Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Big Re-Watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Season 3)


(AKA- the best one)

By the time Buffy The Vampire Slayer was going  into its third season, it had garnered a massive cult audience, and a fair share of  critical praise for its blend of action, humour and well thought out and original storytelling. If there was any pressure on Joss Whedon and the other writers to live up to expectations, they certainly didn't let it show in this season. For me, it is this season that progresses the show from being very good watch to an immensely enjoyable watch. So the question again, as with seasons 1 & 2, is it still good? is it still my favourite season? Short answer- Yes, long answer...

This is the season that made me a big fan of Buffy. All the ingredients of what made the show great were amped up and were delivered episode after excellent episode. The main arc of the season is the strongest of them all, and the monster of the week episodes continue to deliver enjoyable bad guy fodder for the Slayer  and her scoobie gang to overcome. Angel returns for some more handsome brooding and caressing Buffy's face, Oz is a fully fledged member of the gang now, Giles cleans his glasses some more and the show finds some Faith...

 

In the first episode of the season we find our heroine living in a dingy L.A apartment , trying to forget the earth shattering events of season two, but after killing a few baddies and realising that Sunnydale is her real home, she returns, but its a bumpy ride settling back into the scoobie gang and all things that were so familiar to her, and with Faith turning up, it's not going to get easier for her.

With Giles being stripped of his watcher duties and replaced buy Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, an even more stereotypical English upper class buffon takes charge of watcher duties for both Buffy and Faith. however Giles still manages to hang around for the season and help out with the gang when it comes to beating the bad guys. Throughout the shows entire run, it is often Giles that steals the show in many episodes and this season is no exception to this, especially in one of the funniest episodes, 'Bad Candy' In which the adults of Sunnydale are reduced to the behaviour of  rebellious teenagers, thanks to the meddling of everyone's favourite sly bastard, Ethan Rayne. It's Giles and his shenanigans with Buffy's mother Joyce (excellently played by Kristine Sutherland) who have the most memorable moments of this episode and a real highlight of the season.

The Buffy/Angel relationship once again takes centre stage in a few episodes and proves that Joss Whedon can also write and direct emotional, heart felt scenes. With the return of Angel from a dimension of  unspeakable torture and subsequent guilt trips that he gets from the 'First Evil' emotions run high for both he and Buffy and by the end of the season a tough but rather inevitable decision had to be made to let them both move on with there lives.
Relationships between all of the main characters are put under strain, Xander and Angel as usual are at loggerheads with each other, Faith and Buffy inevitably lock stakes and results in one of the best fight scenes of the entire show.

The big bad of the season in the form of the mayor of Sunnydale (played by Harry Groener) who, with the help of a certain slayer in town has grand plans for bringing down not just Buffy and the scoobies but all of Sunnydale. After about twenty episodes of the Mayor talking about and planning, he finally attacks on the Sunnydale high graduation ceremony. This leads to Buffy revealing her secret of Slayerness to everyone (kinda...just to the students on campus) and rallies them to help her fight the mayor and his cohort in a massive battle in the last episode. Needless to say, like the rest of the season it is a solid entertaining action packed finale worthy of being called one of the best episodes in the shows history. 

Where now for our merry band of scoobs? after graduation, it is the big bad world the have to face now, how will they cope without the safety net of the library? will Buffy find another love? can the show continue to be as impressive and enjoyable to watch? only season 4 can tell us...














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