Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 3 Episode 5


Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Nov 03, 1998 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
602 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

When Cordelia flaunts her sure win for Homecoming Queen it awakens the prom queen within Buffy and the two vie brutally for the title. Meanwhile, the new vampire in town, Mr. Trick, rallies a group of tough vampires, demons and mercenaries together to play a game with the two Slayers... "Slayerfest '98."moreless

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  • Homecoming

    The battle for Homecoming Queen is on, and it's a lot more fun than it has any right to be. This isn't a mind blowing episode of BtVS, but it's quite entertaining. Where it loses some credibility is in its choice of demon contestants in Mr. Trick's SlayerFest 98. As example, the remaining Gorch vampire and his 'wife' are somehow cornier that when he appeared back in "Bad Eggs" (2x12). Nevertheless, lots of other important stuff happens here. The Mayor is introduced, Buffy tries to compete in a popularity contest in hope that she's chosen for something besides beheading, and there's more Mr. Trick.

    Early on we see Buffy visiting Angel at the mansion trying to explain to him that she's moved on and that things are different now. Angel's reaction to all this news is perfect because his last ensouled memory is sleeping with her. It's no wonder that he still feels extremely close to her. Buffy also tells him about her relationship with Scott Hope. She thinks he's a stable guy, but it turns out her "out of it" behavior hasn't gone unnoticed, so he breaks up with her.

    This (the emotional detachment with her boyfriends) is a problem that Buffy has throughout the entire series. She feels like she's giving a relationship her all even though she's not genuinely emotionally open. Like Riley says in "Into the Woods" (5x10), "It's about me taking care of you! It's about letting me in." In that same episode, Xander tells her that in order to have a working relationship you've got to be completely open with your partner, "I'm talking scary, messy, no-emotions-barred need." Buffy fully understands and articulates her problem by "Conversations with Dead People" (7x07), while talking to the vampire Holden.

    The rest of the episode is completely focused on Buffy and Cordelia. Because Cordelia gets side-tracked by her Homecoming Queen campaign and forgets to remind Buffy about the photo shoot, Buffy takes a stand and decides to compete against Cordelia (and the others) for Homecoming Queen. She tells everyone it's not a big deal to her, but it's obvious it means a ton. Buffy breaking the glass bottle with her hand after she discovers that all her friends are helping Cordelia instead of her is the first striking example of its importance. It's not until later and under attack when Buffy admits to Cordelia the true reason for competing. She simply wants to be chosen for something other than slaying for once so that she's recognized as being a person, and not simply the Slayer.

    It's amazingly fitting, though, that neither of them win the crown. Cordelia is made for this competition, so when she loses too, Buffy doesn't have to feel very bad about it. On an unrelated topic, we finally got to see the Mayor! Right from his very first scene he comes across as creepy and multi-layered. There's a lot more entertainment and development for him on the way.

    Overall this is a perfectly enjoyable episode with a few small problems. The only thing I outright hated was Willow and Xander's kiss. This relationship is really coming out of nowhere, from a character development perspective, and I don't buy it at all. It appears as though the only reason the writers made them do this is because Cordelia is moving over to AtS next season. Also, Anya (entering the picture soon) will need Xander to be free so she can put the fun moves on him. I find the Willow and Xander 'thing' one of the few times in the series where the characters did something I felt was out of character. In reality, though, it's a small complaint in an otherwise very fun episode.moreless
  • Stunning!


    The Good;

    Buffy and Cordy's campaign is the funniest thing ever! Jonathon! Love the ending, love the hunting, love Cordy facing off with Lyle Gorch, love the Mayor and Mr Trick, love everything about it, truly fantastic.

    The Bad;

    Find me some? Actually, why bring back Lyle Gorch who is a stupid villain if there ever was one?

    Best line;

    The Mayor; "Oh no, that wouldn't be a problem" (wonderful line from Harry Groener, it's all in the way he delivers it, perfectly polite and reasonable but with all the menace in the world)

    Shot; no, despite all the lead flying around. Odd to see Buffy using a gun although it seems to run out of ammo awfully fast.

    Knocked out; yep, Giles again and Buffy

    Women good/men bad; Scott dumping Buffy but he has his reasons. Faith and Buffy plan to pick up a couple of studs, use them then dump them as revenge on the male of the species. Although I'm sure they won't be complaining!

    Kinky dinky; Willow and Xander, awwwwwww. Even the most dedicated of Tara's kittens can't help but be charmed by this scene, especially the music. How does Buffy get her SDH 'letterman' jacket for her campaign? Borrowed from Larry or as a gift in return for her favours? "That thing with her mouth that boys like"? Or is it Xander's from his time on the swim team? Buffy describes Cordy as a 'vapid whore'. Xander refers to Cordy as his 'conquest' whilst Oz and Willow are 'rounding 2nd' which is apparently slang for heavy petting.

    Calling Captain Subtext; just as they're getting serious Scott dumps Buffy. But in Conversations with Dead People we discover why, I don't think his Homecoming date would have got too far either (he earlier comments that he's a bad liar). Willow's attraction to Xander gives more credence to her status as bi. Xander refers to Buffy and Faith in the library 'Getting all sweaty' whilst Oz suggests that Buffy and Cordy have been mudwrestling. Essentially in this ep Faith asks Buffy out on a date to the Homecoming dance and Buffy says yes. She also says 'Boys should break up with you more often' Plus half-naked musclely German men wrestling for no apparent reason.

    Questions and observations;

    Love the list of Buffy's rivals set of strengths and weaknesses especially that going out with Xander is considered one of Cordy's weaknesses. What does PB crazy mean? Playboy? Just what are the chances that the shack that Buffy and Cordy stumble upon has a working phone? Love Faith's little trick against Scott. There is no Vulcan deathgrip. Wonderful introduction for the Mayor, Harry Groener is just amazing. Nice line where Mr Trick tells him that the whole 'not fitting in' concept was old even before he became a vampire (although one ventures that the undead really couldn't care less about human concerns such a racial politics just as Spike doesn't care about the Nazis in 'Why we fight?'). The picture scenes are smashing and lovingly recreated in the SDH Yearbook. Faith believes rage 'gives you an edge'. Buffy asks if she's invisible, well not yet. Xander refers to his relations with money, presumably not Uncle Rory. The only time we see Faith all dolled up at the dance and she looks beautiful. Buffy tortures the hunter in the trap.The SDPD seem to overcome Mr Trick very easily. Joss bascially reuses this storyline for the second episode of Dollhouse, it's derived from the famous short story 'The Most Dangerous Game' which in turn inspired real life serial killer Robert Hansen who hunted and murdered over twenty people after kidnapping them, releasing them into the Alaskan wilderness and giving them a head start.

    10/10 no question

  • Homecoming

    Homecoming was a Superb episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This episode really focused on the relathionships between Buffy and Cordelia, and then also with Willow and Zander things are taking a turn down an unexpected road. The story itself was amazing, entertaining, and well thought. This episode introduces us finally to the Mayor of Sunnydale, whom weve only heard of by mention of others. The Mayor introduces himself to Mr. Trick, who is currently running Slayerfest 98, and Buffy and Cordelia are evading the players. While in the cabin Buffy and Cordelia have a real touching moment, and it really makes you see both characters in new ways, as they both had their own realizations. This season is shaping up to be great, as expected!moreless
  • Season 3, Episode 5.

    Mr. Trick plots to kill Buffy as Scott dumps her and she competes against Cordelia for the title of Homecoming Queen. Meanwhile, romance begins to blossom between Xander and Willow.

    Let me just say that the guys that were spying on Buffy were hot! The scene where the two guys were shirtless and fighting was pretty hot. I was pretty shocked by the sudden Willow and Xander romance.That scene was amusing. I liked that Buffy and Cordelia were involved with SlayerFest '98. I liked that they had to run while in dresses, though. I liked when Cordelia didn't think it was important to mention that there was a phone. Haha, awesome episode. I loved what Faith said to Scott at Homecoming. Good episode. :)moreless
  • Buffy and Cordelia compete for Homecoming Queen and Mr. Trick has a new plan to kill Buffy. Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Charisma Carpenter, Seth Green, David Boreanaz, and Anthony Stewart Head as "Giles".moreless

    A very original idea that came up in the series. I really enjoyed the idea of Slayerfest, and thought that it was a clever idea from the writers. But what was even better about the episode was the small little feud between Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), and with that was the comedy that Cordelia brings to the series. The solutiuon to the problem that Faith (guest star Eliza Dushku), Willow (Alyson Hannigan), and Oz (Seth Green) came up with was amazing. This is one of my favorite episodes of the series and i really hoped that the rest of the series could have been as good as this episode.moreless
Ian Abercrombie

Ian Abercrombie

Germans' boss

Guest Star

Joseph Daube

Joseph Daube


Guest Star

Jermyn Daube

Jermyn Daube


Guest Star

Jason Hall

Jason Hall


Recurring Role

K. Todd Freeman

K. Todd Freeman

Mr. Trick

Recurring Role

Harry Groener

Harry Groener

Mayor Richard Wilkins III

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Goof: As the Germans shoot one another, the wall between them is shot full of holes, yet the lockers behind the one in the hallway aren't damaged, despite sparks indicating they were hit.

    • Goof: In the cabin, Cordelia is seen picking up the rifle in closeup. The scene changes to show Buffy and the demon in the foreground and Cordelia is seen picking up the rifle a second time.

    • Nitpick: It seems odd that an abandoned shack in the woods has both electricity and a working phone.

    • The set in which Xander and Willow kiss, isn't either of their rooms. We last saw Xander's room in "Prophecy Girl" (1x12). His room is tan and messy (Though he could have cleaned and painted it, there were still girly things in the back ground that Willow would have had in her room). We last saw Willow's room in "Passion" (2x17). Willow's room was the same color blue as the room they were kissing in, but the doors in the kissing room don't match up with Willow's room. Also, Willow had a wall of windows and a patio door; this room did not. It is never stated exactly where this room is, but it may be another room in Willow's house.

    • Nitpick: When Buffy stakes Gorch's wife, you can notice that she stakes her in the wrong place (a little bit lower than where her heart should be located).

    • Nitpick: One of the shots used in this episode is the same outside shot from "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" (2x16). You can see the same two people sitting on the bench and Harmony and her group in the back.

    • Goof: When Buffy is fighting the "spiny-headed looking thing" you can see that her shoes are not the orange pumps she was previously wearing. They are flat shoes that have a white strappy-thing over the top of her feet.

    • Goof: Buffy crushes the bottle which had juice inside, but her hand never gets wet.

  • QUOTES (20)

    • Cordelia: Why is it that every time I go somewhere with you it always ends in violence and terror?
      Buffy: Welcome to my life.
      Cordelia: I don't wanna be in your life! I wanna be in my life!
      Buffy: Well, here is the door, feel free to walk out any time to go to your life.

    • Cordelia: And now I'm never going to get the chance to tell him.
      Buffy: Yes you are. We are gonna get out of here, and we're gonna head back to the library, where Giles and the rest of the weapons live. Then I'm going to take out the rest of these guys, just in time for you to congratulate me on my sweeping victory as Homecoming Queen.
      Cordelia: I know what you're up to. You think if you get me mad enough I won't be so scared. And hey, it's working! Where's a damn weapon?

    • Buffy: You really love Xander?
      Cordelia: Well, he kinda grows on you, like a chia pet.

    • Faith: Scott? There you are, honey! Hey, good news. The doctor says that the itching and the swelling and the burning should clear up, but we gotta keep using the ointment.

    • Buffy: A campaign is like a war. It's won or lost in the trenches. Holly, Michelle, and our real competition, Cordelia, all have big head starts. And speaking of big heads, if I had a watermelon as big as Cordelia's, I'd be rich...Waits for laugh.

    • Xander: That didn't just happen.
      Willow: No! I mean, it did, but it didn't.
      Xander: Because I respect you, and Oz, and I would never...
      Willow: I would never, either. It must be the clothes. It's a fluke.
      Xander: It's a clothes fluke, that's what it is. And there'll be no more fluking.
      Willow: Not ever.
      Xander: We got to get out of these clothes.
      Willow: Right now!
      Xander: Oh, I didn't mean...
      Willow: I didn't, me either.

    • Cordelia: I have to go to the nurse's office for an ice-pack anyway.
      Xander: Did you hurt yourself?
      Cordelia: No, silly, it shrinks the pores.

    • Willow: Remember that eighth grade cotillion, and you had that clip-on?
      Xander: Yeah, I was pretty stylin' with the clip-on.
      Willow: Now here we are, and it's Homecoming.
      Xander: Yeah, we should face it, Will. You and I are going to be in neighboring rest homes, while I come over so you can adjust me... my, uh... Well, I can't think of anything that's not really gross.

    • Buffy: I can't believe it. My favorite teacher, and she didn't even remember who I was. I'm like a non-person. Am I invisible? Can you see me?
      Oz: Big as life.

    • Xander: What'cha doin'?
      Cordelia: Checking out the, I laughingly use the phrase, "competition." Holly Charlston, nice girl, brain dead, doesn't have a prayer. Michelle Blake, open to all mankind, especially those with a letterman's jacket and a car. She could give me a run.

    • Scott: Before we were going out, you seemed so full of life, like a force of nature. Now you just seem distracted all the time.
      Buffy: I'm getting better, honest. In fact, from here on, you're going to see a drastic distraction reduction. Drastic distraction reduction... try saying that ten times fast.

    • Scott: I assumed that you would think it was corny or something. But I'm in, I mean, you know, if you are, if you want to.
      Buffy: Sure. I do, you know, if you want to.
      Scott: Well, I do if you want to.
      Oz: The judges will accept that as a yes.

    • Xander: Buffy and Faith are in the library getting all sweaty.
      Cordelia: They're training!
      Xander: I stand by my phrase.

    • Trick: Ladies, gentlemen, spiny-headed looking creatures, welcome to SlayerFest '98!

    • Cordelia: I hear you, you red-neck moron. You got a dress that goes with that hat?

    • Xander: Okay, let's not say something we'll regret later, okay?
      Cordelia: You crazy freak!
      Buffy: Vapid whore!
      Xander: Like that!

    • Cordelia: You know, after all we've been through tonight, this whole who-gets-to-be-queen-capade seems pretty...
      Buffy: ...damn important.
      Cordelia: Oh yeah.

    • Buffy: I thought, Homecoming Queen, I could open a yearbook someday and say, 'I was there, I went to high school and had friends and for just one minute I got to live in the world.' And there'd be proof. Proof I was chosen for something other than this. Besides, I look cute in a tiara.

    • Mayor Wilkins: That's an exciting suit.
      Mr. Trick: Well, clothes make the man.
      Mayor Wilkins: Well, as I understand it, you're not a man... exactly. Mr. Trick, I've been the Mayor for quite some time. I like things to run smoothly. This is a very important year for me.
      Mr. Trick: Election year.
      Mayor Wilkins: Something like that.
      Mr. Trick: If this is the part where you tell me that I don't fit in here in your quiet little neighborhood, you can just skip it 'cause, see, that all got old long before I became a vampire. Do you know what I'm saying?

    • Mr. Trick: Competition. Competition is a beautiful thing. It makes us strive. It... makes us accomplish. Occasionally, it makes us kill. We all have the desire to win. Whether we're human, vampire... whatever the hell you are, my brother, you got spiny looking head thing, I ain't never seen that before...
      Kulak: I am Kulak, of the Meequai Clan!
      Mr. Trick: ...Isn't that nice.

  • NOTES (9)

    • Featured Music:

      ~In the opening scene in the Bronze --"Fell Into The Loneliness" by Lori Carlson

      ~While the yearbook pictures are being taken -- "Jodie Foster" by Pinehurst Kids

      ~While Buffy and Cordelia are campaigning for Homecoming Queen -- "Fire Escape" by Fastball

      ~When Xander and Willow dress for the dance -- "How", by Lisa Loeb.

      ~At the Bronze, the fictitious band 'Dingoes Ate My Baby' appear to play this song -- "She Knows" --actually performed by Four Star Mary

    • This is the final episode David Greenwalt writes as a Buffy staff member as he shifts his attention to creating and running Angel for next season.

    • Cordelia's weaknesses according to the chart included: manipulative, two faced, bad in sports, superficial, no sense of humor, fake smile, and Xander.

    • Cordelia's strengths according to the chart included: popular with boys, makes friends easily, has money, expensive clothes, and perfect teeth.

    • Chad Stahelski, who played spiny-headed demon Kulak in this episode, is regularly employed on this show as David Boreanaz's (Angel) stunt double.

    • Mayor Richard Wilkins III makes his first appearance in this episode.

    • When Buffy is standing in front of the white board in the library, you can see a bandage on her left hand. Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) cracked a bone while filming an earlier scene and had to take it easy with that hand for much of the episode.

    • Jeremy Ratchford reprises his role as Lyle Gorch from season 2's "Bad Eggs".

    • The rifle used by the hunter was a Remmington Model 7600 Slide Action Centerfire rifle. The ones used by the Germans were M16-A1's.


    • Cordelia: He kind of grows on you. Like a Chia Pet.
      A Chia Pet is a mass marketed decorative planter, often in the shape of an animal, used to grow grass or some similar plant. As the plants grow, they resemble the "fur" of the animal that the planter portrays.

    • Cordelia: Are you kidding? I've been doing the Vulcan death grip since I was four.
      Cordelia is obviously playing to the geeky voting population by referring to the original Star Trek television series. The "Vulcan death grip" is not actually the paralyzing nerve pinch that Spock used often throughout the series. In fact, the "Vulcan death grip" doesn't exist and was merely a bluff that Spock used in the episode "The Enterprise Incident". Due to the widespread confusion over the term, it's become sort of a test of true Trek fans to identify the death grip as non-existent.