Home page All episodes sorted by rank All episodes sorted alphabetically All episodes sorted by writer All episodes sorted by director All episodes sorted by season Episodes with the most polarized opinions Episodes largely forgotten by fans Best and worst streaks of episodes An analysis of what makes episodes great Buffy writers sorted by the quality of their episodes Buffy directors sorted by the quality of their episodes Seasons of Buffy sorted by the quality of their episodes Buffy characters sorted by their possible contribution to episode quality Predicted episode quality based on writer, director, characters, and when aired Episodes that are much better or much worse than predicted Tastes in episodes Episodes ranked by taste Seasons ranked by taste Characters ranked by taste Writers ranked by taste Directors ranked by taste How the results on this site were obtained Ranking important contributors Reviews and Essays Frequently Asked Questions The links page Go to the sitemap

NEVER KILL A BOY ON THE FIRST DATE (ep 1.05)

(a.k.a. Block the Door with Cushions!)


Written by: Rob Des Hotel & Dean Batali
Directed by: David Semel
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
David Boreanaz as Angel
Christopher Wiehl as Owen Thurman
Goeff Meed as Andrew Borba
Co-Starring: Paul-Felix Montez as Mysterious Guy
Robert Mont as Van Driver
Andrew J. Ferchland as Boy (Colin/The Anointed One)

Plot Summary

Buffy wanted to go out on a date with Owen, but, as the slayer, she had a responsibility to stop the rise of the Anointed One.

Plot Details

The episode opened with Buffy quickly dispatching a vampire. Giles was rather critical of her method despite her success. He was quite intrigued by the fact that, for the first time in the series, an object worn by the vampire did not turn to dust with the vampire. This needed further study.

Meanwhile, the Master read a prophecy about the rise of an Anointed One who will lead Buffy into Hell. (See the Memorable Quotes section for the complete prophecy.) He also let it be known that he did not appreciate having one of the vampires going out to feed and getting himself slain.

In the library, Giles and Buffy examined the ring that they recovered. Buffy recognized the pattern on the ring as belonging to the Order of Aurelius. Then Owen entered, much to Giles's dismay. Apparently, he had "lost his Emily Dickinson" and wanted to check out a copy of her poetry. Buffy appeared to be quite attracted to Owen, which completely distracted her from worrying about he Order of Aurelius.

In the cafeteria, Buffy discussed Owen with Willow and a fairly jealous Xander. Xander made the mistake of pointing out that Owen was sitting alone, prompting Buffy to join him. Cordelia decided to sit with Owen as well. Buffy started to slink away when Owen suggested that she go to the Bronze with him that night.

Giles had been doing research on the Order of Aurelius. Apparently Aurelius predicted that that the Anointed One would rise that very night. Buffy protested because she wanted to go on her date.

Giles apparently prevailed as the next scene showed Buffy and Giles in a graveyard for naught. He finally let Buffy go on her date, but with a warning about keeping her identity a secret. Unfortunately, she found Owen slow-dancing with Cordelia. Buffy left immediately.

An airport shuttle arriving in Sunnydale contained a driver, a boy (Colin) and his mother, another woman, and a ranting man (Andrew Borba). Anyone who can count might have noticed that there were five people on the shuttle and tie it to a certain prophecy quoted below. A vampire standing in the street forced the driver to swerve, causing him to crash into a pole. Members of the Order of Aurelius then started feasting on all five.

The next day, Xander was mostly able to suppress his relief / joy that Buffy's date did not work out. He was in the middle of comforting her when Owen showed up and suggested another date that night.

That evening, Willow and Xander helped Buffy pick out her clothes for her date. Xander suggested a heavy winter jacket and a ski cap. Buffy actually had to look to Willow to confirm that this would not be a good choice, as if she were an authority on the matter. It also took a push from Willow to get Xander to turn his back while Buffy changed. Fortunately for him, he found a mirror.

Giles arrived with a newspaper article on the of the five people in the shuttle. He thought that Andrew Borba, in particular, might be a prime candidate to be the Anointed One. Buffy started to protest when Owen showed up. Buffy and Giles concocted a story about Giles seeking fines for overdue books, which Owen was gullible enough to believe. Willow and Xander pulled Owen aside, with Xander giving advice such as not to kiss, touch or even look at Buffy. Meanwhile, Buffy convinced Giles to let her go on the date while Giles did further investigating. Willow and Xander agreed that they should go along, but disagreed on whom they should go along with. Xander wanted to watch Owen, whereas Willow wanted to help Giles.

For some reason, Giles felt quite uncomfortable alone, in a graveyard, at night. His discomfort might have been due to the two vampires who were flanking him. Fortunately, he had a cross, which allowed him to escape into an autopsy room. After blocking the door with an empty file cabinet, a chair, and a coat rack, he was startled to find Xander and Willow at the window. There were convenient bars on the window, so he could not escape. However, he was able to send them to get help from Buffy.

At the Bronze, Cordelia found herself in the same position that Buffy was in the night before. This time, instead of sulking away like Buffy, Cordelia confronted Owen. She found it very difficult to comprehend that Owen would rather be with Buffy than with her. Her pain was alleviated when she saw Angel, but only for a moment as he, too, went toward Buffy. Before Angel could get his weekly cryptic warning in, Xander and Willow showed up. Xander pretended that he, Willow, Buffy, and Owen go on a double date to the Sunnydale Funeral Home. Willow enthusiastically went along with this ruse.

Buffy tried to ditch Owen at the Bronze, but he followed anyway. Buffy managed to get Owen to stay with Willow and Xander while she looked for Giles. She found that an empty filing cabinet, chair, and coat rack did not sufficiently block a door from two vampires. However, Giles was able to hide in a drawer with a body.

Meanwhile, Willow and Xander tried to barricade the door to their room with the most illogical things imaginable. Meanwhile, Owen pulled open a curtain, revealing Andrew Borba's body. Owen was quite startled to see Borba's arm move as he rose as a vampire. Borba smashed the glass window and entered the observation room, perhaps thinking that he would get a large meal. Fortunately, all humans managed to escape.

When Borba found Buffy, Owen decided to help. In the subsequent fight, Borba managed to knock both Giles and Owen unconscious before Buffy shoved Borba into the crematory. A very woozy Owen decided that he just wanted to go home alone. Xander and Willow accompanied him.

Willow had to drag Xander away when they and Buffy ran into Owen at school. Apparently, he decided that he liked the experience of nearly dying. This made Buffy realize that she needed to keep him out of her life for his safety and the safety of others. Giles approached and talked about how he wanted to be a fighter pilot or a grocer instead of a watcher. He praised her performance as a slayer so far, citing the slaying of the Anointed One. However, we found out that Colin was the real Anointed One.

The Good

When I rewatched this episode in order to write a review, I found it to be better than I remembered. It would still be, at best, an average episode when compared to later seasons, but it is strong when compared to other first season episodes.

The episode does a good job in handling its theme of the conflict between responsibilities and a social life.

The Bad

As far as Buffy and the other good guys know, everything is the same at the end as it was in the beginning. Buffy started to learn that it is difficult to balance responsibilities and a social life, but the characters are largely unchanged.

The theme of the episode is effectively portrayed, but it is a bit simple when compared to themes presented in later seasons.

Owen was never a plausible as a love interest for Buffy.

Overall Rank: 101

Action: 5

The episode opened with Buffy staking a vampire.

Giles was chased into the morgue, but did little actual fighting.

Buffy and Andrew Borba had a good fight.

Comedy: 3

This episode had more than its usual share of funny lines, but it is not a comedy heavy episode.

Piling cusions in front of a door in order to prevent vampires from entering was unintentionally humorous.

Drama: 3

Buffy had to deal with work vs. social life conflicts.

Romance: 7

The plot centered on Buffy trying to get a date, with Xander's jealousy also playing a role.

Character Development: 1

Buffy—Is learning that it is difficult to juggle responsibilities and a social life.

Giles—Had dreams of being something other than a watcher.

Importance: 4

The Master obtains the Anointed One as an ally for his world domination plans.

This episode helps to establish that the characters will have unlucky love lives.

Most Valuable Player: The Order of Aurelius

It was a smart move to leave Andrew Borba as a distraction. This allowed the Order of Aurelius to get the real Annointed One to the Master and win the day.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Nobody

Goat of the Week: Giles

This was not a good episode for the good guys. However, Giles was the one who first thought that Andrew Borba was the Anointed One, so he gets the blame.

Random Commentary

Buffy's relationship with Owen was doomed long before they even made their first date. Buffy decided that the way to win Owen's attention was to pretend to be bookish like he was. Even if he did not see the slayer side of her life, this strategy would lead to one of three possible outcomes:

  1. Owen would see through the ruse and view Buffy as a phony.
  2. Buffy would find that Owen is not really looking for a bookish woman
  3. Buffy would capture Owen's attention, but he will not be attracted to her. Instead, he will be attracted to the person she is pretending to be but is not.
It looked like the third option was going to happen. However, even if Buffy had no reason to believe that her dating Owen would endanger him or others, this relationship would not last very long. Either Owen would see through the ruse or Buffy will get tired of being someone that she is not. When either of these events occur, the relationship would be over.

Imponderables

In order to block a door from an attacker, one needs heavy objects. Giles at least tried to wedge a filing cabinet against the floor to create enough friction to hold the door closed. I have no idea what he was thinking when he placed the chair and coat rack in front of the door. Willow and Xander had no excuse for piling a lampshade, a small flower pot, and cushions in front of the door. At least these items were easy to move when Xander, Willow, and Owen needed to escape from the room once Andrew Borba created a new entrance into the room.

DVD Extras

Joss Whedon on "Witch" and "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date"—Joss Whedon discussed the theme of balancing slaying responsibilities with having a normal life. This extra is of mild interest.

Text of Newspaper Article

Five Die In Van Accident
By Sandra Sorzaro
Sunnydale Press Reporter
In a tragic accident yesterday, four adults and one child were killed.
This accident had led people to believe the compromise into a bill that would have required a minimum of five cent refundable deposit, the assembly and the senate will be the first time buyers.
Each count with which the ex-wife is charged represents a required visit that didn't occur. She said her husband was outside the house trying to get the girls to talk ...
Among the dead was Andrew Borba, whom the police sought for questioning in a double murder. ...
The driver lost control of his vehicle and slammed into a pole.
Services for the deceased will be held in Sunnydale funeral home. She said her husband was outside the house trying to get the girls to talk to him and allow him to take them to his home. While he amended the compromise ...

Memorable Quotes

"I'm Buffy and you're history." Buffy

"And there will be a time of crisis, of worlds hanging in the balance. And in this time shall come the Anointed, the Master's great warrior. And the slayer will not know him, will not stop him, and he will lead her into Hell. As it was written, so shall it be. Five will die, and from their ashes, the Anointed shall rise. The Brethren of Aurelius shall greet him and usher him to his immortal destiny. As it is written, so shall it be. And one of the Brethren shall go out hunting the night before and get himself killed because he couldn't wait to finish his job before he ate. Oh, wait, that's not written anywhere." The Master

"Yes, she's [Emily Dickinson] quite a good poet, I mean for an American." Giles

"Buffy, while the mere fact of you wanting to check out a book would be grounds for a national holiday, I think we should focus on the problem at hand." Giles

"So Buffy, how'd the slaying go last night" Xander
"Xander!" Buffy
"I mean, how'd the laying go last night." Xander

"All right, I'll just jump in my time machine, go back to the 12th century and ask the vampires to postpone their ancient prophecy for a few days while you take in dinner and a show." Giles
"OK, at this point, you're abusing sarcasm." Buffy

"I won't wear my button that says 'I'm a slayer. Ask me how.'" Buffy

"Hello, salty goodness! Pick up the phone. Call 911. That boy is going to need serious oxygen after I'm through with him." Cordelia

"You know what would be cool, the Sunnydale Funeral Home." Xander
"I've always wanted to go there." Willow

They came after me, but I was more than a match for them." Giles
"Meaning..." Buffy
"I hid, but this chap was good enough to bunk with me until they went away." Giles

"What you need is a guy who already knows your deepest, darkest secrets and still says, 'Hey, I like that girl.' Someone like…" Xander
"Owen!" Buffy

"I had very definite plans about my future. I was going to be a fighter pilot or possibly a grocer, but my father gave me a very tiresome speech about responsibility and sacrifice." Giles

Characters in Peril

Kills

Evil Escaped

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Giles Unconscious

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, 2012