Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

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This article is about the television episode. For the album, see Waterdown.
"Never Kill a Boy on the First Date"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Buffy 1x05.jpg
Buffy introduces Owen to Angel
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 5
Directed by David Semel
Written by Rob Des Hotel
Dean Batali
Production code 4V05
Original air date March 31, 1997
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"Teacher's Pet"
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"The Pack"
List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" is the fifth episode of the first season of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The episode was written by story editors Rob Des Hotel and Dean Batali, and directed by David Semel. The narrative follows Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), as she struggles to find a date and stop the rise of the Anointed One.

Plot[edit]

The Master reads an ancient prophecy to his minions:

And there will be a time of crisis, of worlds hanging in the balance. And in this time shall come the Anointed, the Master's great warrior. And the Slayer will not know him, will not stop him, and he will lead her into hell. As it is written, so it shall be. Five will die, and from their ashes the Anointed One shall rise. The Brethren of Aurelius shall greet him and usher him to his immortal destiny.

Buffy finally gets a date—sensitive hunk Owen shows an interest in her. To Giles' exasperation, all Buffy can think about is impressing him with an uncharacteristic interest in the American poet Emily Dickinson. In the school cafeteria, Buffy has to fight off Cordelia to sit at one table with Owen, but it is worth it. He asks Buffy out on a date to The Bronze that very evening.

However, Giles has found out about the prophecy from the symbol on a ring they found in the cemetery. He is convinced that the Anointed One will rise that night, and so despite Buffy's protests, they spend hours sitting on graves waiting for a vampire to rise. None does, however, and though Giles is certain that his calculations are correct, he calls their stakeless stake-out quits. Buffy rushes to The Bronze, only to see Owen dancing with Cordelia. Crushed, she leaves without trying to talk to him.

At the same time, in a bus on the way to Sunnydale, a man stands up and begins to lecture the other passengers on God's judgment, quoting prophecies. Suddenly, a vampire walks in front of the bus, causing it to crash. Other vampires swarm the wreck, attacking the passengers, including the religious man.

The next morning, Owen asks Buffy out on another date that night and even gives her a pocket-watch so that she doesn't miss it this time. Buffy jumps at the opportunity, while Xander is left to stew in his jealousy.

When evening comes, Giles shows up at Buffy's house, waving a newspaper that shows five people died when the bus crashed, among them the suspected murderer Andrew Borba, the man who was quoting prophecies. Buffy insists on going to the Bronze, though, so Giles decides to check the Sunnydale funeral home himself. Unfortunately, there are vampires present to get the Anointed One, and they trap Giles in a room. Xander and Willow have followed him, though, and run back to The Bronze to get Buffy.

There, first Cordelia, then Angel tries to come in between Buffy and Owen. Buffy kisses Owen, causing Angel to become jealous and annoyed. Finally, Xander and Willow managed to get her to come to the funeral home by pretending to be a couple that wants to do something daring on a double date. When Buffy figures out what has happened, she tries to dump Owen, but unfortunately, he tags along. Even worse, he is present in the funeral home when Borba rises as a vampire. In the fight, Owen is knocked unconscious. Buffy, angry that he has "killed [her] date," kills Borba by sliding him into the furnace while still alive, or rather, still undead.

The next morning, Owen is extremely excited about what they have been through and wants more—this is what he likes about Buffy, he says, and almost being killed made him feel alive. She realizes that there is no way that she can have a relationship with him; sooner or later, he will get himself killed. With a heavy heart, she breaks up with him.

Giles tries to comfort her by telling her what a burden it was for him as a ten-year-old to find out his destiny was to be a watcher when he would rather have been a fighter pilot—or possibly a grocer. Both agree that at least the Master will be unhappy, too, because the Anointed One was destroyed.

But in his underground lair, the Master is overjoyed as he welcomes the real Anointed One—not Borba after all, but a young boy who was on the bus with him.

Production details[edit]

The episode contributes to the season's plot by introducing The Anointed One.

Music[edit]

During scenes between Buffy and Owen at the Bronze, Velvet Chain is performing "Strong" and "Treason"[1] from their album Warm. When Cordelia and Owen dance, Three Day Wheely's "Rotten Apple" is playing. When Angel warns Buffy about the threat, the song is "Junky Girl" by Rubber from their self-titled CD. Finally, when Buffy rejects Owen at school, the song "Let the Sun Fall Down" by Kim Richey plays in the background.

Cultural references[edit]

The Master says, "Here endeth the lesson". This phrase was in common usage in churches to finish a sermon, up until the 1950s. Soylent Green is mentioned; it is a foodstuff from the science fiction movie of the same name (1973), which the protagonist of the movie discovers is made from people. The movie is loosely based on a novel, Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison, in which soylent is imitation meat made from soybeans and lentils, available with or without red dye.

Continuity[edit]

Arc significance[edit]

  • Cordelia develops an attraction towards Angel, which will later become romantic in the spin-off Angel.

Reception[edit]

"Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" first aired on The WB on March 31, 1997. It earned a Nielsen rating of 2.8 on its original airing. It was the 104th most watched show out of all 115 primetime shows of its time; fifth out of the eleven shows from The WB.[2]

Noel Murray of The A.V. Club liked that the episode explored a new side of Buffy, but felt that the four previous episodes had not set up Buffy as a "person with normal teenage tastes and desires". He still found "a lot to like" in the episode.[3] A BBC review stated that some "very amusing scenes compensate for the absence of an involving plot". The review noted that the plot took a while to get started and the direction of the funeral home sequences made it fall short of its potential.[4] DVD Talk's Philip Duncan identified "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" the "weakest" episode of those relating to the Master plotline in the season.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date: Trivia". BBC. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's First Season". Archived from the original on 23 August 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Murray, Noel (12 June 2008). ""Teacher's Pet", etc.". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date: Review". BBC. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Duncan, Phillip (21 January 2002). "Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 1". DVD Talk. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 

External links[edit]