Buffy Ep 4.1 "The Freshman"

Finally Buffy season 4 hits Australian TV! The wait is over.

Well, Buffy is in college now.  (It sure looks like Uni to me, be the Americans have their own way of doing things.)

A Brief Synopsis:

Willow and Buffy are waiting in a graveyard.  It is the night before registration day, and Buffy *still* hasn't picked out all her subjects.  Apparently it has been a busy few months, Slayer-wise. While discussing the pros and cons of the various available courses, the vampire they are waiting for rises ... takes one look at Buffy's array of stakes, crosses, holy water, and so forth, and scarpers.  A *smart* vampire. A preoccupied Buffy completely fails to notice him.

Next day, a bewildered Buffy is trying to sort come to grips with University.  It's chaos, and she's wandering around aimlessly.  She eventually finds Willow (who of course got there early and is completely organized) and they swap the various handouts they've received.
Willow: Yes, I've heard about five different issues, and I'm angry about each and every one of them. What did you get?
Buffy: Jello Shots.
Willow: I didn't get jello shots!  I'll trade you for a "take back the night"...

Oz is on campus.  He's been around college quite a lot, playing with his band.  He seems quite comfortable, and knows what's happening.  This makes Buffy even more out of sorts ... she was at least hoping for someone to commiserate with.

Next stop the library.  It's revealed that Giles is a "gentleman of leisure" at the moment. The college library is huge, and very ornate.  Willow is impressed, Buffy is somewhat intimidated.

The next stop is the bookshop.

Buffy: I can't wait til Mum gets the bill for these books.  I hope it's a *funny* aneurysm..

The psychology texts they require are on the very top shelf, and when Buffy reaches for them she inadvertantly knocks the pile onto a rather good looking man.

He introduces himself as Riley, and it turns out he's a teachers assistant for their psych classes.  He and Willow chat comfortably, Buffy seems to be totally thrown and is unable to string two words together.

She also meets her room-mate ... Cathy, who is just a little too sweet to be believed.   (Dea reckons she's either going to turn out to be very nasty, or is going to die soon... or both...) The last straw seems to be when Cathy pins up a Celione Dione (sp?) poster.  (This appears to say something critical about her music tastes, but I'm afraid I'm out of date enough that I don't get the joke.) Oh, and she snores.

Her first class ... "Media Appreciation" is an utter disaster.  She hasn't managed to sign up for it, and was told she could sign up at the first lecture.  The lecturer turns out to be an utter bastard, and tells her to (rudely) get out because she wasn't enrolled.   A rather shattered Buffy runs into Riley again ... who remembers her as "Willow's Friend".  This is *not* what she is used to.

The psyche class introduces Professor Walsh (The Evil Bitch-Monster from hell, or "Maggie" to her friends.)  At least she doesn't throw Buffy out, but she "talks fast and assigns a lot of work, and I expect you to keep up."

Wandering around that evening, thoroughly lost and demoralized, she runs into Eddie, who is just as lost and bewildered as she is.  He seems quite nice, and they chat for while working out where they are.  He also takes Professor Walsh's class, and is also feeling a bit out of his depth.  He explains that he has a book "Of Human Bondage" which is his "security blanket."
Buffy: I never had one of those.  Unless you count Mr Pointy...

Naturally, he is vampired seconds later.  Such is life for those who befriend Buffy... The Vampires ... lead by a rather attractive blond woman, who reminds me of Darlene out of Roseanne ... clean out Eddie's room, and leave a note saying "I can't cope, I'm leaving." This is accepted as a normal event... but Buffy finds "Of Human Bondage" still in the drawer, and suspects foul play.

I quite like these Vampires ... they appear to have been living on campus for years, and are quite interesting characters in themselves.  Though nasty, of course.

Buffy goes to Giles, and walks into his house to find a rather attractive black woman wearing only a mans shirt.  Apparently it's Olivia, an old friend who's just "dropped in"... Olivia apparently knew Rupert in his "Ripper" days, which I think has potential for future development (I've always liked "Ripper"...)

Buffy: It looks pretty bad! I think someone has just a little too much free time on their hands!
Giles: I'm not supposed to have a private life?
Buffy: No! Because ... you're very very old, and it's gross!

Giles is sympathetic, but points out that he is no longer her watcher, and this seems to be something that she can cope with on her own.  Which is something she has to learn.

That evening, a hunting Buffy finds Eddie ... who is, of course, a vampire.  She takes him out without raising a sweat ... only to find herself surrounded by vampires.

Vampire: Hi. I'm Sunday, and I'll be killing you here in just minute or so
Buffy: That threat gets more frightening every time I hear it.
Surfer Vampire: Whoa! Are we going to fight, or is there just going to be a monster sarcasm rally?

Sunday then makes a remark about Buffy's clothes, and then proceeds to kick the stuffing out of her.  How? I'm not entirely sure, but I'd say that Buffy has been out of her element for days now, and is really unsure of herself, and it shows in her fighting.  Sunday breaks Buffy's arm, and Buffy turns and runs.

Buffy retreats to her Mum's house.  To find out that her room is full of packing crates from the gallery.  She just doesn't seem to be able to catch a break.

While she's there, the phone rings.  She picks it up, answers it, but there is no-one on the other end.

She returns to her room ... only to find that all her stuff has been taken.

Shattered, Buffy ends up back at the Bronze. She looks up and sees Angel ... but it's only a chance resemblance, and a closer look reveals it is someone else altogther.

When who should show up but Xander? (Last seen on a roadtrip around the States). (I might add, Nicholas Brendan has been working out, and is looking fairly buff...) It turns out that the engine fell out of his car at Oxnard, and he spent the remainder of the vacation washing dishes at the fabulous ladies night club "... until one of the male strippers called in sick, and no power on Earth will persuade me say anything more about that."

Buffy reveals her feeling of inadequacy, and Xander gives her a (rather confused) pep talk, which seems to help snap her out of it.
Buffy: I think I say "Thankyou"
Xander: And nothing says thank you like dollars in the waistband...

Between them, they find out that the Vampires are staying in a disused Frat house.  They go and reconoiter, and find the vampires going through Buffy's stuff.  Xander goes off to get weapons (and the rest of the gang) while Buffy keeps watch. Xander finds Willow and Oz, who have just discovered Buffy's stripped room, and Willow is rather freaked.  Unfortunately, Buffy manages to fall through the skylight (in a vampire hideout? Whatever.) and falls in the middle of the Vampires.

Fight ensues.  Sunday seems to be getting the upper hand.  Unfortunately for her, she takes the time to taunt her, and breaks her umbrella (the one she got on Prom Night).  This infuriates Buffy, and she proceeds to take the Vampires apart, aided by the timely arrival of the rest of the gang and the discovery of her weapons chest.

Most of the vampires get dusted, with one vanishing into the night.

The gang are walking away (carrying boxes of Buffy's stuff) when Giles runs up, armed to the teeth.  His conscience has got the better of him, and he's come to help. A newly confident Buffy faces life with much more enthusiasm...

And, as an end note, the vampire that escaped is hit with a taser, and captured by some guys in army gear... what does this portend? Only time will tell...

And welcome back to the Mutant Enemy!

All in all, a good episode.  My rating: 7.5, I guess.

It's a pity that Sunday's vampires got dusted so quick. They were all interesting characters.  I particularly liked the stoned vampire "Whoa!" They had a lot more depth that most of the vampires we see. Notable vampire lines: Fat Vampire: I've heard that patches are coming back in. Sunday: Not if I kill every single person who wears them. and Sunday: Lackeys! I've just got to get better lackeys, I swear.

There definitely appears to be a different emphasis this season.  All the characters look older and more adult.  I particularly like Willow's new hairstyle.  Oz seems to be pretty much the Oz we've come to know and love.
Willow: How can you be so calm?
Oz: Long hours of arduous practice.

I look forward to seeing more.

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