buffy the vampire slayer: season one, episodes one-four

Nayana's standard Buffy disclaimer/Reverse spoiler alert: This is my first time EVER watching this series. I am very interested in keeping my experience pure, so please take care in the comments to not give any spoilers, clues, or insights from future (to me) seasons or episodes.

Last night Mr. N and I sat down to watch the first several episodes of Buffy, and I actually had to give him the above disclaimer a few times. I really want to experience the storyline as Joss Whedon wanted it to unfold; I've already got a great opinion of him as a storyteller, and I'm really looking forward to the experience. Now, without further mucking about, my thoughts.

Episodes 1 & 2: Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest

As an introduction to the Buffy mythology, this pair of episodes did a great job. There was plenty of exposition, but the story never got boring, which is quite a feat. We meet Buffy Summers, newly transferred to Sunnydale (yes, I did relish the "sunny" and "summer" irony) High School after being expelled from her former school.

Buffy is a Vampire Slayer--the only one in the world--and, as such, she's got super-human strength, martial arts skills, and comprehensive vampire knowledge. It's unclear at this point how much of that is innate, and how much was learned. We are led to believe that Buffy was expelled for events that were a direct result of her battles with vampires: a burned-down school gym, missing classes, etc. As a result, Buffy is reluctant to get back into the vamp-killing game, but we all know that the "I don't want to kill vampires anymore" angst will last all of 10 minutes.

We also meet Rupert Giles, a Watcher (kind of like a Slayer's coach?); Willow, a nerdy girl befriended by Buffy (Alyson Hannigan, whom I already LOVE LOVE LOVE); Xander, a sweetheart of a doofus who's got the hots for Buffy; Angel, a mysterious hot guy who seems to know an awful lot about vampires; and Cordelia, the (for lack of a better term) class bitch.

The storyline in these two episodes centers around a den of vampires who live in Sunnydale's underground electrical tunnels and their Master who is trying to come back to the surface to feed on human blood. The vampires plan to trap a group of humans and feed on them, somehow sending their souls directly to the Master, who will gain strength from them and then be able to return to the surface. Of course, Buffy and her gang thwart that plan.

I truly enjoyed this introduction to the Buffy mythology, and I really like the character of Buffy herself. I don't know what I expected, but I was surprised to find her relatively intelligent, and her superhuman strength, agility, and mid-fight banter was very entertaining. Also, maybe it's because I'm watching this for the first time post-True Blood and Twilight, but it was a bit jarring (and, admittedly, refreshing) to see actual ugly vampires. I'm looking forward to more of this; it's not a bad way to spend an evening.

Episode 3: The Witch

Buffy wants to be a cheerleader. Naturally. That part made me roll my eyes a bit, but I dug the fact that there was a mystery in this episode right off the bat. I hope more of the episodes do that; I like a little self-contained mystery in a TV episode, a la Law & Order. During the cheerleading tryouts, one of the more promising girls inexplicably bursts into flames. Later on, a few other not-so-nice things happen to other would-be cheerleaders, and it turns out there's a bit of witchcraft going on in Sunnydale. Who's surprised? Not me, though it is nice that they've branched out a bit from the vampire thing. We think we know right away who the witch is, but in a sneaky little twist, she's actually switched bodies with her mother, Freaky Friday-style. Unfortunately Buffy ticks her off, and becomes the victim of a spell which starts to slowly kill her. Giles does a little "chemistry" of his own, reverses the spell, and once again Buffy saves the day with her super-hot Jackie Chan moves. My favorite line?

Buffy: "Guess what? I feel better."

Episode 4: Teacher's Pet

Buffy's really smart, but doesn't like to do her homework.* She gets a lecture from her science teacher about teacher-y things like Hard Work and Potential. Of course, as soon as Buffy's out of the room, the teacher gets attacked by something with a big insect-y claw. He doesn't show up to class and is replaced by Miss French, a boy-baiting femme fatale of a substitute teacher.

Meanwhile, the cryptic hot guy Angel shows up and warns Buffy (cryptically, of course) about what turns out to be a vampire with razor-sharp claws. Soon afterward, the science teacher shows up decapitated in the school cafeteria freezer. Everyone assumes the new vampire, or "fork guy" as Buffy calls him, is the culprit, and Buffy goes "hunting".

On her little excursion, she doesn't get the vampire, but she does discover that he is unusually terrified of Miss French, who happens to be walking down a nearby street with some groceries. The kids do a bit more research, and discover--wait for it--that Miss French is actually a giant praying mantis disguised as a hot woman. They find her house, and slash her to pieces just as she was about to mate with (ew) and then decapitate Xander.

"Teacher's Pet" was the most predictable episode so far, but I didn't care that much; it was hella entertaining.

*Sounds familiar. Hey, maybe I could have been a high school vampire slayer too!
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2 Response to "buffy the vampire slayer: season one, episodes one-four"

  1. Ashley says:
    November 18, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    I loved Buffy! I had to giggle at your phrase when you wrote: It was refershing to see an UGLY vampire. I was thinking the very same thing myself. ;) That's all I will say seeing that you did ask not to include spoilers! You'll enjoy Buffy series.

  2. David Bishop says:
    November 18, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    I kind of like the way Whedon kills off what seems to be a main character in the second episode (the guy played by Eric Balfour). I mean, he hangs with the gang and everything. They even talk about how he's basically a lifelong friend of both Xander and Willow. Yet, everybody seems to move on pretty quickly.

    I always felt like what they did with Kaylee in Firefly's first episode was a nod to that except it ended up just being a tease.

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