Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Welcome to the Hellmouth (1)

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Welcome to the Hellmouth (1)
Welcome to the Hellmouth (1)
Season 1, Episode 1
Airdate March 10, 1997
Production Number 4V01
Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by Charles Martin Smith
Original Pilot
1x02 →
The Harvest (2)
Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason One

Welcome to the Hellmouth (1) is the first episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Hoping for a new start after being kicked out of her old school, Buffy Summers arrives at Sunnydale where her troubles begin anew with a new evil. "The Master," a centuries old demon is preparing to rise and sack the world.

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase)

and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Guest Starring: Mark Metcalf (The Master), Brian Thompson (Luke), David Boreanaz (Angel), Ken Lerner (Principal Flutie), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), Julie Benz (Darla), J. Patrick Lawlor (Thomas)

and Eric Balfour (Jesse)

Co-Starring: Natalie Strauss (Teacher), Carmine D. Giovinazzo (Boy), Amy Chance (Girl #1), Tupelo Jereme (Girl #2), Persia White (Girl #3)


Plot Overview

Sophomore Buffy Summers transfers to Sunnydale High after being kicked out of her previous school (due to the events that happened in the movie by the same name). Though she clearly wants to make a fresh start and lead a normal life, both her Watcher, Giles, and a mysterious dark stranger warn her that she has to embrace her destiny as Slayer - she was drawn to Sunnydale for a reason: it just happens to be at the Mouth of Hell.


Monster of the Week

  • The Master: The Master, the major villain for the season, makes his first appearance in this episode.
  • Luke and Darla: The Master's minions, they have recurring appearances throughout the season. During their first battle, it's clear that Luke is stronger than the Slayer, at least at this point.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 High School Student Darla Drained of blood School hallway
2 Anonymous Vampire Buffy Staked Mausoleum


  • Mindtribe - "Losing Ground"
  • Sprung Monkey - "Saturated"
  • Sprung Monkey - "Believe"
  • Sprung Monkey - "Swirl"
  • Sprung Monkey - "Things Are Changing"
  • Sprung Monkey - "Right My Wrong"

Arc Advancement



  • Willow and Xander: It's revealed that Willow and Xander have been friends since they were at least five, and she implies she has a crush on him. Though the attraction is mutual in later episodes, there is no indication in the first season that Xander likes Willow as anything more than a friend.
  • Buffy and Xander: It's clear that Xander is attracted to Buffy and has a hard time talking to her without sounding like an idiot. However, Buffy does not reciprocate the attraction, and this sets up the two love triangles (Willow/Xander/Buffy and Xander/Buffy/Angel) that underly the first season.
  • Buffy and Angel: Buffy and Angel meet in this episode, and she claims not to like him but describes him as being "dark, gorgeous... in an annoying sort of way."
  • Buffy and Giles: Giles is Buffy's Watcher, and it is his responsibility to make sure the Slayer is prepared to do her duty. Buffy, however, has no intention of letting her job as Slayer get in the way of having a normal life, and this puts them in conflict.
  • Buffy and Cordelia: Though they seem likely to become friends upon first meeting, Buffy's strange behavior and decision to hang out with Willow and Xander put her firmly in the "Loser" crowd. When Buffy almost stakes Cordelia by mistake, Cordelia makes it clear she will spread news of Buffy's strange behavior throughout school, thus firmly cementing Buffy's role as a social outcast.


  • A few references are made to the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was written by Joss Whedon, but starred Kristy Swanson as Buffy, and had no other regular characters from the eventual TV show. Whedon was unhappy with the final product, but this episode references the fact that Buffy's previous Watcher died (as seen in the film), and that Buffy burned down her previous school (which was in Whedon's original script for the film but never made it to the screen).


The Show

  • First Appearances: Many of the characters that will drive the plot of the series for the following seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as the spinoff series Angel are introduced in this episode. The Big Bad of the season, The Master, is also introduced.
  • Skateboarder: While sometimes seen carrying the skateboard, Xander never rides it again apart from in his introductory scene. On the commentary, Whedon explains that Xander's introduction was one of his "I don't know how to make a television show" moments because he learned that skateboarding scenes are complicated because they require lighting a larger area, setting up a long tracking shot and maybe even a stuntman.
  • The Bronze Band: The first band that we see perform at The Bronze is Sprung Monkey. The band performs three songs in all, "Believe" followed by "Swirl" and "Things Are Changing". When Buffy is deciding what to wear before heading out, "Saturated" by the band can also be heard in the background.

Behind the Scenes

  • High School Set: For the entire first season, only one school hallway had been constructed. As such, it is used over and over. Any high school shot outside of the built hallway set was filmed at Torrance High, where Beverly Hills, 90210 was also shot. This includes exteriors and some interiors.
  • Credit Fake-Out: Initially, Joss Whedon wanted to include Eric Balfour in the opening credits so that it would be a shock when he was bitten by Darla and, in the second episode, killed outright. However, budget constraints wouldn't allow a second opening credits sequence to be edited together and the idea was dropped. He later pulled off his idea with the character of Tara in Season Six.
  • Opening Teaser: When this episode first debuted, The WB preceded it with a brief history of Slayers. Essentially, it explained that the horrors a town was succumbing to were halted upon the arrival of a particular woman—the Slayer. This teaser was not rebroadcast on any of the reruns and was not included on any of the DVD releases.
  • Change in Direction: In the original script, Buffy was to walk into the library and get somewhat lost in the very spooky labyrinth-like stacks. This was turned into a far more mundane scene because they didn't have time to build the stacks and because a labyrinth is difficult to light.
  • Certain scenes, such as the argument between Giles and Buffy in the library, and Buffy's first meeting with Angel, were re-shot eight months after the first episode was filmed. Whedon says in the DVD commentary that he decided to make Buffy more vulnerable and less angry.
  • International Titles: Because Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an international phenomenon, the title of this episode has been translated into several different episodes to go along with the redubbed show. Some of these names are listed below:
    • Dutch: "Welkom op de Hellmouth" ("Welcome to the Hellmouth")
    • French: "Bienvenue à Sunnydale - 1ère partie" ("Welcome to Sunnydale - Part 1")
    • German: "Das Zentrum des Bösen" ("The Center of Evil")
    • Italian: "Benvenuti al college" ("Welcome to the college")
    • Japanese: "ヘルマウスへようこそ" ("Herumausu e Yōkoso" - "Welcome to the Hellmouth")
    • Portuguese: "Bem-vinda À Boca-do-inferno" ("Welcome to the Hellmouth)
    • Turkish: "Cehennem Agzi'na hos geldin" ("Welcome to the Hellmouth")

Allusions and References

  • DeBarge: An American R&B group from the 1980s.

Memorable Moments


  • Joyce: Have a good time. I know you're going to make friends right away; just think positive. And, honey? Try not to get kicked out.
  • Xander: I kind of had a problem with the math.
Willow: Which part?
Xander: The math.
  • Principal Flutie:: (rips up Buffy's transcript) Welcome to Sunnydale! A clean slate, Buffy. That's what you get here! What's past is past. We're not interested in what it says on a piece of paper, even if it says... (looks at a piece of her ripped up transcript) Woah. (begins to tape it back together)
  • Buffy:: I know my transcripts are a little... colorful.
Principal Flutie: Hey, we're not caring about that. Do you think, uh, "colorful" is the word? Not, uh, "dismal".
Buffy: It wasn't that bad!
Principal Flutie: You burned down the gym.
Buffy: I did. I really did, but... but you're not seeing the big picture here. I mean, that gym was full of vampi... asbestos.
  • Xander: Well, uh, maybe I'll see you around. Maybe at school... since we... both... go there.
Buffy: Great! It was nice to meet you.
(Buffy leaves)
Xander: We both go to school. Very suave. Very not pathetic.
  • Cordelia: Willow! Nice dress! Good to know you've seen the softer side of Sears.
Willow: Uh, oh, well, my mom picked it out.
Cordelia: No wonder you're such a guy magnet.
  • Cordelia: It's in the bad part of town.
Buffy: Where's that?
Cordelia: About half a block from the good part of town. We don't have a whole lot of town here.
  • Girl #1: The new kid? She seems kind of weird to me. What kind of name is Buffy?
Girl #2: Hey, Aphrodisia!
Girl #1: Oh, hey!
  • Buffy: Hi! Willow, right?
Willow: Why? I mean, hi! Uh, did you want me to move?
Buffy: Why don't we start with, "Hi, I'm Buffy," and, uh, then let's segue directly into me asking you for a favour. It doesn't involve moving, but it does involve hanging out with me for a while.
Willow: But aren't you hanging out with Cordelia?
Buffy: I can't do both?
Willow: Not legally.
  • Willow: Buffy, this is Jesse and that's Xander.
Xander: Oh, me and Buffy go way back, old friends, very close. Then there's that period of estrangement where I think we were both growing as people, but now here we are, like old times, I'm quite moved.
Jesse: Is it me, or are you turning into a bibbling idiot?
Xander: No, it's, uh, it's not you.
  • Cordelia: Don't you have an elsewhere to be?
  • Buffy: To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood. And then you have to suck their blood. It's like a whole big sucking thing. Mostly they're just gonna kill you.
  • Buffy: Oh, why can't you people just leave me alone?
Giles: Because you are the Slayer. Into each generation a Slayer is born, one girl in all the world, a Chosen One, one born with the...
Both: ...strength and skill to hunt the vampires...
Buffy: ...to stop the spread of their evil blah, blah, blah. I've heard it, okay?
  • Buffy: First of all, I'm a Vampire Slayer. And secondly, I'm retired. Hey, I know! Why don't you kill them?
Giles: I'm a Watcher; I - I haven't the skill.
Buffy: Oh, come on. Stake through the heart, a little sunlight. It's like falling off a log.
Giles: A - A Slayer slays, a Watcher...
Buffy: Watches?
Giles: Yes. No! He - he trains her, he - he - he prepares her...
Buffy: Prepares me for what? For getting kicked out of school? For losing all of my friends? For having to spend all of my time fighting for my life and never getting to tell anyone because I might endanger them? Go ahead! Prepare me.
  • Giles: Something's coming, something, something... something is - is going to happen here. Soon!
Buffy: Gee, can you vague that up for me?
  • Joyce: Are you going out tonight?
Buffy: Yeah, I'm going to a club.
Joyce: Oh. Will there be boys there?
Buffy: No, Mom. It's a nun club.
  • Angel: I know what you're thinking, but don't worry. I don't bite.
  • Buffy: Who are you?
Angel: Let's just say... I'm a friend.
Buffy:: Yeah, well, maybe I don't want a friend.
Angel: I didn't say I was yours.
  • Willow: I thought Xander was gonna show up.
Buffy: Oh, are you guys going out?
Willow: No, we're just friends. We used to go out, but we broke up.
Buffy: How come?
Willow: He stole my Barbie. (Buffy gives her a strange look) Oh, we were five.
  • Willow: I don't actually date a whole lot... lately.
Buffy: Why not?
Willow: Well, when I'm with a boy I like, it's hard for me to say anything cool, or - or witty, or at all. I can usually make a few vowel sounds, and then I have to go away.
Buffy: It's not that bad.
Willow: No, it is. I think boys are more interested in a girl who can talk.
Buffy: You really haven't been dating lately.
  • Buffy: The Harvest is coming. I know. Your friend told me.
Giles: What did you say?
Buffy: The Harvest. That mean something to you? Because I'm drawing a blank.
Giles: I'm not sure. Who - who told you this?
Buffy: This... guy. Dark, gorgeous in an annoying sort of way. Well, I figured you two were buds.
Giles: No. The Harvest. Did he say anything else?
Buffy: Something about the Mouth of Hell. I really didn't like him!
  • Giles: Will you be ready? There’s so much you don’t know about them, about your own powers. A vampire appears to be completely normal, until the feed is upon them. Only then do they reveal their true demonic visage.
Buffy: You’re like a textbook with arms. I know this.
  • Cordelia: Excuse me, I have to call everyone I have ever met right now.
  • Giles: The vampire is not dead?
Buffy: No. But my social life is on the critical list.
  • Buffy: Now, we can do this the hard way, or... Well, actually, there's just the hard way.
Darla: That's fine with me.
Buffy: Are you sure? Now this is not gonna be pretty. We're talking violence, strong language, adult content...
  • Luke: And like a plague of boils, the race of man covered the Earth. But on the third day of the newest light will come the Harvest, when the blood of men will flow as wine, when the Master will walk among them once more. The Earth will belong to the Old Ones and Hell itself will come to town.