I review the third episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, entitled Witch.
Since writing my last review of episode two, I’ve managed to watch the entire first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Granted, it’s only twelve episodes – which isn’t as long as the normal-length American TV shows like Arrow or Supernatural, and it isn’t even the length of BBC’s equivalent – shows like Doctor Who or Merlin, which ran for thirteen episodes. However, despite whatever flaws the season has – and there are many in Season 1, Witch remains an interesting episode, even if it isn’t quite as entertaining as the two Whedon-written episodes that came before it.
With the premier two-part opener out of the way, Witch has a bit of a high standard to set, as it attempts to show newcomers like myself what Buffy will be like week-after-week. Whilst it may be entertaining with a pretty solid plot, although the twist might be somewhat predictable – the episode itself comes across as a standard ‘monster of the week’ self-contained episode that fans of the early seasons of Supernatural and the 2005 Doctor Who will be used to. It’s fun, and the cast in particular are nonetheless charming, even if Cordelia Chase is still as annoying as ever.
This episode also shows that we’re not going to spend all of Buffy’s seasons with Vampires as the main opponent. Sure, they play a pretty big role – after all, this show wouldn’t be called Buffy the Vampire Slayer without them, but what was interesting about Witch was that it not only gave us a look into the fact that there are other supernatural creatures operating in the Hellmouth, but it also shows that Buffy is unaware of anything supernatural that isn’t the undead. This puts her into the same camp as Willow and Xander when it comes to not having a clue about what they’re up against, and allows for an interesting change of pace from the previous two episodes.
There are some pretty awesome one liners in this episode – with some fun exchanges between the Scooby Gang themselves, (FYI – I haven’t got to an episode where they start to refer themselves as the ‘Scooby Gang’, but having browsed Wikipedia articles the term is so much easier to use than just listing the names of the lead characters multiple times) and whilst this episode may not be the most memorable episode of Buffy ever, it provides a nice 45-ish minutes of TV and is far from an awful episode.
Also, something that could have been improved in this episode was some more development of Angel’s character. We don’t see him at all here, and at this point in the series I was wondering how long it would take before he stepped up to play a key role rather than just a shadowy, mysterious figure in the background.
The plot itself is fairly straightforward – against the wishes of Giles, Buffy decides to try out for the Cheerleading Squad, however – all the way through the Tryouts, strange things keep happening. First, a Cheerleader named Amber has her hands catch on fire, and second – Cordelia is blinded, and nearly gets hit by a truck. This allows for a build-up in suspense as the episode goes on, with some entertaining sequences that help make the episode be enjoyable to watch even though it’s pretty much your standard, self-contained episode.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 1 (1997): S1x01: Welcome to the Hellmouth, S1x02: The Harvest, S1x03: Witch, S1x04: Teacher’s Pet, S1x05: Never Kill A Boy on the First Date, S1x06: The Pack, S1x07: Angel, S1x08: I Robot… You, Jane, S1x09: The Puppet Show, S1x10: Nightmares, S1x011: Out of Mind, Out of Sight, S1x012: Prophecy Girl