PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE. If your diet requires you to dine on television spoiler-free ... good luck with that.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Full On Exorcist Twist

Episode 1.4: Teacher's Pet. Original Airdate 3.24.97

"Buffy's biology teacher is killed by a giant praying mantis that assumes the form of a beautiful substitute teacher. Her next victim will be Xander unless Buffy can stop her."

Zelda's Thoughts:
  • Xander is gay for Angel and we all know it.
  • Yeah, fine, Daniel, Nicky Brendan is mugging a lot in this episode. I still think he's way better than Amber Benson.
  • Okay, her body is fine, but that teacher is in no way hot enough to warrant a slo-mo camera.
  • Just curious - how many teenage boys are actually convinced that their teachers have the hots for them? Do we have a statistic on that? [57% - D]
  • Everyone, note - Giles is eating an apple OF SYMBOLISM.
  • Natalie French's weirdass accent, which sounds like an odd hybrid of Welsh, Irish, Southern, British, and Australian, has been identified - she's South African. Who knew?
  • Shenanigans! There's got to be a more practical way to eat your live cricket lunch. At least three of them escaped!
  • Can we talk about Tony Head's giant forehead scar? What's that about?
  • Blaine is a Poor Man's Percy (they shoulda had this be Percy). And that's not saying much.
  • Buffy almost broke a door. But then Old Natalie French opened it. Curses! Foiled again!
  • Shenanigans! I call extreme foul on those stupid eggs in the last shot. It's such an X-Files/Twilight Zone/Horror Movie Franchise move, and it's beneath the show (especially because it never ever ever comes up again). It's just cheese.
  • ALSO - okay. We are told that in order to mate and such, Lady Mantis needs a virgin male - she lays her eggs, she mates with him, she eats his head. Okay, cool. So um. Dr. Gregory, Buffy's very old biology teacher got his head eaten off, and eggs got laid. Poor old dude was a virgin?
                    Stupid Eggs                                              Old Man Virgin

 Daniel's Thoughts
  • Shenanigans! Why oh why would Covert Bug Lady risk twisting her neck around in full view of the entire class, half of which is teenage boys lusting after her? 
  • Shenanigans! Why does Buffy think Xander wouldn't be a virgin? She's met him. [Also, she and Willow are both virgins. Way to be a hypocrite, B. - Z]
  • First character death I felt bad about: Dr. Gregory.  He was so nice to Buffy! And didn't think she was a criminal!
  • Bad monster effects! I can picture a stage hand holding the end of that bad insect arm.
  • So most Buffy fans know that Joss wanted to make either Xander or Willow gay...Xander's whole "She didn't tell us he was buff" almost sounds like he wants Angel himself.
  • Xander fashion faux pas: Blacks shoes/White socks
  • By far one of the worst one-offs of the season, if not the series. [Go Fish, The Zeppo, Reptile Boy, Doublemeat Palace and I would like to have a word with you ... - Z]
  • That last shot was incredibly pointless unless they planned on having a sequel to this episode...and I'm sure glad they didn't.
  • One stake.
  • Although loved...

Cutsey Buffy and Willow


Sorry, we're in complete accordance this week. No crossfire for you. Kill us both, Spock!

Favorite Lines:
Zelda: "And while we're on the subject, what kind of a girly name is Angel?" - Xander
Daniel: "No dear, I'm right here." - Natalie French (the real Natalie French)

90s Factoid:
Very shiny shirts worn by men were a thing

Arc/Continuity Stuff:
  • Xander's middle name is Lavelle.
  • Xander's first basement. Not his last.
  • Angel's first showing of some skin:
And Buffy finally gets it
Voiceover - Creepy B-Movie Guy
Angel's Character - Annoying Cryptic Brooding Guy AND 90s Charming Mysterious Guy (how does he do it?)
Dead Humans - 1
Dead Undeads - 2 (and one dream vamp. nice try, X)
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 1
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 1 (Mrs. Mantis)
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 4
Apocalypse Called - 0


  1. I resemble The Zeppo being considered a bad one-off! >:(

    1. Hahaha, yeah V, I think Daniel agrees with you on that. It's actually one of my very least favorite episodes of the series, and I prediction the crossfire and comments section for that episode to be highly colorful.

  2. For those of us who aren't trained as actors, but are curious, can I get an explanation of what "mugging" means?

    Or maybe I don't want one. Because I liked Dawn fine until Zelda explained to me why Trachtenberg was awful and then I couldn't un-notice it ever.

    1. "Mugging" basically means overacting. Often someone who mugs pulls exaggerated faces (Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura), or is just sort of overdoing moments. When it's deliberate (as in Jim Carrey), it's usually for comedic effect. But sometimes it just reads as dishonest or annoying. Daniel calls NB out on mugging as Xander with his odd drawling of a word which he does a lot in the beginning of season one ("You forgot yourrrrrrrrrrrrrrr ... stake").

      The trouble one can get into with mugging (which I think means pulling faces more than anything else) is if you are doing it for comedic effect ... but it's not funny.

      Is that clearish? If not, let me know, and I'll try again. :)

      I don't have nearly the problem with NB that Daniel does (esp in comparison to AB or MT or fucking Glory) - I think he's a bit green at first, but I think he's honest and makes good choices for Xander.


      Though I do feel for you - I used to like Gwyneth Paltrow (because I love Shakespeare in Love) and then someone pointed out how bad she is and now I can't un-see it.

    2. Gwyneth is amazing. That is all.

    3. Yes, that makes sense. And is something I noticed, but thought was actually pretty much in character. I feel like a lot of teenagers consciously overexaggerate mannerisms in occasionally failed attempts to be funny; Xander seemed pretty normal in that way.

      So there.

  3. Ha! Finally he cleans his glasses. Yeah, I'm way too obsessed with that.

    I like this episode and I remember as a kid thinking the ending with the eggs was all badass and dark because the good guys didn't technically win. Looking back, it is kind of wasted in that it was never brought up again but I still like this episode. It was a lot of fun and I for one always rooted for Xander and liked his episodes, including my favourite, The Zeppo. I'll be sure to comment when you guys get to that one. ;)

    1. Blinvy, here's how ridiculous I am with the stats: when Giles got knocked out in Never Kill a Boy (review going up either tomorrow or Wed), I actually cheered because I got to add to the stats. How sick is that? Poor Giles and his many hilarious concussions.

      Oho, we will do much battle when it comes to The Zeppo, I predict. But I really like The Pack, another Xander ep (review soon to come!)

  4. Why does Buffy think Xander wouldn't be a virgin? Because he has a penis, I mean obviously!
    Xander's whole "She didn't tell us he was buff" almost sounds like he wants Angel himself.
    And All the fangirls and I sqeed, it was loud...and obnoxious

  5. Have to agree this isn't a great episode, but I think there are plausible explanations for some of your shenanigans.

    The slo-mo camera doesn't make sense at the time, but we later learn it's due to her pheromones. We're seeing the slo-mo because of her effect on Xander. (This also explains Nicky's mugging; the show is playing the whole attracted-by-pheromones thing way over the top for a joke. I expect they *wanted* Nicky to play it that way.)

    Is Dr. Gregory a virgin? Plausible, but maybe the mantis just killed him to open up a spot for her infiltration, and didn't mate with him. (The stupid shot of an egg hatching in the science closet at the end of the episode indicates they were fertilized somehow, though. Maybe he lied and said he was a virgin. She did ask Xander instead of just smelling him. Maybe that explains why the hatched eggs weren't viable so we never heard from them again. I think I'd leave the shenanigans in place on at least some of that, though.)

    Neck twist: I think the mantis forgot to stay undercover because it sensed a threat (from Buffy, who had seen Fork Guy run away from her last night), and reacted as a bug. Either that or she was trying to intentionally intimidate Buffy. Or maybe the mantis just forgot that human necks don't work that way; or missed that lesson in her human imitation 101 class.

    Why does Buffy think Xander isn't a virgin? Buffy's only 16 herself and not old enough to realize exactly how much of an act teenage boy bravado is. Everyone thinks other people are probably getting more action than they are. She'd only known Xander for a month or two at that point. I thought it was totally plausible and funny.

    I like the way SMG plays that, where her first thought is "oh he's safe for sure", then as she starts to think about Xander, she realizes that it's just a guess / assumption based on nothing. When Willow says "he's gonna die", Buffy just sighs and thinks "yeah, that's what I was starting to be afraid of".