Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 3 Episode 1


Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Sep 29, 1998 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
654 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


It is the end of summer vacation, and Buffy is still missing. Willow, Xander, Oz, and Cordelia are attempting to keep the Sunnydale vampire population in check during Buffy's absence... with only moderate success. They miss having the Slayer around, but more than that they miss their friend. Meanwhile, Buffy has been working as a waitress in L.A., going by her middle name, Anne, and trying to forget her old life. But of course, someone always needs the Slayer's help...


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  • Anne.

    And S3 begins! I have very mixed feelings about this episode. What I really wanted to see here was a dark and gritty tale about Buffy's isolation. I wanted to see her slowly fix the emotional issues that were plaguing her from the events of "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22). I wanted this to last at least three episodes and be entirely focused on Buffy. Well, it's pretty obvious I didn't get what I wanted at all with this, but that isn't to say it's no good. On the contrary, it's a pretty solid episode with moments of genuine insight. It's just really not what I was looking for.

    The episode begins with an amusing scene back in Sunnydale where the remaining Scoobies are attempting to keep the vampire population down and hoping that Buffy returns. Oz's failed thrown stake and subsequent "that never works" always cracks me up. My problem with this scene, along with all the scenes taking place back in Sunnydale, is that they, while amusing, feel like a lightweight distraction from what I really want to see: a runaway Buffy. That story is simply too important to combine it with Cordelia and Xander worrying about their hair style.

    Anyway, I loved Buffy's dream with Angel on the beach. It shows a vision of all she truly wanted since becoming the Slayer: a nice normal boyfriend who she could spend a romantic evening on the beach with. "Buffy vs. Dracula" (5x01) shows her actually having a brief moment like this with Riley before everything quickly turns dark and rains them away. She then wakes up and we find out that she's been impressively taking care of herself in the real world. This makes it obvious that she isn't running away from 'responsibility' but rather just from being the Slayer. We can tell, though, that even through the depression Buffy is not fully hardened yet. She has taken the first step into adulthood but is still a young girl inside that basically just wants to be held. We find out later that this away-from-home experience made her realize for the first time that when it comes to Slaying she will always be alone; no one else can ever share that burder with her (until the beautiful end of the series).

    One of the few scenes in Sunnydale I thought was meaningful is the Joyce and Giles conversation. She blames him entirely for being the cause of Buffy's disappearance. They have a really important exchange which brings out the focus of this entire episode: identity. Joyce says, "I blame you. You've been this huge influence on her, guiding her. You had this whole relationship with her behind my back. I feel like you've taken her away from me." Giles responds, "I didn't make Buffy who she is." Joyce answers, "And who exactly is she?"

    During the summer, alone, Buffy has been thinking that she has two distinct parts to her being: the Slayer half and the human half. After the events of "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22) she wanted to completely rid herself of the Slayer 'half.' The problem with this, and what she ultimately realizes through helping the helpless Lily, is that she isn't two distinct halves. She is one whole which is evenly blended between the Slayer and the human. There is no separating the two. My answer to Joyce's question is that Buffy is a unique individual who posesses great strength and empathy, neither of which are completely related with the fact she is the Slayer. Being the Slayer amplifies her strength, but as we saw in a flashback during "Becoming Pt. 1" (2x21), Buffy possessed great inner strength before even knowing what being the Slayer meant.

    The first moment when Buffy realizes that being the Slayer is part of her no matter what is when she decides to help Lily. Lily tells her she doesn't know what to do; she doesn't know how to exist without relying on others. As much as I really wanted a dark and gritty Buffy story, the theme of identity works pretty well. When caputured, the demon Ken tells the two girls, "What is Hell but the total absence of hope? The substance, the tactile proof of despair." We find out quickly that Lily is at the point of this dispair, but Buffy is certainly not. A guard walks up to the new group of slaves, asking them who they are. They must reply with, "I am no one" or receive a beating. When Buffy's turn comes she puts on a perky grin and completely regains her identity by responding, "I'm Buffy. The Vampire Slayer. And you are...?" This is a fantastic "I'm back!" moment and was well earned. Also, as a bonus we get a satisfying extended fight sequence where Buffy rips apart hoards of demon guards.

    The final scene in Buffy's apartment with Lily is very intriguing. Lily gains confidence from her experience with Buffy and wants to 'become' her now previous persona, Anne. Lily still hasn't found herself yet, like Buffy hadn't while being Anne. But adopting the Anne persona makes her feel like something still with hope; someone who underneath the isolation has a lot of power and self motivation. While being Anne was a step backwards for Buffy, it proves to be a step up for Lily. This is a truly hopeful and heartwarming ending. It's also great knowing that 'Anne' will become a useful person in society when she appears on AtS.

    I wanted an extended dark and gritty tale and I got something different. Since the writers took the lighter route I'm glad they had Buffy home at the end of the episode. The darker route I wanted would have warranted multiple episodes though. Overall this is a very good episode that misses the mark in a few places.moreless
  • Glad to get back to Sunnydale


    The Good;

    Lovely to see Chantelle/Lily/Anne again. Great to see the slave rebellion. Love the long tracking shot around Sunnydale high, lovely cameo from Larry. Nice to see that Buffy can make it on her own but did anyone really doubt that she could? The gang's vamp hunting is hilarious. Terrific scenes between Giles and Joyce. The final scene when Buffy and Joyce hug is just too lovely.

    The Bad;

    Truly horrible what happens to the human slaves. Ricky's suicide is just awful

    Wheldon Cliches;

    Character death; None although Buffy still dreams of killing Angel

    Knocked out; Buffy by Ken

    Kinky dinky; Buffy as a slave but not of the sexual variety. Anne Summers is the name of a lingerie/sex toy chain in the UK.

    Reccurring actor in another role; Carlos Jacott as Ken who'll later turn up as someone different in Angel and TSSC

    Best line;

    Giles; You musn't blame yourself

    Joyce; I don't, I blame YOU. You've been this huge influence on her all these years

    Questions and observations;

    Surely a girl as attractive as Buffy could get a better job than waitress in LA? (Xander later wonders the same as he wants to know if Buffy met 'any nice pimps on her travels'?) 'Pretty Woman'? Belle du jour? Weren't Hooters or Spearmint |Rhino hiring? She's in LA, what about Playboy? (or would that mean Xander would be certain to spot her?). Ok I'm not entirely serious but honestly when did you ever see a girl as pretty as Buffy working as a waitress except in TV/Movies? (the other wise awful film 'The Last Action Hero' does a great joke on the theme). Plenty of fanfic with Buffy and indeed any or all of the Scoobygirls turning to prostitution over the years, my favourite ends with Revello Drive being turned into a high class bordello with Joyce as the madam and then eventually the same thing happening to the post-Chosen Slayer academy. Of course having now watched Dollhouse you wonder if Joss would actually be quite keen on the idea, especially after watching the scene with Eliza Dushku as a dominatrix.

    Or is Buffy just trying to lie low?

    Cordy refers to Xanders exes who are almost all demons, Preying Mantis, Mummy Girl, Dru in BBB. Xander nails his third vamp with some help from Cordy. Joyce is a sad figure in her summer alone without Buffy but at least in everyone's revised memories she has Dawn to keep her company (to judge from the comics and Dawn's chopstick story she always knew Buffy's secret). I'm always intrigued by the times the Scoobies got by without Buffy, I would love to see more on it in the comics.

    One thing that does occur to me is that the weapon used by Buffy during the slave revolt (the wonderfully named hung-munga) actually resembles a hammer and sickle at some angles. I'm sure it's just coincidence but if this were the 50s I'm sure Joss would be hauled before the un-American activities board.

    8/10 I think although that may be a little generous

  • Anne

    Anne, the first episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayers third season was a perfect start picking up a short time after season two's ending. We find Buffy now waitressing at a small diner in LA while the gang back home take up slaying duties. Buffy's Mom can hardly leave the house, and Giles is presistent in his search. Meanwhile in LA, Buffy runs into a familiar face, and soon after trouble finds her. It was interesting to watch Buffy fighting herself, who she really is. When the one demon asked, who are you?, she could not resist being herself. It was nice to see Buffy come home, and I look forward to seeing how every one reacts.moreless
  • Season 3, Episode 1.

    Buffy is still missing at the start of senior year. Xander, Willow, and Oz are fighting off vampires in the meantime. Buffy is apparently living another life as a waitress named Anne. This wasn't my favorite episode, but it was enjoyable. I kinda liked it. Ken is so weird. Lily was pretty weird too but I felt bad for her, considering her boyfriend died. Willow looks kinda weird with her haircut. I liked the long hair better. Alyson Hannigan just looks a lot better with long hair. Sarah Michelle Gellar looks awesome anyway. Cool premiere, I guess. It was enjoyable, definitely, especially the music.moreless
  • Buffy is using the epithet "Anne" as she hides from her duties as a Slayer, and later has to fight to protect the homeless. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendan, Alyson Hannigan, Charisma Carpenter, Seth Green, David Boreanaz, and Anthony Headmoreless

    The third season opener, and a good episode, but not one that i think should have opened up the season. The storyline with Buffy being Anne and the avoidance of being the slayer was amazing, and i really loved the character arc that they are putting Buffy through, and an amazing performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, however the plot of the bad of the episode, i wasn't really a fan of. It was a little predictable that Aaron (guest star Alex Toma) was the evil guy, but i did love the return of someone from the past, Lily (guest star Julia Lee). I loved that the members of the Scooby Gang are trying to dust vampires even without the help of Buffy who was crucial. The horrible attempt by the gang, like Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Xander (Nicholas Brendan), and Oz (Seth Green) was hilarious and something that the show lost in the later seasons. This was a good episode, with shocking moments, like when Angel (David Boreanaz) came back, holy crap! But the episode should've been later in the series, and not a season opener, except for a few things like the Buffy character arc, and the return of Angel, and the gang fighting vampires without Buffy. So i only don't like the plot for this single episode.moreless
James Lurie

James Lurie


Guest Star

Michael Leopard

Michael Leopard


Guest Star

Harley Zumbrum

Harley Zumbrum

Demon guard

Guest Star

Larry Bagby

Larry Bagby


Recurring Role

Kristine Sutherland

Kristine Sutherland

Joyce Summers

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • We learn that Buffy's middle name is Anne.

    • When Xander and Cordelia kiss, the music that plays is the same theme that played when they first kissed in the episode "What's My Line?" (2).

    • This is one of the few times that students other than the Scooby Gang are in the library. This became a running gag among the show's fans.

    • Goof: During Belly Love's performance at The Bronze, Xander and Willow are seen from an overhead shot. Xander's left hand is on his stomach and appears to be holding a clear plastic cup. The shot dissolves to a closer shot and Xander's left hand is now down below his waist and the cup is gone. The music plays uninterrupted indicating that the dissolve shot does not involve elapsed time.

    • Goof: In the fight scene at the end of this episode, Buffy is wearing a pair of Nike shoes. After Buffy climbs the chain to join the others, she is suddenly wearing a pair of Keds.

    • Goof: One of the high-angle shots of Buffy on the platform fighting demons reveals a camera and its crew on the left. Buffy even throws a demon in their direction.

    • Goof: When Buffy pushes the old man out of the way of the oncoming truck, you can see Buffy's stunt double's flesh colored knee pads as she rolls off the hood and onto the street.

    • Goof: When the old man steps onto the open street when Buffy is talking to Lily, at first his pant legs are hiked up enough to show off his boots, then down to cover a different pair of shoes, then up again, then down again.

    • Goof: When Buffy is fighting all the demon guards on the platform, you can see not one, but many safety mats for them to land on in the background all around where they are being knocked off.

  • QUOTES (18)

    • Willow: You came to visit me... you came with books? Are they books for me?
      Oz: Well, actually, they're kind of for me.
      Willow: I don't get it.
      Oz: Well, it's sort of a funny story. You remember when I didn't graduate?
      Willow: Well, I know you had a lot of incompletes, but that's what summer school was for.
      Oz: Yeah, well, you remember when I didn't go?

    • Giles: I mean, you know, I appreciate your efforts to keep the vampire population down until Buffy returns, but if anything should happen to you, or you... should be killed, I should take it somewhat amiss.
      Willow: You'd be cranky?
      Giles: Entirely.

    • Ken: (to Buffy) You've got guts. I think I'd like to slice you open and play with them.

    • Buffy: I don't want any trouble. I just want to be alone and quiet in a room with a chair and a fireplace and a tea cozy. I don't even know what a tea cozy is, but I want one. Instead, I keep getting trouble, which I am more than willing to share.

    • Buffy: So, probably go faster if we split up.
      Lily: Can I come with you?
      Buffy: Okay, where did I lose you on the whole splitting up thing?

    • Xander: Yeah, the slaying isn't getting any easier, either.
      Oz: I don't know, I think we're kinda getting a rhythm down.
      Xander: We're losing half the vamps.
      Oz: Yeah, but... rhythmically.

    • Lily: Chantarelle was part of my exotic phase.
      Buffy: It's nice. It's a mushroom.
      Lily: It is? That's really embarrassing.
      Buffy: Well, it's an exotic mushroom, if that's any comfort.

    • Willow: I'm trying to get to cute, really, but I'm still sort of stuck on strange.
      Oz: Well, I'd be willing to bargain down to eccentric, with an option on cool.

    • Cordelia: Las Palmas was a nightmare resort. They order you around, and make you have organized "fun". And I use sarcastic quote marks. Plus the fact, there are cockroaches in Mexico big enough to own property.

    • Xander: I can't wait to see Cordelia! I can't believe I can't wait to see Cordelia.
      Willow: I wonder what our first homework assignment's going to be! Hey, you're excited over Cordelia, okay? We've all got issues.

    • Buffy: Hey, Ken, wanna see my impression of Gandhi?
      (She brings her weapon down on Ken's head, killing him)
      Lily: Gandhi?
      Buffy: Well, you know, if he was really pissed off.

    • Guard: Who are you?
      Buffy: I'm Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and you are?

    • Larry: This is our year, I'm telling you. Best football season ever. I'm so in shape, I'm a rock. It's all about egg whites. If we can focus, keep discipline, and not have quite so many mysterious deaths, Sunnydale is gonna rule!

    • Buffy: Stay with me.
      Angel: Forever. That's the whole point. I'll never leave. Not even if you kill me.

    • Xander: Okay, and the, uh, second problem I'm having... 'Come and get it, Big Boy'?
      Willow: Well... W-well, the Slayer always says a pun or-or a witty play on words, and I think it throws the vampires off, and, and it makes them *frightened* because I'm wisecracking. Okay, I didn't really have a chance to work on that one, but you try it every time.
      Oz: Uh, if I may suggest, 'This time it's personal.' I mean, there's a reason why it's a classic.

    • Buffy: I woke up one morning and was all.. 'Hey, I need to change!' I'm just so bad, what with all the sex, and the envy... Oh I just suck at undercover.

    • Cordelia: What's the plan?
      Xander: The vampire attacks you.
      Cordelia: And then what?
      Xander: The vampire kills you. We watch, we rejoice.

    • Willow the Vampire Slayer: That's right Big Boy. Come and get it.

  • NOTES (9)


    • This may be a visual play on the spirit of workers rising up against their oppressors; Buffy actually uses the symbols from the old flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as real weapons. This is a very powerful image which brings others to mind, such as the union sign scene from the film Norma Rae and propaganda posters from the days of the Cultural Revolution/Cold War.

    • Diner Name: Helen's Kitchen

      The name of the diner where Buffy works while in L.A., Helen's Kitchen, is probably a reference to Hell's Kitchen, the famous grimy-n-gritty section of New York. It's also fitting for the episode's theme, as Ken takes Buffy and Lily into a hell dimension.

    • Oz: If I can suggest: 'This time it's personal'? I mean, there's a reason it's a classic. Oz quotes a little Jaws: The Revenge, the fourth and final Jaws film released in 1987, when the gang is in dire need of some snappy quips with the absence of the ever-witty Buffy.

    • Rickie: How much can we afford with this much?

      In the film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer David Arquette and Luke Perry did a very similar scene, where the boys dumped out their coins and asked the waitress what they could afford.

    • Buffy: Wanna see my impression of Gandhi?
      Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) also known as Mahatma, was a revolutionary leader in promoting religious tolerance and self-rule in India. His efforts led to the independence of India from Britain in 1947. While he may have be "really pissed off" he is most known for his non-violent approach.

    • Buffy: We've gone public.

      Normally a person goes public, making something formerly a secret generally known, willingly. Here Buffy uses the expression to refer to the fact that their rebellion is now widely known.

    • Xander: Look, I don't mean to poop the party here...

      A play on the expression party pooper. A party pooper is a person who ruins everyone's fun at a party by not having fun themselves. It's grown to mean anyone who squelches another person's enthusiasm.

    • Xander: So you guys might want to duck and cover.

      Likely a reference to the war survival movies of the 50s. Students were instructed to duck and cover, kneel on the ground with their hands over their heads, in the event of an bombing. In retrospect, it seems like a rather unlikely way to survive a nuclear blast. Given that the show is set in California, this could also be a reference to a school taught earthquake drill.