Review for Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode 1
"Welcome to the Hellmouth" Air Date: 3/3/97
Ah, the beginning of it all. The cheap music in the background, Nerf Herder's 1st version of the theme song, and the cheesy dream sequence. Fond memories. Anyway, down to business.
Buffy's first episode deals with our title character coming to terms with her destiny, accepting the fact that she has this job to do, and ain't no one else gonna do it. We are introduced to her friends Xander Harris and Willow Rosenburg, her Watcher, Rupert Giles, her snotty schoolmate, Cordelia Chase, studly man in black, Angel, and her mother, Joyce Summers. Buffy and her mother have moved to Sunnydale, CA after she had burned down her school gym and got kicked out in LA.
The plot sets up the season arc of Buffy trying to prevent the rising of The Master, (big bad vamp chief) but more importantly, sets up the character interaction and evolution. We see the Scooby gang come together, Xander develops his crush, Willow has guy issues, and Giles is too stuffy. The only person i really don't like, is Xanders friend Jessie. I'm willing to bet that Joss made him dislikable on purpose, seeing as how he becomes a vampire. He always seemed too boring and drab to me. I'm glad he's dead. I also find it interesting that there are more people in the Bronze in this episode than in any other, it's like wall to wall people. Maybe it's that "first day of school" release they all need. Ok, so back to the Harvest: the gang finds out that there is a large plan among vampires to do something, but they don't know what. This is all continued in episode 2.
This episode also showcases creator Joss Whedon’s hilarious dialogue and comedic timing. Xander is shoved forward into the role of comic relief, and immediately shows us his great acting skills as well. Sarah Michelle Gellar’s acting still leaves something to be desired in these early episodes, but we love her anyway. And how much do we love Principle Flutie? I wish he stuck around and wasn't eaten. Mark Metcalf's "Master" is wonderfully acted. The thought that this vampire overlord (or underlord?) is so tyrannical, so evil, and yet so quaint in his comedy. Love him too.
Overall, this is a great introductory episode. I think you’ll find my reviews slightly more fleshed out as the season progresses.
All rankings based on one being the lowest, five being the highest.
Welcome to the Hellmouth was the first Buffy episode to air. It set down the
foundation for the series to be built upon, and did so in fine fashion. The
episode does an excellent job of introducing the characters, explaining the
situation at hand, and immerses the viewer in a world that is not only believable,
but enjoyable to watch unfold. Not only do the characters represent the typical
high school students, but also the non-supernatural situations they are in can
be related to. Not to give away too much of the plot, Buffy has just transferred
from L.A. to Sunnydale, and is immediately faced with what she wanted to get
away from, unnatural beings and death. This episode if one of two parts, and
does end on a decent cliffhanger note. The only problem is that having watched
most of the series, this episode seems bland in comparison to others. There’s
not much action or comedy in the episode, but that’s excusable considering
the plot had to be set up. Still, the episode is enjoyable and is a must simply
because this is the foundation for the story.
Webby2299 is Andrew, Scott is Eaglefreak2k...
Eaglefreak2k: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Episode 1, "welcome to the hellmouth"
Webby2299: What aspect of the show shall we discuss first?
Eaglefreak2k: Let's go with the fact that its the opener
Webby2299: original air date was 3/3/97
Eaglefreak2k: this episode did a really good job of setting up the whole story for the series
Webby2299: it did, myself, I didn't see the movie, but I was able to get into the story easily
Eaglefreak2k: the movie really never played much in the show
Eaglefreak2k: they referenced some aspects, like how Buffy burned down the gym
Webby2299: which Principal Flutie seemed to take notice to
Eaglefreak2k: but that and a handful of other references are about all that movie was good for
Eaglefreak2k: i loved Flutie
Eaglefreak2k: He's the perfect embodiment of naive (sp?) attidude of the Sunnydale population
Eaglefreak2k: he thinks everything is so "happy go lucky" and that Sunnydale is the perfect little town
Webby2299: he does and I think that helps lead to his fate in the 6th episode
Eaglefreak2k: That really "bit"
Webby2299: that was something I'd expect myself to say
Eaglefreak2k: I think that was pretty much Flutie's whole purpose on the show
Eaglefreak2k: show how stupid and naive these people really are
Webby2299: do represent the normal people
Eaglefreak2k: but he was great
Webby2299: Well, the episode gives us the first look at all the characters
Eaglefreak2k: yeah, it really sets up everyone really well
Webby2299: we see rivalries form as well as friendships
Eaglefreak2k: back to the characters themselves...
Eaglefreak2k: i love how each one get's their own little intro
Webby2299: let's start with Buffy
Eaglefreak2k: Buffy's intro takes the whole show length really, and doesn't really finish till episode 3 in my mind.
Eaglefreak2k: in this episode, we see that she clearly wants to avoid her destiny, but when push comes to shove, she forces herself to buckle down and accept it
Webby2299: Well, being the pivotal character that's to be expected, but she really grows throughout every season
Webby2299: she has to. And we can attribute her attitude thanks in part, to Giles
Eaglefreak2k: true, but the same idea of "i want to be slaying AND have a normal life" holds through till the very end
Eaglefreak2k: But we really see that aspect, again, in episode 3, more about that later
Eaglefreak2k: so on to Giles?
Webby2299: yes, again we digress
Webby2299: yes, Anthony Stewart Heads defining role
Eaglefreak2k: A role he was born to play
Eaglefreak2k: What did you think of his introduction into the series?
Webby2299: well, being my favorite character, I did enjoy his entrance. You immediately get that air of knowledge about him.
Webby2299: He's dedicated, intelligent, and most importantly, British
Eaglefreak2k: that plays a big role
Eaglefreak2k: he's very stiff in the first couple of episodes, and the first season as a whole
Eaglefreak2k: But he is definately set up as the Foil for Buffy in this one
Eaglefreak2k: completely by the book in every way
Webby2299: yes, he has to keep her on track, it's his duty
Eaglefreak2k: and no one handles glasses like Tony Head
Eaglefreak2k: just a little side not
Webby2299: but I did notice something about him
Webby2299: actually you took the words out of my mouth, he immediately attaches himself to Willow
Eaglefreak2k: well i wasnt referencing that, but please elaborate
Webby2299: well, you can't see a lot if it in the first episode, but later on, Willow is the person he relys on to dig up information. Willow is, for a while, a young female Giles
Eaglefreak2k: i see where you're going with this, but we've gotta save that for later, nice foreshadowing though
Eaglefreak2k: and about willow
Eaglefreak2k: there are a couple key things we need to note about her character
Eaglefreak2k: The scene in the Bronze, first of all. She immediately goes into how she has trouble with guys, and when Buffy tells her her own philosophy (Live for today, cause tomorrow you might be dead), willow jumps right on that.
Eaglefreak2k: that is relavent in 2 ways i can see...
Eaglefreak2k: A) Willow is already starting to look up to Buffy
Eaglefreak2k: and B) We all know what willow gets into in later seasons. more fun foreshadowing
Eaglefreak2k: Not to mention...
Webby2299: so now we're on C
Eaglefreak2k: she brings up the fact that her and xander used to date, which i feel is crucial character info
Webby2299: it is. Because it sets up what will be a tension and confusing set of emotions between the two
Eaglefreak2k: granted they were only 5
Eaglefreak2k: and he stole her barbie
Webby2299: poor Willow...
Eaglefreak2k: which makes me question, why did xander want a barbie
Eaglefreak2k: but it shows their strong friendship, and a hint at willows deeper feelings
Eaglefreak2k: now on to Xander
Webby2299: yes, since you brought him up
Eaglefreak2k: He was pretty much the star of this episode in my mind
Webby2299: classic, classic intro
Eaglefreak2k: he takes all the comedy, it's his and his alone
Webby2299: along with all the pian
Eaglefreak2k: He also is the first of the gang to figure out buffy's secret
Eaglefreak2k: we immediately see he has a crush on her, one that never quite goes away
Eaglefreak2k: and we see that he wants to help in any way he can. He wants to jump right in, even knowing he might get killed
Webby2299: true. Which, again, sets up tension later on
Eaglefreak2k: But i feel this is really xander's episode for this season.
Eaglefreak2k: y tu?
Webby2299: Well, Xander is the first character we can really feel for, because he is normal. He's the typical guy but gets dropped into a strange supernatural situation. I think Xander is really the heart of the show for a while.
Webby2299: More than anyone, we can relate to him
Eaglefreak2k: two things-
Eaglefreak2k: at this point, willow is also very normal
Eaglefreak2k: and b)
Eaglefreak2k: i think xander is alwaysthe heart of the show
Webby2299: ok, let me counter your Willow point though
Eaglefreak2k: he's the one who can say what everyone's thinking
Webby2299: Willow, comes off as a geek during this episode. She's not the typical teen, she's the one under the radar that no one seems to notice in a good way, except for Xander.
Webby2299: and Jesse
Eaglefreak2k: ok true, but i feel there are plenty who can relate to that
Eaglefreak2k: maybe not as many as xander, but a lot.
Eaglefreak2k: moving on
Webby2299: yes, who do we have next
Eaglefreak2k: let's round out the cast with Angel, Cordy, and Joyce. we'll save the master for episode 2
Webby2299: Well then, Angel first?
Eaglefreak2k: short and sweet
Webby2299: Angel. Mysterious, girl magnet, and his motives are unknown to us for now. All we see of him is his gift to Buffy, and his knowledge of what's going on in Sunnydale.
Eaglefreak2k: which basically is what he is supposed to be, the mystery know it all. even when they're and item, he's still the pop-up-when-badness-happens guy
Eaglefreak2k: ok, Cordy
Webby2299: take it away
Eaglefreak2k: this was the cordy that i knew and loved, before she got all sappy and vision-y on "Angel". She is pompous, arrogant, snotty, egotistical, and self centered. A perfect brew for hilarity, and thought we haven't seen it yet, and won't for a while, she's got that good heart hidden under all the designer clothes. I think it's the "out of sight" episode where she laments over not having any real friends. But this is cordy at one of her finest times
Webby2299: I think you summed her up perfectly
Eaglefreak2k: i thought so too
Eaglefreak2k: any comments?
Webby2299: except for the fact that she can fill out a shirt better than anyone else on the show, nope.
Eaglefreak2k: lol, granted, yes, Cordelia is a hot one. Only gets better till she cuts her hair on ATS.
Eaglefreak2k: ok, Joyce Summers
Webby2299: Joyce, the typical mom. She knows Buffy has her problems, and she tries to accept them. She tries her best to relate to her daughter, but it's tough for her. She does her best, cares for Buffy a lot, but has no knowledge of what she got herself into by moving to Sunnydale. Like Flutie, she symbolizes the normal people.
Eaglefreak2k: I want to point out that she's definately worried for buffy too. we'll see a lot through the season little slips where she keeps telling buffy 'shes not in trouble yet'. that puts the tensions between them. The whole slayer thing doesnt help the matter either
Webby2299: a good added point.
Webby2299: kind of non existant for this first episode
Eaglefreak2k: pretty much, there's the tiny bit towards the end, but it doesn't hold a candle to the later episodes
Eaglefreak2k: this episode is pretty much all exposition
Webby2299: right, with small touches of comedy here and there
Eaglefreak2k: again, mostly held by xander
Eaglefreak2k: out of 5, overall rating for this episode?
Webby2299: because it is so essential to the story, I can't give it less than a 4.5
Eaglefreak2k: i can give it a 4, it's essential, but without "The Harvest" along with is, it's uncomplete at parts. Plus, the rewatch value is pretty low, seeing as it's a bit campy, and its a lot of backstory.
Eaglefreak2k: so that gives us a 4.25
Webby2299: With an overall comment of, lots of plot, little anything else
Eaglefreak2k: thats about it.
Eaglefreak2k: hopefully there's a bit more story, a little less backstory in the future
Webby2299: I have faith their will be
Eaglefreak2k: ok, so we're signing off.
Eaglefreak2k: tune in next time for "the Harvest"