High school is a battleground and Buffy the Vampire Slayer understood this better than most any other television series. BtVS personified all of those feelings of demoralization, isolation, and desperation, and it was those very real emotions that grounded the more fantastical elements of the show. The writers used the idea that everything feels like it’s life or death when you’re a teenager, quite literally using actual demons as a metaphor for personal ones.
Over twenty years after its pilot aired, BtVS remains just as beloved, groundbreaking and influential as it was back then. The genre show that rose from the ashes of a widely panned film became a series that somehow managed to transcend genre altogether. BtVS subverted expectations, challenged gender roles, and also gave us one of the 20th century’s greatest feminist icons. By shattering notions about what television was truly capable of, the TV landscape was forever altered in its wake.
Even a masterpiece like Buffy the Vampire Slayer is bound to leave a couple of loose threads dangling. No series explains everything perfectly and every show has certain inconsistencies. Some questions will always remain and it speaks volumes about the love for the series that we’re still debating them all these years later.
Here are 15 Unresolved Mysteries And Plot Holes From Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
15 One girl in all the world
"Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one.” This already doesn’t really make sense, but we’ll let it go because the Shadow Men obviously had their reasons. However, is there any logic behind why said Chosen One remains in one place?
Sunnydale isn’t the only area located on top of a Hellmouth, nor is it the only town plagued by the supernatural. It defies logic for Buffy to remain there - Kendra obviously went where the actual threat was.
Having a home base would be one thing. We know that when the series starts out, Buffy doesn’t even have her license yet, which would make travel pretty difficult - not to mention that whole truancy thing. Still, it’s never really explained why slaying isn’t a more mobile operation. Thankfully, the comics did address the issue by having Slayer cells positioned across the globe.
14 Normal Again
Perhaps this episode wrapped things up with a meta “what if” moment, but the truth is, “Normal Again” ends on a very ambiguous note. Throughout the installment, we are presented with evidence that the cause of Buffy’s psychosis is the villainous trio. Sure enough, after Buffy is given the antidote to combat the poison causing her hallucinations, the status quo returns. However, the final scene is not of the Scoobies, but rather, of Buffy retreating into herself once again while still locked away in the institution.
Whedon has said that the ending is left open to interpretation, but fellow writer Marti Noxon stated, “If Buffy's crazy, then there is no girl power; it's all fantasy. And really the whole show stands for the opposite of that, which is that it isn't just a fantasy.” Still, some fans believe that the entire series was just one long delusion.
13 The Master and the Anointed One
Much about Buffy’s first official Big Bad remains a mystery. Whedon’s notes referred to him as Heinrich Joseph Nest, so it’s possible he was of Germanic descent. However, those notes also put his age at around six hundred. He had already “grown past the curse of human features” by 1609 when he met Angelus, so he must’ve been older.
Season 10 of the comics revealed that the Master was sired by Demon Lord Archaeus, but the year is unknown. He was the only vampire ever to leave behind a skeleton after death and although it can be assumed that this was due to his age, it was never explicitly stated in the show.
Aside from the Master, not much was revealed about Collin, aka the Anointed One. Apparently, he was meant to play a pivotal role in season 2, but Andrew J. Ferchland was aging too quickly to continue to portray him.
12 Angel’s strength level
While it can be said that Buffy’s level of strength depended on who wrote the episode, it was not nearly as inconsistent as Angel’s. His power seemed to grow exponentially from the time he was introduced until he got his own series. Sure, you can say that he hadn’t yet committed himself to the cause early on, but wasn't clear that he could be a match for any match for the Slayer until he lost his soul.
Does anyone remember when Kendra locked Angel in a cage at Willy’s and he remained trapped by the world’s smallest padlock on an incredibly flimsy door? Though this was probably due to budgetary constraints, perhaps a different means of containing him would’ve made more sense. This is one glaring example of many that was later ignored for the sake of powering up Angel.
11 Vampires vs the Sun
There is an inconsistency regarding the way that vampires are killed in the presence of sunlight. If they are extras, the undead pretty much burst into flames the second that they are exposed, but main characters seem to have a bit of a grace period.
There are enough examples of this happening that the difference is quite apparent to anyone paying attention.
This was obviously necessitated by the story at times, but it doesn’t change the fact that different reactions to the sun for different vampires doesn’t make any sense. We’re not saying that we would’ve rather seen Spike burn, but all of the “redshirt” vampires go up in flames immediately, while vamps who actually matter catch fire very slowly.
This is an issue that has been pointed out by many BtVS fans. When Buffy first battles a Turok-Han, she is completely decimated. The Slayer is not only bested, but were it not for the First’s instructions to keep her alive, Buffy would’ve met her end right there.
This would all be fine if not for the fact that when the Slayers fight an army of them in “Chosen”, girls with far less fighting experience than Buffy cut right through the Turok-Hans.
Sure, plenty of those girls die in battle, but if all of the Übervamps were as strong as the one that Buffy fought, the Slayers wouldn’t have gotten far at all. One possible explanation is that the first Turok-Han was called forth by the proper ritual, while the army was rushed, making them less formidable. This makes sense, but was never stated on the show.
9 The Night of St. Vigeous
For an annual vampire holy night, this holiday seems to pass every year without much drama.
The show only deals with the Night of Saint Vigeous during season 2.
It seems like a pretty big deal. For the three nights preceding it, vampires prepare by fasting, chanting, and self-mortification. This is all in commemoration of the vampire Saint Vigeous’s crusade through the Middle East. It was also said that the vampires were at full strength on this night.
It could be argued that once Spike killed the Anointed One, the rituals so important to the Order of Aurelius were abandoned because he and Dru had little respect for them. The guy couldn’t even wait for the proper night to attack Buffy. Still, it’s strange that this important vampire holiday was never revisited in either Buffy or Angel.
8 Jesse was never mentioned again
Putting aside the fact that neither the writing nor Eric Balfour’s performance gave viewers much reason to care about Jesse’s fate, it’s a bit strange that Xander’s best friend was never mentioned again - especially considering that Xander was the one to put a stake through his heart.
BtVS became very well known for exploring emotional fallout rather than simply having the characters immediately recover. This is probably the only instance of such a traumatic event taking place and the consequences being literally nothing.
It was actually planned to have Jesse return as the First in “Conversations with Dead People” but Balfour was unavailable, so instead the episode became the only one in which Xander does not appear. Even the comics, which are currently pepping a 12th season, haven’t mentioned Jesse more than once, despite expanding upon many elements of the series.
7 The Initiative was not stealthy
When you think of a secret government agency, you probably don’t imagine a bunch of dudes walking around wearing ski masks during the day. That is, however, exactly what the Initiative was when we were introduced to them. Whether they were “blending in” on Halloween or just hanging out in broad daylight looking shady, one thing is for certain: these guys were the opposite of stealthy.
It turns out that the main reason BtVS featured such a sad excuse for a secret government organization can be traced back to a lack of funds, according to Joss Whedon. “…we had the crappiest secret government agency in the history of television, and we did it. We didn't have the money to make them better.” We suppose that’s a fair point.
6 Buffy’s birthday
Perhaps Moloch is to blame for this error in continuity, but in season 1 episode, “I Robot, You Jane”, Buffy’s birthday is shown twice - and they are two different dates.
An online profile lists it as October 24th, 1980, while later the website reads May 6th, 1979.
However, season 4 installment, “Doomed” adds another layer of mystery when Buffy claims that she is “Capricorn, on the cusp of Aquarius.” This makes more sense than the previous dates, because it would put her birthday around mid or late January, which is when the show generally celebrated it.
According to Whedon, Buffy Summers was born January 19th, 1981. This seems logical considering she graduated with the class of ’99. Perhaps Moloch the Corrupter corrupted the data after Willow inadvertently released him into the internet during the season 1 episode.
5 Willow's magic
Any addict will tell you that addiction doesn’t just go away once you realize that it’s a part of you. Yet, that’s exactly what happened to Willow’s. Her entire season 6 storyline was based around her growing addiction to magic. Whether you loved or hated the metaphor, it wasn’t subtle enough to be mistaken for anything else: Willow was a junkie.
We recognize that having Willow not use magic for the show’s final season wouldn’t really have worked, but claiming that she could with a throwaway line that it was part of her and specifically not an addiction didn’t make a lot of sense. The writers needed to either explain that situation more clearly or not use the addiction plot in the first place. Instead, they tried to have it both ways and the result was confusing to say the least.
4 The mantis eggs from “Teacher’s Pet”
This season 1 episode began the trend of demons finding Xander attractive, although the mantis lady wasn’t nearly as interested in his looks as she was in his what he could give her. However, prior to setting her sights on Xander, it would appear that Ms. French mated with Dr. Gregory before beheading him - like mantises do.
The final shot of the episode reveals that eggs were left behind and are hatching.
This was never brought up again. Did the mantis people hatch and go on to live their mantis lives? Did Buffy find them all and hack them to bits too? More than likely, the writers never thought about it again, but the fans sure did.
3 Can vampires breathe or not?
Much has been made of the fact that Spike smoked throughout the series, especially considering Angel’s statement about vampires not having breath. Let’s move past that, though, because there are more serious continuity errors where this subject is concerned.
For example, in season 2 Spike puts Drusilla out with a sleeper hold. Sure, the way that this works is by cutting off blood flow to the brain. However, the reason the hold has the intended effect is because the blood is carrying the oxygen necessary to remain conscious. So really, a sleeper hold should’ve been completely useless on a vampire.
Another glaring example is when the First tortures Spike in season 7 by drowning him! We’re not saying that having your head repeatedly forced underwater would be pleasant, but if you don’t need to breathe, it’s probably not all that scary.
2 Why not re-ensoul more vampires?
If the idea is that when a person is turned, they are nothing more than a demon, then why not try to restore their humanity? While we recognize that the Orb of Thesulah that Giles just happened to be using as a paperweight is a rare item, they were obviously not impossible to find. Plus, there was no proof that once the Ritual of Restoration was complete that the Orb could not be used again for the same purpose.
We understand that it would be impossible to re-ensoul all vampires, but using the spell as a means of fighting the undead was never even discussed. Obviously, having a soul doesn’t preclude people from committing monstrous acts. Even still, it seems a bit strange that no one ever discussed this option.
1 The library was always empty
This strange phenomenon has been addressed by the show on more than one occasion, with characters being completely shocked that a non-Scooby dared to enter the library. Sure, the Scoobies were in high school and needed a place to meet, but the library is a pretty public one. Even if the students of Sunnydale High weren’t particularly erudite, it’s still strange that neither students nor faculty made more than the occasional appearance.
Aside from the fact that the library was so empty that you could hear crickets chirping, it just seems like at some point, someone might’ve noticed that the same students were always there. They were also awfully cozy with the school librarian, which to the casual observer would’ve seemed a bit off. At least the series always had a good sense of humor about it.
Can you think of any other Buffy the Vampire Slayer mysteries or plot holes? Let us know in the comments!