Mar. 10, 1997
60 min.
UPN TV Network

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer. Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Buffy Summers. For five years Buffy slayed vampires on the WB, then for her last two seasons she went to UPN.

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The Master Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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The Master

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  Played by:
Mark MetcalfMark Metcalf
Mark Howes Metcalf is an American actor in both television and film. Metcalf attended Westfield High ...

Character Bio

The Master photo
The Master is one of the oldest living vampires, and the first Big Bad that Buffy faces in Sunnydale. The Master was trapped in a church which collapsed in an earthquake and he became trapped in the Hellmouth when he tried to open it. Prophecy foretells that he will kill Buffy; he bites her and she drowns, but is revived by Xander. She kills him, and he turns to dust, leaving only his bones. When she is faced with the threat of his resurrection, Buffy later smashes them with a sledgehammer. The Master appears again in the season 3 episode "The Wish", which is set in an alternative reality where Buffy never came to Sunnydale.

The Master is the ruler of the Order of Aurelius, a vampire cult which has included the likes of Darla, Luke, and the Three, amongst many other ancient vampires. The Master is known to be very old. He sired Darla, who is the sire of Angel. Unlike other vampires, the Master does not assume human appearance. In one Angel episode flashback, Darla tells Angelus (Angel) that "the Master has grown past the curse of human features." He bears a strong resemblance to Count Orlok of the film "Nosferatu." Joss Whedon's script for the pilot ("Welcome to the Hellmouth"; the first episode of Buffy) indicates that the character's actual name is Heinrich Joseph Nest and is over 600 years old; however, his appearance in the episode Darla suggests that he's far older, as he already had a demonic appearance in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Master was Buffy's first "Big Bad". He first came to Sunnydale decades before the series takes place, seeking to open the town's infamous Hellmouth. Unfortunately for him, opening dimensional portals is difficult, and he instead triggered an earthquake that leveled the town and buried him along with the Hellmouth. Adding to his problems, the failed attempt also sealed the Master in a mystical force field. The Order of Aurelius believes in a prophecy that predicts the Master escaping his confinement and leading demons and vampires in a conquest of the human realm to claim dominion over the world.

Unlike ordinary vampires, the Master can exercise hypnotic control over Buffy, as well as limited telekinetic powers. As a result of his old age and extensive feeding, the Master possesses strength and fighting experience far superior to that of most vampires.

As the leader of the Order of the Aurelius, the Master is a ruthless overlord who expects total devotion from his followers. Minions who fail to carry out their objectives are brutalized by the Master himself or called upon to mutilate themselves in an act of penance. Despite his cold-hearted nature, the Master is prone to favoritism. His most treasured disciple is Darla, whom he views as a daughter. When she chooses to abandon him to pursue her love affair with Angelus, he respects her decision to leave and orders his henchmen to let them pass. When she dies in "Angel", the Master becomes visibly distraught and nearly loses the will to carry out his plans. Nevertheless, words of encouragement from his right-hand child, the Anointed One, strengthen his resolve to continue making preparations for his ascension.

In "Prophecy Girl", Buffy finally faces the Master, and is bitten and left to drown by the vampire, who wastes no time in escaping. However, Buffy is revived by Xander, and faces the Master again, ultimately impaling him on a broken desk. Unlike most vampires, who turn completely to dust upon their death, the Master leaves behind a skeleton; the Anointed One later tries to use these bones in a ritual to return the Master to life, but Buffy interrupts the ritual and crushes the skeleton with a sledgehammer, ending his threat permanently.

Despite his death, the Master appears several more times on both Buffy and its spin-off, Angel, usually in flashbacks. A notable circumstance occurred in the Buffy episode "The Wish" in which Cordelia inadvertently wishes in front of Anyanka that Buffy never came to Sunnydale, thus throwing her into an alternate reality in which the Master rules the town with an iron fist. Just before the reality is negated, a well-nourished Master kills Buffy with startling ease when she attempts to assassinate him.

In the first Buffy the Vampire Slayer video game, the Master returns as a phantom and temporarily possesses Angel with the help of a trio of demons known as the Dreamers. The Dreamers are vanquished by Buffy and the Master battles her in corporeal form due to a spell being cast by Angel, Giles, Cordelia, Xander and Willow. Buffy kills the Master again by staking and according to Giles' ending narration, doing so destroys his spirit.

The final appearance of the Master is in Lessons, as a form of the First in an attempt to drive Spike completely insane.

Episode Screenshots

07x08 - Sleeper
Season 7, Episode 08
03x13 - The Zeppo
Season 3, Episode 13
05x02 - Real Me
Season 5, Episode 02
06x15 - As You Were
Season 6, Episode 15
[More Episodes]

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