Directed by John T Kretchmer
Luke is on top of Buffy, preparing to nosh on her neck. Suddenly he pulls back, clutching his hand, which has been scorched by Buffy's cross necklace. She takes this opportunity to flee the mausoleum. As she runs across the cemetery grounds she hears growling and a shriek, and finds Willow being pinned down by a vampire. Buffy, seemingly having used all her quips in the pilot episode, settles for shouting, "Hey!" before dealing him a kick and rescuing Xander from two more vamps. Jesse, however, is nowhere to be found.
Later that morning they meet in the library with Giles, who spins a globe and pontificates about demon history. Earth was once a hellscape ruled by demons, but they eventually lost their supremacy. Now mortal creatures reign and only a few traces of these "Old Ones" remain. Unfortunately, the last demon to leave our reality fed from a human, mixing its blood with theirs to create the first vampire. Xander asks how to kill vampires, but Buffy shuts him down, insisting that the job is hers alone.
Meanwhile, underground, Luke announces his suspicions that Buffy is the Slayer. The Master notes that she might threaten his plans to ascend that night, but believes they can take care of her before then. Instead of feeding from Jesse, they will use him as bait.
Willow demonstrates her computer wizardry by hacking into the city's sewer plans. Buffy realizes that since Luke attacked her from behind, the mausoleum must be an entrance to the tunnels.
Buffy sneaks out to the cemetery while it's still daylight. Last night's mystery man awaits her in the mausoleum. The two trade barbs, and Buffy finally gets a name for the lurking wisdom-bearing guy: Angel. He explains that tonight is the Harvest, after which the Master will walk free. Buffy asks why he won't stop it himself, and he laughingly admits he's scared to. He tries to talk her out of going in, and Buffy asks if he knows what it's like to have a friend. Angel looks shifty and sad. Raw nerve? He tells her where to find the Master and whispers "good luck" as she leaves.
Xander catches up to Buffy in the sewers. She is frustrated that he ignored her advice but begrudgingly lets him tag along. She lends him a cross and runs down the list of ways to kill a vampire. They find and rescue Jesse, only to realize they've walked into a trap and are now surrounded. Jesse leads them to a way out which is really a dead end, revealing that they were too late to save him. Xander wards Jesse off with the cross long enough for Buffy to throw him into the other vamps, buying them just enough time to escape through a ceiling vent and make it out into the sun.
In the Master's lair, he performs a ritual with Luke, feeding him from his inner wrist and painting a symbol onto his forehead. Luke has become the "vessel", and every person he drains tonight will bring the Master one step closer to freedom.
Buffy and Xander bring their bad news back to the library where Giles and Willow are — wait for it — researching. Giles exposits that the Master is an ancient and enterprising vampire who attempted to open the Hellmouth long ago. His spell triggered an earthquake and trapped him in a space-time bubble for the past sixty years. Giles explains the Harvest and the symbol of the vessel, and Xander deduces that the vampires will be at the Bronze.
Over at the Bronze, Cordelia holds court as Jesse watches intently. With his new undead confidence and charm, he leads her onto the dance floor, telling her to shut up. Soon the other vamps arrive. Darla's gang kills the lights and music as Luke takes the stage. Cordelia turns to see Jesse leering at her in his game face.
Buffy and the others arrive to find all the entrances locked. Buffy assigns Giles, Xander, and Willow the task of getting everyone out safely. Xander worries that Jesse will do something stupid, prompting Giles to remind him that Jesse is dead and a demon has replaced him. Buffy breaks in through an upper window and identifies Luke as the vessel. As he prepares to chow down on Cordelia, Buffy throws a Mook down from the catwalk. Luke, smiling, decides that he prefers Slayer blood and sets Cordelia free. As he and Buffy fight the others bust in and start hustling people out.
Xander gallantly comes to rescue Cordelia from Jesse, who is trying to have his way with her. Jesse tells Xander that now he's "a new man" instead of a loser who couldn't get a date. Xander prepares to stake him but hesitates. As Jesse mocks him, a fleeing girl bumps into them and closes the gap. Poof.
Buffy brandishes a cymbal stand against Luke, who reminds her that metal is useless against him. Buffy tells him that he forgot about sunrise and hurls the stand at the blacked-out window over the stage. As Luke cowers before a bright backstage light, Buffy stakes him from behind.
- "It's in about nine hours, moron."
In his cavern the Master falls to his knees, screaming and throwing a tantrum.
As the remaining vampires flee the Bronze, Angel steps out of the shadows to marvel, "She did it! I'll be damned." Sunnydale is safe for now.
The next day at school, Cordelia is gossiping about "gangs on PCP". Xander opines that "the dead rose. We should at least have an assembly." Giles explains Sunnydale Syndrome and says that they'll be more prepared next time. Xander and Willow are shocked to learn that there might be a next time. Giles reminds them that they are on a Hellmouth. Buffy, sucking on a lollipop, plans to "look on the bright side" and try to get kicked out of school. As the three students walk away, Giles adjusts his glasses and mutters to himself that "the earth is doomed."
- Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: As is common in this show, the Master's lair is accessible by very old and large sewer tunnels.
- Buffy and Xander find Jesse in a network of abandoned service tunnels. Whedon notes in the commentary that tunnels and sewers were, like Giles's books and Willow's computer, a necessary handwave, but that after seeing the actual tunnels they filmed in it became believable.
- Actor Allusion: The Master's line, "You're all weak", is a reference to Mark Metcalf's character in Animal House.
- Adrenaline Makeover: Cordelia finds Jesse more attractive after he becomes a vampire.
- Adventure Rebuff: Giles initially refuses the help of Xander and Willow.
- Air-Vent Passageway: Buffy and Xander use one to escape the vamps' trap.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Cordelia calls the human Jesse "a little puppy dog". When he approaches her as a vampire he leers at her and tells her to shut up, and she consents to dance with him.
- All There in the Script: Although it is never revealed in the series, the Master's name is listed as Heinrich Joseph Nest.
- Ankle Drag: Just as Xander is lifting Buffy out into the daylight, a vamp reaches his arm out and grabs her ankle. Xander pulls, exposing the vamp's hand to the sunlight. The vamp sizzles for a good long bit before deciding the pain is too much and releasing Buffy with a snarl.
- Anything but That!: Xander mentions that hitting the sewers with Buffy is better than attending Chemistry.
- Arrow Cam: The camera follows a cymbal which Buffy frisbees into a vamp's neck.
- Ask a Stupid Question...: Harmony asks Cordelia if they're going to the Bronze that night. "No," Cordy snorts, "we're going to the other cool place in Sunnydale." Her wit is wasted on Harmony, who seems to be trying to figure out where.
- Badass Boast:Master: Tonight I shall walk the Earth, and the stars themselves will hide!
- When the Master asks for proof that Buffy is the Slayer, Luke replies: "She fought me and lived." The Master concedes the point.
- The Bait: The Master uses Jesse as this, knowing that Buffy will come to rescue him. The twist is that he turns Jesse as part of the trap.
- Big "NO!": The Master does one when Buffy kills Luke and ruins the Harvest.
- Blatant LiesXander: Like maybe you should get to class.Willow: You mean 'we'. We should get to class.Xander: [Beat] Yeah.
- Blood Magic: In the Master's first attempt at parole Luke becomes his "vessel", supplying him with power through the blood he drinks. The Master's own blood is used to create the bond.
- Bond One-Liner: In a dark nightclub, about to be killed by a vampire, Buffy shouts out "But there's one thing you forgot about...SUNRISE!" and throws a microphone stand through a nearby closed window. As the vampire cringes in anticipation of his death, then realizes it's just a yellow light outside shining through the window, she explains "...It's in about nine hours, moron" and stakes the vampire from behind. How fun.
- British Stuffiness:Giles: I'm a bit fuzzy, however, on the details. It may be that you can wrest some information from that dread machine.[Everyone stares at him.]Giles: That was a bit... British, wasn't it?Buffy: Welcome to the New World.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: The vampires' eyes glow in the darkness of the sewers.
- Captain Obvious:Xander: Nobody knows! It's like we've got this big secret.Willow: We do. That's what a secret is, when you know something other guys don't.
- Cat Scare: A figure surprises Buffy in the sewers, complete with Scare Chord, but it's only Xander.
- Chekhov's Gun: The cross necklace from last episode does its job in the opening scene.
- The cross Buffy loans Xander ends up saving his bacon after Jesse vamps out.
- Xander shows off his epic survival skills by turning on a flashlight, which Buffy shouts at him to turn off. Later Xander uses it to find an exit.
- Chiaroscuro: The first use in the series. It was deliberate and they learned to love it.
- The Coats Are Off: Buffy removes her jacket while taunting Luke.
- Combat Pragmatist: Buffy's "Look Behind You" ploy buys her time to reclaim her stake and jam it into Luke's back. Earlier, Luke lamented that the last person to survive a fight with him had caught him asleep.
- Decoy Damsel: Xander and Buffy find out the hard way that Jesse is already gone.
- Deliberately Monochrome/ Flashback Effects: Used for Buffy's memory of being ambushed by Luke in the mausoleum.
- Department of Redundancy Department: When Cordelia lectures her posse on the advantages of dating college boys, she compares it to shopping. "I have to have the most expensive thing. Not because it's expensive," she stresses with great gravity, "but because it costs more."
- Description Cut/Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Giles describes vampires as "waiting for the animals to die out and the Old Ones to return." Cut to the Master in his underground lair. The Master is displeased that Luke and Darla have only brought him a single, partially eaten teenage boy, and they explain that they encountered a powerful girl, possibly a Slayer. Back in the library, Xander wonders aloud what a Slayer is supposed to be.
- Distressed Dude: Jesse before he is turned.
- Don't Make Me Destroy You: Xander apologizes to Jesse for letting the vamps get him, only to get the usual vampire sales pitch about feeling better than ever before.Jesse: I'm connected, man, to everything! I can hear the worms in the earth!
Xander: That's a plus.
- Disregarding Giles' advice, Xander tries one last time to reach Jesse before staking him in the Bronze.
- Dramatic Sit-Down: All this talk of vampires is making Willow lightheaded. "I need to sit down." A bemused Buffy points out that she's already sitting down.
- Dramatic Spotlight: As Luke begins the Harvest on the stage of the Bronze, he is illuminated by a spotlight. Buffy, enters through a skylight and takes out the vampire on the catwalk who's pointing it at him.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: After two victims, Luke is already shouting to the rafters about how swell the end of civilization is going to be."Tonight is His ascension. Tonight will be history at its end! Yours is a glorious sacrifice, degradation most holy."
[Nobody in the crowd stirs. Luke acts nonplussed.]
"What? No volunteers?"
- Dynamic Entry: Buffy watches Luke from the Bronze balcony long enough to ID him as the vessel, but the vamp techie running the lights hears her. She kicks the techie over a railing and onto the stage below to get Luke's attention.
- Early-Installment Weirdness:
- This is the only episode to feature slow vamps with glowing eyes. They were still working out the mythology, and those contacts were a real pain.
- Cordy seems perfectly friendly with a surfer dude kinda guy, which is out of character for her as the "popular" type. Whedon points out how strange this is in the commentary.
- Angel is seen in partial sunlight. At this point they hadn't fleshed out his character beyond a guy that randomly shows up to give advice. He is also more laid-back and less broody. Future episodes will show that most of the time, especially when combined with snark and leather pants, this is a very bad thing.
- Environmental Symbolism: Angel is shown next to a sign which appears to say "WATCH YOU", symbolizing his role as a Mysterious Watcher. When he walks away we see that it actually reads 'WATCH YOUR STEP'. This is a fortuitous bit of foreshadowing for Angel's FaceHeel Turn into Angelus. Note that he wasn't even scripted as a vampire at this point.
- "Eureka!" Moment: Buffy realises that since Luke attacked from behind while she was facing the entrance, the tunnel entrance is inside the mausoleum.
- Everyone Meets Everyone: Along with the Pilot, this episode establishes the four core Scooby Gang members. Willow demonstrates her hacking skills while Xander proves his worth by helping Buffy escape from the sewers.
- Evil Is Hammy: Luke certainly is, and so is the Master.
- Exactly What I Aimed At: Inverted and subverted when Buffy picks up a cymbal stand to attack Luke:
- Luke: You forget; metal can't hurt me.
Buffy: There's something you forgot about, too: sunrise.
(Buffy throws the cymbal stand at the window behind Luke, breaking it; Luke writhes in pain for a couple of seconds before realizing there isn't actually any sunlight)
Buffy: (stakes Luke) It's in about nine hours, moron.
- Eye Scream: After his henchmen fail to capture Buffy and Xander, the Master pokes the lead henchman's eye out with his finger.
- Face-Revealing Turn: Jesse's Game Face is revealed with a camera pan while Xander and Buffy are trapped with him.
- Fang Thpeak: Whedon invokes this trope in the commentary by apologizing to Eric Balfour (Jesse) for making him use the phrase "excruciating loser" in Game Face.
- Fate Worse than Death: Buffy, at least, sees Jesse's transformation this way.
- Foregone Conclusion: Gee, which of the characters won't escape in the opening segment? Could it possibly be the one not in the opening credits? Whedon wanted to avoid this by adding Jesse's actor to the credits, but a mid-season replacement on a minor channel could not afford such things. Instead, he got to avert this much later in even more heartbreaking fashion.
- Foreshadowing: Giles remarks that the next threat they face may be something quite different from vampires. In the very next episode they will take on a powerful witch.
- From Bad to Worse:
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The vampires in the service tunnels have these.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair/Expository Hairstyle Change: Vampire Jesse's slicked back 'do.
- Gossip Evolution: When Cordelia recounts her run-in with Buffy at the Bronze, she claims that Buffy ran at her with a stick, screaming that she was going to kill her.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: While she doesn't seem to injure any of them, Buffy throws Jesse into a crowd of vampires to buy herself and Xander some time.
- Heart in the Wrong Place: Xander stakes a vampire in the throat. Pointed out by Joss Whedon on the DVD Commentary:"Okay, somebody tell Nick Brendon where the heart is."
- Hidden Supplies: In a trunk, under a false top of girly kitsch, Buffy keeps holy water, a crucifix, and stakes, including one especially sharp stake which she tucks in her sleeve.
- Hitler Cam: This is used to show Luke delivering his grand speeches.
- Hope Spot: Buffy and Xander find Jesse in the sewers, seemingly unharmed, and he says that he knows a way out. The three run and reach a dead end. This sets up the Wham Shot below.
- Hypocritical Humor:Cordelia: Senior boys are the only way to go. Guys from our grade, forget about it, they're children. Y'know? Like Jesse. Did you see him last night, following me around like a little puppy dog. You just wanna put him to sleep. But senior boys, hmm, they have mystery. They have... What's the word I'm searching for? Cars! I just am not the type to settle. Y'know? It's like when I go shopping. I have to have the most expensive thing. Not because it's expensive, but because it costs more.
Girl: You know, I—
Cordelia: Hello, Miss Motormouth, can I get a sentence finished?
- I Am Very British: See above re: British Stuffiness
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Luke lasciviously strokes Cordelia's cheek while preparing to bite her.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Defied by Giles and Vamp Jesse. Giles warns against this tactic - as he puts it, "You're not looking at your friend, you're looking at the thing that killed him" - but Xander still gives it a try. Jesse is unimpressed.
- Implausible Deniability: When Flutie snags Buffy heading out the school gates, her badassery evaporates as she claims to be "admiring the fence".
- Improvised Weapon: Another mainstay of the series.
Xander: Heads up.
- Near the beginning, Buffy stakes two vamps with a broken tree branch.
- In the Bronze, she stakes a vamp with a pool cue, sideways, while doing a cartwheel.
- Buffy flings a cymbal to decapitate the vamp holding Xander.
- Later she hurls the stand like a javelin.
- Instructional Dialogue: Giles and Buffy fill Xander and Willow in on the whole vampire situation.
- It's All About Me: At the Bronze, Cordelia filibusters on her favorite subject: herself. One girl attempts to interject with a cutesy "You know, I think—", only for Cordy to cut in again. "Hello, Miss Motormouth? Can I get a sentence finished?"
"Hold still! You're not making this easy."
- When Jesse pins Cordelia to the floor, she struggles and grabs his arms. Jesse whines at her.
- Layman's Terms: See the page quote for Giles' abbreviated explanation of the Slayer.
- "I want you to go on 'the 'Net.'"
- Buffy guesses that all she has to do is dust anyone sporting the Master's symbol to prevent the Harvest. Giles rather stuffily agrees: "Simply put, yes."
- Mark of the Beast: The tri-cornered scar on Luke's forehead.
- Mundane Solution: Buffy carps that she has no way of knowing where the vamps took Jesse since as soon as they got clear of the graveyard "they could have just — voom."Xander: [astonished] They can FLY?
Buffy: They can drive.
- Negated Moment of Awesome: Having confirmed Jesse's whereabouts, Buffy strides out out of the school wearing sunglasses, an all-black outfit, and heels, only to be intercepted by Flutie, who chides that kids aren't allowed off school grounds.
- Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: In the Sunnydale High computer lab, Cordelia and Harmony plink away at some sort of programming project. Harmony notices that they've messed up a section of the program, so they try to cheat off Willow."Why do we have to devise these programs? Isn't that what nerds are for?"
- Nothing Up My Sleeve: Buffy slips a stake up the sleeve of her leather jacket, although she takes off the jacket before her fight, so it's not used for a lethal surprise.
- Now You Tell MeJesse: They knew you were gonna come. They said that I... I was the bait.Xander: Oh, great, now you tell us.
- Of course, this was probably intentional.
- Once Killed a Man with a Noodle Implement: Buffy regales Xander with a story of the time she sawed off a vampire's head with an Exacto knife.Buffy: ...You're not loving this story.
Xander: No, actually, I find it oddly comforting!
- Once More, with Clarity!: Buffy concludes that the only way Luke could've gotten the drop on her is by emerging from a hidden door.
- "Open!" Says Me: The tunnel entrance in the Mausoleum is blocked with a gate and chain. After asking Angel if he has a key, Buffy simply spins around quickly to kick it open.
- Oral Fixation: Buffy ends the episode sucking on a lollipop.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Mostly averted, but see Mundane Solution.
- Percussive Therapy: When Buffy tells Willow that they were too late to save Jesse, she tries to take comfort in the fact that Buffy and Xander are okay, but Xander kicks a trashcan, startling the girls."I don't like vampires. I'm gonna take a stand and say they're not good."
- Police Are Useless: Thoroughly justified. Willow suggests calling the cops, but Giles explains that they wouldn't believe them and Buffy explains that they wouldn't be able to handle vamps anyway.
- Power Walk: Darla and her gang do one as they approach the Bronze. Darla is practically skipping along with merriment.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: "Okay, Vessel Boy. You want blood?"
- Punched Across the Room: Buffy kicks Luke across the stage and into a stack of chairs.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Jesse pins down and straddles Cordelia in the Bronze as he prepares to sire her, then complains when she resists. The opening scene with Luke and Buffy also evokes this trope.
- Red Shirt: The none-too-bright Bouncer who tries to card the vampires becomes Luke's first victim.
- Rhetorical Question BlunderBuffy: Do you know what it's like to have a friend? (sees Angel's expression) That wasn't supposed to be a stumper.
- Saying Too Much: Darla assures the Master that Jesse's blood is pure, revealing that she's bringing him leftovers.
- Scare Chord: Several play during the sewer tunnel scenes when:
- Xander shows up behind Buffy
- Jesse is revealed to be a vampire
- A vamp grabs Buffy's ankle at the last moment
- Schiff One-Liner: "The Earth is doomed."
- Schmuck Bait: After taking verbal abuse from Cordelia, Willow tells her to send her computer project by pushing "deliver." Cordy pushes the DEL key and erases everything.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Two Mook vampires are dragging Xander away when they see Buffy dust Luke, the Master's chosen vessel. As she slowly lifts her head to look at them, they glance at each other and high-tail it out of the Bronze.
- Scully Syndrome: Xander protests against having a serious conversation containing the word "vampire." Buffy mocks him for it.Buffy: No. No, those weren't vampires. Those were just guys in thundering need of a facial. Or maybe they had rabies, it could have been rabies. And that guy turning to dust? Just a trick of light. That's exactly what I said the first time I saw a vampire.
- Shout-Out: Before entering The Bronze, Buffy tells the others not to "go Wild Bunch" on her.
- Skyward Scream: The Master does one when he senses Luke's death. No parole tonight, after all.
- Slow-Motion Fall: Luke takes his sweet time falling off the stage after Buffy stakes him.
- Staking the Loved One: Xander has to do this to Jesse, although a fortuitous bump spares him the final decision.
- Tap on the Head: Xander is just regaining consciousness by the time Buffy saves him in the cemetery. "Man, something hit me."
- Tempting Fate: After Principal Flutie gets Buffy to agree not to leave during school hours:Mr Flutie: That's the Buffy Summers I want in my school. Sensible girl with her feet on the ground!(Flutie leaves. Buffy leaps the gate In a Single Bound)
Put me out of my misery? You don't have the guh-uhh! (Bursts into dust)
- Jesse's last words:
- That Man Is Dead:Vampire Jesse: Jesse was an excruciating loser who couldn't get a date with anyone in the sighted community. Look at me. I'm a new man!
- This Is Gonna Suck: Giles' closing remark.
- Transhuman Treachery: Apparently averted, since according to Giles the old Jesse is gone, so what they're dealing with now is a demon and was never the same entity as Jessie despite sharing his memories. However, the events of later episodes complicate things, raising the possibility that this trope is in play.
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: Buffy does a few flips at the Bronze. Whedon comments that he wanted to avoid this as much as possible, because it's awfully stupid.
- Use Your Head: Luke has an apparently unconscious Buffy in his grasp and is about to bite her neck when she slams her head back into his face.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods: Cordelia won't give Jesse the time of day until he becomes a vampire, whereupon he suddenly becomes more assertive, darker and sexier.Cordelia: Well, just one dance.
- Viewer-Friendly Interface: Willow's computer features helpful sound effects and animations while she's hacking into the city plans.
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Willow pelts Darla's face with holy water, sending her away shrieking and without dignity.
- Villainous Demotivator: Colin tries and fails to capture Buffy in the sewers, so the Master pokes out one of his eyes.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Xander wants to stop Jesse from "doing something more stupid than usual."
- Wait Here: Buffy tells Xander to stay put. Naturally, he disobeys her, ostensibly to save Jesse, but there's a degree of machismo at stake. Xander proves his worth by helping Buffy close a heavy door to block the vamps, using his flashlight to find an air vent, and lifting her clear of the tunnel long enough for the vamp who grabs her ankle to give up.
- Weirdness Censor: For the first time, and certainly not the last, the citizenry of Sunnydale completely fail to recognize the horrors in their midst.
- Wham Line/Wham Shot: After Buffy, Xander and Jesse find themselves cornered in a room by vampires:Buffy: I don't think this is the way out.Xander: We can't fight our way back through those things. What do we do?Jesse: I got an idea... (The camera pans to his face, which is pale skinned, distorted, and fanged)...you can die.
- You Are Grounded!: Before the raid on the Bronze, Buffy stops at home for supplies. Joyce confronts her in her room; the principal called her because of the classes that she skipped, and she is officially grounded. Buffy tries to impress the importance of this evening on her mother. "I know," says Joyce, "If you don't go out it will be the end of the world."
- You Are Too Late: A variation. Buffy and Xander successfully save Jesse only to discover that he's now one of the villains.
- "You!" Exclamation: Luke greets Buffy this way at the Bronze.
- You Have Failed Me: The Master is displeased with Colin for failing to capture Buffy, but reasons that it just means there will be someone worth killing when he's free. It would be nice if Colin would at least apologize, though.The Master: Colin, you failed me. Tell me you're sorry.
Colin: [imploringly] I'm sorry!
The Master: There, that wasn't so bad, was it? Hold on—
[shoves his sharpened fingernail into Colin's eye]
The Master: You've got something in your eye.
- The trope is subverted, however, in that this wound does not kill Colin.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Jesse, seeing Xander's stake primed and ready, gets right in his face and taunts that he'd never do it. Unfortunately for him, this keeps him within shoving distance of the point.