When She Was Bad

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"When She Was Bad" is also the name of a book by Patricia Pearson
"When She Was Bad"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Buffy 2x01.jpg
Buffy destroys the bones of The Master
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 1
Directed byJoss Whedon
Written byJoss Whedon
Production code5V01
Original air dateSeptember 15, 1997
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Prophecy Girl"
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 2)
List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"When She Was Bad" is the first episode in the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The episode was written and directed by series creator and executive producer Joss Whedon. The narrative follows Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) returning from her summer vacation and behaving strangely following her encounter with The Master in the previous season's finale. The Anointed One (Andrew J. Ferchland) attempts to revive the Master with a ritual involving his bones. However he requires something from the Slayer and sets a deadly trap in motion.


Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon) and Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) are quizzing each other on film quotes on the outskirts of a cemetery. A tender moment ensues when Xander playfully puts ice cream on Willow's nose, but just as he is about to kiss her, a vampire appears behind Willow. Xander intervenes but is barely holding his own when Buffy shows up and kills the vampire.

At school, Giles finds the gang and explains that although they have closed the Hellmouth, the mystical energy still attracts evil forces to the town. He asks Buffy to resume her training after school. Whilst practicing, Buffy has a vision of the Master and begins furiously hitting a dummy. At night, she dreams of being killed by him when Angel (David Boreanaz) appears in her room to warn her of the childlike Anointed One (Andrew J. Ferchland). Buffy coldly brushes him off. He tells her he missed her and leaves before she can reply. At the Bronze, Xander and Willow wonder about Buffy's behavior. Willow tries in vain to recreate the ice-cream moment. Buffy then arrives in a very revealing dress and mocks Angel. She begins a slow, sensual dance with Xander.

Meanwhile, the Anointed One and his acolyte Absalom (Brent Jennings), are forcing their vampires to dig up the Master's bones barehanded through consecrated earth.

Cordelia confronts Buffy and tells her to get over her problems. Buffy leaves and Cordelia is kidnapped by two dark figures. They throw her into a basement with an unconscious Ms. Calendar. Buffy walks to the grave that holds the bones of the Master, and finds it dug up.

At lunch the next day, Giles shares Xander and Willow's concerns about Buffy, who shows up to tell them about her discovery. Giles remembers some revivification spells and Buffy is angered that he never told her. That night, the Scoobies learn that a revivification spell needs the blood of the "closest" person to the deceased. Cordelia's necklace, wrapped around a large rock, is thrown through the library window. Buffy leaves for the obvious trap, saying in frustration that she cannot look out for them while slaying.

Inside the basement where Cordelia was held, Buffy and Angel find one female vampire. Buffy realizes that the trap is not for her. At the same time, Giles realizes that the Latin text actually said that the ritual requires the blood of those physically nearest to the Master when he died – in other words, Giles, Willow, Cordelia and Ms. Calendar. Buffy tortures the vampire for information on their whereabouts. Buffy interrupts the ritual while Angel and Xander rescue the others. Before she leaves, Buffy smashes to bits the Master's bones with a sledge hammer.

The next day, Buffy apologizes for her behavior and is pleasantly surprised to find herself forgiven. Meanwhile, the Anointed One gazes at the scene of destruction, and simply remarks, "I hate that girl."


  • This episode begins a tradition: in this and all subsequent season premieres, the teaser is set largely in (or beside) a cemetery.[1][2][3][4][5]
  • David Boreanaz is added to the opening credits.[6]


"When She Was Bad" drew an audience of 2.9 million households. When the episode was aired as a repeat in November 1997, it scored a higher 3.1 million household rating.[7]

Noel Murray of The A.V. Club gave "When She Was Bad" a mixed review. While he praised the opening and closing scenes as well as other smaller moments, he felt that it dealt with the characters' emotions "erratically" and was not positive towards Buffy's attitude and carrying over the Master plotline.[8] A review from the BBC called "When She Was Bad" "another excellent episode", praising its tying up plot threads from the first season and developing the relationships between characters.[9]


  1. ^ Joss Whedon (1998-09-29). "Anne". Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Season 3. Episode 1. The WB.
  2. ^ Joss Whedon (1999-10-05). "The Freshman". Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Season 4. Episode 1. The WB.
  3. ^ Marti Noxon, David Solomon (2000-10-26). "Buffy vs. Dracula". Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Season 5. Episode 1. The WB.
  4. ^ Marti Noxon, David Grossman (2001-10-02). "Bargaining, Part One". Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Season 6. Episode 1. UPN.
  5. ^ Joss Whedon, David Solomon (2002-09-24). "Lessons (Buffy episode)". Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Season 7. Episode 1. UPN.
  6. ^ BBC episode guide
  7. ^ "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Second Season". Archived from the original on 23 August 2006. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  8. ^ Murray, Noel (3 July 2008). ""When She Was Bad", etc". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  9. ^ "When She Was Bad: Review". BBC. Retrieved 7 June 2013.

External links[edit]