First Date (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||David Grossman|
|Written by||Jane Espenson|
|Original air date||February 11, 2003|
"First Date" is the fourteenth episode of seventh and final season of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Buffy discusses the removal of Spike's chip with Giles; Giles doesn't believe that it was the right thing to do, while Buffy is convinced that it was. It's also revealed how Giles survived the Bringer attack: when the Bringer approached, Giles heard his shoes squeak (though he claims to the Potentials that it was instinct) and overpowered and killed him.
At work, Buffy tries to hunt for clues as to whether Principal Wood is good or evil in his office. When she is about to open a cabinet, Principal Wood finds her in his office and asks her out to dinner. After Buffy leaves, Wood opens the case, displaying a large collection of blade weapons, into which he places a bloody dagger. Back at the house, Buffy expresses mixed feelings about the date, and is unsure over whether she is interested in him. Willow suggests that it would be good for Buffy to "move on." Xander enters and reveals that he too has a date that evening, with a young woman he met at a hardware store. Upstairs, Buffy is getting dressed for dinner when Spike appears in the hallway, and tells Buffy that he feels fine about her having a date with another man, although Buffy tells him he doesn't have to be noble.
On Buffy's date, she and Wood are jumped by a group of vampires. Buffy slays most of them, and thinks that Wood has set her up until she sees him take out two of the vampires. At the restaurant, Wood reveals that he is a "freelance" demon hunter, and tells her about his mother — that she was a Vampire Slayer and was killed when he was four years old, after which he was raised by her Watcher. Buffy is struck by the idea that it is possible for a Slayer to have children. Meanwhile, Xander's date appears to be going well until he learns that she is a demon who has, like other demons, been motivated to work for the First.
Throughout the episode, the First again appears to Andrew in the guise of Jonathan, and attempts to get him to kill the potential Slayers staying in the house, using the gun that Willow brought to the house in "The Killer in Me", while she was possessed by Warren. There is a mislead in which the viewers are led to believe that Andrew is successfully persuaded by The First Evil to kill the girls. However, it is revealed that Andrew is committed to helping Buffy and her friends, telling the First "I'm good now." In the second scene with Andrew and the First, Andrew is wearing a wire that Willow has set up and the others are listening to his conversation with the First through Willow's headphones. Andrew shows the First the gun and asks it questions about its intents and potential weaknesses. The First discovers that Andrew is wired and is not pleased, but not before telling Andrew that it isn't time to use Spike yet for the First's purposes, hinting that he will be used in the future. The First appears to Willow, Dawn, Amanda and Kennedy in the guise of a horribly maimed Jonathan, threatening them before disappearing.
Immediately after the First leaves, Willow receives a text message with a help code from Xander. Spike offers to go fetch Buffy. He finds her at the restaurant with Wood in a slightly romantic moment, and they all rush out to rescue Xander, driving in Wood's car, the three of them awkwardly together with Spike in the backseat. When they get to the seal beneath the school, they fight and kill the demon woman and find Xander not too badly hurt. They prevent the seal from opening again, but during the course of the fight, Wood finds out that Spike is a vampire and that Buffy cares about him very much, making him uneasy.
Back at the house, Spike tells Buffy that as the First has revealed to have plans for him, that might endanger others, he will leave town. Buffy tells Spike not to leave because she isn't ready for him not to be there. In the final scene of the episode, the First shows itself to Wood in the guise of his dead mother (she is the Slayer seen previously during the 1977 flashback in "Fool for Love") and, though it does not say so explicitly, leads him to conclude that it was Spike who murdered her.
- After Principal Wood asks Buffy out on a date, she jokingly admits that she would have otherwise been "watching a reality show about a Millionaire." This is in reference to the 2003 reality series Joe Millionaire.
- In the opening scene, in the graveyard, a gravestone bears the name Snyder on it. This may be a reference to Principal Snyder, who was killed by Mayor Wilkins in Season 3. Though, his body cannot be in the grave, being eaten by Wilkins, who then has been utterly destroyed by explosives.
- Prior to Buffy's date with Principal Wood, Anya attempts to remove a stain from the shirt Buffy wishes to wear. She remarks on it being a blood stain but on being unable to remove it suggests it could be pizza. This is a reference to the episode "Conversations with Dead People" in which Dawn makes a pizza stain on one of Buffy's shirts and dismisses it thinking Buffy will assume it's blood.
- Although we're introduced to Principal Wood's mother as a slayer in a flashback from "Fool For Love", when the Principal sees his mother in the final scene of "First Date" she is played by actress K.D. Aubert, but in "Fool For Love" the slayer who Spike kills on the subway is played by actress April Weeden-Washington. The change of actresses was probably due to Weeden-Washington's unavailability. Principal Wood does explain to Buffy that his memory of his mother is "fuzzy" since he was only a young boy when she died.
- When Principal Wood and Buffy are walking to a restaurant, the short scene in which a vampire suddenly appears before them is taken and re-used from the beginning of the season five episode "The Gift", when a young man is running away from someone and becomes cornered, and sees a vampire emerge.
- Willow tells Buffy that her date with Principal Wood will help her to "move on", to which Buffy asks: "Why does everybody in this house think that I'm still in love with Spike?" Willow means that it will help Buffy move on from her "super-self-reliance". Buffy's comment suggests that she was, in fact, in love with Spike, despite her numerous protests throughout season six and seven.
- Buffy learns of Principal Wood's past and that his mother was a Slayer, though she doesn't know which one. She also discovers that Wood knows she is a Slayer, and that is why he hired her as a counselor.
- Buffy is struck by the idea that a Slayer can have children, a mark of a "normal life". The negotiation between the Slayer's duties and the desire for a normal life has been a constant motivation for Buffy from the beginning through the end of the series.
- The First informs Wood that Spike killed his mother.
- It is revealed that Spike had his chip taken out in the previous episode, much to the disdain of Giles, whose feelings on the subject will become critical within the next few episodes.
- Buffy says to Spike, "I'm not ready for you not to be here yet", showing her attachment to him.
- It's also shown how Giles survived the Bringer attack.
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