R’oh, Raggy! The Scooby Gang looks to be doomed before they even get off of the ground! The last episode left off with our intrepid adventurers hopelessly surrounded by vampires. Jesse has been bit, vampires closing in on Xander and Willow, and Buffy is pinned down in a coffin. Luke the vampire goes in for the kill, but Buffy is saved by the deus ex machina of the cross around her neck. Feeling the cross burn his skin, Luke recoils and then flees. She is able to escape and save her friends, however, Jesse is taken by the vampires in all the chaos. This sets in motion the plan for The Harvest.

     Everyone regroups back to the school the next day, unaware of the next step. We understand that going in that the focus of the show is on Buffy and her gang. Even knowing this, how was there no mention of Jesse’s parents worried their son is not home, any police involvement, anything.

All My kids are finally growing up *Sniff*

During this scene where the main gang is in the library, we see character development past the somewhat one-dimensional characters we saw in the first episode. We can see Buffy slowly molding herself as the de facto leader of the gang. Willow quietly becomes the one who is secretly strong and level-headed. Giles becomes the one who makes sure his people are as prepared as much as he can. Xander’s change is a bit more two-sided. While his maturity level may have not changed, he slowly morphs into the one who can take the proverbial bullet.

In the first episode, he came across as somewhat sheepish and almost a background prop. This one, he wants to step up and fight the baddies even with no skills. Now, this does not come across as sexist or misogynistic, more so that he feels he needs to prove himself useful to be a member of the gang.

Leaders on both sides of the coin

     We finally get a bigger taste (no pun intended) of The Leader as he starts the plans of coming back to power. Not only that, we learn about a possible upcoming apocalypse. Darla and Luke bring in Jesse as a meal and sacrifice to The Master. Darla lets it slip that she has already tasted Jesse, offending The Master. He asks her why she would give him scraps. Even though he is visibly and rightfully upset, he gets the idea to use Jesse as bait. He knows that Buffy will come to try to save him, which would make her a much better meal for the Harvest.

Sewer Surfin like a Ninja Turtle

     Back in the library, Willow is able to use her computer skills in acquiring the electrical grids of the city. She cross-references that with the sewer tunnels in the city to find the location of the coven underground. With Buffy realizing that Luke came at her from behind in the mausoleum, the figure out the entrance is in the cemetery. As she goes to slip out of campus, she is caught by the principal. Buffy manages to finagle her way out of school to head to the cemetery. On the way, Buffy is surprised by Xander. who was determined to stay and help, since Jesse was his best friend. After failing to convince him to leave, she agreed to let him tag along.

After having delved into the sewer, they are surrounded by several vampires, before they can find The Master’s chamber. Unfortunately, Jesse is among the vampires. Seemingly surrounded, Buffy and Xander were able to escape. Regrouping back at the library, they realize that the vampires need a massive feeding to bring The Leader to power. This means that they are going back to The Bronze, the scene of the last attack last episode. Unbeknownst to them, however, The Master has marked Luke with the sign of the Vessel, letting him feed to help release The Master, ensuring the Harvest.

Still not the strangest thing in the sewers of Sunnydale (credit: comicbook.com)

This party…bites

     Having the gang meet her at The Bronze, Buffy runs home to gear up. Just as Buffy got ready to leave, Joyce stopped her, after being called by the principal about her leaving school on just her second day. The chemistry between Buffy and her mother is amazing, you honestly feel they are really mother and daughter. All Joyce wants is to have a steady home life for her and Buffy. After she left, Buffy snuck to meet everyone at The Bronze, which by now has been locked down and filled with Luke, Darla, Jesse, and many other vampires, ready to begin the Harvest.

Buffy goes in to confront Luke as the others go in the back to help the people trapped inside to escape. After a bit of traditional back and forth banter, Buffy and Luke start a fight which I rather enjoyed. The post-fight event, not so much. Buffy breaks a window and distracts Luke with an outdoor light by telling him it is sunlight so she can kill him. So, if he knew it was night when everyone arrived (around 9-10 pm), why would that be sunlight? And if it was, they would have arrived at like 5 in the morning. This means these kids were out until the early morning on a school night. Anywho, Xander accidentally kills Jesse as someone in the skirmish bumps Jesse into a stake. While this is happening, Willow saves Giles from Darla by dousing her in holy water.

     The next day in school, the gang is relaxing, thinking that they have won. Giles, however, advises them that this is only the beginning. While I did enjoy the first episode, I felt this did a lot to improve on it. The characters were better developed, for the most part, the flow seemed to go at a perfect pace. We also further develop our main BBEG, and also gave nods and hints to future episodes. All in all, a great episode.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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