Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Welcome to the Hellmouth

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Twenty years. Can you believe it's been 20 years since Buffy the Vampire Slayer's TV run began? (Excuse me, I need a strong coffee after that...)

Buffy was an amazing show that was more than its gimmicky name.

It had action, great dialogue, witty one-liners, and fleshed out characters with strong character development. I love this show. And many people are still obsessed with it today.

With the cast reuniting earlier this year for the 20th anniversary, now felt like the perfect time to start a rewatch. We're taking it all the way back to the beginning with Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1...

The Original Cast - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Right from the first vampire reveal, I still can't believe this small moment would be so big. Not just because seven-year-old me was hooked, but because of the person. This is how we met Darla!

Did anyone else think she would be so important in the Buffy/Angel universe?

Darla's Bite - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

So...the early vampire design looks cheesy. I will agree this did not age well.

There was a lot of heavy molding and makeup in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1. It's a blessing that the special effects team toned it down in later seasons. A simplified vampire design was sorely needed here.

Luckily, Darla's pilot design would eventually be fixed. The same goes with the darkness; the lighting is a serious issue for many of the first episodes.

The attack in the school and fight in the graveyard were a bit hard to see, even with my screen brightness set high. Potentially this could be because of the darker tone for the first season. But, chances are it's due to production cost.

Joyce: Okay, have a good time! I know you're going to make friends right away, just think positive.
[Buffy leaves the car]
Joyce: And honey...
[Buffy turns around]
Joyce: Try not to get kicked out.
Buffy: I promise.

What are you doing, Joyce? That's not the way to support Buffy.

This isn't positivity. Her mother is being straight up shady and passive-aggressive. She's constantly reminding Buffy that she got kicked out of school and talking about a new start.

If this were a new start, maybe don't talk about it all the time? Also, why is she letting her 15- 16-year-old daughter leave to go to a nightclub...in a new town...alone at night?!

I don't get it. This can't just be a '90s thing.

Buffy, The Sophomore - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Buffy's first day at Sunnydale High wasn't so bad in hindsight.

Principal Flutie taping up her transcripts is the worst, but she does meet the best friends she'll have for the rest of her life. Except for Jesse. (Who? Exactly.)

Did anyone else catch the movie reference? Sure, they changed it to burning down the gym, but the gym did happen. The small retcons make all the difference.

Cordelia: You'll be okay here. If you hang with me and mine, you'll be accepted in no time. Of course, we do have to test your coolness factor. You're from L.A., so you can skip the written. So let's see...vamp nail polish?
Buffy: Over?
Cordelia: So over. James Spader?
Buffy: He needs to call me!
Cordelia: Frappachinos?
Buffy: Trendy but tasty.
Cordelia: Josh Tesh.
Buffy: The devil.
Cordelia: That was pretty much a gimme, but you passed!

I always forget that Buffy used to be "cool" like Cordelia in the pre-show story.

Viewers mostly see her as the school misfit or fighting hero. But there was a time that she basically was the original Cordelia. It would've been terrible if Buffy had become a Cordelia clone.

We don't need another Harmony!

Cordelia: Willow...nice dress! Good to know you've seen the softer side of Sears.
[Willow looks down]
Willow: Oh, well, my mom picked it up.
Cordelia: No wonder you're such a guy magnet. Are you done?
Willow: Oh!
[She leaves]

Let's get this out of the way now: I'm a Cordelia fan.

She's direct, speaks her mind and doesn't bend to the will of others. It's nice to have someone different than the rest of the core group share their opinion.

Though, she's clearly just the stereotypical high school mean girl on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1.

Cordelia, like Willow, is someone who will get a major transformation as the series goes on. And let's face it, the change is for the better! Though, Cordelia never loses her touch for delivering iconic one-liners.

Mr. Pointy - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Xander's crush on Buffy is cringe-worthy. They're basically like brother and sister.

In hindsight, it feels so '90s that the dorky slacker would have a crush on the cool new girl. The producers are setting this plotline up for Xander to have unrequited feelings for his friend.

With a teen show like this, you need the prerequisite romances in the mix. Xander has a thing for Buffy. Willow might be crushing on Xander. And Buffy...she just met the new guy.

I lived for these stories as a child.

Buffy: Why can't you people leave me alone?
Giles: Because you are the Slayer. To each generation a slayer is born. One girl in all the world, a chosen one. One born with the...
Buffy: The strength and skill to hunt the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil, blah, blah, blah. I've heard it, okay.

Giles and Buffy had great chemistry, even from the beginning.

Jumping at the chance to talk vampires with his new Slayer is so Giles. He's a bookworm and a worrier early on, but it served a purpose for who he was. He's always reminding Buffy about her mission.

Their second chat in the library is one of my favorite scenes. It not only established backstory of the Slayer, but it started Buffy's resistance for the role. It's a theme we see a lot throughout the series.

She doesn't want it. She wants a normal life. But this is her destiny. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1 set the groundwork for this story.

Angel Arrives - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Angel's first appearance isn't the best of starts. It's kinda...bad.

His lines are cliche, and he's trying too hard to be the mysterious, smoldering man. Just like Xander before him, the tone is setting up a potential romance with Buffy. While he's the more heartthrob of the two, Angel needs some work.

Come on! Giving a HUGE silver necklace in a darkened alley is really creepy, even if it was David Boreanaz giving the gift. (Well...)

The Master - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

The Master doesn't get enough appreciation by Buffy fans. He may be a simple vampire leader, but he's still an interesting character.

As one of the, if not the, oldest vampires, he has a long bloodied history. And we can't forget that prophecies were intertwined with his and Buffy's destiny.

Also, the biggest factor in debates I've had is that by this time (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1), Buffy has only been a Slayer for about a year/year and a half. She's still a newbie Slayer; she isn't the tough badass we see much later on.

The Master is the toughest Big Bad standing in her way...right now.

Seize The Moment - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

Willow is at her peak wallflower at the Bronze. She's so shy and nervous talking to Buffy. She desperately wants to be her friend and feel cool for once.

Though, seeing her at the nightclub is a tad surprising as it doesn't fit with the character type. (And yet again, does nobody card at the Bronze?!)

But, poor Alyson Hannigan; the outfit choices for "Welcome to the Hellmouth" ventured on doll-like. It's great to see this character develop from her shy demeanor to her cheeky nature.

She becomes more brave and bold. However, she shouldn't have left with the vampire.

Jesse's Girl - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1

If this is your first time watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, don't worry: The vampire dusting special effect gets a vast improvement.

It's not simply a puff of smoke and a noise for the majority of the series. The design gets fixed to look more believable.

When Buffy stakes the male vampire and battles Darla, this is the first time we see her in action. Just as I mentioned above, she's still a newbie Slayer and doesn't have all the fight training. It's not surprising to see her overpowered by Luke.

But it does hurt to see "To Be Continued" wording at the end. Cliffhangers always are painful, even with past shows.

Xander: So, what do you do for fun? What do you like? What are you looking for in a man? Let's hear it.
Jesse: If you have any dark, painful secrets you'd like us to publish?
Buffy: Gee, everyone wants to know about me. How keen.
Xander: Well, not much goes on in a one Starbucks town like Sunnydale. You're pretty big news.
Buffy: I'm not, really.

What did you think of "Welcome to the Hellmouth"? Did it hook you from the start?

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.

Welcome to the Hellmouth Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (5 Votes)

Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Cordelia: You'll be okay here. If you hang with me and mine, you'll be accepted in no time. Of course, we do have to test your coolness factor. You're from L.A., so you can skip the written. So let's see...vamp nail polish?
Buffy: Over?
Cordelia: So over. James Spader?
Buffy: He needs to call me!
Cordelia: Frappachinos?
Buffy: Trendy but tasty.
Cordelia: Josh Tesh.
Buffy: The devil.
Cordelia: That was pretty much a gimme, but you passed!

Joyce: Okay, have a good time! I know you're going to make friends right away, just think positive.
[Buffy leaves the car]
Joyce: And honey...
[Buffy turns around]
Joyce: Try not to get kicked out.
Buffy: I promise.