Buffyversed #2: “The Harvest” Ups the Stakes Considerably

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Buffyversed is a week by week, episode by episode, re-exploration of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Look for it every Friday on Goomba Stomp. For previous episodes click here.

Last week we may have talked about “The Harvest” but this week it’s here!

Now, what exactly is The Harvest, you might be wondering. Well, allow me to explain: The Master transfers some of his blood into a surrogate, who will then feed on blood until The Master has enough power to break the magical hoodoo seal which is still holding him underground.

But maybe we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves. As you might recall, last week’s episode, “Welcome to the Hellmouth”, ended with that old television adage: To Be Continued. The cliffhanger in question centered around Willow, Xander and Jesse being surrounded by vampires in the graveyard, while Buffy was about to be feasted upon by The Master’s second in command, Luke.

So I don’t get to be a main cast member?

Well, as to the latter, careful watchers (like Giles) will remember that Angel gifted Buffy with a cross in the premiere… a cross she just so happens to be wearing! It gives her just the edge she needs to take back the advantage in the fight, and as Luke somehow disappears, Buffy rushes out to save her new friends. Unfortunately, she’s too late as far as Jesse is concerned, but let’s just remember for posterity that Jesse is kind of a douchebag anyway (see actor Eric Balfour, above, for reference).

In spite of his douchebaggery, Buffy and Xander head off to rescue him anyway, only to find that “too late” is something of an understatement here. Jesse has joined the kingdom of the undead, making him not just a lifelong douchebag, but an immortal one (more on that later).

Meanwhile, classic high school stuff plays out in the interim, as nerds are bullied by the popular folk, and then use their brains for vengeance. Demonstrably, Willow telling Cordelia to use the “deliver key” to save her work is pretty great (hint: that’s not what DEL does). Unfortunately, nerds seeking vengeance will one day become the motif of one of the series’ darkest moments…but let’s not think about that now, okay?

15 years later, we’re still getting over season 6 of Buffy.

Ye olde comic relief Xander comes to the conclusion that if there’s to be a Harvest, it will almost certainly be at the regular series social device: The Bronze. Snark aside, The Bronze has to be the most convincing teenage club ever seen in a television drama, or certainly at least up until the time when Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered.

So, to The Bronze we go! The vampires arrive first in a surprisingly cinematic slow-motion approach set to angsty alternative rock. Give our director, John T. Kretchmer, some credit for that one. Next, Buffy infiltrates the joint and finds herself toe-to-toe with Luke, but not before some notable Spiderman-esque banter with the villain. As any fan will know, this is far from the last time that this will occur.

Points must be given for the sunlight fake-out Buffy uses to distract Luke, as well as the hilarious way that Brian Thompson, who plays Luke,  reels with roaring dismay before realizing he’s been had. And had he has been, as the Scoobies usher the other waiting victims out of The Bronze while Buffy scares off the remaining vampires with nothing more than a badass stare down after staking Luke.

If this photo doesn’t capture the moment perfectly, nothing does.

In other news, Xander is accidentally relieved of the burden of deciding whether to kill Jesse or not when a frantic passerby simply bumps him into Xander’s waiting wooden stake. Classic!

So, the plan is averted, and the high schoolers who witnessed the attempted Harvest “rationalize what they can understand, and forget what they can’t.” Things are more or less back to the status quo, but unfortunately the status quo is still on the Hellmouth, so look forward to many more supernatural hijinks to come.

Next week will be the first of many switch-ups on the formula, as vampires are moved to the back burner to focus on a more magical threat. See ya in seven!

Another seven days?! Noooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

Now allow me to introduce the two post categories that will follow every episode. The first, “Cristina Says,” will be based on observations my fiance makes. This is my 4th time through the series, but she’s a first-time watcher with 2017 TV sensibilities, so I thought it would be interesting to note what a first-timer would observe.

The second category is something I’m calling “Notable Whedonisms.” Whedonisms are a sort of term for Whedon’s style of dialogue, and something I’ll be using as a catch-all for particularly fun or witty lines.

And awaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy we go!

Cristina Says: 

“I don’t remember her wearing that huge cross in the first episode.” (To her credit, she’s technically right about Buffy not wearing it. It’s sort of like a bullet proof vest fake out in an action movie. Luckily, in this case, Chekhov’s Cross was at least introduced last week.)

Nobody take this out of context but yes, it was that big.

“When was this made again?” (Regarding Willow’s usage of the internet to pull up city schematics for the sewer system. To be fair, the internet absolutely existed in 1997, but this is some standard ’90s hacker trope silliness)

“Good wedding vows!” (After The Master delivers the line: “My blood is your blood, my soul is your soul!” And Luke responds: “My body is your instrument.” She’s certainly my fiance!)

Notable Whedonisms:

“If you’re gonna be popping up with this cryptic wise man act, then you can at least tell me your name.” (Buffy to Angel, after he pops up with his cryptic wise man act.)

“We need to get out of here!” “There is no out of here!” (Buffy and Xander, when they’re trapped in the sewers with vampires.)

“He came for the town’s mystical whoozit!” (Buffy answers Giles’ question as to why The Master chose Sunnydale.)

“Don’t go Wild Bunch on me.” (Buffy instructs the Scoobies to just get the innocent bystanders out, rather than opting for anything too crazy.)

Thanks for reading fellow Scoobies! We’ll be back for more with “Witch” in a solid seven!

Mike Worby is a human who spends way too much of his free time playing, writing and podcasting about games. Through some miracle he’s still able to function in society as if he were a regular person, and if there’s hope for him, there’s hope for everyone. He’s the Features editor for Goomba Stomp, and can be found weekly on the Random Encounters podcast.