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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 5

Count Dracula and Buffy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer  (2000) the fifth season is a television series adapted from the original novel Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) followed by graphic novel Spike vs Dracula (late 2006) This show was directed d by David Solomon and created by Marti Noxon. The show aired on September 26, 2000 on The WB then later it was moved to UPN.  It obviously is classified in the horror genre. This show’s fan based a positive view towards Sarah Michelle Gellar’s role play as Buffy, which made her be seen as a role model for young readers.  This adaptation was mainly filmed in Santa Monica, CA. There are still many Buffy Fan sites that are updated quite often and include short play scripts from the TV show. The show is available to be watched on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Summary

This show mixes up the characters from Bram Stoker’s original novel, Dracula. The characters in this particular episode are Buffy Summers, Xander Harris , Willow Rosenberg, Anya, Rupert Giles (Buffy’s Mentor), Joyce Summers (Buffy’s mother), Riley Finn (Buffy’s boyfriend), James Marsters (Spike), and of course the one and only Count Dracula.  I would say that Xander Harris plays as Renfield since he is the one that consumes living creatures that presume to give him force. Spike plays more of Van Helsing because he is trying to go against Dracula whereas in Spike vs Dracula, he is teaming up with Dracula. Riley Finn is more of the Jonathan Harker character who is in a relationship with Buffy-who represents the Mina character, though, in this episode she is a fighter and slayer against vampires. 

In this adaptation, Buffy meets Count Dracula in the cemetery right after she slays a vampire. At first, she does not recognize Dracula by telling him that he is just "someone from the streets trying dress up as him". When Dracula reveals he is the real Count, Buffy feels proud and in a way honored that she has been faced by him. Later on, Xander is over powered by Dracula by making Xander his slave and rewarding his loyal service by giving him eternal life (immortality). Dracula then pays a visit to Buffy in the middle of the night where he is able to seduce her and bites her on the neck where she has already been bitten by The Master. The next day, Riley sees Dracula’s bite on Buffy’s neck. Buffy is now in control of Dracula-who promises her to increase her powers. Towards the end, Buffy goes to Dracula’s castle, sucks his blood, and instead of falling under his thrall, she increases her powers as a vampire slayer. She ends up fighting Dracula and makes him disappear. While all this is happening, Giles is being seduced by the 3 vampire girls in the basement of the castle. He seems to have enjoyed it indeed.  The episode ends with Buffy’s sister coming back to the family home.

Major Themes

Identity

In this episode, Buffy begins to explore her true identity as a vampire slayer. This is foreshadowed in the very beginning of the show when she wakes up in the middle of her sleep ,urges herself to go vampire hunting, and then goes back to sleep like nothing has happened. Buffy is slaying vampires more often- even right after she has a short dinner with Joyce for she cannot resist these urges of going out and finding vampires to slay.Her abilities as a slayer are becoming more confident and developed when she meets Dracula for the first time in the cemetery and she tells him, "that was no hunt, that was just another day at the job". Her moves and kicks at the cemetery scene show her as a strong independent fighter. More so, Buffy's confidence astounds Dracula, which makes it possible for her to prove that she is a true slayer to her team and still needs Giles to be her "watcher" more than ever. She discovers her inner self as being undefeated by Dracula.

Sexuality

When we read Bram Stoker's original Dracula narrative, we see how Stoker utilizes Lucy and Mina as a representation of female sexuality. In the narrative, Dracula uses his sexual power to transform Lucy to a vampire and as one of his own woman. This female sexuality is also represented in this episode by Count Dracula coming to Sunnydale to make Buffy his bride. He is given a strong accent to provoke Buffy into being his lady. He also talks with such great confidence as he tells her, "Do not yearn..he let you go...do not fight...I can feel your hunger" as he is about to bite her. It seems like he really wants Buffy and will do anything to get her under his wing. This entire episode mainly focuses on this attraction between them two. This attraction leads Riley to feel a type of jealousy towards Buffy and Dracula's relationship. His jealousy is not really expressed only because he knows that he should focus on trying to save Buffy from getting persuaded inside Dracula's mansion.

Relationships

The relationship between Dracula and Buffy is inevitable. Dracula claims to have been looking for Buffy for a long time already and he is fascinated by her talent. In the beginning of the episode they have an unconventional relationship where the viewer is not so sure if Buffy is being mesmerized by the Count or if she is really trying to slay him. While they are both in the castle, Dracula speaks to Buffy with such an assurance that she will take his side and become like him after he bites her in her room (it’s still somewhat unclear of what exactly happens between them that night).  Their connection is very strong and Dracula cannot seem to dwell without her since he is always trying to look for her and in the end of the episode he still wants to keep coming back to her. She finalizes their goodbyes by telling him that she has seen all his movies and she is very aware that he will keep coming back and to not bother appearing again while she is still standing there with her wooden stick that she uses to slay the vampires with. This scene proves how Dracula is very persistent, though, not as crucial as he is in the original narrative,. His resistance leads him to not to want to leave the town without getting what he wants (Buffy). The episode leaves off as making Dracula look like a loser because he appears in the scenes as empty handed and leaves the scenes empty handed as well. It is most definite that the writers of this episode wanted Dracula to look like an anti-hero who does not attribute any kind of heroic figures to this drama series.

It is hard to tell what happens with Buffy’s and Giles’s relationship at the end the episode, for Buffy has admitted that she would like to practice her abilities as a slayer more deeply and often- she has already been slaying vampires every night for quite some time. In this episode, Giles is portrayed as a weak character. First of all, he is not professional enough to tell Buffy he is moving to London. He decides to tell Willow his secret. By doing this, he affirms he has a closer relationship towards her than he does with Buffy. Secondly, he does not tend to do much for saving Buffy from Dracula. Riley does more for her by reaching out to Spike for help and advice. To me, Giles seems to be one of those type of characters who "talk the talk, but cannot walk the walk. For that reason, I was not convinced as him being a good mentor for Buffy. He plays a better role of a mentor in other episodes, such as in Restless.

All in all, the actions of the characters in this show prove to be much like the actions from the characters of the original narrative- the characters all work together to reach their goal, which is to disappear Dracula.

Significance of the Series

Need to take note that this is just an adaptation of the original Dracula, so much of the story line is not going to follow the same as the original. Parts of the story have been taken out of the original and were converted into more of modern interpretation.

Like previously mentioned, this TV series does present Dracula as more of a seductive character, given an accent that I would most describe as “sexy”. His appearance is very highly criticized by the characters in the story by them mentioning how good looking he is. Dracula is positively complimented by Willow when she says something like, “He is so hot”!  Xander and Riley give the viewer a feeling that they envy Dracula for his good looks. In the 2013 TV show adaptation Dracula, Alexander also is portrayed as a confident classy man who also plays role of a seducer except he does not plan to seduce the character of Mina as the character of Dracula in Buffy does so. Alexander has more control over his desires and instead finds ways to fulfill those desires by finding other women in the streets to seduce and bite. Overall, the Buffy TV series leaves us with a good interpretation telling of the story of Count Dracula.

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