The ABCs of Sunnydale

Giles (aka Rupert Giles):

Debut -- Welcome to the Hellmouth (Season 1)

In WTTH and part 2, The Harvest, Giles is introduced as the school librarian, but it immediately appears that there's more to him than meets the eye. When Buffy comes looking for a book, he hands her an odd-looking one that's entitled "Vampyrs" -- apparently, he's already clued in to her status as the slayer. Giles's work as a Watcher, one who trains a Slayer, is cut out for him from the start since Buffy reveals she's a retired slayer. Thus begins one of the show's recurring themes, that of Buffy's unwillingness to be the slayer in her quest for a normal life, and that in which Giles must make it clear to Buffy how important her duty is. This ongoing struggle continues throughout the better part of season 2.

Line That Sets the Stage for Episodes to Come:
"Something's coming! Something is going to happen here soon!" -- Giles to Buffy

Other 1st season appearances -- The Harvest, 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

In The Witch, the theme of "A Slayer can't have a normal life" comes up again -- Giles pleads with Buffy not to turn her attention towards the cheerleading squad. This episode has Giles casting a spell (admittedly his first, though season 2 raises some questions about that...) in order to reverse a witch's spells.

Teacher's Pet marks the first time that Buffy disobeys Giles..he's asked her not to go looking for The Claw, but she does anyway. When she comes back, she has some insight to share with him regarding the new substitute teacher. This isn't the last time Buffy stands up to her Watcher....

NKABOTFD serves as an example of just how dedicated Giles is to being the Watcher. In doing some investigative work revolving around yet another prophecy, he goes by himself to a funeral home, and finds himself facing 2 vampires. We already knew from episode 1 that Watchers don't have the skills that Slayers have, but this proves it further. Giles later tells Buffy that he didn't always want to be the Watcher, and some real slayer/watcher bonding occurs for the first time. This is interesting to note in that Buffy is constantly telling Giles he has no idea what it's like to be a teenage girl and to be the Slayer, so when these 2 are able to bond, it's neat to watch. More bonding occurs throughout season 2.

The Pack almost seems to be a role-reversal episode, in that Buffy is trying to tell Giles that weird things are afoot in Sunnydale, and Giles pays her no heed. Shortly, Giles does come around and takes up his position as "The Expert on Weird." Maybe this watcher/slayer advisement isn't just a one-way street, huh, Giles?

Angel Giles still hasn't met Angel by this episode, but he does in fact learn who he is, and glimpses him later at the Bronze. Giles also first meets Buffy's mom, Joyce, in this episode.

I Robot, You Jane marks the first time we see Giles at odds with Jenny Calendar, the computer teacher. We also get insight as to why he dislikes computers. Miss Calendar may have lost her (ear?)ring in this episode, but it's also quite possible that Giles lost his heart...

The Puppet Show features Giles-turned-producer, as he's been put in charge of the Annual Talent(less) Show. It's amusing to watch Giles interact with students other than Buffy & the Slayerettes...most noteworthy is how he deals with Cordelia, as he employs a Xander technique to get rid of her. Because Giles is so wrapped up in the show, the researching falls heavily onto Buffy, Xander, and Willow. They prove that they can get a lot done without his Watchful eye always on them, and that's also something that will come in handy..especially in season 2.

Nightmares pits characters against facing their worst nightmares, and Giles is no exception. His nightmares are realized when he loses the ability to read, gets lost in the stacks of the library, and is the reason for sending Buffy to an early grave because he failed in his duty as Watcher. Now that we know what Giles fears most, we can see why he takes his job so seriously and why he tries to impress that gravity on Buffy with respect to her responsibilities, too.

Invisible Girl marks the return of Angel, and he meets with Giles to tell him he can garner the Pergamum Codex, which contains the most complete information on prophecies. Giles also comes to realize that Angel is in love with Buffy.

Prophecy Girl seems to tie up all the threads of the season in that Giles realizes what he's asking of Buffy when he sends her out to fight the demons night after night. He doesn't want to tell her that the prophecy states she will die, but when she finds out, she "quits" -- full circle since the premiere when she says she's a retired slayer! -- Giles is prepared to go off to face the Master, but is stopped by Buffy. This also marks the return appearance of Miss Calendar.

Giles and the Slayerettes:

Luckily, the school library's always empty, so Giles is able to carry on his Watcher role with little distraction. Giles's relationships with the other Slayerettes is as follows: Xander helps out in the research department when computer skills aren't required. Xander and Giles aren't seen interacting that much in season 1, but season 2 puts more dialogue between them. Because Giles is very much into traditional researching methods, that is, he's not into using computers, Willow picks up the slack on the cyber-research methods. It's probably safe to say that Willow is Giles's favorite Slayerette since she's always eager to do the research thing, and often turns up useful information. Cordelia-turned-Slayerette doesn't occur until season 2, but I'd go so far as to venture that she isn't Giles's favorite person. While she does occasionally find some good information, her manner can be somewhat of a turn-off. The latest addition to the Slayerettes is Oz, though his part thus far has been minimal.


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 Parts I, II; Ted; Bad Eggs; Surprise; Innocence; Phases; Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered; Passion; Killed By Death; I Only Have Eyes For You, Go Fish; Becoming part I, II

WSWB is the first episode that really marks the attraction between Giles and Jenny Calendar. Also has Giles doing the comfort thing for Buffy when she realizes she may have damaged some of her relationships as a result of her "bad" behavior.

SAR shows Giles as nervous-teacher-in-love; he gets advice from Buffy and Xander as to how to ask Ms. Calendar out, but she beats him to the punch. This episode serves mainly to push that relationship along, as far as Giles is concerned.

SH has Giles and Jenny getting closer still and also proves that Giles feels his first responsibility is to Buffy. When the vamps are in the school, Giles is preparing to leave the safety of the library to help take vamps down. But then Buffy arrives and says, no, he has to stick around to make sure her mom gets out safely. So even though he was prepared to face death, he acknowledged Buffy's wishes instead. That's about it.

Inca Mummy Girl is basically Giles-as-semi-relentless-Watcher. He caves in when Buffy begs to go to a dance. But of course death and mayhem end up precluding her from going to the dance. Basic Giles mode here, nothing extraordinary character-wise.

Giles seems to be pushing Buffy to her limits in RB. He tells her to go to her classes and to come for training right after school's out. He finds her outside "dawdling with her friends" and looks annoyed as he taps his watch to signal her to come to training. It's partly because of his treatment towards her (that is, putting a lot of pressure on her) that Buffy's led to rebel by going to a frat party with Cordy. Buffy lies to Giles about going to this party when she asks for the night off. Giles mostly works with Willow in this episode to uncover the latest mystery of a missing girl; later, Willow ranks on him -- and Angel -- when they fear that Buffy's in trouble at the frat house. That's pretty much it; Giles later tells Buffy why he seems to be so hard on her, and promises to let up a bit.

Halloween serves to add to the intrigue of Giles's character. When ghost-Willow and Giles go to Ethan's Costume Shop to see what's causing all the Halloween strife, Giles meets up with an old acquaintance of his who calls him Ripper. Giles tells Willow to leave, and we see Giles kick, hit, and basically beat up on Ethan Rayne. When Ethan makes allusions to Giles's past, Giles says that he's not the person he used to be. It's all very mysterious, y'know.

Giles does some socializing, albeit unseen, in Lie to Me. Jenny takes him to a monster truck rally, which didn't exactly enthrall him. Giles tells Buffy who Drusilla is -- the sometimes "paramour of Spike." At the end of the episode, when Buffy looks to Giles to lie to her about life, he indulges her.

That Watcher/Slayer Relationship:
Giles: "...The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by the pointy horns or black hats. And, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after."
Buffy: "Liar." --
when Buffy asks Giles if life ever gets easier.

The Dark Age is Giles's episode. Here we learn about the skeletons in his closet -- basically, we learn of his "rebel years" back in England. We get to see a photo of him with long hair and a guitar -- I think I recall reading somewhere that it's actually a photo of Sid Vicious with Giles's head attached to it... Anyhoo, Giles ran with a bad crowd who invoked the demon Eyghon, which killed one of their friends back in the day. Now the demon's back to kill any and all persons who bear his markings, namely..Giles.

This episode is the catalyst for the first-time failure of Jenny's and Giles's relationship. The demon possessed her, she freaked, she backed off. Hey, at least she had a good reason to put some distance between herself and Giles.

In WML part I, Giles seems to be on Buffy's case a bit, but maybe part of that can be attributed to Buffy's griping/coming to terms with being the Slayer. Later in the episode, he's kinda harsh when Xander makes jokes about The Order of Turaka. Giles also lets Buffy know that the Order poses a serious threat, and that she should lay low for a while.

WML part II heavily focuses on the relationship between Watcher & Slayer -- when Kendra comes to town, Giles has an ally in what could be called the "perfect" model of a Slayer. Giles bonds with Kendra much to Buffy's dismay, and Giles reveals to Buffy that he knew The Slayer Handbook would be of no use in her case. Giles bonds a bunch in this episode..I mean, he bonds with Willow during research and later he gives her (and only her!) some candy. Oh yeah, Giles aids in killing some vamps, too, at the church.

Ted brings Giles and Jenny back together, but not before she accidentally shoots him when aiming the crossbow at a vamp. After Giles tells the gang why Buffy's not up to slaying -- it's the guilt thing about having taken a human life -- Cordy mentions Giles's past.

Giles Abuses Sarcasm?:
Cordelia: ""I guess you should know since you helped raise that demon that killed that guy that time."
Giles: "Yes, do let's bring that up as often as possible."

In the ghastly episode -- sorry! -- BE, Giles notices that the gang is all sluggish. The best part is when he comes into contact with Joyce! Check out his nonchalant way of distracting Joyce so he can drop a Bezoar Offspring onto her back. Later he goes around telling everyone that there was a gas leak or something, even though he himself has no idea of what really happened. sNicker.

Surprise is interesting in that Giles is adamant about throwing Buffy a surprise party for her birthday, even though Buffy's latest dreams carry portents of evil. That's about it.

Xander on Giles:
Xander: "He looks like Mr. Caution Man but the sound he makes is funny." -- after Giles's speech about how Buffy deserves a party, no matter what evil may be lurking.

It's in Innocence that the Watcher/Slayer relationship unfolds even more. This time, Giles backs Buffy against Jenny, after they learn about Jenny's true identity and purpose. (see Jenny's Character Page.) Later when Giles drops Buffy off at home, he tells her that even though the coming months will be hard for all of them in light of Angel's recent soul-loss, he respects her and supports her. That was quite the touching scene, I gotta say, even if he still drives that beat-up wreck he calls a car.

Phases is business as usual pretty much. Giles researches the werewolf problem. One thing to note is that when Cain makes disparaging remarks about Buffy's capabilities, Giles defends her. He also looks indignant when Cain suggests that Giles and Buffy have "somethin' goin' on."

BBB has Giles reaming out Xander for being fool enough to mess with witchcraft. He finally corrals Amy Madison into helping him undo the Buffyrat spell and the love spell, but that was no easy task. Giles had to listen to Amy and Jenny fight over Xander!

Giles Loses His Patience..Or Possibly His Lunch?:
Giles: "Instead of making me ill, why doesn't one of you try to help me?!" -- to Jenny and Amy after he's heard enough of their insulting each other.

Passion is by far the worst episode for Giles to date. In it, he and Jenny are on the course to repair their relationship and she even tells him that she loves him. Unfortunately, Angelus learns of Jenny's plan to recurse him, and kills her, depositing her body in Giles's bed. Grief-stricken, rage-stricken, stricken-stricken, Giles packs his weapons up, throws a Molotov cocktail into the factory, and starts wailing on Angelus. Buffy comes by to take control of the situation, and the two sort of bond. At Jenny's grave, Buffy tells Giles that she's sorry she couldn't have killed Angel earlier, but now she can do it. Anyway, what can I say..this bites for Giles.

In KBD, Giles once again doesn't really believe Buffy when she tells him that something funny is going on in the hospital. Nice to know that Giles still doubts Buffy, even if she was at one point on painkillers or something. Anyhoo, Giles is forced to work with Cordy in the library. Also significant is that Giles once again runs into Buffy's mom Joyce. Their second meeting in a about that? Only this time Joyce isn't a patient. Oh well.

In IOHEFY, Giles believes that the spirit that's haunting the school may be Jenny Calendar. It takes Willow's insisting that "..Jenny could never be this mean," to drag him out of that way of thinking. Anyhoo, Giles saves Willow from being sucked into the floor of the staircase at school. Giles is given a rose quartz (I think...been a while..I like rose quartz myself) by Willow -- it used to belong to Jenny. Giles also learns that Willow's been going to some of Jenny's technopagan sites. And lastly, Giles talks to Buffy and the gang about the quality of mercy or forgiveness...that it's not only for the person you're giving it to, but it's for yourself. Hm.

In GF, Giles is mainly in research mode and protecting Buffy mode. Later, he joins her in the sewers to go fishing. Uck. Not much else here, otherwise.

In Becoming part I, Giles is called in by Sunnydale Museum curator Doug Perry to translate some big tomb thing. He advises Doug to hold off on opening the tomb thing until he knows more about it. Well, Giles discovers that the tomb contains the demon Acathla, which will suck the world into hell.

Meanwhile, Willow and Buffy show Giles that they found Jenny's disk with the translated curse to restore Angel's soul. Giles tells Willow he doesn't think she should mess around with the curse, but he does think it might be a good idea to try to recurse Angel. He gets angry at Xander when Xander balks at this suggestion, because Xander accuses him of not caring that Angel killed Jenny..sort of. Giles also provides Willow with an Orb of Thessala, which he'd been using as a paperweight. And Giles helps out by doing the Latin thing when they start the curse. During this, he gets knocked out by some vamps and dragged off...

In Becoming part II, Giles is brought to the Garden Mansion, where Angelus begins to torture him for information on how to bring forth Acathla. Giles withstands the torture, well he is the Ripper after all!, and refuses to do anything but give smart-ass answers to Angelus. Unfortunately, when Drusilla does the Jedi Mind Trick on him, he believes he's seeing Jenny again, and he gives in to her demands to tell Angelus what he wants to know. Later, when Xander comes in to rescue him, he thinks they're playing mind tricks on him again, but soon realizes thanks to Xander, that he's not. Giles and the gang wait for Buffy at school the next day, but she never shows up.

More Giles! Season 3!

Story Arc: Giles & Jenny Calendar

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This page last updated February 7, 1999