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.