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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy Season 1 Episode 01 "Welcome To The Hellmouth" - Tvsquad.com Review

Keith McDuffee

Tuesday 30 May 2006, by Webmaster

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Welcome to the Hellmouth

Do not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of your favorite shows, in order, every week.

(S01E01) And it all started with this. Well, actually, if you want to be all anal about it, it started with the craptastic movie with Kristy Swanson and Donald Sutherland, but we won’t go there ... much. What is interesting, though, is how anyone who’s seen the movie can relate to some of what’s spoken of in this episode — Buffy burned down the school in L.A., left a life of slaying vampires there behind, had an old Watcher. Hey, it works.

One of the things that’s made this show so special is its continuity and how one can follow the episodes of the first season and relate ahead to episodes in its last season. For example, Darla, who we later learn much more about as she relates to Angel. She even crosses over into the Angel series for a long spell, and one has to wonder if she was ever meant to take on such a prominent role of the Buffy lore.

A lot of people went into this pilot worrying about the movie; I know I did, and it’s why I never watched it when it first aired. In fact, I didn’t start watching this show until midway through season two, when several friends slapped me silly for not watching it. Obviously Joss was very successful in squashing those fears very early on.

An interesting thing I noticed in this episode was Buffy’s dream sequence and how it features scenes which I believe are from far later episodes in the season. This seems very uncharacteristic of a pilot episode, to be sure.

The "head vampire" (besides the Master), Luke, should look familiar to Buffy fans. He appears in season two as The Judge, though obviously it’s just the actor playing a different part. But dear lord, he’s always one scary mother in anything I see him in.

The Jessie character is one I’ll talk more about in the next episode. He’s a particularly interesting character because he certainly appears at first to be a main player on the show, but we’ll see next week that things can surprisingly change.

One last thing about the movie (really, I’ll try not to keep bringing it up) that I noted is that Joss tossed out the "vampire sense" thing that Buffy had, where she’d get major cramps whenever a vampire was around. Obviously that would have put a big kink in the works as far as Angel goes, so I do wonder if that was the main reason for dumping it in the series.

Main points of interest in this episode:
- Cordelia started out as Buffy’s friend.
- Jessie started out as a main player on the show.
- First appearance of Buffy, Giles, Xander, Cordilia, Angel, the Master, Darla, Joyce Summers.
- Xander skateboarded?

Quote of the episode: (Actually, I chose two)

Giles: "Everything you’ve ever dreaded that 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: "Um...w-well...yes." Buffy: "Did you get the free phone?" Giles: "...the calendar."

Buffy: "Oh come on — this is Sunnydale. How bad of an evil can there be?"