Big Bad: The Master
Beginnings: Buffy first arrives at Sunnydale High, relinquishing popularity and a normal life to take up the duties of the Slayer, under the guidance of her Watcher, Giles. She picks up a few friends, Xander and Willow, and they join her in the fight against evil.
Resolution: Although a prophecy is fulfilled when the Master kills Buffy and manages to ascend into Sunnydale, Xander revives her using CPR and she is able to fight and kill the master, averting the apocalypse.
Other Interesting Sidenotes: Buffy and Angel, the vampire cursed with a soul, first meet and begin to fall in love this season.
Quote: "We saved the world. I say we party." -Buffy, "Prophecy Girl"
Big Bad(s): Angelus, Spike, and Drusilla
Love Connections: Xander and Cordelia become a couple, Willow and Oz begin a relationship, Giles' love interest, Jenny Calender, is killed by Angelus and later used to torture him, an awry spell causes all the women in Sunnydale except Cordelia to fall for Xander, Xander tells Willow he loves her just before she comes out of a coma and says Oz's name.
Complications: Buffy and Angel's love grows, culminating in a "moment of true happiness" which results in Angel losing his soul and reverting to his evil state, Angelus. Meanwhile, his old vampire friends Spike and Drusilla come to town. A new slayer, Kendra, activated when Buffy briefly died in "Prophecy Girl", is introduced. In the intense two-part Season Finale, Angelus, Spike, and Dru decide to try to unearth an evil demon, Acathla, who will swallow the entire world into hell. In a fight, Drusilla kills Kendra, and Buffy is forced to run from the police, who believe she is the killer. Willow and Xander are also hurt in the attack, and Cordelia flees. Meanwhile, Willow believes she has found the spell to restore Angel's soul. Buffy goes to look for a missing Giles, who is being tortured by Angelus and Drusilla for information on awakening Acathla. Spike tries to strike a deal with Buffy, wanting to have Drusilla back the way she used to be and out of Angelus' clutches. He agrees to leave town with Dru forever if Buffy will help him. When Joyce sees her stake a vampire, Buffy is forced to confess to her nother that she is the Slayer, and Joyce, panicked, tells her that if she leaves the house, she shouldn't come back. Buffy leaves. She returns to the school to retrieve the sword Kendra brought that will defeat Acathla, and Principal Synder sees her there and expels her. Drusilla tricks Giles into believing she is Jenny Calender, and he reveals that Angel's blood is the key to the awakening ritual. Whistler, who was the one to convince Angel to use his soul for good, tells Buffy that only Angel's blood can both open and close the vortex to hell. Xander catches up with Buffy on the way to the mansion where Angelus is, but doesn't tell her that Willow is trying to restore Angel's soul. As Buffy bursts into the mansion, Spike attacks Angel, interrupting the ritual. Xander unties Giles to drag him to safety, and Drusilla begins to fight with Spike. While everyone is distracted, Angel manages to use his bloodied hand to pull the sword out of Acathla, awakening him. Buffy and Angel begin a sword duel. Meanwhile, Willow seems to be posessed as she performs the ritual. Spike knocks Dru out and runs off with her. Buffy has Angel up against Acathla and is about to kill him when Willow restores his soul. However, since Acathla is already awake, Buffy has no choice. Angel has no idea what is going on, and Buffy gives him one last kiss before driving the sword through him and Acathla, closing the vortex and sending both of them to hell. The next day, Buffy, believing she cannot go home, takes a bus out of Sunnydale. The End. Once more, no Apocalypse. Whew.
Big Bad: The Mayor
Welcome Home: Buffy, who has been living in another city as a waitress all summer, returns to Sunnydale to less than welcoming friends. After they have to come together to face zombies, however, their friendships begin to be reforged. A new slayer, Faith, activated by Kendra's death, arrives in time to help Buffy fight an ancient, cloven villian. Buffy secretly discovers that Angel has somehow returned after 100 years of torture in hell. Spike returns to Sunnydale broken and dumped by Drusilla. New Watcher Wesley Wyndam-Price also arrives.
Bad Happenings: Buffy is forced to come to terms with Faith's recklessness and utter lack of remorse when the newer slayer stakes a human. Faith joins the evil Mayor. Wesley and Cordelia share a really, really awkward kiss (sorry, had to throw that in...). A fight between Buffy and Faith puts her in a coma. The Mayor prepares to "ascend" into his demon form on Graduation Day, and Buffy enlists the help of the entire Sunnydale High student body in a massive battle against him and an army of the undead during a solar eclipse. Buffy leads him into a dynamite trap, effectively blowing up both the demon Mayor and the school. Neither Buffy or Angel can handle their relationship, and Angel departs for LA.
A New Start: Buffy and Willow start at the University of California, Sunnydale, as Xander returns from a trip of self-discovery.
Special Eps: "Hush" featured a long period of absolute silence, where no character spoke a word.
Love Hurts: Buffy is hurt by a one-night stand with the first guy she's been attracted to since Angel left, an upperclassmen named Parker Finch. Willow is hurt when Oz's primal instincts lead him to another werewolf girl, Veruca. Anya, Xander's prom date and a former vengeance demon, returns to kindle a relationship with him. Buffy finds a new beau in Riley, her Psychology TA who is actually part of a demon-hunting organization called the Initiative.
Commanding Commandos: Spike is captured by the Initiative, who implant him with a chip that prevents him from hurting human beings. Buffy becomes more involved with Riley and the Intiative, but both of them pull away from the group when Professor Walsh tries to kill her. Adam, a mixture of several different demon parts, kills the Professor, who is his creator. Faith returns, using a mysterious gift from the Mayor to switch bodies with Buffy, long enough to do damage to Buffy and Riley's relationship. Oz comes home to Willow, only to discover that she has fallen for fellow witch Tara. Angel returns briefly to Sunnydale, and Riley learns about Buffy's past with him. Spike tries to join forces with Adam to defeat Buffy by breaking apart the Scooby Gang. Riley learns from Adam that Professor Walsh had implanted a chip in him that Adam has activated to carry out his plan. Buffy figures out it was Spike tearing the friends apart, and they reunite to try to defeat Adam. Spike narrowly escapes death from Adam's wrath at this fact. Demons are unleashed on the Initiative soldiers as part of Adam's plan to create a race of human/demon hybrids. Willow, Xander, and Giles perform an enjoining spell to strengthen Buffy for her fight with Adam. Riley manages to cut the chip out of his own chest just in time to save Buffy from some of Adam's monsters. The spell completed, Buffy, with all the power of Willow, Giles, and Xander, holds off Adam's attacks and pierces his chest with her hand, pulling out his Uranium power supply. She levitates the power supply in her hand and dissolves it into thin air. The spell over, they collapse with fatigue, and are saved from one last demon by Spike. Meanwhile, a mysterious government official orders the Initiative burned as a failed experiment. In the season finale, the first slayer haunts Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles as they come face to face with their worst fears in their dreams.
Big Bad: Glory
Ultimate Seduction: The season opened with a fight against the most well-known vampire of all time- Dracula.
Sibling Rivalry: Buffy's sister, Dawn, showed up at the last of the Buffy v. Dracula. Also, "The Replacement" featured Nicholas Brendan's real twin brother as Xander's evil double.
Love Sucks: Buffy is astonished to learn that Riley has been spending his nights in the arms of vampires, and their relationship is destroyed. Spike admits his love for Buffy, and is hurt to the point of having a Buffy Bot made by her brutal rejection.
Search for the Key: Through a series of clues, Buffy's "sister" Dawn is revealed to be a powerful key, sought after by an evil power called Glory. Meanwhile, Buffy's mother becomes very ill, and has to undergo brain surgery. At the hospital, Buffy meets Ben, whose body is also inhabited by Glory. Giles purchases the Magic Box as a new headquarters for the Scoobies. Buffy's mother dies tragically, sending the entire gang into shock and despair. They don't have long to mourn, however, as Glory discovers that Dawn is the Key and sets after them. When Dawn is taken, Buffy retreats into her own mind and Willow has to enter it to draw her back out to save her sister. Glory prepares to use Dawn to break down the walls between dimensions and unleash a Hell dimension, and suceeds in opening the portal using Dawn's blood. The only way for it to close is for Dawn to die, and since their blood is linked, Buffy throws herself into the opening portals, killing herself and closing them in the season finale and end of the 100th episode.
Big Bad: The Geeky Trio of Jonathan, Andrew and Warren? Willow? It's a bit unclear.
A Spot of Light: "Once More, With Feeling" marked the first musical episode of Buffy, featuring several very fun original songs.
Dark Rising: Buffy's friends plans to resurrect Buffy are disturbed by a gang of marauding demons. Giles returns to England. Buffy is resurrected, but has to dig herself out of her own grave, and seems deeply disturbed. Back on earth, she has to deal with very adult money problems, and the fact that she thinks she had been in Heaven. Willow descends into magic addiction, destroying her relationship with Tara and affecting all of her friendships. The trio of nerddom try several different tactics to win against the slayer, failing each time. Buffy has a destructive sexual relationship with Spike. Xander gets cold feet about his future with Anya, and leaves her at the altar. She angrily becomes a vengeance demon again, and a brief night of passion between her and Spike reveals Buffy's relationship with him to her incredulous friends. Spike travels to Africa to get his soul back. After Tara is mistakenly killed instead of Buffy, Willow goes insane with grief, becoming a very powerful evil witch intent on destroying those who have hurt her. She kills Warren by removing his skin, and Andrew and Jonathan flee to Mexico. Xander talks Willow out of destroying the world and proves his worth by reminding her of broken yellow crayons and how much he loves her. The apocolypse is once more averted.
Big Bad: The First Evil?
Recurring Quote: "From beneath you it devours..."
So Far: Dawn starts at the newly rebuilt Sunnydale High, where the new Prinicipal, Wood, hires Buffy as a counselor. In England, Giles helps Willow learn to control her power for good. Buffy learns to her chagrin that Spike has regained a soul for her sake. Several girls around the world are killed by mysterious hooded men. In a really really evil cliffhanger, an axe is being swung by one of them at Giles' neck. The dead seem to return and talk to Willow and Dawn, convincing Willow that the evil has begun to bite. It's discovered that Spike is being triggered by some evil force to feed off of humans again, and Buffy ties him up in hopes of keeping him good. Meanwhile, Andrew and Jonathan return to Sunnydale to "help" the slayer, but when Andrew slits Jonathan's throat at the bidding of a spirit that looks like Warren, it's revealed that Andrew is really trying to open a seal over the Hellmouth. However, Jonathan's blood isn't enough, and the Big Bad sends the hooded men (revealed to be Harbringers) to capture Spike, using blood dripping from him to open the seal and bring forth a "real vampire". Oh, and the Watcher's Council is blown up, and no one knows where Giles is (grr).