Episode title: Never Kill A Boy On The First Date
Original air date: March 31, 1997
“All right, I’ll just drop in my time machine, go back to the twelfth century, and ask the vampire to postpone their ancient prophecy for a few days while you take in dinner and a show.”
If there could be a moment when the show writers finally cracked the secret to writing the show it would be with this episode as here the show certainly seems to find its groove as the blend between humour and horror is found. Plot wise it’s equally important as Buffy continues to try and balance her slaying duties and having a normal high school life in particular landing a date with Owen. The Master meanwhile searches for a powerful vampire known as “The Anointed One”.
As far as love interests go Owen is almost instantly forgettable and is generally written like a cliché sensitive hunk with his love of poet Emily Dickinson, who Buffy fakes her interest in, in order to get his attention much to the dismay of Giles who’d rather have Buffy focus on her slaying duties, which I’m sure Cordelia would also like, seeing how she’s also into Owen as here she continues her role as queen bee. This episode might have one of the more disposable plot lines, but at the same time does help make Buffy seem more realistic that she would want to date the hot guy in school rather than slay vampires and by the end of the episode we get to see her grow as a result and realise the importance of her duties, something she’s been more happy to blow off until this point.
This episode also gives us one of the earliest examples of Angel having feelings for Buffy, having spent his time until now being generally moody and mysterious. Here he joins the general air of jealousy which runs through the episode while providing his usual omniums warning yet its funny how for some reason he can never be found when Buffy encounters said danger. Something which thankfully changed like many of the characters fighting skills as the series went on.
Until this point in the series the humour had been left to quips provided by Giles or Xander, but this episode marked the start of the writers allowing other characters to have humorous lines as seen by Buffy’s smartass quips and the Master berating his minions under the guise of recounting a prophesy
“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.”
Action wise it’s pretty light this week, even if we do get to see a vampire tossed into a cremation oven, so the fact that the humour level is so high goes a way toward making up for the amount of time it spends following a doe eyed Buffy. True Owen is barely a blip when it comes to her romantic connections, but after being almost bitten by a vampire he does suddenly develop a danger seeking side, which made me this time wish they had brought him back as a rouge vampire hunter in later seasons or something, but sadly him being brushed off would be the last we would see of him leaving him another what could have been.
Next Episode: The Pack