Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 1 Episode 2

The Harvest (2)

13
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Mar 10, 1997 on The WB
8.6
out of 10
User Rating
1,002 votes
59

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Buffy rescues Willow and Xander, but Jesse is left in the hands of the vampires. Buffy no longer resists her calling, but immediately begins to plan a rescue. Because they are already involved, Giles tells Xander and Willow about vampires and demons, and that Buffy is the Slayer.
They are overwhelmed by it all, but they insist on helping Buffy. Meanwhile, Luke and the other vampires are planning to begin The Harvest, a dark ritual that will free the Master from his underground prison. Needing to slaughter innocents for the ritual, they descend upon The Bronze to feed. And only the Slayer stands in their way.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • "the Earth is doomed!" -- this line describes the whole show better that any other.

    9.0
    the second part of the pilot episode. good one, really. after it you wanna watch the next episode and figure out what other forces of darkness the characters will face. and you know, that you won't be disappointed 'coz "Buffy" is that kind of show where the drama mixes with great sense of humor even in the most tense moments -- and this episode is a great proof of it: "It's in about nine hours, moron!" even the Master -- the ugliest creature in whole epi and the Big Bad of the first season -- gives some kind of fun with his "You've got something in your eye". so it's kinda impossible not to fall in love with the show right after watching the 2-hour pilot.



    FAVE SCENE: Buffy kills Luke with "sunrise" help.



    FAVE QUOTE: Xander: I don't like vampires. I'm gonna take a stand and say they're not good.moreless
  • The cliffhanger from the last episode resolves anti-climactically.

    8.5
    To be fair, "The Harvest" is part two of two, and as it originally aired, the closing moment from "Welcome To The Hellmouth"where Buffy is about to be bitten by The Master's main man Lukewas separated from the scene where she quickly escapes by about a five-minute commercial break. Still, if I have one major complaint about the more action-packed second Buffy episode, it's that too many of the fight scenes lapse into mano-a-mano action-horror clichs, even when there's a room full of vampires surrounding a single slayer. The best action beats in "The Harvest" are leavened with humor, like when Buffy jabs a pool cue into an off-screen vampire, or when she dupes Luke at The Bronze by breaking a window and snapping, "You forgot about sunrise," causing Luke to duck and her to say, "It's in about nine hours, moron," before finishing him off.



    But all of that happens at the end. First we get a little more character development, as each player finds their appointed roles: Xander stupidly and bravely pledges to go wherever Buffy goes, Giles and Willow do research and worry, The Master belittles his underlings, Angel offers helpful info then broods off into the shadows, and Buffy tries to avoid authority figures while somewhat angrily saving the world.



    For the most part, "The Harvest" just continues what "Welcome To The Hellmouth" succeeds at, as well as what it fails at. But Episode Two does bring Xander to the forefront a little more, making the most of incredulous lines like, "We're talking about vampireswe're having a conversation with vampires in it," and "The dead rosewe should've at least have had an It also plays up the risks of being Buffy's friend, which can lead to being used as bait by the armies of the night.



    Mostly though, "The Harvest" confirms what Buffy is about in one tense scene between the heroine and her mother, who chastises her for staying out late and repeating the same patterns of behavior that got her chased out of their last town. For all the curses that plague Buffy, from the burden of being The Slayer to the demonic presences that are drawn to her, nothing seems to unnerve her more than the curse of expectation.moreless
  • Taking Chances

    8.5
    It's always risky to introduce a character as part of the group only to kill them off, but this was done with the right amount of humor that it was okay. It's also a stretch to have a two-part opener for a new series, so to pull that off without alienating the audience is a real skill. The main cast is solidified and is becoming more comfortable with each other - it's always nice to see the surprises of emerging talents, too.moreless
  • The Harvest

    6.0
    "Welcome to the Hellmouth" [1x01] largely succeeded because of its overwhelming focus on establishing the characters and setting up some of the core themes that will fuel the series at large. "The Harvest," on the other hand, doesn't really do any of that. This is a very plot-heavy episode with a plot that isn't that good. This presents a problem, which translates to a troubled episode.



    "The Harvest" is characterized by a lot of long poorly paced scenes that are trying to play off as suspenseful, but mostly come off as boring. I'm just simply not invested in the corny Luke helping the Master or whatever's going on with Jesse. Luke is talked up a bit as some kind of dangerous vampire, yet he's ultimately a pathetic fighter and more than a little dumb. On top of this, the action sequences can be generously characterized as mediocre, with the big ending action set piece being poorly directed and lifeless. Over in the library not much else of interest happens as we mostly just get a whole lot of dry exposition from Giles and Willow.



    While I clearly have some serious issues with the episode, it's fortunately not a total loss. There are some decent character beats mixed in. I enjoyed the little bit where Buffy asks Angel if he knows what it's like having friends only to get a sad non-response. That beat nicely establishes Angel's role as an outsider and gets him a bit of sympathy from both Buffy and the viewer, which becomes important when Buffy begins feeling things for the guy.



    Another bit of revealing characterization comes from Xander who, despite his better judgment (and Buffy's clear wishes), goes to help his friends out of a sense of loyalty. This loyalty will save Buffy's life in "Prophecy Girl" [1x12] and be useful many times in the future. This turns out to actually be one of Xander's best qualities.



    In the latter part of the episode Joyce essentially grounds Buffy from going out again right at the time when she has to go to save the world. Joyce says "I know. If you don't go out it'll be the end of the world. Everything is life or death when you're a sixteen-year-old girl." Beyond having amusing irony, it's also revealing of how Buffy uses metaphor. S1 of Buffy, in particular, is a series of largely stand-alone stories that toy around with the theme of high school as hell and it uses metaphor as the vehicle in which to deliver this theme. As the series progresses we see this theme and the metaphors used to serve them used more directly to evolve the characters. So this nice scene with Joyce turns out to be a nice hint of the approach to come.



    My favorite scene of the episode occurs right after the conversation between Buffy and Joyce. Buffy reaches into her closet and pulls out a big chest. After opening it we can see that the top layer is filled with all kinds of usual girlie items. After a brief pause, Buffy pulls off the top layer to reveal a secret area filled with usual slayer items. This is a wonderful moment with neat symbolic relevance. Think about how this parallels the shot, in "Welcome to the Hellmouth" [1x01], where the camera goes from the sunny surface of the high school, moves downward, goes through the dirt in the ground, and then arrives underground to reveal the danger than lurks below the sunny surface. Just like Sunnydale has two sides to it, Buffy has a complex duality in her personality an internal war between, as termed in "The Replacement" [5x03], Buffy-Buffy and Slayer-Buffy -- that will take seven years for her to fully come to understand and come to terms with. This symbolic moment here in "The Harvest" speaks to a central character dilemma.



    "The Harvest" has a few memorable character beats and a few nice moments, but in the end it's a really troubled episode that struggles to keep afloat. If the episode actually had some depth to it or had at least a little substantial character growth or had a notably stronger plot, I could see myself liking this one a notch more, but as it stands it just can't climb completely out of its own grave despite a few attempts to. It's a shame that the pilot episode couldn't finish out strong.

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  • Part 2 of the series' premiere packs a better punch

    7.5
    First of all, I'll just say that I enjoy this episode much more than the pilot, and I think it was a fine choice for them to play it afterwards on premiere night. Although the pilot is great, this episode really fills out what to expect in the series.



    "The Harvest" features its first run-in on public displays of vampires. The Bronze ends up being infested with them, and many Sunnydale teens are bit and killed in the process. Now this is some pretty exciting stuff for only being the second episode. However, everything is "back to normal" in the end because we come to find out that the residents of Sunnydale seem to have this weird selective memory disorder... It's not really mentioned, but it's there. Sometimes this bothers me, especially at the beginning, but as the series progresses, the writers find more better ways in hiding the fact that demons exist, and you tend to get used to everyone's selective memory. The only ones who seem to remember are the Scoobies (the name of the core group).



    I also have to say that this episode shows more of Xander and Willow, and it made me realize how much those two really hold the show together. Buffy is great, and so is her uptight Watcher Giles, but seeing Xander and Willow interact with one another is something to enjoy watching. Even just the conversation they had in the hallway about how Buffy will be fine going after Jesse alone, they create this comforting atmosphere that you can somehow relate to them. They are the outsiders looking in on Buffy's exciting and adventurous life, just like us. (Although Willow mostly gets more into it later on.)



    It was also very clever of the creator Joss Whedon to have this character Jesse, who people would assume to be a recurring character, end up becoming a dusted vamp by the end of its second episode. It's just another one of those twists that people won't expect, such as the opening of the pilot. It also introduces Xander's hate for all vampires, which becomes a major aspect of his character throughout the series as well.



    I do really like this episode, even more than the pilot. I especially love the ending because, although its corny, Giles lets the Scoobies (as well as the audience) know that it won't just be vampires Buffy and the gang will be fighting. Which we soon learn in the next episode.



    "The earth is doomed." - Rupert Gilesmoreless
Brian Thompson

Brian Thompson

Luke

Guest Star

Ken Lerner

Ken Lerner

Principal Flutie

Guest Star

Eric Balfour

Eric Balfour

Jesse

Guest Star

Mark Metcalf

Mark Metcalf

The Master

Recurring Role

David Boreanaz

David Boreanaz

Angel

Recurring Role

Kristine Sutherland

Kristine Sutherland

Joyce Summers

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (10)

    • Goof: Luke feeds on several people on stage at the Bronze, then lets them fall lifeless to the floor. Yet after Buffy kills Luke, an overhead shot of the stage area shows no bodies lying on the floor.

    • Goofs: In the scene where Principal Flutie stops Buffy at the school gate watch Buffy's left arm. When the camera faces Buffy, her arm is bent with her hand on her hip. When the camera is behind Buffy, her arm is straight. Also, when Buffy says "Mr. Giles", her left hand is on her hip, but is suddenly held away from her body when seen from behind.

    • In this episode when the vampires underground are after Buffy and Xander, they move very slowly, like zombies. This is one of many things that apparently changed after the pilot. In every other episode vampires are far faster, and all seem to know at least some rudimentary fighting style. Joss Whedon himself mentions this inconsistency on the DVD commentary.

    • In this episode, we learn from Giles that demons came before man.

    • Nitpick: Mr. Flutie locks a gate in an attempt to keep Buffy on school grounds. But the entire school isn't fenced in, so anyone could still leave school grounds by going around the fence or leaving by the front of the school.

    • Goof: After Buffy drops from the rafters in The Bronze onto the pool table, she cartwheels to the floor, picking up a pool cue. As she grabs it, the pool cue visibly bends.

    • Nitpick: Cordelia says that she wants to go to The Bronze because there is no cover. But we see people giving the bouncer money at the front of the club.

    • In this episode, Darla is very complacent, almost deferential towards both The Master and Luke. This seems very unlike the Darla we get to know as the series progresses.

    • When Xander accidentally stakes Jesse, his stake clearly isn't aimed for the heart.

    • Goof: When Jesse and Cordelia begin dancing, the song "Ballad for Dead Friends", by the Dashboard Prophets starts playing. Outside The Bronze, a group of vampires approach in slow motion, while the first line of the song is played. The music stops while the bouncer hassles the vampires, but once they are inside, the first line of the song plays again.

  • QUOTES (41)

    • Cordelia: So she comes running at me, screaming: "I'm gonna kill you!" I swear! She had this stick and attacked me with it!
      Boy: Who?
      Harmony: Buffy!

    • Giles: For as long as there have been vampires, there's been the Slayer. One girl in all the world, a Chosen One.
      Buffy: (to Willow and Xander) He loves doing this part.

    • Xander: Jesse, man. I'm sorry.
      Jesse: Sorry? I feel good, Xander! I feel strong! I'm connected, man, to everything! I can hear the worms in the earth!
      Xander: That's a plus.

    • Luke: (to Jesse) I thought you nothing more than a meal, boy. Congratulations, you've just been upgraded. To bait.

    • Willow: Buffy, I'm not anxious to go into a dark place full of monsters. But I do want to help. I need to.
      Giles: Well, then help me. I've been researching this Harvest affair. It seems to be some sort of preordained massacre. Rivers of blood, Hell on Earth, quite charmless. 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) That was a bit, um, British, wasn't it?
      Buffy: (smiles) Welcome to the New World.

    • Xander: Okay, so, crosses, garlic, stake through the heart.
      Buffy: That'll get it done.
      Xander: Cool! Of course, I don't actually have any of those things.
      Buffy: Good thinking.
      Xander: Well, the part of my brain that would tell me to bring that stuff is still busy telling me not to come down here.

    • Xander: You've done some beheading in your time?
      Buffy: Oh, yeah. There was this time I was pinned down by this guy that played left tackle for varsity... Well, at least he used to before he was a vampire... Anyway, he had this really, really thick neck, and all I had was a little, little Exact-O knife... (Xander laughs nervously) You're not loving this story.
      Xander: No, actually, I find it oddly comforting.

    • Harmony: Are we going to the Bronze tonight?
      Cordelia: No, we're going to the other cool place in Sunnydale. (Harmony looks confused) Of course we're going to the Bronze. Friday night? No cover?

    • Xander: We can't fight our way back through those things. What do we do?
      Jesse: I got an idea. (vamps out) You can die!

    • Master: Ah, Colin... You failed me. Tell me you're sorry.
      Colin: I'm sorry!
      Master: There. That wasn't so bad, was it? Hold on... (putting out Colin's eye) You've got something in your eye.

    • Buffy: This is really, really important.
      Joyce: I know. If you don't go out it'll be the end of the world. Everything is life or death when you're a sixteen-year-old girl.

    • Cordelia: I just am not the type to settle, you 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.

    • Angel: I knew you'd figure out this entryway sooner or later. Actually, I thought it was gonna be a little sooner.
      Buffy: Sorry you had to wait. Okay, look; if you're gonna be popping up with this cryptic wise man act on a regular basis can you at least tell me your name?
      Angel: Angel.
      Buffy: Angel. It's a pretty name.

    • Buffy: What exactly were you expecting?
      Xander: I don't know, something. I mean, the dead rose. We should have at least had an assembly.

    • Buffy: Ok vessel boy. You want blood?
      Luke: I want yours, only yours.
      Buffy: Works for me.

    • Xander: We gotta get in there before Jesse does something stupider than usual.
      Giles: You listen to me, Jesse is dead. You have to remember that when you see him, your not looking at your friend, you're looking at the thing that killed him.

    • Xander: This is just too much. I mean, yesterday my life's like, "Uh-
      oh, pop quiz." Today it's "Rain of Toads."

    • Luke: You forget, metal can't hurt me.
      Buffy: There's something you forgot about, too. (she throws a music stand through a window behind Luke and bright light pours in) Sunrise!
      Luke: Aaaaaarrrrg... (he sees that the light is just a streetlight) Huh?
      Buffy: (driving a stake into Luke's back) It's in about nine hours, moron.

    • Luke: (onstage at the Bronze) Ladies and gentlemen… there is no cause for alarm. Actually, there is cause for alarm. It just won't do any good.

    • Buffy: So, Giles, got anything that can make this day any worse?
      Giles: How about the end of the world?
      Buffy: I knew I can count on you.

    • Cordelia: (to Willow) Excuse me? Who gave you permission to exist? Do I horn in on your private discussions? No. Why? Because you're boring.

    • Angel: They'll be expecting you.
      Buffy: I've got a friend down there. Or at least a potential friend. Do you know what it's like to have a friend? That wasn't supposed to be a stumper.

    • Willow: And everyone else thinks it's just a normal day.
      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 the other guys don't.

    • Willow: I'll put it on the computer search. If it's in there, it'll turn up. Anything that'll lead us to vampires.
      Xander: And I, in the meantime, will help by standing around like an idiot.
      Willow: Not like an idiot, just… standing.

    • Buffy: The access to the tunnels is in the mausoleum. The girl must have doubled back with Jesse after I got out. God, I am so mentally challenged.

    • Giles: So all the city plans are just open to the public?
      Willow: Uh, well, in a way. I sort of stumbled onto them when I accidentally decrypted the City Council's security system.
      Xander: Someone's been naughty.

    • Willow: Uh, this may be the dumb question, but shouldn't we call the police?
      Giles: And they'd believe us, of course.
      Willow: Well, we don't have to say vampires. We could just say that there's a bad man.
      Buffy: They couldn't handle it even if they did show up. They'd only come with guns.

    • Buffy: Jesse is my responsibility. I let him get taken.
      Xander: That's not true.
      Willow (to Buffy): If you hadn't shown up, they would've taken us, too. Does anybody mind if I pass out?
      Buffy: Breathe.
      Willow: Breathe.
      Buffy: Breathe.

    • The Master: I'm your faithful dog. You bring me scraps.

    • Xander: Okay, this is where I have a problem. See, because we're talking about vampires. We're having a talk with vampires in it.
      Willow: Isn't that what we saw last night?
      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. Well, after I was done with the screaming part.

    • (In the computer room)
      Harmony: Ok, I think the program's done.
      Cordelia: Finally the nightmare ends! Ok, so how do we save it?
      Willow: Deliver.
      Cordelia: Deliver? Where is that? Oh!
      (she pushes "DEL" and the program is deleted)

    • Cordelia: 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, they have mystery. They have...what's the word I'm searching for? Cars!

    • Giles: You have no idea where they took Jesse?
      Buffy: I looked around, but as soon as they got clear of the graveyard, they could have, voom!
      Xander: They can fly?
      Buffy: They can drive.

    • Giles: The Slayer hunts vampires, Buffy is a Slayer, don't tell anyone. Well, I think that's all the vampire information you need.
      Xander: Except for one thing: how do you kill them?
      Buffy: You don't, I do.

    • Angel: Don't... go down there.
      Buffy: Deal with my going.
      Angel: You shouldn't be putting yourself at risk. Tonight is the Harvest. Unless you can prevent it, The Master walks.
      Buffy: Well, if this Harvest thing is such a suckfest why don't you stop it?
      Angel: 'Cause I'm afraid.

    • Willow: Oh, I, I need to sit down.
      Buffy: You are sitting down.
      Willow: Oh. Good for me.

    • Xander: I don't like vampires. I'm gonna take a stand and say they're not good.

    • The Master: A Slayer! Have you any proof?
      Luke: Only that she fought me, and yet lives.
      The Master: Hmm, very nearly proof enough. I can't remember the last time that happened.
      Luke: 1843. Madrid. He caught me sleeping.

    • The Master: I have waited. For three score years, I have waited. While you come and go, I am stuck here, here in this house of... worship! My ascension is almost at hand. Pray that when it comes... I'm in a better mood.

    • Buffy: I don't suppose you've got a key on you?
      Angel: They really don't like me dropping in.
      Buffy: Why not?
      Angel: They really don't like me.
      Buffy: How could that possibly be?

    • Giles: We're at the center of a mystical convergence here. We may, in fact, stand between the Earth and its total destruction.
      Buffy: Well, I gotta look on the bright side. Maybe I can still get kicked out of school!
      Xander: Oh, yeah, that's a plan. 'Cause lots of schools aren't on Hellmouths.
      Willow: Maybe you could blow something up. They're really strict about that.
      Buffy: I was thinking of a more subtle approach, y'know, like excessive not studying.
      Giles: The Earth is doomed!

  • NOTES (13)

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

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