Back To School – A Look Back At Season Three Of Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Her name was Buffy Summers and she saved the world. A lot. Through seven seasons, the Chosen One took on every form of demony badness, ultimately staking her claim as the girl who redefined dusting for an entire generation. Here’s the thing, though.

When it came to cool, Buffy Summers, our gal Buffy The Vampire Slayer, well, she wasn’t the poster girl. In fact, her high school years showed her to be flawed and confused, prone to mistakes of both the heart and the head. Just like you and me were. Well, at least I was.

Buffy’s final year of high school also happened to be the most successful season of the show’s 7-year run. So, as kids around the world head back to school this week, let’s look back at some of Buffy’s best moments in Season Three.

Dead Man’s Party

This is the episode I came in on and absolutely fell in love with the show. It wasn’t the season premiere, but rather the second episode in, and it had everything I would want in a tv show – smart writing, attractive looking characters, and zombies! It also captured the feeling in high school when even your friends just can’t quite grasp what it is you might be going through. Alternately, this episode also helps remind us that ours are never the only problems.

The Zeppo

This Season Three episode featured Nicholas Brendan’s Xander Harris in his own solo story, dealing with high school bullies, losing his virginity, and saving Sunnydale High from being blown to bits. It’s all juxtaposed beside the backdrop of yet another pending apocalypse that the rest of the Scoobies have to conquer. Brendan absolutely shines in this episode, nailing the comedic bits but also showing the genuine loneliness that was always a part of Xander. Now let’s go bake a cake!

The Wish/Dopplegangland

I love alternate world/what if stories and with these two episodes, Buffy The Vampire Slayer absolutely nailed the concept and then some. What if Buffy hadn’t come to Sunnydale? Who would live? Who would die? And why is Vamp Willoe acting all gay? Brilliant writing and acting in the Buffyverse equivalent to the X-Men’s Days Of Future Past.

Earshot

What starts off as a fun episode where Buffy gains telepathy after touching a demon becomes a heartfelt and heartbreaking look at life in high school. With her ability to read the thoughts of everyone around her, we see and hear just how hard school can be for everybody. Sure, there are some who might have it a little easier or even a little harder than others, but this episode showed that high school life really isn’t that simple for anybody. Sadly, the episode was pulled right before airing due to the Columbine shootings that occurred at the same time the episode was scheduled.

Graduation Day Part 1 and 2

And so came the final two part third season finale of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the second of which was also pulled from the WB schedule because of the Columbine tragedy. However, put together the two episodes bring three seasons worth of stories to a fitting conclusion. Buffy and Angel fight side by side one last time, Principal Snyder gets his just deserts, we finally uncover what the Mayor ascension was all about and, hey, the whole season goes out with a bang. As Oz says at the end of it all “we survived”. I don’t know about you, but that’s how I felt when high school was said and done.

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