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The HARVEST (ep 1.02)

(a.k.a. The Earth Is Doomed)

Written by: Joss Whedon
Directed by: John T. Kretchmer
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Mark Metcalf as The Master
Brian Thompson as Luke
David Boreanaz as Angel
Ken Lerner as Principal Bob Flutie
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Julie Benz as Darla
Eric Balfour as Jesse
Co-Starring: Mercedes McNab as Harmony
Jeffrey Steven Smith as Guy in Comp. Class
Teddy Lane, Jr. as Bouncer
Deborah Brown as Girl

Plot Summary

Buffy failed to save Jesse, but; with the help of Giles, Xander, and Willow; she prevented the Master from rising.

Plot Details

The cross necklace that Angel gave Buffy repelled Luke, which gave Buffy an easy escape. She immediately rescued Willow from a vampire about to bite her but let the vampire escape. Buffy also drove away two vampires who were menacing Xanver, staking one of them. Unfortunately, she neglected to rescue Jesse.

The next day, Giles explained the creation myth a la Buffy to Xander and Willow. Demons used to walk the earth before humans and other animals drove them off. One bit a human, creating the first vampire. Xander did not want to accept the existence of vampires until Buffy suggested that they were people with rabies in need of facials. Everyone agreed that was even more implausible. Giles told Xander and Willow not to tell anyone that Buffy is the slayer.

Meanwhile, Darla and Luke brought Jesse to the Master, who was not pleased to hear that Darla already took a sample. Darla mentioned Buffy's interference. Both Luke and the Master concluded that she is a slayer decided to use Jesse as bait.

Giles and the gang guessed that the vampires' headquarters might be underground. Fortunately, Willow was able to get the city sewer plans off of the computer, including a possible entrance in the mausoleum. Xander and Willow wanted to help, but Buffy rebuffed (pun unintended but not unwelcome) their offer. Giles suggested that Willow research the Harvest on the "dread machine" (also known as a "computer").

In the hall, Xander moped about his inability to help rescue Jesse. It looked like he was about to do something rash.

At the mausoleum, Buffy found Angel waiting for her. He suggested that she not go down to rescue Jesse because she will be needed to stop the Harvest. When it became clear that he will not talk her out of it, he at least gave her directions. He also noted that the vampires do not like him for some reason.

Buffy was rather startled to find Xander following her in the tunnels. She finally realized that trying to talk him out of helping her was a futile as Angel trying to talk Buffy out of going in the tunnel. Buffy and Xander did not seem to understand that one should be quiet when sneaking up on enemies, so they talked about how to fight vampires and how Buffy once had to behead an ex-(American) football player with an X-acto knife.

In a computer lab Cordelia, Harmony, and a Jeff Spiccoli wannabe gossiped about Buffy while working on their project. They did not appreciate Willow jumping in to defend Buffy. Willow got her revenge when she suggested that the others "deliver" their project. Cordelia was a bit surprised when she pressed the "Del" key and the screen went blank.

Buffy and Xander found a prone Jesse who led them to an alleged escape path. Once they were trapped in a room, he revealed that he was now a vampire. Xander was apologetic, but Jesse was not upset. Jesse wanted to have Xander for lunch. Fortunately, Buffy had earlier given Xander a cross, which stopped Jesse long enough for Buffy to throw him out of the room.

Buffy found an escape route just as vampires broke in. One managed to grab Buffy just as she reached daylight. A bad sunburn forced the vampire to let go. The Master was not pleased to hear that Buffy escaped and demanded an apology from one of his vampires, Colin. Colin did apologize, which molified the Master enough to poke out only one of Colin's eyes.

Willow was mildly displeased to hear that Jesse was a vampire but was grateful that Xander and Buffy were OK. Giles explained that the Master came to Sunnydale because of what the Spanish called "Boca del Infierno," which he translated as "Hellmouth." ("Mouth of Hell" or "Entrance from Hell" would also be possible translations.) The Master wanted to open the Hellmouth and unleash Hell on earth. He failed and an earthquake trapped him at the opening. On a particular night, known as the Harvest, the Master could allow a surrogate to feed for him, which would allow the Master to escape. They decided that the feeding will take place that night at the Bronze.

Meanwhile, the Master and Luke performed the ceremony necessary for the Harvest to take place.

Apparently, Principal Flutie called Joyce and told her that Buffy tried to leave campus. As punishment, she forbade Buffy from going out. Buffy still packed her supplies from below the false bottom of her trunk and snuck out.

At the Bronze, Jesse continued to stalk Cordelia. However, his newfound assertiveness (aggressiveness) succeeded in getting a dance with Cordelia.

Luke, Darla, and four other vampires tried to walk into the Bronze, but a bouncer stopped them. The vampires did not take to kindly to this and dragged him in. In fact, they made him Luke's first meal. After Luke finished another patron (whose body vanished without a trace), Darla and Jesse fought over whether Jesse or Luke would get Cordelia. Darla won and brought Cordelia to Luke just as Buffy arrived.

Buffy, Giles, Xander, and Willow arrived after the vampires already locked the Bronze up. When they managed to get inside, Buffy distracted the vampires as the rest herded the Bronze patrons to safety. With everyone else distracted, Jesse saw his chance to get Cordelia, but Xander interrupted. A fleeing patron then drove Jesse into Xander's stake. Meanwhile, Darla jumped Giles but was repelled when Willow splashed her with holy water.

Buffy and Luke struggled some more until Buffy threw a microphone stand through a window. When Luke cowered, thinking the light was sunshine, Buffy staked him and pointed out that the sun would not rise for another nine hours. The Master was very disappointed, but Angel was pleasantly surprised to see that Buffy succeeded.

Xander assumed that nothing would ever be the same. However, the next school day, Cordelia was repeating rumors that the vampires were really rival gangs in a turf war. Giles explained that people tend to rationalize and forget. He also pointed out that this was merely the first time that they would face a menace. Buffy, Willow, and Xander speculated on how they could get kicked out of school as Giles expressed pessimism over the fate of the world.

The Good

The cymbal decapitation was neat, even if there is no way that the cymbal was traveling fast enough to decapitate someone.

The Bad

Luke's speeches in the Bronze were very overblown.

Like "Welcome to the Hellmouth," this episode is more concerned with establishing the characters and the setting than with providing anything interesting. I understand that it needs to be done, but I greatly prefer later episodes.

Rank: 130

Action: 4

There were a couple of brief fights in the teaser as Buffy rescued Xander and Willow.

There was some action when Buffy and Xander tried to rescue Jesse, but they did more running than acting.

The first battle of the show took place in the Bronze when Buffy, Xander, Giles, and Willow fought Luke, Darla and other vampire minions.

Comedy: 1

It is fun to see Luke fall for a fairly simple trick.

Drama: 2

Xander has to deal with his inability to help rescue Jesse before knowing that Jesse was turned into a vampire and with Xander's inability to save Jesse afterwards.

Romance: 1

Vampire Jesse got a dance with Cordelia.

Character Development: 5

Xander—is not willing to sit around when a friend is in trouble and is sometimes prone to heroic recklessness.

Willow—is apparently very good with computers. She does have some strength, at least in an emergency.

Giles—hates computers but recognizes their value.

Joyce—wants to be a good mother and properly discipline Buffy, but she needs to learn that, sometimes, Buffy's problems are literally life and death.

Importance: 7

We get much exposition on the Master and his goals, but his situation at the end of the episode is not much different from his situation at the beginning. More important, we learn about the Hellmouth and get more character introduction.

Most Valuable Player: Buffy

She killed three vampires, including Luke, which stopped the Master from rising.

Sherlock Holmes Award Giles

With help from Willow and a few clues that Angel gave Buffy, Giles figured out what the Harvest was.

Goat of the Week: Luke

If Luke did more feeding and less talking, he might have been able to eat enough to free the Master before Buffy arrived. He also believed Buffy when she suggested that the sun was up when it was still rather early in the evening. Did he think that he was in the land of the midnight sun? At least he did not live to feel the Master's wrath. Luke probably would be completely eyeless. Joyce made a valiant attempt for this ignominious honor by forbidding Buffy from saving the world at the Bronze, but Buffy denied her this award by sneaking out just in time to stop Luke. However, the delay might have resulted in the deaths of the bouncer and the young woman in the Bronze.


Many people noticed that Cordelia stated that there was no cover at the Bronze on the night that turned out to be the Harvest. However, the bouncer was still collecting cover charges. First, it is possible that Cordelia was mistaken. Second, one young woman entering the Bronze flashed a card and was allowed in without paying. It is possible that there was no cover for students with Sunnydale High ID cards but cover charges for everyone else. The bouncer did ask Luke et al. for IDs when they tried to enter without paying. It is possible that he wanted to see if they were old enough to drink alcohol. However, he did not also ask for cover charges, and nobody checked IDs for age in the previous episode.

Some people also wondered why there was school the day after the Harvest, which took place on a Friday. Nothing indicated that the final scene took place the day after the Harvest. Most likely, it was the following Monday.

Why did Angel remain outside the Bronze rather than joining the fight? At this point, it is not clear if he has any superpowers, but there is no evidence that Giles, Xander, or Willow have any superpowers either. They still joined the fight.

DVD Extras

Joss Whedon on "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest"—Joss Whedon discusses a few aspects of the episode, but mostly covered material in his audio commentary, which is more interesting. He did get a nice joke about how Sarah Michelle Gellar nearly decapitated a camera operator.

Audio Commentary by Joss Whedon—Joss Whedon continued his commentary from "Welcome to the Hellmouth." He includes spoilers through early season 4, and mentions of season 5 of Buffy and season 2 of Angel.

Insights on Buffy overall include:

Insights on this episode include:

Memorable Quotes

"Well, maybe that's how they do things in Britain. They've got that royal family and all kinds of problems, but here at Sunnydale, nobody leaves campus while school's in session." Principal Flutie

"So Giles, got anything that can make this day any worse?" Buffy
"How about the end of the world?" Giles
"I knew I could count on you." Buffy

"Senior boys, they have mystery. They have, what's the word I'm searching for, 'cars.' I'm not the type to settle, you know. It's like when I go shopping; I have to have the most expensive thing, not because it's expensive, but because it costs more." Cordelia

"You forget; metal can't hurt me." Luke
"There's something you forgot about too, sunrise. It's in about nine hours, moron." Buffy

"The Earth is doomed." Giles

Characters in Peril


Evil Escaped

Police and Guns

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Spoiler Questions

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on October 31, 2011