So, Harvest picks up right where the first episode leaves off: Buffy’s pinned down by a fanged-out vamp. Luckily for the following 6 seasons and us, she is able to throw the creepy vamp off and quickly save Xander and Willow from similar situations.
Credits & We Begin.
“I need to sit down.”
“Oh, good for me.”
The episode starts in earnest with Giles giving a history lesson. Xander is having none of it. Willow’s just a bit out of it.
Darla and creepy vamp present Jesse to The Master. I can’t decide if The Master was definitely the model Jim Carrey based his portrayal of The Grinch on, but I’m leaning toward yes. Either that or an over-the-top version of evil Frasier Crane. “He’s listening.”
Back at the base (the Sunnydale High Library, for now), the Scoobies go over more vamp rules.
Willow the Hacker Alert! Willow brings up the sewer plans on a high school library computer! Instead of Giles being shocked that she has the ability to do this (and on the notoriously low powered computers in a library), he’s a bit worried about the legal implications instead. Willow works some more magic with computers after Buffy gives a speech about how she’s a one-woman-team. We’ll see about that one.
Buffy has a comedy run-in with the prince-a-pal who locks the gate in front of her. She jumps the gate. Laughter ensues.
Willow and Xander talk about hiding secrets from people and how it feels weird.
Buffy shows up at the mausoleum. Angel is there. So, here’s a few questions:
- Has Angel been there all night?
- Does the show know he’s a vampire yet?
- How did he get there during the daytime?
I know we’ll learn that he has a mastery of the sewer system, but didn’t Willow cover in the last scene that the sewers don’t overlap with the Master’s tunnels?
We follow Buffy in close up down the tunnels in a shot that screams “there will be a jump scare any moment now!” Jump scare! It’s just silly ole Xander.
We’re at one of the best scenes in the whole series. Cordi is having trouble in programming class—all the while making fun of Buffy. Willow sticks up for Buffy and Cordi continues with the 90s teen movie snark. She finisher her project and needs to know how to submit it.
Willow: Hit deliver.
It really gets me every damn time I watch this episode. It’s a call-out to my inner nerd. I like witchy lesbian Willow. I’m down with the evil destroyer-of-worlds Willow. I LOVE BOOK NERD SLASH COMPUTER GEEK WILLOW!
Oh shit! While I was googling for that Cordelia gif, we got the reveal that Eric Balfour is a vampire now! WHAT!? Core member of the friend group that wasn’t in the credits isn’t sticking around past the two-part pilot? Never!
The Scoobies sadly regather at HQ after we get it revealed to us that creepy vamp that’s always hanging out with Darla is anointed by The Master. Giles basically spends the next scene telling this to the Scoobs. The Vessell can feed for The Master, and will probably be doing it a The Bronze.
“Everything is life or death when you’re a 16-year-old girl!”
Obligatory Buffy scene with her mom. RESPECT JOYCE, BUFFY. YOU WILL MISS HER WHEN SHE IS GONE. This is all in the guise of Buffy getting supplies. I guess keeping a bunch of weapons in the school library’s book cage won’t come for a while now.
The Bronze Alert!
No band mini-music-video this time. I think it’s probably because this episode is very much treated like a part of the first episode and not its own thing. We do get some nice Dashboard Prophets in the background, though. In a very badass moment, “Ballad for Dead Friends” plays when the newly sexy because he’s newly a vamp Jesse gets Cordelia to dance with him. And it kicks in nicely as Darla and the gang bust into the Bronze.
“We’re too late”
“I didn’t know I was gonna get grounded!”
The Scoobies arrive, but the doors are locked. The next bits of the show are cuts between The Vessel feeding and The Master camping it up against an invisible barrier as we see his strength grow.
Then, Cordelia is brought up to be fed upon, and Buffy swoops in to save her because Cordelia is in the credits. Fight fight fight. Buffy can’t quite stake The Vessel. She keeps him distracted so the rest of the Scoobies can get people to safety.
People flee. Stuff happens. Jesse gets pushed on to a stake Zander is holding. Buffy tricks the baddie of the week by revealing that he can’t fucking tell time! Stake! Done!
The show ends with Giles warning the gang. They mostly ignore him and walk off cracking wise about blowing stuff up and trying to get expelled. The scene felt really inconsequential the first time I saw it. Once you finish the whole series it means a lot.