"Into each generation a slayer is born. One girl in all the world, the chosen one..."
"Welcome to the Hellmouth"
Series Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 1, Episode 1
Buffy Summers 003.jpg
Air date March 10th, 1997
Writers Joss Whedon
Director Charles Martin Smith
Producers David Solomon; Gareth Davies; Sandy Gallin; Gail Berman; Fran Rubel Kuzui; Kaz Kuzui; David Greenwalt; Joss Whedon; Joseph M. Ellis
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar; Nicholas Brendon; Alyson Hannigan; Charisma Carpenter; Anthony Stewart Head
Episode guide
"The Harvest"

"Welcome to the Hellmouth" is the pilot episode of the WB Network television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The episode was directed by Charles Martin Smith and written by series creator Joss Whedon. It first aired on March 10th, 1997. The series is loosely based on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer feature film released in 1992. Aside from the title character Buffy Summers, all other characters are unique to this series. In this episode, high school sophmore Buffy Summers moves to Sunnydale from her home town of Los Angeles, hoping to put her past troubles behind her. She finds that she is in for more than she bargained for when she meets Rupert Giles, a Watcher who is assigned to train Buffy as the Slayer. Buffy befriends fellow classmates Cordelia Chase, Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg as well as a mysterious, unidentified "friend". What she experienced in the past is nothing compared to what she is in for now as she must now deal with a vampire Master who is seeking to escape imprisonment and bring about the "Harvest".

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Darla attacks.

Two teenage high school students sneak into Sunnydale High after school hours for a bit of mischief. The boy leads a reluctant blonde-haired girl through the dark corridors to an empty area in the hopes of sharing a private moment. Although the boy seems to be in control of the situation, it is actually the girl, Darla, who proves to be the true threat as her face morphs into the visage of a vampire and she attacks him.

Meanwhile, Buffy Summers sleeps in her bed. She has a nightmare of various images relating to death as well as visions of things to come. She awakens with a start. There are opened boxes surrounding her bed, indicating that she has only recently moved to Sunnydale. Buffy's mother, Joyce Summers, drives her to school for her first day at Sunnydale High. As Buffy exits the vehicle, Joyce smiles and says "Try not to get kicked out". Buffy goes to the principal's office where she meets Principal Bob Flutie. Flutie welcomes her to Sunnydale and, as a show of good faith, tears up her transcript from Hemerey High School, showing that he is willing to give her a fresh start. He begins to regret his decision however when he discovers that Buffy was kicked out of Hemerey for burning down the school gymnasium. Buffy defends her actions by stating that the gym was full of asbestos (she almost blurts out that it was actually filled with vampires). Flutie begins taping her transcript back together.

Buffy leaves the office and bumps into another student, spilling her belongings onto the floor. A boy named Xander Harris comes to her aid and helps her gather up the various books and materials. Xander is instantly attracted to this new student, but has trouble finding the right words to make him seem cool. Buffy thanks him for his help and walks away, leaving behind a wooden stake on the floor. Xander finds the stake and tries to return it, but Buffy has already walked off.

Buffy attends her first class and meets Cordelia Chase. Cordelia comes off as rather nice and tests Buffy's "coolness factor" by asking her a string of irrelevant pop culture questions. The two begin to bond until they come upon another student named Willow Rosenberg. Cordelia's attitude changes drastically and she makes fun of Willow's clothes. After the shy girl nervously leaves, Buffy sees that Cordelia is not quite as nice as she was led to believe. Cordelia advises Buffy to "know your losers" so as to better avoid them.

Her next stop is the school library. She meets the librarian Mister Rupert Giles, and asks him for a text book. Giles ignores Buffy's initial request and instead recommends a huge, dusty tome with the word "Vampyr" emblazoned across the cover. Buffy grows nervous and hastily exits the library.

In the girls' locker room, two students named Aphrodesia and Aura are talking about the new student. Aura opens her locker and the corpse of a young man spills out of it. Aura screams in terror.

Cordelia reveals some grim news.

During break, Buffy goes outside and finds Willow eating her lunch on a bench. Buffy starts talking with her, but Willow wonders why she isn't hanging out with Cordelia. Buffy asks, "Can't I do both?", to which Willow responds, "Not legally". As an icebreaker, Buffy tells Willow that she might need a study buddy to help her acclimate and Willow is more than willing to help out. Willow suggests going to the library, but Buffy is not sure she wants to see the librarian again. She learns that Mister Giles is also new to Sunnydale High and this causes Buffy even greater concern. They are soon joined by students Xander Harris and Jesse McNally. Xander returns Buffy's stake and she covers up its true purpose by saying that its only for self defense. Cordelia arrives and tells the group that a dead body was found in Aura's locker. Jesse takes this as an opportunity to hit on Cordelia who just brushes him off. Buffy begins pumping her with questions about the condition of the body. Cordelia is repulsed and begins to rethink her prior assessment of the new girl.

Buffy goes to the locker room and examines the body. She finds two marks upon the dead boy's neck, indicating that he had been killed by a vampire. She then goes to the library to seek out Mister Giles. They both drop the pretense about who Buffy truly is and Giles tells her that she is the Slayer, the Chosen One. He continues by saying that he believes this area to be the center of a growing mystic upheaval and that her arrival in Sunnydale is no coincidence. Giles identifies himself as a Watcher, one who is tasked with training a Slayer and preparing her for her upcoming battle against evil. The conversation turns ugly and Buffy lets Giles know in no uncertain terms that she has no interest in sacrificing everything in her life to fight vampires and demons. She storms out of the library in a huff and Giles trails after her. After they leave, Xander steps out from behind a bookcase. Having overhead everything that the two just said to one another, all he can say is, "What?"

Deep underground, a large vampire named Luke begins chanting the words "The sleeper will wake". He ends his chant by saying, "...and the world will bleed".

Mysterious "friend"

That evening, Buffy decides to go to Sunnydale's trendiest club, The Bronze. While walking down a dark alley, she encounters a mysterious man dressed all in black. Suspecting that he might mean her harm, Buffy ambushes the man, knocking him to the ground. The man is amused by her, but gives her warning about things that shall soon come to pass. He makes reference to something called the Harvest. Reaching into his pocket, he pulls out a black, velvet bag and tosses it to her. Buffy asks who he is and the stranger cryptically replies, "Let's just say I'm a friend". With that, he walks off into the shadows. Buffy opens the bag and finds a silver cross.

Buffy finally makes her way to the Bronze and finds Willow. Willow confesses that she is very shy and not very good when it comes to talking to boys. Buffy offers words of wisdom, encouraging her to "seize the moment". She then takes note of Mister Giles' presence on an upstairs landing. Buffy marches up there and tells Giles that its kind of skanky for the school librarian to be hanging out at a local teen night club. She also brings up the subject of the mysterious stranger that she had met in the alley. She asks Giles about the Harvest, but he has no idea what it could mean. Giles tries to impress upon her the importance of honing her Slayer abilities. Though she has great power, she is untrained and a Slayer must always be prepared. He asks her to see if she can identify any vampires in the room. She immediately points to a young man, citing how dated his outfit is. Giles thinks Buffy is just guessing, but he cannot deny that her perceptions might just be accurate. Buffy grows concerned when she sees this man striking up a conversation with Willow.

She rushes downstairs, but both the man and Willow are already gone from the club. Snapping off the leg of a chair, she marches outside. She perceives someone behind, and snaps around to attack them, only to learn that it is just Cordelia. Needless to say, Cordelia is shocked to find Buffy's hand about her throat, brandishing a wooden stake. Buffy apologizes and takes off back inside the club. Cordelia, completely embarrassed in front of her friends, begins telephoning everyone she has ever met to tell them about "crazy" Buffy. As Buffy circles back through the club, she passes Jesse McNally who, having given up in his quest to woo Cordelia, has turned his attention towards another girl - Darla.

Deep inside the underground ruins of a collapsed church, the vampire Luke kneels before a pool of blood. As the blood begins to bubble, an ancient vampire known as the Master rises to the surface. The Master anxiously awaits the coming Harvest, where he will then be free of this underground prison he is forced to reside in and walk the Earth again. He asks Luke to bring him "something... young".

Meanwhile, Willow and her new friend Thomas walk through a park on their way to an ice cream bar. Thomas leads Willow down a path, but it actually takes them to a cemetery. She begins to grow nervous and thinks that Thomas is playing a trick on her. As they cross the threshold of an old mausoleum, Thomas pushes Willow inside of it.

Luke tries to kill the Slayer

Buffy, still searching for Willow, runs across Xander. Xander reveals what he overheard in the library, and Buffy grows even more frustrated. Xander doesn't believe that she truly is a vampire slayer, but he recognizes the girl's earnestness in her search for Willow.

At the mausoleum, Willow tries to leave, but Darla appears and bars her path. Jesse stumbles in behind Darla, clutching at his neck. He takes a few steps towards Willow then falls to the floor. Darla's face changes to reveal her vampiric visage and she delights in the idea of feeding off Willow. Buffy and Xander enter the crypt and Buffy begins taunting the two vampires as she circles a large coffin in the center of the room. Thomas comes up behind her, but Buffy drives her stake into his chest and he turns to ash. Darla and Buffy begin fighting while Xander gets Willow and Jesse out of the mausoleum. Buffy gets the upper hand, but Luke appears from behind and grabs Buffy by the back of her neck. He violently throws her against the wall then admonishes Darla for failing to take care of her. Darla runs off and Luke begins battling Buffy. He is a lot stronger than Darla and easily throws Buffy about the crypt. He tosses her inside the now open coffin and leaps inside. Bearing his fangs, he leans down ready for the kill.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Starring[edit | edit source]

Guest Starring[edit | edit source]

Co-Starring[edit | edit source]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Part 1 of a 2 part episode.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired as a mid-season replacement series and as such, there are only twelve episodes for season one.
  • The dark stranger that Buffy encounters in the alley is later revealed to be a vampire named Angel. Angel will play a major role in the evolution of the series and eventually spawn his own spin-off series, Angel.
  • In the unaired pilot, the boy that is killed by Darla is identified as Chris Boal.
  • The name of the band playing at the Bronze is called Sprung Monkey.
  • When Thomas is staked, he falls to the floor then turns to ash a moment later. In most cases throughout the series, Vampires disintegrate at the exact moment they are staked.
  • The "Vampyr" book that Giles presents to Buffy is later identified as the Book of Thoth. [1]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

  • Cordelia Chase: Willow, nice dress. Good to know you've seen the softer side of Sears.


  • Rupert Giles: You think its just a coincidence you being here? That boy was just the beginning.


  • Buffy Summers: I didn't say I'd never slay another vampire. It's not like I have all these fluffy bunny feelings for them, I'm just not gonna get way extracurricular with it.


  • Luke: The sleeper will wake.




  • Buffy Summers: Seize the moment. 'Cause tomorrow you might be dead.

Who's Who[edit | edit source]

Buffy Summers
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Buffy Summers is the Chosen One - the Slayer. Relocating to Sunnydale from Los Angeles, she continues her ongoing battle against the vampires at Sunnydale High School which sits atop a Hellmouth. She befriends fellow students Xander Harris, Willow Rosenberg and Cordelia Chase while also entering into an intimate relationship with a vampire named Angel.
Willow Rosenberg
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Willow Rosenberg was a nerdy high school student and the best friend of Buffy Summers. She began practicing witchcraft and became an invaluable part of the Scoobies. She dated a werewolf named Daniel Osbourne and later turned towards homosexuality, entering into a relationship with a girl named Tara Maclay. Willow briefly turned evil, but returned to normal with the help of her friend Xander Harris.
Cordelia Chase
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Cordelia Chase was the "popular" girl at Sunndyale High. A respected member of the high school cheerleading team, she and her followers, the Cordettes, made sure that the unpopular kids knew their place. Cordelia became a foil to new student Buffy Summers and eventually learned that Buffy was the Slayer. Although the two never became close, they settled many of their differences following the Homecoming dance. Following graduation, Cordy ventured out to Los Angeles, California, where she eventually teamed up with Angel and became a valued member of Angel Investigations.
Xander Harris
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Xander Harris is the good-hearted, yet nerdy friend of Buffy Summers who, although lacking in any supernatural powers or applicable skills, devotes himself towards aiding Buffy in her fight against the forces of evil. After a spell temporarily bequeathed him military combat skills, Xander became a more effective ally and managed to retain some of his combat skills even after the effect wore off.
Rupert Giles
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Rupert Giles is a Watcher who worked as a librarian at Sunnydale High School and later took over ownership of a magic shop. He devotes his time training Buffy (and later, Buffy's replacement slayer, Faith) in how to fight up against the vampires and the other forces of darkness that have been loosed upon the world. Though he tended to stay out of the direct battles, Giles was not unwilling to get dirty and assisted the Scoobies on more than one occasion.
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Angel was a tormented vampire cursed with a soul. As such, he was forced to endure the unmeasurable guilt of his past crimes. Seeking to atone, he aids Buffy in her battle against evil and the two eventually fall in love. Angel is corrupted by his darker side however and wreaks untold havoc against Buffy and her peers. He eventually recovers from this and goes on to become a dark warrior seeking redemption. Angel relocates to Los Angeles where he establishes Angel Investigations and brings on Cordelia Chase and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce as his own personal "Scoobies".
The Master
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The Master was a vampire elder said to be more than six-hundred years old. The Master was in command of a vampire cult known as the Order of Aurelius. It was the Master's goal to bring back the glory of the Old Ones and through the Order, they would flourish and dominate the world.
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Darla is a vampire and a progeny of the Master, having been turned during the 17th century. She is the progenitor of Angel and a former member of the Order of Aurelius. Darla was killed by Angel in the modern-era, but was resurrected several years later. Much like Angel, she was now cursed with a soul. Before meeting her final reward, Darla gave birth to Angel's son, Connor.

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Book of Thoth; Fangs; Grimoire; Hellmouth; High school; School principal; Student; Vampire

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This article pertains to an episode from season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This template will categorize articles that include it into the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 1 episodes category.
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