PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE. If your diet requires you to dine on television spoiler-free ... good luck with that.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Do You Like My Mask? Isn't It Pretty?

 Episode 3.2: Dead Man's Party. Original Airdate 10.6.98

"A Nigerian mask reanimates the dead, forcing Buffy to battle a horde of zombies."

Zelda's Thoughts:

  • "It's angry at the room. It wants the room to suffer." I don't use this one, but I'd like to start.
  • Bless you, Joyce. You're trying to be supportive of the slaying, of finding her friends, trying to feed her. It's awkward, but you want your daughter to feel safe to be herself, safe to stay home this time.
  • Oh come ON. That's CLEARLY Xander, Buffy.
  • And Buffy's trying to banter, and Xander just can't process, and there's so much in his face, he's happy to see her, but he's hurt, and there's a bit of anger.
  • And then they're all just staring at her from the ground. Willow's tentatively happy, Oz just looks pissed, which is interesting to me, since I'd say he had the least relationship with Buffy, of the four. 

  • I guess it shouldn't have been a surprise Angel was gonna come back, since there'e still so much of him in the opening credits. Still, must have been confusing at the time.
Giles feels...Britishly.

  • Guys, it's time for more feels! Giles and Buffy! Giles and Buffy! 
  • "Hey, so you're not wanted for murder, anymore." It's nice they're all bantering with her. Belgium and the like.
  • "We dusted nine out of ten ... six out of ten."
  • The problem is they had to learn how to exist without her, and it's hard to adjust back to having her around.
  • Oh Pat. Hello Pat.
  • I wonder if DB insisted in his contract that he get some sunlight scenes. He got one last week, he's got one this week, he'll get one in his dream of their wedding in The Prom.
  • Giles knows the mask is Nigerian because he knows All the Things.
  • "I love art talk as much as the next very dull person."
  • I'm fairly certain Giles isn't allowed to bring cats, zombified or otherwise, on school property.
  • "I like it. I think you should call it Patches."
  • "Thanks for ruining our lives for the past three months." - this is the core of the resentment, the abandonment. What's hard is Xander's not fully understanding or appreciating that Buffy's life was ruined too (granted, because she's not telling them). WE WON'T EVEN MENTION THAT HE'S PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR IT.
  • I'm sorry, that drawing doesn't really look like the mask.

Didn't quite get the teeth right.

  • Ew, Pat brought cold empanadas? Those babies are good only when fresh. I want an empanada. [There's this great place by me.  Next time we do a Buffy day, we'll order some - D]
  • And then the party is too big and so no one can talk. That's the problem. No one is actually talking, about what happened before, about what's happening now. Instead, resentments are festering. Everyone's in pain but not sharing it. And when Buffy tries to ask Willow what's going on, Willow pretends nothing is wrong. Granted, it's (at least in part) because she is glad Buffy's back and she doesn't want to scare Buffy off again, but the result is that Buffy doesn't feel like there's any communication or connection, so she's got no real feeling she ought to stay either.
  • Xander's trying to whitewash it too - "guess a lot of people are glad to have you back." "We all do. It's great to have the Buffster back." He's also distracted by his relationship with Cordelia.
  • I'd say it's convenient all these people are dying, and thus providing us with zombies, but ... it's Sunnydale. My argument is invalid. 
  • And then Buffy overhears just the wrong part of Joyce's conversation with Pat. I actually super massively hate this storytelling cliche, the overhearing/misunderstanding. Like, a lot. It's lazy writing. I'm glad the show doesn't do it that often. [It's a tired Soap Opera technique and you're right, beneath this show. -D]
  • Parking lot playground full o' zombies!
  • This guy on the phone makes me laugh. "That guy's gotta do a shot!"
  • I wonder what Willow was coming up to talk about when she finds Buffy packing. Would this have been a healthier heart to heart?
  • They're both so hurt. I'm glad they're finally talking about what's actually going on, and I'm really mad that this all gets cut off for the zombiness, because this conversation is never really resolved. And I'm glad Willow told us some of the stuff that's been going on with her, and why she's maybe been distant with Buffy, but STILL NO ONE is really asking why Buffy left, how the fight ended, what she did when she left, why she came back. THESE ARE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS and if they're all so (somewhat justifiably) resentful of her leaving, wouldn't they maybe want to know the reason why? "look what it did to us, never mind what it did to you" They're not seeing Buffy. They're not hearing her.
  • Lucky for us the zombies in this universe are the slow-moving variety.
  • Oh good. Joyce has joined the upset misunderstanding party.
  • "You put me through the ringer, Buffy." Ringer!  Sorry. (Not sorry.)
  • Oh and Buffy's so sad. "But you told me!"
  • "Mom's not perfect, okay. I handled it badly."
  • "It was selfish and stupid." Hmmm, Xander, can we think of other things we've done recently that were selfish and stupid? Like lying to our best friend?
  • Hey Buffy, it's "Angel and me," not "Angel and I."
  • I mean, I liked that Cordy stepped to Buffy's defense, but she's not handling it the most tactfully. [Tact is just not saying true stuff.  - Cordelia]
  • See, I understand Joyce's arguments and Willow's arguments. Xander's not coming from a justified place. So I'm less forgiving of him. He's not letting Buffy talk.
  • I DO like that the Mission comes first. As soon as the zombies break in, they all go into team mode. "I got your back," says Xander as he runs to the kitchen. All the scoobies join the defense.
  • Jonathan's wielding the guitar and it's so cute.
  • Oz said the episode title! 5 points to Oz!
  • "Worse than a zombie." Cordy makes me laugh. She makes me forget how much I disliked her on Angel.
  • Man, Buffy's house is getting traaaaaaaaaashed tonight. This is what happens when you throw a zombie hootenanny!
  • I like when defeating the Zombie Overlord makes all the zombies disappear. Clean up is way easier.
  • Okay I figured it out - the problems weren't resolved in dialogue (and they're CERTAINLY not fully resolved) - but they were at least partially resolved through demon battling. Just like in a musical (where problems/conflicts are often resolved in song). They still have stuff that they're not talking about, but the battle reminded them what (and who) is important, and worth fighting for.
  • Giles, you are fucking creepy.
  • Runaway. Quitter. Whiner. Bailer. Harpy. Delinquent. Tramp. Bad seed. Witch. Freak. LOVE IT.
  • Daniel and I are so ashamed. We were talking about the return of our recurrings (Larry last week, this week Snyder, Jonathan, and Devon). We noticed the lack of Harmony and Amy, which led to a discussion of which episodes Amy was in, which led to the realization that NEITHER OF US had really processed until JUST NOW that Bewitched Bothered & Bewildered had the word "witch" it in.

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • “Will you be slaying?”  Such a cute awkward mom question about something she doesn’t understand but wants to try to understand.  It’s like the time my friend told me his mom awkwardly asked him once how two gay men do it.    True Story.
  • I gotta admit, Nicholas Brandon plays Xander’s reaction to seeing Buffy for the first time really well.
  • And Buffy hilariously watching the gang try to fight.
  • Cordelia’s “Hi Buffy!”  Hee!
  • And Giles!  More reserved but…just as sweet.  He’s English.  He can’t show his emotions until he goes to the other room and brews his tea.
  • How’d you find her?   I pretty much remembered where she was.  Hee!
  • Snyder!  So evil!
  • Aww, Buffy would look cute in hotdog-on-a-stick hat.  She’d look better in a doublemeat palace hat! 
  • Why would Joyce go to the Mayor to get her daughter back in school?  So that she can foreshadow him to death?
  • New downtown set!
  • Awww, Willow didn’t show up.
  • Willow tried to call.  See, this wouldn’t happen if there were cell phones.
  • Why would they bury the cat? Why not call animal control?
  • Zombie cat!  That cat is obviously being pushed out of the hole by a prop man.
  • Another Angel dream!  Because we’re not ready to bring him back but he’s still under contract.
Hi, I'm still under contract.

  • “Superhero.  Is that the right term? I mean it's not offensive, is it?” – It’s another one of those awkward mom trying to understand questions. "Homosexual? Is that term still acceptable?"
  • “I’m the dip” - Hee.
  • Love the 'gathering, shindig & hootenanny' discussion
  • And why are they deciding what type of party to have at Joyce’s house anyway.  Wasn’t she the one organizing this? In her house?  It’s kinda rude.
  • I always forget what Devon looks like.  I always ask Zelda, “That’s Devon, right?”
  • I guess Oz & Cordy invited the people because Willow & Xander don’t have friends.  OUCH. BURRRRN…
  • Though, there are no Cordettes that we can see.
  • Aww, Willow is uncomfortable…and so is Buffy and it’s just ALL SO AWKARD!
  • Hey! Sunnydale police!
  • I’m glad “Nighthawk” doesn’t become a thing.
  • I hate party dude. “I heard it’s for some chick who got out of rehab.” Shut up.
Hi, I'm a zombie movie cliche

  • Joyce’s conversation with Pat is just gross.  “I thought having Buffy home would make it better but in some ways, it’s almost worse.”  How the hell is it worse, Joyce?  Awkward, yes but worse?  That’s a horrible thing to say.  Worst. Mom. Ever. 
  • And there’s one guy at that party that looks 45.
  • OK, Party dude is back and he’s yelling at someone to do a shot. BUT IT’S SO OBVIOUS HE’S NOT TALKING TO SOMEONE.  BAD ACTOR.  I’m glad he SPOILERS. [Wait, he spoilers? Did we get that in our death count? - Z]
  • The altercation between Willow & Buffy that finally comes about is so well written. I like when there’s an argument on TV or in a movie where I can see both sides.  It’s also really well acted.
  • Buffy’s packing again.  Don’t forget your stuffed bird.
  • Ok, this whole ganging up on Buffy is not cool.  While some of the arguments are valid, it’s a shitty way to do it.  It reminds me of a future episode which is so hated for that very reason.
  • Jonathan!  By the dip!
Who, me?

  • Go Badass Giles!  Hot wire that car!
  • “You stop acting like an idiot. And I’ll stop annoying you.”  Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Xander.
  • YAY! Party dude got his just desserts!
  • I like unlikely pairings!  Oz and Cordelia fighting together!
  • How come all the zombies are this whitish/greenish color except for Pat? And it has nothing to do with the fact that she just died because the first body we see rising was from a gun shot wound that just happened.
  • Buffy’s awfully cavalier about killing her mom’s friend.  Ok, Pat is a zombie – but she could have a little tact.
  • So it’s nice that everyone is all friends now but nothing was really resolved…
  • And another example of Giles’ badassery – intimidating Snyder.
  • I like the new set with the coffee shop.  They can’t always hang out at The Bronze.
  • I love the exchange of fun insults at the end.  It’s a cute way to end the episode.


Question for everyone: Does the zombie cat count as a dead undead? We haven't been tracking dead animals before.

Favorite Lines:

Zelda: "'Do you like my mask, isn't it pretty? It raises the dead.' Americans." - Giles
Daniel: "It’s angry at the room, mom.  It wants the room to suffer.” - Buffy

90s Factoid:

Willow called.  This kind of thing wouldn't happen if you got those new fangled inventions called "cell phones"

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • Snyder still hates Buffy.
  • Joyce namedrops the Mayor.
  • Our first zombie episode. This kind of zombie is corpses being raised by the mask, rather than infecting each other by biting.
  • Also, cats can be zombies. 
  • Devon and the rest of Dingoes Ate My Baby are here, and they're playing their only song, Pain.
  • Willow mentions that she's still studying witchcraft.
  • We forgot Jonathan was here! Him by the dip!
  • Giles uses his DARK PAST to hotwire his car. Also to intimidate Snyder into letting Buffy back in school.
  • Snyder has appointments with the Mayor.
  • New Downtown Sunnydale set, including the Espresso Pump.


Oz's Hair - red
Dead Humans - 4
Dead Undeads - 2
Dead Flashbacks - 0
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 1 (the mask)
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 0
Apocalypse Called - 0


  1. Yay, another recap!

    I'd actually argue that Xander was not the cause of Buffy's problems. No matter whether he lied or not, Buffy still would have had to kill Angel because he did the Acathla thing and once it was started only him dying would stop it. What he did was shitty and I didn't like it, especially that he lied but put it on Willow but I don't think it changed anything. Actually, I really don't udnerstand why the writers had him lie anyway when they had no intention of ever bringing it up fully and I don't think it really led into Buffy having to kill Angel.

    1. I dunno, Blinvy. You're right, in the end, it didn't matter. Buffy did what she had to do even though she saw that Angel got his soul back.

      But Xander didn't know that and it could have changed things. By lying, he was depriving Buffy of an important choice. If she had known, she could have made different choices that may have delayed alfalfa from opening.

      And a lot of Buffy's problems that summer stem from having plunged a giant sword into her cured boyfriend's I do blame Xander for a lot of that. Again, telling the truth may not have changed anything but at least she would have been able to make other choices.

      Also, I think Z's argument is also indicating that Xander is acting completely blameless and isn't even showing an ounce of guilt about what he'd done.

    2. Yeah, I hated that he acted blameless too and that no one brought up the lie, that was wrong. I just still don't see it as Angel died because Xander lied. Hey that rhymed! :D

      Could Buffy have made different choices? Yes. Maybe she could have delayed him but Angelus rushed to get his hand on the statue to unleash it, the deed was done before she even had a chance to fight him. They were already almost done the ritual when she interrupted, then Spike had taken Angelus down while she was dealing with the minions. Angelus woke up and opened Acathla while she was distracted with the minions. Boom, she had to kill him and it could have played out that way even without the Xander lie.

      What Xander did was awful and his behaviour this episode was beyond annoying. It really does irk me that the writers never built anything off of the lie, they never gave Xander any backlash from it and they should have but I still don't see him as the cause of Angel having to die.

    3. Maybe not the cause for Angel dying, but I think absolutely a contributing cause for Buffy leaving town, which is what Xander's giving Buffy shit for. Buffy not only had to kill her love, she did it believing that all her friends wanted this outcome, believing her mom didn't want her to come home again. Buffy felt she had no allies left - I think that's part of the point of the shot where she watches them outside the school and then turns to leave.

    4. (Mokee here)

      "...she did it believing that all her friends wanted this outcome..."

      This. I think it's a huge part of why she didn't confide in them, too. If she knew that Willow and Xander were informed on the soul issue going in, all she would have had to do was turn to them afterwards and say, "I had to kill Angel". As it was she was faced with having to explain something and hope that despite their supposed disapproval they would be sympathetic, and faced with that she ran. Buffy has ZERO confidence in her ability to make others understand where she's coming from (RE: Joyce issues), so the effect of Xander's lie was to completely cut off Buffy from her support network of friends.

      Way to go Xan-man. Way. to. go.

    5. Ah, ok. Well, he is definitely to blame for her leaving town. I just mean that he isn't to blame for Angel having to be killed.

      Yes, he completely alienated her from her friends with that lie and was part of the reason she left town. Again, why I'm so confused they never brought it up in this episode. This was the episode that should have dealt with the lie and all of the ramifications from it. It would have been really interesting to see.

      Except that, i think the writers realized that the only one that was going to look bad, other than Joyce was Xander. Since they still wanted him on the show, they seemed to shy away from bringing this lie to light. This is a shame because I think it did more damage than good to do so and it would have been interesting to hear Xander try and explain why he did what he did and then try to make it up to everyone. Not only did he betray Buffy's trust, he betrayed Willow's. He'd need to do something pretty big to make it up to the both of them.

    6. That's actually a good thought, that they didn't bring it up because they wanted to keep Xander around ... but ... WE still remember. WE are still bitter.

    7. Absolutely agree, I think they really let a chance for character growth completely slip by. It's part of why he gets so much flack, he's never really confronted with his mistakes so we're never really sure if he's grown from them.

  2. Definitely agree. And I don't think the blink-and-you'll-miss-it reference in "Selfless" (Season 7) absolves the writers.

    And thanks for also calling them out on the overhearing-part-of-a-conversation cliche. I've never seen it happen in real life.


  3. "Thanks for ruining our lives for the past three months." - this is the core of the resentment, the abandonment.

    Its also a heavy part of Xander's Character. Xander doesn't have a lot of people he's been able to trust what with his bad home life referenced in that one Christmas episode. In fact I would say it was only two people Willow and Jesse. Then Jesse died and it becomes just Willow. Eventually he begins trusting buffy and to some extent Giles. Cordilia becomes probably his best "grown-up" friend through this and the last season. He begins to trust her more than willow, because lets face it Willow is much more interested in Buffy's stuff than Xander's. Anyway, then Buffy fails to kill Angelus throughout season 2 and people get hurt, then when she does kill him, she runs away. Abandoning them and the people they've known since childhood to the mercy of the Hellmouth. This is not only a betrayal of his trust, but the entire Scooby ideal and her Sacred Duty. Its kinda like if Superman ran off after shoving Zod into the Phantom Zone, but left all the other Kryptonian's running around free.