Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 2 Episode 1

When She Was Bad

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Sep 15, 1997 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
785 votes

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Episode Summary

Buffy returns from summer vacation with a "major attitude" and recurring nightmares involving the Master, even as the Anointed One and his followers plot their revenge.

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  • New member of the Scooby Gang

    When She Was Bad episode begin like any other episode with catch. Buffy defeats a vampires that goes after Willow and Xander. But that's not what new in this season. Angel played by David Boreanaz is added as a main character but also as member of the scooby gang. Buffy officially defeats the Master by grounding up his bones with a sledge hammer while Xander, Willow, Jenny and Giles watch from above as Angel watches from a few feet from her. Angel is there to comfort her after she breaks down.moreless
  • that's not Buffy we know...

    okay, Buffy returns to Sunnydale after three months in . -- and there are some changes in her: not only the hairstyle, but the behavior, the attitude to her friends and slaying. Buffy's kinda Bitca :) she tries to deal with her issues... about the Master, about death, but it doesn't work so well. plus, she doesn't let her friends to help her and just pushes them away, hurts them. so finally she almost loses them and gets them killed -- not quite the Slayer's behavior, huh?

    but here's the thing: we often tries to deal with our pain like Buffy -- we turn away from our friends, don't let them be in our lives, we become the persons we're never supposed to become... and it doesn't work either.

    FAVE SCENE: Cordelia and "Three Musketeers" :)

    FAVE QUOTE: Cordelia (to Buffy): Whatever is causing the Joan Collins' attitude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it. Because pretty soon, you're not even going to have the loser friends you've got now.moreless
  • When She Was Bad

    "When She Was Bad" is an accomplished and rousing opener that gets Season 2 out of the gate on fire, and has really grown on me over time. Its flaws are minor and inconsequential, leaving us with an underrated episode that is densely packed with emotional intimacy, significant character development, an incredible amount of deceptively subtle details, extensive thematic relevance, and a boatload of ominous foreshadowing for the rest of the season. "When She Was Bad" displays a storytelling maturity that just wasn't there in Season 1, which is a really good sign for what's ahead. Welcome to Season 2!moreless
  • When She Was Bad

    This is a great season opener! When I saw this episode for the first time I wasn't nearly as enthused about it for some reason. I remember being really bored of the Anointed One and the couple things that bugged me really stuck out. The music in the training session really grated on me along with Buffy being a little too bitchy to her friends. Aside from these complaints, though, there's really nothing else in this episode that I don't like, which makes my original impression of this episode drastically unfounded.

    At the very beginning I noticed a really sweet "previously on Buffy..." sequence that recaps most of the big events in S1. This is fantastic and I wish they'd included one of these at the beginning of every season (or maybe they just left them out on the DVD sets). I've been introducing a lot of people to 'Buffy' lately and I usually start them off with "School Hard" (2x03); that seems to be working perfectly. I think I'm going to play this recap first, though. It gives a lot of backstory really quickly, which is good, because explaining all the stuff that happened can be confusing and annoying to a 'Buffy' virign. Anyway...

    Pretty much everyone is a little different at the beginning of this episode. Everyone's personalities are where we last left them, but many of the relationships have flourished during the summer. First off is an emotionally distant Buffy, who we discover was away in Los Angeles with her dad (a.k.a. Mr. MIA Jerk who runs to Spain with chicks and abandons his daughter in future seasons). More on our not-so-lovely Buffy later. Next we've got Willow and Xander who's relationship has gotten a bit more intimate since we left them. Willow obviously still has the hots for Xander, but this is the first time we see romantic interest in Willow from Xander. They have a cute scene involving ice cream on Willow's nose which gets interrupted by a lousy vampire. Also on the slate of change is Giles and Jenny. They have really progressed their relationship and have turned into two flirting adults who are obviously about to go out on a date (and they do in the next episode). Cordelia, on the other hand, is pretty much the same where we last saw her, thankfully still being more friendly to the group yet not losing the snide remarks.

    Now we get back to Buffy, who's in all-out angst mode. We find out very early on that the root of her problem is how traumatized she is from being killed (drowned) by the Master in "Prophecy Girl" (1x12). She hasn't told anyone about how scared and shaken up she is all summer long. I'm glad that event was not forgotten. I'm particularly impressed by Sarah Michelle Gellar here when she visually shows, by subtly shaking when walking up the Master's grave after it's dug out as an example, just how frightened she is of the thought of him coming back. All of this emotion being bottled up for that long is going to make you into a meaner individual, which is exactly what happens to Buffy here.

    While I think the writers took her angst too far, most of it was believable and spot-on. The way this is dealt with is with a satisfying scene at the end where Buffy smashes the bones of the Master into pieces with a sledgehammer, then breaks down and weeps in Angel's arms. Her tears here serve as a means to wash away her ordeal with The Master for good. The moral of the story is that keeping your emotions bottled up for long periods of time is not healthy and will only lead to hurtful comments to your friends and loved ones. Instead, one should confide with those same friends as they will always be there to help you through times of need, as is displayed at the end when Willow and Xander save Buffy a seat in class.

    The main plot was on the mediocre side but it got the job done. Due to the wonderful character interaction and drama, this is the perfect foundation and launching point for this season's maelstrom of emotion. I have come to really appreciate this episode.moreless
  • Issues

    When she was bad;

    The Good;

    Buffy's 'Miss me' to the camera (which I inexcusably missed first time around). Xander and Willow's almost kiss (awwwwww! even the most foremost Tara/Willow or Willow/Oz fan must feel their heart breaking). Snyder and Giles' brilliant talk and walk and the first hints of Giles'/Jenny's attraction. Buffy's great training session with Giles, the incredibly creepy dream sequence where the Master-as-Giles tries to kill Buffy whilst Willow and Xander watch on unconcerned (she should have known it was a dream when Xander swapped his chocolate for an apple). The whole scene smacks of Freudian rape overtones, Buffy's father figure forcing himself upon her and penetrating her body with his fangs. Willow not being able to say the word B-I-T-C-H and Xander not being able to spell it (LOVE Giles' expression in this scene). The great Hank/Joyce scene (I figure this is the summer by the beach Dawn later refers to in Blood Ties), Cordy's sympathy with Buffy and characteristic bluntness about the truth about Sunnydale. The Buffy/Angel bedroom scene and the smoking-hot Buffy dancing with Xander at the Bronze. The trap and rescue of the Scoobies, Buffy's cathartic smashing the Master's bones, especially Buffy killing 2 vamps at once. All told, fan-bloody-tastic and a whole new start for Buffy.

    The Bad;

    The only thing I can find wrong with it is when the Scoobies figure out that Jenny is the vamps next target and rather than try to warn her just assume for no possible reason that they've already got her. Lazy writing! Also Willow wears her HORRIBLE yellow tights again

    Best line;

    Snyder; there are some things I can just smell, like a sixth sense

    Giles; actually that would be one of the five

    What the fanficcers thought; Merciless Mistress at fanfiction.net

    Questions and observations;

    So, you CAN bring a vampire back from the dead as we'll see later with Darla in Angel. One wonders why they don't try it more often but then with a few notable exceptions they don't really seem to care about one another so much. Joyce and Hank seem to have a pretty civilised divorce.

    The whole look and feel of this ep is different, as though the first season was just a trial run and now it's time for the real thing to begin. Firstly, we have all the Scooby's except Buff and Angel knocked out and all but Buffy, Angel and Xander tied up. Secondly rewatching this ep you're very much struck by the sight of Buffy torturing the vamp for information to save her friends, ramming a silver cross down it's throat, the vampire equivalent of a red-hot poker. HMMMMMM?

    Kinda puts 'waterboarding' and Abu Grahib in persepctive, huh? Psychologists (and yes, that's the degree I'm doing in case you're wondering) have occaisionally commentated on the way people object to torture in real life but are ok with it in fiction (Dirty Harry springs to mind). What they suggest is that we find it easier to accept when we can put a human face to those who are going to be saved, in TV and movies the correlation between the info gained and benefits are always very direct and evident

    10/10, now we're talking

Brent Jennings

Brent Jennings


Guest Star

Tamara Braun

Tamara Braun


Guest Star

Kristine Sutherland

Kristine Sutherland

Joyce Summers

Recurring Role

Robia LaMorte

Robia LaMorte

Jenny Calendar

Recurring Role

Andrew J. Ferchland

Andrew J. Ferchland

The Anointed One

Recurring Role

  • © 2009 Turner Broadcasting, Inc.

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Nitpick: Willow says there are no miniature golf courses in Sunnydale, but in the episode "Ted" (2x11) we can see the whole gang playing miniature golf.

    • Goof: When Giles is hanging in the warehouse, his hand brushes the skeleton below him. If you look carefully, you can see the bones bend.

    • Goof: After reading the vampire's note, Buffy grabs a beige purse and stomps out of the library. But in the next scene, where Buffy is being followed by Angel, the beige bag has disappeared.

    • Goof: When Buffy is smashing The Master's skeleton, she destroys the left half the rib cage along with the sternum (breast bone). But later, when she destroys the right side, the sternum and some of the left sided ribs are still attached.

    • Nitpick: At the very beginning of this episode, right after the bus goes by, there is a shot of students walking in the courtyard. This is re-used footage from "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" (1x05). All the extras are the same as the courtyard scene in which Buffy breaks up with Owen. In this episode, during the recycled shot, the student walking away in the mauve shirt is Owen. Incidentally, the technical term for recycling footage is called "cheating".

    • Goof: When Buffy's mom drives her to school the morning after her nightmare, Buffy is wearing a pink top. However, when she gets to school, she is wearing a white tank top. The next day, she is wearing the pink top again.

  • QUOTES (47)

    • Buffy: (Reading a ransom note from vampires that kidnapped Cordelia) Come to the Bronze before it opens, or we make her a meal.
      Xander: They're gonna cook her dinner? ... I'll pretend I didn't say that.

    • Xander: I'm just so restless! I'm actually looking forward to school
      starting up again.
      Willow: Yeah, and that wouldn't have anything to do with a certain girl
      we both know who is a Vampire Slayer?
      Xander: Please, I'm so over her. Did she, uh, mention when she might be
      getting back? About which I do not care.
      Willow: I haven't heard from her. I got a couple postcards when she
      went to L.A., but then, like, nothing.
      Xander: Well, she's probably with her dad having a good time.
      Willow: And you don't care?
      Xander: Well, okay, there might be some interest. I'm a man. I have certain desires, certain needs...
      Willow: Uhhh! I don't want to know.

    • Willow: When did you get back?
      Buffy: Just now. Dad drove me down. And I figured you two losers would be getting into some kind of trouble.

    • Cordelia: I mean, they promised me they'd take me to St. Croix, and then they just decide to go to Tuscany. Art and buildings? I was totally beachless for a month and a half. No one has suffered like I have. Of course I think that that kind of adversity builds character. Well, then I thought, I already have a lot of character. Is it possible to have too much character?

    • Absalom: We have been put down, kinsmen. We have lost our way. We have lost the night. But despair is for the living. Where they are weak, we will be strong. Where they weep, we rejoice. Where they bleed, we drink! Within three days a new hope will arise. We will put our faith in him. (looks over at Collin) He will show us the way.

    • Joyce: Is there the slightest chance that if I asked you what was wrong you would tell me? (Buffy looks over at her) Course not. It would take all the fun out of guessing.

    • Buffy: What happened?
      Xander: Vampires. The ones you could handle yourself.
      Buffy: Where are the others?
      Xander: I don't know. I don't know what your problem is, what your issues are. But as of now, I officially don't care. If you had worked with us for five seconds, you could have stopped this.

    • Xander: So, we Bronzin' it tonight?
      Willow: Wednesday, it's kinda beat.
      Xander: Well, we could grind our enemies into talcum powder with a sledgehammer, but, gosh, we did that last night.

    • Cordelia: What an ordeal. And you know what the worst part is?
      Jenny: What?
      Cordelia: It stays with you forever. No matter what they tell you, none of that rust and blood and grime comes out. I mean, you can dry clean 'til judgement day, you are living with those stains.
      Jenny: Yeah, that's the worst part of being hung upside down by a vampire who wants to slit your throat; the stains.

    • Buffy: (about The Master) We were close. We killed each other. It really promotes togetherness.

    • Willow: What would somebody want with Master bones?
      Xander: A trophy, a horrible conversation piece?

    • Willow: (about Buffy) She's possessed!
      Giles: Possessed?
      Willow: That's the only explanation that makes any sense. I mean, you should have seen her last night. That wasn't Buffy.
      Xander: Are we overlooking the idea that she may be very attracted to me? (gets looks from the others and concedes) She's possessed.

    • Angel: What are you afraid of? Me? Us?
      Buffy: Could you contemplate getting over yourself for a second? There's no "us". Look, Angel, I'm sorry if I was supposed to spend the summer mooning over you, but I didn't. I moved on. To the living.

    • Xander: Oh, hey, did you guys hear that Cibo Matto's gonna be at The Bronze tonight?
      Willow: Cibo Matto? They're playing?
      Xander: No, Willow, they're gonna be clog dancing.
      Willow: Cibo Matto can clog dance? (off Xander's look) Oh, sarcasm, right.

    • Willow: Angel stopped by? Wow. Was there... Well, I mean, was it having to do with kissing?
      Buffy: Willow, grow up. Not everything is about kissing.
      Xander: (to Willow) Yeah. Some stuff's about groping. (to Buffy) It wasn't about groping?
      Buffy: Okay, hormones on parade here? It was pure shop talk. Remember vampires, pointy teeth, they walk by night... Am I ringing a bell?

    • Willow: What were you thinking about?
      Buffy: Nothing.
      Xander: Oh, c'mon, you can tell us. We're your bosom friends! The friends of your bosom!

    • Cordelia: You know, we've never really been close, which is nice, 'cause I don't really like you that much. But... you have on occasion saved the world and stuff, so I'm gonna... do you a favor.
      Buffy: And this great favor is?
      Cordelia: I'm going to give you some advice: Get over it.
      Buffy: Excuse me?
      Cordelia: Whatever is causing the Joan Collins 'tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it. Because pretty soon, you're not even going to have the loser friends you've got now.
      Buffy: I think it's about time you start minding your own business.
      Cordelia: It's long past.

    • Xander: What are you going to do?
      Buffy: I'm going to kill them all. That ought to distract them.

    • Buffy: You're a vampire. Oh, I'm sorry, was that an offensive term? Should I say "Undead American"?

    • Ms. Calendar: (Talking to Giles about her summer) I did Burning Man in Black Rock, ohhh, such a great festival, you should've been there. They had drum rituals, mobile sculptures, raves, naked mud dances, you would've just... hated it with a fiery passion!

    • Anointed One: (About Buffy) I hate that girl.

    • Willow: The other night I dreamt that Xander... Uh, it wasn't Xander. In fact it wasn't me. In fact, it was a friend's dream, and she can't remember it.

    • Giles: Yes, I must consult my books.
      Xander: Oh, 8 minutes and 33 seconds. Pay up! I called 10 minutes before you'd consult your books about something.

    • Hank: (about Buffy) You know, at least when she was burning stuff down, I knew what to say.

    • Xander: Hey, I got a plan. How 'bout miniature golf?
      Willow: There's no course here.
      Xander: Okay, uh, miniature tennis! A very tiny form of tennis that we could invent...

    • Absalom: Your day is done, girl. I'll grind you into a sticky paste, and hear you beg before I smash in your face.
      Buffy: So, are you gonna kill me or are we just making small talk?

    • Buffy: Ya know, being stalked isn't really a big turn-on for girls.
      Angel: You need help. Someone to watch your back.
      Buffy: Sure you don't mean my neck?

    • Snyder: That Summers girl. I smell trouble. I smell expulsion and just the faintest aroma of jail.
      Giles: Well, before you throw away the key, you might consider giving
      her the benefit of the doubt. She may surprise you.
      Snyder: You really have faith in those kids, don't you?
      Giles: Yes, I do.
      Snyder: Weird.

    • Snyder: There are some things I can just smell. It's like a sixth sense.
      Giles: No, actually that would be one of the five.

    • Willow: You haven't been talking about our little adventure all summer,
      have you?
      Cordelia: Are you nuts? Do you think I would tell people that I spent
      the whole evening with you? Besides, it was all so creepy. That Master
      guy? And all the screaming? I don't even like to think about it.

    • Cordelia: So, did you guys fight any demons this summer?
      Willow: Uh, yes! Our own personal demons.
      Xander: Uh, such as, as, as lust and, uh, thrift!

    • Cordelia: Oh, look, it's the Three Musketeers.
      Buffy: (to Xander) Was that an insult?
      Xander: Kinda lacked punch.
      Willow: The Three Musketeers were cool.
      Cordelia: I see your point.
      Xander: I would've gone with Stooges.

    • Angel: I'm sorry. I wish I had better news.
      Buffy: So, some of your cousins are in town for a family barbecue, and
      we're all on the menu!

    • Angel: How are you?
      Buffy: Peachy. So, is this a social call? It is kinda late. Or, well,
      it is for me, anyway. What is it for you, lunch hour?

    • Snyder: I mean, it's incredible. One day the campus is completely bare.
      Empty. The next, there are children everywhere. Like locusts. Crawling
      around, mindlessly bent on feeding and mating. Destroying everything in
      sight in their relentless, pointless desire to exist.
      Giles: I do enjoy these pep talks. Have you ever considered, given your abhorrence of children, school's principal was not, perhaps, your true vocation?
      Snyder: Somebody's got to keep an eye on them. They're just a bunch of
      hormonal time bombs.

    • Xander: You're Amish! You can't fight back... 'cause you're Amish! I
      mock you with my ice cream cone, Amish guy!

    • Xander: Well, what else do you wanna do? We already played rock, paper, scissors. My hands cramped up.
      Willow: Well, yes, if you're always scissors of course your tendons are gonna strain...

    • Xander: Yo! G-man! What's up?
      Giles: Nice to see you. And don't ever call me that.

    • Willow: Why else would she be acting like such a B-I-T-C-H.?
      Giles: Willow, I think we're all a little too old to be spelling things out.
      Xander: A Bitca?

    • Cordelia: So your secret's safe with me.
      Buffy: Well, that works out great. You won't tell anyone that I'm The Slayer, and I won't tell anyone you're a moron.

    • Buffy: Cordelia, your mouth is open. Sound is coming from it. This is never good.

    • Giles: Buffy, you acted wrongly, I admit that. But believe me, that was hardly the worst mistake you'll ever make. Uh, that wasn't quite as comforting as it was meant to be.

    • Willow: Well, what about the rest of the note?
      Buffy: What rest of the note?
      Willow: The part that says, "P.S., this is a trap."

    • Xander: (to Buffy) If they hurt Willow, I'll kill you.

    • Buffy: I don't think I can face them.
      Giles: Hmm? Of course, you can.
      Buffy: I can't! What am I supposed to say? "Sorry I almost got your throat slit. What's the homework?"
      Giles: Punishing yourself like this is pointless.
      Buffy: It's entirely pointy. I was a moron. I put my best friends in mortal danger on the second day of school.
      Giles: What are you going to do? Crawl inside a cave for the rest of your life?
      Buffy: Would it have cable?

    • Cordelia: Buffy. You're really campaigning for bitch-of-the-year, aren't you?
      Buffy: As defending champion, you nervous?

    • Buffy: Xander, have I ever thanked you for saving my life?
      Xander: No.
      Buffy: (whispers) Don't you wish I would?

  • NOTES (7)

  • ALLUSIONS (13)

    • Xander: You're Amish! You can't fight back... 'cause you're Amish! I mock you with my ice cream cone, Amish guy!
      Xander is not actually quoting a line from the film, but he is referring to the 1985 Harrison Ford film Witness which centers around a policeman who must live with a group of Amish people to protect one of their children who is the sole witness to a murder.

    • Willow: Use the Force, Luke.
      Willow quotes one of the most famous lines from the 1977 film Star Wars (later referred to by its full title Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope). Xander does not even bother to guess because this is a well-known line from one of the most popular films of all time, and thus too easy.

    • Xander: Um, oh, okay, I got one. 'It's a madhouse! A mad...'
      Willow: (interrupts) Planet of the Apes.
      As Willow correctly guesses, Xander is quoting from the 1968 film Planet of the Apes in which a group of astronauts return from a space mission to find that they have somehow landed on a planet ruled by intelligent apes.

    • Willow: In the few hours that we had together, we loved a lifetime's worth.
      Willow is quoting a line from the film The Terminator, a 1984 film which featured Arnold Schwarzenegger as a killer robot sent from the future to kill the woman destined to give birth to a great hero.

    • Xander: (about Mr. Cox) I think he won a belt or something. (for being boring)

      The concept of winning a belt refers to the common practice in sports and other contests (such as boxing and wrestling) to honor the champion of an event with a trophy in the form of an ornate belt. In this instance, Xander is joking that Mr. Cox is not only boring, but is a champion in a boringness competition.

    • Buffy: Should I say undead American?

      Buffy mocks Angel's vampiric status and pokes fun at political correctness, a movement which attempts to replace negative words and phrases with terms which are more positive but often awkward. For example, disabled becomes differently-abled. To the extreme, a dead person might be described as "breathing-challenged" or a vampire could be called an "Undead American."

    • Cordelia: Embrace the pain. Spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it.

      A play on the idea of an inner child common in pop psychology. The word moppet is a synonym for child.

    • Cordelia: Whatever is causing the Joan Collins 'tude get over it.
      The British born actress, Joan Collins, is best known for playing mean women with the prime example being her stint in the 1980's as Alexis on the television series Dynasty.

    • Xander: I would have gone with Stooges.
      If attempting to insult a group of three, it would certainly be better to compare them to the Three Stooges rather than the Three Musketeers. While the Musketeers where "cool" heroes, the comedy team of the Three Stooges played bumbling idiots. The group made over 200 hundred short films between 1934 and 1959 alone.

    • Cordelia: Oh look, it's the Three Musketeers.

      Cordelia refers to the 1844 novel "The Three Musketeers" by Alexandre Dumas. The historical novel deals with four heroes and their exploits in protecting the King of France. The three friends Athos, Porthos and Aramis are joined by d'Artagnan.

    • Ms. Calendar: I did Burning Man at Black Rock.

      Burning Man is a "radical communal experiment" in self expression. The festival is held yearly on the Labor Day weekend in the Nevada desert. The festival culminates with the burning of a giant human shaped statue.

    • Xander: We already played rock/paper/scissors, my hands cramped up.

      Rock/paper/scissors is a children's game often used to settle a dispute. Two players each pick a hand signal for one of the three items and display them at the same time. Rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper and paper beats rock.

    • Title: "When She Was Bad"
      The title is taken from the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem "Jemima":
      There was a little girl
      Who had a little curl
      Right in the middle of her forehead;
      When she was good, she was very, very good,
      But when she was bad, she was horrid.
      And of course there's the alternate last line favored by Mae West "And when she was bad, she was better.".