Buffy Virgin: Season 1

Can you believe I've never really watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer? I have vague memories of watching it as a kid. I know the main characters and vampires. But I never watched it week-to-week when it was on the air. I now consider myself a Joss Whedon fan (Firefly, Dr. Horrible, The Avengers, Much Ado) but how can I say that when I have not fully experienced Buffy? Well, I'm experiencing it now! Come with me as I watch Buffy from beginning to end, making snarky comments and counting deaths.

Ep. 1: Welcome to the Hellmouth
I feel like I'm already behind because I didn't see the movie first, in which Buffy actually discovers that she is the slayer. I was expecting it to be more like the first episode of Sabrina in which she finds out she's a witch on her 16th birthday. But, since I heard that Joss wasn't happy with the movie because they changed it so far from his original script, I thought I should skip it and start with the Buffy world that Joss wanted.
First Impression: It's super cheesey and 90's. Real obvious introduction of main characters, full of high school tropes; the "cool" kids, the "weird" kids. I thought I remembered Giles as old and wise but in the first episode he's like a bumbling nervous professor type. I know most shows' first episodes don't match the vibe of the series as a whole, so I won't hold it against the show.
The episode ends with a big vampire on top of Buffy in a mausoleum (I'm guessing this won't be the only time she fights vampires in a mausoleum) and a "to be continued", so let's continue and see how she gets out of her first vampire showdown in Sunnydale.

New Characters: They're all new! Buffy bumps into Angel and doesn't even know he's a vampire. (She hasn't honed her vampy senses.) Willow is super shy and dresses like a Sister Wife. Not a witch yet, I guess. Cordelia is a too-cool-for-anything bitch. Does she become part of the friend group or stay the school bitch? Giles is not as wise and steady as I remember him. Where is your confidence, Giles? And Xander sounds like he hasn't hit puberty yet. They all, do, actually. It's hilarious. I'm not sure how long this Master guy will last, the only recurring vamps I remember are Spike, Drusilla, and Angel.
Favorite Quote: "I never said I'm not going to ever slay another vampire. It's not like I have any fluffy bunny feelings for them. I'm just not going to get real extracurricular about it." -Buffy
Mythology Lesson: "Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is the Slayer." Woah. That's a lot for a sixteen year old girl.
Vampire Death Count: Just one.
Human Death Count: A kid is found dead in the locker room.

Ep. 2: The Harvest

Xander and Willow officially join Giles and Buffy in Vamp club. Willow helps Giles figure out what "The Harvest" is and Xander tries to help Buffy save his friend Jesse. Well, Jesse's already a vampire and The Master has a chosen a vessel. Angel is still creeping on Buffy and Cordelia is still a bitch. I find it strange that it was so easy to avoid the end of the world. How can there be seven seasons of this show, when it's as simple as slaying a few vamps in a nightclub to avoid all Hell literally breaking loose? I guess things get more complicated when Buffy starts making friends with vampires and it's not as simple as vampires = bad.

New Characters: Cordelia's friend, Harmony. She is bad at programming class.
Favorite Quote: Willow: Oh, I-I need to sit down. Buffy: You are sitting down. Willow: Oh. Good for me.
Mythology Lesson: Once a century, there is The Harvest. The Master is trapped underground since the last time he tried to end the world, or whatever, so he chooses a vessel to feed on his behalf.
Vampire Death Count: Countless. There's a showdown at Bronze where even Xander and Willow get in on some slaying action.
Human Death Count: Zero? I must have missed some, right? I mean, it's The Harvest.

Ep. 3: Witch
Buffy's trying out for cheerleading and Giles does not approve. At cheerleading tryouts, a girls hands spontaneously combust and Buffy saves the day. It's our first non-vampire supernatural mystery! It's witchcraft! It's Amy, the girl who wants to be a cheerleader to make her mom happy. But first she has to get some cheerleaders out of the way so she can make the team. Oh, wait, it's actually Amy's crazy witch mom in Amy's body trying to relive her glory days. Also, Xander wants to ask Buffy out, which is clearly a bad idea because inter-vampire-slaying-team relationships never end well. Let's just all be friends. I'd say he should go out with cute little Willow instead but I know she ends up being a lesbian.

New Characters: Amy, the witch. Or rather her mom, the witch. In Amy's body.
Favorite Quote: "I laugh in the face of danger. And then I hide until it goes away." -Xander
Mythology Lesson: We see a little bit of witchcraft this episode including a bubbling potion, voo-doo-like dolls, and a spell book.
Vampire Death Count: No vampires this episode!
Human Death Count: Just Amy's mom. (She deserved it.)

Ep. 4: Teacher's Pet
Xander's crush on Buffy continues with a daydream of him saving her from a vampire (Saving the vampire slayer from a vampire? He has some serious alpha-male issues.) and then rocking out on the guitar. The science teacher gets killed by what looks like a giant insect. (Is this the prequel to the Ant-Man movie?) Sexy Angel shows up with another vague warning for Buffy. Sexy new science teacher shows up with an affinity for praying mantises... She's also clearly a pedophile/sexual predator. Gives me the icks. She seduces male students to help her fertilize her eggs or something gross. They kill her with bat sonar sounds. Keep that in mind if you ever need to fend off praying mantises.

New Characters: Sexy science teacher, Blayne the douchebag
Favorite Quote: Buffy: 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.
Mythology Lesson: It's more of a entomology lesson. "Dr. Ferris Carlyle spent years transcribing a lost pre-Germanic language. What he discovered he kept to himself until several teenage boys were murdered in the Cotswolds. Then he went hunting for it. He calls her a She-Mantis. This type of creature, the Kleptes-Virgo, or virgin-thief, appears in many cultures. The Greek sirens, the Celtic sea maidens..."
Vampire Death Count: One in Xander's dream, a fork-handed vampire in real life.
Human Death Count: Science teacher

Thoughts So Far
Buffy has shown some of her amazing physical abilities. She's yanked open a locked gym door, did a hand stand on a bar, jumped over the school fence, and all the usual vampire/creature fighting.
I am digging the mysterious Angel. I'm looking forward to seeing how their relationship goes and at what point we find out that he's a vampire.
I can draw so many parallels between Buffy the (Teenage) Vampire Slayer and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Buffy is Sabrina, of course. Cordelia is bitch Libby. Willow is the sad friend (Jenny, Valerie, etc.). Xander is Harvey (except they stay just friends). I guess Giles is the Aunts, giving guidance.

Ep. 5: Never Kill a Boy on the First Date
The Master is back and up to his old tricks! Buffy and Giles are researching a ring a vamp left behind when Owen comes into the library (The first student not in vamp club to enter the library!) and Buffy goes all gooey over him. Commence Xander jealousy. The Master is working on a prophecy about five dying and The Anointed One, but Buffy's too busy trying to date Owen to care. Turns out dating and slaying don't mix. Buffy congratulates herself on stopping The Master's plans once again, but- surprise ending! The Anointed One was not the vampire they thought! It's a little boy! Because nothing's creepier than a demon boy.

New Characters: Owen, who reads Emily Dickenson and has a death wish.
Favorite Quote: Giles: They came after me, but I was more than a match for them. Buffy: Meaning? Giles: I hid.
Mythology Lesson: "And there will be a time of crisis, of worlds hanging in the balance. And in this time shall come the Anointed, the Master's great warrior. And the Slayer will not know him, will not stop him, and he will lead her into hell. As it is written, so it shall be. Five will die, and from their ashes the Anointed One shall rise. The Brethren of Aurelius shall greet him and usher him to his immortal destiny."
Vampire Death Count: The one in the cemetery that leaves his ring behind and the vampire they think is The Anointed One gets shoved in the crematorium oven.
Human Death Count: "Five die in van accident"

Ep. 6: The Pack
On the class field trip to the zoo, the mean kids are mean to the loser kid and then take him into the closed hyena exhibit. The hyena appears to be evil and infects the mean kids and Xander with evilness. So, Xander and the mean kids are evil hyena people, eating the school mascot pig and then the principal. The zoo keeper is very knowledgeable about the evil hyenas but turns out that he wanted the hyena evil for himself. Obviously, Buffy won't stand for that.

New Characters: The four mean kids, the loser kid, and the zoo keeper hyena expert.
Favorite Quote: "I cannot believe that you, of all people, are trying to Scully me." -Buffy
Mythology Lesson: The zoo keeper explains something about rumors of evil hyenas in Africa, Maasai warriors, and the hyenas'/demon's great power.
Vampire Death Count: No vamps, just hyena teens.
Human Death Count: Principal Flootie, zoo keeper

Ep. 7: Angel
This episode started with a "Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer..", so we know some old shit is coming back. Looks like we'll finally see what The Master intends to do with the Anointed kid, and Angel will show his beautiful face again. Angel does what Xander dreams about; saves Buffy from some vampires. And then he takes his shirt off. Thank you. Angel hides out in Buffy's room for the night. And a day. And the next night they finally kiss. But then he gets too excited and reveals his ugly vampy face and scares her. (Twilight flashbacks.) The secrets out! Now, Darla is trying to get Angel to embrace his vampness and kill Buffy, but he’s like totally in love with her. He’s only like 224 years older than her, so I’m sure it will work out.

New Characters: Darla isn't a new character, but this is the first episode that she's actually important to the plot.
Favorite Quote: "That way leads to madness and sweaty palms." -Willow
Mythology Lesson: Angel was like all the other vampires for the first hundred years of his life, until he came to America and decided to lay low. Why? Gypsies put a curse on him that gave him back his soul. Also, Darla is his maker. (Oops, is that only a True Blood term?)
Vampire Death Count: The Three (vampire assassins sent to kill Buffy but fail), Darla
Human Death Count: None!

Ep. 8: I, Robot... You, Jane
The future is now, kids! We have the technology to scan books into the computer with the Scan-O-Matic! Unfortunately, Willow uses it to unknowingly scan a book that had captured a demon, so now the demon is possessing the school’s computers. It’s seducing Willow as a seemingly innocent boy, Malcolm, through online chat and telling some computer geeks to do bad things. When Giles goes to the computer teacher with this information, she’s already down with it because she’s a “techno pagan”. (I’ll let that sink in…) As if that wasn't all crazy enough, the demon is getting computer geeks to build him a robot body, and he's kind of in love with Willow. But they manage to read the curse to trap him back in the book.

New Characters: Ms. Calendar, Computer Science teacher and Techno-Pagan
Favorite Quote: "Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a-a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and-and-and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a - it, uh, it has no-no texture, no-no context. It's-it's there and then it's gone. If it's to last, then-then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should be, um, smelly" -Giles
Mythology Lesson: Back in 1418 in Italy, a priest or monk or something trapped Maloch in a book.
Vampire Death Count: No vamps! (One robo-demon.)
Human Death Count: Poor Dave gets killed and made to look like suicide.

Thoughts So Far
Like most first seasons of demon-of-the-week type shows, most episodes are just a silly plot with a problem that only lasts the episode. Demonic hyenas this week, cyber demons the next. We still have The Master and his Anointed kid waiting to make their move, though. And I assume Angel will be back soon to give Buffy more cryptic warnings and make her knees weak at the sight of him.

Ep. 9: The Puppet Show
It's the Annual School Talentless Show! The ventriloquist dummy is super creepy. Something is looking for flesh. The new principal is a dick and forces Buffy, Willow & Xander to come up with something for the talent show. A girl is killed by the thing wanting flesh, and then Morgan is caught talking to his dummy, or rather the dummy is caught talking. Buffy is convinced the dummy is the demon, while the rest of the team thinks it's Morgan. Plot twist! The dummy isn't a demon going after Buffy to cut out her organs, he's a demon hunter going after Buffy because he thought she was the demon! The show must go on! Who's the demon? The magician guy who is now trying to slice off Giles' head to get to his smart brains. But Buffy & gang arrive in the nick of time and the demon hunter dummy finishes his quest and rests in peace. And then Buffy, Xander and Willow perform their half-hearted play.

New Characters: Morgan, the guy with the dummy, and the demon hunter stuck in the body of a dummy.
Favorite Quote: Cordelia: "It could have been me!" Xander: "We can dream."
Mythology Lesson: Something about 7 demons and demon hunter dummy has only got 6 so far. When he finishes his mission, he will released from his wooden prison.
Vampire Death Count: No vamps! (One demon.)
Human Death Count: Emily, who loses her heart. Morgan, who loses his brain.

Ep. 10: Nightmares
It's your worst nightmare come to life! Literally. People's nightmares are coming true. All the classics like spiders, not being prepared for a test, showing up for class in your underwear, your dad blaming you for your parents' divorce, or turning into a vampire. They think a little boy in a coma has something to do with it. Buffy sees him walking around, so apparently he's brought the nightmare world into reality, including a big ugly dude that's after Billy. They figure out how to wake up little Billy and find that it was his baseball coach who put him in a coma and was represented by the scary nightmare guy. Once again, everything is back to normal in the end so we can start next episode with a clean slate.

New Characters: Billy, the coma kid.
Favorite Quote: "A dream is a wish your heart makes. This is reality." -The Master
Mythology Lesson: Astral projection is the ability to project yourself to another time and/or place while you're asleep, or in Billy's case, in a coma. It's not explained why exactly Billy is the one kid who could turn his (everyone's) nightmares into reality.
Vampire Death Count: None
Human Death Count: They only die of embarrassment this episode.

Ep. 11: Out of Mind, Out of Sight
Cordelia got herself some man candy to be King to her May Queen, or whatever the stupid dance is called. She seems to actually care about school for a moment, which seems suspicious. Or at least significant to a forthcoming subplot. And when she says "Mitch is gonna die" when he sees her in her dress, I don't think she meant literally. But that's what almost happens when someone invisible beats him with a bat. And then Cordelia's friend Harmony gets pushed down the stairs by something invisible. What's the common denominator? Cordelia. What a surprise someone invisible hates Queen Bee Cordelia. Angel is back! He's too in love with Buffy to see her, so he chats with Giles about The Master, slayer lore, and getting him an ancient book. They figure out who the invisible girl is and Buffy finds her hideout. The next victim is a teacher. It seems that the invisible girl was so invisible to everyone she actually became invisible. She also became totally crazy. She locks Giles, Xander and Willow in the boiler room filling up with gas, but our guardian Angel rescues them while Buffy fights off the invisible girl trying to give Cordelia a face to remember. And then the FBI shows up to take away invisible girl saying she'll become "a useful member of society." Very ominous. The episode ends with a classroom of invisible kids turning to Chapter 11: Assassination and Infiltration. I must say, I am way more into a show about invisible kids being trained as assassins that Buffy the Vampire not-very-often Slayer. I hope this comes back in the show.

New Characters: Mitch, Cordelia's arm candy; Marcie, the invisible girl.
Favorite Quote: Xander: Maybe it's a vampire bat.
Mythology Lesson: Xander tries to prove he is useful for research when he throws our some knowledge of Greek gods' invisibility cloaks. Giles needs the Pergamum Codex, a book of prophecies.
Vampire Death Count: No vamps, again! Vampire slayer isn't slaying many vampires lately...
Human Death Count: Several attempts, but no successful murders this time.

Ep. 12: Prophecy Girl
There's an earthquake! The end is, like, nigh. The techno-pagan (stop laughing) Computer Science teacher is back in the picture, wanting to help Giles with apocalypse stuff. Xander gets shut down by Buffy, while Willow pines for Xander. Meanwhile, Giles is translating that special book of prophecies that always come true and it says Buffy will face The Master and Buffy will die. She doesn't take the news well at first, but she comes around to accept her destiny and goes after The Master. And she dies. But then she doesn't. CPR works, kids! Willow, Giles and the techno-pagan fight off the hoards of vamps and the creature of the Hellmouth while Buffy struts across town in her pretty white prom dress on her way to The Master. She kills him fairly easily and then it's like no biggie, saved the world, might as well go to prom since everyone likes my dress. No closure. 

New Characters: None. It's the same old gang fighting the same old bad guys.
Favorite Quote: "We saved the world. I say we party." -Buffy
Mythology Lesson: The Pergamum Codex's prophecies always come true.
Vampire Death Count: When Buffy kills The Master, apparently the hoards of vamps all over the school also died.
Human Death Count: Like 8 kids in the A/V room. And Buffy, but that didn't stick.

Thoughts on Season One
What an unsatisfying season finale! Everyone has feelings that needed to be dealt with and weren't. Cordelia definitely knows about all this supernatural stuff now, but we don't get an initiation scene like Willow and Xander did. I thought for sure Giles and the techno-pagan chick would have some sort of romance thing going on. Willow never tells Xander how she feels. Buffy finaly sees Angel again but all this prophecy stuff gets in the way and they don't get a reunion "Where do we go from here?" moment. I guess I better keep going on to Season Two to see if any of these things are dealt with...

Join me next time, as I go through the first half of Season Two! If you're a Buffy fan, I welcome any suggestions as to what I should like out for (along the lines of new characters, death count, etc.) And I'll remember to get some screen shots as I watch, so my posts are a little more visual. :)

No comments: