A Nigerian mask reanimates the dead, forcing Buffy to battle a horde of zombies.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Paul Morgan Stetler ...
Young Doctor
Chris Garnant ...
Stoner #1


Buffy is back home, to her mother Joyce's great relief, which calls for a dinner invitation for the while gang, but the mood remains gloomy, despite her resuming the main slaying tasks although for the others things can't just return to their former state, not in the least because the obviously amused principal Snyder pays no attention to pleas to take Buffy back (mother's threat to take the case to the mayor even has an inverse effect), while Buffy still dreams of Angel. After a dead cat found in the Summers bookcase, other stinking corpses come to life again, a phenomenon which must have something to do with a the mysterious Nigerian mask with lighting red eyes mother Joyce bought, fortunately no secret to Giles... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 October 1998 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Pat mentions to Buffy that Joyce read "The Deep End of the Ocean" while Buffy was gone. It is a 1996 novel by Jacquelyn Mitchard about a suburban middle-class family much like Buffy's that is torn apart when the youngest son disappears, only to reappear at the front doorstep years later. See more »


As Giles is driving from the school to Buffy's house we see him on Main Street, passing the Espresso Pump. Moments later, when he hits the zombie, he has mysteriously reversed course and is once again passing the Espresso Pump, only this time in the opposite direction. See more »


Oz: We should figure out what kinda deal this is. I mean, is it a-a gathering, a shindig or a hootenanny?
Cordelia: What's the difference?
Oz: Well, a gathering is brie, mellow song stylings; shindig, dip, less mellow song stylings, perhaps a large amount of malt beverage; and hootenanny, well, it's chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.
Xander: Well, I hate brie.
Cordelia: I know. It smells like Giles' cat.
Giles: It's not my...
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References Alien (1979) See more »


Performed by Four Star Mary
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User Reviews

An episode driven by the conflicts between the characters
1 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Buffy-verse is pretty good about showing the fallout of bad/controversial decisions within the group. The characters don't always agree or act responsibly or even like each other. But, they're still friends and the disagreements usually come from real, understandable conflicts. "Dead Man's Party" is all about the Scoobies adjusting to Buffy's return. In addition to the zombies that attack, there's another "dead man" haunting their reunion... Angel. Buffy hasn't told them that Angel regained his soul right before she killed him. And the Scoobies are bitter that she skipped town after fighting him without any explanations. All in all, it's an interesting episode, driven by the hurt feelings and different points-of-view of the characters.

"Dead Man's Party" begins with Buffy's return to Sunnydale. She isn't wanted for murder anymore. (Which is good because "That was such a drag.") But, she's still expelled from school and there's a new tension between her and Scoobies. They aren't quite ready to forgive her for abandoning them all summer. Joyce, meanwhile, is trying to be positive, but she's scared to leave Buffy alone for fear she will run off again. She plans a party to welcome Buffy home, conveniently located in the Summer's house so Buffy will be under her watchful eye, and invites the Scoobies. Little does Joyce know that the Scoobie's don't want to be alone with Buffy and, in an effort to avoid having to really face her, they invite half the school to the party.

Xander and Willow are especially uncomfortable around Buffy. Xander's months of worry over Buffy (combined, perhaps, with some guilt over his lie about Willow's spell in "Becoming Part Two" and his ever present resentment of Angel), has left him angry and impatient. Willow is hurt that Buffy didn't so much as send her a postcard while she was away. Not just because Buffy shut her out, but because Willow needed a friend as she adjusted to her new witch-y powers and Buffy wasn't there for her. I think this is especially interesting. Willow is Buffy's best friend, but throughout the series she will call Buffy on her self-centered behavior. (See, season four's "Fear, Itself" and season six's "Two to Go.") Buffy may be the Slayer (and the star of the show) but Willow refuses to be dismissed as just a sidekick or sounding board for Buffy's problems. She has problems too and she wants Buffy to acknowledge them. It's very cool. Anyway, it all comes to a head at the party, with Joyce, Willow and Xander shouting at Buffy, while Oz and Cordy try to play peacemakers.

And right about then, zombies attack. Joyce's new art piece is really a mask that raises the dead. Giles arrives at the house as the students try to fend off the monsters. Meanwhile, Joyce's friend Pat is killed and, as a zombie, puts on the mask. She becomes super-powerful and does some kind of flash-y mojo with her eyes that freezes people in place. Buffy has to fight her. After the battle, she and the Scoobies finally begin to heal their relationship.

There are some good points to this episode. I love Giles mimicking Joyce, "Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty? It raises the dead." And it's very sweet that he just squeezes his eyes shut in relief when Buffy returns home. Cordy and Oz's reaction to Giles' "pet" is also fun. They keep calling the zombie cat "his," no matter how many times he insists that he's just studying it. Also, I like the argument that the Scoobie's have at the Summer's house. It sounds like a real fight, with people yelling, switching sides and hitting below the belt as it rages on. Buffy and Xander are especially good. He claims that she acted like an idiot, and Buffy retorts that his boy-slayer persona "Night Hawk" was pretty stupid, as well. Oz finally has to step between them. Lastly, "Dead Man's Party" deserves credit for trashing the Summer's house for the first time. Oh, the many parties and monster attacks that will end in the destruction of that living room in the years to come...

On the downside, "Dead Man's Party" is a hard episode to follow without the season two back story. You need to understand where the characters are coming from to really follow it. And I do think that the Scoobies could have been a little more understanding of Buffy's problems in this episode. They know that Angel died and they know how much she loved him... Yet nobody wants to even offer her condolences on his death. Also, the second that Pat is introduced, you know she'll wind up dead and probably a bad guy. This is Sunnydale, after all.

My favorite part of the episode: Oz playing with Giles' un-dead cat. "I like it. I think you should call it Patches."

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