Episode Reviews (45)
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And now we take a break from psychoanalyzing Xander so we can get back to the star of our show.
In "Never Kill A Boy On The First Date," Buffy meets Owen, a hulking, sensitive lad who reads poetry and is impressed that Buffy spends so much time in the library. Giles, who's already down on Buffy for not taking her mission seriously enoughtoo much quippery for his tastewants Buffy to step up her night patrols until they can discern what the Master has in store for Sunnydale. But Buffy insists she deserves a night out. "Clark Kent has a job," she says. "I just want to go on a
I like the writers exploring this side of Buffy, but my only real qualm about Episode Five is that the four episodes that preceded it didn't do enough to establish our heroine as person with normal teenage tastes and desires. We know from the two-part premiere that Buffy at least claims to crave stability, and we know she's got a store of pop culture references at the ready. We also know that Angel makes her weak at the knees. But I found her crushing on some random bookwormno matter how rugged-looking and sweet-naturedto be a little contrived. Why would she be into Owen and not, say, Xander, who has a lot of the same qualities and knows about her double life? Has Buffy even picked up the obvious cues that Xander likes her?
That said, I enjoyed the plotting of this episode, which involved the classic superhero's dilemma: how to have an everyday life when the bad guys never seem to take a night off. While Buffy is canoodling with Owen at The Bronze, Giles stumbles into a nest of vampires, and is saved only because Xander and Willow are keeping tabs on him, and are able to drag Buffy and Owen away from making moony-eyes at each other so that she can do her job. And how does Owen react when he realizes what his prospective girlfriend can do? He's into it. Too into it. Turns out, the bookworm is addicted to danger. And perhaps because that hits too close to home for Buffy, she gives him the brush, for good.
Forced premise aside, there was a lot to like in "Never Kill A Boy," including Angel chastising Buffy for doing something so mundane as dating, and evangelicizing serial-killer-turned-vampire Andrew Borba muttering "pork and beans" in the middle of one of his rambling sermons, and the final reveal that The Master's "Anointed One" is an innocent-looking little boy.
But though he doesn't have much to do in the episode, Xander has some of the best moments, including critiquing the school lunch thusly: "I think it's kale. Or possibly string A minute later, in the same scene, he has the episode's one laugh-out-loud line, after Buffy fumes at him for asking, "How did the slaying go last night?" in the middle of the cafeteria. Stumbling to recover, Xander says, "Uh, I mean, how did the laying go?" No, I don't mean thatmoreless
Despite how unbelievable the circumstances were to Buffy getting her first date, it was even more so that the boy would think going to the mortuary for the date would be a good idea and then that he turned out to be an adrenaline junky. It was shaky at best, but it was great development on Buffy's end in knowing when to call it quits on a relationship that isn't going to work out. And points to Giles for not going the "I told you so" route.moreless
Never Kill a Boy on the First Date
"Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" is the initial exploration of Buffy's double life. It briefly touches upon her wants, needs, and the burden of sacrificing said wants and needs for others. This makes the episode one of the few in S1 that has notable lasting relevance to the series to come. While it's a decent outing for S1, it shouldn't be mistaken for a masterpiece. We get into all of that and more after the break.
Giles points out that "maintaining a normal social life is problematic at best." This is what the episode then goes out to show us first hand and is the first lesson of many Buffy will learn surrounding the subject. One of the biggest things driving Buffy as a character in much of the high school years is her desire to have this "normal life." It's not really until "Helpless" (when she temporarily loses her powers) that she comes to accept even embrace -- the reality of her life with a sense of finality.
The character of the week, Owen, plays into all of this about as well as he can (more on that later). Owen tells Buffy at the Bronze that "there are a lot more important things in life than dating." This initially causes Buffy a moment of sadness but is quickly followed by a glance at her pager to see if Giles needs her 'fun and acceptance' versus 'sacrifice and isolation,' a duality that Owen detects in Buffy and finds quite fascinating (as he should!), albeit for all the wrong reasons. It's fun that the episode draws attention to this duality and begins to better define it.
Towards the end of the episode we see that Owen still thinks Buffy is cool, but mostly because he thinks she's a danger queen. Not only does he want to be around her for the wrong reasons, but Buffy comes to realize that nurturing this interest of his would only lead to getting him killed. Buffy realizes that Owen simply doesn't belong in her world and that she can't indulge her impulse to be with him. This is when Giles has a beautiful segue back to what the episode is really about: responsibility and sacrifice. Being chosen makes for a unique and difficult life, and this is one of the very first times Buffy comes to understand what that means for her, despite her many early-series attempts to fight it. This scene is a fabulous early bonding moment between the two of them, and I appreciate how it resonates particularly with the finale, "Prophecy Girl" [1x12]. Giles is just so understanding of Buffy, and it's wonderful to hear him share that with her.
An interesting aside is that, in the opening of the episode, Giles chastises Buffy for being a bit too colorful in how she slays. Buffy protests with a sarcastic response that alludes to the fact that, while colorful, she's getting the job done. This 'technique versus emotion' exchange is particularly interesting in light of Kendra ("What's My Line? Pt. 2" [2x10]) and Faith ("Faith, Hope, and Trick" [3x03]). In the end, balance between the two styles is ideal, although here in S1 we can see that Buffy has a ways to go in achieving that.
As much as I appreciated the little thematic touches, not all of "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" is as introspective and relevant. There are some basic problems here that really dragged on the episode. For one, I just don't buy Buffy's sudden interest in Owen, who seems nave, quiet, and a bit book-wormy. There is the brooding factor and his looks, both of which he apparently shares with Angel, but I think it's more the sense of mystery that Buffy's attracted to rather than the raw brooding. It just doesn't strike me that Buffy would get all excited over him. Even worse, Cordelia suddenly also going after Owen right after Buffy's started talking to him was way, way too scripted and forced for me. Then, of course, in typical S1 fashion, there's the problem of the character that shows up just for one episode that is given way too much focus and drama considering you never see him again.
To top off my complaints, the entire sequence at the funeral home really didn't do anything for me, the vampires are completely lame, the action isn't all that exciting, and the fake-out death of Owen was done pretty poorly. I can't say I was thrilled with the bus sequence either, which rubbed off as far more silly and boring than scary.
While "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" is certainly rough in spots, it has the right intentions and is certainly better than most of what you get out of the season. In of itself it's not all that exciting, but taken within the context of the entire series its core theme actually does have some modest relevance. All in all this is an overall enjoyable step in the right direction for the series in these very early, formative stages.moreless
An episode that has a point.
What I really like about this episode is that it has a point. It's not just a random monster-of-the-week filler episode like the previous one "Teacher's Pet". In this episode, we're introduced to the Anointed One, someone who will help the Master escape his confinement.
As well as the story arc of this season's big bad, we are introduced to what dating is like to a teenaged vampire slayer, and it's not easy. Buffy has a crush on Owen, a cute, quiet, and sensitive boy at her school. He asks her on a date, twice actually, but every time she's interrupted with slayer duties (like trying to stop the Anointed One from coming) as well as trying to hide it all from Owen.
I really love the twist that is shown in this episode. I'm sure everyone thought that the Anointed One would end up being that very beefy, intimidating man who was then vamped and attacked Owen and the gang at the funeral home. But it ended up being the little boy who was on the bus where the vampire massacre took place.
Can I also mention the way Giles represents some sort of father figure in this episode and I love it? Giles does end up becoming this father figure for Buffy throughout the seasons, but I love his reactions towards her when he finds out she's dating. Especially since her mother Joyce doesn't seem to make an appearance.
All in all, this is a great episode. Very high quality in terms of writing, although some of the lines were quite cheesy. I'm exciting to get to the later seasons where the cheesiness is less.moreless
Never Kill a Boy on a First Date
Great misdirection, you really never figure who the annointed is whilst Vorba is a truly frightening figure. Cordy and Buffy fighting over Owen is FANTASTIC! The fight at the funeral home is also excellent. And how often do you see 'Emily Dickenson' in a US teen show? (almost impresses Giles) The lovely scene between Buffy and Giles at the end. Buffy's green and white dress doesn't make her look fat but does make her look like a brazen hussy. The changing scene with Buffy, Willow and Xander is also funny
So, when a vamp disolves why do it's clothes disintegrate and the ring etc doesn't? I always thought the idea was when a vamp dies the body returns to a natural state of decomposition but that doesn't seem the case as even newly made vamps dust.
Best line; (after Cordy knocks the cup over) "Boy, Cordelia's hips are wider than I thought!" OOOOOOOHHHH!
The classic; "Bite me!"
Cordy upon seeing Angel "Hello salty goodness!" (which are also her first words as an amnesiac in Spin the Bottle upon sighting Angel/Liam)
Observations and questions;
We never see Owen again although he appears in a lot of the establishing shots of Sunnydale High. I guess the show only has room for one brooding loner guy? Check out Willow's expression when she and Xander pretend to be a couple. Also Willow digs Owen which is more grounds to assume she's bisexual rather than just lesbian. Someone actually borrows a book from the library? Giles must have had to sit down with shock. Being a Watcher seems to run in famillies
Good ep, 3 and a half out of 5
Buffy secures a date with Owen, a brooding hunk from high school who she has got the hots for. Unfortunately, Giles has predicted a prophecy of extreme danger to arise on the very same night! Not my favourite plot-wise, but a very good episode...
This review contains spoilers.
This episode concentrates on how being the Slayer conflicts with Buffy wanting to live a normal teenage life. To be honest, this sort of thing was never particularly my favourite element of the series (if I wanted teen angst, I'd watch one of the numerous other "good looking American teen dramas" around), but in complete fairness, it is cleverly woven together plays out very well, and I bought into it much more than I did with some of the later such examples in the show.
...And again in fairness, this episode gets the balance right, juggling between Buffy's social life, and her responsibilities as a Slayer, particularly as it is the eve of the rising of the Anointed One.
As with so many 'Buffy' episodes, it is not just the plot itself that works, but the many wonderful lines and moments, of which there are many in this episode. I love Giles commenting that Buffy taking out an Emily Bronte book is cause for "...a national holiday"; his revelation at the end that, when he was told at a young age of his destiny to be a Watcher, he was planning to be "a jet fighter pilot... or a grocer"; and Xander comparing Owen's gold pocket watch to his own Tweety Pie watch!
...In fact, there are so many great Xander moments in this story full stop (including picking out the most unsuitable costume for Buffy's date; and trying to put Owen off of her) – I'd almost forgotten just how funny the character was in the first couple of seasons.
Also of note is that, after a couple of pretty much "stand alone" episodes, the overall season story arc picks up, regarding the Master, and the arrival of the Anointed One – and I love the whole red herring that the Anointed was not the seemingly obvious apocalypse-spouting goon, but in fact the small boy!
It is also a welcome to relief that Owen doesn't turn out to be some kind of monster, which one possibly might have expected (as some kind of lazy plot device) when watching this episode for the first time.
The whole Buffy/Owen thing is obviously doomed ultimately – they agree to remain friends (a nice twist is that Owen actually enjoyed his danger-filled night), but needless to say, Owen is never seen again in the series. I suppose this element of the episode played out well, and they didn't turn up the "feel sorry for Buffy dial" too high which – as mentioned in some of my reviews for previous episodes – put me off some later stories a bit.
All-in-all, this is definitely not my favourite plot for the series, but the episode plays out well enough, and its main grace is that it has so many great lines. I give this one a respectable 9/10.moreless
First of many great Buffy episodes
In my opinion, this was the first great Buffy episode. It really delved into the whole teen angst thing as well as continuing with the great dialog, story telling and music. Velvet Chain played two great songs, and the episode ended with a great song by Kim Richey ("Let the Sun Fall Dowsn"). There were many clever and humorous lines of dialog in the episode and it continue to move the Angel story line along. The show really seemed to hit it's stride with this episode (in only the 5th episode). The only things that really detract from the good first season episodes are the low budget sets and effects.moreless
And now back to the vampires
The next crazy scheme to bring the master to the surface.
bring some Vampire together to raise another vampire to get the master out of the cave.
So Buffy likes some guy at her school who is a big romantic type whole likes reading poetry and long walks on the beach. And then Cordelia starts hitting on him but then he asks Buffy out.
But She can't go to the date because Giles drags her away to the cemetry to sit around to wait for vampires. meanwhile the date is at the club dancing with Cordelia. Finally she goes on a date and Giles decides to go to crypt late at night to find Vampires their and then he runs away and hides in a room. meanwhile Xander and Willow magically appear at window and run off to get Buffy, I wish just once one of the other characters would grow a hairy chest and kick some but.
Buffy arrives at the crypt and finds Giles hiding in freezer. with a corpse - make note that they check the freezers later and there was one there with no body in it. So why Giles got in the one with the body is kind of creepy and I don't want to think about it too much.
So the date follows Buffy and they all end up being chased by a bigger vampire. Buffy kicks him into a fire and they all live to see another day. But Buffy can't date the guy anymore because he likes to help her battle vampires. So Willow and Xander are ok but boyfriends are not.
Ok next episode.moreless
Never Kill a Boy on the First Date
Never Kill a Boy on the First Date was great. It showcased Buffy's attempt at dating like a normal teenager, but it never quite works out. Giles had to consult his books, and this isn't the last time! This show is so great, and this episode is a great example. Full of witty, and some times campy humor the gang keeps us laughing. The bad guys take on a real tone of seriousness, and its almost believable that they are real and exist. This is true of the good guys too of course. This and other episodes are the ground work for more complex story lines and episodes in the future.moreless
A little Jealosy in the Air.
This is a good episode that reflects on Buffy's struggle with her Slayer duties and that of a normal teenage girl. It also shows one of the first hints that Angel feels something more for Buffy than just Allies. It is also the introduction of the Masters Right-Hand-Man, The Anointed One, which involves a twist on who the actual Anointed One is when Buffy mistakenly kills the wrong vampire and at the end we discover that the actual Anointed One is Collin the little kid. It also shows a twist which shows the boy that Buffy likes accepting the danger that comes with her, only to have her decide that she doesn't want to be with him. This episode is good with all of the twist and turns.moreless