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Recap / Buffy the Vampire Slayer S1E12 "Prophecy Girl"

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Threesomes don't just solve everything.
They also save lives
"Buffy will face the Master. And she will die."

Directed by Joss Whedon

Written by Whedon, Matt Kiene, Joe Reinkemeyer, Rob Des Hotel, & Dean Batali

Willow listens rapturously as Xander finally says the words we've been longing to hear: "Would you, um, date me?" The words are not meant for her, obviously. Xander is rehearsing, working up the nerve to ask Buffy to the Spring Fling. Meanwhile, Giles is translating the book Angel got him last episode. When Giles finally locates the passage he's been searching for, the excitement drains from his face as he discovers the Slayer's fate. As he sits in horrified silence, his teacup begins to shake; An earthquake is felt all over town, and the Master revels in it.

"Yes...YES! Shake, Earth! This is a sign! We are in the final days, my time has come...Glory! GLORY!"
(Looks to the Anointed One)
"What do you think, 5.1?"

The next day, Xander takes Buffy aside and pops the question. She tries to play the "I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship" card. Stung, Xander gets up in a huff. "Guess a man's gotta be undead to make time with you." Now it's Buffy's turn to be hurt. Xander snorts an apology; he doesn't handle rejection well. Funny, considering all the practice he's had! He stormily departs.

Cordelia spies Willow in the hall and rushes right over. Love that outfit! Our favorite doormat asks what Cordy wants. Cordelia asks her to help hook up the sound system at The Bronze for the dance. After agreeing to meet up at the A/V room, Willow sees Xander tossing a tennis ball at the chalkboard in an empty classroom, and asks how it went with Buffy. On a scale of one to ten? It sucked. Brightening, Xander proposes that he and Willow can pair up instead. But she isn't interested in playing Rebound Girl, and chides him for even suggesting it. She leaves Xander alone, with his ball.

"That's okay. I don't wanna go. I'm just gonna go home, lie down and listen to country music. The music of PAIN."

Nightfall. Buffy stops short in the library when she overhears Giles talking with Angel about the prophecy – specifically, the part where Buffy will face the Master, and die. Hysterical laughter bubbles out of her. Angel and Giles exchange a look. Huh, she took that well. But the mirth dissipates when Buffy asks if the prophecy specifies how messily she dies. She turns on Giles, wondering if he was planning on sharing this newsflash. Giles confesses he was angling for a loophole. Buffy's got one: She quits. Resigns. Fired. Moving on. Cutting losses. Taking a sabbatical. Giles, in a small voice, starts to remind her how grave the situation is and should the Master rise— Buffy hurls his books at him.

"Giles, I'm sixteen years old. I don't want to die."

She throws her cross necklace to the ground and walks out, leaving a defeated Angel and Giles to look at each other.

Buffy, in her room, pages through a photo album. Joyce comes in, wondering what’s bothering her. An idea hits Buffy; she suggests they leave town for the weekend; a real mother-daughter bonding thing. Not knowing anything of Buffy's Slayer life, Joyce is led to believe that Buffy wants to leave town because she didn't get asked to the dance. She opens Buffy's closet to reveal a full-length sleeveless white dress, saying she saw Buffy eyeing it. She encourages Buffy to go stag.

Cordelia and Willow rendezvous at the A/V Room, where Cordy monologues about how her date flaked on her. They reach the door to the lounge, where they see some of jocks sitting on the couch, apparently engrossed in TV. Cordy opens the door, and unfortunately the two were out of range of seeing the blood smeared on the walls as her date's body falls out, revealing the sun lowered just enough for a nest of vamps to invade Sunnydale High. Cordy screams and drops to her knees. News reaches Buffy, and we cut to Willow's bedroom. Willow is recovering from the shock of seeing her friends' bodies. She tells Buffy that she has seen some awful things by now, and thought she could handle it. Buffy silently comes to a realization. She tells Willow to take care, the subtext of which is "...because you'll never see me again."

Giles busts out the weapons, declaring that he will face the Master himself. Buffy (who just showed up) disagrees. She's geared for war: a leather jacket thrown over her prom dress. Giles and Buffy bicker a bit, and determine that neither will give in. Buffy cold-cocks him. Timber! Miss Calendar rushes to attend to the woozy librarian, and Buffy puts her cross back on. She exits the school and sees the A.O. on the lawn. He wahs for help, but she says to skip the games. He takes her by the hand and leads her away. Willow rushes to the library with Xander in tow. It turns out that Willow picked up on Buffy's 'Once more into the breach' tone. Xander knows just the person to help.

Angel hears a rapping on his door. It's Xander, who comes busting in. He enlists Angel to take him to the Master. When Angel scoffs at that, Xander clarifies his position by pulling out a big cross and shoving it in Angel's face.

Buffy and the A.O. reach the Master's lair, where approximately 60,000 candles are burning. The Master's voice welcomes her. She tries to get him to show his face, but in surround-sound voice he says he wants the moment to last. He warps behind her and goes all Jedi, holding her in place with his mind. He gloats that she only knew half of the prophecy, and the kicker is that blood is what sets him free. He drains enough blood to weaken her, then lets her flop lifelessly into a nearby pool.

"By the way..." (SPLAT)' "I like your dress."

Xander and Angel arrive to find the Master's gone up, and Buffy drowned. Angel says that Xander has to perform CPR, as he has no breath. Xander does the deed. Grunt grunt Don't you die on me grunt. Buffy opens her eyes, seemingly suffused with some new power. Xander and Angel smile at each other. Well, there's a first (and last) time for everything, such as the only Theme Music Power-Up in show history.

Miss Calender perceptively asks where the Hellmouth is supposed to open. They conclude the most likely candidate is the Bronze, given the dance tonight. Willow and Jenny go to warn everyone. Outside, Miss Calendar fumbles with her car keys and notices they're surrounded by a bunch of vamps advancing towards them George A. Romero-style. Tires squeal behind them; it's Cordelia in her Beamer, urgently telling them to get in. Cordelia drives right into the school, leaving a rather large hole in the wall, and parks outside the library. Well, they generally walk there, but okay. Giles hears the ruckus (wuh duh fuh...?) and gets up to see the girls rush inside and barricade the doors. Giles wonders why they vamps are coming here. In the foreground, we get an answer, as a large three-headed snake demon rises from the floor. Giles breathes, "The Hellmouth." Only he does so in a demonologically fascinated way that seems scary and wrong.

The Master observes this scene from the skylight. He crows about how beautiful the world is. Buffy cuts in; the world's not his just yet. He looks at her, flustered. Isn't she dead? Buffy concedes the point, but says she's still pretty. The Master's unamused, and pulls that Jedi trick again. She obliquely observes that he has "fruit punch-Mouth." The Master is taken off guard, and Buffy gives him Buffy punch-mouth. Ow. She then grabs the Master by the throat and flips him into the pit, neatly impaling him on a convenient broken shaft of wood. Instead of combusting, his skin disintegrates until there's nothing left but a skeleton. And with that, the slimy snake demon skitters back into hell. The vamps flee.

Xander informs those who didn't know that Buffy died. Should've have known that wouldn't stop her, Giles beams. Aw. They decide to go party at the Bronze. They all walk out, and we can make out some of their separate comments. Giles says he's not dancing; Cordy takes credit for driving into the school, and Angel — say it with him, now — really likes Buffy's dress. ("Yeah, yeah. Big hit with everyone.") They leave us to wonder whether they'll be back for another season. Thank God they were. Final shot: The Master's bones.


  • Adopt the Dog: Cordelia becomes an honorary Scoobie!
  • Adrenaline Time: Noiseless cut to a park. Buffy, in slo-mo, goes flying toward the ground and lands with a crunch, and then the sound and speed rev back to normal.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: The Bible verse that Brother Luca referenced on the internet before he went underground.
    Jenny: Did send out one last global though. A short one.
    Giles: What did it say?
    Jenny: "Isaiah 11:6", which I dutifully looked up —
    Giles: "The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf, the lion and the fatling together, and a little child to lead them."
    Jenny: That's kinda warm and fuzzy for a message of doom.
    Giles: Well, that depends where he's leading them to.
  • Ankle Drag: The aforementioned tentacle wraps around Willow's ankle, and she and Miss Calendar scream and go crashing to the floor.
  • Arrow Catch: The Master catch a bolt from Buffy's crossbow.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Vampires not needing oxygen is fine (as far as undead life powered by magic goes), but how exactly is Angel speaking if he's not even able to pull air in and out of his lungs? How does he make his vocal cords vibrate to produce sound? In fact, Angel should have been more capable of giving Buffy CPR, since he doesn't use up most of the oxygen in each breath. (Angel just not knowing how to do CPR - which was invented in the 1970s - would have been a better explanation why Xander had to do it.)
    • Simple explanation is that Angel actually could have performed CPR, but didn't know enough about biology to realise it; after all, the technique would have only been perfected when he was living on the streets, and he would have never bothered to learn enough about the respiratory system before now due to lack of interest.
    • Conveserely, it's possible that Angel (and vampires in general) keep "breathing" due to habit and that his having "no breath" is an entirely mystical reference to him being undead.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Giles, impressively, recites Isaiah 11:6 off the top of his head.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: The Hellmouth.
  • Auto Erotica: Across from the park where Buffy is fighting, a car is parked with its windows all fogged up. It's Cordy, necking with her newest boy-toy.
  • Bad Vibrations: Giles reaches for tea to quiet his nerves, but stops when the teacup starts to shake.
  • Baddie Flattery: The Master casually snatches the bolt Buffy fires at him, then compliments her aim.
    "By the way... I like your dress."
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Xander's heartfelt invitation to Buffy: "I want to dance with you". He gets his wish in the very next episode.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Xander and Angel arrive late to save Buffy from the Master, but still in time to revive her.
    • Cordelia, of all people, saves Willow and Miss Calendar from the horde of vampires.
  • Big "OMG!": "The Master shall rise, and the God!"
    • The Master bites into Buffy, and is overcome with the power her bloods gives him.
  • Big "YES!": The Master’s ecstatic “Yes! Yes! My time has come!"
  • Blood Magic: Bad news: It's Buffy's blood which allows the Master to break free.
  • Bloody Handprint: On the television in the A/V room.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • Buffy knocks Giles out to keep him from facing death in her place - she then tells Ms. Calendar: "When he comes to, tell him...I don't know, think of something cool and tell him I said it."
    • The Master mentions that he likes Buffy's dress before leaving her to drown.
    • You that amped about Hell? Go there.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Buffy renouncing her mission, leaving an utterly defeated Giles and Angel in the library. Willow, at home, regards a picture of herself and Xander; She tries calling him, but he yanks his phone off the hook.
  • Brick Joke: Xander, sprawled on his bed, listening to Patsy Cline's cover of "I Fall To Pieces."
  • Brutal Honesty: Xander asking Buffy point-blank if she has feelings for him. He then digs his own grave by promising to wait until she does, earning a frosty stare for an answer.
  • Buffy Speak: The title.
  • Came Back Strong: "I feel strong... I feel different."
  • Car Fu: One of the moments that brings Cordelia around to the side of awesome is when she drives her car straight through an amassing horde of vampires and right into the high school, plowing through the halls until she pulls up in front of the library.
  • Chekhov's Gun: As Giles pours over his books, we pan over the skylight in the library, which is a nice choice, given what happens later.
    • Giles gets knocked into a table, which breaks, leaving a convenient large splintered piece of wood pointing skyward.
    • The Master's skeleton, for the next episode.
  • Closeup on Head: Xander asking Willow out for a date, only they're rehearsing for Xander asking out Buffy.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: The Master toying with our heroine in the caves.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Hellmouth demon.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Giles doesn't know if he can trust Jenny, but she refers to her help in "I Robot, You Jane" for credibility.
    • The Anointed One? He's dead!
    • Willow points out that the last time the Master tried to rise, his minions gathered him fresh blood.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Played straight — possibly justified by Slayer physiology.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Buffy laid out in the water like a Christ figure.
  • Cowardly Lion: Xander insists on going into the Master's lair to rescue Buffy when Buffy's handsome Angel refuses to do so.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: At Xander's invitation, Buffy is at a loss for words. "Well, you're not laughing, so that's a good start."
  • Decoy Damsel: The A.O. attempts this, but Buffy's wise to his game.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Willow's response when Xander tactlessly asks her to come to the dance as his backup, since she knows he's only asking her because Buffy turned him down.
    Willow: You think I wanna go to the dance with you and watch you wish you were at the dance with her? You think that's my idea of hijinks? You should know better.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Willow needs a second to come back to earth after Xander recites his pick-up lines.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Xander after being rejected by Buffy.
    Buffy: Xander, I'm sorry, I don't know—
    Xander: You know what? Let's just not.
  • Dramatic Shattering: Giles' teacup.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Buffy saying she can’t go to the dance and Joyce asking “Why? Is it written somewhere?”
  • Earthquakes Cause Fissures: In the library, ominously enough.
  • Empathic Environment: In the shooting script, one Portent of Doom was to be a rain of pebbles that came down after the scene where Buffy rejects Xander.
    Students: Hey look, it's raining stones!
    Xander: (depressed) Figures.
  • Enemy Mine: Xander and Angel find common ground in their desire to save Buffy.
  • Environmental Symbolism: A "Just say NO" poster was hung in the room where Xander was wallowing in his misery, where Willow rejects his rebound attempt to get a date to the dance. This is ironic because both Willow and Buffy "just said no" to Xander.
  • Evil Gloating: With Buffy under his thrall, the Master strolls over to her and removes her jacket. He expresses thanks for her trying to stop him, as there's nothing imprisoning him now.
  • Evil Is Visceral: The Hellmouth looks like the Rancor mated with Ridley Scott's Alien.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Buffy goes to Giles to report on a bathroom faucet running blood, and instead receives a death sentence.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: "The part that gets me is where Buffy's the vampire Slayer. She's so little."
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Subverted — Buffy prepares to face her prophesied death and succumbs to her own Buffy Speak when trying to make up a noble last line: "When Giles wakes up, tell him ... oh, I don't know. Make up something cool, tell him I said it."
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: When the earthquake stops, and the Master, in mid-rant, asides, "Whaddaya think? 5.1?"
  • Failed a Spot Check: Nobody notices the Hellmouth's tentacle slither into view.
  • Fauxdian Slip: "I can't put it off any longer. I have to meet my horrible fate."
    Giles: (jumps) WHAT--?!
    Buffy: Biology.
  • Flat "What": Xander's reaction to being turned down twice in one day.
    • Angel denies "looking at" Xander's neck.
    • The Master's hypnosis failing him.
  • Foreshadowing: Miss Calendar presciently asks about the Master's remains, but Buffy thinks he's not going anywhere.
  • Good Is Dumb: Buffy squanders several chances to stake the Anointed One right then and there; presumably, because he's a harmless child.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Word of Joss states that this is the episode where Willow "officially" grows up, after seeing the students slaughtered in the AV room.
  • Gunship Rescue: Cordelia's BMW.
  • Heroic BSoD: Buffy completely freaks out when she discovers that, according to a prophecy, she's destined to die at the Master's hands. Despite Giles and Angel's insistence that she's the only one who can stop him and he'll unleash Hell on Earth, Buffy quits as the Slayer and refuses to face him; despite her insistence that she doesn't care what will happen, she clearly does... but she just can't take it anymore.
    Buffy: Giles, I'm sixteen years old. I don't wanna die.
  • He's Back!: Oh look, a bad guy. [BIFF!]
  • High-School Dance: Spring Fling.
  • Holding Hands: Buffy grimly follows the A.O.'s lead into the sewers.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: "I quit. I resign. I'm fired. You can find someone else to stop the Master from taking over."
  • I Broke a Nail: Buffy whines that she had a close call last night; she even broke a nail, and says Giles could at least have a reaction, like "Hm."
  • I Don't Like You And You Don't Like Me:
    Xander: I don't like you. At the end of the day, I pretty much think you're a vampire. But Buffy's got this big ol' yen for you. She thinks you're a real person. And right now I need you to prove her right.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Willow opines that a simple, direct approach will work best. Well, it gets Xander a simple, direct rejection, at least.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog : "A thing? (beat) The thing! That I have! Which is... a thing that I have to go to."
  • I Just Knew: Xander asks Buffy how she knows the Master is at the school. Buffy replies that she just knows.
  • If You Won't, I Will: Buffy, hearing that she is prophesied to confront the Master and die, quits in horror. Giles decides to go after the Master himself in an attempt to save her, but a newly-resigned Buffy knocks him out and heads off, planning to at least take the Master down with her.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Master.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Buffy yanking the cross from her neck and throwing it to the floor. She retrieves it after clocking Giles out.
  • It's Probably Nothing: Cordelia breaks off her kiss with Kevin, asking what that noise was. Outside, a vamp stands over Buffy and smiles evilly. Kevin thinks Cordy's being paranoid.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: A badass leather coat (from Angel), white dress (from Joyce), cross (from Angel), and crossbow (from Giles) combo.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Cordy has to remind herself to be angry with Kevin. "That's so cu— That's not cute. That's annoying. I'm annoyed."
  • Laughing Mad: Buffy has a mild episode of very unsettling laughter after she overhears Giles talking about her upcoming prophesied death.
  • Layman's Terms: Miss Calendar lays out the major plot points of Season One. Bless her heart, she manages to do so in about ten seconds.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Xander, with all the subtlety of a monster truck, tells Willow (and a boy sitting on a bench, minding his business) to beat it.
  • Left for Dead: The Master catches Buffy deep in his subterranean vampire lair, drains her, and dumps her face-first in a pool. What more needs to be done? Besides making sure Xander doesn't man up, go into an underground vamp playpen, and perform CPR on the Buffster, that is. The Master lives to regret it. About half an hour. In fairness to the Master, she was dead, just not brain dead.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: After Giles, as promised, has told Jenny Calendar everything:
    Jenny: Okay, so this Master guy tried to open the Hellmouth. But he got stuck in it, and now all the signs are reading that he's gonna get out, which opens the Hellmouth, which brings the demons, which ends the world.
    Giles: Yes. That about sums it up, yes.
    Jenny: The part that gets me, though, is where Buffy is the Vampire Slayer. She's so little.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!/Took a Level in Badass: Xander spends the first half of this episode being a petulant Wangster after Buffy turns him down. But as soon as he realizes what's happening, he snaps right the hell out of it, goes to Angel's, calls him out, and they storm the Master's lair together.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: When Xander leaves Buffy in the quad, the Tinkly Piano of Pain plays. Also heard when Buffy removes her necklace.
    • The Buffy theme plays slowly on a piano over the final scene.
  • Love Martyr:
    • Cordelia and Willow Walk and Talk as Cordy exposits how Kevin flaked on her last night. She's chagrined to admit that she doesn't care. "God help me... I think it's cute."
    • Willow coaching Xander on his pickup lines. Xander wants to test them on Buffy right away, but Willow points out that she's gone. She pathetically offers to let Xander practice on her some more.
  • Man Bites Man: Cordelia biting a vamp that's holding her. "See how YOU like it!"
  • Metaphorgotten: Xander rehearses again: "You know Buffy, Spring Fling just isn't any dance. It's a time for students to choose, um...a mate, and then we can observe their...mating rituals, and tag them before they migrate, just kill me!"
  • Milking the Giant Cow: The Master hamming it up in his lair, saying the earthquake is a sign that they're "in the final days." Well, his final days, at least.
  • Mirthless Laughter: When she overhears Giles and Angel discussing the prophecy that dictates her own death at the Master's hands, this is Buffy's response.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Master is hamming it up during an earthquake. After the shaking stops, he turns to the Anointed One and asks:
    What do you think? 5.1?
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family/Multiple Head Case: The Hellmouth beast.
  • Mugging the Monster: The vampire in the Batman Cold Open knocks the bite-able blonde girl on her ass, then stands leering down at her...until she pulls out a stake and grins right back at him.
  • Near-Death Experience: Till the Xan-man comes to save the day with the gift of the air from his lungs.
  • Neck Lift: The Master ends up on the receiving end of this, after grabbing Buffy's neck for the third time that evening.
  • Nice Guy: Kevin appears to have a genuinely kind relationship with Cordelia.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Killing the Master is all it takes to re-seal the Hellmouth and banish any demons that had wandered into the mortal world while it had been open.
  • Noodle Incident: Joyce tells Buffy about going to a homecoming dance alone her freshman year at college. It was awful for an hour, until she met Buffy's dad, who had a date - "and that's a much funnier story that (Buffy) will *not* get to hear".
  • Not So Stoic: Giles, normally so put-together, spends a full twenty-four hours struggling to find some evidence that the prophecy is falsifiable. When Buffy confronts him and Angel, not only does she have a meltdown, but Giles is a complete wreck.
  • Offhand Backhand: Buffy marches determinedly toward the school, with Xander and Angel close behind. A vamp gets in their way. "Oh, look. A bad guy." She decks him without pausing.
  • Offscreen Break Up: Apparently Cordelia and Mitch's relationship dissolved right after the Marcie debacle, because she is making out with Kevin at the beginning of this episode and seems to have really fallen for him.
  • Offscreen Teleportation / Scare Chord: Buffy reloads, but the Master says she won't kill him with the crossbow. She glances down, and when she looks up again, he's gone.
  • One-Steve Limit: Apparently Angel knows more than one Giles. Giles has to clarify that it's Rupert Giles who's calling.
  • Opposites Attract Revenge: Subverted. ""You think I want to go to the dance with you and watch you wish you were at the dance with her?"
  • Papa Wolf: One of the earliest instances of Giles demonstrating his fatherly instincts towards Buffy comes in this episode, when he insists that he will fight the Master, not her, and there's nothing she can say to persuade him otherwise. Buffy acknowledges this, then pulls a Percussive Prevention, knocking him out so he can't stop her.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Cordelia opens the door to the A/V room only to have Kevin date fall out.
  • Percussive Prevention: After Buffy has her 10-Minute Retirement over her prophesied death and the associated She's Back moment, Giles tells her he is going to face the Master in her stead, and "there's nothing you can say that can change my mind." Buffy replies that she knows, and then roundhouse punches him. Thud.
  • Phrase Catcher: All the commotion over Buffy's dress.
  • Please Wake Up: Xander continues to work on Buffy, telling her to breathe. Just as Angel lowers his head in defeat, Buffy's eyes snap open.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Angel demands Giles find some other explanation of the prophecy. Giles admits that some prophecies are mutable, and that Buffy herself has thwarted more than one, but insists that everything in this specific book is set in stone. Of course...
  • Prophecy Twist: The Prophecy didn't state that Buffy's blood would give the Master the strength to break free. And while Buffy does die at the hands of the Master, however, she doesn't stay dead.
  • The Public Domain Channel: Kevin and co. lifelessly watching Pigs in a Polka on the TV.
  • Red Shirt: Kevin, plus four unnamed members of the A/V club. Th-Th-Th-That's all, folks.
  • Revival Loophole: How Buffy gets out of her prophesied death (which will have long-term implications in the form of Kendra and Faith).
  • Rewatch Bonus: Xander telling Buffy, “Willow’s not looking to date you – or if she is she’s playing it pretty close to the chest.”
    • This was likely intentional Foreshadowing. Joss Whedon later said that he'd planned for one of the Scoobies to come out as gay all along, he just wasn't sure if it was going to be Xander or Willow. Which is probably why he put in little hints like this one, or the scene in an earlier episode when Xander said that Angel is a handsome man.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Buffy's post-temporary-death rematch with the Master takes place on the roof of the high school, and culminates with the Master being hurled through a skylight into the library.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Buffy as the Virgin Sacrifice in her white dress.
    • When Buffy enters the Master's lair, the Master tells her that she isn't the "hunter" but rather the sacrificial "lamb."
    • The cross, of course, is a symbol of sacrifice. The moment that Buffy rips off her necklace to floor is a rejection of the sacrifice demanded of her. The cross is also a symbol of resurrection, though, which becomes relevant once Buffy is coughed back to life.
    • It's not a coincidence that the prom dress looks like a wedding dress; Buffy is married to the Slayerhood, and her loss of a normal life is the ongoing theme of the series.
    • Giles has already crossed the boundary from Watcher to father figure. (A fact later reinforced by his telling Buffy "I'm older and wiser— Just do what you’re told for once!")
  • Running Gag: Everybody likes Buffy's dress - Buffy herself, Joyce, Willow, Angel, even the Master.
  • Same Story, Different Names: There are some striking similarities in this episode to the film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Both Buffys must face a vampire king on prom night. Both girls wore a white dress with a leather jacket thrown over it. Interestingly, small screen Buffy is wearing Angel's leather jacket, and big screen Buffy is wearing love interest Pike's leather jacket.
  • Say My Name: Cordelia shouts Kevin's name in shock and sadness when she finds his dead body.
  • Schiff One-Liner: "Loser."
  • See You in Hell: Buffy to the Master:
    "You amped about Hell? Go there!"
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The Master is freed by drinking Buffy's blood, but she went to fight him only because of the prophecy. He even points it out.
  • Series Fauxnale: The entire first season was completed before the show began airing, with no one having any idea if they would get past these twelve episodes. Thus, the season stands on its own quite nicely, while the finale still leaves the door open for future seasons.
  • Sign of the Apocalypse: Buffy fills Giles in on the previous evening's hunt, and how the vamps are increasing in number and cockiness.
    • Jenny lists off some strange happenings in the news, the highlights of which include were a cat giving birth to snakes, a lake that started boiling while a family was swimming in it, and a baby born with its eyes facing inward. Buffy discovers blood pouring from the sink in the girls' bathroom.
      • If only they could have kept it that way for the vamps, we could all live in peace.
  • Single Tear: A tear rolls down Buffy's cheek as she realizes that her death will be in the service of evil.
  • Stupid Evil: The Master says it himself that the prophecies can be tricky and yet he still fails to take very simple precautionary measures to make sure that Buffy will stay dead after his leaving.
  • Smash Cut: Mojo duly sharpened, Xander asks where Buffy is right now. "Oh, the usual." Cut to the park. Buffy comes falling into the frame and hits the ground hard. Ouch.
  • Snakes Are Evil: The Hellmouth.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Miss Calender asks this aloud once the Hellmouth closes. Someone suggests heading to the Bronze. "We saved the world. I say we party."
  • Spanner in the Works: The Master knew full well that Buffy had to die in order for him to get free, and made sure that it happened. However, he did not expect Xander performing CPR would bring her back to life, allowing her to defeat him once and for all. Justified as he probably never even heard of it, due to being imprisoned underground for centuries.
  • Stripped to the Bone: Unlike most vampires, who turn completely to dust upon their death, The Master leaves behind a skeleton.
  • Take Five: Xander wants to get Buffy alone so he can ask her out:
    Xander: Willow, don't you have a thing?
    Willow: A thing? The thing! That I have! Which is...a thing I have to go to. See ya later.
  • Taking You with Me: Buffy muses there's nothing in the prophecy that says the Master can't go down with her.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Xander and his tennis ball.
  • Tap on the Head: Buffy settles the issue of who is going to fight the Master by punching Giles in the jaw, putting him to sleep just long enough for her to be off on the mission. Later Giles is seen nursing a bruise, but it seems no dental attention was required.
  • Team Power Walk: Buffy, Angel and Xander stride purposefully toward the school.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: As they're making their way though the sewers, Xander chides Angel for staring out his neck. Angel is offended, as though he's the victim of a misunderstanding. Like the time on Angel where a guy thought Angel was hitting on him — he always tries to apologize, and no one ever believes him.
  • 10-Minute Retirement
    Giles: Buffy... if the Master rises...
    Buffy: I don't CARE! (to herself) I don't care.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: This episode is first (and only) time Nerf Herder's opening credits theme is played during the show - during Buffy's post-resurrection power walk. A slow version plays at the end, as the Scoobies are filing out of the library.
  • This Is the Part Where...: Buffy making a nervous quip about water damage in the Master's cave.
    Master: Oh, good. The feeble banter portion of the fight.
  • Throw the Book at Them: "'Signs'? [hurls book] READ ME THE SIGNS! [throws another one] TELL ME MY FORTUNE! You're so useful sitting here with ALL YOUR BOOKS!"
  • "Too Young to Die" Lamentation: Buffy reacts to hearing she's fated to die by pointing out that she's sixteen.
  • Trash the Set: As mentioned before, Mutant Enemy wasn't sure if the show would continue or not. The library is restored to its old self next episode.
  • Trick Dialogue: Xander apparently asking Buffy out for a date is actually him talking to Willow, who is then revealed to be acting as a stand-in so Xander can rehearse his proposal to Buffy.
  • A Truce While We Gawk: The Night of the Living Mooks.
    • The vamps are oddly inept at breaking down the swinging library doors.
  • Villains Out Shopping: "What do you think? 5.1?" The Master may be an ancient vampire lord priest of the Elder Gods, but that just means he's lived in California for a very long time.
  • Wait Here: Buffy making Willow promise to stay in that night.
  • Walk-In Chime-In
    Master: [to Hellmouth] Yes. Come forth, my child. Come into my world.
    Buffy: I don't think it's yours just yet.
  • "With Our Swords" Scene: Buffy goes into battle against the Master wielding a crossbow given to her by Giles, a leather jacket she got from Angel, and a prom dress her mom bought for her.
  • You Are Too Late: In the tunnels, Xander and Angel witness the bright shower of light. Angel realizes that The Master has broken free.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Angel tells Xander that he's way out of his league. "The Master will kill you before you even breathe. If you're lucky."


Video Example(s):


Buffy Summers

Buffy Summers. Cheerleader. Socialite. Boogeygirl of monsters and villains.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

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Main / VillainKiller

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