Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

Perri's Review | Lizbet's Review | Leslie's Review

Perri's Review

Entertaining mostly for everyone's reactions to Buffy trying to date. Some essential setting up for the rest of the season, and a couple of truly classic scenes.

The Master is very happy, as a prophecy is about to come true -- the Anointed One will rise from the ashes of five, and he will lead the Slayer into Hell. Giles, upon discovering the prophesy for himself, is somewhat less than thrilled, trying to find a way to prevent it. And Buffy just doesn't care -- she's finally attracted the notice of Owen, a handsome, solitary classmate. Evading Cordelia's attaempts to snag Owen for herself, Bufyf manages to get a date to meet Owen at the Bronze -- unfortunately, Giles discovers that the prophecy is to be fulfilled that night. So much for the date. Nothing happens at the cemetary Giles and Buffy have staked out, and she races (late) to meet Owen, to discover him tangled up with Cordelia. But the next day, Owen asks Buffy out again for that night; Xander and Willow are 'helping' her get ready (Xander is having a fairly typical jealous reaction), when Giles shows up, certain that the Anointed One will rise from the ashes of a bus crash the previous night, and appear at the Sunnydale funeral home. Buffy ignores him to join Owen.

Angel shows up midway through the date (annoying Cordelia by ignoring her), and tries to warn Buffy about the prophecy. She ignores him, he is non-plussed to discover she has a date, and Xander and Willow show up, having discovered that Giles went to the funeral home on his own and was promptly cornered by two vampires. Buffy leaves to save Giles, and Owen tags along. A huge vampire Buffy assumes is the Anointed One does indeed rise, and almost kills Owen before Buffy defeats him. Owen is more than willing to go on another date (he's got a thinly-concealed death wish), but Buffy refuses to date him any more for his own safety. Meanwhile we discover that the Anointed One is actually a little boy, Colin, also caught in the bus crash, and the first part of the prophecy has been fulfilled.

The Anointed One Prophecy arc begins here, as Colin takes his place at the Master's side. Shades of the Buffy/Angel/Xander triangle as they confront each other in the Bronze.

We also discover that Giles's father was a Watcher, as was his grandmother; it's apparently passed down through a family, rather than the Watcher being reincarnated each time, as he was in the movie.

Buffy tries once again to have a normal, teenage girl kind of life, only to find that Slaying has irrevocably stolen that from her. She refuses to risk Owen's life to date him, although she likes him a lot, and becomes aware of how avoiding her responsibilities can cost others -- like Giles, who almost died trying to do her job.

Xander and Willow are both mostly background -- Xander is a jealous twit, as usual, and Willow is just happy for Buffy. But it's Willow who wants to follow Giles to try to protect him. And Willow's crush keeps getting more and more obvious -- she certainly throws herself into Xander's ruse of a double date!

Angel has only the one scene, but his reaction to Buffy having a date is perfect; he changes from Cryptic Older Guy to being about Xander's age, swaggering and getting all 'cool' when presented with a rival in the form of Owen. He is so obviously jealous it's not even funny. *g*

Giles is once again proving to be not much of a 'Watcher' -- he just can't resist the temptation to do the job himself. He handles himself well against the vampires, is right there to help Buffy finish off the fake Anointed One, and offers her comfort and sympathy when she has to break up with Owen. Gotta love him. This is actually a very good Giles episode, for all of the little things he winds up doing.

I almost -- almost -- feel sorry for Cordelia at one point here; first, Owen tosses her over for Buffy, then Angel just walks right past her -- to Buffy. Enough to ruin her night. I'd feel more sorry for her if she didn't richly deserve it.

Best Moments:
Giles critiquing Buffy's performance. 'Plunge and move on, plunge and...'. nice to know he's taking this seriously... *g*.

Giles's persistant, helpless incomprehension of Buffy's willingness to ignore Slaying in favor of a boy. He needs to get a life!

Xander's reaction to Buffy and Owen's sickeningly cute locker scene. The poor boy is so devastated to find out that Buffy actually is interested in a guy, it's just not him.

Giles's quite calm, collected, 'Damn' at finding himself flanked by vampires.

The 'Bite me' scene. Buffy's knee-jerk, disgusted response to having her date ruined, followed by the instant sideways glance at Angel and his utterly dead-pan 'Don't tempt me' stare back -- one of my two favorite scenes in life! Beautifully played!

Giles comforting Buffy after she breaks up with Owen. He's so very sweet and understanding, trying to make it as easy as possible for her. And the music behind the scene is perfect.

So, did the Master grow a brain enough to deliberately leave Psychoman at the funeral home to distract Buffy and hide Colin? Seems a bit too well-planned for him.

How convenient that the vampire's ring survived when Buffy killed him, when clothes, etc., usually turn into dust with the vampire.

Watch Buffy's height during the scenes in the Bronze with Owen. Depending on how tight the camera angle is, she keeps growing about four inches, almost level with Owen's face, then shrinking again. Serious apple box use to minimize the height difference between tiny Sarah and the very tall guy playing Owen. Not really obvious unless you're looking for it, but funny if you are. They also do it in 'Angel'.

3 stars out of 5. Utterly crucial plot points, reasonably entertaining, and the 'Bite me' scene, but it can't quite get past the Owen annoyance factor. And he gets more annoying every time I see this episode (as does Xander, actually).

Lizbet's Review

Plot: Perri did this one first. Read hers.

Review: Extremely cute episode that gets chilling in the last ten minutes or so. Buffy really, really wants to be just a teenager. The scenes with Giles and the burbling Buffy are just priceless ("They're bad calculations! Bad!" "She is the strangest girl.") Unfortunately, the Master keeps messing with Buffy's fun. By the end of the episode, Buffy is more resigned to her fate; seeing Giles and the other Slayerettes in danger and believing that Owen was dead shook her badly.

The whole episode is severely hampered by the simple fact that we don't know what the heck Buffy sees in Owen!!! It's very much a case of "tell and don't show" here. We're hit over the head with the fact that both Buffy and Cordelia think he's cute (and can we just pause for a moment and comment that Cordelia seems to go through boys like Kleenex? A crush on Owen, a really active appreciation of Angel's... qualities, dating Mitch in Invisible Girl and seemingly very much in love with Kevin in Prophesy Girl. End of aside.) But we see nothing but a rather dense, morbid type on screen. And I would have thought that Buffy (in her search for "normalcy") would have gone for more of a jock-type, like her movie-boyfriend.

Buffy's comments to Owen in the Bronze on their date are heartbreaking. "I almost feel like a girl." But the Slayer side can't stay away for long. When Buffy chooses to go to the Bronze with Owen over checking out the funeral home with Giles, Giles goes himself -- and almost gets himself killed. Despite the irrepressible cuteness of this episode, its moral is rather sad. Buffy is finally coming to grips with the fact that she never will have a normal life, and in the end, she fails to stop a prophecy that will later cause her much more grief.

Leslie's Review

This episode offers us some interesting character insights while still managing to keep us in the dark. I'm intrigued that we learned a little more about Giles' life as a watcher, but I'm also curious about Angel.

I thought one of the funniest scenes was the "double-date" scenario at the Bronze. First Angel warns Buffy and then Xander and Willow. The curious part: Angel doesn't leave after delivering his warning, not when he finds out Buffy has a date. Instead, Angel assumes an almost defensive posture, challenging Owen for Buffy with his body language. We haven't seen very much of Angel, but it's becoming clearer that he feels quite deeply for Buffy.

One of the things that I've noticed about Angel is his inability to read Buffy in terms of his generation (whatever is). This was most obvious in "Teacher's Pet." Angel is savvy and has most of today's buzz words in his vocabulary, but he doesn't always know how to apply them. Angel "drops" the banter every time Buffy disarms him, which happens often. She's not what he expected, nor is she easy to read. This leads to a lot of miscommunication and angst. You gotta love Joss.... *g*

Another thing I've noticed is Angel's sadness. In the pilot, when Buffy teases him about having friends, I think both she and I had this uncontrollable urge to hug him. His whispered "good luck" to her shows that if anyone could be his friend, it's Buffy. Not to mention, Angel is genuinely surprised to find out that Buffy likes him in "Teacher's Pet." When he enters the Bronze at the end of the episode, he sees her wearing his jacket and discovers she wants to know him. He gives her the most charming smile. (I was melting. Yeah, like that's a surprise.) And that jacket line--smooth, very smooth--I felt like Buffy, "Oh, boy..."

Lastly, I feel for Angel's developing character the way I did for Skinner on the X-Files. While Skinner, like Angel, was written rather shadowy (as a possible adversary), I never thought he'd be anything but an ally. Angel may very well be Buffy's guardian angel.

As for Giles, I can't imagine him opening up any more than he has to Buffy, given the age difference. I was pleased he told her something of his family's history, but we still don't know who Giles really is. I think we need to find someone Giles can relate to, someone he'll tell his stories to. Are you listening Joss? This person wouldn't have to be a love interest. Although, that would be nice. I think it might be interesting just to have him talk to Buffy's mom, perhaps off-handedly about his life in England.

One other thing, I liked the realism of the last scene. Most first-date breakups are this awkward and goofy. The "let's be friends" line can't ever be anything but awkward. I do think, however, that it's hard to believe Buffy can't get a date, but hey, this is television--it doesn't have to believable. ;-)

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