Retreat, Part Three is the twenty-eighth issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic book series. It was written by Jane Espenson and illustrated by Georges Jeanty. Joss Whedon is the executive producer.
Oh, hello there, gentle viewers… This month we revisit Team Buffy and her army of Slayers at Oz's temple in the mountains of Tibet. Among the yaks, the Slayers and Wiccan troops attempt to suppress dangerous Magicks through meditation and hard labor. Buffy embraces this new lifestyle, but not everyone is convinced that leaving Magicks behind will solve any problems: among them, a resistant Willow, a doubtful Andrew, and a concerned Giles.
For Buffy, the world has not been so peaceful… so honest… so full of feeling… in a long time — too bad it's not going to stay that way!
Andrew knocks hurriedly on Giles' bedroom door. Giles, visibly tired, warns Andrew that he better have a good reason, like a demon attack, to feel the need to disturb him. Andrew replies that yes there could possibly be a demon attack then goes on to explain to Giles his theory about how there is a spy for Twilight amongst them, remembering his encounter with Warren in the Italian catacombs and reinforces his theory describing Twilight's hold and influence over others. Giles warns Andrew that this accusation better have some real hard evidence to back it up, or all of the finger pointing and accusing could divide there ranks and blow up in his face. After Giles dismisses him, Andrew rummages through his belongings and finds his video camera that was given to him as a gift from Xander. Andrew has now fallen back into narrator mode, complete with the plushy armchair, pipe, and smoking jacket.
The next day, Andrew uses his video camera to keep an eye out for the spy, and to show the viewers life around the compound. He first interviews Bay, and to the camera she explains how through meditation and hard labor, the Slayers and Wiccas can release their bottled up magic into the earth rather than hold it inside where it can be easily tracked. He goes on to film a group of Slayers (including Satsu and Leah) tending garden, churning, and weaving. Bay shows Andrew/camera a group of Slayers returning to the compound with high-tech defenses, which they received from locals who took parts of the mostly buried submarine in trade. Andrew comes upon Willow, who is milking a yak, and is in no mood for Andrew and his film-making antics. Cut to Bay again, she shows the viewers a group of Slayers, overseen by Oz, sparring using defense methods taught to them by Bay and Oz. Through these methods, the Slayers will still be able to defend themselves and fend off dangers, but not to rely so much on their Slayer strength, which, as time goes on, will fade with their inner magic. Andrew closes up on Leah and Rowena who are still adjusting to fighting like normal girls.
Andrew narrates that he questions everybody's happiness toward their new way of life. Cut to Kennedy, who is churning and cursing out the experience at hand. Satsu, who is tending to the soil with a yak-pulled plow, expresses she doesn't like feeling weak. Andrew tries to film Willow again, but he receives the exact same reaction as before. Andrew keeps mental notes of the girls who are unhappy and adds them to his list of suspects and will continue to collect evidence against these girls.
Andrew climbs high into a tree, where below, Faith and Buffy are moving a large boulder to make room for a garden. Buffy and Faith discuss their decision to diminish their power, and then the agree that they did the right thing for the sake of the lives of the girls they were meant to guide. Buffy uses a large plank of wood to yank to boulder out of place, and Buffy and Faith kneel next to the hole where the boulder was. The two senior Slayers have a pleasant moment as Buffy tells Faith how lost she feels now that she doesn't have her power — their shared power anymore, but informs Faith that the only good thing about their situation is that it has shown her she doesn't want to command and stand over others anymore. Andrew sounds pleased at the two former enemies bond but states that he still must discover the spy, and will even turn his attention to even the most seemingly loyal figures amongst the group. A Siamese cat appears in this sequence, first atop the boulder then perched next to the Slayers on the ground.
Xander and Dawn, who are alone together in the armory/control room, try to decipher the meaning of the inscription on a Chinese land mine. They exchanged witty remarks about what it might say and converse about how their present circumstances may allow them the chance to finally be safe from threats. Dawn agrees and says that this is a chance for them to finally get what they want, which she says as she looks lovingly into Xander's eyes. Cut to Andrew, who says he will continue to investigate Xander, which he does. When Xander is next seen, he is sitting with Buffy and a yak under a tree in a vast field at sunset. Xander reveals to Buffy that he knows about what Buffy did to Dark Willow in the future, as he overheard Buffy telling Giles while they were on the submarine. Xander tells Buffy that she needs to tell Willow about it, which Buffy confesses that she fears that if Willow is told she will be evil in the future, it will actually cause her to become evil. Suddenly, Buffy gets a splinter in her hand, which she says hurts like she is on fire. Xander attributes the pain of such a small splinter to being a side effect of her fading power, that she can now feel pain more vividly than she ever could before. Buffy questions Xander about her being able to finally feel more. Soon, Xander is tenderly embracing Buffy's hand and realizing that an awkward romantic moment is upon them, they change the subject and Buffy tells Xander that she agrees that she must tell Willow the truth because she loves her too much to keep the truth from her. Xander makes her promise to come tell him how it went as soon as she is finished.
That night, Andrew returns to Giles' room, confronting him about what he had just learned about Willow's future and is angry that it was kept a secret this whole time. Andrew tells Giles that he is going to monitor Willow's actions closely and that if she is an ally of Twilight, he wants it to be dealt with amongst them, to do whatever it takes to keep the girls and their protectors safe. Giles agrees and tells Andrew to watch her. Andrew films himself in front of a big white drawing pad illustrating the history between him and Dark Willow. He draws crude stick figures of Jonathan, Dark Willow and himself and tells the camera that his love for normal Willow is what makes knowing her future fate all the more painful. Andrew regains his composure, picks up his camera and leaves to go find Willow.
In a bedroom, Oz, Kelden and Willow discuss her frustration at how difficult it is for her to watch the others finding ease in the suppression methods and how she can't do it. Willow questions that there must be more to it than simply meditating and labor; Oz explains that the techniques will work for her differently, she needs to not suppress her magic, but allow it to be released from inside her so it is not contained and bottled up. Willow says she is nothing without her magic, she has nothing to offer. She temporarily goes all black eyed at the very thought of Oz being able to pass as normal, have a family and suppressing the danger that is always inside him, and how she can't ever do that because of the magic inside, it is too powerful now. Oz reassures her that even without the magic, she is still Willow and that she can have that normal life she has always wanted. They embrace, and Willow tries to make a quick exit, but is stopped when Oz asks her to watch Kelden for a while. This causes Willow to tear up and she agrees. The mystery cat appears on the bed here as well.
Buffy comes to Willow's room and witnesses her with Kelden, she appears happy and content with him. Buffy herself seems uneasy about something (Andrew guesses that this may be "the confession"). Buffy tries to get Willow to focus on her, but Willow is easily distracted by Kelden, who renews her faith that she as well as Buffy can have normal lives. Buffy questions this, and Willow explains that for so long she considered herself to be nothing more than a force, not a human or even capable of having babies. Buffy suddenly blurts out that she kills Willow in the future. After hearing the story, Willow reminds Buffy that the Willow she killed wasn't her, and that it won't be her, because she is going to work even harder at living with no magic. Buffy and Willow embrace, their relationship seemingly stronger than ever. Buffy happily leaves Kelden and Willow to go tell Xander they talked. As she leaves, Willow reminds her that having a normal life is not as much of a fantasy as they thought — that it can indeed happen, even for the Slayer.
Buffy goes to a room where she knows Xander is, and Andrew is hot on her tail. She stops frozen at the doorway, her eyes wide and mouth agape with awe. In the room, she sees Xander and Dawn kissing. Andrew moves in for a close-up of Buffy and she coldly dismisses Andrew and tells him to get the camera away from her. Later, Andrew is in a large room, surrounding by the Scoobies, Slayers and Wiccans alike. He publicly reveals his accusation of Willow to the group, which angers Kennedy. He begins to apologize for being wrong, and suddenly the mystery cat magically teleports from atop Leah's lap. She calls it to the group's attention, and Xander quickly realizes it was Amy, who had been spying on them in the form of a cat the whole time to avoid being detected. Buffy tells Dawn and Xander to get the high-tech weapons ready for battle, because without their strength or magic, that is their only line of defense — she warns they are about to get hit by Twilight and his army now that they know where they have been hiding.
- Andrew tells Giles about Warren finding him in Retreat, Part One.
- Andrew acts and imagines himself as a story narrator, much as he did in episode "Storyteller".
- Xander reveals he had heard Buffy when she told Giles about killing Willow in the future (Retreat, Part One).
- Andrew mentions the events of Dark Willow seeking him and Jonathan to kill them, in "Two to Go".
- As Buffy reveals to Willow she killed her in the future (Time of Your Life, Part Four), Willow is sure it was just a possible her, which either wasn't her anymore or Willow would work harder as she wouldn't be. Indeed, this future is completely erased after the Reckoning, largely thanks to the efforts of Willow's empowerment center to build a better future (Finale).
- It's revealed that Xander and Dawn are in a relationship; they will move together as soon as the battle against Twilight is over (Last Gleaming, Part Five) and eventually form a family (One Year Later).
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Faith Lehane
- Jonathan Levinson (Only mentioned)
- Amy Madison
- Warren Mears (Only mentioned)
- Daniel Osbourne
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
- Twilight (Only mentioned)
- Andrew Wells
- Husky puppy
Organization and titles
- Tibetan monastery
- Lhasa (Only mentioned)
Weapons and objects
Behind the scenes
- Retreat, Part Three was the 31st best selling comic issue in its publishing month, with 52,303 sales in September 2009 at comic specialty stores.
Pop culture references
- Giles wears a T-shirt of the album "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols".
- Andrew wears a Star Wars’ stormtrooper hoodie.
- Among Andrew’s things, there are statuettes of fictional characters Alien and Hellboy.
- Andrew imagines himself as the narrator from Masterpiece television series.
- Buffy wears a Count von Count T-shirt.
- French: Retraite, Partie Trois (Retreat, Part Three)
- German: Rückzug! — Teil Drei (Retreat! — Part Three)
- Italian: Ritirata, Parte 3 (Retreat, Part 3)
- Russian: Отступление, Часть 3 (Retreat, Part 3)
- Turkish: Geri Çekilme, Kısım Üç (Retreat, Part Three)
- ↑ “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #28: Retreat part 3 (Jo Chen cover)”. Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved November 03, 2018.
- ↑ “Top 300 Comics Actual--September 2009”. ICv2, October 18, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2019.