Written by Joss Whedon, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, co-starring Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Charisma Carpenter and Anthony Stewart Head, featuring Mark Metcalf, Brian Thompson, David Boreanaz, Ken Lerner, Kristine Sutherland, Julie Benz, J. Patrick Lawlor and Eric Balfour, also with Natalie Strauss, Carmine D. Giovinazzo, Amy Chance, Tupelo Jereme and Persia White.
This episode, to me, demonstrates the difficulties of arriving at a new school. For example, how hard it is to make friends, to catch up, to fit in in every way possible. Of course, you have to take into account that Buffy also has problems slayer-wise. “Welcome to the Hellmouth” reflects quite a few real-life problems and situations. Take rejection; Willow, a girl that Buffy meets and befriends on her first day, is not that popular and you can immediately see that she has social problems.
But, as Sarah Michelle Gellar states so perfectly, “To me, the scariest elements of horror films are the things that could really happen. And what is more scary than high school? ... What I like about the show is that it reminds you it's O.K. to be different. What people think isn't necessarily true. If people walk away with half of that, we've done our job.” Those were my thoughts exactly, following the first time I viewed “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer”. Another reflection is that of accepting your responsibilities. This is a very important one. I feel that if Buffy had only not refused her status as Slayer, things would have gone much more smoothly. She wouldn’t have been wasting her time arguing with her new Watcher, Giles, and could have watched over the town instead. Of course, then she might not have found out all she could about the Harvest, but I believe it would have been a wiser choice.
Let’s now go to the famous phrase: “Seize the moment ‘cause, tomorrow you might be dead.” There are no truer words. I think this is a lesson to learn. If Willow hadn’t seized the moment and talked to the vampire Thomas, she would have escaped a load of trouble, but also, she would have stayed in ignorance, and unlike some people, I do not think that ignorance is bliss.
Now for a quick look-over. In the teaser (that is, before the song), we see two apparently normal people, a boy and a girl. This goes to show that first appearances are not always truthful, for, as we soon discover, there is nothing normal about the girl, who turns out to be a vampire serving the Master. I believe that the Master is the main evil, if I may say so, of the first season. An ancient vampire that has gained more power over the years, he lives (or perhaps “exists” would be a better word) in the ruins of an underground church, located at the Mouth of Hell. This vampire was stuck there when he tried to open the Hellmouth and since then, has been striving to free himself as well as all the demons and creatures of the darkness imprisoned below.
Mark Metcalf is admirable in his role of the Master. You can almost believe in what he says and does. I personally believe that no one else could have handled it better than he.
Finally, my humble opinion on this first episode of a phenomenon is that it tries, and manages, to show us that things are never what they seem. I think all episodes have a lesson like this one hidden in them, and different people may interpret them differently. This, of course, is only my interpretation.
20th Century Fox Television and Mutant Enemy Inc., Kuzui Enterprises and Sandollar Television.
Coming up tomorrow: "The Harvest".