Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 3 Episode 2

Dead Man's Party

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Oct 06, 1998 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (31)

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  • Buffy the vampire slayer

    It's a good episode
  • Dead Man's Party

    This episode has two distinct halves to it, one which is great and the other which is poor. The first half is dealing with the unresolved issues from Buffy skipping town in "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22). The second half is a somewhat poorly done zombie plot that seems to happen right when important dialog is about to be said. I can't help but feel cheated by the fact that all is forgiven just because they killed some zombies together. This is a cheap way out of having to find real solutions to the problems everyone has with Buffy taking off and not telling anyone. There are a few really powerful scenes, though, which help elevate this a bit beyond failure.

    The episode begins with Joyce telling Buffy she wants to put this whole mess behind them, which we find out later isn't that easy. The group's initial reaction to suddenly seeing Buffy back is perfect: they all looked kind of dazed and confused. None of their reactions can compare with the beautiful piece of subtle acting by Anthony Stewart Head when Giles, alone in his kitchen, gives us a potent emotional sense of happiness and relief just by his expressions. This is possibly one of my favorite "small moments" in the entire series.

    I was very pleased to see that it isn't going to be too easy for Buffy to get back into school. I do, however, love Giles' pressuring of Snyder at the end. I have some real issues with some of the characters' reactions though. First of all, while I can buy that the group has issues with how Buffy took off, they seem to be overdoing the anger and not at all understanding what she went through. This seems a tad out of character, especially Willow being so avoidy. However, the scene between Buffy and Willow in Buffy's bedroom helps exlpain why she feels the way she does and is quite touching.

    While walking around the stupid party she didn't even want, Buffy understandably gets the impression that everyone is ignoring her and would prefer she not even be there. She hears a guy say the party is for a "chick on rehab." Joyce even says that things were in some ways better before Buffy came back. I could feel Buffy's sadness and can understand why she nearly took off again. This leads to the big confrontation downstairs where Joyce and most of the Scoobies all start attacking Buffy for leaving without telling anyone. The group should be more understanding of what Buffy went through! I agree that she should have left some indication that she was at least 'okay,' but poor Buffy! It's great to see that at least Joyce admits she made a mistake when she gave the ultimatum to Buffy in "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22).

    It's here when the zombies come literally crashing in and ruin the rest of the episode. These guys are hokey, boring, and completely spoil the incredibly important argument that was being had. So the final verdict is that I loved most of the scenes dealing with Buffy's return and really disliked all the zombie stuff. I would have been perfectly content if there was no supernatural threat. Overall it's an 'okay' episode at best.
  • Good but not brilliant

    Dead Man's Party

    The Good;

    Cordy's outfit, Buffy's homecoming. Joyce's friend Pat. Jonathon. The attack of the undead, another Sunnydale High cheerleader seemingly amongst them. Giles's 'Americans' line and his hotwiring the car. Oz's party definitions. 'Ripper' threatening Snyder

    The Bad;

    Before Giles arrives the house is full of zombies, after he gets there they all disappear? Also would Joyce really choose to hang that horrible mask in the bedroom, even if it is art?

    Best line;

    Oz; "And a hootenany. Well that's chock full of hoot. With just a little bit of nanny" (How effortlessly cool is Seth Green in this scene?)

    Whedon Cliches;

    Character death; So long Pat, we hardly knew you. But at least the actress goes on to be Earl's mum in 'My Name is Earl'

    Tied up; none although when Xander says he's tied up tomorrow Cordy says 'You wish'??????

    Kinky dinky; Buffy is aghast that Joyce wants her to go to private school where she'll have to wear a schoolgirl's uniform. Well it worked for Britney. Cordy says that Xander turned her on with the whole 'Nighthawk' vamphunter look (she also seemed to like him in his army gear in Halloween) Her party dress has to be seen to be believed. Also see 'Tied Up'

    Calling Captain Subtext; this time it's Oz and Cordy who end up in the closet together

    Questions and observations;

    So where is Dawn in all of this? Snyder advises Buffy to get a job in fast food which she eventually does. The confrontation between Joyce and Buffy is really long overdue and Joyce really does have a point. Willow is studying to be witch. Jonathon gets in on the demon fighting for the first time as do Joyce and Devon. After this it's business as usual and we're glad to get back to the status quo in Sunnydale. Joyce's tipple is schnapps and she has a book club (which she later attends in season 5). She also skis to judge by the weapons Oz and Cordy use in the closet. Xander calls himself Nighthawk on patrol, they seem to be pretty good at the vamp staking, having killed at least 6. I'd love to see if they handled any other supernatural threats during the summer. The Mayor is mentioned again and the first appearance of the Expresso Pump. Cordy refers to Buffy as a freak but she'll later become one herself on Angel. Presumably the Watcher's Council used their influence to help get Buffy back in school (see also Checkpoint). Willow is still practicing witchcraft and growing more proficient.

    6/10, good but not brilliant

  • I think I know what they were going for, but it just fell far short.

    Its kind of like Marvel's Civil War - the side that has the better argument is acting so contemptuously and demonstrating so many of their worst in-character traits that you find yourself rooting for the side that actually is wrong. Yes, Buffy should not have run off, left the Slaying to the Normal Scoobies, and stayed out of touch for three months. But to use a military analogy, Buffy deserved to be napalmed, but instead she was nuked. Xander and Willow briefly became the characters they would become in later seasons, shrill caricatures that knew how to lecture. Joyce briefly became the flaky idiot of S1. I don't think she had a lower moment than when she casually dodged Buffy's pointing out that Joyce's ultimatum played a role in Buffy leaving. 'Mommy's Not Perfect' is so shallow a thing it rings in my ears years later.

    Let's not forget Willow, who could have calmed things down when she found Buffy packing, but instead ratted her out. If one wants to see where the Xander who left Anya at the altar and the Willow who made snarky threats while trying to kill her friends came from, lookie here.

    Looking back, maybe this firestorm was needed, but I will still remember this as the episode they cornered someone who couldn't fight back without hurting them and used that against her. All the traits that normally endear the Scoobies made me want to see them turned into Scoobie Snacks. Oh, and Joyce? Next time you make casual friends, tell them that you can lecture your daughter, but they can't? If her pal from the book club had been an old family friend, that's one thing. But you've empowered a complete stranger to talk trash in a situation she knows nothing about. Worst ep in the best season.
  • Dead Man's Party

    Dead Man's Party was a great episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayers third season. This was a fun episode centering around Buffy's return and every one reacts in their own way. The Gang were on patrol when Buffy found them and it was funny. Buffy's mom Joyce was very mature in handling Buffy's return and she was great in this episode. The sub story in this episode was about Zombies which was cool. The writers keep things original and unique, yet familiar and cliche however cliches are so for a reason, and making fun of them is fun too. The characters are all engaging and relatable.
  • Season 3, Episode 2.

    Buffy has returned to Sunnydale, and her friends secretly resent her for leaving. However, she is no longer wanted for murder, but returns just in time for some zombies to rise from the dead.

    I liked when Buffy met with Xander again, and then Willow, Oz, and Cordelia all came. Principal Snyder is unbelievable. I can't believe Willow stood Buffy up! I highly doubt that she got held up. I liked seeing Buffy wander through Sunnydale High. Plus, the sexy David Boreanaz was in this episode, which is always good. :) Things are moving a little slow so far this season, though. Decent episode.
  • Oz: Well, a gathering is brie, mellow song stylings; shindig: dip, less mellow song stylings, perhaps a large amount of malt beverage; and hootenanny, well, it's chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.

    So, Buffy is not quite greeted with open arms upon her return to Sunnydale. I love how she interrupts the group slayage to get the job done. Then the lukewarm reaction that she is faced with as the gang doesn't know how to deal with her presence. The party is a good culmination of everyone's feelings and Xander and Cordelia are hilarious with the whole nighthawk thing together. Willow and Oz continue to be very cute in this episode as well. I love the confrontation that begins when Willow sees Buffy packing and calls her out on her behavior and how everyone's life is hard, not just her own. Then Joyce gets into the mix just as a group of zombies attack the group. The fighting scene that ensues is really funny and everyone does their part to fend of the enemy.
  • Certainly not the best episode in terms of the demonic element, but it's a good second installment in a third series that needed to follow 'Anne'.

    Marti Noxon does her stuff here in terms of some great one-liners and repartee. She also manages to get over the difficulty of the transition from 'Buffy killed Angel and left' to 'Buffy's home' with the 'her mother and friends don't know what to do about it'.

    The zombie mask stuff is much secondary to the need to get Buffy back into the series. The fight sequences at Buffy's place are almost unnecessary - and for a single mum who has been struggling to keep everything together, Joyce must be mightily sick of shelling out for new front doors and windows!

    The highlights are the comedic moments - pointy sticks, the Hellmouth petting zoo, 'MOOOOOM!' and all that good stuff. But it also has some very poignant scenes. Tony Head in the kitchen as Giles taking off his glasses and just having a moment of relief and emotion because Buffy's returned; the inability of Buffy's friends to respond properly to her coming back; Joyce being afraid she's going to leave again.

    So although it does have a credible threat with the zombies, it's really a character piece, pulling together all the threads that had unravelled since the events of the end of season two. Not an easy task whilst trying to write a complete episode that will still entertain.
  • Okay, Who Invitied The Zombies?

    Dead Man's Party-Buffy returns home, but finds that picking up the pieces of the life she left behind may not be as easy as she had hoped. Her mother is trying to accept her back with open arms, but she doesn't seem to trust that Buffy won't just run away again. Her friends seem happy to see her, but their odd behavior makes it appear that they silently resent Buffy for taking off. And, of course, before these problems can be laid to rest, the dead of Sunnydale start to rise.

    An episode that has the writers making fun of the series by taking a ridiculous storyline and making it quite hilarious. The episode is pretty dramatic with all the characters dealing with Buffy's return home and the exotic mask-zombie plot pretty much being almost irrelevant. First, the scene of Buffy reuniting with her friends ifs hilarious as she finds out they have a sting operation of killing vampires, not to mention her reaction to Xander's codename "Nighthawk". But there are also some serious issues like Giles being very protective of Buffy while Willow avoids Buffy as she is angry at Buffy for not being there when she needed to talk to someone. Joyce is also overwhelmed and almost believes Buffy's return made the situation worse. The whole confrontation during Buffy's welcome home party is great as everyone finally gets their issues out about how Buffy's decision effected them. But what's turns out to be a dramatic scene turns to a chaotic comedy as the whole house is attacked by zombies.

    The first time viewers say Joyce hanging that mask it was too obvious that it would lead to something evil and the way the writers set it up as cheesy horror movie is too funny. I loved how Giles makes fun of Americans as their to stupid to know when exotic artifacts leads to danger. I especially loved how Pat, Joyce's bookclub friend, dies and ends of becoming the zombie king. It's just too hilarious how the writers set up such a harmless yet annoying character to become the villian in the end. But it does lead to stunning special effects as Buffy stabs Pat in the eyes with the shovel. But what great about the episode is how after the events of the zombie invasion, the group comes back together because they are reminded how they work so well together when in times of crisis. All and All, a clever episode with hilarious scenes, great drama, and cool zombies.
  • Just a horrible mess.

    With Buffy realizing slaying can't be avoided and that she needs to go home in the last episode, this episode seeks to reintegrate her with her friends, while addressing several unresolved personal issues between them. Meanwhile, a random zombie invasion begins thanks to an artifact Joyce collected from her work at the gallery, which must pay really well to afford all the reconstruction the Summers' household takes throughout the series run. Put them together and you get possibly the worst episode of the season.

    As said in the last review, the beginnings of the Mutant Enemy seasons tend to be lacking the bang of its conclusions. "Anne" was a mediocre beginning, but this one is just plain bad. Unlike many of the other subpar episodes from this period, this one is tied into the overall story and can't be dismissed as a self-contained episode. One could wonder if this episode could've been ignored and had the action go straight to "Faith, Hope and Trick", but it wouldn't have been right not to tackle the reunion between Buffy and her friends.

    The overall plot of this episode is inherently flawed. Why would Buffy's friends think it was even close to a good idea to have a welcome home party for her? It's not like Buffy spent a semester studying abroad or something. She bolted from Sunnydale when her life collapsed. Anything more elaborate than a quiet get together with only Buffy's closest friends is inappropriate.

    This contrivance ultimately leads to the confrontation between Buffy and her friends and mother. While it could've been played to make everyone else's side reasonable, but instead, they act like total jerks. Instead of being upset that Buffy didn't turn to them for help following the end of season two, they make it seem like what she did to them was a worse than all the bad stuff that happened to her, which is the wrong way to read it. By choosing the latter, the story gets too melodramatic. Who thought it was a good idea for the central characters to express themselves that loudly in front of a crowded room of strangers? It's like something you'd see on a daytime TV talk show. At least Oz shows some discretion.

    Then came the zombies. Generally episodes focused on stock horror characters (Frankenstein's monster, mummy, sea monsters) tend to be lackluster. While I like a good zombie story, the zombie analogy fitting into the episode's story is at best forced. Even past efforts to bring in the greatest hits of horror had some tangible connection to what was going on in the episode. They barge in on the confrontation towards the end of the episode, making those theatrics more or less irrelevant. Perhaps it would've been better to have the mask serve as a metaphor for the façade Buffy's putting on to keep people from knowing what she's really feeling.

    While this has little to do with the overall story, one part got too far under my skin to ignore. Just what is a dead cat doing on top of that shelf with the nice plates in Buffy's basement? It may be a minor nitpick, but in a better episode it would be easier to ignore. If Buffy's house was really old, dirty or decrepit like some of the demon hideouts, it would make sense, but this doesn't whatsoever.

    The one redeeming element of the episode involved Giles provoking Snyder to reenroll Buffy at Sunnydale High. "Becoming, Part 2" hinted at ulterior methods behind getting Buffy out of school going to the Mayor. However, Snyder is quite the pushover, and we know Giles has a dark side that wouldn't hesitate to make good on his threat.

    Overall, this episode is a mess and the worst episode in some time. The elements don't gel at all. The major conflict among Buffy and her friends gets way overblown, making the resolution far too convenient. Also, the zombie subplot serves only as a distraction as it doesn't fit into the emotional story of the episode. However, like the previous episode, it's easily forgivable considering where this season will go.
  • This episode was really scary.

    This was a very good episode.

    Well the main story behind the first three episodes was Buffy came back to Sunnydale.

    Now we saw no judgement on her for leaving when she came back, no one talked about it, everyone acted as if it did not happen.

    Now in this episode this all changes.
    The reactions for her reurn explodes in her face as she tries to escape again but then a whole army of zombies attak her house while she was in her welcome back party which ended in Buffy having to fight with her mom and friends.

    The episode is very fun to watch.

    At a point you feel sorry for Buffy for being blamed so much for leaving.

    The zombie scenes were very scary. Horror in all its elements. The way everyone worked in a team was very good.

    The storyline was cleverly written yet not the best they have made.

    The acting of Sarah Michelle Gellar was filled with emotion.
    She really showed pain and guilt when she was fightig her mom and friends in the end.

    Very good episode.
    Kept me on the edge of my seat.

  • Buffy comes back, but are her friends ready for her?

    I like this episode for a bunch of reasons. First and foremost is Joyce. Joyce had her ups and downs during the show, but I feel season 3 was pretty strong for her. When she was on, she was on. I love the scene with Joyce, Buffy, and the dead cat, because Joyce always seems like the disconnected parent who doesn't really get things but here she's very insightful and caring, as compared to Buffy who offers "thanks for stopping by and dying" as her eulogy :).

    There is also the matter of people reconnecting with Buffy. This helps the series because it shows that everything isn't always going to be perfect with the gang but that they can deal. However, I feel some of the characters are off in their reactions. Joyce, for instance, told Buffy to never come back if she left -- I know parents say this sometimes out of anger and frustration and don't actually mean it . . . but for her to say it, be concerned about Buffy's whereabouts, blame Giles for Buffy running away, and then get mad at Buffy when she has trouble fitting back in, seems illogical. Then again, parents usually are.

    A special bonus point goes to Giles for "'Oh, look at my mask, isn't it pretty? It raises the dead!' Americans."
  • Don't you like anything that's alive?

    I really enjoyed this episode. Buffy returns from her "trip". She is no longer wanted for murder, she and her mom have strted their road to forgiveness, Joyce has a new, very strange friend, and the gang is unsure of how to act. Joyce has brought hom a tribal mask which, unbeknownst to them, has powers to bring the dead alive. Buffy is going to have a quiet dinner with her friends to celebrate her homecoming, at least that's what she thought. The gang, uneasy and unsure about being around Buffy, makes the party into a full-blown 'hootenanny'. Everyone is awkward and Buffy overhear her friends and mother badmouth her. Joyc's friend even gets her to admit that things might be better if Buffy hadn't come back. Upon hearing her best friends say these things, Buffy decides to leave to make everyone's life easier. She is caught and a fight erupts. Everyone is airing their dirty laudry and their true feeligns about what had happened. Their blow-out is interrupted by a ton of zombies, who are attracted to the mask. The gang has to fight them off,which ultimately leads to forgiveness and the ability to come back together. All in all, a very good episode. It is an important one to see.
  • This was like "When She Was Bad" again.

    So Buffy's back in Sunnydale after running away and things aren't looking to good. This was such a dull episode it was like the same as Buffy's return to Sunnydale in "When She Was Bad" only with the gang being the b*tches and not Buffy.

    It was obvious that things between Joyce and Buffy were going to be difficult but it was too difficult. I loved them burying the cat together that was an interesting scene at least. You could feel that vibe that they had going for them and it was not good. Joyce having the knowledge of Buffy's calling and watching her adjust to things was awful.

    Willow and Xander were being horrible to Buffy throughout too. They had reasons to be mad that Buffy ran off like that but Buffy did have good reason to take off and they we're going to let her live it down and it was annoying to see Willow so whiney.

    That whole fight that they were all getting into before the zombies showed up really was something that should have happened sooner.

    Buffy about to run away again was stupid because you knew that in the end she would stay. Giles mimicking Joyce was hilarious. It's always a good laugh to see Giles making fun of Americans.

    This episode was drawn out for way too long. Everything that happened could have been settled in a few minutes and the writers drug it out for 40. It was decent but the best parts were mostly the dead cat and Giles making fun of Joyce.
  • Buffy is getting the cold shoulder, and oh yeah some zombies show up

    Favorite Quotes:
    Oz: We should figure out what kinda deal this is. I mean, is it a gathering, a shindig or a hootenanny? Cordelia: What's the difference? Oz: Well, a gathering is brie, mellow song stylings; shindig: dip, less mellow song stylings, perhaps a large amount of malt beverage; and hootenanny, well, it's chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.

    Buffy is having a hard time back at home. Her friends and her Mother are distant with her. Her friends decide to throw her a party, along with her Mother and it gets a bit out of hand. Seems Joyce has a mask hanging in her room that raises the dead. Fortunately, the scoobies are able to work out their differences (while fighting the zombies) and welcome Buffy back properly.
  • Buffy comes back after abruptly leaving Sunnydale following her slaying of lover, Angel. Her friends and family aren't quite sure how to deal with her. Some zombies show them the way.

    The major problem this episode has isn't actually in this episode. Back in the season two premier, Buffy returns from a summer in LA a changed woman. She had apparently been dealing with her temporary death all summer, and it made her cold and uncaring. This is somewhat understandible. But, it makes me wonder if the writers had decided on killing Angel yet, because, following this action, Buffy once again leaves town for the summer and comes back a changed woman. Now in this situation, I can understand Buffy's actions a little more. She killed the man she loved, and that'll really way down on you. But, because Buffy had already done the whole leave-town-and-not-talk-to-anyone-then-come-back-emotionally-scarred routine, this just feels like a retreading of an old path. If this hadn't already happened, then this episode would be much, much better. As it stands, it's a real sore thumb on the hand of the show's best season.

    The real saving grace of the episode is Nicholas Brendon, and his fantastic work as Xander. Xander's anger isn't something that comes out a lot, but when it does, Brendon always pulls it off fantastically, really giving the character a third demension. It would be very easy to just write and play Xander as the wise-cracking friend, but instead, he's a very real person who isn't always about the jokes. Xander's wit can be just as biting as it is funny when he really wants it to be, and that really comes across in this episode.
  • Buffy returns to Sunnydale.

    After her little run away trip to Los Angeles Buffy returns to Sunnydale and attempted to pick her life back up where she left off. However, she finds it is no so simple. Her friends all still hold some resentment to her for bailing so adruptly, her mother and Giles still hold some ill will against her for being so irresponsible, and walking back into school and slaying is a little complicated as well. But as usual the undead of Sunnydale care not for such trivial problems and manage to rise in spite of them, putting such troubles and problems in some much needed perspective.
  • The slayer is back and she is face with zombies

    Buffy is eager to just settle in to how things used to be before she left. She doesn't quite seem to undesrtand that all her friend's were affected by her departure as well as her.

    Willo, Oz and Xander organise a welcome home party for Buffy and Cordy brings the dip. It was all a nice idea but it had a negative effect on Buffy when she saw a group of people that she didn't even know turn up at her house.

    Joyce's art is causing problems again, this time its a Nigerian mask which is raising the dead. The battle against the zombies awakens Buffy to sense and she soon realises that she can't run from her problems forever.
  • Another episode where the character development is more important than the monsterstory. Whereas Anne dealed with Buffy's character this episode shows development of the rest of the gang.

    This episode continues from Anne, developing the right circumstances to go on with the series.

    Buffy is back in Sunnydale and has trouble fitting back in. She feels disconnected from her friends and her mother doesn't trust her.
    The Scoobies have some trouble facing Buffy aswell and rather than having a small get together they organise a big welcome home party for Buffy.
    The party is rudely desturbed by zombies, raised by a Nigerian (?) mask Joyce brought home. But it turns out it is this disturbance and the resulting fight that seem to bring the friends back together.

    I am glad this episode showed the awkwardness that one would expect if a loved one returns after having run away. The unwillingness to just forgive Buffy that easily shows that the characters are getting stronger.

    We also learn that Willow has been going through quite something over the summer, continuing studying the dark arts and is even performing them herself.

    Giles really gave a brilliant performance in this episode. He's growing from a background character into a real one. Him standing up to principal Sneyder was superb!
  • Buffy is struggling with fitting back in after her return, her friends throw her a big party...oh, and zombies attack.

    This episode begins comical but quickly tailspins into atrocious. The emotional angst between Buffy, her mom, and her friends is extremely well written, but that is where the good writing ends with this episode.

    I like a good zombie flick as much as the next guy, but evidently Marti Noxon, who wrote this episode, was not satisfied with just zombies. So she added a zombie cat and a demon with an eye problem. On top of that, this episode reminded me far too much of a Jim Carrey movie (bonus points if you can guess which movie).

    There is such rich cinematic material about zombies, and I would have thought Buffy the Vampire Slayer would have utilized zombies much better than they did in this disappointing episode. Not even the great dynamic between Buffy and her friends is going to help this episode get a better rating than 4 out of 10. Xander seemed far too mean-spirited.

    -Matthew Miller
    Find this review and more at tv.swingthesickle.com
  • Welcome home Buffy...

    So Buffy’s Sunnydale return is quite what she was expecting. Her mom doesn’t trust her now that she has run away once. The scoobies are happy to have her back but don’t quite understand why she ran. The gang decides that the perfect welcome back would be to have a big party for Buffy, now only if they could decide if it is a shindig, a gathering or a hootennanny. The party is going well and Buffy comments that there are a lot of people that she didn’t even know who seemed happy that she was back. Oz’s bad Dingo’s Ate my Baby play at the party. Of course it wouldn’t be a Sunnydale party without something undead, this time it is zombies. Joyce brought home some stuff from her gallery and one of the things happens to be a mask that has the power to bring back the dead. When Giles finds out about this he is less then happy. With Buffy back the day is saved and even Joyce seems to relax just a bit about Buffy’s slaying.
  • yay zombies ugh bad episode

    one of the worst episodes of the third season and that is saying something!
    the season began well but this episode is just boring. the only good thing about it were the zombies. it was slow and all the characters were annoying. the episode could have ben taken out anad nobody would miss it as it is just a waste of space and time.

    i wish the writers would do something more serious and scary. this episode was just very annoying.
  • The Zombie Party Boogie Show

    I see Dead Man's Party as one of the most underrated episodes from season three. Yes, the zombies are lame. Yes, the Nigerian mask is lame. But what I love about this episode is the fact that the writers obviously know this storyline is lame. In complete Scooby-Doo logic, Joyce hangs up an ancient creepy-looking mask in the Summers household, and it's totally non-surprising that it unleashes a ton of monsters. In a lesser show, this would have been played completely serious, but in the hands of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they fully acknowledge that there is no logic to this storyline, and that it's just plain entertaining.

    Of the characters, Joyce really impressed me the most here. Her discovery of Buffy's abilities has made her better as a character, and given her a lot more depth. She's also become one tough cookie. Not just in the fact that she easily defended herself against a plague of zombies, but can easily defend herself verbally, in particular her "rodent man" speech on Principal Snyder.

    I also loved how your sympathy was with Buffy for at least the first half of the episode, but it quickly changed round to Willow soon after. Buffy's plight was that she was essentially being ignored by her friends, and treated as the bad guy, making Willow and Xander the real bad guys in the audience's eyes. But Willow's dialogue in the bedroom scene was completely heartbreaking; as she told Buffy how worried she was when she ran off to LA, and how she needed a friend around as she was going through so many personal changes. It shows how intelligent the writers are to give us a lead character like Buffy who is as sympathetic as they are flawed.

    Though many see this as another tedious mess at the start of season three, I really loved this episode. The budget increase really shows here (especially in the set-piece-heavy action scene toward the end), and the zombie attack scenes are excellent, despite the corny deus ex machina which got them into the show.

    Director: James Whitmore Jr
    Writer: Marti Noxon
    Rating: B
  • Buffy's return to the Scooby-fold isn't a smooth as she had hoped. Even Joyce isn't sure how to react to her return.

    An average, 'let's deal with Buffy's runaway thing so we can get on with the season' episode. It's hightened by some good writing, including the gang's 'welcome home Buffy' party-planning discussion; Pat- Joyce's new and cloying friend; and of course the blow out where all of the resentments toward Buffy for running away come out into the open.

    The best scene of the whole episode, however, had to be near the end between Willow and Buffy. Willow tries to be understanding of what Buffy was going through and it devolves into a playful banter/insult situation that let's us know that their friendship is going to be just fine.

    Willow: It's okay. I understand you having to bail. I can forgive that. I have to make allowances for what you're going through a-and be a grownup about it. (gives Buffy a slightly smug look)

    Buffy: (smiles) You're really enjoying this whole moral superiority thing, aren't you?

    Willow: (grins widely) It's like a drug!
  • Pretty good episode, but has one thing I Hate about the series.

    This episode was a good one, but there is something about Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a show, that I don\'t like, and it is present in this episode.

    Buffy has just returend to Sunnydale after running away. The gang starts verbally fighting about their feelings, then, just when they had to deal with all these issues, zombies crash the party. Then they are fine after they destroy the baddie...

    That happens several times through out the series, when the characters are hitting a pivotal point (usually when they are fighting), instead of having them deal with it, the writers just send in a baddie.

    Also, there are several episodes that might have been better without a bad guy to fight (this one, and \"The Body\" 5x16 come to mind all the time).

    Of course, in season 6 we do find out what happens when the baddies don\'t make the scoobies become friends again.
  • 'Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty? It raises the dead. Americans!

    ‘Dead Man’s Party’ is my second least favourite so far.
    But Buffy never completely fails.
    This episode had some of Sarah’s best performances in the early seasons, also the zombies were wicked cool.
    The painful scenes where the lame party that damage the episode and keep it from being as good as it could and should have been.

    The episodes begins with Buffy being back, her mom has primitive art (some creepy mask) which is already the first clue of what’s coming.

    Anyway, Buffy goes out to find her friends and she finds them killing a vampire, well at least trying.

    They go to Giles and asks Buffy a bunch of questions, but Buffy already begins to notice that her friends are a little avoid-y.
    When she asks Willow to do something the next day, she doesn’t show up.

    Giles really stood out in this episode btw, with his zombie scenes and making Snyder to accept Buffy back into the school. Unlike the other characters, he wasn’t irritating throughout.

    Anyway, back to the episode. When Buffy organizes a ‘welcome home’ party. It doesn’t turn out to be the way she hoped for, the band comes an a bunch of other people who don’t even know her.

    Meanwhile the primitive mask is bringing back the dead, first a stray cat that Buffy found dead in the attic and then a bunch of other people.

    Meanwhile in the party, Buffy gets the impression that her friends were doing better without her and even her mom. She decides to leave again but is then caught by Willow and Joyce, who makes a big scene. Sarah’s acting was really good in this episode and that’s definitely one of the reasons why it was so good. She fights with Xander specially who was getting a little on my nerves, it wasn’t the Xander we all loved. But they did have a point, Buffy made a bad decision but they were too harsh on her.

    Meanwhile the dead people attack the house and start killing everybody, the zombies are after the mask and when Joyce’s friend Patty gets killed she is in the same room Willow, Xander and Joyce are and grabs the mask. She does some flashes with her eyes and Buffy figures it out rather quickly, she kills the zombie god by stabbing it in the eyes.

    This whole episode had some very well written moments but also some less,
    All in all, the episode didn’t use it’s full potential but it still wasn’t near bad.

    I loved the Buffy dream with Angel, but it was getting a little tiresome and it was about time to bring back Angel to live or to get over him.

    This was a good second episode but not one of the show's highlights.
  • "You can’t just bury stuff Buffy, it’ll come right back up to getcha" - Xander

    When Buffy came back from the summer in between Seasons 1 and 2, all annoyed at having been killed by the Master, her friends were supportive and totally there for her. Now, their umbrage at her disappearance, causing them to have to step into her shoes to slay, makes Buffy infer that she is no longer needed. Joyce has the very annoying neighbour Pat, Willow and Xander have their honeys and even Giles has his books for company. The point is made at the party – she is the guest of honour, but nobody wants to talk to her. The drama of this episode is excellent, with Buffy still upset about her summer and having to kill Angel and doesn’t understand why her friends are behaving as they do, whereas they don’t understand why she doesn’t understand their annoyance with her.

    Buffy’s side of the story is portrayed in her dream where she is back at school but doesn’t know where her friends are, she can only find Angel; she hasn’t dealt with the fact she killed her boyfriend and doesn’t think her friends would be able to either. Joss et al are still putting Buffy through the ringer. Willow may have wished that Buffy could just turn up like nothing had happened, but she’s not yet witch enough to make this happen – there’s gotta be some more pain.

    Unfortunately the action isn’t up to the drama’s standard. Joyce “borrows” an evil artefact from her gallery, which is hardly in character. I suppose it was only a matter of time before they did a Joyce work story. Her professional life becomes more involved in hers and Buffy’s private life just as Buffy’s profession is now out in the open, with Joyce becoming more involved in it, even if she is still using the lesbian metaphor (worrying if calling Buffy a ‘superhero’ is offensive). Joyce making up for her attitude to Buffy’s calling at the end of S2 by chewing out Snyder in this episode is nice to see. However the demon mask as a metaphor isn’t clever or clear enough – is Buffy wearing a mask to avoid talking about the truth? Or is it that she, like the uninvited party guests, is a walking zombie who needs reanimating? Whichever way, the mask’s glowy eyes and spooky music become irritating after the 5th time.

    What is interesting, however, is that Buffy can only confront her problems in the darkness. The scene where Willow fails to meet Buffy at the (new!) Espresso Pump is very brightly lit. Buffy waits, awkward, unsure. At the meeting with Snyder at school, she sits very quietly and unassertively. It’s only at night that she can confront her (and everyone else’s) demons and do what she is good at. She changes from not knowing what to do to knowing exactly what she must do; she spades the Pat-demon without having to be told how - the Rear Window-esque eye flashes giving her the clue.

    The gang should’ve known better than to throw a party - BTVS parties, whether hootenannies or shindigs, always end in disaster (zombies being metaphors for bad party guests?) although it’s good to see Jonathan and Devon there, and isn’t that one of the Zeppo zombies that Xander tosses out of the window?

    What of the other characters? When bumping into Xander on her return home, Buffy thinks he’s a bad guy – a far cry from the bumbling Xand of series 1 and 2. Willow is now confident enough to remind Buffy that life is not all about her – she is upset with Buffy because she wanted to talk about her life and the changes in it – this reminds us too that BTVS isn’t just about Buffy, the other characters all have their part to play. Even Cordy is fighting vamps and trying to stick up for the Buffster, albeit unsuccessfully. Giles shows hints of his bad-boy past whilst hotwiring a car and physically threatening Snyder in order to get Buffy back into school. The man’s not just about the tweed and the tea.

    The Mayor is mentioned twice hinting at the story arc, but what I want to know is: did the dead cat melt away like the zombies or did Giles get a new pet? One final foreshadowing point – Buffy asks Xander: “Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to play with pointy sticks? Its all fun and games until someone loses an eye”….

  • Very powerful and moving episode

    Dead man's party is one of the best episodes of season 3. Yes it is a filler episode, but it is also so much more. On the simplest level, it deals with Buffy's inability to forgive herself for killing Angel. Indeed, she will continue to struggle with this for awhile. On another level, it deals with Buffy's freinds struggling to forgive her for leaving when things got too hard. It also deals with the perceptions others have when something major is going on in someone's life. The rumor going around Sunnydale High is that Buffy has just gotten out of rehab. The harsh reality of this almost makes Buffy rubn away again, but Willow stops her. It culminates with Buffy breaking down and her freinds forcing her to face up to what she's done. She learns a very important lesson: a true freind is someone who loves you even when you mess up.
  • Buffy is home - back from her little escape. She is having a little trouble adjusting. Who would in a town where zombies\' coming back from the dead is relatively normal?

    I love this episode. Judging by the other reivews, its not widely loved. I agree it\'s a filler episode. I dont think that makes it any less great.

    There are some particularaly hilarious and well dilivered lines in this episode, most noticably \"Cordy? Get out of my shoes!\".

    The begining of the climax for this episode [the fight between Buffy and almost everyone else] was great. Well acted and written.

    There is also some good choreography behind the fights and a terrifying moment where Willow is almost killed.

    This episode is also a large landmark in the Xordy relationship. They spend the entire time at the party making out. They\'ve both admitted now that they like each other - finally.

    This episode is great, and in my opinion, highly underrated.
  • While Buffy struggles to adjust in her return to life in Sunnydale, a Nigerian artifact from Joyce's gallery raises angry zombies to attack Buffy's welcome-home party.

    After the advances of "Becoming" and "Anne," "Dead Man's Party" represents what could have been a great big step backwards for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Season Two tended to punctuate its amazing dramatic moments with listless episodes drawing on the cliches of monster movie history. After having done Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, and several "Twilight Zone" shows, "Dead Man's Party" is "Buffy" meets "Night of the Living Dead." It's an episode without many original ideas, and one of very few uninspired offerings in Season Three.

    Like Season Five's "Forever," "Dead Man's Party" is an episode that lets down important character work that needs to be done with a tired and limp monster plot. Kristine Sutherland, Alyson Hannigan, and particularly Sarah Michelle Gellar are quite good in the dramatic scenes that show Buffy's abrupt departure at the end of Season Two has left no one unaffected. However, the poorly explained and derivative zombie story is a terrible choice for a supernatural underpinning to the real-world struggles the characters face. It's not just that there's no thematic coherence, the zombie violence actually harms the relatable story of Buffy's awkward homecoming. Unable to work out their problems by talking, Buffy, Joyce, Willow, Xander, and the others renew their relationship by banding together to fight the undead. What exactly is that supposed to say?

    It's interesting how in lousy episodes like this the more low-key characters often take on a greater prominence. If "Dead Man's Party" redeems itself at all it's in the performances of Seth Green and Anthony Stewart Head. Oz shows the wisdom of his being added as a regular with some great dialogue (the "hootenanny" speech) and a greater role than we've seen him take before in the action. Giles meanwhile has a nice callback to his Ripper backstory, hotwiring his own car, and some terrifically exasperated lines about his contempt for Americans. Xander and Cordelia by contrast are very dull in this episode (besides Xander's throwaway "Anne of Green Gables" reference in the teaser); their relationship really isn't very interesting when things are going well. It's a good thing the writers made reference to a Mexican vacation for Cordy in "Anne," because Charisma Carpenter is almost distractingly tanned in this episode.

    Two Angel dream sequences in back-to-back weeks is overkill. Sure, David Boreanaz is in the credits, but the beach scene in "Anne" spoke its piece very nicely and the dream here set in a deserted schoolyard is utter filler. Joyce's friend Pat is a character who seems more trouble than she's worth, as she's killed in this episode and not mentioned again. Her vague sense of a judgemental attitude towards Buffy is distracting and not the best way of handling the obvious rift between the Slayer and her mother. On the other hand some of the random guys at the party are very funny, Oz's brain-dead bandmate Devon is always a treat to see, and how about Danny Strong wielding a bass in defense against the zombies?

    "Dead Man's Party" would be less of a disappointment if it didn't come at such an important place during the season. "Anne" really shows Buffy going through a lot in deciding to return home and accept anew her responsibilities as Slayer. It wouldn't be right for the series to pick up things with her mother, Watcher, and friends as if nothing had happened, but "Party" fails in all the places the season premiere works. Obviously things needed to get back to the status quo before the introduction of Faith could get the season really rolling, but as sweet as the little scene with Buffy and Willow that closes this episode is, it only makes us wish the rest of "Dead Man's Party" were more worthy of it.
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