In these episodes, we meet The Master, Luke, Darla, and Angel, in terms of Important Vampires. This set of vamps has a taste for the dramatic, demonstrated by Luke (Worst Vampire Ever) by his rumbling, biblical-sounding intonations summoning The Master amongst a sunken church (relic of a sixty year old earthquake) and approximately one shedload of candles, because vampires also have a thing for endangering themselves. I have never understood the universal acceptance that vampires use candles for everything.
I like The Master as a villain. He’s theatrical, but menacing, and he has a sassy edge to him that all adds up to a still-creepy dude, even as an adult who’s seen way scarier costume makeup. I can see why everyone is awed and frightened of him.
I don’t, however, care for Luke. A) He’s wearing a totally douchey California necklace. Come on. B) Later, he wears a douchey tight black muscle shirt. SERIOUSLY? And C) Honestly, he just seems really thick, like if Dudley Dursley got vamped. I think the scariest thing in a villain is intelligence; we like to think that evil is brainless and easily defeated, and sometimes it is, but I think true evil is actually very cunning and smart. That’s scary. You like to think that righteousness or goodness is inherently smarter and will outwit evil every time, and then you come across a villain like The Master, and there’s a part of you that realises maybe you really don’t have it all figured out. It spins you in circles until you’re not sure which way is up, and you have to cling to the simplest truth you know just to get through.
Buffy, season one cast (minus Angel, for some reason…)
So I was attempting to live tweet watching the first two episodes, but it got a little complicated trying to fit my musings on vampire souls or “souls” within 140 characters, so Tumblr it is!
I haven’t actually watched Buffy in a long time - I started to watch it through about a year ago, but ended up getting distracted by shiny things, but due to recent life ridiculousness, I decided it was time to curl up on the couch with Buffy, which for me is like TV chicken soup.
I didn’t watch Buffy as it aired - I actually was loaned the DVDs not long after the seventh season finished. I had only seen part of one season seven episode, Conversations with Dead People, which was… not a great introduction to the fabulousness of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Having seen the series all the way through (many times) now, I can say that Conversations is a great episode, but just not the first one I would show someone.
So I started watching Buffy when I was seventeen, a year older than Buffy was in season one (because ALL TV shows set in high school start the characters as sixteen year olds for some reason. I guess fifteen seems too young and unsophisticated - I mean, JEEZ, they can’t even DRIVE when they’re fifteen), and I actually fell totally in love, right from the beginning. Despite the cheesy 90s - well, everything, Buffy struck exactly the right chord. At seventeen, I was confused and lonely and felt totally powerless in my life. I made bad decision after bad decision, trying to grab some element of control where I could. Being a part of a small church school and church community, great though they were in so many ways, I did feel very powerless. There was a joke that went around for years about Adam and Eve and “It’s the girl’s fault! Always!” was the rallying cry for some months, and that kind of statement has a way of messing with a girl’s head, you know?
So then this show comes into my life, and here’s Buffy, a girl who feels like life is out of her control, but she TAKES control.
One of the thoughts I tweeted was, “I hate that feeling you get when you think you’ve moved on from something [or left something behind, I think is a better way to phrase it], only for it to show up again, inescapable.” When Buffy finds out about the toootally dead guy in Aura’s locker, she storms off to Giles and tears him a new one. She thought she’d left all that behind at Hemery! In LA! In the ashes of the torched gymnasium! But here the vampires are again; she can’t seem to get away from them.
Even now, as an adult, I identify so strongly with her in that moment. There are so many problems I keep thinking I’ve put behind me, so many personality flaws I think I’ve outgrown, and so many life lesson-type moments that keep rearing their heads and reminding me that I may have believed I learned what I needed to learn from that experience, but that actually, God, the universe, that lesson, wasn’t quite finished with me yet in that regard. It’s frustrating, and you feel like stomping your feet and throwing a tantrum.
But actually, what you have to do is yell a little bit, sure, everybody’s got to blow off steam, but then grit your teeth, grab your stake and holy water and go dust some more vamps, because love it or hate it, it’s YOUR damn job, YOU have been chosen to do it, whether you think it’s God, the universe, some mystical ancient tribe, or just bad luck.
So that’s the frame of mind I’m in entering this rewatch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season one.