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

Antho

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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+ !



 
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PaulParmar1

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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

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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

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'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

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'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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
 
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