Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Dead Man's Party   Rewatch 
May 13, 2015 11:15 PM - Season 3, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Buffy's friends throw her a welcome home party, where buried resentments explode, and buried bodies attack.
posted by yellowbinder (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've never really understood why the gang thinks it's a good idea to turn Buffy's dinner into a party. I get that they're dreading quiet time together to actually process or suppress feelings, but it always makes me hate Oz a little when he starts talking shindigs and hootenannys. Scooby infighting is always painful and cathartic. We've still got some issues to work through regarding the events of the finale, but we're making painful steps on the way back to normalish.

That mask is super creepy. My parents had a similar one and it always creeped me out. Poor Pat. I wonder if book club will be awkward from now on.

More hints at the Mayor, although we won't see him for a few more episodes yet.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:46 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love Giles particularly in this episode. The expressions he runs through while making tea revealing just how pleased he is to have Buffy back. The exasperation when he mimics Joyce gloating over the evil death mask. Dropping the car keys amidst zombies but hotwiring the car (it's just like riding a bicycle). Telling Snyder how it's going to be at the end. Big happy Giles crush here.

I agree that Oz is Not Helping with his gathering/shindig/hootenanny, but I still adore his definition of a hootenanny. Can't believe Joyce was up for it though - and how much is it going to cost to fix the house? I'm pretty sure "zombie attack" isn't on the insurance policy. She should just drink more schnapps.

Seriously though, the episode is painful to watch but does a good job with showing all those mixed feelings. I'm glad too that Buffy didn't take the easy out (You think you suffered? You didn't have to watch your boyfriend regain his soul and then not just kill him but condemn him to eternal hell!) but at the same time it makes the others seem very petty. It's a pattern that will repeat in S6 when Buffy hides the truth of her afterlife experience from them all. She really does need to do better with the communication thing, but I do get that being on the receiving end of what she would perceive as pity is not in Buffy's comfort zone.

Finally, although Patches's caterwauling sounded quite realistic to me, my cat declined to react to zombie cat's threats. Good sound effects though!
posted by Athanassiel at 5:36 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Longer post later, but I can confirm that all British people do indeed save their emotions for when we are making tea.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 7:51 AM on May 14, 2015 [6 favorites]

Of course! Australians save them for sports and drinking sessions. No coincidence that these two things frequently go together. Displays of emotion outside that are dealt with by applying cups of tea, though.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:44 PM on May 14, 2015

Can't believe Joyce was up for it though

It's not shown, but I imagine that while it was a surprise to her, she decided to go with it. Joyce is in a really weird emotional position in this episode, but an absolutely truthful one. She is overjoyed to have her daughter back, and terrified to do anything which will send her running. At the same time, she is furious at her.

This episode has a tricky needle to thread. As the audience we can emphasise very effectively with Buffy, who ran after being told to get by her mother, and then having to kill the love of her life. Then to see everyone so angry at her? But it is emotionally truthful. It's a really honest depiction of how humans act. What happened to Buffy was huge, and technically huger than what happened to any of the rest of them, but they didn't experience what she experienced, they had their own lives, which were big, and scary, and pretty damn dangerous.

With no slayer fighting vampires is actually pretty dangerous (as the Wish will show us), and they were lucky to get by. I actually wonder if Anne should have highlighted the danger a bit better rather than playing it for laughs, as I don't think it's communicated quite well what position Buffy put them in.

I'm not sure I love the final zombie invasion. I think killing Joyce's friend is a bit cruel, and it's one of those moments where the show isn't super committed to continuity (Joyce loses her only friend for the last three months but doesn't seem all that bothered going forward). It's also another moment where, once the bad guys get the magic thingummy that they were going for they become much less effective! It also allows the show to cheat a bit and resolve all the emotional issues via hugging. If only we all had zombie invasions to resolve our fights, eh?

-Does the mask only work when nailed to a wall? Why wasn't it raising corpses in the gallery? And did Joyce just nick that from the gallery?
-Giles is definitely MVP throughout this episode, as Athanassiel says
- Not living in the US, I assume that all parties are as large and involve live music, as this seems to be the case in all television and film
-"Goodbye stray cat who lost it's way, I hope you find it"
-Buffy is really shitty about private school, considering how much it would cost her mum. She definitely deserves the "bad choices" line even if isn't really accurate
-Goddamn Buffy needs to see a councillor full time, by the way. Really the Watchers Council should make it mandatory, as Faith will demonstrate...
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:39 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've been watching my personal favourites over the last few days, starting with "I Only Have Eyes for You" and then skipping forward including Anne and this one. Now I'm seeing how they set up future things with small hints to prepare the audience.

For example, time in other dimensions not being parallel (to set up for Angel's return from Hell) and in this episode the Scoobies going it alone, which helps set up for The Wish (when there's no Buffy and we see just what that looks like). It at least hints at how dangerous a world that would be, and is kind of called back to later.
posted by tracicle at 1:54 AM on May 15, 2015

This episode is 100% worthwhile, even if only for seeing Giles' legendary reserve finally crack:

'Oh, look at my mask, isn't it pretty? It raises the dead!' (sigh) Americans.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:56 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Snyder: I'm not convinced.
Giles (friendly smile): Would you like me to convince you?
posted by bunderful at 8:02 PM on January 5, 2016

Rewatched this last night and the Xander-led pile-on is infuriating. Maybe bc it seems that he’s framed as the “righteous truth-teller” who, ya know, doesn’t listen or ask questions or talk to his friend in private about how he felt.
posted by bunderful at 7:12 AM on March 27

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