Season 3! It was good, as well! Now usually shows follow a similar pattern, the first season comes out and they see what works and what doesn’t, make changes that usually make season 2 the best of the series, and then into season 3 and 4 and on is when it really sinks in that, hey, we gotta keep making this, likely around 20 or so episodes simultaneously make the show engaging and create momentum from episode to episode while not making things boring and complement, and that’s the hardest part and one that I’m interested to see where Buffy takes thing.
Season 3 was goo in that it built off a lot of what made season 2 successful, not overly complicated things, have an overarching big bad that can be spun to the background for one-off episodes, while still slowly pushing the plot forward, but what this season does is slowly put more pieces into place and introduce new elements that hopefully will pay off later down the line as the show moves forward.
The introduction of Eliza Dusku as Faith was interesting to me because I’m really fascinated about this world and how Buffy acts around people who have a similar burden/gift as her and how they deal with it compared to how she does. This idea further deepens when Faith kills someone (ie. not a vampire or monster, an actual human) and doesn’t really feel so bad about it and stuff gets real with Buffy when, hey, actual people can die from these types of proceedings, not just monsters. Faith consequently turns to the dark side and becomes an adversary of Buffy, becuase of course she does, but Dushku’s good at playing this as it’s really her bread and butter type of role. The presence of this darkness in another slayer is paramount to see if the show ever explores this side with Buffy, as it’s always the shows best material when it deals with Buffy rationalizing her role as a slayer and what it truly means and can it be divorced from her as a person.
The big bad this year of the mayor was a step down from Spike this year, as he was mainly just an old bore scheming in, like, the one room that the show apparently had in its budget for him to, uh, just sit around and scheme in and spout off bad guy demon stuff.
Now let’s get to the stuff that really matters, the Xander/Willow/Cordelia love triangle-ish things. I gotta say, Xander was probably my least favourite character of the past two seasons (except Angel, I guess, uh) as he was the prototypical “funny” guy, but always just came across as a self-righteous dick. Anyways, him and Willow finally kiss and wouldn’t you know it Cordelia and Oz (Seth Green) catch them and their go those two relationships up in smoke. Until, like, two episodes later when Oz in his typical Seth Greenness just takes her back because he’s all “looking past things” and such. So, Xander pines after Cordelia, all the while still not sure what to do about these feelings about Willow, which she still obviously has for him. This is the part where I say that Cordelia is my favourite character and, damn, I don’t even know how it happened. I’m a sucker for the classic “rich bitch character who at heart is really sweet and nice behind all her vitriol to others fed by her upbringing and stance in life all these years, until something drastic happens with her father’s job and they suddenly don’t have money and are left with nothing, but still tries against all to make up appearances that everything is normal until someone finds out and see the true person.” I love that character. Seriously.
Since who cares about the demons and major plotlines in the show, Giles and Buffy’s mom got it on, which I’m ashamed to say I did not see coming, but obviously should of, because, duh. Also, let’s give it up to Buffy’s mom who just kinda fully accepts that, yup, my daughter in between dating boys and trigonometry homework goes out and kills demons and saves the world on a nightly basis. I know I’ve talked about this every write up so far, but I just love how all these monsters and demons and vampire and teens killing them is just an accepted thing to everybody. There’s a great referential moment in the season finale where the students give Buffy props for making that year in Sunnydale the one with the least deaths at the high school. Implying that yes, of course, like any normal year a bunch of high schoolers died at the hands of some demons from the netherworld, but, hey, it was a lot less this year!
I don’t really want to talk about the trials and tribulations of the Buffy/Angel relationship because it’s been the same cycle for the past couple years, break-up/get-together/break-up/realize they’re destined to be with each other for life/break-up/repeat. At the behest of Buffy’s mom and Angel’s deep emotional introspection (ugh) he realizes that even though he loves Buffy sooooooooo much, he’s probably pretty bad for her in the long run and just keeps invited trouble so he leaves to go do a spin-off.
Yeah, so next season is when Angel gets his own show, which, man, he’s boring as hell to me, I don’t really get why they gave him his own show, but 1999 was a crazy time. I briefly mulled around watching Angel along with Buffy for next season going back-and-forth from each episode like it would’ve aired in real-time because I’m insane, but decided against it due to the fact that I really don’t care to do that, I’m not the fondest of Angel, and I kinda just want to breeze through this series as it is and don’t really care so much of the interconnectedness of the shows and universes that I’m okay to miss references, I think, even though I’m an insane completist perfectionist. But, I’ll watch it sometime in the future, we’ll see. I remember hearing differing opinions that season 4 was the worst for some people and the best for others, so that should be fun. Also, damn, I for sure thought Giles would be dead by now.