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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode Guide

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 1, Episode 1: Welcome to the Hellmouth

By Helen

Airdate: March 10, 1997

The scene opens on a nighttime Sunnydale High. The school is abandoned and quiet. That is until a young man breaks a window and urges his reluctant date, a blonde in a Catholic schoolgirl outfit, to sneak into the school with him. As they walk through the dark hallways, the girl says she hears something. He insists that there is nobody there. Once the girl is satisfied that they are alone, she lunges at him, except now her face has turned hideously monstrous and she has grown fangs. She bites his neck and begins to suck his blood.            

In the early morning light, another blonde girl tosses in her sleep. Horrific visions fill her head. The most distinct image is the face of a vampire. He is fearsome with chalky white skin, bat-like features and a permanent red stain around his mouth. Suddenly the girl wakes with a start. Her mother calls up the stairs to her. “Buffy!” With a room filled with half unpacked boxes and her mother reminding her that it is her first day of school, it is clear that Buffy has just moved here.

This morning’s Sunnydale High is completely different from last night’s. Students bustle around outside, talking and laughing. Buses and cars pull up in front of the building. Buffy’s mom drops her off at school, giving her normal first-day assurances before adding “…try not to get kicked out.” As she walks up the front steps, Buffy distracts a geeky-looking teenage boy who is already barely able to control the skateboard he is on. Not looking where he is going, he smacks into the railing of the steps and gets knocked to the ground. From there he sees Willow, a nerdy-looking redhead, who he immediately asks for homework help. Their rapport shows they are good friends. She promises to help him with his math and tells him to go to the library to check out a Trigonometry book. Just then they run into another friend, Jesse, who brings up that there is a new girl in school. Xander shares that he has seen her and thinks she’s hot.

Buffy, meanwhile, is in Principal Flutie’s office. He reads over her file, revealing that she is from L.A. and that she has a rather colorful disciplinary record. In fact, Buffy burned down the gym at her last school. (It was filled with vampires.) Principal Flutie is friendly on the surface but makes it clear that if Buffy misbehaves at Sunnydale she will be in a world of trouble. Buffy is dejected as she leaves Flutie’s office and accidentally runs into another student, spilling the contents of her bag all over the hallway. The geeky boy from before sees this and rushes to help her pick up her stuff. He introduces himself as Xander and is clearly awed by her. Buffy thanks him and leaves. Just then Xander notices that she left something on the ground. A stake.

During history class, the girl next to Buffy kindly shares her textbook and after the bell rings introduces herself as Cordelia. She tells Buffy she can get textbooks from the library and offers to show her the way. As they walk, Buffy and Cordelia really hit it off and Cordelia makes it clear that she is popular and Buffy will be too as long as she hangs with her. They stroll up to a water fountain where Willow is drinking and Cordelia immediately begins being mean to Willow. Buffy is put off by Cordelia’s behavior but Cordy doesn’t notice and invites Buffy to The Bronze, Sunnydale’s only nightclub, that evening. She also insists that she wants to hear everything about Buffy’s life, an idea Buffy isn’t too keen on.

Buffy heads into the library. She notices a newspaper on the counter with an article about missing local boys circled. The school librarian, Mr. Giles, approaches Buffy and, upon learning who she is, gets rather excited. He reaches under the counter and pulls out a large book with the word “Vampyre” on the cover. This book appeared in Buffy’s dream the night before and she is extremely freaked out by it. She rushes from the library.

Two girls in the locker room are gossiping. Apparently the word around school is that Buffy got kicked out of her last high school for fighting. When one of the girls opens her gym locker, the corpse of the young man who was killed the night before falls on her, sending her into hysterics.

Willow is about to eat her lunch in the courtyard when Buffy comes up and asks if Willow would be willing to help her with her classes. Willow suggests studying in the library but Buffy immediately vetoes that idea. During their discussion Willow reveals that the librarian is new, British, and in possession of a lot of really old books. This seems to interest Buffy but before she can ask more, Xander and Jesse show up. Xander gives Buffy her stake back and she claims that it is the latest self-defense fad in L.A. The boys began questioning Buffy about herself and again she is reluctant to talk.

Cordelia interrupts to tell Buffy that gym has been canceled because of the dead guy in the locker. Cordy’s interactions with the group reveal that Jesse has a crush on her and that she and Xander hate each other. Buffy begins immediately asking questions about the dead guy’s corpse and, when Cordelia can’t provide answers, Buffy rushes off. She has clearly fallen from grace in Cordelia’s eyes.

Buffy sneaks down the hall to the gym. She finds the door locked and so uses brute force to rip it open. She does this with very little effort, showing that she is far stronger than a teenage girl should be. Inside the gym, she checks the guy’s neck and finds fang marks there.

Barging into the library, Buffy confronts Giles, telling him that she knows there are vampires on campus and she doesn’t care. Giles doesn’t accept this and Buffy responds by asking angrily “Oh why can’t you people just leave me alone?” Giles answers that it is because she is the Slayer and “…into each generation a Slayer is born. One girl, in all the world, the Chosen One, with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires…” Buffy knows all this and has worked as the Slayer before, but has decided to quit. Giles reveals that Sunnydale is a center of mystical energy that draws supernatural creatures of all sorts to it and that as her Watcher he is here to train her and prepare her to fight them. Buffy makes it clear that Giles has no idea what it is like to be the Slayer and so can’t possibly prepare her for it. She storms out of the library for a second time that day. This time Giles follows her. Only then does Xander emerge from the stacks where he was picking up the Trigonometry book he needed. He has heard everything and is very confused. 

Giles catches Buffy in the hall and insists that fate had a specific reason for bringing her to Sunnydale now. He tells her that signs point to a mystical upheaval occurring very soon. Buffy blows him off insisting that a town like Sunnydale could hardly have a terrible problem with evil. A wide shot of Sunnydale High scans down to show what is underground. It is a dark cavern filled with candles and vampires and it too appeared in Buffy’s dream the night before. One vampire kneels before a pool of blood and prays an evil sounding prayer.

That night Buffy is having trouble picking what outfit she wants to wear to The Bronze, when her mom comes in her room to talk. She brings up how hard this adjustment is on both of them and how she knows Buffy can avoid repeating her old mistakes here. Buffy promises she will.

On the way to The Bronze, Buffy finds herself being stalked by a handsome young man. She confronts him and he reveals that he knows who she is. He tells her that she is standing on the mouth of hell and that The Harvest is coming. He then gives her a gift, a metal cross on a necklace chain. It is yet another item from her dream.

Buffy heads into The Bronze where she finds Willow. Willow tells Buffy that she is extremely shy around boys. Buffy shares her life philosophy with Willow. “Seize the moment, ‘cause tomorrow you might be dead.”

Buffy hurries off when she sees Giles in the club. He has been looking for her and is intrigued when she tells him about the mysterious man and what he said about The Harvest. Giles then informs her that if evil really is coming she will have prophetic nightmares beforehand. His tone of voice implies that he knows she’s already been having them.

In another part of The Bronze, Cordelia is gossiping about her mother’s illness when Jesse asks her to dance. She rejects him coldly. Jesse is hurt but decides to keep looking for girls.

Meanwhile, Giles is still trying to convince Buffy that she needs to continue training as the Slayer. He tests her by asking if she can sense any vampires in The Bronze. Buffy spots one, not with her Slayer senses but by using common sense. Then Buffy realizes that this vampire is flirting with Willow, who’s decided to seize the moment. As Willow and the vamp leave together, Buffy chases them through the crowd. She loses them in the back hallways of The Bronze, where she makes a makeshift stake out of a chair leg. During her prowl she nearly stakes Cordelia, who now officially hates Buffy. Buffy rushes out of The Bronze still looking for Willow and doesn’t notice Jesse flirting with the blonde vampire that killed her date the night before. She is still dressed as a Catholic schoolgirl and she introduces herself to him as Darla.

Underground the praying vampire squats in front of his pool of blood which is now bubbling (yet another image from Buffy’s dream). Out of the blood rises the vampire who appeared so prominently in Buffy’s dream. The praying vampire refers to this new vampire as The Master and promises that The Harvest will restore his strength. The Master is trapped in the underground cavern by a mystical field but the praying vampire, Luke, has sent The Master’s servants out for food.

Willow is walking with her vampire date who leads her into the cemetery, while Buffy continues looking for her outside The Bronze. Buffy runs into Xander who teases her about thinking she is the Slayer. Buffy is pissed that yet another person knows who she is but focuses on convincing Xander that Willow is in real danger.

Willow’s date begins to creep her out and when she won’t willingly go into a mausoleum with him, he flings her inside it. Willow tries to run away but her path is blocked by Darla who has brought Jesse with her. She’s fed off of him and he is weak. Darla decides to feed again, but just as she changes to her vamp face Buffy and Xander rush in. Buffy begins teasing the vampires who head for her, leaving their prey unguarded. Buffy easily stakes the male and he explodes into a cloud of dust. Xander and Willow get Jesse out while Buffy and Darla fight. Buffy is winning when Luke grabs her from behind and flings her into a wall. He then lectures Darla for not yet bringing The Master his food and sends her on her way.

 Luke and Buffy have it out, and Luke proves to be much stronger than Darla. As Xander, Jesse and Willow run through the graveyard, they find themselves surrounded by vampires. Things aren’t going much better for Buffy who is getting beaten and preached to by Luke. As this is going on Giles researches The Harvest finding horrific drawings of it that also appeared in Buffy’s dream. Darla, meanwhile, joins the vampires attacking Buffy’s friends. Finally Luke gets the best of Buffy. He throws her in a coffin and then jumps in on top of her, fangs bared, ready to feed. 

To Be Continued…

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Updated 11/14/07  


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