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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy Summers is a 16-year-old girl whose destiny is to be the fabled Vampire Slayer. Faced with defending the cursed town of Sunnydale from a slew of vampires and other malevolent supernatural creatures, Buffy, with the help of her small group of comrades, deals with numerous threats while hiding her Slayer identity and doing her best to live out the typical teenage girl life that she desperately wants to have.

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Episode Review Catalogue

I am still watching Buffy's adventures for the first time, at a rate of one episode per week. New reviews will be added steadily as time goes on! I may also add character biographies and other stuff if I think of it, with time.

Welcome to the Hellmouth

NumberRatingAir Date
Season 1,
Episode 1
4/510 March, 1997

The introductory episode to the series, and what a ride it is. Beyond introducing Buffy, Buffy's mum Joyce, Willow (resourceful nerd and one of Buffy's friends), Giles (librarian, oracle of knowledge, the Watcher to Buffy's Slayer, and reassuring British accent), Xander (Buffy's awkward/creepy platonic male friend), Cordelia (vapid school bully), Angel, Principal Flutie, the Master (main villain), and Darla (recurring villain), most of whom we first see as Buffy runs into them for the first time, it also finds time to plunge headfirst into Buffy's first confrontation with the local vampire clan before leaving off on a cliffhanger that the next episode resolves.

16-year-old Buffy Summers, secretly the Vampire Slayer, begins her first day at her new school, Sunnydale High School, having been expelled from her previous school for burning down a gymnasium (full of vampires). Of course, it doesn't take long for her to realise that she's now needed more than ever. While she's able to briefly ignore Giles being aware of her identity, the ensuing dead body discovered at the school, the revelation that her new town appears to be situated directly above a portal to Hell itself (the Hellmouth), and finally the realisation that her new friends are in immediate danger are a lot harder to brush off.

There's a nice air of mystery and intrigue in this episode amidst all the stuff the viewer is introduced to, mostly with Angel appearing out of nowhere before disappearing just as quickly following the delivery of a cryptic warning, the vampires huddling around the Hellmouth and the Master rising from it, and Giles suddenly revealing himself to be far more than a librarian. The point of the episode was to hook the viewer in and, in my case at least, mission accomplished.


Cordelia: You won't be meeting Coach Foster, the woman with the chest hair, because gym was cancelled due to the extreme dead guy in the locker.
Buffy: What?
Willow: What are you talking about?
Cordelia: Some guy was stuffed in Aura's locker.
Buffy: Dead?
Cordelia: Totally dead. Way dead.
Xander: So not just a little dead, then?
Cordelia: Don't you have an elsewhere to be?

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The Harvest

NumberRatingAir Date
Season 1,
Episode 2
4/510 March, 1997

And so, the bedlam continues. After narrowly escaping the scary fishman Frankenstein thing Luke after he burns himself on the crucifix that Angel gave her, Buffy runs off to rescue her new friends only to learn that Jesse was abducted by them while they were fleeing. With the Harvest on the horizon, Buffy must now somehow rescue Jesse and prevent the Harvest from transpiring and the Master from being freed from his underground prison.

I'm going to momentarily put aside my desire to avoid putting major-ish spoilers into these summaries to say that I wish Luke had stuck around for longer. I realise that he just isn't as compelling of a character as Darla, and that the first season was only 12 episodes with no guarantee that any other seasons would be greenlit, but seeing the main villain's number two guy go down this early was worrisome. I loved all of his scenes, especially his hostile takeover of the Bronze (see quotes below), and would've been more than happy to see more of him.

I'm torn about my feelings regarding the failed rescue of the (now vampiric) Jesse. On one hand, Angel's second mysterious sudden appearance was great, and I loved the ominous atmosphere in the tunnels, it did leave me with the lingering question of why there's an entrance to the utility tunnels inside of a mausoleum. Are there clandestine vampire construction companies that do secret jobs like this? The entire plot to ensnare Buffy also felt a tad bit hare-brained, although the fact that she had to lock herself in a room and escape through a ventilation shaft in the ceiling did make it more palatable.

The actual showdown at the Bronze was great. I thought the method Buffy used to defeat Luke was pretty amusing the first time I saw it, although it made me feel a bit bad for him still being so easily duped despite his great age. Buffy saving Xander by beheading a vampire with a flying metal disc (something foreshadowed earlier in the episode by her telling Xander about an incident where she had to behead a vampire to save herself) was also fantastic, even if they lacked the budget to actually show the collision.


(Luke takes the stage after the vampire gang takes over the Bronze and cut the music)
Luke: Ladies and gentlemen! There is no cause for alarm. Actually, there is cause for alarm. It just won't do any good.

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NumberRatingAir Date
Season 1,
Episode 3
5/517 March, 1997

Buffy's desire to live a normal life leads her to try out for the cheerleading squad, but after one cheerleader catches on fire, and Cordelia screws around and finds out, our hero(in)es realise they're dealing with a witch who will do anything in order to make her dream of making it onto the team come true. Buffy herself soon finds herself the target of a deadly spell, and the rest of the gang has to scramble to save her and uncover what's really going on before it's too late.

I admit I did not actually expect to like this episode - the cheerleading theme turned me off immediately and I was a tad worried about how the show would handle its first foray into non-vampiric villains. Thankfully, my cynicism was all for naught, because this episode is all sorts of wonderful. There's a horrific twist about 23 of the way through that really propels it into 5 star territory. I won't spoil it, but I will say that the way it's introduced, from the acting of the characters involved to the music is just about perfectly done.

Giles stepping up to take the lead after Buffy goes down is something I did not realise I needed until I rewatched the episode following my completion of the first season. We even see him acting assertively and casting his first spell to save Buffy, which I think is the first real sign that although his role is to be the Watcher, he genuinely cares about Buffy and is not at all averse to stepping out of that role to protect her, something we see again in "Prophecy Girl".

The comically giddy Buffy was a treat to see, at least until she collapsed and Giles revealed that the spell affecting her is deadly.

I enjoyed just how far they went with making the witch a truly sinister, old school witch despite the otherwise mundane theme of the episode. From her very well decorated lair, to the spells she cast on Buffy and Cordelia, to her actress' entire performance in the final showdown.

It also made me smile to hear Buffy directly referencing Sabrina the Teenage Witch ("she's our Sabrina!"). I assume but cannot find anything to conclusively confirm that it's a reference to the show, which was airing at the same time as Buffy, and not the 1970s cartoon or the original comics. The contrast between the light-hearted Sabrina and the sinister witch in this episode couldn't be any greater, of course.


Buffy: You guys don't have to get involved.
Xander: What do you mean? We're a team. Aren't we a team?
Willow: Yeah. You're the Slayer, and we're like, the Slayerettes.
Buffy: I just don't like putting you guys in danger.
Xander: Oh. (scoffs) I laugh in the face of danger. Then I hide until it goes away.

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Teacher's Pet

NumberRatingAir Date
Season 1,
Episode 4
4/524 March, 1997

After Buffy's biology teacher, Dr. Gregory, is murdered and beheaded by an unseen entity, Xander winds up becoming infatuated with the substitute teacher, Ms. French, who seems more than happy to reciprocate his feelings. This already uncomfortable scenario becomes much moreso after evidence begins piling up that Ms. French might not be exactly human, and her idea of mating is downright deadly. And if that wasn't enough, there's now a vampire in town with a metal claw for a hand wandering around attacking people.

The indisputable star of the episode, Miss French's actress, Musetta Vander, is... er, quite talented and uniquely suited for her role as a shapeshifting praying mantis monster masquerading as a substitute teacher to prey on humans (and I do insist that this odd statement is meant to be a compliment). Her acting and sheer predatory presence is top-notch, and I assume most people will at the very least suspect there's something very sinister about her from the moment she first appears on-screen. Her acting is good that it's almost enough for me to criticise how oblivious everyone is to her true nature, but the show itself explains that away by stating that she's constantly giving off pheromones that are likely completely overriding any suspicions that the teenage boys around her could possibly have.

The giant praying mantis monster puppet in the climax was pretty good too, by non-Musetta Vander standards.

This was the episode that really made me start disliking Xander. Although him going off on a rant to Buffy about how she's jealous that he finally met a woman (a man-eating praying mantis that might be old enough to be his mother, but who's counting?) that likes him back before jealously mocking Angel in the same breath purely for the fact that Buffy has a crush on him instead of Xander, is a little too pitiful to be upset about, in hindsight.

The claw vampire just felt really out-of-place to me. Perhaps I would have liked him a tad more if he was anything more than a quick and convenient throwaway plot device, and/or if Giles and Angel didn't both give out warnings about him despite how ineffectual he turned out to be. I wonder if he was originally brought up by someone as a possible monster-of-the-week, rejected, and then shoehorned into this one later on to partially save him.


Buffy: Well, I'm chasing Claw Guy last night, and Miss "Well-Proportioned" is heading home. Claw Guy takes one look at her and runs screaming for cover.
Giles: He what? Ran away?
Buffy: He was petrified.
Giles: Of Miss French?
Buffy: Uh-huh. So, I'm an undead monster that can shave with my hand... How many things am I afraid of?
Giles: Not many. And not substitute teachers, as a rule.

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Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

NumberRatingAir Date
Season 1,
Episode 5
3/531 March, 1997

Buffy clicks with a boy she's attracted to and tries to start a normal relationship with him. Unfortunately for her, another prophecy involving the Master's underlings raising a new vampire known as the Anointed One, some sort of evil "chosen one" who is supposed to help the Master bring the Slayer down, just so happens to fall on the night of her date.

Although a fun episode, I could not help but feel that it repeatedly stretched the believability of the complete refusal of most Sunnydale residents to recognise the supernatural beyond the breaking point. After all of the things that Owen witnesses during his increasingly chaotic date with Buffy, which eventually leads them into a funeral home where he witnesses a vampire rising from the dead and attacking them, I found his utter lack of any real suspicion to be immersion-breaking. If anything, he actually seemed to react with more shock to seeing a corpse (you know, in a funeral home) than to anything else. Throw in the fact that Owen doesn't have much of a personality to begin with, and I can't help but feel like the episode would be better if he was written out of large portions of it altogether.

My favourite part of the episode is Andrew Borba, a schizophrenic pseudo-Christian drifter who we see become a vampire during the course of the episode and who serves as both the episode's main antagonist and the loud decoy to distract Buffy and co from the real Anointed One. Borba's apparent unawareness of what happened to him is equally hilarious and eerie, although I was disappointed in how quickly he managed to recover from the shock of being repelled by a cross, and wish he had more dialogue.

The funeral home was a very nice and creepy setting, made moreso by Giles making the foolhardy decision to visit it on his own due to Buffy's packed schedule.

Overall, I liked the episode focusing on the sacrifices Buffy (as well as Giles) has to make due to her destiny as the Slayer. Her breaking up with Owen to keep him safe was a melancholic moment, and Giles reflecting to Buffy on his own childhood dreams being shattered after his father revealed to him that he was destined to be the Watcher, was a great way to wrap the episode up.


(Borba rises from the dead as a vampire)
Borba: I have been judged! He is risen in me! He fills my head with song!

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The Pack

NumberRatingAir Date
Season 1,
Episode 6
4/507 April, 1997

Buffy and co's school field trip to the zoo goes awry when a concerned Xander follows a group of bullies into an off-limits exhibit of "quarantined" hyenas. Little do they know, the animals are a special tribe of demonic hyenas that possess the ability to possess humans. If that sounds incredibly whimsical then just you wait...

The actual hyena possession appears to be a gradual transition towards cannibalistic pack beasts that scurry around hunched over and communicate in animal noises, but the way it's done ranges from the comical to the bizarre to the downright disturbing. There are several rather disturbing scenes, one specifically involving Xander, that serve to highlight the evil that has consumed them, but I just can't get over Xander suddenly deciding to swap his wardrobe out for an "edgier" and grungier look. Who knew hyenas have fashion sense? The way the possession is treated for a while, I almost expect Hyena Xander to grow his hair out, join an emo band, and start smoking weed (hyenas do all those things too, right?). It does make the darker stuff even more shocking when it suddenly happens, however.

On that note, I was not at all a fan of "the scene" between Buffy and Hyena-Xander, not only because of the content but because Hyena-Xander's antics made zero sense for someone now mostly possessed by a hyena (why is he still able to speak perfectly while the rest of the pack has regressed nearly entirely to bestial stares and hyena noises, for one?), but because it just felt unnecessarily uncomfortable all around. On the other hand, the scene with Principal Flutie was gloriously shocking and really raised the stakes and horror level, while shattering the predictability and safeness of the "monster of the week" theme... although I do wish he had stuck around longer.

If it sounds like I'm bashing the episode, just know that I absolutely adored it. They came up with an original and silly idea and made a serious, high quality episode out of it despite (or perhaps partially due to?) how unintentionally comical it often was.


Giles: Xander's taken to teasing the less fortunate?
Buffy: Uh-huh.
Giles: And there's a noticeable change in both clothing and demeanour?
Buffy: Yes.
Giles: And, well, otherwise, all his spare time's spent lounging about with imbeciles?
Buffy: It's bad, isn't it?
Giles: It's devastating. He's turned into a 16-year-old boy. Of course, you'll have to kill him.
Buffy: Giles, I'm serious!
Giles: So am I. Except for the part about killing him. Testosterone is a great equaliser. It turns all men into morons.
Buffy: I can't believe you, of all people, are trying to Scully me!

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NumberRatingAir Date
Season 1,
Episode 7
5/514 April, 1997

An absolute truckload of overdue lore and exposition, the triumphant return of the vampire villains, and the introduction of an interesting moral quandary bring the show roaring back from its (entertaining but arguably overly prolonged) "random monster of the week" rut. Angel returns to save Buffy from the Master's latest scheme, and this time has to stick around to get some actual development. Chicanery ensues as Darla catches wind and is sent by the Master to manipulate Buffy and Angel against each other.

After having gone missing following unexpectedly taking a holy water shower in episode 2, Darla's sudden return is well appreciated, and her charismatic presence and diabolical schemes easily make her the star of the episode. She's obviously weaker than the brutish and dim-witted Luke and the Three, but a far more interesting villain due to her reliance on skullduggery and weapons to make up for it.

Angel's backstory and his connections to Darla were fascinating, and made the conclusion that much more satisfying. I'm glad that, despite how comically evil the Master is, some effort was made to give the vampires depth and even, arguably, sympathetic qualities.

I wish The Three were handled in a more interesting way and not introduced out of nowhere and then disposed of just as abruptly and quickly. I also thought that the Master having them executed despite their might for failing to catch Buffy once was needlessly evil and not a very pragmatic decision. It also doesn't jive with him only executing one of the (far more expendable) random vampires after Buffy escaped them back in "The Harvest".

There's a few other headscratcher scenes (why is Darla inexplicably repeatedly able to walk around in the daytime now and why would Buffy run to her own house when running from vampires and how was her mother not in danger when she came home a few minutes afterward?), but I'll give it 5 stars anyway. Probably the most exciting episode thus far.


The Master: (chuckles) I am weary, and their deaths will bring me little joy.
(Darla executes the vampires for failing at their mission)
The Master: Of course, sometimes a little is enough.

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I, Robot... You, Jane

NumberRatingAir Date
Season 1,
Episode 8
4/528 April, 1997

The off-beat monster of the week schtick returns with a vengeance in a manner that is equally surreal and prescient. The episode starts off with a scene in 1400s Italy, wherein a priest banishes Moloch into a book in the hopes that no one will ever read it and allow the demon to walk the Earth again. Fast forward to 1996 and Sunnydale and students are scanning in a collection of books under the supervision of Giles and a new character, the Sunnydale computer science teacher Ms. Calendar. An unsuspecting Willow takes on the task of scanning the book Moloch is trapped in, which causes the scanner to digitise the demon and set him loose on the Internet.

Soon enough, Willow becomes obsessively smitten with an online "boyfriend" named "Malcolm", much to the worried confusion (this is 1996 after all!) of Buffy and the jealous annoyance of Xander. At the same time, several nerdy students at the school begin acting increasingly suspicious, apparently obsessed with a new project they're working on in the school computer lab and at the supposedly abandoned headquarters of a nearby shuttered computer company.

On paper the plot for the episode could almost pass like a fake B-movie mentioned in a cartoon as a gag (right down to Robo-Moloch showing up later), but the whole thing is just so well done. I have no idea how much of Giles' crotchety disdain for computers is meant to poke fun to skeptics of the computer revolution, but it, and the episode as a whole, are curiously prophetic. Moloch watching Buffy through Willow's webcamera (and later through CCTV cameras) and then using facial recognition to ascertain her identity from a school database, Moloch taking advantage of anonymity to seduce Willow and radicalise several other students, and Giles' rantings about technology ruining human interaction, turning people into idiots, and manipulating people into believing lies are all well ahead of their time.

In terms of new characters that might stick around, Calendar became a lot more likeable as the episode went on, and I'm interested in seeing what her unique expertise might lead to if she returns. She's certainly no Giles, but I very much enjoyed seeing them team up and come to respect each other despite their ideological differences.


Calendar: You're here again? You kids really dig the library, don't you?
Buffy: We're literary.
Xander: To read makes our speaking English good.
(Buffy grabs Xander's shoulder)
Buffy: We'll be going now.

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The Puppet Show

NumberRatingAir Date
Season 1,
Episode 9
4/505 May, 1997

Principal Flutie's authoritarian replacement, Principal Snyder, decides to force Giles to run Sunnydale High School's annual talent show, and soon after, to force Buffy and co to attend as punishment after pegging them as troublemakers. Things quickly go from annoying to frightening after one of the talent show's other participants is found with her heart ripped out, and a ventriloquist dummy, Sid, that one of the students, Morgan, is using as a prop, turns out to be alive. But are things ever as simple as they first seem in this show?

I'll admit that I am a tad biased - no offence to Chucky fans, but "evil living dummy/doll" was not a theme that I expected to be capable of entertaining me for very long, even if it's a Buffy episode. I liked the Puppet Master series but that was about it. Nonetheless, far from being generic or predictable, the episode proved to be a roller coaster ride of twists that keeps the viewer guessing up until the last 5 minutes. Even Sid himself turns out to be relatively interesting character.

Principal Snyder, who first shows up here, was quite unlikeable, but I can't criticse that, given he was intended to be, and I enjoyed his penchant for constantly making unintentionally hilarious remarks while maintaining a perfectly stern expression. Not to mention his absurd personality just somehow feels like the perfect complement to the absurdity of the endless weird and macabre happenings at Sunnydale, and everyone's complete non-chalance and even ignorance about it.

The horror elements here are arguably done better than in any episode yet, especially in the scenes taking place in the dark and claustrophobic talent show storage and rehearsal area. There's also plenty of excellent comedic relief to lighten things up, often involving Sid's off-colour humour, the total lack of actual talent in any of the talent show participants, and the usual amusingly insufferable antics of Cordelia, who returns from a multi-episode absence.

The real villain being a seemingly hopelessly incompetent "magician" who appears multiple times to humourously bumble various tricks proved to be an amusing red herring, and something that didn't really click for me until the second time I watched the episode because I didn't memorise the actor's face enough to realise it was the same person in each scene.


Giles: A demon is a creature of evil, pure and very simple. A person driven to kill is, is, um, it's more complex.
Willow: The creep factor is also heightened. It could be anyone. It could be me!
(Everyone stares at Willow)
Willow: ...It's not, though.

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NumberRatingAir Date
Season 1,
Episode 10
5/512 May, 1997

Sunnydale is suddenly plagued by a series of increasingly outlandish events, beginning with a student, Wendell, in Buffy's class being swarmed by live tarantulas after opening a textbook. After a mysterious deformed humanoid with a bat-like club for a hand, nicknamed the Ugly Man, beats another student half-dead and a doctor at the hospital deduces by the M.O. that he was the same assailant responsible for putting a 10-year-old boy named Billy Palmer into a coma a week prior, Giles deduces that the comatose Billy has managed to escape the nightmare realm via astral projection at the cost of merging it with reality, thus bringing the nightmares of everyone in Sunnydale to life.

I loved the idea for the episode, and how it steadily escalates to the point of absolute dream-like reality warping pandemonium consuming the town. Giles getting lost in the (presumably warped) stacks offscreen and forgetting how to read being subtly hinted at by his sudden nervousness early on also helped make the progression feel organic. I also adored the absolute eeriness of Wendell's exposition regarding the spiders.

Buffy, Giles, Willow, Cordelia, and Xander facing their nightmares in reality made for interesting depth for them, although Buffy arguably had it harsher than the entire rest of the cast combined. The cemetery scene and the scene with her father especially were quite painful, and a splendid demonstration of Sarah Michelle Gellar's acting talents. Cordelia's hair suddenly becoming ruined beyond repair and her then being dragged off to the chess club reminded me heavily of the ordeal faced by her equivalent, Libby, in Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode "Geek Like Me".

Xander felt even less likeable than usual in this episode with how he repeatedly made fun of Willow's phobia of spiders and showed her no compassion even while she was supportive of him when he faced down his fear of public nudity. I also found the scene where he suddenly overcame his fear of clowns to the point of feeling brave enough to face down and knock out a knife-wielding killer clown to be very jarring.

An interesting side-note is that Sarah Michelle Gellar actually has a phobia of cemeteries and being buried alive, which understandably made the cemetery scenes in this episode quite distressing for her to perform.

In retrospect, I wish this had been the penultimate episode of the season because of how well it segues into Buffy's real confrontation with the Master and defeating him by overcoming her fear of him.


Buffy: I'm glad you showed up. You see, I'm having a really bad day.
Ugly Man: Lucky 19!
Buffy: Scary. I'll tell you something though. There are a lot scarier things than you... and I'm one of them.

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Out of Mind, Out of Sight

NumberRatingAir Date
Season 1,
Episode 11
3/519 May, 1997

After several students and a teacher are assaulted by an unseen entity, Buffy deduces that an invisible girl, Marcie, is out for revenge on Cordelia and anyone associated with her for bullying and ignoring her.

Although I enjoyed the premise, and the episode overall, I felt the execution needed a lot of work. Additionally, in retrospect I also felt that it was harmed by being right in-between "Nightmares" and "Prophecy Girl", with Cordelia joining the Buffy Gang, and Angel promising to bring Giles the Codex being the only things that save it from feeling like an obligatory filler episode. The main problem is Cordelia, who comes off as even more obnoxious and egotistic than she usually does, which makes her "damsel" role grating. It feels like the entire episode consists of Cordelia constantly being offered a chance to say or do something vaguely redeemable, and gleefully doing what she does best instead.

Marcie came off as a pretty sympathetic character to me up until she tried to murder Buffy and the rest of the gang, and I felt that they had gone a tad over the top in making her evil to compensate for Cordelia and Harmony's terrible personalities and not make the audience feel that they has it coming. While, obviously, she has gone completely insane from ostracisation, her asphyxiating a teacher, gassing a school librarian and knocking out and planning to either murder or disfigure the most selfless person in the school because they were trying to stop her rampage still felt a step too far.

By far my least favourite part of the episode are the "men in black" that make background appearances throughout the episode before finally leaping into action the moment Marcie's unconscious body hit the floor, which felt like blatant satire of the "authorities are useless sods who only show up after the monster drops dead" horror movie trope. The entire scene of them arriving and taking Marcie away made me wonder if the entire thing was actually a joke X-Files crossover due to how sudden and silly it was done.

Some highlights are the scene where Giles finally meets Angel, as well as the creepy scene where Buffy finds Marcie's hideout in the ceiling.


Buffy: Any theories?
Giles: I'm uh, it's a bit of a puzzle, really. Um, I've never actually heard of anyone attacked by a lone baseball bat before.
Xander: Maybe it's a vampire bat. (pauses) I'm alone with that one, huh?

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Prophecy Girl

NumberRatingAir Date
Season 1,
Episode 12
5+/502 June, 1997

A sublime action-packed climax to the first season, and undeniably the best episode of the show thus far. Sunnydale is suddenly hit by an earthquake as Giles pores over the Codex, an ancient book of prophecies that Angel retrieved for him, and discovers a prophecy saying that Buffy will soon face the Master... and die in the process. As Buffy, Giles, and Angel grapple with the prophecy, other apparent portents of the end times, including a macabre local tragedy, pile up, forcing Buffy to overcome her fears and confront her apparent destiny.

There's a lot of expectations piled on top of an episode that not only wraps up a stellar season, but (I presume) may have also needed to wrap up the franchise as a whole depending on whether it received the green light for another season (or six), and this episode absolutely delivered in spades. So much so that giving it a "mere" 5/5 rating feels inadequate. Every aspect of the episode, from the artistic direction, to the dialogue, to the special effects, to the the fight choreography, is turned up to eleven for an incredible conclusion.

It would involve entirely too much rambling for me to go over everything I adored about this episode, but some highlights include Sarah Michelle Gellar's extra-stellar acting as Buffy in the scene where she learns about the prophecy, the shockingly macabre (by the show's generally non-gory standards) murder scene at the school, and the puppets used for the "Thing" coming out of the Hellmouth. Buffy's final showdown with the Master while the "Slayerettes" frantically hold off the vampire apocalypse spawned by the Hellmouth opening is also glorious, and I enjoyed how her triumph ultimately tied back to her illusory confrontation with him earlier in "Nightmares", with her conquering his magic by finally losing her fear of him.

Calendar finally returning, and Cordelia actually being useful for a change and showing some development, were also nice touches. The latter two were especially needed given the total lack of both in the previous episode despite her being a focal character throughout it.


(Cordelia escapes a nameless vampire's grasp by biting their hand)
Cordelia: See how you like it!

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