Buffy Anne Summers
Alexander 'Xander' Harris
Principal Robin Wood
When Dawn and Buffy are walking in to the high school for the first time Dawn says:
"You know, I don't really think it's fair for you to try and scare me on my first day of high school. 'Cause it is so redundant."
However, in the episode from season six Dawn mentions that she is already in high school. A possible explanation for this is that Dawn was actually referring to her first day that new high school.
Buffy mentions to Dawn that on her first time out, she missed the heart, like Dawn had just done. This is a callback to the Season Two episode Becoming Part 1, in which we see a flashback of Buffy's first patrol.
When Buffy, Xander and Dawn are in Buffy's house together before they head off to school, Sarah Michelle Gellar's tattoo is briefly visible.
In the final scene with Spike his hair is stringy with visible black roots, but when Adam and the Mayor look at him his hair is neat with no sign of dark roots.
When Dawn and Kit fall through the restroom floor the resulting hole is narrow in the middle. When Buffy comes in the hole is now an oval of even width.
In the first scene with Buffy and Xander two of Sarah's tattoos can be seen, one on her left hip and another in the small of her back. They are visible a few more times in the episode, especially as she is leaving Spike's room in the basement to look for Dawn. The tattoos are so obvious that their exposure can't just be a mistake.
On the other hand, there are times when they should be seen but aren't. That's because the scenes involve Buffy's stunt double.
When Buffy arrives to Dawn in the basement she is wearing heels. When she is fighting the ghosts she has brown trainers on.
At the final scene, Drusilla/First clearly touches Spike's hair.
When The Master is talking to Spike is that supposed to be light coming from the corner? And if it is why is there a window there, in the basement?
Buffy: You could still drop out. Only nerds finish high school.
Dawn: You know, I don't really think it's fair for you to try and scare me on my first day of high school, because it's so redundant.
Buffy: Where's my sister?
Dead Janitor: I think she's lost.
Buffy: If I'm the one who let you die, why take it out on her? I'm right here. C'mon, what are you after? Fear? Revenge? Tasty brains?
Dead Nerd: I think I'd like Dawn to be my girlfriend.
Buffy: Again, wrong sister. I'm the one that dates dead guys. And, no offense, but they were hotties. I mean, I'm sure you had a great personality.
Xander: How exactly do you "make" cereal?
Buffy: Ah. You put the box near the milk. I saw it on the Food Channel.
Buffy: You're a little girl.
Buffy: Little woman.
Dawn: I'm taller than you!
Buffy: Do I have mom hair?
Buffy: If at first you don't succeed, cheat.
Dawn: (about a vampire about to come out of a grave) But, he's new. He doesn't know his strength. He might not know those fancy martial art skills they inevitably seem to pick up.
Buffy: He's a vampire. Okay? Demon? Preternaturally strong, skilled with powers no human could possibly ever-
Vampire: (trying to get out of his grave) Excuse me. I think I'm stuck.
Buffy: You're stuck?
Vampire: I think my foot's stuck on a root or something. I don't even know how I got down there. If you girls could just give me a hand...
Dawn: So, he's got the power, huh?
Willow: When you brought me here I thought it was to kill me, or to lock me in some mystical dungeon for all eternity, or with the torture, but instead you go all Dumbledore on me.
Willow: Is there anything you don't know everything about?
Giles: Synchronized swimming. Complete mystery to me.
Giles: Do you want to be punished?
Willow: I want to be Willow.
Giles: You are. In the end we all are who we are... no matter how much we may appear to have changed.
(Dawn is introducing herself to her classmates)
Dawn: I love to dance, I like music, I'm very into Britney Spears' early work, before she sold out, so mostly her finger painting and macaroni art. Very underrated. Favorite activities include not ever having to do this again, and um...
Spike: (loudly, seemingly to no-one) Don't you think I'm trying! (quieter) I'm not fast...I'm not a quick study. I dropped my board in the water and the chalk all ran. She already came. (laughs) Should've seen that coming.
Buffy: Duck? There's a duck?
(Baddie hits her from behind)
Warren: Of course, she won't understand, Sparky. I'm beyond her understanding. She's a girl. Sugar and spice and everything...else that's useless unless you're baking. I'm more than that. More than flesh...
Glory: ...More than blood, I'm--You know I honestly don't think there's a word fabulous enough for me. Oh, my name will be on everyone's lips, assuming their lips haven't been torn off. But not just yet. That's all right, though...
Adam: ...I can be patient. Everything is well within parameters. She's exactly where I want her to be. And so are you, Number 17. You're right where you belong...
Mayor Wilkins: ...So, what'd you think, you'd get your soul back and everything would be Jim Dandy? A soul is slippier than a greased weasel. Why do you think I sold mine? Well, you probably thought that you'd be your own man. And I respect that. But you...
Drusilla: ...never will. You'll always be mine. You'll always be in the dark with me, singing our little songs. You like our little songs, don't you? You've always like them, right from the beginning. And that's where we're going...
The Master: ...Right back to the beginning. Not the bang...not the word...the true beginning. The next few months are going to be quite a ride, and I think we're all going to learn something about ourselves in the process. You'll learn you're a pathetic schmuck, if it hasn't sunk in already. Look at you. Tried to do what's right. Just like her. You still don't get it. It's not about right. Not about wrong...
Buffy: ...It's about power.
Dawn: I had a plan.
Buffy: Oh yeah.
Creater Joss Whedon calls the fighting style with the bricks in the purse "Bag-fu".
Michelle Trachtenberg chose the sweater she was going to wear for her scenes at school. She later regreted the decision when it turned out to be 110 degrees for the exterior shots on location. Not a surprise, since her blood and other body fluids should begin to boil at 100 degrees!
The graveyard where Buffy is teaching Dawn how to fight is actually an indoor graveyard that was created due to poor weather.
The scenes in Istabul at the start of the episode were filmed in the Universal Studios backlot.
The First's plans seem to require a vampire with a soul. It appears to Angel in Season 3 and, having failed to take control of him, it vanishes for the rest of the series until another vampire with a soul, Spike, shows up in Sunnydale. It then goes on to partially take control of Spike with the same mixture of guilt and temptation that it tried to use with Angel.
This marks Juliet Landau's return to the series. Her last appearence was in Season 5's "Crush". But she only appears as the First Evil in this episode.
Principal Wood opens the brand-new Sunnydale High on the ground upon which it first stood.
This is the only time in the entire series where a season premiere has no cast changes in the opening titles. The series regulars remain the same as last season's.
The last few lines of the speech given by The First are almost identical to lines spoken by Holland in the Angel episode "Blind Date" when he says "It's not about good and evil. It's about who wields the most power."
With this episode, Joss becomes the only person to write at least one episode in every season of Buffy.
Halfrek makes mention of a Mrs. Czolgosz as part of Anya's vengeance history. In the season 4 episode, "Superstar", Anya told Buffy that she made someone fall in love with president McKinley. William McKinley was killed September 6, 1901 by a man named Leon Czolgosz. In the commentary, Joss says that even Jane Espenson didn't get the reference.
In the cemetery scene at the beginning of the episode, Buffy tells the vampire that if he wants blood he can have Dawn's. Wesley does the (almost) exact thing with Faith in Angel 4x13 "Salvage".
The First has a different morphing sequence than from what it had in "Amends" (Season 3). Now it directly transforms into the person it wants without the black fog animation.
The final image of Buffy in the opening credits is actually an image from this episode of The First as Buffy.
The principal got his name because Joss wasn't sure whether they would have a male or female principal, so they chose a name that could be for both.
Kali Rocha's (Halfrek) appearance in this episode was filmed on the same day as all her other season seven appearances.
The characters Kit and Carlos were going to be used as main characters if there were to be a Dawn spin-off. They would be like the new Xander and Willow.
This is the first episode ever of Buffy that David Greenwalt is uncredited and does not officially work on. Since the show's inception he had been a part of the show in one way or another until this episode and the rest of the final season. It is likely that he contributed to the season in some form, since he still worked with Joss Whedon on the spin-off Angel this year and must've had a part in the Buffy finale.
Buffy makes a reference about the two previous Sunnydale High Principals being eaten (Principal Flutie in "The Pack" and Snyder in "Graduation Day (2)").
Back to the Beginning Reference: Buffy goes back to Sunnydale High, this time as an employee.
A new book has been published entitled "Chosen" which follows the story of the events in this season starting with this episode, right out to the final episode "Chosen".
Mark Metcalf (The Master), George Hertzberg (Adam), and Clare Kramer (Glory) all reprise their villainous roles for the final time in the Buffy series. All three characters were originally intended to return again by the end of the season, but they were unable to make their schedule work with Joss's.
Adam/The First refers to Spike as "Number 17". This is a reference to The Initiative, who called Spike "Hostile 17".
There were going to be more scenes in England, but bad weather interrupted the filming.
Alex Breckenridge, the actress that played Kit, appeared in the 2002 movie Vampire Clan, based on the 1996 true story of a group of teenagers who believed they were vampires.
The house and the horse that appear in the England scenes both belong to Anthony Stewart Head.
The Hellmouth is now under the Office of Robin Wood.
All the previous Big Bads appear at the conclusion to this episode, (In reverse order of when they first appeared):
Warren, Glory, Adam, Mayor Wilkins III, Drusilla and The Master. Their names were omitted from the guest stars list so not to spoil the ending.
The scene with the morphing entity who torments Spike is very reminiscent of the episode "Amends," in which The First Evil appears to Angel as his victims.
Apparently, Xander bought a new car because the previous one was destroyed by Willow in Season 6 finale.
The First/Warren: She's a girl. Sugar and spice and everything...else that's useless unless you're baking.
Warren/The First is referring to an old nursery rhyme:
What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails,
That's what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice, and everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.
Buffy: Here endeth the lesson.
The phrase "Here endeth the lesson" is part of the Anglican church service. Millions of people have heard it once a week, every week of their lives. Hence in other contexts it is used to suggest that the lesson you have just received is comparable to the word of God.
The phrase occurs widely. Sean Connery's character says it in The Untouchables (1987). The Master says it in Never Kill a Boy on the First Date. Spike says it in Fool for Love.
Halfrek: Oh look at them with the shiny happiness.
Shiny Happy People is the title of a song on the Out of Time album from the band R.E.M.
Dawn: Check out Double-Oh-Xander.
James Bond 007 is the British Secret Agent created by Ian Fleming. It is not the first time that 007 has been referred to; in Fear, Itself, Xander dressed up as James Bond, and Wesley was compared to Bond (or more specifically, Pierce Brosnan) by both Xander and Cordelia in Season 3. The Trio in season 6 keeps arguing about who is the best James Bond of Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Timothy Dalton.
Giles: You sound like Miss Harkness.
Years ago in Fantastic Four comics, there was a witch named Miss Harkness. Miss Harkness's first name was Agatha, and she trained Wanda Maximoff, also known as the Scarlet Witch. Wanda & her brother Peitro (aka Quicksilver) are the children of Magneto, the X-Men's archenemy. She was also the Nanny of Franklin Richards, son of Sue and Reed Richards of the Fantastic four.
The Master: Not the Bang. Not the Word. The true beginning.
The Master appears to be refering to the "Big Bang" of cosmology and to the "Word" of the opening line of the Gospel of John, ("In the beginning was the Word....").
Willow: When you brought me here I thought it was to kill me, or to lock me in some mystical dungeon for all eternity, or with the torture, but instead you go all Dumbledore on me."
Albus Dumbledore is the sorcerer who is headmaster of Hogwarts Academy in the Harry Potter series of books by J.K. Rowling. The character was played by the late Richard Harris in the first two film adaptations, and by Michael Gambon in the rest.
Dawn: I know! You never know what's coming, the stake is not the power, to serve man is a cookbook, I love you! Go away!
"To Serve Man" is the title of an episode of the classic anthology series The Twilight Zone. In the episode, aliens come to earth, offering help. A book, which was written in an alien language, was decoded and was found named "To Serve Man". They thought this meant that this was a book on helping humankind, but it wasn't until they were on the ship that they realized that it was really a cookbook, and they were the main course.
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