ridicule. (_cynical_beauty) wrote in thebuffyreview,

Season One

Episode Two
The Harvest
Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by John T. Kretchmer
Air Date: 3-10-97

Buffy learns of The Harvest, the night when the Hellmouth will be opened to release The Master to walk among the living.  The Master's entourage of vampires takes over the bronze and Buffy must stop them so as to save her peers and prevent The Harvest.

The episode picks up right where Welcome to the Hellmouth left off.  The action slows down rather quickly however, and we are brought back to the library.  Although the first episode was created to simply introduce the characters and, rather, Sunnydale, the second portion should be an episode that places the characters into an action-packed (or interesting) situation.  Instead, Giles is left to quickly and boringly explain the concept of the Hellmouth, vampires and so on to the confused and unfunny Willow and Xander.  

Angel appears in this episode again, and is, of course, over-the-top and brooding.  However, he brings some lightness into the episode, giving the audience something to chuckle about (that is, if you find that sort of thing witty or giggle-worthy...like i do).  Beyond this even, he is extremely attractive in that David-sort-of-way.  (And I'm not a fan of the Buffy/Angel relationship either, so don't think that, please...he's just good-looking.)

Sarah Michelle Gellar is finally coming into her own in this episode.  In the first portion, she is very stiff and slightly unnatural, but by the end she has suddenly transformed into Buffy Summers right before our eyes.  I have forgotten that she is just this little blonde girl acting like a vampire slayer and she has now become THE vampire slayer.  At this point, I can honestly say that the series has become real to me, and that's very important for a television show.

Xander and Willow are finally becoming major characters in the series as well.  They have given up the role of cannon fodder and are helping out the slayer in her duties.  (Willow works on the computer and Xander goes after the vampires at Buffy's (reluctant) side.)  It's a very "human" twist for the idea of the series and I honestly think that these friends are what made the show so much more successful than the movie.  They offer a much deeper connection to the audience than Buffy ever could, being the slayer.  Unfortunately, the role of "cannon fodder" is being replaced by ever-present and consistently annoying Cordelia.  She simply lacks in humor during both Welcome to the Hellmouth and The Harvest.  Her jokes are entirely unoriginal and stereotypical, something that is never pleasing from such a creative mind as Joss Whedon's.  Her character is just irritating and unnecessary.

Darla is particularly creepy in this episode when she was anything but in Welcome to the Hellmouth.  Rather than have Buffy follow the vampires into the dark, the vampires come to town on their own.  They are no longer creatures of the night that choose to hide in the shadows and wait for unsuspecting prey to walk past, they are real-live monsters that should be feared even when one is not alone in an alley.  It is a much more terrifying approach to the vampires in Sunnydale and it really sets up an exciting plot for the rest of the series.

Another interesting twist in The Harvest is the mental challenges that the characters are faced up against rather than the simply physical trials.  Xander, and even Giles, are left in a gray area when it comes to their ideas and feelings about vampires and the slayer.  Xander must kill his friend that had so recently become a vampire and Giles must admit to himself that the slayer is more than a pawn in this fight between good and evil, but rather a human being--a teenage girl.  It is fascinating to watch these characters work these problems out and the actors play the parts fantastically.

Unfortunately, being something that is so important to a show like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the fight scenes are incredibly predictable.  I will even go as far as saying that they are unexciting.  Not only is there a real lack in suspenseful music, but Buffy gives her opponents too much time to recover and/or regain the upperhand in their fight.  It's very staged and simple, making this an amazingly disappointing flaw for horror-fans that have tuned in action.

Though there are many factors negatively affecting the enjoyment of this episode, I give it a B- for intrigue and introduction.
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