as many of you know by now, I am in the process of writing a book called "Slaying all the myths", a sort of chronological episode guide to the "Buffyverse". Where this book will be different from others is that
1. It is chronolohical-Buffy and Angel episodes will be presented not in the order they aired, but in real-time.
2. I will be focusing on the moral, religious and philosophical implications of each episode.
Here is a sampling:
Welcome to the Hell mouth
WRITTEN BY JOSS WHEDON
DIRECTED BY CHARLES MARTIN SMITH
FIRST AIRED MARCH 10, 1997
NOTES: This is the first episode of a two-part series opener.
MARK METCALF-THE MASTER, BRIAN THOMPSON-LUKE, KEN LERNER-PRINCIPAL FLUTIE, JULIE BENZ-DARLA, ERIC BALFOUR-JESSE
As the series begins, a young girl and boy break into Sunnydale High School. The girl is seemingly reluctant, but soon reveals herself to be a vampire, as she attacks the young boy. The girl is named Darla, and she serves a powerful vampire known as "The Master". At about the same time, Buffy is having a nightmare in which she sees a book with the title "VAMPYRE" placed before her. She awakes and gets ready for her first day at Sunnydale High School. Buffy's mother, Joyce Summers drives Buffy to the High School, asking Buffy to think positive. At the school, Xander Harris is skateboarding when he gets his first look at Buffy. He proceeds to crash into a guard railing while watching Buffy.
Buffy has a meeting with Principal Flutie, who tells her she will have a clean slate, regardless of her past...... which includes burning down the gym of her previous School. Buffy defends this by saying "But that gym was full of vam....asbestos". Leaving th principal's office, Buffy bumps into Xander, causing her purse to fall and a wooden stake falls out of it, which Xander picks up. Buffy then goes to her first lesson where she meets Cordelia Chase, who shares her textbook with Buffy, then proceeds to grill Buffy on her fashion/coolness knowledge, before totally embarrasing Willow Rosenberg about her outfit. Visiting the library to pick up her textbooks, Buffy meets Mr. Giles, the school's librarian, who hands her a book entitled "Vampyre", just like in her dream! Needless to say, Buffy makes like a banana and splits!
Later that day, Buffy has lunch with Willow, Xander and his best friend Jesse, and Willow warns her that being seen with them could be detrimental to her life at Sunnydale High, but Bufy doesn't care: she's seen the shallowness that is Cordelia. Meanwhile, two students have found a dead body in a locker. Cordelia breaks up lunch to tell Buffy that gym has been cancelled due to "the extreme dead body in Aura's locker." Buffy rushes to the locker and ecamines the body (it is the boy killed by Darla in the opening scene) and determines he was attacked by a vampire. She heads to the llbrary to talk to the mysterious librarian (whom she has discovered was at one time curator of The British Museum), Rupert Giles.
In the library, Giles informs Buffy he is to be her Watcher. The Watcher's job is to observe the slayer, and offer advice and insight on dealing with supernatural threats, most notably vampires. Buffy informs Giles about the dead boy, and telling him she never wanted the responsibility of being a slayer. As they leave the library, Xander emerges from behind the book stacks, having heard their conversation. That night, Buffy heads to The Bronze, a teen-centric nightclub. On her way there, she is approached by a mysterious, handsome stranger. Though Buffy doesn't know it yet, this stranger will soon become the most important person in her life. He warns her that she is living on a Hellmouth, which is about to open, the "harvest" is coming, and leaves her a gift of a crucifix necklace. Once in the Bronze, Buffy meets up with Willow and learns that she has an unrequited love for Xander, and that she and Xander "used to date when we were younger, until Xander broke all my Barbie's."
Buffy advises Willow to "seize the moment, because tomorrow you might be dead." and runs off to talk to Giles who has made an appearance at the Bronze. After telling Giles about the mysterious stranger, Giles invites her to use her slayer training and find a vampire in the building. It is a dark, gloomy atmosphere, just the kind of place vampires like. Using her keen sense of fashion, Buffy soon points out a vampire in a retro 70's outfit. She is shocked to see Willow leave with him and heads out to rescue her new friend. She nearly stakes Cordelia by mistake, freaking Cordelia out and prompting Cordelia to "call everyone she knows." Meanwhile, Xander's friend Jesse is talking to another vampire...Darla. Buffy is approached by Xander and she convinces him to help her search for Willow.
While all this has been going on, under the city streets of Sunnydale, The Master is awakened by vampires to begin to prepare for The Harvest. He sends his servant Luke to find fresh blood. The Master himself, is unable to because he is trapped in a sort of prison. The Harvest, if successful, will free him from his prison. Willow, meanwhile is taken by her new "friend" to a crypt. He tells her it a shortcut to the ice cream parlor. In the crypt, they are joined by Darla and Jesse, who has been bitten by her. Buffy and Xander arrive and Buffy kills the vampire threatening Willow, and Xander, Willow and Jesse vamoose, while Luke appears and attacks Buffy. While Darla tracks Willow's group, Luke throws Buffy into a stone coffin and moves in for the kill...........To Be Continued
This first episode introduces many concepts that will become important to the series, chief among them was just how are vampires created? Vampire lore has held for many years that vampires suck the blood of their victims with the intent of creating more vampires. Tradition long held that if a vampire bites you three times, you would become a vampire. Joss Whedon adds a new dimension to that in BTVS. In Whedon's "Buffyverse", to become a vampire, all a vampire needs to do is taste the blood of a victim, and make that victim taste their blood before they die. Three nights later, they will arise as a vampire. In addition, once the victim is dead, their soul leaves their body, and a demon takes up residence in their body. The demon is the vampire.
The main religious consideration in this episode deals with the idea of vampires being demons. Religiously speaking, this concept lines up with the bible very easily. The Bible relates an encounter Jesus had where he met a man possessed of many demons. The man who was possessed had resisted all attempts by the citizens to chain him up, and ran through the tombs yelling and screaming. The demon said "My name is Legion, for we are many." The demons knew Jesus was the son of God and that he would cast them out of the man and asked for him to cast them into a nearby herd of pigs, and when he did, the pigs went mad and all of them ran into a nearby lake and drowned. The Bible also talks about demons as being fallen angels. In Isaiah 14:12-20 is the most famous account of an angel falling from grace.
12What a comedown this, O Babylon!
Daystar! Son of Dawn! Flat on your face in the underworld mud,
you, famous for flattening nations!
13 -14You said to yourself,
"I'll climb to heaven. I'll set my throne
over the stars of God. I'll run the assembly of angels
that meets on sacred Mount Zaphon. I'll climb to the top of the clouds.
I'll take over as King of the Universe!"
15 -17But you didn't make it, did you?
Instead of climbing up, you came down- Down with the underground dead,
down to the abyss of the Pit. People will stare and muse:
"Can this be the one Who terrorized earth and its kingdoms,
turned earth to a moonscape, Wasted its cities,
shut up his prisoners to a living death?"
18 -20Other kings get a decent burial,
honored with eulogies and placed in a tomb. But you're dumped in a ditch unburied,
like a stray dog or cat, Covered with rotting bodies,
murdered and indigent corpses. Your dead body desecrated, mutilated-
no state funeral for you! You've left your land in ruins,
left a legacy of massacre. The progeny of your evil life
will never be named. Oblivion! (The Message)
This describes the fall of Lucifer (commonly known as Satan). Furthermore, Jesus adds to the subject in Luke 10:18. The occasion was the triumphant return of 70 disciples that Jesus had sent out. They returned ecstatic because even the demons obeyed them. Jesus replied:
"I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky." (Luke 10:18; The Message)
Taken together, these verses present a clear picture of a revolt in Heaven, lead by a jealous Lucifer who convinced many other angels to join him. What does all this have to do with Buffy? Well, these verses help establish the REALITY of demons, thus justifying them in the buffyverse.
The main moral consideration for this episode is a bit of a pet peeve with me. It is the character of Cordelia Chase. Maybe it's because of my advanced years, (I am over 40 after all!) but in these early episodes, Cordelia is just.......UGHHHHHH! She is snobby, self absorbed, mean spirited, rude and obnoxious....and those are her positive qualities! Sadly, she stays like this for some time...and even gets worse before she gets better. It really isn't until mid-season 2 that we start to see a change in her. The good news is that eventually, Cordelia grows up. However we have to wait several years for that to happen.
Another moral consideration is the aspect of morality in vampires. This issue will be addressed in much more detail later in season 1 and much of season 2. Basically, as noted earlier, when a person becomes a vampire, their soul leaves their body and a demon takes up residence. When the soul leaves, so does any sense of morality. They become a creature of nature, not conscience. This will become very important later in the series.
Most every episode of Buffy has some great (often humorous) quotes. In this secrion you will find my favorites from episode. All quotes courtesy of www.tv.com
Angel: You're standing at the mouth of hell. And it's about to open.
Buffy: I'll be back in a minute.
Willow: Oh, that's okay, you don't have to come back.
Buffy: (smiles) I'll be back in a minute.
Buffy: Have you guys seen Willow? Did she come by here?
Cordelia: Why? Do you need to attack her with a stick? Jeez!
Giles: The vampire is not dead?
Buffy: No, but my social life is on the critical list.
Xander: Hey, I hope he's not a vampire, because then you might have to slay him.
Buffy: Was there a school bulletin? Was it in the newspaper? Is there anyone in this town who doesn't know I'm the Slayer?
Giles: Into each generation, a Slayer is born. One girl in all the world, a Chosen One. One born with the...
Giles and Buffy: ... the strength and skill to hunt the vampires...
Buffy: ... to stop the spread of their evil. Blah, blah. I've heard it, okay?
Girl #1: The new kid? She seems kind of weird to me. What kind of name is Buffy?
Girl #2: (walking by) Hey, Aphrodesia.
Angel: Is there a problem ma'am?
Buffy: Yeah, there's a problem. Why are you following me?
Angel: I know what you're thinking. But don't worry, I don't bite.
Mr. Flutie: You burned down the gym.
Buffy: I did, I really did, but... You're not seeing the big picture here, I mean, that gym was full of vampi... asbestos.
Buffy (to the vampire that took Willow): Okay, first of all, what's with the outfit? Live in the now, okay? You look like DeBarge
Cordelia (to Buffy after almost getting staked by her): God! What is your childhood trauma?
Giles: I believe this whole area is a center of mystical energy, that things gravitate towards it that you wouldn't find elsewhere.
Buffy: Like vampires.
Giles: Zombies, werewolves, incubi, succubi - everything you've ever dreamt was under your bed but told yourself couldn't be by the light of day. They're all real.
Buffy: What, you, like, sent away for the Time/Life series?
Giles: Uh, w-well, yes.
Buffy: Did you get the free phone?
Giles: Uh, the calendar.
Buffy: To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood. And then you have to suck their blood. It's like a whole big sucking thing. Mostly they're just gonna kill you.
Xander: (to Buffy) Can I have you? Uuhh, can I help you?
Principal Flutie: Welcome to Sunnydale! A clean slate, Buffy, that's what you get here. What's past is past. We're not interested in what it says on a piece of paper, even if it says... (reads) Whoa!
Buffy: Mr. Flutie...
Mr. Flutie: All the kids here are free to call me Bob.
Mr. Flutie: But they don't.
Xander: Can you help me out tonight, please, be my study buddy?
Willow: Well, what's in it for me?
Xander: A shiny nickel!
Willow: Okay. Do you have 'Theories in Trig'? You should check it out.
Xander: Check it out?
Willow: From the library? Where the books live.
Xander: Right, I'm there! See, I wanna change...
Luke: And like a plague of boils the race of man covered the Earth. But on the third day of the newest light will come the Harvest, when the blood of men will flow as wine - when the Master will walk among them once more. The earth will belong to the Old Ones... and Hell itself will come to town.
Giles: Something's coming, something, something... something is, is gonna happen here. Soon!
Buffy: Gee, can you vague that up for me?
Joyce: Are you, uh, going out tonight?
Buffy: Yeah, I'm going to a club.
Joyce: Oh. Will there be boys there?
Buffy: No, Mom. It's a nun club.
Allusions are a plot device in a story that make reference to commonly known pop-culture items. Buffy is dull of these type of references. Once again, all allusions are courtesy of www.tv.com
Buffy: (holds an outfit in front of herself) Hello, would you like a copy of The Watchtower?
Buffy here refers to the prim and proper appearance of the dress and compares it to Jehovah's Witnesses. Witnesses are a Pseudo-Christian sect which relies heavily on door-to-door prosetylization. Church representatives dress very formally and often try to sell subscriptions to their church magazine which is called "The Watchtower."
Buffy: Live in the now, ok? You look like DeBarge.
A reference to the 80's pop music group DeBarge. Made up of five siblings and with aspirations to be a new The Jackson 5, they only wound up with one hit, 1985's Rhythm of the Night.
Giles: I'd much rather be home with a cup of Bovril and a good book.
The first of the British cultural references from Giles. Bovril is a food substance that can be spread on toast or made into a hot drink among other things. It's been described as "liquid cow" and is apparently extremely salty.
Buffy: What? You, like, sent away for the Time-Life series?
Time-Life publishes series of books on varied topics. This line most likely refers to the now out of print series "Mysteries of the Unknown" which focused on the occult and was still being heavily advertised at the time this episode first aired.
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