The ABCs of Sunnydale

Buffy Summers:

Debut -- Welcome to the Hellmouth (Season 1)

Buffy Summers was 16 when she and her mom, Joyce Summers, moved to Sunnydale. Buffy had been kicked out of her old school in LA for setting the gym on fire, and was determined to lose her slayer status with this fresh start in Sunnydale. Unfortunately, that was not to be....Upon arriving at Sunnydale High, she was befriended by Cordelia and later decided to hang out with Willow and Xander. The school librarian, Mr. Giles knew that Buffy was the slayer and managed to convince her that she can't escape her duty, particularly since Sunnydale is situated on a Hellmouth. Buffy also makes the acquaintance of one Mr. Cryptic Warning Guy, aka Angel, who gives her a cross necklace, some warnings, and some information. One of the recurring themes throughout season 1 and well into season 2 is Buffy's struggle to be a "normal" teenager, without always having to be responsible for the fate of the world.

Most Ironic Quote:
"First of all, I'm a vampire slayer; and secondly, I'm retired."

Other 1st season appearances -- The Witch; Teacher's Pet, Never Kill a Boy on the First Date, The Pack; Angel; I Robot, You Jane; The Puppet Show; Nightmares; Invisible Girl, Prophecy Girl

The Witch marks Buffy's attempt to pursue life as a normal teenager by trying out for the cheerleading squad. We get some insight as to her relationship with her mom in this episode, too; basically, she realizes that her mom sees her as having a penchant for getting into trouble. This is the first time we see Buffy succumb to a witch's spell. See Season 2's Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered.

Teacher's Pet reacquaints Buffy and Angel..even from their brief interactions with one another, the stage is set for some romantic interest. Also, this episode defines the Watcher/Slayer relationship a bit more as we see that it's not just Giles who is sensitive to the weird goings-on of the Hellmouth; the Slayer is also able to detect the funkiness of situations.

Most Telling Utterance:
"Oh boy..." --
Buffy to herself, after Angel compliments her and walks off mysteriously.

In NKABOTFD, Buffy once again is persistent in her quest to have a normal life. In looking to fulfill only the minimal Slayer requirements, she bugs Giles to let her go out on a date with Owen. It's at the end of this episode that Buffy reflects on how being the Slayer impacts her life, and it's here that Giles informs that he didn't always want to be The Watcher. The responsibility theme and Buffy's seeming acceptance of it seems to kick in here.

In The Pack, Buffy must break through Giles's skepticism (now there's a first..sort of) in order to convince him that there's something wrong with Xander. Buffy also has to curb Xander's aggressive nature towards her by throwing a desk at him. This episode marks the second time that Buffy loses a faculty member that was pretty tolerant of her.

Pop-Culture Reference:
"I can't believe you of all people are trying to Scully me!" --
Buffy to Giles when he remarks that Xander's behavior is typical for a teenage boy.

Buffy gets the shock of her life in Angel when she discovers that Angel's a vampire! What else can you really say about that, you know? She learns that Angel was cursed and that's why his soul was returned to him. Yow. Yet another shock for Buffy when Darla tells that she and Angel were involved for centuries. Plus, Buffy gets an introduction to the crossbow.

An Amusing Exchange:
Darla: Do you know what the saddest thing in the world is?
Buffy: Bad hair on top of that outfit?

  Buffy can't rely on Willow for help in I Robot, You Jane since Willow's become involved with someone she met over the Internet. Buffy almost gets electrocuted in this ep., and suggests that Giles ask Ms. Calendar for help in casting Moloch out of the Internet. Not too much else of note as far as character growth or firsts are concerned.

An Amusing Exchange:
Ms. Calendar: You're here again? You kids really dig the library, don't you?
Buffy: We're literary!
Xander: To read makes our speaking English good.
-- Ms. Calendar notes with surprise that Xander and Buffy are yet again in the library; the two try to cover..

Follow-Up Exchange:
(in a stage whisper as they turn to leave)
Buffy: "To read makes our speaking English good?!"
Xander: I panicked!

The Puppet Show is the first time that Buffy teams up with someone other than the Scooby this case, it's a demon hunter named Sid who's..a dummy. They are teamed together after each mistakenly assumes the other to be the demon. It's also the first time she tells someone other than the gang that she's the Slayer. Good lines abound, plus we learn that Buffy's afraid of dummies.

Nightmares is the episode in which Buffy's fears are realized. A minor fear of hers is not knowing about a test, and then not knowing any of the answers. We witness Buffy's insecurities when her larger fears are disclosed. These include a scene in which Buffy's dad Hank Summers tells her how disappointed he is in her and how he doesn't get much out of seeing her, etc. Buffy also is afraid that she could be made into a vampire; she also fears being buried alive. It's neat to see how Buffy is defined by her fears, and we learn a lot about her in this episode.

Invisible Girl also defines Buffy, although this time it's through Cordelia's character and to a lesser extent, the character of Marcie Ross. Buffy feels left out when Xander and Willow make private jokes, and later we learn that Buffy was as popular at her old school, Hemery High, as Cordelia is at Sunnydale High. The theme of being isolated is pretty heavy throughout this ep., and even though it may be a valid issue, I still can't stand this episode. Sorry.

Prophecy Girl is the heaviest episode for Buffy in Season 1. It's in this episode that she tears off her cross and tells Giles and Angel that she quits. She's heard that she's going to face The Master and that she'll die, and she's afraid. She tells Giles she's only 16, and that she doesn't want to die. But after some students are murdered in the Audio/Visual room at the school, Buffy realizes that she's responsible for everyone's safety, and goes to find The Master. She dies in this episode, and Xander revives her. She then goes to find The Master and she kills him. Also in this episode, Xander lets Buffy know how he feels about her when he asks her to the dance, and she tells him that she doesn't feel the same way about him....His saving her after she drowns leads to some interesting consequences in Season 2.


When She Was Bad, Some Assembly Required, School Hard, Inca Mummy Girl, Reptile Boy, Halloween, Lie To Me, The Dark Age, What's My Line part I, II, Ted, Bad Eggs, Surprise, Innocence, Phases, Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered, Passion, Killed By Death, I Only Have Eyes For You, Go Fish, Becoming part I, II

WSWB marks the changes that Buffy has undergone since her death and her killing of The Master. She's aggressive, impatient, and doesn't want The Slayerettes to help her anymore. She leads Xander on, snubs Angel, but finally comes to terms with what's happened to her when she smashes the bones of The Master.

In SAR, Buffy attempts to work things out with Angel before they get distracted by the mystery of the week. This time, she has to fight Darryl, a Frankenstein of sorts. Not much else of consequence in this ep.

School Hard is the first time that Buffy meets Spike. Buffy finds her identities as normal teen and Slayer at odds once again when she's put in charge of running a parent-teacher night at school. Spike shows up with some vamps, and she fights him off. There's some mother-daughter bonding in this episode, and it's actually her mom who finally gets Spike to leave...

Inca Mummy Girl again has the normal-teen/Slayer theme; this time Buffy wants to go to the multicultural dance, but that's nixed when she has to go find and kill a mummy. She saves Xander from yet another terrible love choice, because instead of falling for a huge insect, this time he's fallen for a mummy who's in the form of an Incan student. Buffy acknowledges Xander's saving of her own life at the end of this episode. This episode also is neat in that when Buffy can relate to someone else whose fate was chosen -- the Inca Princess who at the age of 16 was chosen to die so that her people might live.

In Reptile Boy, Buffy's frustrated with Angel and Giles so she goes with Cordelia to a frat party. Claiming that she's tired of being responsible all the time, she accepts a drink, and finds herself chained to a wall in the basement. This episode deals in part with Buffy's deciding that she's grown-up enough to make choices for herself without being bugged by Giles or told she's too young by Angel.

In Halloween, Buffy gets her wish to be a normal girl when a spell cast by Ethan Rayne turns her into the persona of her costume -- an 18th-century noblewoman. She can't fight Spike, can't protect herself, can't do anything. She realizes after the ordeal that her identity as the Slayer, and who she is, is a good thing.

Lie to Me has Buffy questioning the people around her -- it seems that she's caught everyone she knows lying to her about something. She doesn't know who to trust, but finally believes Angel when he tells her that her old friend Ford isn't what he appears to be. Buffy seems to mature more in this episode; definitely a coming-of-age ep. Also, this episode marks the first time that Buffy tells Angel she loves him. Also it's the first time that Buffy sees Drusilla and learns that she's a vampire. Gosh.

The Dark Age is sort of a role-reversal episode. Buffy can't depend on Giles in this ep., so she does double-duty as The Slayer and also as The Adult/Watcher figure. Buffy learns that there's more to Giles than just his tweedy manner.

WML part I furthers the theme of "I'm-not-a-normal-teen-and-I-won't-have-a-normal-future"...this time Buffy's bummed out because it's Career Week at school, and the gang must fill out tests to find out what they might be suited for doing in the future. Buffy complains that she has no choice, her fate is sealed. It's in this episode that we see Buffy the most frightened she's been to date. This is because she learns that a group of assassins, The Order of Turaka, is after her. She feels unsafe and goes to Angel's house, but he's not there. While there, she's awakened by a girl who's about to kill her, and the two of them fight it out. Buffy gets the shock of her life when she asks her opponent who she is..."I'm Kendra, the vampire slayer!"

WML part II furthers Buffy's self-discovery. Because she's now faced with another slayer, something heretofore (?) unprecedented, Buffy now has someone who can relate to her. Although Kendra's life is much different from Buffy's -- no socializing, no school, no family -- the two are very similar. Buffy no longer feels so alone since she knows that there's someone else out there who can identify with her. Buffy goes up against the assassins and Spike in an effort to save Angel's life, and she succeeds, with a little help from her friends. It's in this episode that Buffy seems to finally come to terms with accepting her slayer status, and she realizes that being a slayer "isn't just a job, it's who she is." (paraphrase, Kendra said that).

Ted gives Buffy a lot to deal with. First she has to get used to the idea of her mother dating someone. Buffy dislikes Ted on sight, and when he finally gives her a reason to hit him, she sorta goes overboard. Her slayer abilities kick in and Ted ends up dead. Sure, she's killed many a vamp and many a supernatural creature, but Buffy's never had to deal with killing a real, live person before. The guilt and horror she feels is overwhelming. Once again she realizes she's not a normal girl. Fortunately, Ted turned out to be a machine, so she didn't really kill a person. But still, just feeling all that anguish...yikes.

Bad Eggs has Buffy fighting off some new vamps in the forms of The Gorch Brothers; also, Buffy kills a large creature, the Mother Bezoar, which looks fairly reminiscent of The Horta creature on the old Star Trek series. More importantly, though, Buffy has some problems relating to her mother; her mom asks her if she thinks about anything other than clothes and boys, and Buffy replies, "Saving the world from vampires?" Good answer, but it gets Buffy nowhere. It's also in this episode that Buffy learns Angel can't make "little vampires" -- so the course is set for the rest of that storyline, sort of. Basically, I can't stand this episode. Sorry.

It's Buffy's 17th birthday in Surprise. She has a prophetic dream about Angel's dying at the hands of Drusilla. Well, it was close, and who knows, Drusilla's plans to destroy the world did act as the catalyst for what happens....Basically, Buffy and Angel try to stop Dru and Spike from reanimating The Judge. First, Angel's supposed to leave town in order to take a piece of said Judge to a remote corner of the earth and bury it. So he and Buffy share a teary goodbye at the docks, and he gives Buffy a claddagh ring, and tells her to wear it in such a way that means she's spoken for. Their g'byes are cut short, though, and it ends up that they take it on the lam from Spike's and Dru's vamps. Back at Angel's place, the stage is set for their consummation. And consummate they do.

Innocence picks up where Surprise left off. Only now, Buffy's got to deal with feeling responsible for the spiritual death of Angel. When they consummated, he experienced a moment of true happiness and his soul was taken from him. (It was part of the curse, okay?). So she has to feel terrible about that, and I don't blame her. Unfortunately, she also still has to kill The Judge. She makes quick work of that, though. However, she's not able to stake Angel when she's fighting with him. This is something that plagues her. And although Giles tells Buffy it's not her fault that Angel changed, she doesn't really believe him. For pretty much the rest of the season, Buffy won't forgive herself for what's happened as a result of her being impetuous. On the upside, however, she also won't have to worry about having a little vampire....I think.

Phases has Buffy still upset about what's happened, and she also has to deal with a werewolf that's on the loose. She learns that the werewolf is Oz, Willow's soon-to-be official boyfriend. Before she has this knowledge, though, she's telling Willow that sometimes a gal has to make the first move. Yeah, yeah, easier said than done.... Anyhoo, that's about it for Buffy in this episode.

Buffy's not around too much in BBB. She succumbs to the love/obsession spell cast by Amy Madison, so she makes a play for Xander. Then Amy turns her into a rat, and that's about it. She does get changed back, and Oz finds her.

Remember how terrible Buffy felt in Ted? Triple that about 100 times, and you'll see how devastated and how awful she feels in Passion. That's because Angel's taken it upon himself to terrorize Buffy by preying on those close to her. Angel kills Jenny Calendar, and Buffy's blaming herself. It's in this episode that she admits to Giles that she's finally ready to face Angel and kill him. Better late than never, I suppose...

Okay, so Buffy's ready to kill Angel. Unfortunately, in KBD, she's taken ill with the flu. So she has to do some time in the hospital. We learn in this episode that Buffy's cousin Celia died in the hospital when they were little girls, and Buffy was there when it happened, though she didn't know the cause of it. Turns out that the monster-of-the-week, Der Kinderstod, was what got Celia. Buffy fights a demon that no one but sick children can see. By killing the demon, she's able to come to terms with her not being able to save Celia. This episode teams her with the Slayerettes (including Cordelia), but it's Xander who's with her during the fight.

Buffy's struggling big-time with the guilt-thing in I Only Have Eyes For You. She feels responsible for Angel's change, Jenny's death (as well as Teresa's, but Jenny's had a bigger impact on the group as a whole, especially for Giles!), and she can't seem to forgive herself. It's in this episode that Buffy's possessed by the ghost of James Stanley. During the possession, she shoots Angel (since he's being possessed by the spirit of Grace Newman), and is about to kill herself, when Angel appears. (Bullets can't really stop the undead, after all). There's a reconciliation between the ghost-spirits, and Buffy seems to get the closure/forgiveness she needs. Buffy and Angel share a smooch, the first one since Surprise. I'm not counting the smooch in Innocence, since it wasn't a real kiss..

Go Fish has Buffy trying to protect a member of Sunnydale's winning swim team; when one of the swim guys tries to get frisky in the car with her, she slams his head into the steering wheel, which smooshes his nose. Buffy's saved once again by Xander, as he pulls her up from the sewer-thingy. Not too much character growth in this episode, but she's had enough happen to her this season, so it's okay.

Becoming parts I, II are huge in terms of Buffy's character development. In the beginning of the episode, she's determined to find and kill Angel, which given the circumstances, I can understand. At school, Willow's tutoring Buffy since final exams are coming up. Buffy doesn't think herself to be very bookish or smart, but Willow assures her that she is. During the session, Buffy finds the disk of Jenny Calendar's that has the translated spell that would restore Angel's soul. Buffy's conflicted about whether or not they should use it, but she seems to lean more towards the yes.

What's especially interesting about this episode is that we see the day that Buffy learned she was the Slayer; we see her first as a Cordy-type, chattering and sort of being the leader of a popular group. She's alone on the steps when the Watcher approaches her, and she's confused. We see her kill her first vampire, even though at first she doesn't exactly seem to know where the heart is...she's a lot different these days, her abilities are now so great that it's hard to imagine that she wasn't always this skilled. She goes home, and we see that her home life isn't the greatest -- her parents don't want her hanging around this guy Tyler, and her dad's arguing with her mom. Buffy looks at herself in the mirror for a long while, and begins to cry. She knows her life isn't going to be the same...what she doesn't know is that Angel has been watching her since that afternoon...

When Buffy faces Angel in the graveyard and he lets on that the fight was just a ruse to get her away from the library and her friends, she runs back to the school and finds Kendra dead. This has to be one of the greatest losses that Buffy's experienced, because not only was Kendra her friend, but her equal in terms of Slayer status. Buffy's mortal, she can die, and even though that's not something Buffy didn't already know (and experience), it seems to hit her especially hard, particularly since she probably feels responsible for it. Not to mention that the police arrive and suspect Buffy of murdering Kendra....

The rest of the episode shows Buffy's distancing herself from everyone, somewhat. She feels responsible for Willow's being in the hospital, for Giles's being kidnapped, for Xander's broken arm. She ends up getting expelled from school, and she enters into an alliance with Spike the vampire in order to take down Angel. As a result, she outs herself as the Slayer to her mom -- gosh, Joyce is now in the know! -- and she ends up getting thrown out of the house when she refuses to stay in instead of going to save the world...again.

The one person she's gotten a smidgen of help from is the good-natured demon Whistler. He's told her how to close the vortex, but mostly he's just cryptic wiseman. But still, it's a good thing he's there. Anyhoo...

Buffy's swordfight with Angel leads to his near death; I say near because at one point, Angel's soul is restored, and Buffy shares a moment with him. This is heartwrenching stuff, really, because she still has to kill him. She plunges the sword into Angel and sends him into the mouth of hell, which effectively stops the demon Acathla from destroying the world. Buffy's mortified, and who can blame her? The Chosen One becomes the Solitary One; Buffy's last seen heading out of town on a bus -- she feels like she's lost everything and that she can't ever be the same Buffy that she was, or was trying to be. Remember that whole trying to be a normal girl thing that lasted a season and a half? She's not that Buffy, and hasn't been since WML, I'd say. Here she's a broken Slayer who's lost her only true love, her only true hate (I had to say that), her home and her school -- basically, she's lost her way. That's all for this season; next year's Buffy's gonna be dealing with some major issues!

More Buffy! (Season 3).

Story Arcs: Buffy vs. The Master; Buffy and Angel; Buffy vs. Spike & Dru; Xander and Buffy; Buffy versus Kendra; Buffy versus Faith

The ABCs of Sunnydale

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The Episodes

The 411/Mythology

The 511/Relationships

The 611/Slayerships

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Missing Lynx

Sound file courtesy of Techzero

Buffy/Angel vortex pic courtesy of Cynthia, Star-Crossed Lovers.

This page last updated October 3, 1998

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