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Homecoming

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 3, Episode 5
Cordy&buffy
Air date November 3, 1998
Written by David Greenwalt
Directed by David Greenwalt
Episode Guide
previous
"Beauty and the Beasts"
next
"Band Candy"
Cast
Starring
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
David Boreanaz Angel
Seth Green Oz
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
K. Todd Freeman Mr. Trick
Jeremy Ratchford Lyle
Fab Filippo Scott
Ian Abercrombie Old Man
Harry Groener Mayor Wilkins
Eliza Dushku Faith
Co Starring
Danny Strong Jonathan
Jason Hall Devon
Jack Plotnick Deputy Mayor
Billy Maddox Frawley
Joseph Daube Hans
Jermyn Daube Frederick
Lee Everett Candy Gorch
Tori McPetrie Michelle Blake
Chad Stahelski Kulak
Uncredited
Jennifer Hetrick Ms. Moran

"Homecoming" is the fifth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the thirty-ninth episode altogether.

Synopsis

The Scoobies decide to share a limo for their last Homecoming dance. Scott hasn't asked Buffy, but after some prompting does ask her, so they join in the group plans. Buffy takes an early leave to bring blood to Angel, who is still very weak. She tells him she won't tell the others about him because they won't understand that he is better. She also tells him she is dating someone else.

Scott breaks up with Buffy the next day because he finds her too distracted all the time now, which she admits is true. She promises to do better, but it's not enough. As she watches him walk away, two men watch her from a van. They are connected via modem to Mr. Trick and an unnamed Boss, who have video monitors set up.

Deputy Mayor Allan Finch enters the Mayor's office. He reports that two German brothers who are major international criminals/terrorists have arrived in Sunnydale. The Mayor gently chides him for not cleaning his hands enough. Finch looks scared, and promises to do better.

At school, the gang sends Cordelia Chase to tell Buffy that yearbook photos are being taken that day. Buffy is in the library training with Faith, who is expressing her views on guys. Buffy decides to go to the prom with Faith, since she has already bought a ticket. Cordelia gets distracted at the library door by two guys whose votes for homecoming queen she wants. She leaves without giving Buffy the message.

Buffy needs a recommendation from a teacher for her file, per the Principal's stipulation for her to re-enroll at school. She asks the teacher who taught "the class that changed my life," but is crushed when the teacher does not remember her. "At Hemery, I was Prom Princess, I was Fiesta Queen, I was on the cheerleading squad. And the yearbook was, like, a story of me," but no one remembers her at Sunnydale High. She is bummed that her entire high school career will come down to one picture on 1/8th of a page, but Willow and Xander tell her that even that won't be there, since she missed getting her picture taken for the Yearbook. They tell her that Cordelia was supposed to give her the message. Buffy confronts Cordy, who couldn't care less because it's not about herself. An enraged Buffy decides to run for Prom Queen against Cordy. Meanwhile, Mr. Trick has organised SlayerFest '98, a competition in which it's participants (for a modest fee) get to hunt the two slayers. The competitors include: the German brothers working with an older man, vampires Lyle Gorch and his new bride Candy, a demon, and a human named Frawley.

Xander and Willow, trying on their Homecoming clothes in her room, can not help admiring each other's elegance. They are momentarily overcome by their feelings, and they share a passionate kiss. Then they break apart, consumed with guilt for cheating on Cordelia and Oz. The next day, Buffy is analyzing the Homecoming Queen competition with Oz, Xander, and Willow in the library. They all look very uncomfortable. It turns out that Xander is helping Cordelia, since he is her boyfriend, Willow is constructing Cordelia's database (because she feels guilty about the kiss), and Oz is going along with Willow.

305 Homecoming

Slayerfest

As the evil-doers are honing their skills for their upcoming hunt, the competition at Sunnydale High is heating up as well. Ethics give way to bribery with sweets and money. Buffy gets 15 minutes on Cordelia's database after all; she managed to guilt trip Willow into secretly helping her. Xander and Willow sit down to talk, and Willow starts talking about the Homecoming Queen competition and the tensions between Buffy and Cordelia, but Xander thinks she's talking about their kiss, and starts mentioning that he has a whole new set of feelings for Willow, but quickly shuts up when he realizes what Willow is really talking about. Willow exclaims that the kiss upset the whole balance of the group dynamics, leading them to help Cordy out of guilt, and that has all led to the new hostility between Cordelia and Buffy. Willow is determined to do something to fix things.

When the limo arrives at Buffy's house, she gets in to discover not Faith, who was scheduled to be the first to be picked up, but rather Cordelia alone, holding a note from their friends saying that they want her and Cordelia to make up on the expensive ride, so they will be forced to spend some time alone together. Putting on the corsages that have been left for them, the two talk but make no progress. When the driver stops at their destination, they are surprised to discover not Sunnydale High, but a shack and some woods. Then the driver runs away. They find a TV, VCR, and video tape and play it. Mr. Trick addresses them as Buffy and Faith and informs them of Slayerfest '98. Despite Cordelia's desperate attempts at getting someone to realize that she is not Faith, she and Buffy are both targeted by the competitors.

Xander and Willow are moping at the dance. Even Giles's humor fails to cheer them up. Faith is livelier; she embarrasses Scott in front of his date by pretending to have gotten an STD from him. Meanwhile, Buffy catches one of her pursuers and forces details out of him. Cordelia, thinking she's going to die, tells Buffy she loves Xander. Buffy tells her she spent a year's allowance on the dress in an attempt to achieve one ideal moment in high school. For a moment, the two understand each other. The two (but mainly Buffy) fight off their adversaries and run to the school.

Meanwhile, Trick is dragged away from his den by two policemen. Buffy and Cordelia make their way to the library, only to find Giles knocked out and the Gorchs waiting for them. During the fight, Candy is dusted thanks to a spatula that Cordelia acquired. Lyle is infuriated and is ready to kill the two, but Cordelia finally does something good with her taunting skills and scares Lyle away when Buffy and Giles are down, by exaggerating her bad-assery. Buffy realizes the corsages they got in the limo were electronic tracking devices. She puts a device on one of the German brothers, who, when fired upon by his brother, fires back, both killing each other.

The policemen bring Mr. Trick to the office of Mayor Wilkins, who tells Trick that he needs to control rebellious youth elements during this important year. Mr. Trick, knowing the Mayor means business, agrees to team up with him.

A bedraggled Buffy and Cordelia arrive at the Homecoming dance just in time for the announcement of Homecoming Queen, both believing the result to be more important than ever after all that they've been through. It is announced that the vote was tied, and Buffy and Cordelia both smile at the idea of sharing the title... but it turns out the tie was between two other competitors. As the two winners make emotional speeches, Buffy and Cordelia, united in their disgust, walk out.

Continuity

  • Buffy's list of Cordelia's strengths reads: "Popular With Boys, Makes Friends Easily, Has Money To Buy Votes, Expensive Clothes, Perfect Teeth." Her list of weaknesses reads: "Manipulative, Two-Faced, Bad in Sports, Superficial, No Sense of Humor, Fake Smile, Brie, Xander." In the episode "Dead Man's Party," both Cordelia and Xander express a dislike for brie cheese.
  • Xander and Willow begin to explore their mutual attraction.
  • This episode marks the beginning of Xander and Willow's secret relationship, which will last for three more episodes, concluding in "Lovers Walk" when Cordelia and Oz find out about it.
  • Buffy's wish for a perfect moment in high school will be granted in "The Prom".
  • Mayor Wilkins makes his first appearance and displays what will be his trademark: a disturbing attention to cleanliness. 
  • This marks the final appearance of Scott Hope who will be mentioned again in "Conversations with Dead People".

Body Count

Behind the Scenes

Deleted Scenes

  • This exchange was cut for length:[1]
Buffy: "Okay, how 'bout...you vote for me and I don't beat the living crap out of you."
Jonathan: "That works good for me."
Buffy: "Tell your friends!"

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • Early in the episode, Buffy brings Angel blood—which she presumably has bought. In "Band Candy", she brings him blood again and says that it's from the butcher's shop. But later, in "The Prom", she seems momentarily surprised when she finds Angel buying blood for himself, acting like the idea of buying blood had never occurred to her. It may have been she was more surprised to run into Angel, rather than surprised that a person could buy blood.
  • The Gruenshtahler twins are referred to as being wanted in Germany for capital murder. Germany does not have capital punishment, the constitution adopted in 1949 forbids capital punishment. However, the term describes the act rather the punishment, and would have been used as a way of easily expressing the severity of the crime.
  • Cordelia says that they killed four of Lyle Gorch's companions including his wife. However, by that time they'd only killed two with the last just being defeated.

International Titles

  • French: Le bal de fin d'année (The end of the year dance)
  • German: Die Qual der Wahl (The Agony of Choice)
  • Portuguese: A Volta às Aulas (Back to Classes)

Music

  • Lori Carson - "Fell into the Loneliness" (Plays at The Bronze as the group talks about renting a limo.)
  • Pinehurst Kids - "Jodie Foster" (Plays as the group gets their picture taken.)
  • Lisa Loeb - "How" (Plays when Xander and Willow kiss.)
  • Fastball - "Fire Escape" (Plays during Buffy and Cordelia's campaign for Homecoming Queen.)
  • Four Star Mary - "She Knows" (Plays during the dance.)
  • Christophe Beck - original score

Other

  • The Gorches are the only example seen so far of vampires getting married.
  • We see Buffy wearing a SDH letterman's jacket with no indication of who the owner was. Xander would be entitled to one, having been on the Swim Team in "Go Fish", but as he was assisting Cordelia's campaign, it remains unclear if it had been his.
  • This episode is included in The Slayer Collection: Cordelia DVD.
  • Cordelia calls Buffy a "Guacamole Queen", a reference to the Frank Zappa song "Inca Roads".

Quotes

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 got old long before I became a vampire, if you know what I saying."
Xander - "Buffy and Faith are in the training room, getting all sweaty."
Cordelia - "They're training."
Xander - "I stand by my phrase."
Xander - "Yeah, special. That's why I spared no expense on the tux."
Willow - "The tux? I thought you, uh, borrowed it from your cousin Rigby.
Xander - "Expense to my pride, Will. They're our only relations with money and they shun us. As they should."
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."
Faith - (to Willow and Xander) What are you two so mopey about?
Xander - Oh, we're not mopey. We're groovin'. On Oz's band. He's a great guy, Oz.
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." (to Scott's date) "Hi."
Scott - "Uh..."
Xander - (after Buffy and Cordelia show up disheveled after being left alone together) "Oh, God! What did you two do to each other?"
Buffy - "Long story."
Cordelia - "Got hunted."
Buffy - "Apparently not that long."
Mayor Wilkins - "Would you show me your hands please?"
Allen - "Sir?"
Mayor Wilkins - "Your hands. I think they could be cleaner."
Allen - "Of course, sir. I mean I - I washed them..."
Mayor Wilkins - "After every meal and under your fingernails. Dirt gets trapped there. And germs. And mayonnaise."

References

  1. Nancy Holder. The Watcher's Guide, Vol. 2, 2000.

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