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Note: This article is about the episode. For other uses, see the Harvest.

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


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 staid 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 Buffy and insults Willow again. In turn, Willow suggests Cordelia to press the DEL key to "deliver" her assignment, which erases her hard work. The dark stranger appears just as Buffy is about to enter the tunnel system in the crypt. He tells her is name is 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, and Jesse, upon leading them into a dead end, reveals he has been turned. 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 Colin by poking his eye out. Luke drinks the Master's blood and has a symbol drawn on his brow, 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 woman. Willow pours holy water on Darla when she is about to bite Giles, so the vampire runs away.

Buffy tricks Luke to win her fight, making him believe an outside light is the sunlight, then stakes him on the back as soon as he realizes it's still night. 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. Giles looks on after them as they walk away, and he says 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 Old One Giles describes as the one who sired the first vampire will be revealed to be Maloker, in The Core, Part One.
  • 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 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 saving the world.



Organizations and titles[]





Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

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

Behind the scenes[]


  • Joss Whedon noted 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.[2]
  • Additionally, Whedon commented on Buffy flipping onto the Bronze stage, noting that she never did that again as she could've just walked or ran.[2]
  • Whedon "apologizes" in the audio commentaries for the way the scene in which Luke kneels before the Master was shot (making it look as though Luke was giving the Master "pleasure").[2]
  • The Master's line "You're all weak" is a reference to Mark Metcalf's famous line in Animal House.


  • "The Harvest" (along with "Welcome to the Hellmouth") reached a Nielsen rating of 3.4 on its original airing.[3]
  • "Welcome to the Hellmouth"/"The Harvest" was one of the debut episodes of several popular series (along with Felicity, Angel and Dawson's Creek) that were featured in The WB's farewell broadcast The Night of Favorites and Farewells on September 17, 2006.[4]

Pop culture references[]

  • When storming the Bronze, Buffy references The Wild Bunch (1969), a Western where all the remaining characters are killed in the final shootout.


  • 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 throws 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 back on again.
  • Each time a vampire is dusted off-screen, the sound effect of their demise is not heard.
  • The credits list Skip Schoolnik under "Editied By," misspelling "edited."


  • Sprung Monkey — "Right My Wrong"
  • Dashboard Prophets — "Wearing Me Down"
  • Dashboard Prophets — "Ballad for Dead Friends"
  • 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" (The Vampire Feast)
  • Italian: "La Riunione" (The Reunion)
  • Japanese: "収穫" (Harvest)
  • Polish: "Żniwa" (Harvest)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Bem-vindo à Boca do Inferno, Parte 2" (Welcome to the Hellmouth, Part 2)
  • Romanian: "Recolta" (Harvest)
  • Russian: "Жатва" (Harvest)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "La cosecha" (The Harvest)
  • Spanish (Spain): "La cosecha" (The Harvest)
  • Swedish: "Skörden" (The Harvest)



Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



Willow: "Oh, 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.com. Archived from the original on December 5, 1998.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Joss Whedon, The Complete First Season on DVD: audio commentaries for "The Harvest." 20th Century Studios, January 15, 2002.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's First Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008.
  4. Michael Schneider, Josef Adalian, "WB revisits glory days." Variety, Jun 29, 2006.