• Thank you for visiting Buffy-Boards. You obviously have exceptional taste. We just want you to know that:

    1. You really should register so you can chat with us!

    2. Fourteen thousand people can't be wrong.

    3. Buffy-Boards loves you.

    4. See 1 through 3.

    Come on, register already!

Discussion of 1.01 "Welcome To The Hellmouth" - Aired 3/10/1997 (WB-US)

Antho

Scooby
Joined
Nov 30, 2016
Messages
2,392
Age
27
Location
Montauban (France)
Let's go for my rewatch. I prefer to make a shorter comment rather than an analysis as I usually do.

The + : Things I like :

- The acting of the actors. Well I feel oblige to say it because they really delivers a good performance.
- "Buffy ? What kind of name is that" "Hey Aphrodisia" :D
- Angel ! I don't have problem with the introduction of the character. I read the previous review and I know some have problem with David Boreanaz's acting or they reproach to Angel being a stalker, but I just really don't buy it. I think David Boreanaz is not great but good and I like all the mystery, all the charm the character release. Don't forget we are not suppose to know Angel is a vampire so it's just logical for me that Angel looks like a strange guy and isn't really helpful with his informations. Plus, I love the cross he gives to Buffy.
- Willow :)Oh sweet and Lovely Alyson Hannigan. I forgot Willow was so shy at the beginning of the show, like Tara in fact. She gives me envy to protect her. I'm glad Buffy past the physical appearance and see her inner beauty ;).
- The horror ambiance, the humor of the series.. Time has no effect on it.
- SMG is so young and actually a bit fat than the later seasons. That's not critical, just a constatation.

The +/- : Things I don't know what to think :

- I was perturbed by Giles's personality. He is too authoritarian, too much on his role as a watcher, that's make him less human on my eyes, though I still believe he cares about Buffy.
- Jesse : I actually don't know if I like him or not.. I guess I'm not impressed by the actors's performance either.
- Cordelia : You know what I used to like the bitchy Cordelia, and in fact I actually like her but she is really mean to Willow, so I put her here so Willow has her revenge :). Just kidding. I'm still impressed that Charisma is 28 years old :eek:. She clearly doesn't make her age.

The - : Things I don't like :

- Darla : Not the character, not the actress, just the writing of the character. I mean, really she doesn't recognize the slayer, really ? She looks a bit stupid but the opening scene is actually a good point for her.
- The scene where the Masters rise up.. Not convincing, bad special effects, don't produce the fear it should produce.

Rating : I go with B+ !



 
Last edited:

PaulParmar1

Spuffy Forever
Joined
Oct 2, 2017
Messages
2,804
Age
23
Location
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
Sineya
I loved this episode.
Easily one of the best from Season 1. I loved the characters being introduced.
I loved the charming mystery of Angel! Hot!
Buffy ready to save Willow & Xander ! Yay! I loved Buffy this episode. Funny, witty and iconic :D
 

Mr Trick

Scooby
Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Messages
15,539
Age
41
Location
London, UK
A pretty smooth first episode. I mean it has quite a lot of setting up to do and does a solid job. What I like is how they put the idea of Vampires and demons out there early and start describing the Universe. If they talked around it too long I think the pacing would have dragged. Giles speech to Buffy in the library is about the Hellmouth always stands out to me.

Cordelia gets some great lines too. "Excuse me I just have to call everybody I've met ever right now":p
"God what is your Childhood trauma"?:D

It sets Buffy out as normal but different too. The Bronze scene with her and Willow is nicely played. Hannigan just disappears into that part.
 

RDHWesley

Odd Individual
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
135
Location
UK
'Welcome to the Hellmouth' is a great example of an episode that I actually find gets better when you go back and watch it. Maybe I have a lot of nostalgia for the high school seasons, but the first episode does a stellar job of setting up the basic mythology and characters without it getting bogged down with exposition. Oddities like Angel being really snarky and wearing his weird jacket, along with Xander and his skateboard are honestly more funny to me than anything else. I still love the whole thing; it's well paced and introduces everything really nicely.
 

Mr Trick

Scooby
Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Messages
15,539
Age
41
Location
London, UK
'Welcome to the Hellmouth' is a great example of an episode that I actually find gets better when you go back and watch it. Maybe I have a lot of nostalgia for the high school seasons, but the first episode does a stellar job of setting up the basic mythology and characters without it getting bogged down with exposition. Oddities like Angel being really snarky and wearing his weird jacket, along with Xander and his skateboard are honestly more funny to me than anything else. I still love the whole thing; it's well paced and introduces everything really nicely.[/QUOTE]

I can't argue with that. I think the Angel thing stands out more because DB wasn't the best actor at the time plus unlike Xander he started on the fringes of the story. The great thing about the skateboard scene is it doesn't date. Wallys like Xander are probably still crashing into people today:D
 

Mr Trick

Scooby
Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Messages
15,539
Age
41
Location
London, UK
Another thing I picked up from this episode is Willow's cross on Giles like how she gets excited when talking about him and how cool his library is:D
 

telperion66

Potential
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
417
Age
34
Location
York, England (Teabag Central)
Just a point on when GIles asks Buffy in the library, "Will he rise again? The boy.." and Buffy is adamant that he will not.

How did she know this just by looking at the body?

I think this is a slight flaw in the plot of this episode overall, because from what I could tell, its very possible that he could well have risen again and become a vampire.

However, by offering this reassurance, it sets up Jesse becoming a vampire quite nicely because the audience is led to believe that the concept of "being turned undead" is difficult and rare, however in his immediate case we are startled at his reveal to understand this may well not always be the case.
 

Mr Trick

Scooby
Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Messages
15,539
Age
41
Location
London, UK
Just a point on when GIles asks Buffy in the library, "Will he rise again? The boy.." and Buffy is adamant that he will not.

How did she know this just by looking at the body?


I think this is a slight flaw in the plot of this episode overall, because from what I could tell, its very possible that he could well have risen again and become a vampire.

However, by offering this reassurance, it sets up Jesse becoming a vampire quite nicely because the audience is led to believe that the concept of "being turned undead" is difficult and rare, however in his immediate case we are startled at his reveal to understand this may well not always be the case.

To be honest I don't remember that line? The only thing I can think is that maybe having been a Slayer back home she might have gotten a instinct for that sort of thing. Maybe too she was still resisting being a Slayer in Sunnydale so just said the first thing she thought sounded right.
 

thrasherpix

Scooby
Joined
Mar 13, 2016
Messages
3,770
Age
38
Buffy did say that he'd have to have sucked the vampire's blood, though she wasn't clear on how she knew that didn't happen. Perhaps wishful thinking and not seeing any blood around the mouth of the corpse. It was a rushed conversation in which Buffy was essentially saying, "Leave me out of this!" (And treating Giles much as the Potentials would later treat her.)
 

Jodast

Lapsed BBer
Joined
Mar 22, 2012
Messages
975
Location
London UK
Sineya
As I mentioned, I'm doing a full watch through and will write a review/editorial/stream of consciousness about each episode as I watch them. I'm taking notes and everything!

I am watching this on Amazon Prime in the UK, so there may well be edits that did not appear in the original airings or DVDs, so I may miss things. Please forgive me.

We start with "Into each generation..." and the theme tune and we're off to the races. It's been 7+ years since I last watched an episode of Buffy and it feels like home already. The smile on my face is bright and wide. And no-one's even died yet!.

The show itself begins with a bit of a jump scare as a classroom window breaks and a leather-jacketed guy, we'll call him LJ, and a stereotypically-dressed schoolgirl, we'll call her Darla, climb through the newly-made entrance to the school. After flashing his bona fides as a wrong 'un, LJ assures Darla that the sound she heard is nothing, at which point we get minor jump scare number two. She whirls around, goes full vamp face on him and he's a dinner date in a manner he never saw coming. I love this scene! It is a mission statement for the show right from the very beginning. The show is called Buffy the Vampire Slayer and at the time I first saw the episode I had not seen the Kristy Swanson movie so I had no idea what the tone for the show was going to be. Judging by the title alone, it's going to be a kid's show. All of a sudden we have two jump scares and a subversion of horror tropes. We're about a minute in and it has already proven to be better than it has any right to be.

The show then sets about setting up the high school as the central location for the subsequent events. We get to see Joss throwing some dialogue at the wall and seeing what sticks. Some of it is a hit, some of it is a miss, but it is definitely fun to see a writer not afraid to invent and use words to create a culture. Glad 'neg and 'pos' never caught on though. And the 'Aphrodisia' joke still makes me laugh.

There is some fantastic acting by SMG in the scene where Cordelia is being mean to Willow; subtle facial expressions which convey 'Hey, this isn't how you treat people.' I'm willing to give Buffy the benefit of the doubt for not standing up to Cordy as it is her first day and negotiating the high school hierarchy is tough at the best of times. Plus she does make it clear to Willow that she did not approve and actively seeks Willow's help.

We soon see our first demonstration of Slayer powers in effect when Buffy breaks open a locked door using only her hands and what does not appear to be a great deal of force or effort. So now we have a girl, with super powers, who can kick butt and take names. On my first viewing I thought this was great, appreciating the inversion of typical gender roles in media. 20+ years later, when equality is a hot topic in the woke world, this seems more relevant than ever.

Buffy goes back to see Giles, having already been freaked out by him earlier and we see some of the dynamics which, in early seasons, at least is my favourite in the show. Buffy the reluctant hero and Giles the stuffy British watcher. Both SMG and ASH absolutely nail their roles here and it is a fantastic feat of writing and acting that the relationship can be both deeply dramatic and highly comedic without ever seeming unnatural. Frequently, they manage this while explaining to the audience that there is a world of big, gribbly monsters out there waiting to be encountered.

After a hard first day at school, what's a girl to do? Why, go to a club, of course.! Buffy is on her way to The Bronze when we see that she is being followed. Some gymnastics and a foot on the chest later and we have our first close up of Angel. Behold the beauty of David Boreanaz. Just don't listen to his line delivery. Knowing that he is about to become one of the central characters in the show and that he will go on to act brilliantly in a number of shows, not just Buffy, helps a great deal, but his delivery here was not great. His appearance did create a thread of mystery and intrigue into proceedings. So, more kudos to Joss.

We head into The Bronze and Sprung Monkey are playing Believe. I still freaking love this track!

Giles is hanging about with teenagers, which in 2020 would get him cancelled, but in 1997 was just a bit odd. Luckily, one of those teenagers, Buffy, goes to speak with him after encouraging Willow to seize the moment and talk to boys. Giles demands that Buffy uses her abilities to sense a vampire. She spots one based on the fact that he is dressed like a pop star from 1987. It's a funny line, but also emphasises that Buffy is a very capable Slayer but does not necessarily do things in the traditional manner. This is a point that will be used, mentioned and exploited in seasons to come, but for now just seems like a fun character moment. Also, this is the 'carbon dated' scene. 23 years later, this show is showing some of those signs itself. Cordelia's mobile phone with the extendable aerial, Time Life series being a thing, and of course the fashion and hairstyles.

I haven't spoken much about the Master/Harvest plot here because to me, it isn't particularly important. The pilot is all about introducing the characters and setting the scene for what is to come. The plot played very a very small part in this. For me it was enough to make me wonder what will happen next, but by this time, I was already invested in the characters enough that I would watch the rest of the season regardless. Which was handy as there are a few clunkers of episodes coming up.

One thing I will note is that I am sure there is quite a big jump scare missing from the Amazon version of the show. When Buffy and Luke are fighting in the mausoleum, afeter Buffy lands in the tomb coffing thingy, I'm sure she sits up and the Luke appears out of nowhere, but in the Amazon cut he just jumps in and attempts to bite her, without much suspense of fright to it at all. Am I correct in this, or am I having a Mandela effect moment?
 

Priceless

Scooby
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Messages
9,011
Location
UK
There is a moment that Buffy is in the coffin, she turns to look at the skeleton then sits up a little and we see her pov, and it's then Luke jumps into the coffin. Or that's what happen on my dl version. Not sure if it's the same or not.
 

AnthonyCordova

modulating between criticism and reconstruction
Joined
Feb 18, 2014
Messages
2,210
Location
Denver, Colorado
Sineya
Has anyone ever noticed that Oz is one of the classmates in this episode (during the discussion of the Bubonic Plague in Buffy's History class, near the end, as the camera pans from left to right, a little before the camera settles on Cordelia and Buffy)? I couldn't believe it myself; I had to stop it and repeat it three times before I was convinced. Seriously, did everyone already know about this?
 

Mr Trick

Scooby
Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Messages
15,539
Age
41
Location
London, UK
Has anyone ever noticed that Oz is one of the classmates in this episode (during the discussion of the Bubonic Plague in Buffy's History class, near the end, as the camera pans from left to right, a little before the camera settles on Cordelia and Buffy)? I couldn't believe it myself; I had to stop it and repeat it three times before I was convinced. Seriously, did everyone already know about this?

No I've never noticed it! That is one hell of a pick up. I'm going to look really hard next time I watch it. Makes you wonder if they always planned on making him a regular cast member or if he was just a extra in that scene.
 

Stake fodder

Soulless
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
693
Location
Caught on a root
I first watched this about 18 months ago, but had still forgotten a lot. The characters are well established in the first couple episodes, in ways that were mostly maintained and are built on throughout the show. My impressions have changed somewhat, though. For instance, I initially found Willow irksome, with her hesitant way of speaking. "Just spit it out!", I'd think. By the end, I found it endearing, and if she didn't put at least one pause in the sentence, you knew Dark Willow was taking over!

I'd forgotten how strange and kinda useless Angel was at first. I can't believe I didn't suss out that he was a vampire right away, but I didn't!

I did better appreciate the role reversal of the female vampire, how it sets the tone for the whole series. And Giles bringing out the Big Book o' Vampyr made me laugh. Is there really that much to know about them, or is Buffy just supposed to smack them with that weighty tome? And it's a great way to set up the initial dissonance between him and Buffy, that he doesn't realize that a teen is not going to read all that.

Some things from Joss Whedon's commentary clear up a few issues mentioned above, for those who may not have heard it:

1) Xander stopped using the skateboard after that first time, because filming him on it was a nightmare of lighting and camera work.

2) Whedon commented that Giles behaved too intimately with Buffy in the school corridors, standing too close and acting too familiar. A teacher would be fired for that! The commentary was clearly done a few years after the season aired, and they didn't catch it at the time, I guess.

3) They dropped quickly the idea that a vampire would dress in the style of the era in which they died, as they would have had a lot of vamps in '70s-'80s clothes, like the guy Buffy spots in The Bronze. This idea may also explain Angel's satin(?) jacket, on which several have commented.

A lot of good lines that others have mentioned already. My favorite was Buffy saying, "Seize the moment, because tomorrow you might be dead." And Willow replies, "Oh, that's nice!"
 

thrasherpix

Scooby
Joined
Mar 13, 2016
Messages
3,770
Age
38
Bah, if the school was realistic, that library would've been A LOT smaller, and such tomes wouldn't be kept on the shelves there as they apparently were (even without the magic they'd be worth enough to kill for, let alone steal for their antiquity and good condition). (Malleus Maleficarum is also very different in our world.) And having gone to high school the same time as Buffy, girls like Cordelia and Buffy would've been sent home to change by the faculty (especially once a Snyder was in charge) rather than allowed to dress like that (and Willow would've been bullied a lot worse for the way she dressed, even in the rural Bible Belt school I once went to, but at least she wouldn't be sent home to change).

And schools are a lot more sordid than Joss Whedon realizes, especially back then, so he's best focusing on the vampires and witches and hyena spirits, and not trying to make the school realistic (which would've been less enjoyable if shown as genuinely realistic, but even worse if going by the sanitized version many want to believe schools are like). And it's less unrealistic than other schools I've seen as common tropes (from those where kids turn into professional dancers without any occult influences to a Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ep where the student council actually controlled the school budget among other decision making power, a teacher I know laughed herself to tears over that, though it was far more entertaining than a real school, so go with it).

I love that school library and wouldn't want to see less of it in the name of realism.


But oh yes, Buffy giving Willow advice. Notice how when Willow follows it she comes close to dying? I wonder if the writers are even aware of it as a private joke (I think it's funny myself, and if a writer I'd have tried to put even more such scenes in), kind of like Giles being knocked out. Someone might want to count them (though some are hard, like when Buffy tells Willow to run so she's not in danger only to be captured while doing as Buffy says, and I think they're back at the library after their crime before they realize Willow isn't with them).
 
Stake fodder
Stake fodder
I agree about the books being left around, and the way they would discuss demons etc. without worrying about random students showing up.

Mr Trick

Scooby
Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Messages
15,539
Age
41
Location
London, UK
@thrasherpix I don't know the Library looks quite small to me. Its a good TV library anyway.
 
T
thrasherpix
I've been to many schools, never saw one with a 2-story library, even when the school itself was several stories, libraries (even education) having a lower priority than other things. But I could see it being different in the UK.

Stake fodder

Soulless
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
693
Location
Caught on a root
Has anyone ever noticed that Oz is one of the classmates in this episode
I think I see the guy you mean. I took a screenshot, but don't know how to attach it here - I'm new. He has a olive green and brown patterned shirt? I don't think it is Oz, but he does have a very similar look!

Edit: For Anthony Cordova, hope this works!
View media item 3442
 
Last edited:
AnthonyCordova
AnthonyCordova
If you could post it that would be great. It looks like SG to me but I could be wrong

AnthonyCordova

modulating between criticism and reconstruction
Joined
Feb 18, 2014
Messages
2,210
Location
Denver, Colorado
Sineya
@Stake fodder thanks man! You're right, it might not be him, but yeah, they sure do look similar!
 
Stake fodder
Stake fodder
You're welcome, but I didn't post the photo correctly, so they deleted it. If anyone else wants to see it, I'll investigate how to do it right.
Top Bottom