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Discussion of 5.01 "Buffy Vs. Dracula" - Aired 9/26/00 (WB-US)

Vigeous

I've been thinking about the world...
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
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Canada
I think this episode placed in the middle of the season would have been kind of a let down, but this episode helps the continuity of the show immensely.

First, as Scobro mentioned, having Dracula was a risky move, but was handled well for a few reasons which I will explain soon.

Buffy vs Dracula was a little bit on the cheesier side, but it had to be. For one, trying to write in Dracula seriously would be quite the challenge. Dracula is so iconic and has had his story told so many different ways and throughout different times that having his character written into the show in a non lighthearted way would be unnecessarily sticky (especially for just one episode).
Secondly, if you are following the show in order, after having just watched Restless and now knowing about Buffy's sister, this episode gives the audience a nice break rather than going from likely being confused while watching Restless to wrapping your head around the fact that Buffy has a sister. It lets the show breathe.

Having this episode poke fun at Dracula was the safer and more entertaining route, I think. Also, we get the satisfaction of Buffy defeating him as well as Dracula not being killed at the same time. It keeps the balance and doesn't assert that Buffy is stronger than the most renowned vampire of all time (which would have been a bold claim to make whether Buffy killed him indefinitely or if he had bested Buffy. Both fans are happy).

Anyway, with all that analysis stuff out of the way: Xander was hilarious in this episode. He was so weird and so funny and even if I wasn't a Xander fan I'd find it hard not to enjoy his character in this episode.
Giles was great as well, especially his scene with the three wives of Dracula (they referred to them as sisters but I could have sworn Bram Stoker refers to them as his wives and nothing else. Ah well, either way).
Also have to love Spike's back story with Dracula, being rivals and all. It sort of makes sense too; I don't know how old Dracula is supposed to be within his lore but Spike is fairly old so I could see their paths crossing and his reasoning to be true. Spike is also supposedly an extremely well known and much feared figure in the vampire world after all.

All in all a great episode and placed and played out perfectly within the context of the entire series.
 

Charmander

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Nice to see Xander acting more like his high school self. A huge clump of jam also falls out of his doughnut at some point during the episode. :p
And I think I may have zoned out at some point. Where was this castle? In the middle of Sunnydale?
 

Give Us A Kiss

Fuffy Apologist
Joined
Feb 4, 2015
Messages
2,753
Sineya
New Year, new season.

Buffy slays while Riley sleeps, he could be helpful.

And she gets back, fast :eek:

How does The Slayer throw like a girl ??? o_O

Portable grills used to be giant :eek:

What's with the storm ???

Giles has a computer, he's shallow like us :p

Giles, what's wrong ??? :(

Giles, don't go back to England :mad:

Joyce, nice to see you again :)

Dracula :eek:

Willow, don't tell Xander about that...

Slayer and killer are the same thing.

Xander's making fun of The Count :D

Buffy, being repeat-o-girl has some perks :)

Willow clearly found him a bit hot, why can't she just be Bisexual ??? :(

Buffy, what's the difference between sleep and big sleep ???

Anya dated him ??? :eek:

Can Dracula turn into a werewolf too ??? o_O

Xander=strange and off putting ???o_O

Spike and Dracula used to be friends before he got famous :eek:

"nice, safe snog", doesn't sound like much fun...

Dracula the Pervert :p

Angel=unworthy ???o_O

Xander the donut snatcher :p

So, Buffy is a vampire now ??? Hope not...

Dracula is creepy, and too smart for his own good...

Xander locked Anya in the closet :D

Dracula is like Killgrave, they both control minds with their mouths.

Xander is an unstable weakling :eek:

Giles, how are you not in a coma yet ??? o_O

Ladies, get off Giles :mad:

Buffy tastes his blood :eek:

At least Buffy snapped out of it :D

She stakes him, with darkness :p

Xander, it could have been worse...

Giles, you liked it :p

Cookies=bad news ???

Buffy, everyone has darkness.

I assume Giles seems to have decided to stay :)

Dawn :eek:

Next time: Harmony has minions.
 

SnyderRules

Townie
Joined
Mar 29, 2017
Messages
11
Location
United Kingdom
This is my favourite season opener, probably because there's nothing left to wrap up from the last season or set up for the season ahead (apart from that last scene), it's just a nice straightforward self-contained funny episode.

I don't know why but I always find starting another season of Buffy a little daunting because the opening episodes are always a bit heavy going (Season 3 and 6 come to mind).

I thought Dracula worked really well, they poked fun at all the cliches but he also came across as intimidating. I kind of wish he'd stuck around a bit, maybe not as the big bad but it wouldn't have hurt to go further into the mythology of the world's most famous vamp, shame.

Already I can tell the writers making up for a few of the mistakes from Season 4. The gang's back together again, more involved in each other's lives especially Buffy, Xander seems more of the lovable goofball from the early seasons and Giles finally returns to the fold as the father of the group they so cruelly neglected last season.
 

nina98

Did I get it?
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46
This and Lessons are my least favorite season openers. It's just an ok episode. It moves the plot along well but it just doesn't have any emotional impact for me. I do love it though when Dracula says to Xander "you are strange and off-putting". LOL every time.
 

thrasherpix

Scooby
Joined
Mar 13, 2016
Messages
3,764
Age
38
Did not like, and I even managed to block it out of memory. When I was rewatching the entire series with others I was surprised (and dismayed) to suddenly remember that episode existed, even if it does have a few good moments in it. I did not like that Dracula was a celebrity that somehow no one heard of before despite more than one character actually having met him (and the Watchers really didn't investigate Bram Stoker if the lore was so true mixed in with a few unique abilities they'd want a heads up about? :confused: ), and it was just sad to see the women (regardless of stated orientation) going all weak in the knees for him. And it felt like jumping the shark to me.

It would've been a lot more interesting to me if Dracula really was a fanboy who learned a few tricks (both magic and stage illusion, and maybe as a mortal he was both a stage magician and Dracula cosplayer, or perhaps a mortal con-artist before being turned) to fake being Dracula, and of course Anya and Spike would've never heard of him. Buffy could then mention about the pimply, overweight vamps who called themselves Lestat once they figured it out (rather than at the start).
 

PaulParmar1

Spuffy Forever
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Sineya
One of the most underrated episodes & probably one of my fav series premieres.
I love Dracula & he was hot!
Also very funny episode & for once the gang was all together & it was a great episode. I don't get the hate for it. I'm a huge fan.
 

Out for a walk

5 Words Or Less...
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
206
I love how this episode can take such a cliche thing and make it clever.

I wish I could have remembered my first reaction to Dawn at the end. I was a teen when this first came out and I wasn’t really into the show like I am now. I just remember watching random episodes and seeing the new character with my Mom filling me in on who Dawn was.

I know there was foreshadowing in earlier episodes. But...Was it a complete shock to the viewer? Or were their rumors before the season started about Dawn?
 

DeadlyDuo

Scooby
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Anyone else think Riley sounds kind of bitter in this scene? (the one of the Scoobies at Giles' house. It's a compilation video from youtube so ignore the other scenes)


Buffy is thrilled to have met Dracula and that he's heard of her, as are the rest of the scoobies, yet Riley's kind of raining on her parade. Buffy's like "Oh my god I can't believe he's heard of me!", Xander and Willow are like "Oh my god I can't believe we met him!", Giles and Anya are like "we're so pleased for you", yet Riley's all "You've said this enough times already. Of course he's heard of you, your the slayer, duh!"

It's almost like Riley is putting Buffy down and dismissing her excitement at having met Dracula (who is essentially a celebrity). Briley just seems to get worse and worse, Buffy definitely dodged a bullet there (pun not intended).
 
GreyWalker1958
GreyWalker1958
In Riley's defense this was the Dean Winchester killed Hitler brag long before that came to be

Mr Trick

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My least favourite season opener I think. The Dracula gimmick just isn't very convincing. Plus the guy playing him was weak. The whole plot just feels cheap. Its a nice setup to Buffy's direction for the season at least.

One other take away from this one is how Spike delivers the line about Riley not getting to Buffy before Dracula. I think his tone hints at him starting to edge closer to the good side and caring a bit more about what happens to Buffy.
 
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DeadlyDuo

Scooby
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My least favourite season opener I think. The Dracula gimmick just isn't very convincing. Plus the guy playing him was weak. The whole plot just feels cheap. Its a nice setup to Buffy's direction for the season at least.

One other take away from this one is how Spike delivers the line about Riley not getting to Buffy before Dracula. I think his tone hints at him starting to edge closer to the good side and caring a bit more about what happens to Buffy.

I agree. Also it seems like Dawn was created during this episode since at the beginning Joyce says she's going to have to get used to the house being quiet again after Buffy goes back to college. No way is a house quiet with Dawn around.

Also in the clip above when the scoobies are at Giles house, a random person in pink trousers just walks across the screen behind the sofa when the camera is focussed on Willow, Anya and Xander.
 
Mr Trick
Mr Trick
You just blew my mind! Never noticed that detail.

Btvs fan

Scooby
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The actor who played Drac wasnt the greatest TBH.

Also the new stunt woman's Cartwheel kick she does, looks so ridiculous.
 

Cheese Slices

A Bidet of Evil
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955
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I've just hit this episode on my rewatch and honestly ? I like it a lot more this time around. I'd even say it's a pretty great episode !
- There is a lot of foreshadowing for Buffy's arc later in the season, but especially in S6. I maintain that Buffy's exploration of her darkness (both as a slayer and a human being) is one of the show's best arcs and it's great to see it teased like this.
- Dracula wasn't as ridiculous as I remembered (at least in the first couple of scenes)
- I love the early S5 Scooby dynamics ; the cast has such a great and natural chemistry now.
- The scene at the beach is really nice : it's good to see Buffy get some normal, safe fun.
- For some reason, MB's delivery of "You're under the thrall of the Dark Prince !" cracks me up every time, and so does Willow desperately trying to make Giles feel important.
- That Giles/Buffy scene at the end <3

Also, it's just a very funny and fun episode, and the genre blending is done pretty well.
 

vampmogs

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I've always liked Buffy vs Dracula too. As far as season openers go I agree that it's not the strongest (I'd rank it higher than Lessons but lower than WSWB, Anne, The Freshman and Bargaining) but as a standalone episode it's a lot of fun. Admittedly, it does have this really weird clash of mythology that is never quite explained ("gypsy stuff" accounts for Dracula's powers but I can't tell if it's meant to explain his lack of vamp face as well etc) but the episode doesn't take itself too seriously and I enjoy it nonetheless.

Some of my favourite moments include;

- The exhilarating teaser as Buffy chases down the vampire in the cemetery. The score, direction, stunt work and acting all works perfectly there and the implication that Buffy is needing (as Faith once put it) "a good slay" to be fulfilled is intriguing.
- The awesome abrupt cutaway from Buffy telling Joyce "I'm sorry duty calls. It's a total drag..." to her wailing on a vampire in the cemetery with a grin on her face is so badass. I'm firmly in the camp that believes the stunt work took a sharp nosedive from S5 onwards after Pruitt's/Crawford's departure but the choreography is great in Buffy VS Dracula.
- I like Dracula "embracing Angel's bite" and sinking his teeth into Buffy's neck from where Angel bit her in Graduation Day. In fact, I like the continuity of Buffy having a scar and the symbolism of what that means. It's rare that Buffy scars from battle wounds so I think it's important as both a lasting reminder of how the B/A relationship negatively scarred her but also what Angel still means to her and how he'll loom over her other relationships moving forward (especially in this episode). It also means that Riley isn't being entirely ridiculously when he makes Angel/Dracula parallels. The episode makes those parallels too and I can only imagine how Riley would react if he actually new that Dracula explicitly latched onto the bite marks Angel had left behind.
- I like how this episode calls into questions the similarities between Slayers/Vampires and the nature of the Slayer in general. We'll touch on the history of Slayers more in Fool For Love and Buffy will question what it means to be a Slayer in Intervention and The Gift but I do wish the rest of the season had lived up more to the promise of that final Buffy/Giles scene ("I need to know more. About where I came from. About the other Slayers"). I'm sure fans have made connections between the Glory/Dawn/Key arc and Buffy's slayerhood somehow but it seems largely disconnected to me and a lot of the interesting questions posed in Buffy VS Dracula seem largely dropped as the season progresses.
- I like how Buffy's name is famous throughout the world. I'm actually with Buffy and her complete surprise at her fame/infamy. Obviously the Slayer is known throughout the world but until this episode it hadn't occurred to me that her name is known throughout the global demon community too.
- The beach scene is lovely. The Buffy/Riley moment is cute (it's moments like this when I don't understand how people can totally hate their relationship) and it's great seeing the gang hang out and genuinely enjoy themselves.
- Dawn's reveal is handled brilliantly. I really like the subtle reminders earlier in the episode that Buffy is an only child ("I'll have to get used to this place without you again. It gets so quiet") and the moment Dawn appears on screen ("mom!") is so well done. I'm sometimes conflicted about the Dawn arc and the ramifications for S1-S4 canon and character continuity but if you're going to go ahead with the storyline, I really don't think you could have devised a better introduction to the character/mystery then that.

Overall it's a fun season opener. And whenever I do a full series rewatch it's always a welcome change of pace from the Initiative story arc of S4. And I say that as someone who loves S4 (there's a lot about it I prefer to S5, even) and I don't even hate The Initiative arc but by the time it ends I am definitely ready to move on. This is back to basics.
 

DeadlyDuo

Scooby
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I think it's possible Dracula may have been working with the monks or that it wasn't the real Dracula.

1. Dawn wasn't created until the end of the episode because Joyce says about having to get used to the house being quiet again.
2. Dracula bit Buffy and we later find out Dawn was made from Buffy. This is the only time the monks could get Buffy's DNA.
3. Spike and Anya were kept away from Dracula, even though they'd met him before, which means the only two people that could confirm he was the real deal weren't given opportunity to.
 
Puppet
Puppet
It's a fun theory that could be true :)
K
katmobile
Sorry comes across as a bit of a stretch for me.

GreyWalker1958

Potential
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I think it's possible Dracula may have been working with the monks or that it wasn't the real Dracula.

1. Dawn wasn't created until the end of the episode because Joyce says about having to get used to the house being quiet again.
2. Dracula bit Buffy and we later find out Dawn was made from Buffy. This is the only time the monks could get Buffy's DNA.
3. Spike and Anya were kept away from Dracula, even though they'd met him before, which means the only two people that could confirm he was the real deal weren't given opportunity to.

Though the closest to that is the Spike VS Dracula comic which confirmed just that from those poor gypsies to W&H
 

katmobile

Scooby
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I've always wondered, why - after Buffy is so enthralled with Dracula - does drinking a bit of his blood and having those short visions, give her the sudden ability to resist him?

The explanation given elsewhere is that seeing images of herself staking vampires and of the First Slayer, reminds her who she is and what her purpose is, and I get that. But it seems weird that she would go from completely in his thrall, to completely NOT.

Anyone have thoughts on this?

- Tim
Passion of the Nerd interprets as curiosity about her true nature and then a reveal he doesn't know anything. I think it's a power he has which gets broken when something primal in her reacts against his blood completely breaking his mind control.
 

katmobile

Scooby
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I think it's possible Dracula may have been working with the monks or that it wasn't the real Dracula.

1. Dawn wasn't created until the end of the episode because Joyce says about having to get used to the house being quiet again.
2. Dracula bit Buffy and we later find out Dawn was made from Buffy. This is the only time the monks could get Buffy's DNA.
3. Spike and Anya were kept away from Dracula, even though they'd met him before, which means the only two people that could confirm he was the real deal weren't given opportunity to.
Dracula appears in the comics and Spike does interact with him there. It's a nice theory but no.
 

Mr Trick

Scooby
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Ironic that my favourite season of the show has probably the weakest season opener. I like what this episode sets up for Buffy the character moving forward, but the episode itself is mostly avenge and forgettable IMO. They just don't do anything that interesting or exciting with Dracula. The highlight is Dawn's appearance at the end, "MUM!!" :D
 

Faded90

Scooby
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I love this episode and I love how the episode sets up a darker Buffy. She’s not going to be the relatively (for Buffy anyway) carefree girl she was in season 4. The patrol fight scenes are excellent in this one

one thing I always laugh at though is when Dracula gets into Buffy’s bedroom and she sits up and he’s just standing staring like a big pervert ‘you are magnificant’ I did like the Drac/Buffy scenes a lot though

the episode also sets up Riley for the season as well. Everyone in Giles’ house is having fun and excited and Riley’s just lumbering around like a big fun sponge. I think it shows that he still isn’t really and never will be a scooby
 
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