree. It feels like one of those daft TV breakups, forced for outside reasons.

Billie Doux said...

Good points, but I always thought it worked, actually. Sometimes it's hard to face that a relationship isn't going to work out and you just hang on to it and someone (or someones) in your life say something that makes you look at the situation a different way. Buffy in denial and Angel having to take the adult role and do something about it worked for me, too.

sunbunny said...

Forgot to say...the Mayor specifically mentions Buffy not being able to go on picnics with Angel. Buffy later has a picnic with Riley (which I only remember because it's in the thoroughly hilarious "Something Blue").

Josie Kafka said...

Billie, that's a good point. It's also a very high-school way for a relationship to end: someone decides to move. Often to college, sometimes to LA to fight the forces of darkness.

Annie said...

Yes, there's definitely a 'why now' feeling about their break up but, for me, it is tempered with the massive relief that they have.

They just seem to be so bad for each other, whatever strength the relationship gives them seems to be less than the strength that it saps from them in angst. I really hate how needy Angel makes Buffy.

ChrisB said...

The Buffy/Angel relationship is just like every other high school romance. It's first love; you are convinced that you have found your happily ever after. But no, you break up for one reason or another, suffer the heartbreak and move on.

The conundrum the writers found themselves in is this sense that this romance is meant to be epic (Angel has never loved anyone before; a slayer with a vampire), yet finally, happily ever after is impossible. What I struggle with is that Buffy doesn't really fully understand this until the series finale. Her cookie speech made me cheer the first time I saw it. Finally!

Lamounier said...

ChrisB, I think Buffy did have clarity about the impossibility of being happy and long term with Angel (and Spike, to an extent) before the series finale. She just never voiced it so clearly before “Chosen”. However, in “I Was Made to Love You”, in a great character moment, Buffy realizes that she doesn’t need a guy in her life, she can be great all by herself.

sunbunny said...

"The Prom"

Willow still doesn't like Anya.

The class giving Buffy the award is great setup for the finale. It's established that people more or less know what's going on and makes it less weird in two episodes when they all fight a horde of vampires together.

Annie said...

I was thinking about the finale when Jonathan was giving Buffy the award. Its a shame that the forthcoming graduation ceremony will obliterate the lowest mortality record she achieved.

Josie Kafka said...

One of my favorite things about “The Prom” is that is has so many moments that are important later. Angel thinks of the sewer break-up and “I kill my goldfish” in Angel Season Four, and Fred pulls a goldfish out of Angel’s stomach in a dream sequence in Season Five, when a monster is gradually de-souling him. Angel, that is. Not the goldfish.

Plus, Tucker! Doesn’t he have a brother?

Billie Doux said...

It's one of those weird trivia things that the guy who plays Tucker also dubs Jonathan's singing voice in "Superstar." Useless Buffy trivia, c'est moi.

Suzanne said...

When I heard how Xander explained his reasons for going to prom with Anya (what are my other choices - a sock puppet of love), it made me sad to think their relationship was doomed from the start.

sunbunny said...

There are a lot of parallels between "Graduation Day Part 1" and "Chosen." Xander's absolutely convinced he's going to die in the big battle, which is where Andrew is in "Chosen." In "Chosen," Anya stays and fights, despite being human (again), whereas here she can't head for the hills fast enough.

It's a little off-topic, but I love her speech to Andrew in "End of Days" about how much she's learned about life and people from her years with the Scoobies. So beautiful.

Also worth nothing that Buffy declares Angel to be "her last office romance." That determination lasts, what? Six episodes?

Jonathan said...

To be fair... When her romance with Riley begins, she doesn't know he's an Initiative-Demon-Fighter. So she doesn't know she's having another office romance :-)

Lamounier said...

Lover’s Walk: I was a little disturbed when Spike said to Willow "I haven’t tasted a woman in a long time" (or something like that). There was a rape undertone there and "Seeing Red" instantly came to mind.

Lamounier said...

The Wish: watching Vampire Willow and Vampire Xander on “The Wish” made me realize the writers never turned one of the main characters into a vampire. It’s such an obvious idea, yet they never went for it. I wonder why. Vampire Willow will get her due later on the season, but Vampire Xander was so cool and we never see him again. Maybe they should’ve turned Xander into a vampire when they ran out of stories for the character.

Billie Doux said...

Oh, Lamounier, that would have been devastating -- Xander as a vampire with no soul? What a thought.

Lamounier said...

But that’s it, Billie, the dramatic potential of turning a big character into a vampire was huge. I mean, killing Tara was devastating as well, and Joss did it anyway. And he did it with Fred too.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m really glad all we lost of Xander was his eye. Well, in that case, he was the one who lost it.

Billie Doux said...

I'm glad, too. Near the end of season seven, I was certain Xander was going to die in the finale.