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October 14, 2015

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Prophecy Girl (season finale)

by Keith McDuffee, posted Aug 15th 2006 12:06PM
buffy master
(S01E12) What is regarded by many to not be one of the better seasons of this show, 'Prophecy Girl' is always highly regarded as a stand out episode, and rightly so. So much is set up for the remainder of the series, just from this episode. It's clear from watching even from the first episode that this episode was filmed before the show debuted, as there are scenes from this episode in the show's opening credits and, I believe, some of Buffy's nightmares in previous episodes.

Xander finally gets the nerve to ask Buffy out, and it's handled in a somewhat realistic fashion in how both Buffy reacts to the asking out and Xander in handling (or not handling) rejection. It also once again fuels Xanders hatred for Angel, as it's clear to him that he's up against someone (or something) he couldn't possibly compete with in the eyes of Buffy's needs.

It had been a while since I saw this episode (actually, the reason was my last DVD in my set was damaged, and somehow I was able to get it to work again for this showing. I needs me a new season one DVD set), and I'd forgotten that the beast that erupts from the Hellmouth is the same beast we see later in one of my favorite episodes, 'The Zeppo'. I bet those prop guys were glad they saved that crazy looking thin in the vault for three seasons. But you know, they still failed to make that thing scary. The Master has always been one of the scarier creatures of this show, much moreso than a giant multiheaded thing that's supposed to mark the end of the world.

Of course we have one primary event in this episode that marks much of what happens throughout the remainder of the series -- Buffy's death. If you caught this series in order from the start, Buffy's death and subsequent "resurrection" by some rather simple CPR probably didn't seem all that significant. OK, so she died and Xander brought her back with some simple first aid. Big whoop. But now, after watching seven seasons, we know this triggered the coming of Kendra, which led to Faith, with multiple references to Buffy's early demise throughout the series.

Even the death of The Master was significant, as we learn in the next season. Who was standing nearby? What about those bones left behind? They all play a part, as we see in season two.

It's sad that I have to call and end to my part in Retro Squad Buffy already. Since it wasn't a full season, I was able to fit it in just before the new fall season approaches. The plan is to do this every spring/summer to make up for what's not on TV, so I hope you liked it. Anything more you'd like to see in my Buffy reviews? Anything less? Let me hear it! Originally I had planned to have someone associated with the show provide some of their own memories of each episode, but I didn't try early enough. Hopefully I'll have better luck next season -- how cool would that be? I'm also planning to review the season eight comic book here on TV Squad (why not -- it's supposedly canon, as Joss is writing it as though it were an eighth season, right?), so stick around for that. Until then, here's some final tidbits:

Main points of interest in this episode:
- The first death of Buffy.
- The death of The Master.
- The first appearance of that Hellmouth beast we see later in (at least) 'The Zeppo'.
- Xander asks Buffy out ... and is rejected.

Quote of the episode:
Buffy (to the Master): "You have fruit punch mouth."

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I believe that the mythology was in place so that it could be rewritten. We had to believe in the mythology for it to be an unexpected turn to have it altered. I loved Buffy - all seasons.

August 15 2006 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When it comes to season one, this is the one episode outside of WttH and the Harvest that "feels" most like what Buffy will become in season two and beyond. It's almost as if Joss needed the 11 or so eps that lead up to this to establish all the characters and put all the elements into play for the genius that was to come.

All the Joss trademarks are here--the dialogue sparkles, characters are in conflict without it feeling forced and there is the right balance between action and drama. The events of this one happening around the big dance is nicely done and it gives us a lot of quotable Xander in this one. ("I'm going to go home, lie down and listen to country music--the music of pain." and "I don't know about Locutus of the Borg here, but I'm pretty freaked out and I intend to stay that way." "Date me...")

Great episode and one that signals the jumping off point for the genius that is season two...

August 15 2006 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ashley Boyd

How about until the new season starts you review some of the "classic" episodes, for funsies.

August 15 2006 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was a most profoundly amazing episode, and was teh first evidence of Joss' ability to write season-enders like no one else in television.

In retrospect to the entire series, however, it can be a bittersweet memory. As you point out, Buffy died, which triggered Kendra, which triggered Faith. Buffy dies again in the season 4 season-ender, and there is no new Slayer, since you only trigger once and Faith is still out there (albeit in prison).

Then comes season 7, and the Slayers-in-Training, and we are told over and over again that if anything happens to Buffy one of them will become the Slayer. Well, NO. This was one of the things that pissed people off almost more than anything else in that dreadful 7th season--the notion that the mythology that had been in place for 6 years was being thrown out the window.

So, watching "Prophecy Girl" is fantastic, because it's so good, but also depressing, because you know that the Buffyverse is going to get completely re-ordered before it goes away.

p.s.--yes, you *definitely* should review the comic!

August 15 2006 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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