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Recap / Buffy the Vampire Slayer S1E1 "Welcome to the Hellmouth"

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Is this some kind of new feminine product I don't know about?

"To make you a vampire, they have to suck your blood and then you have to suck their blood. It's like this whole big sucking thing. Mostly they're just gonna kill you."
Buffy Summers

Directed by Charles Martin Smith & Joss Whedon (Uncredited)

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

Nighttime. In a deserted high school, a randy young man invites his leery date, a Catholic schoolgirl, up to the gym roof for some boffo "stargazing". Just as they are about to kiss, she pulls away and claims she heard a noise. The coast is clear. Suddenly, her lovely face becomes bumpier and paler, as if she were—gasp—dead! But more importantly, now she has fangs! Before the poor sap knows it, she's draining the blood from his neck. Bet you didn't expect that!

Somewhere else, a teenage girl sleeps fitfully; visions of cemeteries, monsters, and rivers of blood interrupt her rest. She jerks awake just in time to hear her mother call her name. This is Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer, and it's her first day at her new school.

Pan up to Sunnydale High. Xander Harris menaces pedestrians with his out-of-control skateboarding. As his eyes follow Buffy, he skates straight into a guardrail. Dazed, he looks up to see a redhead, Willow, smiling over him. Willow pines for Xander, and she gently teases him about his study habits, but Xander is obsessing over the new girl. The dynamic of the next three Seasons is set. They run into a third member of their trifecta, Jesse, who is blissfully unaware that he's a tertiary character on a Joss Whedon show and thus not long for this world.

Buffy is called in to meet with her new Principal. Principal Flutie jovially rips up her school record, only to tape it back together when he reads that she burned down a school gym. Things only go downhill from there. As Buffy exits his office, she rams into another student, spilling the contents of her bag. Xander sees this and seizes the opportunity to play Rico Suave. As they gather her things, Buffy thanks him and goes back to her business. Xander notices she left something behind ("Oh, hey! You forgot your...stake.").

Buffy gets chummy with a popular girl, Cordelia, who takes her under her wing. It's all syrup and honey until they run into Willow at the water fountain; Cordelia does a 180° as she barks at Willow to beat it. Buffy looks droopy, but says nothing.

Buffy heads into the school's cavernous library to pick up some textbooks. There she meets Mr. Giles, the school librarian. Instantly, Giles makes her for The Slayer and whips out an imposing tome marked Vampyr. Buffy, shaken, tells him he's mistaken and leaves.

In the girls locker room, two students are gossiping about Buffy. Her reputation precedes her. As they continue to dish dirt, one of the girls opens her locker and a dead body falls out. It's our Romeo from the opening scene.

Buffy hears the news from Cordelia, who is surprised to find her in the courtyard bonding with Willow. Alarmed, she wants to know how the guy died and if he had any marks on him. She busts into the cordoned-off locker room—breaking the door in the process—and finds a bite mark on his neck.

Buffy returns to the library to confront Giles. She tells him that she's retired from slaying, but Giles reminds her who she is—the Slayer, the one girl in all the world with the strength to fight vampires, et cetera. He also tells her that Sunnydale is built on a convergence of mystical forces, making it a mecca of magical mischief. Buffy suggests that if he's so keen on slaying, maybe he should do it. Befuddled, Giles asserts that he is a Watcher—he trains and mentors the Slayer. Buffy asks him if he can prepare her for getting kicked out of school and losing all her friends, then leaves in a huff. Behind them, Xander emerges from the stacks, having heard the whole conversation.

Buffy accepts Cordelia's invitation to the Bronze, a club on "the bad side of town" (which is "half a block from the good side of town", since there's not a lot of town). Along the way, Buffy is shadowed by a sinister figure. He tails her into an alley, then peers around impotently. Above him, Buffy is doing a handstand on a bar spanning the alleyway. She swings down and bowls him over with a kick. The stranger (actually Angel, but you're not supposed to know that yet), irritated, straightens his jacket and tells her they have a common goal—to kill all the vampires. He tosses Buffy a small box from his coat, telling her to be ready for "the Harvest". She opens the box to reveal a silver cross.

Buffy joins Willow at the bar, and the pair get acquainted. Willow explains that she's nervous around boys. Buffy tries to draw Willow out of her shell and says that her life philosophy is "seize the moment". She then spots Giles lurking about on the upper deck of the Bronze and jets off to chastise him for being grody. Giles grumbles that he's come to persuade Buffy to take her duties seriously. Downstairs, Jesse approaches Cordelia and asks her to dance. Cordy makes a face and gives him the brush-off. Burned again, Jesse looks around for fresh prospects.

Back on the landing, Giles opines that the club is a perfect hunting ground for vamps. He encourages Buffy to try and sniff out a vampire in the room. "There's one," she says, interrupting him; the vamp's vintage eighties getup is a dead giveaway. Suddenly, the vampire moves and reveals his date: it's Willow, seizing the moment. Buffy draws her stake and chases them into a back alley, but only finds Cordelia in a snit. Cordelia immediately starts dialing everyone she knows to rescind Buffy's Libby membership card. Meanwhile, Jesse, still on the prowl, chats up the vampire schoolgirl (Darla) from The Teaser.

Under the town, a grotesque figure rises from a pit of blood. It's a wizened vampire, one who doesn't look remotely human. A kneeling vampire, Luke, addresses him as "Master". They discuss the coming Harvest which will restore his power. Luke has sent his servants to get food for the Master, who requests something "young".

As the vampire leads Willow into a cemetery, Buffy runs into Xander outside the Bronze. He makes a pointed comment about slaying vampires. Buffy grumpily wonders if there was an announcement in the newspaper. Xander thinks Buffy is suffering from delusions of grandeur, but Buffy convinces him they need to find Willow fast.

The vampire stops outside a crypt and tries to entice Willow to go in. When she declines, he roughly shoves her inside. They are soon joined by Darla and Jesse, whose throat is bleeding. Game faces on, the vamps seem ready to chow down when Buffy swoops in. The vampires circle her, unsure what to make of this. After she stakes the '80s vamp, Willow, Xander, and Jesse scramble to safety.

Buffy cracks wise to Darla about how she just wanted a quiet life, giving Luke a chance to grab her neck from behind. He throws Buffy across the crypt and then bitches Darla out for not bringing the Master his dinner. Luke tells Darla to leave while he takes care of the "little girl" himself. Up above, the rest of the gang are surrounded by leering vampires.

Buffy tries to drive a stake into Luke's heart, but he breaks it in half with his hand. He flings Buffy ass over teacup into a stone coffin, then vanishes. The room is silent. Just as Buffy gets up the courage to peek out, Luke leaps in with her, bearing down on her with open fangs. To be continued.

Tropes Used:

  • All Myths Are True: According to Giles, who is proven right as the series unfolds.
  • All of Them: Xander says hello to Willow and then tells her that he's having problems with his math homework. When she asks which part, he replies "The math."
  • All Women Love Shoes: Cordelia wishes she was living in L.A., "that close to so many shoes"note . In the unaired pilot, she recognizes Buffy as a potential member of her Girl Posse by looking at her shoes.
  • Amusing Injuries: Xander's introduction, wherein he gets distracted by Buffy while skateboarding and runs into the handrail of the school's front steps.
  • And Starring: Eric Balfour got this billing; Joss wanted to emphasize him so his death would be more impactful.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When news reaches him of vampires on campus, Giles emits little surprise; he was expecting this. Well, Buffy sure as hell wasn't. "It's my first day! I was afraid that I was gonna be behind in all my classes, that I wouldn't make any friends, that I would have last month's hair!"
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Buffy tells her mother that she's going out to a club, and Joyce asks if there are going to be boys there. Buffy quips, "No, Mom—it's a nun club."
  • Being Watched: En route to the Bronze, Buffy senses a nosy man in black shadowing her.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Cordelia starts out being perfectly nice to Buffy, but only because she thinks Buffy is another Alpha Bitch. Buffy is quite turned off after seeing the way she treats Willow.
  • Blatant Lies: Buffy's burned down the gym because it was full of asbestos. Also, her stake is for self-defense; they're all the rage in LA.
  • Blood Bath: The Master hangs out fully dressed in a pool of blood.
  • Broad Strokes: The series is a sequel to Joss's original script for the movie, not the movie itself. In this episode, Principal Flutie mentions that Buffy used to go to Hemery High, but was kicked out for burning down the gym. In the movie as aired, Buffy fought Lothos's vampires in the gym during prom but didn't burn it down. Also, she was a senior in the film, not a sophomore as she is here.
  • The Brute: Luke.
  • Can't Believe I Said That
    Xander: Well, uh, maybe I'll see you around. Maybe at school, since we both...go there.
    Buffy: Great! It was nice to meet you.
    [She starts down the hall]
    Xander: "We both go to school." Very suave. Very not pathetic.
  • Captain Obvious
    • Reliable old Jesse's got the goods on the new girl. "New girl!" Xander absorbs this breaking news with extreme unction.
    • Willow keeps yammering on as her date glares into the middle distance, obviously trying to tune her out. "Sure is dark!" she exclaims. The vampire deadpans that, yes, it's night.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Buffy is introduced in her bed. She's having the Slayer Visions, nightmares of vampires, demons, and finally the Master's ugly mug . She wakes with a start.
    • Averted in that she doesn't launch herself out of bed, but simply opens her eyes with a slight jolt—a much more realistic way of waking up from a nightmare.

  • Catchphrase Interruptus: Buffy catchphrase is interrupted.
  • Ceiling Cling: Buffy's pursuer looks around the empty alley as the camera pulls up to reveal Buffy on a bar high above the pavement.
  • Celeb Crush: As part of Cordelia's popularity screening, Buffy is quizzed on James Spader. "He needs to call me."
  • Chair Reveal: As Jesse works his mojo on a girl lounging in the Bronze, her hammock chair turns around to reveal that it's Darla.
  • Character Development: As pointed out on the DVD commentary, Cordelia is more like the kind of person Buffy used to be at Hemery High, but after her experiences she finds herself gravitating towards outsiders like Willow and Xander whom she probably wouldn't have associated with before.
  • Chekhov's Gift: The silver cross necklace.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: When Buffy blows off his warnings, Angel smiles like she's about to be the butt of a bad joke.
  • Costume-Test Montage: Buffy's considering what to wear to the Bronze. She holds a shiny black outfit up to the mirror.
    Buffy: Hi! I'm an enormous slut!
    [holds up a blue floral dress]
    Hello! Would you like a copy of The Watchtower?
    [lowers the dress]
    I used to be so good at this.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Slightly inverted. As Buffy walks into the hall looking through her bag, a girl runs into her and empties it onto the floor. This is Xander's cue, and he rushes to gather her things for her.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Angel warns Buffy to be ready for "the Harvest". Sounds festive.
  • Damsel in Distress: Willow.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Cordelia reports that gym class is cancelled on account of the dead guy in a locker.
    Buffy: Dead?
    Cordelia: Totally dead. Way dead.
    Xander: So not just a little dead, then.
  • Description Cut: In the first of many ironic segues, Buffy reassures Giles, "C'mon. This is Sunnydale. How bad an evil can there be?" Cut to the Master's crypt, where Luke chants about making the world bleed.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Xander zooms down the sidewalk on his skateboard, which we'll never see again. Just as well, because when he catches sight of Buffy in her miniskirt he loses all coordination and smashes head-on into a guardrail.
  • Don't Sneak Up on Me Like That!: Giles politely taps Buffy's shoulder in the library.
    • In the alley behind The Bronze, Buffy skulks around a corner, and, as a figure looms behind her, whirls and grabs them by the neck, stake ready. She has just made the worst move of her short social life at Sunnydale High, because her stranglehold is on Cordelia Chase.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • This episode is the only time we see Xander riding a skateboard, since the scene required lots of space and was a pain to shoot. We later see Xander holding a skateboard a couple of times, but never again does he ride one. Except in a flashback issue of the Season Eight comics, where Snyder confiscates it.
    • This isn't quite the only episode to feature a vampire still dressing in what was fashionable when he diednote . They're rare, though. The show was still working on its mythology and style, and considered dating vampires this way. They realized quickly that it was kinda stupid and didn't go with it.
    • Later episodes put Buffy in brighter, bubblegum colors (which ended up being part of the mythology; vampires are attracted to bright colors), but here her outfit is more muted. The change was partly character-driven, partly to differentiate her from Willow.
    • The Totally Radical slang only shows up here. They eliminated it in favor of Buffy Speak, which is how Joss and his writers talk in real life.
    • Angel's personality is slightly different than would later be established. He's more outright flirtatious and smiles significantly more often. His later brooding personality had yet to be established, and it doesn't quite gel with a man who had been homeless and eating rats for several decades and half mad from guilt.
    • Angel tells Buffy that he thought she'd be taller, as if he'd never seen her before. It's later revealed that he secretly watched her when she was first called in L.A. Of course, he was being cagey in this whole conversation.
    • Darla doesn't recognize the superstrong, unafraid vampire-fighting girl as a Slayer at first, but future episodes (such as "Fool For Love") show that she's well familiar with the concept and that Angelus warned Spike about them, which implies Darla warned Angelus about them. She should have made Buffy as the Slayer straight away.
    • Instead of the leather jacket he gives Buffy, Angel wears a velvet something.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Outside, Willow is sitting down to lunch. Buffy walks up to her and says hello. Willow wonders if she wants her to move.
  • Especially Zoidberg: From the unaired pilot:
    Buffy: Ah...Film Club.
    Xander: They spend their time deciding that every movie is an existential meditation on Freudian sexuality.
    Buffy: Even The Muppets Take Manhattan?
    Xander: Especially The Muppets Take Manhattan.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • When Giles attempts to remind Buffy of her duties, she sneers, "Blah, blah, I've heard it okay?" This cements her character pretty solidly, but she has many much cooler moments.
    • Darla's first scene frames her as an innocent being led astray by the tough guy in the biker jacket. Then she lures him into a place where she can rip his throat out. Not only an ECM for Darla, but a defining moment for the show with a gigantic HSQ for the unprepared.
    • Xander babbling incoherently when confronted with a pretty girl (Buffy).
    • Cordelia seeming nice until she's confronted with shy, nerdy Willow.
    • Willow herself eating lunch alone and offering to move when someone comes to sit in her spot. She also talks about losing her Barbie doll as a child and when Buffy asks if she got it back, replies happily "Most of it" as if this was a positive. Saying the line that way got Alyson Hannigan the role and establishes her character for the first three seasons.
    • Buffy asks Giles about books (she means school books) and he gleefully slams a thick tome with the title "Vampyr" in front of her. From there on, Giles will be a constant source of supernatural booksmarts for the Slayer.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The series defines itself as a subversion of horror early on when we are shown two kids (a girl in a Catholic school uniform, and a biker boy) and are led to expect the girl to be the Monster of the Week's first victim. Then she turns into a vampire and kills the boy. Note that at the time, this was one of the first instances of this trick.
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: Buffy comes to Sunnydale. Giles reveals himself as her Watcher. Later, Xander overhears them talking about vampires. Buffy saves Willow from a vampire attack. From this point on, the four of them are a team.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Luke.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: After Giles's argument with Buffy over her Slayer duties, a confused Xander steps out from the stacks.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: When Angel first meets Buffy, he says that he thought she’d be taller. It's possible that Angel’s comment was an in-joke directed at those who saw the movie, as Kristy Swanson is 5′7″ and Sarah Michelle Gellar is 5′3″.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Subverted with Darla and her first victim, but played straight later in the Bronze.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Principal Flutie tears up Buffy's record to show she has a clean slate, but has second thoughts when he sees that she burned down a gym. He starts taping it back together again.
    • Giles appeals to Buffy's sense of duty, reminding her that she is the "Chosen One", the "one born with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires—" "To stop the spread of their evil, blah blah," finishes Buffy flippantly.
    • Giles loads Buffy up with books and opines that every myth she's ever heard is true. Buffy scoffs, "What, you sent away for the Time-Life series?" A chagrined Giles admits that he did—and got the free gift calendar, too.
    • Giles admonishes Buffy that she knows very little about vampires and her own powers—a Slayer should be able to sense vampires in her vicinity.
      Giles: Reach out with your mind. You have to hone your senses, focus until the energy washes over you, until you, you feel every particle of—
      Buffy: There's one.
      Giles: W-where?
  • Feet-First Introduction: Buffy's new friend.
  • Foreshadowing: Willow is very enthusiastic about helping Buffy study and suggests that they meet in the library. Buffy says that place gives her the "wiggins". Willow really likes it there because the "new librarian" brought all sorts of interesting books with him.
    Willow: He was a curator at some British museum. Or The British Museum, I'm not sure.
    • Giles opines that a dark, crowded place like the Bronze is a veritable vampire buffet. As "The Harvest" shows, he's not wrong.
    • Buffy's prophetic nightmare at the beginning of the episode includes footage of roving vampires from the season finale, and Moloch from "I, Robot... You Jane".
  • Freudian Slip: Xander kneels down to help Buffy with her books, asking "Can I have you?" Off Buffy's look, he recovers with "Uh, can I help you?
  • Gibberish of Love: Xander then suggests "Maybe we'll...see each other at school, since we both...go there." He lampshades this immediately afterwards: "'We both go to school.' Smooth."
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Buffy gives Willow advice, to live in the moment. Willow heads out with a vampire.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The pilot opens with Buffy's nightmare about the Master, and her mother calls her name to wake her for school.
  • Half-Truth: Buffy sheepishly confesses that her transcripts are "a little colorful".
    Principal Flutie: Do you think, uh, "colorful" is the word? Not "dismal"?
  • Hypocritical Humor: Two girls gossiping about Buffy in the locker room.
    Girl #1: The new kid? She seems kind of weird to me. What kind of name is Buffy?
    Girl #2: [walking by] Hey, Aphrodesia.
    • Also, the other girl's name is Aura, and a moment later she mentions their friend Blue...
  • I Believe That You Believe It: "I only know that you think that you're the Slayer." Xander's excited to hear that Willow hooked up with somebody until Buffy expresses a desperate need to find her. He then sarcastically hopes Willow didn't leave with a vampire and that Buffy won't have to do any slaying. He doesn't really believe what he's heard about Buffy's supernatural calling, but he's willing to humor her if Willow's in trouble.
  • Implausible Deniability: Xander reaches into his backpack to get Buffy's stake and hands it to her; "The only thing I can think is that you're building a really little fence." Buffy stammers that it's for self-defense, and all the people in LA have them because pepper spray is passé.
    • Angel, after being clocked to the ground and pinned under Buffy's shoe. "Ahh, heh. Is there a problem, ma'am?"
  • Improvised Weapon: Buffy, tailing Willow and her date into a dark hallway, stops to break off a chair leg for a stake.
  • Instructional Dialogue: Giles sidelines Buffy by asking her if the dead guy will rise again. Buffy, huffing, says "no" and takes a moment to explain some of the Buffyverse mythology—namely, that you have to drink vampire blood to change.
    "To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood. And then you have to suck their blood. It's like a whole big sucking thing. Mostly, they're just gonna kill you."
    • Buffy tells Giles she's taken an early retirement, and suggests that if he's so keen on slaying, he should do it himself. Giles protests that he's a Watcher and his duty is to..."Watch?" Buffy pipes up. "No," says Giles exasperatedly, and explains what a Watcher does.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Principal Flutie notes that Buffy burned down the gym at her old school. Buffy almost tells him that the gym was full of vampires, but amends that to "asbestos".
    • "From now on I'm only going to hang out with the living...lively...people."
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Unless you've already seen the show, don't listen to the commentary. Whedon gleefully ruins everything. (Okay, not gleefully. He's talking to longtime fans. Still.)
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Darla curls her lips and invites Buffy to bring it on. Buffy cautions that it won't be pretty. "We're talking violence, strong language, adult content..."
  • Love Martyr: Jesse is a glutton for Cordelia's punishment.
  • Many Questions Fallacy: Buffy huffs into the library and demands that Giles tell her what's going on. "You heard about the dead guy in the locker? He's got two little little holes in his neck and all his blood's been drained. Isn't that bizarre? Aren't you just going 'ooh'?"
  • Meet Cute: Buffy and Xander. Later, Buffy and Angel.
  • Mirror Monologue: Buffy in her room, trying to decide on an outfit for the evening. She seems torn between a skimpy black number ("Hi, I'm an enormous slut!)" and a floral dress ("Would you like a copy of The Watchtower?") She grouses about losing her sense of fashion.
  • Mook Chivalry: Lampshaded in the unaired pilot.
    Buffy: I don't suppose you'd have the good manners to attack me one at a time, would you?
    • Disappointingly, they then proceed to do exactly that, playing this trope straight.
  • Mundane Utility: Also in the unaired pilot, Buffy uses her Slayer agility to do an impressive flippy-thing down a spiral staircase.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Angel in his first appearance, and many after.
  • Mythology Gag: It's possible that Angel's catty remark about Buffy's height was an in-joke about the movie. Kristy Swanson, who played Buffy in the movie, is 5'7", while Sarah Michelle Gellar is 5'3".
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Inverted. Buffy initially scoffs at the idea that there could be a terrible evil in a town called "Sunnydale".
    • One of the canonical Tales of the Slayers comics later reveals that the evil Mayor Wilkins purposefully gave the town a disingenuously inviting name when he founded it, since the idea was to draw in people to live on top of the Hellmouth as a smorgasbord for the demons he made his Deal with the Devil with.
  • Neck Lift/Punched Across the Room: After breaking Buffy's stake, Luke grabs her by the throat and lobs her into a cement wall.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Buffy burning down the gym at her old school happened in the original Joss Whedon script for Buffy the Vampire Slayer but did not make it into the film.
    • When Xander asks Buffy if she's ever decapitated anyone, she brings up an incident in which there was a vampire who used to be a Varsity quarterback with a really thick neck and all she had was a teeny tiny x-acto knife. This is probably a reference to a confusing incident in the movie in which Buffy leaps onto the shoulders of a vampire who matches that description and the audience never see what she actually does to him.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Everybody keeps saying that not much happens in a "one-Starbucks town" like Sunnydale. Then again, perhaps everyone chooses not to notice what does happen.
  • Oblivious to Love: Xander's first glimpse of Buffy causes him to fall head over heels, literally, as he crashes into a railing. She remains clueless about his feelings for the next few episodes.
  • Occult Detective: Goes with the territory of being a Slayer. Buffy hears someone died and goes to investigate so that, if necessary, she can kill the killer.
  • Offhand Backhand: Buffy dusts her first vampire of the show this way.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The very large and noticeable Luke manages to sneak up on Buffy from behind. Part 2 of this story explains how.
  • The Oner: Joss Whedon uses one in the first scene, as noted in the DVD commentary.
  • "Open!" Says Me: In Buffy's first ever display of her Slayer powers, she forces a door open, breaking the lock.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: A lifeless Det. Danny Messer takes a tumble out of Aura's locker.
    • Inside the coffin, Buffy flips around to see a moldy skeleton and lets out a scream.
  • Pilot
  • Putting on the Reich: The Master's outfit is a black leather jacket, black trousers, and black leather boots.
  • Red Herring Shirt: Darla.
  • Red Shirt: Darla's date. The poor boy just wanted to neck a little, and now his neck is ventilated.
  • Refusal of the Call: Buffy wants to know if a Watcher prepares her for "getting kicked out of school? For losing all of my friends? For having to spend all of my time fighting for my life and never getting to tell anyone because I might endanger them?" Giles can only give her a blank stare.
  • Reverse Relationship Reveal: The episode opens with a boy and girl breaking into a high school, presumably for sexy times. The girl is nervous, the boy predatory. Every horror buff knows what's next. Then she turns into a monster and kills him, which is not quite what people were expecting (unless they were really into horror).
  • Screaming Woman: Aura and Aphrodesia. You'd think they'd never seen a corpse before.
  • Sherlock Scan: Instead of using her Spider-Sense as Giles recommends, Buffy picks a vampire out of a crowd by observing that his dress sense is ten years out of date.
  • Short Cuts Make Long Delays: When Willow points out that they're not headed to the ice cream parlor, the vampire grabs her hand, saying he knows a "shortcut". Through a cemetery.
  • Shout-Out: For those familiar with The Crucible, Giles' introduction. The way he hands Buffy a stack of old books and shows her one of them, while delivering his "all the worst fiends you can think of" monologue, is pretty close to the introduction of reverend Hale at the opening of the Miller play. The lines are almost verbatim.
  • Sinister Silhouettes: Our first glimpse of Angel.
  • Spider-Sense: According to Giles, the Slayer can use this to find vampires.
  • Starter Villain: Luke and Darla.
  • Subverted Trope: As mentioned in the episode commentary, Joss Whedon began the show with the intent to subvert horror tropes. See the Reverse Relationship Reveal above for one example.
    • The alleyway example nearly happens, but he double-subverts it by making the mysterious stalker she ambushes an ambiguous ally.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Cordelia barges up to talk to Buffy at lunch, Willow immediately exclaims that Buffy is not actually hanging out with them.
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: Luke flings Buffy ass-over-teacup into the stone coffin, where she lies panting, unable to hear or see him. Just as she gets up the courage to peek out, he leaps in there with her.
  • Take That!: John Tesh is the Devil.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way: Subverted.
    Buffy: We can do this the hard way or...actually, there's just the hard way.
  • There Are No Coincidences: Giles earnestly insists that the situation in town is getting worse: "There's a reason why you're here and a reason why it's now." Buffy snits that it's "Because now is when my mom moved here," and takes a hike.
  • To Be Continued: This episode originally aired as part of a two-hour premiere. In reruns and streaming, a "to be continued" card flashes at the end.
  • Totally Radical: Much of the slang, particularly the Valley Girl-speak in the locker room. Neg! Pos! Negly!
  • Trouble Entendre: A one-sided example. When Jesse has trouble placing Darla, she mentions she has "family" in the area, and he will probably meet them soon.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Buffy peels back the sheet on the body in the locker room to reveal two obvious fang holes in the neck. "Oh, great," she sighs in irritation.
  • Vampiric Draining: Obviously, a staple of this show. In the opening, after revealing herself as a vampire, Darla drains her companion.
  • Welcome Episode: To the Hellmouth.
  • Welcome to Hell: In the title, of course. After Buffy rejects Angel's help, he tells her she's in too deep. "You're standing at the mouth of Hell. And it's about to open."
  • Who Are You?: Buffy's parting shot at Angel, who prefers to stay coy.
    • Buffy stakes the henchvamp without much effort, surprising Darla. "Who are you?"
  • You Have No Chance to Survive/You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With:
    Luke: You think you can stop me, stop us? You have no idea who you're dealing with.
  • Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: While breaking into the high school, shortly before he becomes the series's first fatality:
    Darla: Are you sure this is a good idea?
    Red Shirt: It's a great idea. Now come on.
    • Jesse arrives in the crypt wobbling and holding his neck. Evidently he didn't need any arm-twisting to follow a sexy blonde into a graveyard.
      Jesse: [woozily] I think you gave me a hickey.


Video Example(s):


Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Darla's Introduction]

Scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ep 1 - Welcome to the Hellmouth. Our series opens with a delinquent couple breaking into Sunnydale High after hours for a little make out. However one of them isn't as they seem.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / FaceRevealingTurn

Media sources: