Episode Guide

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

Season 3

Regular Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers) | Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris) | Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg) | Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase) | David Boreanaz (Angel) | Seth Green (Oz)  | Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles)

3509/29/983001 AnneJoss WhedonJoss Whedon
3610/06/983002 Dead Man's PartyMarti NoxonJames Whitmore, Jr.
3710/13/983003 Faith, Hope & TrickDavid GreenwaltJames A. Contner
3810/20/983004 Beauty & the BeastsMarti NoxonJames Whitmore, Jr.
3911/03/983005 HomecomingDavid GreenwaltDavid Greenwalt
4011/10/983006 Band CandyJane EspensonMichael Lange
4111/17/983007 RevelationsDoug PetrieJames A. Contner
4212/01/983008 Lover's WalkDan VebberDavid Semel
4312/08/983009 The WishMarti NoxonDavid Greenwalt
4412/15/983010 AmendsJoss WhedonJoss Whedon
4501/12/993011 GingerbreadThania St. John & Jane EspensonJames Whitmore, Jr.
4601/19/993012 HelplessDavid FuryJames A. Contner
4701/26/993013 The ZeppoDan VebberJames Whitmore, Jr.
4802/09/993014 Bad GirlsDoug PetrieMichael Lange
4902/16/993015 ConsequencesMarti NoxonMichael Gershman
5002/23/993016 DoppelgänglandJoss WhedonJoss Whedon
5103/16/993017 EnemiesDoug PetrieDavid Grossman
5209/21/993018 EarshotJane EspensonRegis Kimble
5305/04/993019 ChoicesDavid FuryJames A. Contner
5405/11/993020 The PromMarti NoxonDavid Solomon
5503/18/993021 Graduation Day Part 1Joss WhedonJoss Whedon
5607/13/993022 Graduation Day Part 2Joss WhedonJoss Whedon


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The third season begins with Buffy hiding out in Los Angeles after killing Angel and being accused of killing Kendra at the end of the second season.  Upon her return to Sunnydale, however, Buffy is forced to face the loss of her first love and the loss of the Scoobies’ trust at her abrupt departure.  The Scoobies feel further betrayed when they later discover that Buffy has concealed Angel’s return from them.  Just as things begin to settle down to what passes for “normal” in Sunnydale, Faith, a new Slayer, arrives to throw everything out of whack again.

We learn early on that betrayal and redemption are the twin themes of this season.  Xander and Willow betray their respective loves, Cordelia and Oz, by embarking on an ill-fated secret romance that ends in heartbreak when they are discovered by Cordelia and Oz.  As Cordelia struggles to get over the humiliation of being cheated on by the nerdy Xander, she inadvertently sends them all into an alternate universe when she makes a wish to a vengeance demon, Anyanka. Although Oz ultimately forgives Willow, Xander earns redemption with Cordelia by concealing her newfound poverty from their friends when her father is jailed for tax-evasion; he even buys Cordelia a prom gown when she fails to earn enough money to buy it herself.

Giles and Joyce both betray Buffy in their respective relationships.  In a ritual marking the slayer’s 18th birthday, Giles drugs Buffy and sends her on a mission to slay a vampire, only to rescue Buffy and her mother and lose his job as her Watcher in the process Giles is redeemed in Buffy’s eyes, however, when Quentin reveals to Buffy that Giles’ feelings for her interfere with his Watcher duties:Your affection for your charge has rendered you incapable of clear and impartial judgment. You have a father's love for the child, and that is useless to the cause.” (Helpless) The Watcher’s Council attempts to replace Giles with Wesley Wyndam-Pryce as Buffy’s (and Faith’s) new Watcher; however, he is grossly unprepared for life on a Hellmouth and for life with Buffy.  Joyce, too, betrays Buffy when she and Willow’s mother spearhead a group of parents set to destroy all things magical and Slayer-ly in Sunnydale after discovering two murdered children.

The ultimate betrayal, however, comes from the alliance between Faith and the Mayor. Mayor Wilkins, a hundred-year-old+ politician, plans to become a pure demon during his Ascension at the Sunnydale High School graduation.  Prior to his Ascension, the Mayor joined forces with Faith to defeat Buffy and her friends to keep them from interfering with his plans.  Faith the Vampire Slayer is a dark contrast to Buffy: she’s a loner with no friends and a lust to kill and to . . . do other lusty things.   Whereas Buffy struggles with her destiny and the moral dilemmas she faces daily, Faith enthusiastically embraces her Slayer role and kills with no remorse – even when she mistakenly kills a human.  As Buffy and the Scoobies try to rehabilitate Faith, she shuns them in favor of an alliance with the Mayor; an alliance based as much on her self-loathing as her hatred of Buffy.

The ultimate redemption, however, is earned by the graduating class of 1999 who present Buffy with the Class Protector award for keeping their mortality rate so low and who fight valiantly by Buffy’s side to defeat the Mayor in the Graduation Day finale; a finale whose broadcast was delayed by the real-world school tragedy at Columbine High School.

--Lynne Edwards