"Prophecy Girl" is the twelfth and final episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the twelfth episode in the series. Both written and directed by Joss Whedon, it was originally broadcast on June 2, 1997, on The WB network.
A HEART-STOPPING SEASON FINALE — Buffy wants to resign from her life of slaying when Giles uncovers an ancient prophesy that spells out her deadly fate, as the Master's ascension from the Hellmouth is at hand. As the earth begins to crack open, Xander, Willow and Cordelia face an army of demons and the prophetic end of the world. Meanwhile, Xander finally asks Buffy to the prom with equally disastrous consequences.
Xander is practicing lines on Willow at the Bronze, preparing how best to ask Buffy to an upcoming dance. Cordelia is in a car making out with Kevin, as Buffy slays a vampire nearby. In the library, Giles is reading the Pergamum Codex that he recently acquired and comes to a passage concerning Buffy and what he reads leaves him shell-shocked. As he attempts to digest the information he's just learned, an earthquake is felt all over town, and the Master revels in it.
The next morning, Buffy is meeting Giles in the library, where no significant damage was sustained in the earthquake. Buffy explains that the vampires are rising in number and getting braver, but Giles is distracted by his thoughts. After biology class, Willow finds an excuse to leave, leaving Xander alone to ask Buffy to the prom. Buffy regretfully gives him the "let's just be friends" routine. Xander takes the rejection badly, and walks off to wallow in his misery.
Giles phones Angel and asks to meet with him as soon as possible when Miss Calendar arrives in the library, telling him that she sees apocalyptic portents and demands to know what is happening. She tells him Brother Luca, a monk in Cortona, is e-mailing her about the Anointed One. Giles asks her to get more information about this, promising he will explain everything later. In the school hall, Kevin and Willow promise to help Cordelia set everything up at the Bronze for the dance. Willow sees Xander wallowing in his misery and offers sympathy. When Xander asks her to the dance, she refuses to be his second choice, despite the fact that she is in love with him.
That evening, as Buffy enters the library, she hears Giles telling Angel what he's learned. Angel refuses to believe what Giles is telling him but Giles insists that he's verified the prophecy which tells, without a doubt, that the next evening Buffy will face the Master and die. Buffy is understandably devastated at the idea of her impending death, and rejects Giles and Angel's attempts to comfort her and in a fit of emotion throws the books across the library. She then tells the two that she has a way around the prophecy, by quitting as the Slayer. Even though the two warn her that without her to stop him the Master will rise and unleash hell on earth, she refuses to listen and leaves the cross Angel gave her on the table. She goes back home and tries to convince her mother that they go away for the weekend. Instead, Joyce tells her that the gallery is open on weekends, and then gives her a stunning white prom dress. After she tells her about when she met Buffy's father, Joyce encourages her to go to the dance.
The next day at school, Cordelia and Willow find the members of the audio visual club, including Kevin, slaughtered by vampires, as the TV plays a cartoon of the Three Little Pigs. Having heard the news, a sympathetic Buffy shows up at Willow's, all decked out in her prom dress. Willow is shell-shocked; even though she has faced vampires and death before, until this it has never been quite so personal. Buffy heads back to the library, where Giles has explained to Ms. Calendar that Buffy is the Slayer. Having used the information that was provided to him by Ms. Calendar, Giles discerns the Anointed One is still alive and is a child. He then tells Ms. Calendar that he intends to face the Master so Buffy doesn't have to but Buffy, having overheard everything, stops him having realized she can't escape destiny. Giles tries to stop her, telling her he's willing to defy the prophecy, so Buffy knocks him out. Ms. Calendar reminds Buffy that if she faces the Master she'll die, and Buffy responds that at the least she may be able to take him down with her. Outside of school, she finds the Anointed One asking for help. Buffy tells him she knows who is and allows him to lead her to the Master's lair.
Willow and Xander show up at the library, where they learn of the prophecy and that Buffy has gone off to face the Master. Xander leaves, only to show up at Angel's apartment. The two have a mutual dislike of each other, both being in love with Buffy, but when Xander tells Angel that Buffy is going to face the Master he agrees to lead him to the Master's lair. The Master and Buffy fight and taunt each other. The Master tells Buffy that it is her blood which will free him, drinks from her and leaves her to drown in a shallow pool before breaking free of his mystical prison and rising to the surface.
At the library, Willow and Ms. Calendar decide that the Hellmouth is underneath the Bronze, and leave. However, as they leave, they see an army of vampires approaching the library. Cordelia rescues them in her car, and drives the car straight into the school. Xander and Angel reach Buffy only to find that she is dead. Xander performs CPR (as Angel couldn't do it himself, since vampires don't breathe) and manages to revive her. When Buffy regains consciousness, she heads to the surface to kill the Master who is now above the library and using her power to summon all matter of beasts from the Hellmouth. Cordelia, Willow, Giles and Jenny fight off vampires trying to enter the library, and just as Giles realizes that the Hellmouth is directly underneath the library, a tentacled creature rises through the floor. Buffy throws the Master into the library, where he is impaled on a jutting piece of wood and his soft tissues disintegrate, leaving only his skeleton and the Hellmouth closes, sucking the tentacled creature back down.
The gang regroup and reflect on everything that happened, including Buffy's temporary death. The Hellmouth is closed and the vampires have gone, the world is saved. Giles notes that he should have known Buffy wouldn't have let death stop her. The stunned friends stare at each other wondering what to do now, and Giles suggests that they leave as he doesn't like the library that much anymore. The group decide to head to the dance, with Buffy stating "We saved the world. I say we party." Miss Calendar asks about what they should do with the Master's skeleton, and Buffy tells her not to worry... he's not going anywhere, before calling him a loser. The gang then leave for the Bronze, leaving the skeleton behind.
- From the episode "Witch," Cordelia Chase had nine episodes in which to become an accomplished driver.
- Buffy rejects Xander's feelings for her in this episode. Xander later returns the favor years later when Buffy confessed her feelings for him in Turbulence.
- The Master catches Buffy's arrow just before it pierces his heart, as Angel will able to do in episode "Five by Five."
- This episode marks the first time hypnosis is used in series, although not the first time hypnosis is used against Buffy. Lothos uses it in The Origin, Part Three, but unlike with the Master, Buffy manages to resist it.
- This is the first of four times that Buffy is bitten by a vampire (the other three being Angel in "Graduation Day, Part Two," Dracula in "Buffy vs. Dracula," and Spike in Desperate Times.
- Buffy dies for the first time, even if only for a minute. She'll suffer from this traumatic event and deal with it after the summer, in "When She Was Bad."
- Buffy's death causes a new Slayer, Kendra, to be activated ("What's My Line? Part Two"). Apparently, this cuts her off from the Slayer line of succession, as no Slayer is known to have been called after her second death in "The Gift."
- When it's suggested that they perform CPR on Buffy, Angel tells Xander that he can't do it, saying, "I have no breath." This is the first instance in the series in which this is established. Darla will later reaffirm this in the Angel episode "Offspring," insisting that she can't be strangled because she doesn't breathe.
- The Hellmouth spawn reappears in "The Zeppo."
- Unlike lesser vampires, the Master's bones are left behind after his death, not turning to dust like the rest of the body. They are soon buried, until finally destroyed in "When She Was Bad."
- Aura (Only mentioned)
- Aurelius (Only mentioned)
- Kevin Benedict
- Jennifer Calendar
- Cordelia Chase
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Luca (Only mentioned)
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Hank Summers (Only mentioned)
- Joyce Summers
- Hellmouth spawn
Organizations and titles
- Cortona, Italy (Only mentioned)
- Sunnydale, USA
- Black Chronicles
- Buffy Summers' cross necklace
- Mister Gordo
- Holy Bible
- Legends of Vishnu
- Pergamum Codex
- Writings of Aurelius (Only mentioned)
- Unidentified vampire, staked by Buffy.
- Two further unidentified vampires, dusted by Buffy (only mentioned).
- Kevin Benedict, two boys, and two girls, killed by vampires in the audiovisual room.
- Buffy, left to drown by the Master in his lair (later revived by Xander using CPR).
- Unidentified vampire, staked by Angel.
- The Master, staked by Buffy on a large shard of wood from a broken table.
Behind the scenes
- While Joss Whedon had written other scripts for the show before, this episode was his first turn as both writer and director.
- The exchange between Buffy and Angel where he starts to tell her that he likes her dress but she cuts him off saying "Yeah, yeah. It was a big hit with everyone." was added in production and not in the original script.
- The huge demon that comes up out of the Hellmouth at the end of the episode was created at Optic Nerve. The budget didn't allow for a computer-generated effect, so tentacle "costumes" were created. Each tentacle has a human being inside manipulating it from within.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar kept Buffy's prom dress for herself, as she revealed after sharing a picture wearing it over twenty years later.
- "Prophecy Girl" pulled in an audience of 2.8 million households.
- The following scene — right after Buffy has turned Xander down — was cut because of length:
- Xander bails, wandering off under the archway. Buffy sits by herself on the bench, bummed. Which is when the hail of pebbles starts. The first few get Buffy's attention, tiny hard pellets hitting the ground around her. She stands as more start coming down. People — including Buffy — all run for cover as the real shower starts. Buffy stands under the archway, watching the hail come down. Angle: Xander. Walking away, not near Buffy. He hears:
- Student: "Check it out! It's raining stones!"
- Xander looks back over his shoulder.
- Xander: "Figures."
Pop culture references
- When Cordelia and Willow find Kevin and other students dead, the television is showing an episode of Looney Tunes cartoons.
- Xander compares the Giles's calm to Locutus of Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- The Master refers to the song "What a Wonderful World."
- Patsy Cline — "I Fall to Pieces"
- Jonatha Brooke & The Story — "Inconsolable"
- Nerf Herder — "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme"
- Walter Murphy — original score
- Armenian: "Առաքելության աղջիկը" (Mission Girl)
- Czech: "Dívka z proroctví" (Prophecy Girl)
- Finnish: "Ennustus" (Prediction)
- French: "Le Manuscrit" (The Manuscript)
- German: "Das Ende der Welt" (The End of the World)
- Hungarian: "Végső összecsapás" (Final Clash)
- Italian: "La Profezia" (The Prophecy)
- Japanese: "予言の少女" (Prophecy Girl)
- Polish: "Dziewczyna z przepowiedni" (Girl from Prophecy)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "A Garota da Profecia" (The Girl of the Prophecy)
- Romanian: "Fata profeției" (Prophecy Girl)
- Russian: "Девушка из пророчества" (The Girl from the Prophecy)
- Spanish (Latin America): "La Chica de la Profecía" (The Girl of the Prophecy)
- Spanish (Spain): "La Chica de la Profecía" (The Girl of the Prophecy)
- Swedish: "Profettjejen" (The Prophecy Girl)
Behind the scenes
|Xander: "Hey, I know what we'll do! We can go! Be my date! We'll, we'll have a great time! We'll dance, we'll go wild... Whadaya say?"|
|Xander: "Good! What?"|
|Willow: "There's no way."|
|Xander: "Willow, come on!"|
|Willow: "You think I wanna go to the dance with you and watch you wish you were at the dance with her? You think that's my idea of hijinks? You should know better."|
|Xander: "I didn't think."|
|Willow: "I'm sorry it didn't work out for you. I'll see you on Monday."|
|Master: "Yes! Yes! Shake, earth! This is a sign! We are in the final days! My time has come! Glory! Glory!" (the earthquake stops) "Whaddya think? 5.1?"|
|Buffy: "Were you even gonna tell me?"|
|Giles: "I was hoping I wouldn't have to. That there was some way about it."|
|Buffy: "I've got a way around it. I quit."|
|Angel: "It's not that simple."|
|Buffy: "I'm making it that simple! I quit! I resign! I'm fired! You can find someone else to stop the Master from taking over!"|
|Giles: "I'm not sure that anyone else can. All the signs indicate..."|
|Buffy: "The signs? Read me the signs! Tell me my fortune! You're so useful sitting here with all of your books! You're really a lot of help!"|
|Giles: "No, I don't suppose I am."|
|Willow: "I've seen so much. I thought I could take anything. But, Buffy, this... this was different."|
|Buffy: "It'll be alright."|
|Willow: "I'm trying to think how to say it... to explain it so you understand."|
|Buffy: "It doesn't matter as long as you're okay."|
|Willow: "I'm not okay. I knew those guys. I go to that room every day. And when I walked in there, it... it wasn't our world anymore. They made it theirs. And they had fun. What are we gonna do?"|
|Buffy: "What we have to."|
|Master: "Yes. Come forth, my child. Come into my world."|
|Buffy: "I don't think it's yours just yet."|
|Master: "You're dead!"|
|Buffy: "I may be dead, but I'm still pretty — which is more than I can say for you."|
|Master: "You were destined to die! It was written."|
|Buffy: "What can I say? I flunked the written."|
- "The Mortuary." Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Archived from the original on December 5, 1998.
- Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder, The Watcher's Guide, Volume 1. Pocket Books, October 1998.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar, "All dressed up and no where to go. 'I say we party' #safeathome #prophecygirl." Instagram, May 7, 2020.
- "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's First Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008.