The third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer originally aired on the WB from September 29, 1998 to September 21, 1999. It was the last season before David Boreanaz left the main cast to star in his own show, Angel.



The new title card

Principal Cast

In order of character appearances:

Regular Cast

In order of character appearances:

Season Summary

Buffy returns to Sunnydale after trying to begin a new life in Los Angeles for a few months, leaving her friends to fend for themselves in the still dangerous town. Just when she begins to accept Angel's departure, he returns from a hell after being tortured for probably centuries. The unseen mayor of Sunnydale proves to be a bad guy; indeed, Mayor Richard Wilkins III emerges as the major villain in the third season. (Once discovered, seasonal villains are known affectionately as the "Big Bad.")

The story is complicated by the arrival of another Slayer, Faith, who was called after Kendra was killed at the end of Season Two. Faith is an unstable, leather-clad bad-girl who had an "unhappy childhood." She takes pleasure in violence and enjoys one-night stands afterwards. After accidentally killing a human being, something that is strictly forbidden for a Vampire Slayer, she turns rogue and joins the evil mayor, who had built the town of Sunnydale "for demons to feed on" over a century ago. He plans to Ascend into pure demon form on graduation day, becoming much larger and more destructive than the demons Buffy is used to facing.

Wesley Wyndam-Pryce appeared as a Watcher to replace Giles, who had failed a traditional test given to the Slayer and her Watcher on her 18th birthday. Though Wesley was generally inept and played mostly as a comic fop, he develops into a more heroic figure as a regular on the spin-off series Angel. Jonathan, who would become a major player later in the series, also reappeared while vengeance demon Anyanka, who would later become a series regular, loses her power and becomes a mortal in Sunnydale.

The season ends with Buffy having to stab Faith, putting her in a permanent coma. The Mayor Ascends, but the gang blows up the school with him in it. Knowing that he has no future with Buffy, Angel leaves Sunnydale for Los Angeles and his own spin-off. Though no mention was made of it at the time, regular character Cordelia Chase made the same move.

The main antagonists of this season were Richard Wilkins and Faith Lehane.

List of Episodes

  1. "Anne"
  2. "Dead Man's Party"
  3. "Faith, Hope & Trick"
  4. "Beauty and the Beasts"
  5. "Homecoming"
  6. "Band Candy"
  7. "Revelations"
  8. "Lovers Walk"
  9. "The Wish"
  10. "Amends"
  11. "Gingerbread"
  1. "Helpless"
  2. "The Zeppo"
  3. "Bad Girls"
  4. "Consequences"
  5. "Doppelgängland"
  6. "Enemies"
  7. "Earshot"
  8. "Choices"
  9. "The Prom"
  10. "Graduation Day, Part One"
  11. "Graduation Day, Part Two


  • Despite Spike's appearance in only one episode, he's still featured on one of the discs in the Region 1 DVD set.
  • This is the only season of Buffy where Angel appears in every episode. 
  • This season features the most vampire deaths of the series.
  • Joss Whedon has stated that, while season two "exceeded his expectations," season three was "a struggle, because I was so happy with the year before. I was, like, 'Can we do it again? Is the magic gone?' Which is good, because you keep working really hard. Year two got so personal and strange and it got heavier than I expected it could have. We really got to go there emotionally, mostly because we had actors who could do anything, which is something we didn’t know when we started. But I would say a couple of things about third season. One, it proved that there was life after Romeo & Juliet. Our goal was to keep it fresh, which we did. And we got to explore Faith and the dark side of being a Slayer and calling that whole thing into question was really exciting and the point. And knowing that we had a countdown on high school stories when we’d only been in high school for two and a half years. There was discussion of whether we should be Saved By The Bell and they’re in high school forever, and the decision to have them graduate meant for the first time that we were going to get into some serious changes just in terms of the look and the feel. We also knew that Angel was going to be leaving. Knowing we had limited time to play up both high school and the Angel/Buffy romance sort of galvanized us and made us pull out all of our stops with what we could do."[1]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.