How could I forget Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 2 was the second half of the premiere?
It was two hours of vampire-fighting drama. Forget about that "To Be Continued" end screen; we need our Buffy.
Let's jump right into the rewatch of "The Harvest."
Say what you will about that chunky, over-sized cross necklace...it saved Buffy's life. Though, it was a tad too convenient for it to slip out at the right moment. (Of course it happens when Luke goes in for a bite...)
I'm glad that Buffy does change it to a smaller version in future seasons.
You can't help but notice the large cross dangling from her neck. And I wouldn't imagine it's fully supportive during an intense fight. It probably gets in the way from time to time.
How did Darla slip away with Jesse unseen and unheard? Sure, Buffy was distracted saving her friends, but Jesse could've called out for help too. He did nothing.
The Master finding out about Buffy's existence is one of my favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 moments. He isn't scared. He isn't angry. In fact, he's curious and titillated. He was downright in a good mood.
Even though Darla fed from Jesse and Luke failed, I don't think The Master would've hurt either of them as punishment, like he did with Colin. It's clear they're his favorites. Especially Darla.
Xander: Okay, this is where I have a problem. See, because we’re having a talk 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 a serious need of a facial. Or maybe they had rabies? It could’ve been rabies! And that guy turning into dust... just trick of light.
[Xander gives her a look]
Buffy: That’s exactly what I said the first time I saw a vampire. Well, after I was done with the screaming part.
Willow: Oh, I need to sit down.
Buffy: You are sitting down.
Willow: Oh...good for me.
Willow and Xander took the news of vampires and demons pretty well, with all things considered. In fact, they accepted it wholeheartedly. No debates or lying to themselves
A common theme you'll notice in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as we rewatch the series is how quick people forget (or settle for denial) when demons and vampires appear.
It's so frustrating in the early seasons. I couldn't believe Joyce, Cordelia and the rest of Sunnydale would forget every time. Nobody is that much in denial. (There must be something in the water.)
"The Harvest" is also the first time we see the early dynamics of the Scoobies. It brings so much nostalgia to my heart.
Buffy, the leader. Giles, the worrying source of knowledge and advice. Willow, the computer hacker. And Xander, the guy who throws himself into danger.
Even as the characters grew over seven TV seasons (and four graphic novel seasons), this was nice to see where it all started.
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: Then help me. We can research 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. Maybe you rest some details from that dread machine?
[They look at him confused]
Giles: That was a bit...ummm...British, wasn’t it?
Buffy: Welcome to the new world.
The electrical tunnel was clearly a trap. Buffy and Xander should've known better before heading underground. (And furthermore, she wanted to go deeper towards The Master?! That's crazy.)
As the vampires were knocking down the door, all I could think was, "Do vampires have the strength to break down metal?"
Don't get me wrong, that metal storage door might've been old. But it was still a metal door! Vampire strength (and those little claws) can only go so far.
I'm glad the Buffy team does settle on vampire design and characteristics later on. Everything is a bit inconsistent in the beginning. We have glowing eyes, strong makeup features (I won't even start on vampire Jesse), strength and the claws.
This is too much.
Angel during "The Harvest" doesn't know who he wants to be.
Is he a new ally? Potential love interest? Sporadic source of knowledge? He keeps popping up and knows more than he's letting on. You could tell there was something sketchy about him.
But further to that: How did Buffy not know he was a vampire?! It's so obvious after his warning. (Get it together, Buffy.)
The Harvest as a ritual had a few looming questions.
How many people does it take to open the door? How much blood? Is it only one vessel? Is there a set time?
Giles's books are pretty vague about it and they don't explain much more beyond the high-level points. We don't need all the nitty gritty exposition to flesh it out. However, it would've been nice to backup the severity of the situation beyond just the return of The Master.
Buffy: So Giles, got anything that could make this day any worse?
Giles: How about the end of the world?
Buffy: ...I knew I could count on you.
Harmony made her first appearance in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 2?! That seems so...early.
We've seen her a lot in the background, but I didn't realize we were introduced to her in the beginning. She's another person who has grown in the Buffy/Angel universe. I like her more in the Angel series, however.
Wait...why wasn't Harmony at the Bronze during The Harvest?
She told Cordelia she would be there and yet, she wasn't with the group at the bar. This was probably a minor scheduling thing and it's not a big deal. Basically just a continuity thing that's on my mind.
The Harvest ritual was more elaborate than I thought it would be. Like, I can be dramatic at times, but these vampires wanted a show. Did Luke really need a spotlight on stage? Come on!
And what was with the self-serving monologue? This is peak horror movie villain moment. He wanted to have a big speech to tell everyone they were going to die.
As evil as this sounds...effective villains can get the job done quickly.
They didn't need the Bronze. They didn't need the spectacle. In fact, they probably could've found enough victims on the way to the Bronze than actually at the club. The Master not being free is their fault.
Though, we then wouldn't have the iconic Darla skipping moment. I love that scene. (Sacrifices, I guess.)
Jesse dying, and then getting staked as a vampire, had no emotional impact on me. He was a painful character to have around for a few reasons.
His obsession over Cordelia, and his friendship with Willow and Xander are never explained. We're just forced to believe he's a big part of their lives. And yet, he's NEVER mentioned again?!
Seriously! After Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 2, Jesse's name is never brought up, even though he's best friends with Xander and Willow. I don't buy it.
Did anyone else get major Hocus Pocus movie vibes with Luke's death?
He is this tough warrior who isn't easily defeated, and yet he got faked out with a fake sunrise. Even a vampire who's lived centuries is familiar with a clock and what time it is. This death was too easy.
Winifred Sanderson is not impressed.
Buffy: Well, I gotta look on the bright side. Maybe I can still get kicked out of school?
[Xander, Buffy and Willow walk away]
Xander: Oh, yeah, that’s a plan. Because lots of schools are not hellmouths.
Willow: Maybe you can blow something up? They’re really strict about that.
Buffy: I was thinking of a more subtle approach. You know, like excessive not studying.
[Giles touches his glasses]
Giles: The earth is doomed.
After rewatching "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest" back-to-back, I'm still so shocked at how far the series grew over time.
Buffy, Willow, Xander, Angel, Cordelia and Giles changed a lot. Buffy became more serious and Willow stopped being the wallflower; it's like they're not even the same person. But, these two hours were a solid start and a great base for what Buffy the Vampire Slayer soon became.
What did you think of "The Harvest"? Did you want Jesse to stick around longer? Who was your favorite character?
Want to join us in rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer? We'll be posting new rewatch posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Come back here and let us know what you thought of the episode.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.