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

FIRST DATE (ep #7.14)

(a.k.a. Son of the Slayer)

Written by: Jane Espenson
Directed by: David Grossman
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
James Marsters as Spike
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Guest Starring: Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles (Special Guest Star)
Ashanti as Lissa (Special Guest Star)
Danny Strong as The First Evil (posing as Jonathan)
Tom Lenk as Andrew Wells
Iyari Limon as Kennedy
Sarah Hagan as Amanda
Kristy Wu as Chao-Ahn
K.D. Aubert as The First Evil (posing as Nikki Wood)
DB Woodside as Principal Wood

Plot Summary

Xander dated yet another demon while Buffy learned Principal Wood's back story.

Plot Details

This episode opened with the scene that should have opened "Never Leave Me." While talking to Robson, Giles caught the handle of the ax headed for his neck. Giles quickly took the ax away from the bringer and decapitated the bringer instead.

This was all in the context of a lecture about how Giles's watcher training gave him great instincts and reflexes that allow him to anticipate any attack, except for attacks from ensouled vampires who believe that Giles might be a manifestation of the First Evil and, until recently, had chips in their heads that caused great pain if they attacked humans. Giles was not happy about Spike not having a chip.

The next morning, Giles spoke with Buffy about her decision to remove Spike's chip. Basically, Buffy trusted Spike and his soul, and Giles trusted neither. Furthermore, he was concerned that Buffy's feelings for Spike affected her judgment.

At a local Home Depot, Xander noticed an attractive woman (Lissa) looking at rope, so he decided to volunteer his expertise. With various random detours, Xander managed to establish that Lissa wanted to suspend a kayak in her garage. He also remembered the title of this episode and asked her out for coffee.

Buffy was about to snoop in Principal Wood's office when he caught her. The conversation soon segued into Wood remembering the title of the episode and asking Buffy to dinner, albeit with many qualifications on how her job was not dependent on her answer. After she left, Wood pulled out a bloody dagger and put it in the cabinet that Buffy was about to snoop through.

That afternoon, Buffy speculated with Willow on Wood's motives for asking her out. He could be genuinely interested in her, he could want to kill her, or he could want to promote her for doing such a good job. Willow thought that the last idea was quite amusing.

Xander burst in, sitcom style, to announce that he had a date. He was a bit disappointed to find that he was not the only one. However, there was a decent possibility that one or both of their dates were evil. Giles then burst in with the latest potential slayer, Chao-Ahn. They had been to the mall where Giles bought her clothes and ice cream. However, she spoke no English, so he did not realized that she was lactose intolerant.

Andrew was trying to set the clock on the microwave when the First Evil, as Jonathan, interrupted. Andrew claimed that he was seeking redemption, but the First Evil did not care. It wanted Andrew to kill the potential slayers instead. Unfortunately, Andrew was not interested.

Anya tried to scrub blood (really pizza sauce from "Conversations with Dead People") out of Buffy's top. Anya believed that Xander's date was really an elaborate and far too successful hoax to make Anya feel jealous. Spike, on the other hand, was much calmer about the idea of Buffy being on a date.

Willow, Dawn, Amanda, and Kennedy decided to research Principal Wood's background. Unfortunately, they found very little information on him from before he came to Sunnydale. Anya interrupted them with pictures that Giles drew to educate Chao-Ahn. They were quite similar to his drawings from "Hush," including liberal use of red pen. As a result, Chao-Ahn locked herself in the bathroom.

Giles was not happy about people dating. He thought that he was Wesley from "The Prom" and ranted about the irresponsibility of thinking about anything other than the upcoming battle.

Principal Wood led Buffy down a dark alley only to have five vampires ambush them. Buffy staked three of them before accusing Principal Wood of setting her up. She was quite surprised to see him taking out the remaining two. He decided that they should have a talk similar to the one between Buffy and Riley at the beginning of "Doomed."

Wood admitted that he was a freelance vampire hunter and that he knew that Buffy was the slayer. He also said that he maneuvered himself into a job immediately over the Hellmouth and that he wanted Buffy there as well. He found the idea of hiring Buffy for her counseling skills to be quite amusing. Most of all, he revealed that he was the son of a slayer.

Andrew showed the First Evil the gun that Willow bought in "The Killer in Me." The First Evil wanted Andrew to shoot the potential slayers. Unfortunately, Andrew was more interested in asking a lot of questions, such as why Spike was not involved, whether the First Evil had any weaknesses, and what exactly was the First Evil's true nature. The First Evil figured out that Andrew was wearing a wire and pumping it for information.

Xander's date was much calmer than Buffy's. The topic quickly went to the events of "Hell's Bells." Lissa was quite supportive. She suggested something else that might be fun. This turned out to be using the rope that Xander picked out for her to tie him to the wheel that Spike was tied to in "Never Leave Me."

The characters who were not on dates discussed their failure to record the First Evil. Giles gave another speech about focusing on the First Evil rather than on dates. Willow consented to call Buffy only to find a text message from Xander. It was code either to say that he was getting lucky and should not be disturbed or that his date was a demon about to kill him. Everyone knew which was the more likely possibility.

Spike was quite eager to interrupt Buffy's date, but Willow preferred to call Buffy. However, Buffy left her cell phone at home, so Spike had to find the couple anyway. Buffy, Wood, and Spike drove to the school where Buffy and Spike fought Lissa as Wood cut Xander down. In the process, Wood figured out what he should have noticed by not seeing Spike in a rear view mirror.

At the Summers house, Anya worried about Xander's safety, which confused those who heard her hope that Lissa was eating Xander's head. Chao-Ahn detected everyone's worry and was afraid that the monsters on Giles's drawings were attacking. She was mortified when Giles offered her milk.

Xander arrived and expressed regret that he was not the character who became gay. He wanted Willow to rectify the situation, but Giles interrupted with another tiresome speech. Later, Spike spoke with Buffy about what the First Evil told Andrew. He wanted to leave town, but Buffy wanted him to stay.

Meanwhile, the First Evil, in the guise of Nikki Wood (Principal Wood's mother) visited him. He knew that it was the First Evil and did not want to hear what it has to say. However, he may have been appreciative when it said that Spike was the vampire who killed his mother.

The Good

Any episode looks good in comparison with the one that came immediately before "First Date."

There is a new slayer-in-training who is actually bearable. It helped that she had only a few lines.

The Bad

Andrew did not go along with the First Evil's plan to kill all the potential slayers.

Giles gave a few tiresome speeches.

Much of this episode had a sitcom feel to it.

Overall Rank: 138

Action: 6

Giles killed a bringer in a flashback.

Soon afterward, Spike tackled Giles.

Buffy and Principal Wood fought five vampires in an alley.

Buffy and Spike fought Lissa while Principal Wood rescued Xander.

Comedy: 5

The two first dates in the show were not taken that seriously.

Giles drew some amusing pictures for Chao-Ahn.

Anya's changeable emotions were amusing.

Drama: 5

Giles was upset at a lot of things.

Anya was upset about Xander's date, but this was mostly played for laughs.

Romance: 6

Both Xander and Buffy had "first dates."

Willow has apparently been making out with Kennedy.

Character Development: 5

Principal Wood is the son of a slayer and an experienced demon fighter. His mother happened to be the slayer that Spike killed during the New York flashback in "Fool for Love."

Xander is still a demon magnet.

The First Evil is not that interested in killing Dawn, Buffy, Anya, or Willow.

Anya gets jealous over Xander dating someone else.

Andrew is fully under the influence of Stockholm syndrome. He wants to be seen as being on Buffy's side.

Spike was initially calm about Buffy's date, but he was quite eager to break it up. His super-scent tracking ability may be even more advanced than before.

Giles is very upset about the idea that anyone could think about anything other than fighting the First Evil.

Importance: 6

It is confirmed that Spike no longer has a chip.

It is confirmed that Principal Wood is a good guy. However, he is also the son of a slayer that Spike killed.

Most Valuable Player: Buffy

Buffy gets the MVP for defeating Lissa.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Willow

Willow gets this award for being the first person to raise the possibility that Lissa might be evil. She also was the one who received the ambiguous text message.

Goat of the Week: Lissa

Lissa gets the goat for not doing a background check on her potential victims. She should never have tried to kill someone the slayer knew. Even if she were successful, she would just become the target of a vengeful slayer.


Many wonder how Xander could have sent Willow a message when he was tied up. The official answer is that he did so before he was tied up even though Willow's phone rang in the scene immediately after we saw him tied up. Assuming that this is an editing error, this does not explain how he knew that he was going to be tied up. Even with extra strength, it would have been very difficult to impossible for Lissa to tie Xander up alone without his cooperation if he were conscious. She would have had to drug him, knock him out, use mind control, or convince him that it was a kinky sex game. My theory is that he really sent the "I'm getting lucky. Do not disturb" message only to have everyone misinterpret it based on his dating history. This explanation is also funnier than simply saying that Xander sent the cry for help before being tied up.

Memorable Dialogue

"I knew the bringer was there because his shoes squeaked." Giles

"There he is, on the Hellmouth, all day, every day. That's gotta be like being showered with evil, only from underneath." Buffy
"Not really a shower." Willow
"A bidet, like a bidet of evil." Buffy

"Guys, guess what happened!" Xander
"Buffy got a date!" Willow
"No, I did! Fine way to steal my thunder." Xander
"Sorry, if it makes you feel better, it's Principal Wood, and I think he's aligned with the First." Buffy
"Also, like ten years older than you, right?" Xander
"Which is like 100 years younger than your type." Willow
"Yea, someone who doesn't remember the industrial revolution." Buffy

"How about yours, Xander? She evil?" Willow
"She's interested in me, so there's a good chance." Xander

[Re: Chao-Ahn] "The language barrier is formidable. I was concerned that my Mandarin is a little thin, but, as it turns out, she speaks Cantonese, which is thinner, but we muddle through, and, as I suspected, ice cream is a universal language." Giles
[In Cantonese] "Like many from Asia, I am lactose intolerant. I'm very uncomfortable." Chao-Ahn
"What she say?" Buffy
"She's grateful to be in the land of plenty." Giles

"You think she'll ever let you in? You're a murderer." The First Evil (as Jonathan)
"Confidentially, a lot of her people are murderers: Anya and Willow and Spike." Andrew

"I was talking about the sham date of Xander's. I think it's part of a plan to make me jealous." Anya
"Well, it's not working..." Buffy
"Are you nuts? Of course it's working. Observe my bitter ranting. Hear the shrill edge of hysteria in my voice." Anya
"I should really go find something else to wear." Buffy
"Fine, go. Leave me here to stew in my impotent rage. I'm also gonna pee, so you should probably go." Anya

"Didn't you hear? Everybody has a date. Buffy has a date. Willow has been completely making out with this girl." Anya
"Hey." Kennedy
"Xander's out with some hardware store whore. It's Datefest 2003." Anya

"It can't just keep happening that demon women find me attractive." Xander

"You tried to record the ultimate evil. Why, a complex effort to royally piss it off?" Spike

"The system we set up a while back, like codes. This one's either 'I just got lucky. Don't call me for a while,' or 'My date's a demon who's trying to kill me.'" Willow
"You don't remember which?" Kennedy
"It was a long time ago." Willow
"Well, if we play the percentages..." Dawn
"...Something's eating Xander's head." Giles
"Say, that's gratifying." Anya

"I can't believe Buffy hasn't brought him home yet. His slut ate him up." Anya
"His slut didn't eat him up, and, besides, I thought you were all angry at him." Willow
"My feelings are changeable but intense." Anya

[In Cantonese] "Why is everyone up? Are the flashcard monsters attacking?" Chao-Ahn
"She says she can't sleep. [To Chao-Ahn] I made myself some warm milk. You can have it." Giles
[In Cantonese] "You're trying to kill me!" Chao-Ahn
"She's shy." Giles

"Is Xander all right?" Anya
"Looks OK." Dawn
"Damn him." Anya

"I'm going gay. I've decided I'm turning gay. Willow, gay me up. Come on, let's gay." Xander
"What?" Willow
"You heard me. Just tell me what to do. I'm mentally undressing Scott Bakula right now. That's a start, isn't it?" Xander
"[Dreamily] Captain Archer." Andrew
"Come on, let's get this gay show on the gay road. Help me out here." Xander
"What if you just start attracting male demons?" Buffy
"Clem always liked you." Dawn

[To Spike] "I'm not ready for you to not be here." Buffy

Characters in Peril


Departed Characters Remembered

Police and Guns

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Unusual Pairings

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 January 11, 2013