Binging Buffy: Having faith in season 3
Season 3 is all about senior year, and for the most part, it worked for me. Much like season 2, the writing felt sharp and the group dynamic was solid. The season-long arc didn't quite have the power/intrigue of season 2, which is why season 2 is still my favorite at this point, but season 1 remains the weakest.
The biggest reason season 3 doesn't soar into the front place for me is that nearly every story had a drawback. First of all, I spent the start of the season frustrated with all of Buffy's friends because I don't think she got nearly enough credit for the fact that she KILLED her boyfriend to save everyone. I know they were upset that she ran away, but come on, people! (I realize they didn't know the whole Angel story at the start, but regardless, I never felt like anyone really understood the weight of that situation.)
But speaking of stories with drawbacks, the introduction of Faith was fun at first, but I quickly grew tired of her. And once she went bad? I was over it. I get the appeal of "what happens when a slayer goes bad" and why that sounds interesting, I just don't think it ... was? Maybe the problem was that I was never a huge fan of Faith, because no part of me was sad when she turned evil. (Although I did start to miss watching her and Buffy practice their synchronized slaying.)
Then there was the Xander-Willow romance, which I'll be honest, I was into at first! Because the first two seasons had spent so much time harping on just how much Willow loved Xander, it felt like it had to come to fruition at some point. And yet, after all that build up, they finally kiss and then just stop when their significant others catch them? The problem with that is that it made it seem like they were ONLY kissing because of the sneaking around aspect of it all, which cheapened it entirely and also made them seem horrible? It felt like the writers just decided they wanted a way out of that story and didn't really care how it happened.
Overall, I will say the larger downfall of season 3 — which again, I liked — was the villain. Evil mayor dude just wasn't as compelling as past villains, and I never really felt like he was a legitimate threat. I didn't dislike him, but I'm not going to remember him by the end of this binge.
Larger arcs aside, there's one smaller thing I'd like to talk about. What might that be, you ask? Oh, just how this show had Buffy and Angel, the lovebirds who already can't have sex lest he lose his soul, go on a date to WATCH A PORNO!!! For a show that loves monsters and torture, this is by far the cruelest thing it's done yet. I mean, accidentally going to see a porno isn't a great date for ANYONE, but for these two it's downright mean. Also, WHAT. Who pitched that?
Now that that's out of my system, as always, some superlatives:
Joyce's greatest moment: "When did you die? You never told me you died!"
Xander's greatest moment: "We're doing crime here. You don't sneak up during crime!"
Episode I'd least like to live inside: Anything with that creepy Balthazar, A.K.A Jabba the Hutt 2.
Best fight scene: Buffy kicking some serious butt while in hell in the premiere.
Favorite episode: The finale. I'm a sucker for everyone coming together to save the day, not to mention the fact that ANOTHER principal was eaten. (It's a good thing they blew up the school, or else they would've hired someone new.)
Alright, I'm off to see how Angel season 1 and Buffy season 4 pair together. Fingers crossed for no more pornos.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer