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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1
The Witch (ep #3) Air date 3.17.97

Scott Tofte

Action: 3
Comedy: 3
Plot: 4.5

The witch is Buffy's attempt at getting back a normal life even while being a slayer. She decides that she's going to try out for the Sunnydale Cheerleading squad. There's a really funny joke in the beginning in which Giles starts scolding Buffy for something we viewers think is major, but in turn he is slamming her cheer-dreams. We are starting to get more of an idea of the Buffy-Giles chemistry and closeness that develops further in the series. It is after this that we are introduced to our evil element for this episode, surprise, a witch. After some "firey" cheering and an introduction to the over-zealous Amy, we hit our stride. The gang is working hard to figure out what may be going on. Another trip to the library, and they figure out that this ain't no vampire they're dealing with, but they don't what it is at all. They're thinking spontanious combustion, and start investigating the exploding cheerleader. We also solidify the Scooby-gang in this episode, as Xander says, "we're like a team! We are a team right?"
The next scene shows the tension between Joyce and Buffy as Joyce is unloading stuff for her art gallery (including a fertility statue). A little freudian slip shows us that Joyce is just waiting for Buffy to get in trouble again. There is a bit of strain between them.
Back to tryouts. This is where things start to unravel. We see Amy screwing up at tryouts, and then admiring all of her mothers trophies in the school case. After a long overlypraising and personal schpiel about her mom, Buffy starts to get "the wiggins". Amy is very hard on herself, and very praising of her mom. They also figure out that Amber doesn't have any wierd history, which makes them think that she's not really involved in all of this.
So after much detectivity and figuring out of, and a really snotty Cordelia speech, the gang figures out that Amy and her mother had switched bodies before this whole thing even started. A vengence spell is put on Buffy making her ill, and it is up to the rest of the gang to help her out to stop body-snatching Amy before she can do harm to all the girls on the Cheerleading squad.

Comedy. Xander. That's about it. He holds up the comedy department for pretty much the whole episode.

A few little nuances that are worth taking note of are Xander's crush goes further, and we begin to see more of Willow's feelings for Xander. When he calls her his "guy friend that knows about girl stuff", she is obviously hurt. And again when he gives Buffy the "good luck" bracelet, Willow quickly snaps "whats that?". And she also tells him to beat around the bush more concerning him askin Buffy out. Fun little tidbits that Joss likes to sprinkle on an episode.

So yeah, this episode is a little campy, but it's all fun, and there are some very necessary yet subtle season arc and character developments.

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Andrew Webster

Action: 2.5

Comedy: 4

Plot/Story: 3

“The Witch” marked the first episode to show that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not just about slaying vampires. A world of magic is shown to the viewers, and the realization that nearly anything can happen in Sunnydale occurs. As cheerleading tryouts begin, Buffy decides to take a stab at it here in her new school. When one of the girls bursts into flame though, things change quickly. Of course, Giles is on the case, and with the help of Buffy’s group, and books; they determine a witch must be behind it all. Suspicion is placed upon Amy, a girl Willow used to be good friends with. I don’t want to ruin the story at all but let me just say, it’s good. I only gave it a three because the story does nothing for the entire saga of Buffy, immediately anyway. On it’s own, the story is excellent, but for Buffy as a whole it’s mediocre. This is another of the better episodes in the first season, featuring a lot of comedy, spread out over several characters. The laughs are frequent in this episode, though the action is somewhat sporadic. Character development furthers itself in the form of Joyce. We really see more of her motherly personality in this episode, along with the typical, “Parents don’t understand teenagers” issue. Overall, this is definitely an episode to watch.

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Eaglefreak2k: the witch
Webby2299: begin the introduction
Eaglefreak2k: episode 3
Eaglefreak2k: season 1
Eaglefreak2k: The first episode to stray from vampires as baddies
Eaglefreak2k: showing that anything can and will happen in Sunnydale, CA
Webby2299: indeed, which immediately diversified the series
Eaglefreak2k: you know, i read a good article today
Webby2299: about what?
Eaglefreak2k: it was on how buffy is on the same path as star trek
Webby2299: cult status?
Eaglefreak2k: not so hot in prime time ratings, but getting more popularity through DVD and syndication
Eaglefreak2k: and there are a ton of knock-off shows
Eaglefreak2k: IE
Eaglefreak2k: Alias is buffy as brunette
Webby2299: true
Eaglefreak2k: Smallville is buffy as superman
Eaglefreak2k: Dark Angel is buffy as bond
Webby2299: another good one
Eaglefreak2k: charmed is buffy with babes
Eaglefreak2k: etc
Eaglefreak2k: but anyway
Eaglefreak2k: back to the witch
Webby2299: wait, one sec
Webby2299: Charmed is Buffy with babes? Are you implying that perhaps, Cordellia, Willow, Buffy, and future female leads are not babes?
Eaglefreak2k: no, thats what the magazing said
Eaglefreak2k: blam TV guide not me
Eaglefreak2k: back to the topic
Webby2299: oh, yes
Eaglefreak2k: this episode is really the first one where the gang is forced to really work together
Eaglefreak2k: buffy is a bit out of commision and they have to physically help,
Eaglefreak2k: not to mention
Eaglefreak2k: xander brings up the subject by saying "we're like a team! we're a team right?"
Webby2299: Xander is indeed, the heart of the team
Eaglefreak2k: yes he is
Eaglefreak2k: but onto the analasys
Eaglefreak2k: action
Eaglefreak2k: go
Webby2299: There's not a whole lot of action compared to future episodes, but this one does pick up the pace a little. There's actual action, in the use of magic powers to hurl objects, Cordellia taking part in the "Stevie Wonder school of driving," and the cheerleading, but there's an implied sense of urgency which gives a feeling of action through much of the episode. Overall, I wouldn't say it's action packed, but it has it's shining moments
Eaglefreak2k: so far the most suspense we've seen
Eaglefreak2k: to say the least
Eaglefreak2k: i also like the way that willow seems only slightly intreagued by magic
Eaglefreak2k: we really can't see any interest yet, but she definately isnt ignoring the idea
Webby2299: good foreshadowing without revealing too much
Eaglefreak2k: yeah
Webby2299: anything else you'd like to add about the action, or should we move on to comedy?
Eaglefreak2k: i think we can move on
Eaglefreak2k: not a whole lot in this ep
Eaglefreak2k: very little compared to most actually
Webby2299: really? I thought it was rather funny myself
Eaglefreak2k: there were parts in the beginning
Eaglefreak2k: but it was too campy, and i didnt really buy sarah michelle gellar as the looney type
Eaglefreak2k: xander had a couple parts here and there admiring cheerleaders
Webby2299: and Giles had his moments
Eaglefreak2k: but as the episode got heavier, the comedy sprawls away
Eaglefreak2k: well yeah, there's just nothing that particularly sticks out in my mind, like say, the zeppo
Webby2299: well, The Zeppo pretty much went above and beyond, it's hard to compare a lot of episodes to that masterpiece
Eaglefreak2k: but i like the comedy i remember, and there wasnt a lot in this one for me
Webby2299: but again, I stray from the topic
Eaglefreak2k: ok, plot and story
Eaglefreak2k: take it
Webby2299: As a whole, it doesn't move the plot of Buffy too far. We get a little more character depth, the realization that a lot of weird things can happen at the Hellmouth, and that's about it. But as a stand alone episode, the story is rather good with a nice little twist to it.
Eaglefreak2k: i think it's very creative in showing just what can be done with magic
Webby2299: nearly anything really
Eaglefreak2k: sort of alludes to the trouble buffy and faith get in in season 4
Webby2299: and the serious trouble we'll see in season 6
Eaglefreak2k: but im sure joss hadn't thought that far ahead
Eaglefreak2k: i meant the body switching
Eaglefreak2k: i dont worry about evil willow till season 3 and 4 at least
Webby2299: this is why your the better buffy buff
Eaglefreak2k: well, end of 2
Eaglefreak2k: when she fixes angel
Webby2299: yes
Eaglefreak2k: and gets nosy with miss calender
Eaglefreak2k: but really season 3
Eaglefreak2k: and 4
Webby2299: ok, back to the plot of The Witch
Eaglefreak2k: as a stand alone, the story is told completely and is resolved (and eventually revisited i might add)
Eaglefreak2k: but it is a big metaphor
Eaglefreak2k: like so many joss pieces
Eaglefreak2k: a) parents really don't know how much pressure teens are under
Webby2299: true
Eaglefreak2k: and b) kids will do anything to get what they want
Eaglefreak2k: they'll hurt anyone
Eaglefreak2k: kids can be cruel
Eaglefreak2k: highschool is hell
Webby2299: ...i know...
Eaglefreak2k: again we see that one
Webby2299: well, it doesn't help where it's located...
Eaglefreak2k: which is yet another metaphor referencing the same idea
Eaglefreak2k: referencing the same idea
Eaglefreak2k: i like typing that
Eaglefreak2k: flows through my fingers
Webby2299: I can tell, so you're saying you enjoyed the plot of this episode, what's your overall rating for it
Eaglefreak2k: can you tell its 2:00?
Webby2299: yes, I can
Eaglefreak2k: i give it a 4
Webby2299: I concur, this episode is a very solid 4
Eaglefreak2k: good
Eaglefreak2k: we concur
Eaglefreak2k: thats the first time
Webby2299: and maybe the only
Eaglefreak2k: lets not make it a habit
Eaglefreak2k: so here we go again
Eaglefreak2k: signing off