buffy the vampire slayer: season one, episodes five-twelve

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.

We've been powering through these episodes! They're so fun to watch, so it's really easy to keep clicking the "Next Episode" button when we're done with one. Eight episodes in a week... it's not going to be the standard, but it could definitely happen again.

Episode 5: Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

Buffy's got a date! Despite all the bug-hacking, witch-fighting and vamp-hunting, the girl still wants a social life. That proves problematic, though, as Giles' vampire-slaying prophecies tend to coincide with when Buffy is supposed to be slow-dancing with shy, bookish Owen. Of course the two sides of Buffy's life don't stay neatly separated, and Owen gets the full Slayer experience. It turns out to be a little too exciting for Owen, though, and Buffy has to cut him loose.

Though it's not the meatiest of episodes, I enjoyed Episode 5, as it helped me sympathize with what the life of a teenage Slayer might be like. It's hard enough for any sixteen-year-old to juggle the responsibilities of young adulthood, but the responsibility shouldered by the earth's sole Slayer would indeed be profound. This episode was notable, too, in that it introduced the Anointed, a young boy who is being groomed by the Master for what appears to be Buffy's destruction.

Episode 6: The Pack

I found "The Pack" alternately fascinating and horrifying. The premise is as follows: a group of kids, including Xander, sneak into the closed hyena exhibit at the zoo, and become possessed by the hyena's spirit. So it's a bunch of high school kids acting like hyenas.

At first, they're just mean to some of the other kids. After a while, though, it gets nasty. They eat the school mascot, a little pig... and later, minus Xander, they eat the principal. They eat the principal. Blech.

Of course, Buffy et al eventually saves the day, and Xander is back to his Xander-y self. But the principal doesn't get uneaten. *shudder*

Episode 7: Angel

I already knew Angel was a vampire. Of course I knew... if you ever watched TV in the 90's, the commercials basically told you. So that wasn't a surprise. But the backstory was interesting: the gist is that he used to be ravenous and amoral like all other vampires until a group of Roma (gypsies) cursed him. Now he's a vampire with a soul, which means that he can't bring himself to kill humans. He staked Darla, though, which was a relief; I was getting sick of her.

Episode 8: I, Robot... You, Jane

Willow accidentally puts a demon on the Internet when she scans the book in which the demon had been imprisoned. All hell breaks loose.

I admit that, viewed from a 2010 perspective, this episode seemed a bit silly. It really highlights the vast differences between the online world of today and the infant Internet of 1997. For starters, when Willow seemed to have a new online love, Buffy and Xander reacted with extreme suspicion; nowadays, of course, it seems quaint to not meet your spouse on the Internet.

I'm a fan of the computer teacher, Ms. Calendar, who was introduced in this episode. She's cute, and witty--is it too much to hope that she could be a future love interest for Giles? But... techno-pagan? Come on.

Episode 9: The Puppet Show

I knew from the second I saw the kid with his creepy ventriloquist's dummy that the dummy was going to come to life. That part was ├╝ber-predictable. It was completely unpredictable, however, that the creepy-ass dummy turned out to be a good guy! That was a nice surprise. I have to say, though, that they laid on the suspense extra-thick at the end. Giles on that guillotine.... Ack! It reminded me of when Sylar was stealing brains in the first season of Heroes.

Also, Armin Shimerman as the new principal! Loves it! He's not exactly Quark, but he's pretty fan-freaking-tastic. I wonder if this one will get eaten...

Episode 10: Nightmares

Everyone's nightmares are becoming real. Turns out it's all because a kid in a coma is projecting his "astral self" around Sunnydale... or something.

Two great things about this episode:
  1. Almanzo Wilder is Buffy's dad! ZOMG!
  2. Vampire Buffy, who delivers this beautiful line to the Ugly Man right before she kicks his ugly heinie:
    "Scary. I'll tell you something, though. There are a lot scarier things than you. And I'm one of them."

Episode 11: Out of Mind, Out of Sight

Cordelia was apparently really mean to a girl she never actually noticed. That's nothing out of the ordinary. What is a bit extraordinary is that this girl (whom no one else ever noticed either) actually became invisible. And then she went cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Everyone does start noticing Crazy Invisible Girl, though, when she starts attacking people and then leaving cryptic messages. Buffy, et al, eventually deduce that Crazy Invisible Girl's main beef is with Cordelia; they try to protect her, but not hard enough. Crazy kidnaps Buffy and Cordy, and of course Buffy eventually saves the day.

My geek moment was when I recognized pictures of the actress who played Crazy Invisible Girl: she was also Winona Ryder's funny-farm roommate in Girl, Interrupted. I don't know if I've seen her in anything else, but she does seem to have a knack for playing nutjobs.

Episode 12: Prophecy Girl

What do you do when you hear a prophecy (assuming you believe in prophecies) that states that if you continue to do your job, you will die tomorrow? You quit your job, right? That's what Buffy tries to do when confronted with that very prophecy by Giles and Angel. Of course, it doesn't pan out, she goes a-hunting anyway (in a knockout dress), and she dies. Sort of. Xander performs CPR. Sort of.* And she jumps up, stronger than ever! (Should I be suspicious?)

This episode was pretty great as season finales go, with a climactic battle at the end that leaves the Master apparently dead. One wonders if he's ALL the way dead (the skeleton's still there, after all), and even if he is, that little Anointed kid is still running around. So I'm sure there's much more trouble ahead for Buffy.

"Prophecy Girl" was the only episode of Season One that was actually directed by Joss Whedon, and the difference is stark. There was a heaviness, a moodiness, throughout this episode which made it feel almost like a movie. It's hard to describe, but "Prophecy Girl" just felt different. In a good way.

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm back tomorrow with another Day Zero update.

*No one on TV, including Xander, seems to know how to correctly perform CPR.
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1 Response to "buffy the vampire slayer: season one, episodes five-twelve"

  1. David Bishop says:
    November 25, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    "The Pack" was the first episode where I really saw the connection between the fantasy and the reality dealing with cliques in school. Many Buffy episodes do that (and certainly The Pack wasn't the first). Heck, even the premise of Buffy seems to be "high school is hell."

    Angel, Angel, Angel. Right up there with every character on Firefly in terms of how much I love him. Whedon writes a letter to fans in my Angel series box set that opens with:

    "'..and she’ll have a love interest, a mysterious stranger named Angel who turns out to be a vampire ! But a vampire with a soul, cursed to walk the night in eternal remorse for his evil deeds..'

    No wait. That’s way too cheesy. Nobody will ever buy that.

    Such were my thoughts as I developed the TV show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." I knew Angel wouldn’t (forgive the pun) fly. I was frantic. And then something wonderful happened.

    I totally didn’t come up with anything better.

    So this guy was born, and not only did people buy him, they loved him. I loved him, at least 76% platonically.' - Joss Whedon

    "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" is not only a clever rearrangement of a commonly used expression, but it delves briefly into philosophy. I think one of the elements that makes shows like Star Trek, Dr. Who, or Buffy interesting is that they play out philosophical musings as though they were no longer hypothetical, but actual. In this instance, is reality solely perception? That old question that if a tree falls in the forest and nobody's around to hear it, does it make a sound. If an individual is perceived by nobody, do they exist? Well, in Buffy world, they exist, they are just invisible.

    Glad you saw the upgrade in "Prophecy Girl" as well. The opening of the episode in particular seemed really cinematic for a television show of the 90's. It wasn't until after the opening titles that I saw Whedon actually wrote and directed the episode, cementing my high opinion of the guy.

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