Pretty early on in Prophecy Girl, almost at the beginning we have a long drawn out (slow motion) of a pretty simple action sequence. Buffy gets hurled to the ground from off camera, landing in obvious pain from the impact with the ground. She sits up sluggishly.
A man’s leg appears in the camera’s view. Her adversary is standing while she is, as far as you could tell from her prone position, at his mercy.
Naturally, this man is a vampire and the blood-sucking fiend smiles in anticipation:
He obviously thinks he is about to have supper. But he is wrong. This is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the chosen one. She alone is called and mystically equipped to fight back against the legions of darkness with her supernatural strength and reflexes. She rolls backward to her feet, stands up, pulls out her stake, watches the vampire’s grin fade, and then starts grinning herself before she slays him, turning the creature into dust.
Despite wearing a prominent cross Buffy’s m.o. is to destroy her enemies, either by shoving a sharp stick through their dead hearts (as she does to this hopeless undead victim) or cutting off their heads, or shoving them into sunlight (if she has the convenience of confronting one indoors during daylight) or burning them to ashes with fire (and one time tricking one into drinking holy water). Her strength and endurance and reflexes make her the mightier in most any fight with a vampire. She’s the power that monster’s fear.
Not all vampires are equal. Sunnydale, California, where Buffy lives, is over a “hellmouth”–a portal into the dark dimensions. An ancient and powerful vampire called “The Master” once tried to fully open the hellmouth and unleash all the demons on the world. He was stopped and ended up trapped down underground in a church that was buried during an earthquake. He now wants to find the power to escape to the surface and, in so doing, fulfill his quest to open the hellmouth.
The Master is much stronger than any other demon or monster Buffy has yet confronted. Even though he can’t leave his underground prison, he has many vampire minions who obey his orders and cause problems in Sunnydale above. Buffy knows she needs to find his lair and defeat the Master. She also knows this will be very difficult because he is so strong. Still, she is the Slayer and sooner or later, she is sure, she will be prepared to go down and battle him and defeat him with her superior strength and skill. That is her calling and her birthright. She is the slayer, the chosen one.
But, in the meantime, her “Watcher,” Giles, has discovered a prophecy that changes everything. Buffy is to confront the master on the night that he is to rise and he will kill her. The prophecy is not vague on the point. Buffy will die. (The prophecy even includes Isaiah 11.6–albeit horribly decontextualized).
Giles tries to hide what he has learned but she overhears him discussing it. She is going to confront the master and die. It is her destiny. Buffy completely freaks out and insists, “I quit.” She refuses to be the slayer anymore, birthright be damned. She emphatically grabs the cross from around her neck, glances at it once in her hand, and tosses it onto the table. She will not follow her calling if it means going to her death against the powers of evil.
But despite all the drama, Buffy changes her mind. After several peers are murdered by vampires on school grounds, as part of the stepped up campaign on behalf of The Master, Buffy realizes she can’t try to escape the devastation others are experiencing. The prophecy didn’t say that the Master survived their encounter. Perhaps they will both be destroyed. She has to try. She returns to the school library and puts the cross back around her neck. She’s reconciled to her calling.
She finds her way to The Master’s lair/prison and attempts to kill him. He is too fast and seems to have a telekinetic power that makes her strength useless. As a typical vampire he bites her on the neck. But before he does so he tells Buffy that she is the sacrificial lamb. Without the strength he will gain from her blood he would not have the power to break free and unleash hell on earth. She has empowered him.
He bites her and lets her unconscious body fall face first into a pool of water. Then he breaks the mystical barrier and ascends in power to wreak his will on the earth.