This article is about the episode. For the ritual, see Harvest.

"The Harvest" is the second episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the second episode in the series. Written by Joss Whedon and directed by John T. Kretchmer, it originally broadcast on March 10, 1997 on The WB.


SPECIAL TWO-HOUR SERIES PREMIERE — Picking up where the feature film left off, Buffy Summers and her mom move to Sunnydale, California, for a fresh start, unaware of the evil lurking in this quiet suburb. Somewhat reluctant in her role as the slayer, Buffy quickly makes friends and enemies at her new school. While also meeting her new "Watcher," Giles, the mercurial school librarian, her newly assembled team encounters the ever-abundant unearthly creatures in Sunnydale.[1]


Luke is about to finish off Buffy, who is trapped in a stone coffin, but is repelled by the silver cross that the mysterious stranger had given her earlier that evening.

Buffy escapes the mausoleum and saves Xander and Willow from vampires in the graveyard. Darla has taken Jesse, however. She and Luke inform the Master that there is probably a Slayer in town. The Master decides to use Jesse as bait.

Giles and Buffy give Xander and Willow a brief introduction to the world of vampires, demons, and Slayers. Willow accesses the city council's plans for Sunnydale's tunnel system. In a flashback, Buffy realizes that there must be an access to it in the crypt. Xander is hurt when Buffy declines his help and follows her anyway.

Willow is researching the Master in the computer lab when Cordelia trash-talks about Buffy and insults Willow again. In a fine show of nerd revenge, Willow convinces Cordelia to press the DEL key to "deliver" her assignment. It ended up erasing her hard work. The dark stranger appears just as Buffy is about to enter the tunnel system in the crypt. He is named Angel. He gives her directions to The Master's lair, but only wishes her luck after she is out of earshot.

Xander catches up with Buffy, wanting to help save his friend. They enter the lair and managed to find him. But upon trying to find their way out, they're ambushed by vampires to which Jesse, upon hitting a dead end, reveals he is also as well. Buffy and Xander barely manage to escape via a vent leading to above ground, with Xander pulling Buffy out of a manhole. Underground, The Master is unhappy about their escape and punishes the vampire Collin by poking his eye out. Luke drinks the Master's blood, turning Luke into the Vessel. Every soul Luke now takes will give the Master more strength to break out of his confinement.

Buffy and Xander return to the school library. Giles explains that the Master arrived 60 years ago to open the Hellmouth, a portal to another reality, but was swallowed by an earthquake. He is now hoping to escape with the help of a Vessel in a once-in-a-century opportunity called the Harvest. To prevent the Master from escaping and opening the Hellmouth, they must kill the Vessel. Xander suggests that the vampires will be at the Bronze.

On her way there, Buffy swings by her house to get weapons, and is promptly grounded by her mother, Joyce, who has been called by Principal Flutie about Buffy skipping classes. Buffy grabs her weapons from a secret compartment of a chest and climbs out of the second-floor window. Giles, Xander and Willow head to the Bronze to back her up with Giles warning the two (specifically Xander) that the Jesse they know is dead and all they will see of him now is the thing that killed him.

Luke and other vampires burst into the Bronze and start the killing. Buffy arrives in time to save Cordelia. She also notices the Vessel mark on Luke's forehead. Xander ends up staking Jesse with unknowing help from a fleeing man. Willow pours holy water on Darla when she is about to bite Giles.

Buffy tricks Luke to win her fight, making him believe an outside light is the sunlight from Daylight Savings Time, and then staking him while he has his back turned. With Luke dead, the Master's plan fails and he weakens again, but is not destroyed. The other vampires flee. Outside the Bronze, Angel realizes that Buffy has done it, saying: "I'll be damned".

The next morning, Cordelia exemplifies the denial most Sunnydale residents undergo after paranormal encounters. Giles warns the budding gang of more battles ahead, which they accept more nonchalantly than he would like as Buffy, Willow and Xander go off and discuss to see how Buffy could get herself get kicked out of school while Giles looks on after them as they walk on, while saying to himself: "The Earth is doomed."


  • When Willow asks why they could not contact the cops, Buffy replies that they would go in with guns, which are not particularly useful against vampires or demons. In "Flooded", when a security guard tries shooting a demon robbing a bank, Buffy, referring to the gun, tells him "these things, never useful."
  • The concept of the Old Ones and their history on Earth is first discussed by Giles.
  • Xander staking Jesse is brought up in nine years later, in support of a cop who had just staked his sired partner. He describes: "When I think of that night, I don't see the face of a vampire. I just see Jesse's face. But believe me... you don't want her hurting any more people." (Apart (of Me), Part Two).
  • Buffy claims she isn't strong enough to kick down the Bronze's front door, which she'll be able to do so five years later in "Once More, with Feeling", and to a crypt door in "End of Days".
  • The Scooby Gang is formed in this episode, as Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles work together for the first time.
  • While discussing possible actions that could get Buffy kicked out of school, Willow suggests that she blow something up; although Buffy dismisses the idea in favor of something that won't get her sent to prison, she goes on to destroy Sunnydale High itself in "Graduation Day, Part Two".
  • Giles's line "The Earth is doomed" will later be spoken again in the final episode "Chosen", except later he will say "the earth is definitely doomed" while Buffy, Willow and Xander discuss going to the Mall after destroying the First Evil's army.



Organizations and titles




Weapons and objects

Death count

  • Unidentified Aurelian vampire, staked by Buffy Summers with a tree branch at the cemetery.
  • An unidentified bouncer, drained by Luke at the Bronze.
  • An unidentified girl, also drained by Luke at the Bronze.
  • Unidentified Aurelian vampire, staked by Buffy with a pool cue at the Bronze.
  • Another unidentified Aurelian vampire, beheaded by Buffy with a cymbal.
  • Jesse McNally, sired by the Order of Aurelius (only mentioned).
  • Jesse McNally, accidentally pushed into a stake held by Xander Harris.
  • Luke, staked by Buffy on the Bronze's stage.

Behind the scenes

"The Harvest" promo

"The Harvest" promo


  • Joss Whedon noted in the DVD commentaries for this episode that he felt horrible for giving Eric Balfour so many lines with "s" in them, which he had to recite while in "vamp-face". He had such a difficult time getting the lines out around the prosthetics that new ones were designed for vampire characters required to speak frequently; the older style ones were given to vampire lackeys with few or no lines in future episodes.
  • Additionally, Joss Whedon commented on Buffy flipping onto the Bronze stage, noting that she never did that again as she could've just walked or ran. The 1992 film, on the other hand, featured Buffy flipping towards small distances numerous times.
  • Sixteen-year-old Mercedes McNab was the only young cast member to be an actual teenager by the time this episode was filmed, in 1996.
  • In all of her scenes at school, Buffy is either wearing a skirt or a dress, but she is always wearing pants during her fight scenes. This pattern is repeated multiple times throughout the show.


  • "Welcome to the Hellmouth"/"The Harvest" were originally presented as one two-hour long feature. However, they are split up into two separate episodes on the DVD release, as well as in syndication.
  • "The Harvest" (along with "Welcome to the Hellmouth") reached a Nielsen rating of 3.4 on its original airing.[2]

Pop culture references

Goofs, bloopers & continuity errors

  • Cordelia tells Harmony they are going to the Bronze, as it's Friday night and there's no cover charge. However, there is clearly a cover charge when they go.
  • When Buffy has thrown Luke away from her, she wears her crucifix necklace, but when she exits the crypt, it has disappeared. When she returns to the library, it's suddenly back on.
  • When Buffy stakes Luke, the stake turns to dust with him, though this stake makes many more reappearances. This specific stake itself is most noticeable in the first few moments of "Prophecy Girl".
  • Each time a vampire is dusted off-screen, the sound effect of their demise is not heard.
  • Giles states that the Harvest takes place on "the night of the crescent moon, the first past the solstice," which would place it in early December — prior to Buffy's sixteenth birthday (January 19, 1997). But Joyce refers to Buffy as sixteen when she attempts to leave for the battle at the Bronze.
  • The Master refers to he and Luke sharing a soul even though vampires are supposed to be soulless.


  • Sprung Monkey — "Right My Wrong" (Plays as Buffy talks to Principal Flutie at the gates.)
  • Dashboard Prophets — "Wearing Me Down" (Plays when Cordelia steps onto the dance floor at the Bronze.)
  • Dashboard Prophets — "Ballad for Dead Friends" (Plays as Luke leads the other vampires to the Bronze.)
  • Walter Murphy — original score

International titles

  • Armenian: "Քաղոցք" (Quail)
  • Czech: "Žně" (Harvest)
  • Finnish: "Ystäviä ja paholaisia, osa 2" (Friends and demons, part 2)
  • French: "Bienvenue à Sunnydale, partie 2" (Welcome to Sunnydale, part 2)
  • German: "Die Zeit der Ernte" (Time of the Harvest)
  • Hungarian: "A vámpírlakoma"
  • Italian: "La Riunione"
  • Japanese: "収穫" (Harvest)
  • Polish: "Żniwa" (Harvest)
  • Portuguese (Portugal): "A Colheita" (The Harvest)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Bem-vindo à Boca do Inferno, Parte 2" (Welcome to the Hellmouth, Part 2)
  • Romanian: "Recolta" (Harvest)
  • Russian: "Жатва" (Harvest)
  • Spanish (Spain): "La Cosecha, Parte 2" (The Harvest, Part 2)
  • Spanish (Latin American): "La Vendimia" (The Harvest)




Promotional stills


Willow - “Oh I— I need to sit down.”
Buffy - “You are sitting down.”
Willow - “Oh, good for me.”
Jesse - “Okay... Let’s deal with this. Jesse was an excruciating loser who couldn’t get a date with anyone in the sighted community. Look at me — I’m a new man!”
Buffy - “Well, I gotta look on the bright side. Maybe I can still get kicked out of school.”
Xander - “Oh, yeah, that’s a plan. ‘Cause lots of schools aren’t on Hellmouths.”
Willow - “Maybe you could blow something up. They’re really strict about that.”
Buffy - “I was thinking of a more subtle approach, y’know, like excessive not studying.”
Giles - “The Earth is doomed.”


  1. "The Mortuary". Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Archived from the original December 5, 1998. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's First Season"
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