The Blurbage: "A stranger named Angel tells Buffy that if she does not stop 'The Harvest',
the Hellmouth will open and The Master will roam free.
Warning: Reviews are Not Spoiler Free
Scene 01: Taking off from where 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' ended (because it was actually originally aired as a two hour episode), we're with Buffy and Luke. He has thrown her into a coffin and then leaped in with her. As he straddles her, he also leans in to put the fatal bite on her.
Commentary: And can I just say that Brian Thompson has a really huge mouth!
Alas for Luke, Buffy is wearing the cross that the mysterious (and vague) stranger gave her and he burns himself on it. It's enough to distract him, so Buffy can get her foot under him and propel him out of the sarcophagus. She leaps out as well, and takes off after the already retreating Xander, Willow and Jesse.
Scene 02: Buffy runs through the cemetery, looking for her friends.She hears the sound of a vampire growl, and we see Willow on the ground. She screams as a vampire is about to tear into her neck. Thankfully, Buff is close enough to prevent this. Moments later, they're able to also stop Xander being dragged off to his doom. But, when they look for Jesse - he's nowhere to be found.
Buffy worries for Jesse.
Queue rock music and credits....
Scene 03: The surviving gang gathers in the library, where they worry over Jesse's fate. Giles informs the 'civilians' that the Earth is far older than most realize and that it didn't start out as a 'Garden of Eden' despite claims to the contrary.
Commentary: I'm actually surprised here that they got away with Giles referring to biblical tradition as 'myths'. That would surely have caused instant boycotts and self-important GOP statements from Congress, these days.
In addition to finding out more about the world, and how we came to control it rather than the demons (which is nevertheless left vague), Xan and Willow have to get used to the idea that you can have conversations with vampires in them. Willow is a bit freaked. Xan is more angry.
Scene 04: We cut to Darla making her way into the underground lair of The Master. With are Luke and the captured Jesse.Darla tries to gain favor with her Master, but he's less than pleased that she has brought him something she's already ate from:
Master (toward Darla): I'm your... faithful dog. You bring me scraps.
He throws a bitch fit about how she's been free to go, while he's been trapped.
Commentary: Little drama queen....
There's a small problem with how this scene is shot, because Jesse just stands there for a very long time listening to all of this instead of you know, trying to run or yelling for help or doing anything that a normal person would do in these circumstances, so that we can focus on The Master and his relationship with the underlings. Which is fine, because Mark Metcalf does a good job as this old evil, but when you're re-watching and ergo already know what's going to happen, these awkward moments stand out more.
Anyway, Darla tries to get out of her faux pas by mentioning that they lost the other (not tasted) offerings (except that Willow was about to be fed on - which isn't mentioned for good reason, considering what a bitcher The Master is), but were interrupted by a girl. Luke informs him that it is possible, judging by her strength and the fact she already knows of 'our breed', that she's a Slayer. This is news that The Master finds intriguing.
Scene 05: And we jump back to the library, where Giles gives the rundown on Buffy's role. And also, I hate Xander's shirt with a passion. Buffy informs Xander that she'll get Jesse back, but that she wants him out of it when he asks how he can help. Willow also sensibly brings up the police, but Buffy nixes the idea. Not only would they have to lie about vampires being involved (or not... as we'll come to suspect) but they'd 'only bring guns' which are useless. This is the first, but not nearly last, time that guns are specifically mentioned as never helpful.
We get a slight call out to the vampire mythos and how it will work in the Buffyverse... they can drive cars, but flying is out (except for Dracula, as we'll also see in future). Willow doesn't recall hearing a car though, so that may mean they're close by.
We find out here also that Sunnydale has very convenient tunnels under the whole town so the vampires can move around during the day without risking sunlight exposure. Giles offers to go to the building commission, but Buffy rightly points out that there isn't time to waste if they want to get Jesse back... Willow says that there's another way....
Scene 06: But first, we have to return to The Master and the vampire's discussion about how a Slayer impacts their plans for his ascension to the surface world.
The Master points out that they have something she wants and they should be able to lay a trap for her, using Jesse. As Luke congratulates Jesse on being upgraded from meal to bait, he's looking very ungrateful... but, still cooperatively standing there I must point out.
Scene 07: Here, we're introduced to Willow's role in the show as the computer genius, as well as Sunnydale's absolutely amazing magic-computers which are capable of literally finding the most obscure information on any subject with minimal effort (per plot requirements). Buffy complains that she was taken completely by surprise by Luke and allowed Jesse to get taken. Thinking back on the incident though, she realizes that she was facing the entrance to the mausoleum... and yet Luke grabbed her from behind. In addition, he didn't follow her out - so unless he decided to just hang out there, there must be an entrance point to the sewer system from there!
Commentary: And yet somehow, I will engage 'suspension of disbelief' so that I don't have to point out how entirely ridiculous it would be for a mausoleum to have an entrance to an underground tunnel system. Yes... I'm suspending disbelief... possibly not without a pulled muscle, though.
Figuring out where to start her search, Buffy readies to go on the rescue. Xander is ready to saddle up beside her, but she makes it clear that he's not the Slayer - it's too dangerous and it's not up to him. It's her responsibility and she'll deal with it. Willow tells Buffy though that she needs to help, too. At this, Giles puts her to work with researching The Harvest on the all-seeing internet.
Scene 08: Buffy strides with purpose to exit the school campus, but she's waylaid by Principal Flutie...
Commentary: Now this creates a bit of a timing problem. If it's the following day, then why were the gang just now planning on how to find Jesse?!
He's been MISSING ALL NIGHT. What? Did they just get tired, go to bed, and figure they'll deal with it in the morning?
Thanks for the overwhelming concern, guys!
Anyway, back to the school and Principal Flutie: He asks her whether she thought she was leaving school campus and she horridly tries to make him buy that she was... uh... admiring the quality fence work, certainly not skipping out. Oh, Buffy.
He informs Buffy that getting caught leaving campus in the middle of the day would look very bad for someone who is trying to restore her credibility. In a moment of inspiration, she mentions that Mr. Giles asked her to retrieve a book...
Yeah. Because there aren't enough books in the library, already. This isn't the last time that Buffy's attempts to come up with a plausible lie on the spur of the moment will less than impress.
There's some amusing snark from Principal Flutie toward Giles' Britishness here, but the point is that he forbids Buffy leaving campus and locks a security gate (which seems like a really bad idea should there be a fire, or need of an ambulance). It doesn't stop her, as we see the Slayer's enhanced strength, when Buffy just leaps it in a single bound, anyway. Plus, the campus is wide open with plenty of place where there isn't a fence/gate so really, I guess this is more a symbolic gesture.
Scene 09: Back in school, Xander and Willow are traversing a hallway and creating a list of search words for her to look up in trying to find information on the vampires' plans... which I don't think is going to be very effective: murder, death, disaster, paranormal, unexplained, natural disasters, earthquake, flood, rain of toads and, of course, vampires.
Commentary: Okay, please! Take a look at that list again... now unless "vampires" or "rain of toads" is going to lead to an entry on "Harvest", I'd really like to know just how long Willow is going to spend going through search list results!! Even in the 90's, a list this generic would surely turn up more sites than could be reasonably searched before the actual Harvest already takes place. Poor Willow will still be searching long after The Master has already taken over the world and everybody else has been turned into a meal.
The real point of this scene though, is that Xander feels useless because Buffy is doing the heroics, Willow will be doing the internet searching and Giles has got the books covered. I'd like to give Xan the job of buying a new wardrobe... seriously, what is up with that shirt?
Scene 10: Buffy arrives at the masoleum, and straight into the most awkwardly awful scene of "The Harvest", even worse than the awful scene with Angel in it in the alley during their first meet. Interesting that both awful, awkward scenes involve Angel... things to make you go 'hmmm'.
Anywho - Buffy stalks through to the back of the mausoleum and finds a chained gate leading underground. She also finds Angel, when she senses him behind her. And, boy is there a lot to complain about in this whole scene in commentary, but right now, let's just focus on the Buffy/Angel tensions here. Already, there is a spark of some sort between the two when Buffy asks him what his name is and we find out. He also tells her that 'they' don't like it when he drops in, hints that he's more intimately involved with vampires than she might have guessed. Naturally we all know why, but the thing here is that it passes without comment as Buffy's mind is on Jesse right now. Angel warns her that The Harvest is that night and if she doesn't stop it, the Master will walk the world, which would be bad. She shouldn't risk herself right then by going into the belly of the beast, so to speak.
This leads to the only nice moment of this whole scene where Buffy explains that she has to go because there's a potential friend at risk:
Buffy: I've got a friend down there. Or at least a potential friend. (stated with soft sarcasm) - Do you know what it's like to have a friend?
Angel looks away uncomfortably, but without replying.
Buffy: That wasn't supposed to be a stumper.
David actually manages some nice eye-acting in this short reaction shot, but his actual dialog scenes are pretty grim. More (oh, yes, more) on that in commentary.
He gives her a pointer to head east toward the school in order to find them (which is some very subtle foreshadowing of where the Hellmouth is actually located... something that won't be revealed outright until Prophecy Girl). He doesn't, however, offer to go with her - which is weird and not fitting in with what we'll come to know about Angel and his 'mission' in hindsight. But here, he just looks cowardly and lame, rather than blatantly out of character.
Commentary: Oh, my God. Worse scene ever for the acting, the pacing and the illogic. Let's just list, here:
One - Buffy takes from 12:37 to 13:18 to cross the mausoleum unnecessarily cautiously because....
Two - We get an in camera shot of the whole mausoleum and it a) isn't that big and b) there is no where for anyone to be hiding - so what is she creeping around for?! Which leads to...
Three - Angel's sudden appearance from a shadowed corner is blatantly ridiculous. It just isn't possible that Buffy would not have seen him (with that nice bright white shirt) standing in the corner out of the corner of her eye... it's called "peripheral vision" and if she didn't have it, she'd have already been killed in the movie.
Four - Angel's clothes are still horrible, with that jacket for one thing. But worse? His rolled at the wrist shirt sleeves and his playing with them just shows that the sleeves are too long... and he looks like Liberace.
Five - This is really OOC in retrospect, so it's hard to fault them here, but Angel's grinning an awful lot in this scene. What I can fault them for here though, is the amount of cheesewhiz being spread with every grin... seriously, he comes off as extra-cheezy in this whole awful scene.
Six - "I new you'd figure out this entranceway sooner or later...." awful, awful delivery. Ouch. SMG, however, handles the scene really well.
Seven - "Don't go down there" and "'Cause I'm afraid"... OW! It's the sort of delivery that causes you to laugh in embarassment for him. Honestly, I love David's work later in the series, but in this one, you have to wonder a) how he passed through the audition stage and b) how he kept himself from being written out and replaced by a new 'cryptic, wise man routine' guy before he pulled his character together.
Eight - Who locked that chain around the gate? If it was already locked, how did the vampires use it. If somebody locked it up after Luke and Darla used it to transport Jesse, who? Angel? He'd know that one cheap lock wasn't going to hold back the vampires, anyway so why bother?
Nine - And, speaking of which... if Angel knew that Buffy was going to figure out that the gate was there, and that she'd be coming to use it, why didn't he bother to reveal this information? A simple, "here's how the vampires are wandering town, and by the way there's an access point...." would have been nice. Rather than just hanging out there and timing how long it took for her to find it.
Ten - His whispered 'Good luck' was just the final cheese of a cheese-fest of a scene.
I will say again though, that his slight looking away when she asks him about knowing what a friend is was a nice, understated moment.
Angel, or Liberace?
Scene 11: Buffy goes down a flight of stairs and into a maintenance shaft of some sort. And, I'll just emphasize that there's a maintenance shaft and a set of stairs that lead up INTO A MAUSOLEUM? Who designed this? (Actually, we find that out in S3, but even in retrospect it makes no sense).
Buffy is stalking around in the dark, when she turns around to be startled by Xander, who's followed her:
Buffy: Xander, what are you doing here?!
Xander: Something stupid.
I liked that. However... sigh...
Commentary: So, Xander follows behind Buffy to catch up with her. He knows where he needs to go, and he dashes into the mausoleum, sees the open tunnel access gate and follows the stairs down. Doesn't seem like a problem does it?
Except... somehow Angel again manages to duck into a corner, where Xander ALSO fails to use his peripheral vision to pick out Angel's bright, white shirt. And Angel, despite not having any sort of antipathy toward Xan at this point (or even knows who he is) doesn't warn him of the danger he's going into... nice hero.... Later, Xan will mention that no one mentioned that Angel was good looking (when he's jealous of Buffy's obvious attraction toward him) so we know for a fact that they hadn't met before... even though there is no way they should have avoided one another here.
Anyway, Buffy tries to get Xander to leave, but he's gives the "my bud is on the line", which is an awful line. Plus Xan says he couldn't just sit at home, even though he wasn't home... he's supposed to be in class, Which he himself mentions not a minute later, when he says "besides, it's this or Chem class".
As they wander the endless tunnel, we do get a chuckle out of Buffy's beheading story....
Xander: You've done some beheading in your time?
Buffy: Oh, yeah. There was a time when I was pinned down by this guy that played left tackle for varsity, well at least he used to before he was a vampire. Anyway, he had this really, really thick neck and all I had was this little, little exacto-knife... you're not loving this story.
Xander: No, actually I find it oddly comforting.
Scene 12: We do a slide wipe from Buffy and Xan in the tunnel to a card catalog in shadow. We see Giles sitting at a table, obviously in the library (negative 1 point for unnecessary fancy-directing) where he's trying to puzzle out The Harvest, yet. He suddenly comes to the realization that The Harvest is going to happen tonight... something that Angel could have shared with the Slayer's Watcher already, if he wasn't so busy trying to stay mysterious and uselessly cryptic.
Scene 13: Funniest scene in The Harvest: Cordelia and Harmony are in computer lab, with Willow. Cordy and Harmony are struggling with some sort of beginning programming class, while Willow is searching the internet. She overhears Cordy telling Harmony all about the other night when Buffy pulled a stake on her (when she was looking for Disco Dave vampire and Willow). Cordy adds a few details and embellishes here:
Cordy: She attacked me! Do you believe it? So, anyway, I come out of the bathroom and she comes running at me, screaming with a stick, "I'm gonna kill you! I'm gonna kill you!" I swear!
Not quite, Cordelia. She did brandish a "stick" and she did grab Cord by the throat, but quickly let go when she realized she wasn't the vampire she was stalking... there was no "I'm gonna kill you", let alone her screaming it twice. And also, who sees Cordelia talking to that long haired guy who butts into her and Harmony's conversation?
The best part comes up though. Cordy bad mouths Buffy some more and Willow steps in to defend her, pointing out that Cord doesn't even know her. Again, like with the water fountain, Cordelia's lines here are a bit over the top in being mean-spirited, but it's kind of worth it because it makes Willow's revenge funnier:
Cordelia: Excuse me?! Who gave you permission to exist? Do I horn in on your private discussions? No. Why? Because, you're boring.
Willow gets up from her desk then and walks to a printer while Harmony and Cordelia finish the program they're writing. Cordelia expresses relief that the "nightmare finally ends" and then asks "how do we save it" which Willow answers for her, even though she didn't ask her:
Cord presses the DEL key....
Commentary: YES! The dawning realization on Cordelia's face after she deletes her work is priceless.
Scene 14: Back in the tunnels, Buffy and Xander find Jesse lying on the floor, where he's been chained. We should immediately be suspicious, but I'll admit when I saw this the first time, I wasn't. You see, he's chained in the middle of nowhere and is definitely NOT in the Master's lair.
Buffy effects a rescue by breaking his chain. The group takes off, and Jesse tries to give them a sly warning of the real score by telling him that he's bait and the vampires knew that she'd be coming after him.
In the meanwhile, we see the vampires closing in on them. Jesse leads them to "another way up", which turns out to be a dead-end room.
Commentary: We also see an effect here that was never repeated, thankfully: the glow-in-the-dark eyes that are supposed to be like cat's eyes reflecting, but comes out looking really bad.
Xan exlaims that they can't go back through the vampire hoard, so what are they gonna do... Jesse has a plan:
Jesse: I got an idea. You can die.
Scene 15: We come back from commercial break where we left off, with Jesse revealing that he wasn't saved after all. He is now a vampire and he's led Buffy and Xander into a dead end. Xan tells him how sorry he is that they failed to save him, but Jesse seems very happy to be an undead demon. He tells Xander that he feels connected to something greater now (which we hear more about from Holden in S7).
Xander almost gets fed on, until Buffy reminds him he has a cross in his hand. Although where Buffy pulled that from when she handed it to him in the tunnels is anyone's guess. In the meantime, Buffy is struggling to close a bent up, rusted door to close out the rest of the vamps. Buffy is able to throw Jesse out to the rest of the vampires in the corridor and then she and Xander get the door closed and barred.
With a minute to breathe, Xander sees a grate in the ceiling, leading to some duct work. Buffy and he are barely able to make an escape.
Scene 16: The Master is less than pleased that she escaped their trap and berates one of his minions. He tells Colin to apologize to him and when he receives it, he says, "see, that wasn't so bad"... before adding:
The Master: Hold on... You've got something in your eye. (which happens to be the Master's clawed finger! Thankfully he jabs it offscreen, but we get to hear the squish)
Scene 17: Very short scene back in the library, where Giles is worried about Buffy. Willow comes in with her print outs and explains that there were a rash of murders reported just shortly before an earthquake back in '37. With this information and with what he's looked up re: The Harvest that night, he realizes what probably is going on.
We don't get to hear The Answer, yet though.
Scene 18: We're back with Darla, Luke and the Master. And while the scene isn't bad, the dialog is filled with more of that pseudo-religious blather that I had enough of in WttH. Suffice to say, Luke is made the vessel - anyone he kills that night will mystically give The Master their strength until he has enough absorbed energy to break through the barrier holding him.
And this whole scene is Slash-tastic between Luke and The Master. And also? The Master blood is like thick, black poster-paint. Suspiciously so.
Scene 19: Buffy and Xander arrive back at the library with news of Jesse's fate. Nicky does a good job of showing how angry he is, even as he tries to deal with the current crisis. But Willow? She doesn't seem all that broken up, I gotta tell you.
Buffy sarcastically asks Giles if he has any news to make the day worse, and he obligingly tells her their facing the end of the world. He goes on to lay out exactly what The Harvest is about. Giles also discovered that Buffy needs to focus on finding and destroying The Vessel (though they don't know what we know... it's Luke).
Scene 20: As the gang head out into the waning day to confront the vampires (which they're correctly assuming will get their victims for the Harvest by raiding the Bronze), Buffy makes a stop for supplies at her house.
Where Joyce (not for the last time) gets in the way.
Buffy's excursion from school after Principal Flutie warned her did not go missed. Joyce complains that the trouble she went through in L.A. is starting up again, and they haven't even had time to unpack, yet. After the disaster of L.A., Joyce has obviously gone on a "how to parent" binge and she tells Buffy here that "all the tapes say I should get used to saying no". She decides that she has to ground her daughter. And even though Buffy tries to tell her how important it is that she goes, Joyce chooses now (it's obvious this is new) to be firm.
She leaves the room and we get an Iconic Buffy Image when she pulls out her momentos chest to show a bunch of girly stuff. But this is only in a false drawer... under it is garlic, holy water and stakes. Buffy loads up and sneaks out of her window.
Scene 21: Why is the bouncer collecting money when Cordelia said earlier that there was no cover on Friday nights? Extortion?
Anyway, we're at the Bronze and Cordelia is holding court and sharing her expertise on underclassmen, like Jesse, with Seniors.
And, she's making sure that none of her 'friends' can get a word in edgewise.
When a song starts that she loves, she leads her troop to the dance floor... where Jesse now watches from the shadows.
As a new song starts, he makes his move and where before Cordy was completely turned off by his geekyness, now he's all suave and forceful, earning a dance.
Scene 22: One of the coolest shots in The Harvest happens here as we get Darla and her vampire army coming out of the darkness outside of the Bronze.
She's all school-girl excited... in her vampire face... as the doorman/extortionist doesn't have any idea what's coming for him.
In the club, the vampires make their entrance and quickly take control of the crowd. Luke, AGAIN, talks entirely too much. But he also gets deadly when he grabs the muscle bound bouncer/extortionist one handed by the throat and begins strangling him before fanging him dead. As the doorman is drained, we see the Master reacting, getting stronger.
Scene 23: Buffy and the gang arrive at the Bronze, only to learn they're too late. The place has been locked down and the feeding on the customers is already in progress, pushing the release of The Master closer to being a done deal.
They split up to try to find ways in, but Buffy warns them not to "go all wild bunch" on her. Their jobs are to get everyone else out, not fight.
There's a good scene between Xander and Giles that will be echoed in a more heart-rending way later. Here, Xander wants to get to Jesse before he "does something stupid" but Giles forcefully tells him that Jesse is dead. The thing that he sees now is not his friend, it's the thing that killed him. It's a powerful line and this won't be the last time where we see characters want to overlook the true nature of a demon in order to focus on their feelings for them. It even happens often with the audience with Angel, Anya and Spike.
Scene 24: The Master feels the barrier restraining him losing its hold as Luke drains another victim. He pontificates, as he is wont to do. At the same time, Darla has chosen Cordelia to be next, forcefully yanking her away from Jesse who wanted her for his own.
Barrier... or LSD? You make the call.
For all that's unholy, stop pontificating!
Elsewhere, Buffy has managed to break in on the upper storey.Luke is on stage... obnoxiously talking even more, as the Slayer realizes that he is the one she must kill to stop The Harvest from releasing The Master (there's a lot of capitalized The's on this show). Cordelia is saved from a gruesome end (which will also be repeated) when Buffy interrupts. Luke tells her he wants her blood, only hers. She's more than happy to deliver... if he can take it.
No, no, I'm fine Buffy, take your time.
While Buffy engages Luke in battle, the others have also managed to break into a back door and begin encouraging the patrons to sneak out. Buffy saves Xander with a well thrown cymbal, but leaves herself vulnerable to being grabbed from behind by Luke. While he is squeezing the breath from her, Cordelia (having been tossed away by Luke for Buffy... which will later be reflected through Angel and Owen) is not safe, as she is being menaced now by her original admirer, Jesse. And this time, he's not going to take no for an answer. Xander interrupts before Jesse can finish with biting Cordelia. In the meanwhile, Giles gets jumped by Darla.
Luke leans in to bite Buffy as she goes limp in his arms, but she's doing an opposum and headbutts her way free. Over with Xander/Cordelia, Jesse forces Xan to confront the fact that Giles was right... Jesse is dead and he's a new creature now. Over with Giles/Willow, Darla has Giles on the ground, when Willow surprises her with a face full of holy water. She runs off screaming into the night (and apparently doesn't hold a grudge because we never see her go after Willow or even bring her up - awfully mature of her considering).
Xander resolves things with Jesse when a bystander runs by and pushes him onto Xan's stake, ashing him.
Meanwhile, Buffy picks up a mic-stand to wield against Luke, and I'm going to quote this part, 'cause I find it funny.
Luke: You forget, metal can't hurt me. (A bit of hyperbole... She may not be able to kill him with it, but running it through him would hurt)
Buffy: There's something you forgot, too. Sunrise!
She hauls back and throws the mic-stand through a window. Yellow light streams into the club, though it's only a lamplight. But, Luke covers his face in a panic, before realizing he isn't burning....
In the meantime, she's picked up a stake that she dropped earlier in the fight. She nails him through the back...
Buffy: It's in about nine hours, moron.
He takes an inordinate amount of time to fall and ash, but finally his big, rambling mouth is quieted and the Master collapses with a melodramatic cry as he realizes he won't be leaving his dungeon tonight. Two hench-vamps are, again, dragging Xander away for a fate worse than death, but having just taken out the Vessel, when Buffy looks their way, they choose to drop him and take off instead.
Outside of the Bronze, being utterly superfluous to this episode, Angel is impressed that she pulled it off. Helping would have been nice, but hey, at least he knows how to act impressed after all the heavy work is done.
We receive two IRONIC lines here: Angel's "I'll be damned" and Xander's "Nothing will ever be the same".
Scene 25: Monday morning at Sunnydale High, IRONICALLY, things are in fact, the same. Everyone talks about the weird gang at the Bronze and their messed up faces. Cordelia adds to random girl, "And Buffy, like, knew them. Which is just too weird."
Random girl gets a chuckle when she excitedly says she wished she'd been there... you know, despite the gruesome deaths.
Xander is appalled that there isn't at least an assembly what with the dead having risen, and all. But everyone in Sunnydale goes on with business as usual which we'll get to see A LOT in the next six and half years.
We leave the episode with light hearted banter with foreshadowy goodness involving S2 and S3's season finales....
The Good: Among the good is the actors (except David Boreanez... sorry) who do a great job of interacting as if they'd been working together for far longer.
The end of Luke was a bonus.
Darla and Jesse were both a lot of fun.
Jesse's fate came as quite the shock and Giles' explanation to Xander that Jesse was dead were really well played.
The dialog and banter were mostly well done, too, and these characters are really likable (with the exception, on purpose, of Cordy).
The Bad: 99% of scene 10 is painful.
The Luke/Master pseudo-religious wordy claptrap... it just went on and on endlessly.
There's some real awkward problems, even ignoring Scene 10 (please do!). I can name Jesse's standing for minutes at a time as Luke, Darla and the Master talk about Buffy and anything involving Angel's unexplained invisibility in the crypt. There's also problems with Jesse being left to the vampires all night following his initial nabbing and the fact that there isn't much more grief over his death. This is especially a problem for Willow ("At least you two are safe," gee, you're right Will. Why shed a few tears or anything for your good friend.) and the ending banter in which Jesse has been dead for a whole two days and we're already cracking wise and chuckling.
The Score: The episode does a good job of getting our main foursome's voices established immediately and wraps up the Harvest threat nicely. The Master is left as a possible major menace for later while Luke is done away with (Thank You!). The fate of Jesse was a nice shock right off and in general, despite its problems it's an episode I enjoy watching. But, it does have those problems... some of them severe in certain scenes...
I can't give it more than an average score, and that may be a little generous: 3.0 out of 5