Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 1 Episode 10

Nightmares

6
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM May 12, 1997 on The WB
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (37)

8.7
out of 10
Average
840 votes
  • "Nightmares"

    8.5
    I noted that the problem with "I Robot, You Jane" was that the episode had about a half-dozen potentially good ideas, and wasted nearly every one of them. This week, with "Nightmares," we have the case of an episode with a premise that doesn't seem initially like much more than an uninspired rehash of A Nightmare On Elm Street, but ends up going far deeper than expected. And yet it was still a mild disappointment to me, for reasons I'll get to shortly.



    First the plot, which is all about nightmares coming to life. Xander literally shows up in class in his underwear; Willow has to perform an opera before an auditorium full of people; Giles loses his ability to read, and imagines that his ineptitude has led Buffy to get vampire-ized by The Master; and Cordeliawell, she has frizzy hair. All of these waking dreams have one recurring character: Billy, a little leaguer who's been in a coma ever since his coach knocked him unconscious in retaliation for Billy blowing the big game. Once Billy regains consciousness and confronts his fear of "the ugly man", a new day dawns and everything's sunny in Sunnydale again.



    My problems with "Nightmares" are as elusive as, well, nightmares themselves. For one, I don't think the performances are uniformly strong. Sarah Michelle Gellar has one heartbreaking moment when she talks with her dadmore on that in a momentbut by and large this is kind of an off episode for her and for the rest of the cast, as they either underplay or overplay the script's most dramatic moments. That script felt a little shapeless to me too, tying itself into knots trying to explain a strange phenomenon that could've easily have been left vague and mysterious. There's just an overallslackness to this episode that keeps it from entering the pantheon.



    Which is too bad, because while the presentation is poor, the dish itself is sublime. "Nightmares" signals its intentions in one of its earliest scenes, as Buffy and the gang sit in class and learn about "active listening," and humanity's "fundamental need to be It's no accident then that so many of the characters' nightmares have to do with communication and attention, and that the episode's most powerful scene involves Buffy being told by her nightmare-dad that, "You're sullen and rude and you're not nearly as bright as we wanted you to be," and that she's responsible for her parent's divorce.



    Any TV or movie character can have a nightmare about a killer clown; it's the specificity of the nightmares in this episode that makes it so powerful. In one of the scenarios, The Master riffs on Disney by chirping "a dream is a wish your heart makes," and that line isn't just a joke. It's possible that Willow craves attention as much as she fears it, and that Xander really likes looking exposed and vulnerable in front of the whole school, and that Buffy would rather her parents and friends see her as a bad seed instead of a troubled savior.



    In a way, "Nightmares" cannily subverts the Nightmare On Elm Street concept from its very first scene, in which Buffy is awakened from a bad dream by her mom, who tells her it's time for school. But as we know from the first nine episodes of this series, school in Sunnydale offers no respite from nightmares. From catty popular girls to literal monsters, the high school world in Buffy is as terrifying as anything our subconscious can spit up.
  • Nightmares

    7.0
    "Nightmares" has some core problems, but is partially saved by several really great scenes. On one hand we get some real character gems from Buffy in the form of insight, emotion, and foreshadowing. On the other hand we have a premise that fails to live up to its potential and a pretty poor, heavy-handed plot with no real thematic gravitas or relevance to much of anything. The former certainly sticks around in my mind more than the latter, but I can't let that disguise how irrelevant the episode really is beyond said gems.



    There are some really compelling scenes surrounding Buffy in "Nightmares" and it wastes no time in getting to them. The opening nightmare itself sports a nice dose of foreshadowing while simultaneously recalling the mission statement of the show, despite the usual poor music and the Master actually hissing at Buffy. We see Buffy finding her way down into the Master's lair as he skulks around in the shadows. He comes up behind her and paralyzes her with his gaze as he goes in for the bite. This is almost exactly what actually happens in "Prophecy Girl" [1x12] and is a great way to remind us of the prophetic lineage and mysticism that's always swirling around our complex hero. It also serves as a nice prologue to what happens within "Nightmares" itself.



    With Buffy hollering "no no no" to the literal horrors that await her, Joyce's awakening response of "yes, it's time to go to school" is a nice callback to the central theme and recurring metaphor of the season: high school is hell. An additional welcome touch is the post-credits scene with the Master (about controlling fear) that begins in his tomb and slowly rises up through the ground and into the daylight where we see the high school. Note how this is the exact reverse of a similar scene in "Welcome to the Hellmouth" [1x01] where we start in the daylight and then slowly pan downward through the ground to uncover the Hellmouth itself. The earlier scene hints at the danger (and metaphors) that lurk below, while the scene here in "Nightmares" hints at that very danger rising to the surface and invading the world above which it, at least temporarily, very much does.



    There's a truly cathartic moment, for those of us who have full knowledge of the show to come, later in the episode where the Scoobies, sans Buffy, notice that there's suddenly a cemetery across the street from the school and it's nighttime over there. It's not only one of the sweetest-looking effects the season has, but it's also a moment that strikes me both emotionally and symbolically. It alludes to the separation that exists between Buffy's world and that of the other Scoobies. Buffy's always drenched in darkness despite her struggle to embrace the light. This reality will always, to an extent, lead to a separation between her, her friends, and the world around her, all of which informs her sense of loneliness and craving for human connection. As this scene evolves, we see the Scoobies try to enter Buffy's world only to want to immediately leave it, what with Buffy initially appearing dead and then rising as a vampire. While her friends are there to pull her out of the grave (hello "Bargaining Pt. 1" [6x01]) to face a depressing reality (in this case, being a vampire, in S6's case, depression itself), Buffy has already had to face the Master alone and died (hello "Prophecy Girl" [1x12]).



    Earlier in "Nightmares" there are some interesting insecurities unearthed about Buffy's relationship with her dad, which become increasingly important as the series progresses. Early in the episode Willow and Buffy have a conversation about the divorce of Buffy's parents. It's immediately clear that this is a big sore spot for Buffy, one that will not heal anytime soon (and it doesn't). We see that she fears her dad won't show up for their weekend outing and that her personal instability at the time contributed to why her parents got divorced. The scene later, with her nightmare dad, shows that she's also not entirely sure her dad wants to spend time with her. This scene is particularly rough to watch, mostly due to Gellar's ability to suck me into the emotion of the moment. It's heart-breaking to see Buffy's peppy excitement turned upside-down. Even sadder, though, is the knowledge that some of her fears are actually justified -- we see her dad really douche-it-up in the future.



    Interesting to note is Buffy telling Willow that, back when she found out she was the Slayer, "I was in so much trouble. I was a big mess." This tidbit, in conjunction with Joyce's words to Buffy in "Becoming Pt. 2" [2x22], make the future knowledge that Buffy was briefly in a mental hospital ("Normal Again" [6x17]) all that much more believable for me.



    While one would think an episode titled "Nightmares" would inspire relevant insight into most of the major characters, it sadly only does for Buffy in what begins as surface fears (being unprepared for a history exam), evolves to life fears (all the stuff surrounding her dad), and then climaxes with primal fears (the Master rising, being buried alive, and turning into a vampire). If only that logical progression had also been applied to someone else! Instead, we only get mostly surface-y stuff for Willow, Xander, Giles, and Cordelia.



    Willow's sole nightmare here is that she has to perform in front of an audience, thus exposing her inherent insecurities. As funny as this is, it was hinted at already in the end-credits scene of "The Puppet Show" [1x09]. Xander's nightmare goes from walking into class without his clothes on (even though he's clearly in fine shape) to clowns and Nazi symbols on the walls. Giles gets a bit more ranging from getting lost in the stacks to losing the ability to read (which makes "Something Blue" [4x09] even funnier) to seeing his charge (Buffy) dead. Cordelia.... well, apparently Cordelia's deepest fears are having a bad hair day and being forced into the chess club, even though the depth she reveals in "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" [1x11] shows there's obviously more going on there. The major problem with all this is that these nightmares don't really tell us anything new about their respective characters. Where Buffy's are truly insightful, everyone else's nightmares are disappointingly superficial.



    Sadly, the plot of "Nightmares" doesn't fare much better than the characters. Whereas most Buffy plots are supernatural metaphors for real-life problems, the plot here ends up being a straight-forward tale of a random man beating up a random kid in anger. Beyond the plot being poorly drawn and its resolution being ham-fisted, how is this relevant to either the characters or the larger story? The theme of the episode seems to be the effect one's fears have on those around them, but this theme is very poorly sewn into the episode and doesn't resonate at all. The finer details of the plot are pretty shoddy too, what with the lame "Ugly Man" bumbling around hollering "Lucky 19." Contrast all this with the similar but vastly superior "Fear, Itself" [4x04] in S4, where the plot and theme are clearly drawn and exist to serve the characters rather than to make a heavy-handed statement that doesn't have resonance or relevance.



    There's material surrounding Buffy to admire in "Nightmares," some of which proves to be surprisingly meaningful and potent in the seasons to come it's these scenes that hold the episode up. Unfortunately, there is almost just as much to be frustrated by. The episode is centered on a plot that is completely irrelevant, the byproduct of which give us nightmare sequences that are fun to watch but also largely uninteresting. While I love the episode's meaningful moments, they just simply don't connect well to what's actually happening in the episode itself. "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" [1x05], flawed as it is, is a better example of a plot with a coherent message that consists of both thematic and character relevance from start to finish. It's disappointing that "Nightmares" couldn't follow suit.
  • Great stuff!

    8.0
    The Good;

    Buffy's dreams of the Master are truly terrifying as is his burying her alive which of course she'll experience for real in Bargaining. Giles' fear of not being able to read and Buffy dying are also excellent. Willow's stagefright and Cordy joining the chess club/bad hair brigade are utterly hilarious. It rather reminded me of the ep of Sabrina;TTW where Sabrina places a spell on her arch enemy Libby the haughty cheerleader turning her into a nerd only for Libby to become Queen of the nerds and start mocking the less clever. Semi-naked Nic Brendon who in the great comedy tradition wears embarassing boxer shorts. Some great CGI giant wasps. The Joyce/Buffy scenes. The tough guy whose mum turns up at school (don't know who he is but he resembles a character from Grease?)



    The Bad;

    The scene with Buffy and her dad is just too cruel. Apart from that, not much.



    Best line;

    Almost Xander's; Your balloon animals were pathetic!

    But the winner is Joyce; Your father loves you dear but no more than I do



    Observations and questions;

    Xander suffers clourophobia (fear of clowns) whilst Willow suffers arachnaphobia (although she faces down a giant spider in season 7). He also fancies a teacher called Miss Tishler demonstrating his fondness for older women again. Willow says that there is marital tension in her House (and as we later learn in Xander's also). The Master says he met the last Slayer, did he kill her?

    Here we have confirmation that Buffy was born in 1981 and is 15 turning 16 in this ep (so shame on you if you fancied her up to this point ) This begins the long tradition of disasterous birthdays for Buffy. First appearance of Hank Summers in the show. The only time we'll ever see Buffy as a vamp but she's still Buffy. You wonder if this is because it's just a nightmare and she's not truly been sired or even if a Slayer becomes a vamp that they're not evil, they're still the Slayer?

    Great ep, 8 and half out of 10 again

  • You were a lousy clown! Your balloon animals were pathetic! Everyone can make a giraffe!

    9.5

    This episode is one of the most original episodes that comes from Buffy, which is saying something, I'm pretty sure that a little boy getting beaten by his little league coach and being put into a coma, bringing the nightmare world alive is pretty original. This episode also shows some revealing things about the core four, such as Willow's stage fright, Xander's fear of clowns, Buffy's fear of being alive and becoming evil, and Giles' fear of losing Buffy, and how all of their fears can coincide with each other. It's also the first time that Buffy and the Master meet, and it foreshadows The Master easily beating Buffy, and then her coming back from the dead. Where's Paul Reveire when you need him, "The apocalypse is coming, the apocalypse is coming!"

  • Buffy is worried about an impending visit from her father, but soon has more to worry about when the nightmares of the students of Sunnydale High start coming to life. A filler episode; I'm the odd one out here – my least fave ep of the first season...

    5.5
    This review contains spoilers.

    Okay, I'll put my hands up straight away on this one – I'm seemingly the only person who didn't particularly like this episode.
    Reading the other reviews, I'm pretty amazed – everyone seems to have found it wonderful, some citing it as a "classic" and even "the best of the first season". But personally, I found it to be a knocked-together filler episode, with little of real interest.
    So I know straight away I'm the odd one out here; but part of the appeal of 'Buffy' is that it has different episodes for different tastes, so I'll run down why this one didn't work for me.

    First things first, this is one of the numerous first season episodes not to feature Angel, but it does at least feature the Master (who, on hindsight, was maybe underused through the series to build up to inevitable season finale showdown). Buffy even gets to finally meet him in this one. Sort of. Or was it a dream? More on this in a bit.

    This one just cries to me of a last minute "We need an extra episode to bump up the count. Hey, let's do something about people's nightmares!". Which could be fun. If it were given the usual BtVS unique spin. But for the bulk of this one, the characters just seem to wander around from one nightmare to the next, with little real structure of the story, other than the realisation that it all revolves around Billy, the young boy in the coma.

    Now I'll confess something embarrassing: When I first watched this episode, on BBC Two way back when (about 1999ish), it took me a great portion of the episode to work out that Billy wasn't in fact Collin, "The Anointed One". I thought it was all part of some plot by the Master; I didn't work out until later on that Billy was a different person! Okay, I was young and not paying full attention, but they certainly do look similar.

    Anyway, back on course, I'll say again how *amazed* I am how popular this episode actually is. Although some deride them, I personally even like things such as (the much knocked) "Me Robot, You Jane", or "Teacher's Pet" over this episode; at least they had intriguing plots. For me, just watching characters "walk around in nightmares" for 45 minutes got a little tiring after a while, I'm afraid.

    There are some fair moments, although I'm a little lost why some deem this story to be "hilarious". Willow being thrust on stage for a performance she doesn't know the words to (the weird noise that comes out of her mouth is very funny), and, of course, Buffy being buried alive and coming back as a vampire. But these are good moments too few and far between; the concept needed more of a structure to pull it all together. And why did it all centre around the Highschool (and oddly, a cemetery that had appeared across the street)? As far as we know, Billy didn't even attend there. Why did it not affect a larger area of Sunnydale?

    That thing I mentioned with the Master earlier... well that's another niggle. It is never explained what is real and what was an illusion (i.e. never happened) at the conclusion of the story, and who does and who doesn't remember what from it. Buffy and co. seem to recall it all, but Buffy's father arrives as if nothing happened, so presumably he was just an illusion earlier? We are never given any clue as to who else remembers what, including if Buffy did in fact meet the Master or not.

    Well, I think you get the idea. Sadly, not one of my favourite episodes; in fact, possibly my least favourite of all, up until the sadly much weaker sixth season. It just reeks of a filler instalment to me, with some unanswered plot questions, and personally has little re-view value. I hadn't seen the first season for quite a while, and thought previously that "The Pack" may have been my least favourite episode from season one, but "Nightmares" sadly takes that award hands down. I know I'm gonna really get some "disagree" votes for this, but sadly, I can only bring myself to give "Nightmares" a *much* lower than usual 5.5.
  • Buffy Kruger

    6.0
    So this is all about dreams and bad things happening to people.

    We get to see what the characters are afraid of,
    spiders, being naked in class, singing in front o f a crowd.

    There was a good oppurunity here for character development. but it was skipped for a weird looking guy with an arm that looked like it came from an octopus. If you ever want to see good example of an episode like this that has some one in a coma and creating dreams. watch the fairy tail episode in season 3 of Supernatural. Now that was awesome.

    At least the Master got to get out of the cage fora bit.
  • Season 1, Episode 10.

    9.0
    Not a bad episode at all. Buffy's dad is supposed to come! Woohoo! The spiders being released were weird. It was mad creepy. I think Wendell is weird. Frankly, I don't care if spiders are arachnids or insects. The students' nightmares begin coming true. Yikes! I wish some of my dreams came true, just not my nightmares. How did Buffy do bad in history if she was barely in class? Well, whatever. The point is, the episode was enjoyable, which is important, especially since it's nearing the end of the season. It took me a while to realize that Buffy's nightmare was failing a history test. Anyway, good episode! :)
  • Good filler episode

    8.0
    I really like this episode even though I don't rewatch it very often. It is a good story, and there are good elements to the episode, but it doesn't have much to do with any story arcs in the series. The thing that I most remember about this episode is seeing Buffy as a Vampire. Of all the nightmares that came true in the episode, that was the coolest. The rest of the nightmares are OK, and even comical at times. Buffy's nightmare at the beginning of the episode involving her in the Master's lair seems to deliberately foreshadow the season finale two episodes later.
  • The fears and nightmares of Sunnydale citizens start actually transpiring.

    2.0
    Another disappointing Season One episode. This episode had a great concept that just didn't follow through. Nightmares should have been an excellent character study, however instead the writers went for cheap laughs involving clowns and spiders. David Greenwalt (normally a flawless writer) had the opportunity to let the characters "nightmares" portray their deepest fears and insecurities. Fortunately, this episode was essentially remade in Season Four with the far more satisfying instalments "Fear Itself" and "Restless". Sarah Michelle Gellar and Anthony Stewart Head do fantastic work (as per usual) with a patchy and uneven script. Overall an unsatisfying episode that can easily be skipped altogether.
  • I had a dream and you were there and you!

    9.0
    "Nightmares" is another consistently awesome first season episode of Buffy. The episode was actually very cleverly plotted and well executed. I loved who it all tied up. The dreams where funny and scary and The Master was great in this episode. Buffy was very good in this episode as was Willow. I enjoyed Giles but was in laughter and joy with Xander and his dream and the killer clown. It was all very surreal yet funny. Overall Buffy continues to excel as a great TV program in its first season and this episode was pivotal for it should just what kind of cool, scary, funny show Buffy can be!
  • Buffy and the gang, and all the students at Sunndale High nightmares come to life.

    10
    This episode was really great. It was the best episode in season one. I like the idea of a boy who falls into a coma and can brings nightmares into reality. The funniest nightmare had to be Xander's. It was so funny whe he was picking up all those chocolates. I liked Willow's dream because of the whole stage freight thing. In "Restless" and "Once More, With Feeling" she still has stage freight. Buffy becoming a Vampire was cool. It was neat to see what she would be like if she became a vampire. I didn't like that her dad came and blamed her for her parent's divorce. Giles not being able to read was funny too.
  • Somebody Needs To Wake Up!

    9.0
    Nightmares-When strange things start happening to the students at Sunnydale High, it seems that everyone is living their worst nightmares. Buffy and the gang must hold together to stop the phenomena before reality and the nightmare world become one.

    An episode that's one of the few to stick out of averageness of the first season, "Nightmares" takes a great concept and take full adantage of it. I mean what could be more interesting than watching our characters' nightmares come true for all to see.

    The idea of Billy, play well by Jeremy Foley, falls into a coma and brings the nightmare world into reality with him brings so many possiblities to the episode. Each character has to face their nightmares or their actually kill them. Of course some nightmares are scary (the clown, yikes!) and some are just hilarious (Willow's stage fright), but some bring some depth to the characters. The best example being Buffy as her father comes to tell her she was responsible for her parents' divorce. It's a heartbreaking scene as her father is so cold and Buffy feel so helpless as it's just her falsly balming herself for being slayer is was ruined her family.

    Also, the ugly man was a creepy villain as his face look hideous and the way he moves. The scenes like where he attack that girl in the basement were intesne. I like how he was a monster manifestation of Billy's softball coach who attacked him. Other great scenes are the opening teaser with the spiders on Wendal and the Master appeared and buried Buffy only for her to come back as a vampire. The make-up designers really did well by making Sarah look vamped up as well as the special effects were better than usual. All and All, one of the best episodes with a creative plot and excellent scenes.
  • One of the better season one episodes.

    7.7
    I am re-watching Buffy and at first was not very fond of the season one, but it is growing on me slightly. Though it fails to demonstrate the brilliant show Buffy the Vampire Slayer would soon become, it is still a blast to watch. The show was just as intelligent as ever, too and there are plenty of funny gags and references to keep you entertained. In this episode we get to see what some of our characters innermost fears and nightmares are. Some of them are funny, like Xander’s fears of being at school in his underwear or being chased by a killer clown. Others are rather creepy like Buffy being buried alive by The Master or turning into a vampire. This actually helps to develop the characters even better, something which was rare in season one. When the show gets going, character development is one of its strong points and this is an early sign of what is to come in the future. I was not fond of this episode upon first viewing, but over time it has grown to be one of the better season one episodes.
  • Everyone's nightmares are coming true!!!

    8.9
    This was yet another fantastic episode of Buffy. Everyone's nightmares coming true was really terrifying.

    The beginning was kinda normal or as normal as Buffy can ever be but the spiders crawling out of that guys book freaked me out .

    I found some of their nightmares amusing like Giles getting lost in the stacks and Xander coming to class in his underwear and that guy whose mom showed up and embarressed him in the hallway but the others were very frightful and creepy. Buffy being buried alive and her dad telling her that it was her fault that he and Joyce spilt up was sad and vampire Buffy was just creepy. Giles not being able to read was so weird!

    The little kid Billy getting beat up by his kiddie league coach was sad.

    I'm glad that everything went back to normal at the end.
  • Lol...kind of a dream sequence, 'cept the dreams are coming true and BTW...it's nightmares.

    10
    A boy named "Billy" is in a coma and because out the Hellmouth, the nightmare realm is beginning to collide with the real world and everyone's nightmares are coming true! Buffy must wake Billy up before the whole world becomes the nightmare realm. So we learn some of the characters worst nightmares they have, and Xander's silly nightmare showing up to class without his clothing and only his underwear! lol!! I think any Buffy fan will enjoy this episode.
  • The world's nightmares come to life.

    9.7
    This episode shows us that not everything is cause by monsters. This episode is based around an un-supernatural occurence which has turned nasty as it has happened on the hellmouth.

    We see all the gangs worst nightmares and it is a pivotal part for Buffy and Giles as it teaches them that they should share their dreams wih each other. Buffy is buriedalive, becomes a vampire and is hated by her dad, its amazing that she is still going at the end of the day.

    Willow and Xander have slightly less thrilling nightmares but they are important none the less as they show how Willow is a self concious person and how Xander isn't phased by the ordinary.

    It would have been interesting to see Angel's nightmares.
  • A dream is a wish your heart makes....

    9.7
    Everyone in Sunnydale's nightmares are comming true, and it's hilarious. It firststarts out with this kid who is attacked by spiders. Then Giles can't read and it all goes down hill from there. Buffy doesn't even write her name on her test and her dad tells her she's the reason her parents split up. Then she's burried alive and turns into a vampire, all of her nightmares. Xander is allmost naked in front of the class and he is chased by a clown. Willow is on stage and has to sing, but she can't. It was so funny when Cordelia turned all ugly, she really had it comming. Then they woke up the kid in a coma and everything went back to normal. It turns out his baseball coach attacked him because his team lost the game. This episode was really good and funny.
  • Billy is beaten into a comma and sends the world into a state where their nightmares become reality. There is a "monster" but it is really a form of the person who put billy into a coma.

    10
    This is one of my favourite episodes from the first season. We are introduced to non monster episode where Buffy can't fight the person/thing responsible for the reality change, she needs to talk Billy into confronting his fears, which is his little league coach who put him into a coma after losing a game. I love how Xander still has a fear of Clowns, and Willow at the opera. And it's very funny when Xander loses his clothes mysteriously. I love when Xander says " Thanks a bunch Billy ". That's one of Xander' funniest quotes in my opinion, just the way he says it without even knowing who Billy is. Anyways very good episode like all other Buffy episodes so WATCH IT!!
  • Poor Billy

    9.4
    Another fabulous first season episode. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live your worst nightmares then you got to live it through this episode. Thanks to the little boy Billy, who is in a coma, everyone finds themself in a waking nightmare. Some hilarious scenes as we get to follow Xander in his underwear to class, and then getting attacked by the clown from his childhood birthday party. We get to see Willow performing opera onstage, and she is mortified. We get to see Cordelia as a huge nerd, which was my favorite. Giles gets lost in the library stacks. Last but not least, Buffy gets buried alive and is a vampire. Luckily the gang is able to awaken Billy and find the bad guy who beat him into a coma in the first place...his lousy coach.
  • Buffy and the gang experience nightmares that could become reality if not stopped...

    10
    This episode is one of my favorites. It's cool that we got the chance to say everyones worst nightmares. I couldn't stop laughing when I saw what Xander's worst nightmare was! I can't believe he's afraid of some clown from a past birthday party! It was funny to see him fall for the trap the clown set and eat all the chocolate bars, lol. Some of the nightmares were scary though. I didn't like Buffy's. I'm claustrophobic, so I didn't like the fact that she was buried alive. I also didn't care for Willow's nightmare. I'm really shy and I don't like to get up in front of a class, let alone a crowd. Seeing that part of the episode brought back bad memories for me. Other than that, this episode was really good.
  • A little boy is in a coma, and because of that, people's worst nightmares become reality

    8.7
    I really like this episode. The writers of this show know how to make it seem like a real dream, which they also proved in season 4 - Restless. I loved the part where willow is afraid to sing and all she produces is a squeal. Also, it's the only episode where we get to see vampire Buffy. It doesn't add to the whole Master storyline, although he does appear in the episode, but it's definitely fun to watch and it's my favorite season one episode. I would recommend it to anyone who is watching season one, it's really funny :)
  • I had nightmares after watching this episode myself!

    8.5
    Wow, this was a powerful episode. I kind of new from the beginning what was happening, but the motivation for the nightmares was a surprise, and when I found out what the antagonist was for this kids nightmares, I wanted to help him beat the ^&^)^%% out of that moron. Truly a strong and fine example of the direction this series could easily take and not skip a beat. The thing that really stood out to me was the scene when the kid finally fights back...the expression on his face was so chilling...it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and take notice!
  • 'If there's something bad out there we'll find, you'll slay, we'll party!'

    9.3

    ‘Nightmares’ was a great episode, directing was excellent and the nightmares coming to life couldn’t have been better. The only ‘big’ problem was Lucky 19, the ugly man. He looked very lame and goes into history as probably the worst demon on the series.

    But besides that, the episode was great and worked very wel.

    It begins with Buffy going to haunt and kill The Master, but he’s too strong and wins. Then Buffy wakes up, her dad is coming this weekend and she has fear that he will ditch her.

    In the classroom, the weirdness begins. A guy opens a book and spiders come out of it, everywhere. Buffy oddly sees a young boy at the door ‘Sorry about that’.

    The Master continues teaching The anointed one about fear, it can be controlled and it’s all for the best. They also feel something that is going on outside, a change for the worst.

    The Scoob’s soon begin to have their own nightmares as well, like Giles getting lost in the sacks and Buffy failing her history, the funnest was Cordy with geek hair and being taken to the chest club.

    They begin to realise about nightmares, Buffy sees the young boy after failing the test.

    When a girl goes to smoke, she gets attacked by some monster with a flat hand. He calls out for Lucky 19. in the hospital she tells Buffy and Giles, the doctor says that she came off pretty easy because the first is still in his coma.

    Meanwhile, Xander has his own nightmare where he shows up naked in school, other kids start to have their nightmares come true as well. Giles can’t read, Buffy sees in the news paper about a kid who’s in the hospital. It’s the same kid she has been seeing in school, then her dad comes to pick her up but on their way he tells her that he left mom because of her and that he’s disappointed in her and that he doesn’t want to hang out with her anymore, when he leaves she sees the kid watching everything.

    In the library, Giles tells Xander and Will that Billie brought the nightmares when he went into a coma and that they have to wake him up to stop it.

    When the gang splits, Willow arrives to a place where she sings but she totally blacks out. Xander is being chased by a clown that scared him when he was little, eventually Xander knocks out the clown and feels deliberated, but he seems to be the only one.

    When Buffy and Billie try to escape from the ugly man after being hit, they arrive in the cemetery. The Master appears and he buries Buffy alive.

    The gang find her and she comes out as a vampire, she is feeling peckish. They go to wake up Billie and there they find the ugly man, Buffy knocks him out but Billie has to finish it by destroying him. When he wakes up the kiddie league coach arrives but is busted.

    The episode was really fun, great filming and special effects. Too bad that the demon was pretty lousy, besides that it was superb.
  • A well presented episode that follows the Scoobies attempt to stop nightmares becoming becoming a frightening reality.

    8.3
    This episode revolves around bad nightmares that the Scoobies and other Sunnydale residence are having, and more importantly why these dreams seem to be spilling over into reality. Can Buffy and the gang work out what's happening before the two dimensions become one?

    This is the darkest episode in the first series. It plays on all the characters worst fears and explores them great detail. This gives each character more depth than we have ever seen, and starts to add real substance to the show. It has been well written, and I think the well presented dream (or nightmare) sequences worked brilliantly on TV.

    A great episode that starts to explore the darker, more vunerable side of Sunnydale and it's residents.
  • Buffy, the vampire.

    8.5
    This was a fun episode of Buffy, I mean how can an episode about people's nightmares coming true NOT be fun? This epsode has a nuce plot about about a boy who was attacked by his little league coach after doing bad in a game, then being in a coma making everyones dreams come true. The nightmares themselves are great, I loved Willow having to sing opera in frony of a big audience, Xander being chased by a killer clown, Cordy's bad hair day, and Buffy being a vampire. Of course there were some sad nightmares like Buffy dying and Bufy's dad telling her it was her fault they were divorced. Overall another great episode.
  • Clowns aren't that scary.

    9.2
    Why doesn’t Buffy have her hair in braids more often, Sarah looks really terrific in this hairdo in the opening dream sequence?
    This episode is a small part of the Mythology, but as I have mentioned before, the Master is a very boring character. But he becomes a little more interesting when he is above ground in Buffy’s nightmare vision.
    This is one of the many not so figuratively but literately teenage crisis episodes.
    And as always Cordelia steals the show again, as a comic relief. When the others have real horrifying nightmares Cordelia’s is as superficial as she is. Her hair has seen much better days, and her clothes are shifted into something from the “sunnier side of Sears”. To top it of she is forced into the chess club room, with all the other geeks.
  • personal favourite.

    10
    “Nightmares” is another Buffy classic that resembles the “Nightmare on Elm Street” film series. Basically everyone’s nightmares are coming true in Sunnydale, with the only common element being the appearance of a little boy. A weird monster with a sausage like arm runs round attacking people. There is a lot of character development in this story as we see all of the characters fears- Xander walks in class half naked and gets chased by a clown , Willow sings on stage, Giles forgets how to read and Buffy dies, Cordelia starts going bald and Buffy turns into a vampire. Throw in loads more nightmares, and an underlying plot of child abuse and you have another great episode. This is another personal favourite.
  • A great character episode done right.

    9.7
    We learn about the fears of our favorite characters in this episode when the Hellmouth through mystical means causes fears to become real. Two of the characters fears are played for laughs which keep the episode from being a complete downer: Xander's fear of being in his underwear in class (a common nightmare), fear of clowns (and his love of chocolate... I can SO relate!) and Willow's fear of public performance (which we also saw in The Puppet Show... nice call back to previous episodes.. another trademark of BTVS). Giles isn't dire at first, but is completely fitting for a Watcher...being lost in the library stacks and then being unable to read. Later, his fears take a darker turn when he sees Buffy grave.

    Buffy's is also at first played for laughs when she doesn't remember that there's a test in a class she doesn't remember the location of (I've had this dream) and is utterly unprepared for.

    We get a comical nightmare of Cordelia's as well when first her hair is a disaster (that is SO her) and then later is mistaken for a member of the *ulp* Chess Club. Even Willow enjoys that one.

    The meat of the episode though is in the standout emotional scene for Sarah Michelle Gellar when her father shows up to tell her why exactly he divorced her mother. And of course, we get a look at Buffy as vampire.

    The story also touches on a real life horror, the physical abuse of a child.
  • Much better than the previous two installment, with emphasis on character and a reminder of the big threat of the season.

    7.0
    The last two episodes were light in character fare, but this episode is immersed in it. Dreams are a very common narrative device, which can be effective, so long as it isn't spelling out what should be clear to an elementary school student ("Six Feet Under", I'm looking at you). "Buffy" uses dreams in context of the show occasionally, but this episode is one of the rare exceptions where dreams are the central point of the episode. The most famous instance of this is "Restless", the fourth season finale. While this one doesn't come near that one in complexity, it adds some needed depth to the show, which meandered through two mediocre episodes.

    For starters, The Master returns. As the episode is about fear, it would make sense that he shows up amongst the nightmares. With the demon in the internet and hunter puppets, it could easily be forgotten that the major vampire is still below them trying to break out. One of the bigger weaknesses of season one is that he doesn't pose much of a threat to be mentioned much in the episodes he isn't in. It also doesn't help when his two highest profile minions died some time before this episode. Future seasons would usually do better integrating the "big bad" into the season, even if they didn't play a large role in some episodes.

    It’s also worth noting that while she has visions of The Master in her dreams, this is the first time that any of the gang has actually seen The Master. Since he never goes out of game face (but The Anointed One never does for some reason), and his blood stained mouth, it would be safe for her to realize who this is.

    Buffy's dad Hank makes a rare appearance. His role in her life in this episode is different from what would eventually become the status quo. Hank is hardly the estranged father figure that he would be regarded as in future episodes, especially his absence during major events in Buffy and Joyce's lives. Makes you wonder whether this change was off camera or if they re-tinkered with his role on the show.

    This episode also touches upon Buffy's troubled past, and how she feels that affected her family life. Even if they don't know, being a parent to The Slayer is a tall order. It makes sense that she would believe that these newfound stresses intensified or created the divorce. Thankfully, I'm not a product of divorce, but kids often blame themselves for it, and Buffy has a huge reason to justify that. Maybe I'm going to hell in part for this, but Hank saying that Buffy is why his marriage failed is almost funny.

    Unfortunately, Buffy doesn't have any nightmares about her complicated relationship with Angel. In "Angel", we learned of Angel's demonic capabilities, and that he walks a thin line between redemption and his evil past. In hindsight, these would've been good to see knowing what's in store for the show in future seasons.

    It's a little thick headed for Giles not to believe that becoming a vampire herself would be among Buffy's biggest fears. It would be like being surprised that a fireman is afraid of being killed in a fire. However, it is true to his character to be slightly aloof on human matters. Also, while his nightmare of illiteracy isn't surprising, it is given an appropriate amount of screen time.

    His other one, of Buffy dying, is interwoven seamlessly with Buffy's nightmare of turning into a vampire. Unfortunately because of budget constraints, they couldn't afford some apocalyptic sequence that would represent Buffy's nightmare of failing to save the world, but that is forgivable since they didn't have a lot to work with in this episode. However, this nightmare is still a potent one for a slayer to have.

    There is plenty of opportunity for humor in nightmares, as self-absorbed kids are taken down a few pegs and our gang experience several embarrassing moments via the nightmares. Xander's nightmares focus more on embarrassment and lighter issues than his friend. His exposure in front of his peers would've probably been more mortifying if he had my physique, which would probably be more appropriate for his character. Cordelia's nightmare, turning from sexy mean queen to frumpy chess club patron, is easily the funniest bit in the episode.

    Of course, as Willow points out, separating when they go look for Buffy isn't a great idea and in many horror movies is the time when the characters are picked off individually by the menace. This time however, it gives us an avenue to see specific fears of Xander and especially Willow. The epilogue in "The Puppet Show", while it could easily be written off as some silliness for laughs, tapped into Willow's stage fright, a characteristic that is revisited occasionally on the show, and is the central point to her "Restless" dream. But what was with all those sheets of plastic in Sunnydale High?

    The cause of all this, a comatose boy projecting himself with nightmares to sneak in as well, is essentially a MacGuffin. Billy and his abusive coach beating him aren't important to the story, but what Billy's projections do is important for the characters. The Ugly Man at times comes off as a little corny rather than menacing. Is his hand a club or is he holding one?

    While this episode isn't special, it is a step up from the past two installments. Character is key, which is always good. The central menace returns to remind us of what still is at stake. It does stand pale in comparison to later explorations of these characters' minds.
  • What would happen if our nightmares became reality?

    9.5
    After Prophecy Girl this is my most favorite episode of Buffy's first season. Again it has a lot of humourn, but also action and some drama.

    Nightmares takes a boy who is in a coma who is somehow changing reality do to the mystical energy's from the Hellmouth.

    I like all the dream sequences, especially the one of Willow, something that will return later in the series. Her losing her voice when she had to sing was just funny.

    Buffy turning into a vampire was also super, this is the only time in the whole series we see her as a vampire, and even then she looks pretty. :P

    David Greenwalt did a great job on this episode, and I will not mention Vampire Buffy fighting in the sun.
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