"First Date" is the fourteenth episode of the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and is the 136th episode in the series. Written by Jane Espenson and directed by David Grossman, it originally broadcast on February 11, 2003 on UPN.
NEVER KILL A BOY — Principal Wood asks Buffy out on a date, arousing her suspicions and peeking her curiosity, and a secret about the principal's past is revealed. Xander has a date of his own — with a strange woman he met buying rope. Anya's jealous side rears it's ugly head at the idea of Xander dating someone else. Meanwhile, the First is back in the game, this time focusing on Andrew.
Giles takes the Potential Slayers on patrol and tells them how his keen senses saved him from the Bringer in Robson's flat that tried to sneak up on him, not telling them it was actually because the Bringer's shoes squeaked. During his talk, Spike suddenly tackles him due to having been told of the (now proven false) suspicion that he was actually the First Evil. Giles points out that if he was actually the First then no physical attack would have hurt him anyway, and then asks why Spike is not in pain. Buffy, accompanying Spike, tells Giles of the choice the military gave her and how she decided to get the chip removed instead of repaired.
Later, Giles confronts Buffy telling her he believed she made the wrong choice in deciding to get the chip removed, as he considers Spike to be too much of a loose cannon. Buffy reminds him the First still controlled him into killing people regardless, but Giles points out the chip may not have been working then and replacing it might have stopped the First from reasserting control. Buffy tells Giles she trusts Spike now that he has a soul, but Giles tells her he thinks she's making bad decisions where Spike is concerned due to their past relationship, reminding her she's putting a lot of lives on the line for him.
At work, Buffy tries to hunt for clues about whether Principal Wood is good or evil in his office. When she is about to open a cabinet, Wood finds her and asks her out to dinner. Back at the house, Buffy expresses mixed feelings about the date, and is unsure over whether she is interested in him. Willow suggests that it would be good for Buffy to "move on." Xander enters and reveals that he too has a date that evening. Upstairs, Buffy is getting dressed for dinner when Spike appears in the hallway, and tells Buffy that he feels fine about her having a date with another man, although Buffy tells him he doesn't have to be noble.
As Andrew tries to set the timer on the new microwave, he is confronted by the First in the form of Jonathan, who tries to persuade him that Buffy and the others don't care about him and will never trust him as he's a murderer. It also promises to allow Andrew to survive the coming apocalypse if he helps the First by killing all the potentials. Andrew is unwilling to stab them, but the First reminds him that Willow brought a gun into the house and he could use that. Andrew appears thoughtful.
On their way to a French restaurant, Buffy and Wood are jumped by a group of vampires. Buffy slays most of them, and thinks that Wood has set her up, until she sees him take out two of the vampires. At the restaurant, Wood reveals that he is a "freelance" demon hunter, and tells her about his mother — that she was the Slayer and was killed when he was four years old, after which he was raised by her Watcher. Buffy is struck by the idea that it is possible for a Slayer to have children. Meanwhile, Xander's date appears to be going well until he learns that she is a demon and has been motivated to work for the First. She ties him up to the wooden structure over the Seal of Danzalthar in the school basement and sticks a knife between his ribs.
Andrew goes to the First, having retrieved the gun, and the First guides him into how to kill the Potentials as quickly as possible. Andrew follows along, but also starts to ask questions, like why the First doesn't get Spike to do it since he has a trigger anyway. However, when he asks if the First has any weaknesses, the First realizes Andrew is pumping it for information and that he's wearing a wire. Willow, Dawn, Anya, and Kennedy are listening in, but they can only hear Andrew speaking, meaning the First can’t be recorded. The First, angry at being tricked, shows Andrew the knife that he plunged into Jonathan's stomach, stating that Jonathan is going to spend the rest of eternity in pain because of what Andrew did, while making the vision of Jonathan decompose. The First then appears to Willow and the others, still disguised as the disfigured Jonathan, promising they will all die before vanishing.
After the First leaves, Willow receives a text message with a help code from Xander. Spike offers to go fetch Buffy. He finds her at the restaurant as she was being fed by Wood. They all rush out to rescue Xander, driving in Wood's car. When they get to the seal beneath the school, they fight and kill the demon, finding Xander not too badly hurt. They prevent the seal from opening again, but, during the course of the fight, Wood notices that Spike is a vampire and that Buffy cares about him.
Later at the house, Giles and Spike aren't happy that Andrew and Willow tried to record the First because of the danger. However, Dawn compliments Andrew on his bravery in standing up to it. When Spike asks why the First didn't just go to him since he has a trigger, Andrew replies that the First stated it wasn't time for Spike. As they joke about Xander once again being attracted by a demon, Giles interrupts and declares it's time for the gang to stop messing around doing things like going on dates. He adds that they need to get rid of the gun and figure out a plan of action.
Later, Spike tells Buffy that, as the First is not ready to use him yet, he will leave town. Buffy tells Spike not to leave, because she isn't ready for him not to be there.
In Wood's bathroom, the First shows itself to him in the guise of his mother. He is well aware that it's the First and intends to ignore it, until the First offers to reveal the identity of mother's killer. Wood shows interest, so it tells him that Nikki was killed by Spike. Wood thanks the First.
- The flashback confirms that Giles survives the Bringer's attack in the episode "Sleeper", revealing how he did so.
- Anya tells Buffy a red stain on her shirt could be blood or pizza. Dawn actually spilled pizza sauce on this top in "Conversations with Dead People", and assured herself that Buffy would just mistake it for blood.
- Suggesting Spike to try out having dates too, Buffy recalls the girl he had brought to Anya and Xander's canceled wedding, in "Hell's Bells".
- Spike references picket fences, later saying they are "bloody dangerous." Buffy previously staked a vampire with a picket fence in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date".
- A gravestone is clearly marked "Snyder", which is a possible reference to Principal Snyder. Being eaten by Mayor Wilkins, who was then destroyed by explosives ("Graduation Day, Part One"), it's very unlikely there were some of his remains to bury.
- Wood tells Buffy that he went through a whole "avenging son" phase in his twenties. As he was born sometime after his mother's Tento di Cruciamentum in 1973 (On Your Own, Part One) and was 4 years old in July 1977 ("Lies My Parents Told Me"), he's not over 30 at the time this episode takes place.
- As Xander himself points out, Lissa was only the latest of several demonic women who have been drawn to him. Her predecessors included the She-Mantis ("Teacher's Pet"), the Inca Mummy ("Inca Mummy Girl"), and Anya. Even Xander's ex-girlfriend Cordelia Chase eventually become part demon in "Birthday".
- The flash cards Giles shows Chao-Ahn are similar to the ones he used in order to communicate information about the Gentlemen, in "Hush".
- Spike's painless attack of Giles revealed to the rest of the Scoobies that Buffy decided to have his chip removed, given the choice in "The Killer in Me".
- Andrew was setting up a new microwave in the Summers house kitchen. The microwave was destroyed when Dawn was visited by The First in "Conversations with Dead People". Andrew had previously wondered about getting a new one when he wanted to make popcorn.
- Amanda still has a scar from the cut she received in "Potential".
- Andrew recovers the gun used by Willow in "The Killer in Me", Buffy having kept in her underwear drawer.
- The First (as Jonathan) plans a gun massacre, just as Jonathan was suspected of doing in "Earshot".
- Robin Wood is revealed to be the son of the Slayer Nikki Wood, killed by Spike in the in "Fool for Love".
- Clement (Only mentioned)
- First Evil
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Anya Jenkins
- Jonathan Levinson (Only in visions)
- Robson (Only in flashbacks)
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
- Tarantula (Only mentioned)
- Andrew Wells
- Nikki Wood (Only in visions)
- Robin Wood
Organizations and titles
- Harbingers of Death (Only in illustrations)
- Demon hunter
- Scooby Gang
- United States Armed Forces (Only mentioned)
- London (Only in flashbacks)
- Robson's apartment (Only in flashbacks)
Weapons and objects
- Behavior-Modification Circuitry (Only mentioned)
- Seal of Danzalthar
- Soul (Only mentioned)
- One Harbinger of Death, beheaded by Giles.
- Three vampires, staked by Buffy.
- Two vampires, staked by Robin Wood.
- Lissa, beheaded by Buffy.
Behind the scenes
- The clip of the first vampire stepping into the alley was footage recycled from the teaser of "The Gift".
- K. D. Aubert portrays Nikki Wood in this episode (and in "Lies My Parents Told Me"). Nikki was originally portrayed by April Weeden in "Fool For Love".
- Wood confirms that he grew up in Beverly Hills:
- Buffy: "In Beverly Hills."
- Wood: "See now, that detail takes the edge off my Little Orphan Robin story, but yeah, that was true."
- Xander asked Lissa a very logical question:
- Xander: "Did you hatch out of a praying mantis egg in the old high school?"
Pop culture references
- During Xander's monologue about turning gay, he makes a reference to fantasizing about actor Scott Bakula. Andrew then mentions Captain Archer, his role in Star Trek: Enterprise, which was also airing on UPN at the time.
- Buffy says she'll be home watching a reality show "about a millionaire," which could be a reference to Joe Millionaire, a reality show that was airing at the time of the episode's broadcast.
Goofs, bloopers & continuity errors
- Principal Wood expresses surprise when Spike is revealed to be a vampire. Earlier, while driving, he seemed to glance at Spike in the car's rear-view mirror. This appears to be a production oversight, as it is established earlier in the series that vampires, even with.
- Armenian: "Առաջին ժամադրությունը" (First Date)
- Czech: "První schůzka" (First Date)
- Finnish: "Kohtalokas deitti" (Fatal Dating)
- French: "Rendez-vous dangereux" (Dangerous Date)
- German: "Das erste Date" (The First Date)
- Hungarian: "Az első randi" (The First Date)
- Italian: "Primo appuntamento" (First Date)
- Japanese: "ファーストデート" (First Date)
- Polish: "Pierwsza randka" (First Date)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "Primeiro Encontro" (First Date)
- Romanian: "Prima întâlnire" (First Date)
- Russian: "Первое свидание" (First Date)
- Spanish (Latin America and Spain): "Primera cita" (First Date)
- The book Chosen: The One includes a novelization of this episode, along with all season 7.
Behind the scenes
|Willow - "We have this 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'."|
|Kennedy - "You don't remember which?"|
|Willow - "It was a long time ago!"|
|Dawn - "Well, if we play the percentages..."|
|Giles - "Something's eating Xander's head."|
|Anya - "Say, that's gratifying."|
|Spike - "Anya said you were the First. Said you were evil. You're supposed to be all go-through-able."|
|Giles - "Then what the hell did you tackle me for, you berk? What's that supposed to do?"|
|Spike - "I, uh, I didn't think of that."|
|Spike - "Heard you got a date."|
|Buffy - "Well, it's unclear. I mean, I have this whole theory about a promotion. Or he's evil."|
|Spike - "Buffy, I'm all right."|
|Buffy - "You don't have to..."|
|Spike - "What? Be noble? I'm not. Really, I'm all right. Think I still dream of a crypt for two with a white picket fence? My eyes are clear."|
|Buffy - "Good. I'm glad. Thank you."|
|Spike - "Never much cared for picket fences, anyway. Bloody dangerous."|
|Willow - "What happened?"|
|Xander - "What do you think happened? Another demon woman was attracted to me. I'm going gay. I've decided I'm turning gay. Willow, gay me up. Come on, let's gay."|
|Willow - "What?"|
|Xander - "You heard me. Just tell me what to do. I'm mentally undressing Scott Bakula right now. That's a start, isn't it?"|
|Andrew - "Captain Archer..."|
|Xander - "Come on, let's get this gay show on the gay road. Help me out here."|
|Buffy - "What if you just start attracting male demons?"|
|Dawn - "Clem always liked you."|
|Spike - "Did anybody tell you about what happened around here tonight?"|
|Buffy - "Willow did. The First is back in the mix."|
|Spike - "It, uh, it talked to the little boy. Said it wasn't time for me yet. I should move out. Leave town before it is time for me."|
|Buffy - "No, you have to stay."|
|Spike - "You've got another demon fighter now."|
|Buffy - "That's not why I need you here."|
|Spike - "Is that right? Why's that then?"|
|Buffy - "'Cause I'm not ready for you to not be here."|