Prophecy Girl

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"Prophecy Girl"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Buffy112-1.jpg
In the climax of the season finale, Buffy confronts the Master, knowing that she is prophesized to die in the process.
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 12
Directed by Joss Whedon
Written by Joss Whedon
Production code 4V12
Original air date June 2, 1997
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"Out of Mind, Out of Sight"
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List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"Prophecy Girl" is the season finale of the WB Television Network's first season of the drama television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the 12th episode of the series. The episode first aired on June 2, 1997 with the series acting as a midseason replacement for Savannah. Series creator Joss Whedon wrote and directed the episode.

The narrative features vampire Slayer Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) working to prevent vampire the Master (Mark Metcalf) from rising to power despite a prophecy predicting her death at his hands.

Due to the first season of the show serving as a mid season replacement, all twelve episodes were produced before the first episode aired (and as such, the conclusion of the episode serves to wrap the series up in case it were not renewed). All following seasons commenced from September to October and received twenty-two episode pick-ups.

Plot[edit]

Xander is practicing lines on Willow in the Bronze, wanting to ask Buffy to the Spring Fling. Cordelia is in a car making out with Kevin, as Buffy slays a vampire nearby. Giles is researching the prophetic book that Angel gave him and discovers that the Master is destined to rise and that it means danger for the Slayer. An earthquake is felt all over town, and the Master revels in it.

The next morning, Buffy is meeting Giles in the library, the balcony of which has sustained significant damage from the earthquake. Buffy explains the vampires are rising in number and getting braver, but Giles is distracted by his thoughts. After biology class, Willow finds an excuse to leave, leaving Xander to ask Buffy to the dance. Xander takes Buffy's rejection badly, and goes home to "listen to country music, the music of pain."

Miss Calendar interrupts Giles' study in the library, telling him that she sees apocalyptic portents. She tells him Brother Luca, a monk in Cortona, is e-mailing her about the Anointed One. Giles asks her to get more information about this, promising he will explain everything later. In the school hall, Kevin and Willow promise to help Cordelia set everything up in the Bronze for the dance. Willow sees Xander wallowing in his misery, and offers sympathy. When Xander asks her to the dance, she refuses, not wanting to settle for being his second choice.

That evening, Buffy uses the restroom at school and finds that the faucet is running with blood. As Buffy enters the library she hears Giles telling Angel that the prophecies say that she will face the Master and die. Buffy, shocked, yells that she is quitting, throwing the cross Angel gave her on the ground. She goes back home and tries to convince her mother to go away with her for the weekend. Joyce, instead, gives her a white evening gown and tells her to go to the dance.

The next day, at school, Cordelia and Willow find the AV club slaughtered by vampires. Buffy, having heard, shows up in her evening gown at Willow's who expresses fear of their world being taken over by the vampires. Buffy goes back to the library, where Giles has explained to Miss Calendar that Buffy is the Slayer. Buffy reinstates herself as the Slayer, knocks Giles out when he tries to stop her and goes to kill the Master. Outside of school, Collin leads her to the Master's lair.

Willow and Xander show up at the library, where they hear that Buffy has gone off to see the Master. Xander leaves, only to show up at Angel's apartment where he forces Angel to lead him to the Master's lair. The Master tells Buffy that it is her blood which will free him, as he drinks from her and leaves her to drown in a shallow pool. Willow and Ms. Calendar decide that the Hellmouth is underneath the Bronze and try to leave; they are stopped by vampires. Cordelia rescues them in her car and drives it straight into the library. Buffy is found; Xander saves her with CPR after Angel tells him that he [Angel] cannot perform CPR, as "[vampires] have no breath."

As Cordelia, Willow, Giles and Jenny fight off vampires trying to enter the library, a tentacled creature smashes through the floor, revealing that the Hellmouth is directly underneath the library itself. Buffy, now on the roof, tosses the Master down into the library, where he is impaled on broken furniture. He partly dusts, leaving only his skeleton. The world goes back to normal and everyone goes to the Bronze. (Buffy: "We saved the world. I say we party.")

Production[edit]

Alyson Hannigan claimed that two versions were filmed of the scene where she and Cordelia discover the room full of bodies: a tamer version for American audiences and a bloodier one to be shown in Europe.[1] This episode is the first meeting between Buffy and the season's main antagonist. Joss Whedon has stated that this event was deliberately saved for the season finale so that the show would not fall into a repetitive pattern of Buffy defeating The Master in every episode.[2]

This episode features a song by Jonatha Brooke & The Story. Joss Whedon would use "What You Don't Know" by Jonatha Brooke as the theme tune for his later show Dollhouse.

Cultural references[edit]

Music[edit]

Continuity[edit]

  • As seen in this episode, the earlier episode "Angel" and later episodes including "Helpless", Buffy tends to favor the crossbow when heading to face a particularly dangerous vampire.
  • Buffy previously learned of Xander's attraction to her when he lost his inhibitions in "The Pack". Here she acts surprised presumably because he claimed not to remember the events of the previous episode.
  • The monster that comes out of the Hellmouth reappears in "The Zeppo".
  • At the end of this episode, Buffy remarks that she is hungry after killing The Master. Faith, another Slayer, says in her first appearance that slaying always makes her "hungry and horny", and this is referenced again in numerous later episodes.

Arc significance[edit]

  • Xander jokes about Willow wanting to date Buffy, this is the first reference to Willow being gay later on in the series.
  • It is revealed that the Hellmouth is directly beneath Sunnydale High School library.
  • Buffy dies (for the first time), not from the Master's bite, but from drowning in the pool of water after he feeds on her. This will have major repercussions for the future of the Buffyverse: her death calls a new Slayer, Kendra.
  • Buffy is now essentially cut off from the Slayer line (no new Slayer is called after her second death), with Kendra, and later Faith, being the ‘active’ Slayer, although most of the characters assume in later episodes that Buffy's death will still activate a new slayer. During Faith's coma and subsequent incarceration, Buffy is referred to as the Slayer and not just a Slayer.
  • The Master, the season's Big Bad, dies. Unlike lesser vampires, The Master's bones are left behind after his death.

Broadcast and reception[edit]

"Prophecy Girl" was first broadcast on The WB on June 2, 1997. It received a Nielsen rating of 2.8 on its initial airing.[3]

Noel Murray of The A.V. Club gave "Prophecy Girl" a grade of A-, describing it as "a sterling example of how to write and direct this show". He particularly praised the quieter moments between the characters, and listed "the story feeling a little compressed" as his main qualm.[4] Todd VanDerWerff of the site listed "Prophecy Girl" as one of the "10 episodes that show how Buffy The Vampire Slayer blew up genre TV", writing that it gave "a sense of the series at its early best".[5] DVD Talk's Phillip Duncan described the episode as "a neat and tidy close without much fanfare" and felt that there was "too much crammed into this episode as several plot-points are struggled to be resolved".[6] On the other hand, a review from the BBC called it "a very satisfying conclusion", highlighting the tone and the performances.[7] Jarett Wieselman of the New York Post listed the scene where Buffy says she quits being the Slayer as one of the top five moments of Gellar as Buffy.[8] Joss Whedon named "Prophecy Girl" as his tenth favorite episode.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Prophecy Girl: Trivia". BBC. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Joss Whedon's audio commentary for the episode "The Harvest", The Complete First Season Region 1 DVD.
  3. ^ "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's First Season". Archived from the original on 23 August 2006. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Murray, Noel (26 June 2008). ""Nightmares", etc.". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  5. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (13 December 2013). "10 episodes that show how Buffy the Vampire Slayer blew up genre TV". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Duncan, Phillip (21 January 2002). "Buffy the Vampire Slayer — Season 1". DVD Talk. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Prophecy Girl: Review". BBC. 4 June 2013. 
  8. ^ Wieselman, Jarett (14 April 2010). "Top 5 best Buffy moments". New York Post. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Bianco, Robert (April 28, 2003). "Show's creator takes a stab at 10 favorite episodes". USA Today. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 

External links[edit]