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18 June 2014
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Episode Guide
The Freshman


There's a dizzying sense of disorientation throughout this episode; a feeling might not be comfortable, but will be familiar to anyone who, like Buffy, has had to acclimatise to a new environment.

So much has changed since the gang graduated that the reorientation process takes up great chunks of this episode. Considerable time is devoted to laying the foundations for this season’s arc story, too, so it’s to Whedon’s credit that he still manages to find space to work in a robust story, with interesting characters. (How many people were surprised when Sunday and her gang got dusted at the end of the episode?)

The change of venue, the advent of new characters (Kathy, Riley, Professor Walsh and Olivia) and the newly stirred-up relationships between the lead characters is initially quite giddying. Many fans will be disappointed that the established status quo has been shattered, but most will accept the inevitability that the series has to move on if it’s to remain fresh and vibrant.

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