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Next — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Welcome to the Hellmouth / The Harvest
March 10, 1997
4V01 / 4V02


Joss Whedon

Charles Martin Smith ("Welcome to the Hellmouth")
John T. Kretchmer ("The Harvest")

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Mark Metcalf as the Master
David Boreanaz as Angel
Ken Lerner as Principal Flutie
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Julie Benz as Darla
Brian Thompson as Luke
Eric Balfour as Jesse
J. Patrick Lawlor as Thomas in "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
Natalie Strauss as Teacher in "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
Carmine D. Giovinazzo as Boy in "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
Amy Chance as Aphrodesia in "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
Tupelo Jereme as Girl #2 in "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
Persia White as Girl #3 in "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
Mercedes McNab as Harmony in "The Harvest"
Teddy Lane, Jr. as Bouncer in "The Harvest"
Jeffrey Steven Smith as Guy in computer class in "The Harvest"
Deborah Brown as Girl in "The Harvest"


Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer (retired), arrives in Sunnydale hoping to leave her past behind and start afresh. But her plans are quashed when, on her first day at school, she meets Rupert Giles, her new Watcher, and then a blood-drained corpse turns up in the girls locker room. All of this she tries to ignore, but is finally forced to face up to her destiny by warnings of the coming Harvest from the mysterious Angel, and the disappearance of new friends Willow and Jesse with two particularly pale individuals. Buffy manages to save Willow, but after a confrontation with the powerful vampire Luke, she is forced to leave without Jesse. She returns the next day to find that Jesse was used as bait and vamped. Meanwhile Giles has discovered that the Harvest is a ritual in which the Master, a vampire stuck in a dimensional portal, can draw power from one of his minions as he feeds and free himself. Buffy and her new friends find Luke, the chosen minion, at the Bronze and put a stop to the Master's plan. — Short synopsis by angel_star.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Count Orlick The look of the Master seems to be derived from Count Orlick, the bald, grotesque, white-skinned vampire played by Max Schreck in F.W. Murnau's 1922 silent film Nosferatu. (That was the first filmed version of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, and the film was remade in 1979 with Klaus Kinski in similar makeup using the name Count Dracula.)

While many traditional elements (sleeping in coffins, turning into bats and wolves) have been discarded or ignored, the vampires in this episode (and by extension, the whole series) do not seem to deviate very much from the standard vampire mythos. The stated method of making a vampire, the facial change when "the feed is upon them," and the ways to drive off and/or kill a vampire (crosses, garlic, fire, stakes, beheading, holy water) all have long precedent in vampire lore.

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Body Count

Anonymous Student
Drained by Darla in the school hallway.
Thomas (a vampire)
Staked by Buffy in a mausoleum.
Anonymous Vampire
Staked by Buffy with a tree branch in a graveyard.
Colin (a vampire)
Stabbed through the eyes by The Master in his lair.
Drained by Luke at The Bronze.
Anonymous Girl
Drained by Luke at The Bronze.
Anonymous Vampire
Staked by Buffy with a pool cue at The Bronze.
Anonymous Vampire
Decapitated with a cymbal by Buffy in The Bronze.
Human Jesse
Killed and vamped offscreen by unknown vampire.
Vampire Jesse
Accidentally stake by Xander in The Bronze.
Staked by Buffy in The Bronze
Total: Eleven (or ten, if one counts Jesse only once)
Compiled by Eric B.

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Dialogue to Die For

Buffy: "It's my first day! I was afraid that I was gonna be behind in all of my classes, that I wouldn't make any friends, that I would have last month's hair! I didn't think there'd be vampires on campus. And I don't care."

Willow: "Well, when I'm with a boy I like, it's hard for me to say anything cool, or witty... or at all. I can usually make a few vowel sounds, and then I have to go away."

Giles: "Look at them. Throwing themselves about... completely unaware of the danger that surrounds them."
Buffy: "Lucky them."

Giles at his most eloquently British: "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 am a bit fuzzy, however, on the details. It may be that you can wrest some information from that dread machine."

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

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Luke: "And like a plague of boils, the race of man covered the earth. But on the third day of the newest light will come the Harvest, when the blood of men will flow like wine, when the Master will walk among them once more. The earth will belong to the Old Ones... and Hell itself will come to town."
    Call me a nitpicker, but I don't think that last phrase sounds much like ancient prophecy-type language.
Angel: "'Cause I'm afraid."
    Not only is it a lame excuse, but it's certainly not a statement that's been substantiated by Angel's subsequent behavior on the series.
Xander: "Heads up."
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  • "I'd much prefer to be home with a cup of Bovril and a good book."  Bovril is beef tea, an extract of beef usually given to people who are ill.

  • "Live in the now, okay? You look like DeBarge."  DeBarge was a pop group of the early-to-mid eighties. Made up of five siblings (Eldra, Mark, Randy, Bunny, and Bobby DeBarge), Motown Records hoped they'd be a new Jackson 5, but they only wound up with one hit, 1985's "Rhythm of the Night."

  • "Don't go Wild Bunch on me."  The Wild Bunch was a 1969 western movie directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Ernest Borgnine, William Holden, and Edmond O'Brien. It was the first film to feature excessive movie violence as we know it today.

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • In the first Bronze scene, the band members' playing is not synched at all to the music. It's especially bad during the first drum fill, during which the camera gives us a close-up of the drummer's hands not filling.

  • Why would Giles, who seems to appreciate the value of the Slayer, allow her to head into a den of powerful vampires, alone, with nothing more than a "Be careful?"

  • When Angel meets Buffy, he says that he thought she'd be taller, implying that he'd never seen her before. Later, in "Becoming, Part One," we see a flashback of Angel watching Buffy from afar, proving this wrong (or a deceitful statement for no good reason). Angel also mentions the sighting to Buffy in "Helpless."

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  • Buffy made its debut in the United States on March 10, 1997 with this two-hour episode titled "Welcome To The Hellmouth." In reruns, the two hours were shown as separate episodes with the titles "Welcome To The Hellmouth" and "The Harvest."

  • These two episodes were released on 20th Century Fox Home Video on September 15, 1998, as part of the first Buffy the Vampire Slayer Box Set.

  • Regarding the continuity between the movie and the series: Although Buffy did, as stated in this episode, go to Hemery High in L.A. in the movie and did fight vampires there, series creator Joss Whedon has said that the events of the movie never happened for purposes of the series. Considering that, in the movie, Buffy was a high school senior, and that while the school gym did catch fire it did not actually burn down, it would seem that Whedon's statement should be accepted.

  • Brian Thompson, who played Luke, would return as the Judge in season two's "Surprise" and "Innocence."

  • In Richie Tankersley Cusick's novelization of this episode (published by Archway under the title The Harvest), the Master is said to be six hundred years old, and his name is said to be Heinrich Joseph Nest. This fact comes from Joss Whedon's original script for the episode, but is never mentioned or corroborated in the televised episodes.

  • Mark Metcalf (The Master) previously appeared with Sarah Michelle Gellar in the 1991 TV miniseries A Woman Named Jackie. SMG played the teen aged Jacqueline Bouvier, and Metcalf played George Smathers.

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  • The Master Source (Music Library) - "No Heroes" (CD Info Unavailable)
      Plays as Buffy's mother drives her to school the first day.

  • Sprung Monkey - "Saturated" (From Swirl, Surfdog Records, 1996)
      Plays in the background as Buffy tries on clothes.

  • Sprung Monkey - "Believe" (From Swirl, Surfdog Records, 1996)
      Sprung Monkey plays this on stage as Buffy enters the Bronze for the first time.

  • Sprung Monkey - "Swirl" (From Swirl, Surfdog Records, 1996)
      This is the second song the band plays onstage at the Bronze.

  • Sprung Monkey - "Things Are Changing" (From Swirl, Surfdog Records, 1996)
      The band plays this on stage at The Bronze before Buffy leaves to save Willow.

  • Sprung Monkey - "Right My Wrong" (From Swirl, Surfdog Records, 1996)
      Plays in the background as Principal Flutie tries to keep Buffy from leaving school grounds.

  • Dashboard Prophets - "Wearing Me Down" (From Burning Out the Inside, No Name Recordings, 1996)
      The song Cordelia loves and goes to dance to as the vampiric Jesse watches from the shadows.

  • Dashboard Prophets - "Ballad for Dead Friends" (From Burning Out the Inside, No Name Recordings, 1996)
      The song playing as Darla and the other vampires approach the Bronze in slow motion.
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Pulls no punches in introducing a clever, original, witty, and unusually high-spirited series to an unsuspecting public. We are presented instantly with thoroughly appealing characters, and the storyline zings along with zest and flavor. The dialogue is quotable and memorable, and intelligent to boot. I enjoyed the way it took all of the first hour for Buffy to be dragged, kicking and screaming, back into the world of vampire slaying. Anthony Stewart Head brings personality to a role that, in less capable hands, could be nothing more than a dry answer-man figure. Alyson Hannigan and Nicholas Brendon do a superb job of giving Buffy friends as well as sidekicks, and even the introduction of the odious Cordelia as Buffy's social nemesis is done in an interesting way. If, as with most series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer goes on to improve on its pilot, I'm afraid it might get too good to be endured. (10/10)
This episode seems to set the standard against which all future episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer should be judged. We are introduced to four of the most wonderful characters in television. This two-hour piece of art shows how the balance of horror, humor, wit, and innocence will make this show work. For those who are familiar with the movie (which was the inspiration for the show), Joss Whedon has managed to create a masterpiece this time. The one aspect of this show that attracted me to it was its total innocence, best exemplified in two scenes: In a conversation between Buffy and Willow, Willow explains how, when she speaks to a boy, she "can usually make a few vowel sounds, and then [she has] to go away." Buffy gets into this as well when she is about to slay a bad guy and states, "This is not gonna be pretty. We're talkin' violence, strong language, adult content." My initial feeling when I started watching this first installment of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was, "Oh great...young, attractive, witty female lead who will eventually become an empty sex symbol." Thankfully I was wrong. Buffy is indeed very attractive, but her wit and sarcasm make her utterly lovable. This episode leaves you wanting more...a lot more! (10/10)
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Air Date Rating Ranking
March 10, 1997 3.4 NA
June 9, 1997 ("Welcome to the Hellmouth") 2.3 100 of 115 (tie)
June 16, 1997 ("The Harvest") NA NA
August 3, 1997 ("Welcome to the Hellmouth") 1.7 112 of 114
August 4, 1997 ("The Harvest") 2.4 101 of 110 (tie)
June 2, 1998 ("Welcome to the Hellmouth") 3.0 96 of 115
June 2, 1998 ("The Harvest") 3.3 93 of 115

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