Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | January 10, 2011

Cordia’s Review: S1, E10 – Nightmares

Season 1, Episode 10
Original airing: May 12, 1997

My Rating: 62

The Good: This is another classic type of episode where each character is forced to confront their fears. This allowed the episode to have humor, strength, and tragedy. The basis is the young boy Billy, who’s been beaten into a coma and is expressing his fears through astral projection. Because of this, the audience gets to see some interesting depths in some of the main characters.

The best are Giles and Buffy’s nightmares. Giles not only has issues with his chosen profession, but also his role as Watcher for Buffy. He gets lost in the library and can’t read, but his main nightmare is the death of Buffy. He obviously considers himself as her protector more than as a watcher. Buffy’s nightmares are the most tragic as she is first confronted with a father who blames all his life failings on her and is then turned into a vampire. It’s interesting that this is Buffy’s father’s first appearance on the show, meaning it’s difficult to know how much is supposed to be real and how much is influenced by Buffy’s fears. But the main shock here is Buffy the Vampire. It’s the most reasonable thing for her to fear, but it still surprised me to see it. The wonderful thing is how supportive Giles is of her still and how she and her friends handle it with aplomb.

Xander’s nightmare is kind of random and shoe-horned in, but it’s saved by his reaction to it. There’s never been any hint before that Xander is afraid of clowns. But it all fits into the story when he achieves closure by punching the clown out and telling it why it doesn’t scare him anymore.

For random humor, Cordelia’s nightmares were the best. She turns into a geek so completely that other geeks physically force her into joining the chess club.

The Bad: It’s too bad we couldn’t see a better fear for Willow. Her’s didn’t really seem to fit her character terribly well except for playing a bit on her shy angle. This was disappointing compared to the appropriateness of Giles, Buffy and Cordelia’s nightmares.

Favorite Moment: When Willow, Xander and Giles are running away from Xander’s clown, Xander expresses sudden frustration, turns and decks the clown. Xander is the first to realize that you can’t solve your fears by running away from them. He doesn’t necessarily know that’s why he turned back, but it’s apparent in how he faces his fear that he won’t let them rule his life.

The Bottom Line: There’s a rather basic story to this episode, but it allowed for some clever humor and some poignant drama.



  1. Hey guys!

    First off, I would like to mention how pleasantly surprised I was to find out that you
    were doing a Buffy podcast. Not just for the season, but for each episode. I have been
    an avid listener since the podcast for Welcome To The Hellmouth and I just want to say
    that you are doing a GREAT job. Keep up the good work!

    I was first introduced to the world of Buffy through the 1992 movie, back when it was first
    released on video. Looking back now, almost 20 years later, it wasn’t that very good.
    But, being very young back then, I was almost in awe of the general idea of a blonde, air-headed cheerleader fighting the forces of darkness. my love for the movie remained
    dormant until 1997 came around. I will never forget how I discovered the show. Looking
    through a tv guide, something had caught my attention. Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
    A movie that I clearly remembered. I decided to tune in, and I discovered that a tv show
    had been made. I was hooked from day 1.

    I agree that the first season isn’t the strongest one. There are some episodes that stand out
    more than others, which you have pointed out : Welcome To The Hellmouth, The Harvest, &
    Angel. But as the seasons went on, the show got even better. I can say that, and I’m sure
    there are people out there that will agree with me, Buffy defines MY teen years. I grew up with these seven years of great television. Watching the show religiously and never missing
    an episode. Feeling like I could relate to the characters’ and what they went through, if you overlook the whole slaying demons thing. There hasn’t been a television show, since Buffy ended, that I have followed as closely & watched as religiously.

    There are people who are just recently getting into the show, and this makes me proud because better late than never, they should experience a show that is/was held dear to so

    It was truly one of a kind. =)

    P.S. On a side note, did you know Katie Holmes & Selma Blair were considered for the lead
    role of Buffy?

  2. Hi Mike!

    Thanks for your comment. It’s fun to hear from people who hold Buffy in such a fond place in their heart. I also saw the movie first, but I didn’t get into the show whole hog until about two years ago when I bought the DVDs and started watching like a fiend. Which is one reason I wanted to make The Buffy Rewatch! So thanks for listening and keep commenting! Feel free to get specific about episodes and listen for your comments on the podcast!


  3. Once again, I agree with you both on many things. The only thing I don’t agree with is Willow’s fear. It may not seem as scary as the others, but being on stage with no clue of what you’re supposed to do can be terrifying. Stage fright is very real. We saw how bad her stage fright was in the last episode and in the first part of Nightmares she mentions how she’d hate to be the center of attention. We rarely see Willow take risks or yell or do anything that might draw attention to herself. She does yell at Giles and Angel in Never Kill a Boy on the First Date, but it seems that once she realizes what she’s saying/doing, she immediately withdraws and becomes quiet again.

    Can’t wait to get caught up so all of my comments aren’t months late 🙂

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