Buffy Logo 'Dead Manís Party'
Story Code '3ABB02'

by Marti Noxon

Now that she has returned home, Buffy is anxious to see all her friends; after saving them from a vampire they were trying to slay, she makes a tearful reunion with Giles. Everything seems to be back on track, but then Principal Snyder informs her that she is still expelled from school. Joyce invites Giles and the gang over for dinner the next night, but when Buffy goes to the basement to get the good plates she finds a dead stray cat. She and her and her mother bury the animal in the garden, but that night, while they sleep, the eyes of a Nigerian mask in Joyce's bedroom suddenly glow red - and the dead stray claws its way through the dirt and then skulks away, growling menacingly. After dreaming of Angel again, Buffy wakes up and learns that her mother is to speak with the school superintendent, and is looking into the possibility of a girls' private school for her daughter. When Joyce opens the back door and the formerly-dead stray cat runs in; Giles arrives to help collect the undead kitty, and notices the Nigerian mask on Joyce's wall. After taking it back to the library to investigate, he is joined by the rest of the gang, who decide that the dinner at Buffy's house that night will instead be a big party, and Oz's band will play. Later, the party gets underway - seemingly with everyone in Sunnydale in attendance, including Joyce's friend Pat. Meanwhile, upstairs in Joyce's room, the mask has been put back and its eyes glow red - all over Sunnydale the dead rise from their graves and shamble towards the Summersí house. Buffy becomes depressed when she finds that she is unable to talk to Xander and Cordelia the way she used to; then, after overhearing her mother complain of the difficulty in having her daughter back home, she storms up to her room and begins packing, ready to run away once more. Catches her in the act, Willow is furious with her for giving up again. Giles finds a picture of Joyce's mask in a book at the library; horrified, he jumps in his car and speeds off to their house, but while en route he hits someone. Stopping to check on the accident victim, he finds that he has hit a zombie who, along with several other members of the undead, chases him back to his car. Back at the house, Joyce walks into the middle of Buffy and Willow's argument, which quickly escalates to include all of Buffy's friends; as party guests nervously begin to leave, Xander lays a heavy guilt trip on a tearful Buffy. The confrontation is about to turn ugly when suddenly the army of zombies breaks in and begins killing everyone; Buffy and the others then find Pat lying dead in the hallway. Giles arrives and tells Oz and Cordelia that the zombies are after the mask - whichever zombie puts it on will become a demon incarnate. Before they can go upstairs, Pat rises up and dons on the mask; she blinds Buffy and is about to kill Willow when Buffy recovers and pushes her out of a window. A battle between the two breaks out on the lawn, finally ending when Buffy embeds a shovel into the demonís head. The next day, Giles confronts Snyder about letting Buffy back into school; meanwhile, Buffy and Willow begin patching up their friendship, bonding over Willow's revelation that she has been studying witchcraft over the summerÖ

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), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), Armin Shimerman (Principal Snyder), Nancy Lenehan (Pat), Danny Strong (Jonathan), Jason Hall (Devon), Paul Morgan Stetler (Young Doctor), Chris Garnant (Stoner #1)
Directed by James Whitmore, Jr.

TX (US): 6th October 19
TX (UK - Sky One): 27th August 1999
TX (UK - BBC): 6th April 2000

*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Oz, Cordelia and Angel