Dead Man's Party (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
|"Dead Man's Party"|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||James Whitmore, Jr.|
|Written by||Marti Noxon|
|Original air date||October 6, 1998|
Buffy struggles with life back in Sunnydale. Her problems with Angel, combined with the anger and distance of her friends and mother, only make things more difficult. However, everyone is eventually brought back together when a Nigerian mask that Joyce has acquired causes an army of zombies to rise up all over Sunnydale.
Joyce is hanging up a Nigerian mask given by a gallery friend while Buffy finishes unpacking. Joyce reluctantly allows Buffy to go find her friends, who are coordinating a vampire hunt via walkie-talkies. The bumbling gang and Buffy each jump in surprise at their sudden meeting. At Giles' apartment, Buffy avoids most questions about her summer, while Giles hides his emotions of relief in the kitchen and Oz reveals to Buffy that she is no longer a murder suspect.
The next day, Joyce takes Buffy to see Principal Snyder, who takes vindictive pleasure in refusing to lift his expulsion of Buffy. Joyce then drops off Buffy at a coffee shop for a scheduled meeting with Willow, who does not show up. She goes home and runs into Pat, a member of Joyce's book club, who does not hesitate to comment about Buffy's recent behavior and its impact on Joyce. Soon, Buffy finds a dead cat in the basement. Buffy and Joyce bury it but, that night, the Nigerian mask's eyes glow red and the dead cat crawls out of the earth.
Buffy has a nightmare involving Angel. When she wakes, the clearly dead cat surprises her in the kitchen. Giles arrives to remove it in a cage. He notices the mask before leaving for the library, informing Buffy that she is not allowed on school grounds. At school, Buffy's friends decide to throw a big party. The discussion distracts Giles from a page showing Joyce's mask.
Dingoes Ate My Baby soon arrives at Buffy's house without notice. Overwhelmed by dozens of guests she does not know, Buffy tries to talk to a distracted Willow, but gives up. Xander and Cordelia are too busy kissing to care. Meanwhile, Joyce is telling Pat in the kitchen how tough Buffy's return has been on her. Overhearing Joyce's words, combined with the coldness from her friends and the problems with school, Buffy decides it was a mistake to come back and starts packing.
At the library, Giles is horrified by what he finally uncovers about the mask. He tries to phone Buffy, but party-goers fail to relay the message. Driving to the party, Giles hits a man in the road, gets out of the car and finds the man reanimated. Giles barely escapes oncoming zombies as bodies rise all over Sunnydale and are inexorably drawn to Joyce's mask.
Willow finds Buffy in the bedroom packing to leave and starts berating her angrily for all the pain and worry she caused. Joyce joins her and when Buffy tries to leave the party, she stops the merriment. Buffy and Joyce argue right in the midst of the party, and Willow, Xander, and Oz immediately side with Joyce against Buffy, who still refuses to talk about what is going on with her. As the argument grows even more heated, the revenants crash through the windows and doors, causing the Scoobies to immediately stop arguing and band together to combat the threat. Several guests are killed. Oz and Cordelia hide in a downstairs closet while Buffy and others rush upstairs with a gravely-injured Pat. In the bedroom, Willow checks Pat's pulse and finds she is dead.
Giles arrives to tell Oz and Cordelia about the mask containing the powers of the zombie demon Ovu Mobani, which means "Evil Eye." Whichever zombie puts it on becomes the demon incarnate—and Pat does so. The demon's gaze can hypnotize anyone who looks into its eyes. Buffy pushes the Pat/Demon out of the window when it is about to kill Willow. Oz manages to tell Buffy how to kill the Demon—by destroying its eyes —before he is hypnotized. Buffy plunges a shovel into its eyes and it vanishes, along with all the other zombies. As the buried remains vanish, so does the anger that Joyce and the other Scoobies felt towards Buffy, and the entire group embraces.
The next day, Giles tries to convince Snyder to let Buffy return. When he refuses, Giles applies a little political intimidation. In the coffee shop, Willow tells Buffy about her dating Oz and dabbling in magic and the two are once again best friends, yet Buffy still does not want to talk about why she left months before or about where she was. The episode ends with Buffy and Willow trading playful insults.
Starting with this season Nerf Herder's opening theme song was changed to a new re-recorded mix for a better sound. This new version was used for the opening credits for the remainder of the series, except for "Once More, with Feeling" which has an orchestral rendition of the theme.
- Buffy has reconciled with her friends. She now must deal with herself.
- This episode hints about Principal Snyder's connections with the mayor (when Joyce and Buffy are in his office). The mayor will eventually become the Big Bad of this season.
- Willow talks about her practicing of magic, indicating her growth as a witch - something that becomes important later on in the series.
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