The way I review theses episodes are as if I am sitting right next to you, watching the episode. Basically commentary. Essentially an overview rather than a review. I’m not going to give a synopsis because to me, Buffy episodes can’t really be summed up in a paragraph. There is just so much stuff there that you really should just watch the episode. My posts are more “gloss over plot” and more “focus in on certain moments”. Purely for fun, hope you enjoy! (P.S. Words in bold white are actual screen captions, I occasionally add to them.)
We open at the Bronze, where Buffy is getting her ass handed to her by a vamp. Xander appears to save the day. Either Buffy is sick/on drugs, or THIS IS A DREAM. The latter becomes more and more likely as Buffy begins to make eyes at Xander, who proceeds to strap on a guitar and slam out a chord like a total try-hard.
Buffy tells him he’s drooling. Because if you’ve forgotten, ALL THAT HIGHLY IMPLAUSIBLE SHIT WAS DREAM.
Cut to Xander sleeping in class. The teacher is asking a questions about ants. He calls on Buffy, who of course doesn’t know the answer. Willow attempts to mime out the answer by molesting Xander to symbolize touch. She sniffs the air near him to mime “smell” but Buffy says, “B.O.?” because in her mind that is somehow the most logical answer. Willow gives a great WTF face. Thanks for trying, better luck next time.
The teacher is not impressed with Buffy’s crap answer, asking her to stay after class. He tells her that Flutie showed him her record. They discuss how Buffy could academically succeed if she applied herself and did the homework. He supposes she has a good excuse for not doing it.
After their little discussion the teacher offers some encouraging words to Buffy before sending her on her way. I’m not going to lie – I was in love with this teacher for a little bit because I really admired him for treating Buffy fairly and allowing her a chance to succeed despite past errors. But then like all good people in the Whedonverse, he dies. A tentacle thingy appendage pops out and grabs him and his hipster glasses fall to the floor.
Xander goes into the Bronze alone and wanders up to the front of the dance floor to stare at the lead guitarist awkwardly, and then walk away. Some jocks “question his manliness” so he goes over to touch Buffy and Willow in order to prove that he has game. Willow’s totally into it, but Buffy leaves as soon as she sees Angel slinking in a nearby corner. He tells her she looks cold and gives her his jacket. Now you’re going to be cold Angel, in that thin tank top. SOMEONE GET THAT BOY A JACKET!
Willow watches from afar and you can totally tell she’s starting to ship them while Xander spews jealous hate.
Angel tells Buffy to watch out for something that could potentially rip her throat out. Sounds like fun.
Back at school, Giles makes a joke and laughs at it, and it is utterly perfect.
Xander reveals that the science teacher is missing. Buffy is pissed, as am I. Xander becomes incomprehensible as he spots a woman with really ugly yellow eye shadow. Maybe it’s a fetish thing. This cheesy jungle themed music starts to play complete with a pan flute. The teachers saunters up to Xander and asks where Science 109 is. Bitch if you walked into the school I’m sure you could easily find Science 109 just by walking down the hall or maybe ASKING THE FRONT OFFICE but hell I won’t judge you for torturing Xander because he’s easy prey. Predictably, he can’t form a coherent sentence so his jock enemy helps her to find the room. Xander is disappointed in himself while Buffy and Willow are totally thinking,”This poor mother fucker.”
In class Buffy and Willow question why Dr. Gregory’s (the dead science teacher) glasses were on the floor. They don’t have too much time to chat, as it is revealed that Yellow Eye Shadow Woman With An Accent I Can’t Quite Place aka Ms. Natalie French is Dr. Gregory’s replacement and will be teaching class for the rest of the semester. She begins her lesson plan:
“The Praying Mantis is a fascinating creature. Forced to live alone. Who can tell me why?Buffy?”
Buffy makes an awesome pun, saying that maybe it’s because they are “bug-ugly.” Ms. French gets pissed. Almost as if she is personally offended. OH MY. MAYBE SHE IS A PRAYING MANTIS. We’ll have to wait and see. She proposes that the class create model egg sacs for the science fair and asks for volunteers to help her after class. All the guys raise their hands. It must be that yellow eye shadow.
In the cafeteria, the poor Scoobies are forced to consume “hot dog surprise.” This literally looks vomit-inducing. I believe Willow is in agreement.
Xander questions aloud, “I wonder what she (Ms. French) sees in me?” while staring into a napkin dispenser.
I also took a screen shot of the lunch menu in the background just to remind everyone how much high school lunch sucked:
Cordelia bumps into Buffy and is bitching about some “medically prescribed lunch” that her “doctor ships daily” as she walks to the fridge in the kitchen area. Well, hate to break it to ya, but…
LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE EATING HUMAN TODAY. (Headless Dr. Gregory to be exact.)
The Scoobies gather in the library to lament the death of Dr. Gregory. Buffy has visible tears on her face. Giles says that he liked him, with a far off look on his face that suggests something was going on behind the scenes. Buffy vows to get to the bottom of this…uh-oh, I feel a pun coming up…she has to get AHEAD before the monster of the week does!! Ha ha ha, get it? Because Dr. Gregory was missing his head?? Yeah… I’ll be here all week. *slinks into corner*
Buffy reminds everyone that Angel had warned her about something. Giles says that he wished he knew what Angel was talking about, as he’s been reading hard to try and find out what’s up. Here’s a thought: GO ASK ANGEL. Can’t find him? Have Buffy stand in the corner of a dark alley, he’s bound to show up. Anyway, Giles informs everyone of another murder of a homeless man that occurred in Weatherly Park, but it was vastly different from Dr. Gregory’s murder. The homeless man was shredded (sounds like Angel’s cryptic fork guy), so the Scoobies deduce that the two murders where unrelated. Buffy reaffirms that the murder happened in Weatherly Park. Giles says yes, and warns Buffy not to go/do anything rash, to which Buffy agrees. Next scene: Buffy in Weatherly Park.
She finds the scissor hand vampire and fights him (making weird grunting noises the whole fight) but can’t finish him because the cops randomly show up. Sunndydale cops actually doing their job? Everyone take a shot.
Buffy follows the scissor vamp and he jumps a fence while Buffy stays back. We see Ms. French walking down the street. Why is a woman with arm loads of groceries walking down the street alone at night, you ask? Well, maybe it’s because SHE AIN’T GOT REASON TO BE SCARED. Scissor vamp goes right up to her back and Ms. French turns around. The vamp hisses and runs away, escaping through a sewer hatch. What the hell is up with that? I can’t blame the yellow eye shadow this time. Ms. French must be something hell-mouthy. Luckily Buffy saw this whole exchange. Ms. French is now #1 on the murder suspects list.
Buffy tells Giles about her discovery, before heading to class. Flutie intercepts, and tries to force Buffy into counseling to deal with Dr. Gregory’s death. I’d just like to point out that while this is going on, some kids are legitimately looking at the student art in the hallway as if it was some kind of gallery. Shouldn’t they have somewhere to be?
Buffy gets herded to the counseling room by Flutie and waits outside listening to Cordelia for a bit before she leaves, as she is already late for science class.
In that very class, Ms. French is seducing Xander:
Buffy runs up to the locked door and peers into the window. Ms. French’s back is turned, but she completely turns her head to look at Buffy in a “full-on Exorcist twist.” WTF? Nice job completely exposing yourself. What a stupid villain.
Buff and Will head to the library. Buffy wonders where Blayne, who helped Ms. French the other night, is today, since he wasn’t in school. Suspicious-ness.
Ms. French is fixing herself a sandwich when Xander walks in. She asks him to work on the egg sac project at her house later that night, to which he obviously agrees. After he leaves, she pours crickets on her sandwich and bites into it with an audible crunch, smiling in ecstasy. Yep. This bitch is a Praying Mantis. Can I get a Lunchables version of that Cricket Sandwich?
Back in the library Buffy finds out that the Praying Mantis can turn it’s head up to 180 degrees when waiting for it’s next meal to walk by. Well, since she did this to Buffy, would that mean that Ms. French has the hots for Buff? Something to think about.
Giles and Will need some convincing so Buffy begins to list Praying Mantis factoids that apply to Ms. French. The fact that she uses the word factoids makes me love her even more.
Buffy: “Factoid 3: Her fashion sense screams predator.”
Willow: “It’s the shoulder pads.”
God, I love this show.
Willow hacks and finds out that Blayne’s mom called 911- he never returned home last night. Well shit. He was at Ms. French’s house! And who’s going there now? XANDER LAVELLE HARRIS. Buffy says she’ll warn him. She asks Willow to hack into the Coroner’s Office to find Dr. Gregory’s autopsy report. Giles calls Willow’s hacking a “computer invasion.” I like that better than hacking.
Buffy catches up with Xander and tells him to stay away from Ms. French, because she’s a Praying Mantis. Xander says Buffy is jealous, insults Angel, and generally treats Buffy in a rude manner before walking away. So basically he was just being himself.
Ms. French is preparing for a seduction, following every rule on the seduction checklist: Drinks, candles, music, and boobs.
Xander blatantly stares at her chest when she comes in.
Oh Xander, you typical guy. He makes this face when taking a sip of the martini:
He makes an ass out of himself as she asks leading questions. My favorite:
Ms. French: “Have you even been with a woman before?”
Xander: “You mean uh, in the same room?”
Yeah. That’s exactly what she means.
After some more double entendre fun and Xander proclaiming his love for Buffy, he drops to the ground, apparently black-out drunk from his one sip of martini. Ms. French has gone full Mantis as she drags him to her basement lair. He wakes up in a cage (notice the major ring bling he has on both his hands in this scene) and calls to Miss French the Mantis. She asks him to please call her Natalie. Aw! They’re on a first name basis. How sweet.
In the library, Giles is on the phone:
“Frankly, madam, I haven’t the faintest idea what time it is, nor do I care.” -Giles’ version of Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
Willow and Buffy confirm that Ms. French the Mantis killed Dr. Gregory. Since Buffy saw Xander walking home, she says he’s in no immediate danger. Cut to the next scene: Xander in immediate danger in the basement. I FREAKING LOVE WHEN THEY DO THAT!! He’s stuck in the cell still with the other missing guy Blayne. He tells Xander that the She-Mantis ties you up, mates with you and then bites your head off. Fun, fun fun!
Giles informs Buffy and Willow that the She-Mantis only preys on virgins.
Buffy: “Virgins? Well, Xander’s not a, uh…I mean, he’s probably…”
Willow: “…gonna die!”
Buffy comes up with a plan: some good old-fashioned slice and dice complete with bat sonar to freak the shit out of She-Mantis. I can’t wait!
Buffy, Giles and Willow show up to Ms. French’s house, but an old woman opens the door. She tells them that she is Ms. French. SO that means She-Mantis stole her identity! What a bitch! That ALSO means that she could be anywhere. So rather than have Willow bang on doors, Buffy jumps into the sewer and promptly finds scissor vamp (how she did this so fast, one can only wonder) to help them find Ms. French’s house. When he is particularly weary of one house, Buffy knows it’s the one. Then she stakes him with a fence post. Bad ass!
In the basement She-Mantis is shoving her face in Xander’s, repeating, KISS ME. Ain’t so hot now, is she Xander?
Buffy busts in and sprays some
air freshener Bug Repellent at She-Mantis. She holds up the tape recorder to play the bat sonar but Giles’ voice plays instead. WTF?!?!! He tells her it’s the wrong side. NICE GOING. Albeit comedy gold. She-Mantis smacks the recorder out of Buffy’s hand, but Giles gets a hold of it and lets it rip. She-Mantis is left vulnerable as Buffy hacks the living shit out of her. Buffy has saved the day again.
At the Bronze, Buffy is unwinding at the bar. Angel comes up, lookin good as hell. Buffy thanks him for the tip on scissors vamp. (Which I wouldn’t even call a tip, more like a vague hint.) She tries to give his jacket back.
Buffy: “Well…anyway, you can have your jacket back.”
Angel: “It looks better on you.”
MY REACTION EXACTLY! Yay! Buffy is falling for broody Angel and I wouldn’t have it any other way!! #goodbutneverasgoodaswillowandtara
At the very end of the episode, Buffy gets Dr. Gregory’s glasses and tucks them into his jacket pocket after class. It’s a really sad moment. Buffy already feels like bad things happen wherever she goes, and this incident was probably no exception. He was nice to her too. I hope Willow gave her a hug after this debacle. As she walks away, it is revealed that MS. FRENCH LAID EGGS UNDERNEATH THE CLOSET IN THE CLASS ROOM!!! SOMEONE EXTERMINATE THAT SHIT!!
Final Score: 5.5/10
There were a lot of great one-liners in this episode. We got to see the sensitive, vulnerable side of Buffy as she mourned the loss of Dr. Gregory. Xander’s jealousy issues towards Buffy and now Angel are slowly reaching a boiling point, and Willow continues to hopelessly pine over Xander. The plot of this episode is the typical Season 1 Monster of the Week drill, and it really wasn’t that great in my opinion. So I’ll stay with a solid 5.5.
My favorite lines:
Xander: “Needs should definitely be met as long as it doesn’t require ointments the next day.”
Willow: “Inquiring minds want to know.”
Cordelia: “I’m not saying that we should kill a teacher everyday just so I can lose weight.”
Xander: “I’m an idiot, and God bless you.”