Guest Starring: 
 Kristine Sutherland: 
 (Joyce Summers) 
 Dagney Kerr: 
 Pedro Balmaceda: 
 Katherine Towne: 
 Lindsay Crouse: 
 (Maggie Walsh) 
 Robert Catrini: 
 (Prof. Riegert) 
 Phina Oruche: 
 Shannon Hillary: 
 Mace Lombard: 
  1. The Freshman.  
  Buffy struggles to fit into her new life at university, but old friends and familiar foes help her re-discover her purpose.  
  Great quotes:  
Buffy and Willow are in awe of the university.
  • Buffy: "How do you get to be 'renowned? Do you have to be 'nowned' first?" Willow: "Yes, first there's the painful 'nowning' process."
  • Buffy responds to Eddie's comment about the book 'Of Human Bondage', "I'm not big on porn, I'm trying to cut way back."
  • Xander on why he's not been around recently: "I knew you guys were starting the college adventure and I didn't want to ... you know, help you move."
  • Giles: "I'm not supposed to have a private life?", Buffy: "No! 'Cos you're very old and it's gross."
  • Xander: "Nothing says 'thank you' like dollars in the waistband."
  Fantastic moments:  
Katherine Towne as Sunday.
  • Sunday and her gang are the best baddies of the forth season (Spike doesn't count while Faith is a recurring character), which is a shame really as they all get killed in the first episode. Sunday epitomises the reaction of older students to freshers at university, she and her gang have a resigned 'seen it all before' look about them as they talk about how predictable freshers are in their choices of wall art.
  • The episode's best scene is the one in the Bronze where Buffy wanders aimlessly (great direction by the way) before finding Xander who, once again, brings a bit of heart and compassion to the episode. Xander tells Buffy that "When it's dark and I'm all alone and I'm scared or freaked out I always think; "What would Buffy do?" OK sometimes when it's dark and I'm all alone I think "What is Buffy wearing?"... You're my hero." All together now: aaah.
  • What about that monster ruck at the end of the episode? Buffy's use of a tennis racket and her cooler than cool 'gunslinger' style spinning stake dusting of Sunday make this an action scene to remember.
  Duff Bits:  
  • Does Sunnydale really have a university?
  • In one of the series' lamest plot devices, Sunday's gang of vamps steal everything from Eddie's room except his 'Of Human Bondage' book.
  • The episode is a little too much like the season 3 opener 'Anne' (except without the destitution). Once again Buffy is lost in an alien world before she discovers a spot of violence against demons that brings her back to reality.
  Dean's comments:  
Buffy in action (again).
This is a slow opener whose redeeming features are Sunday's gang and Xander's tale of his cross-country summer holiday. It does have the usual cool one-liners as well as the staking move that Buffy uses on Sunday (I am so glad that they kept that in the opening credits for the rest of the series) but not much else. The episode makes it pretty clear that the season's main themes will be growing up and moving on while looking at the difficulty of keeping old relationships together, just look at the size and scope of the university grounds and the way that they overwhelm and bewilder Buffy. In terms of new stuff for the forth season we have the introduction of Kathy, the epitome of annoyingly sheltered middle class people who've never been outside their home towns or had to deal with people of differing opinions / experiences before going to university, and the strange ending in which a vampire is snared by a squad of military goons. Then there's also Riley and Maggie Walsh making brief appearances, both of whom represent the new world into which Willow and Buffy are moving. Of course we've no idea at this point which of these characters will become important as the series progresses, but the hopelessly awkward meeting between Buffy and Riley (Riley "Nice to meet you", Buffy: "I'm nice to meet.") does signal to a future love interest.
Home, next review.