TV Club: Buffy the Vampire Slayer S01E01, Welcome to the Hellmouth


Welcome to The Pale Panda TV Club! Each week, we'll watch an episode of a TV show, and recap it here to start a discussion about what we just watched. Comment your opinions to let us know what you think. First up is the winner of the first TV Club poll: Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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“In every generation, there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the slayer.”

Cold Open

We open with a spooky pan through an empty high school. Then, suddenly, a window breaks. It's Darla! (more on her later... way later). She seems like a sacred school girl and is spooked by hearing a noise.SWERVE! She's the monster and proceeds to bite the nameless boy.

The Credits!

I forget how much I love these opening credits. The music is almost like a Power Rangers theme song. The frantic cuts to everyone are great, and Giles at the end just warms my heart.

Back to School

Buffy has some nightmares before being roused out of bed by her mom to go to school. Joyce drives Buffy to school because Joyce Summers is a fucking treasure. Also, I think I spot a barrette in Buffy's hair. Oh, dear.Wait a minute. Xander rides a skateboard? Does he ever ride a skateboard again? I don't think he does. I mean, he falls off, so maybe it was an "I'm gonna look cool for the first day of school" thing. but is it everyone's first day? No, I think it's just Buffy's. IDK, but he rides a skateboard in this episode and that's that.The credits for guest stars pop up, letting me know that Eric Balfour is in this episode. Remember when he was all innocent and didn't make an almost-porno.Oh! Buffy mentions vampires for the first time while being talked to in the principal's office. There's a gag here where he rips up her transcript for a "fresh start" then reads a tiny piece and tries to tape them back together because it seems so bad. It made me chuckle a bit.Cut to the hallway where she drops her bag and a stake falls out. Xander is here to the rescue! He tries to hit on Buffy. He's not suave at all. He then tells her she forgot her stake (cue laughter)Xander's outfit is actually something I wear kind often now. My shirt is less boxy and has a pattern, but a short-sleeve-button-up with khakis/chinos is definitely a look I serve on the regular.Classroom scene!Cordelia! This character! Between now and Season 4 of Angel she grows so much. But, here, she's just a vapid "popular girl" type of character. She makes fun of Willow's terrible dress. Willow is sad and Buffy feels for her.The first mention of The Bronze! The introduction to Giles is him creeping up on Buffy as she looks at a paper where he has a "Missing Boys" headline circled. He then presents her with the VAMPYR book! It's a very large book, and Buffy wants none of it.Cut to the girl's locker room and we get our first dead body as it falls on a girl and she screams so much.Buffy wants beauty AND brains. (But, not like a zombie. She isn't a zombie, yet.) So, she sits next to Willow at lunch to get some homework help. When Xander and Jesse join their lunch session, I realize Jesse (Balfour) isn't in the main credits, but he's hanging with the core group... I wonder what's gonna happen to him.Also, once Cordelia walks up, the Scooby Gang 1.0 is all together for the first time!Cordi has the hot gossip about that dead body from earlier. So, obviously, Buffy goes into investigation mode and snoops around the area with the dead body. Her fears have come true. Vampires already?! Ugh! So inconvenient.In the library, Buffy confronts Giles about evil following her everywhere. Giles geeks out about how evil Sunnydale is! Then Buffy gets all mad about Giles trying to fulfill his watcher duties and they have a little fight. SWERVE! Xander was in the stacks and overheard everything.While Giles was testing Buffy's vamp facts, we get our First Vampire Rule: "To make a vampire they have to suck your blood, and then you have to suck their blood. It's all a big thing"Giles geeks out about how evil Sunnydale is! Then Buffy gets all mad about Giles trying to fulfill his watcher duties and they have a little fight. SWERVE! Xander was in the stacks and overheard everything.Notes from Underground: Vampires are just sitting around and talking about how "he will rise" and all that.Buffy is trying on clothes. She is choosing between looking like a "big slut" and a Jehovah's Witness. Both are terrible. Her mom comes in and goes on and on, talking about work and stuff. Buffy rolls her eyes. YOU SHOULD LISTEN BUFFY! YOUR MOM IS GREAT AND YOU'RE GONNA MISS HER WHEN SHE'S GONE (Happy Mother's Day, everyone!)

To The Bronze

Creepy shots of someone stalking Buffy. Is it? Could it be? It's Angel!  It doesn't matter, because Buffy notices her stalker and pulls some serious acrobat shit to kick him to the ground.Aside: What happened to David Boreanaz? He's super sexy here (Again, in an outfit that sorely needs a tailoring. All guy clothes are super boxy and over-sized.) As he aged, he got wider. Not gaining weight. Just.. wider. It's weird. )Two things from the discussion: Angel mentions "the harvest." And, we actually don't know he's named Angel yet. He just says he's "a friend."Ok. we're inside The Bronze now, and the show becomes a music video for 15 seconds as the show shifts complete focus to the band playing.Out of place Giles is upstairs watching over everything in the club. Buffy shared her new info. The Harvest? The Mouth of Hell? (Buffy "really didn't like" Angel.) Confused Buffy pushed Giles for answers.Jesse hits on Cordi. Also, she's discussing trendy diseases. Epstein Bar is out and chronic hepatitis is in. Anyway... he gets shut down. Jesse hits on another girl. Holy crap, it's Darla! Run, you dumb horny bastard! Run!Meanwhile, Willow decides to take Buffy's advice and take some risks. That risk is apparently getting sucked by a vamp. Because that's who is walking her out the door.Notes from Underground: The Master rises out of... a puddle?  But, he's weak. Maybe he has chronic hepatitis?

On the Move

Buffy runs into Xander. He reveals about knowing she's a slayer, so she lets him tag along for... some reason. Now, off to save Willow!Willow goes on a shortcut through... a cemetery? She only questions the legitimacy of this decision as they approach a mausoleum. I wonder if there where more than one Moslisrm set. They all look the same.She tries to run. Darla with the block! Jesse stumbles in, and he's already been bitten. Uh oh!


Buffy to the rescue. A witty quip about interior design and hiding her secret identity. Another quip about outdated fashion. Witty banter goes on. Not-Darla gets staked.Buffy's about to go all "don't you know who I am?! I'm the Slayer!," but gets grabbed by the guy who was praying and attending to The Master. Fight, fight. fight... Buffy seems to be outmatched, leading to a monologue about The Master and a montage of Giles reading about The Harvest, The Master sitting on a throne, and Darla about to have some snack.The vamp fights Buffy and tosses her into the coffin and goes in for a bite. Is Buffy, the title character of this program gonna die in the first episode?

Quick Takes

  • The fashion doesn't look as dated as Tumblr lead me to believe.
  • Since I've seen this before, it always pains me to see Cordi in full snob mode.
  • Willow is the me I strive to be, but the me I will never be.


  • Without Angel or Riley around for real, there are no gratuitous ab shots.
  • When Xander wipes out on his skateboard, no one in the background reacts.

Ok, so I was originally going to cover this two-part episode as one, but honestly, the article would be huge, and I underestimated how long taking notes on an episode would be. So, here's the info for the next Pale Panda TV Club: Well be watching S1E02: The Harvest next weekend. See you in the comments!

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