This is a ridiculous episode. That’s such an obvious thing that even saying it seems absurd but I’m just throwing it out there to start off. This is one of those monster of the week episodes that doesn’t add much to the plot and it’s hard to argue that it’s anything but filler. What we gain from this episode is finding out that Xander is a virgin (which I don’t think anyone found shocking), confirming that Willow is crushing on Xander (which no one finds shocking), watch Buffy make insane intuitive leaps and watch Xander try to defend his manhood. I have a fondness for the absurdity of the episode but I don’t feel like there’s necessarily anything to be gained from it.
I’m curious to see how Joelle feels about the opening daydream that Xander is having. Personally I really love it. It’s ridiculous and over the top but maybe because I was such an insane and dramatic child and had really vivid and insane visions of being rescued constantly through much of my growing up life, I found it charming in it’s absurdity. Obviously it also sets Xander up for every stupid and ridiculous decision that he will make throughout the course of this episode. Although we haven’t looked at it yet and we never will look at it in any depth, with the home life that Xander comes from it makes total sense to me that what he really longs for is to feel meaningful and to be able to rescue someone. Add to that his crush on Buffy, who will obviously never need him in that way (although he certainly will be meaningful to her and needed by her in a different way) and it makes sense to me that this would be his dream.
One thing I do find interesting in the episode is that they start exploring something that they will explore significantly better and in much more interesting ways as the show moves on and that is that being a slayer and living on a Hellmouth means that not only do people around you die a lot but you end up being responsible for finding out why. The moment Dr. Gregory is nice to Buffy, he was probably doomed. We can’t have too many people on Buffy’s side, outside of the Scoobies of course. He is grabbed by a comically awesome green monster arm after they all leave. I will end this entry on what I think are confusing questions about his fate but for now moving on.
At the Bronze that night is cryptic Angel. I have serious issues with this guy at all points in the show but this just makes me crazy. Why is he being so fucking evasive? He doesn’t need to tell her who or what he is to tell her what the fuck she is actually facing. Like it is totally possible that this could have been a life threatening type of deal for her and if he had just told her the details of what she was facing instead of muttering idiotic lines about the elusive “him” tearing her heart out, that could have actually helped her. Gah. Fuck Angel. I hate him sometimes. Anyway, so that happened and he gives her his jacket, which of course looks very cute on her because she’s Buffy. Xander expresses impotent rage, blah, blah.
When the body is discovered the next day, Buffy is totally devastated. This is one of those things that will slowly fade out as the show progresses, I think. Of course she’ll always be damaged by people close to her dying but there’s definitely an emotional shut down towards more peripheral people, which I’m sure would be necessary just to survive her life. Right now though she’s just a kid and this teacher who was actually nice to her has been horribly murdered. The only thing that pulls her out of it is really her job. It’s realizing that there are things she can actually do here that may not bring back Dr. Gregory but can at least avenge him. And so she lies to Giles and goes out hunting in what is by far the worst lit scene this show has ever had. She sees fork guy and then sees him run like hell away from Miss French, or sort of… lope away from her anyway.
When she tells Giles this, he asks the super good question, “Why would he do that?” This is a great question which, as far as I can tell is absolutely never answered. All right, so she’s a terrible monster creature whatever. First off, I see no reason why she would be interested in the vampire as by definition they are pretty much the opposite of pure (see season 5). Second off, vampires are also monster creatures so I feel like they would stand a shot against her. I mean, I don’t see any reason why they would be terrified of her anyway. Are we supposed to believe they’re like dogs or something, that they can just tell something is wrong with her? I don’t know because they never explain. Really, the whole mechanics of Miss French are absolutely never fully explained to my satisfaction. Giles says at one point that she must be a shape shifter or be able to distort perception. However they never bother to even mention which one she might be or if she’s either of those things. I know it’s just a dumb monster of the week episode but come on! I want to know.
Anyway, from this Buffy makes what I feel like is a basically insane intuitive leap to “Well, obviously she’s a giant bug monster.” I mean, I realize she just saw her head turn around and stuff but I feel like no matter what subject she was teaching, I would have quite a few things I would run through in my head before I got to giant bug monster who looks like a hot woman. I’m just going to critique a lot of things here because this episode is silly and that always makes me want to ask questions.
Xander is an asshole to Buffy because he’s being an idiot and apparently actually thinks there’s a possibility that this much older woman might have a thing for him? I mean, even with pheromones or whatever, I feel like that’s almost a little too stupid. But whatever. Xander is often a dick. Off he goes to Miss French’s house, where she is wearing a super hot little black dress and gives him spiked martinis and he babbles like an idiot till the drugs kick in and she throws him in a cage. Buffy realizes what’s going on, hunts down Miss French, finds out it isn’t Miss French, uses fork guy like an angry dog to find where she lives and leaps down in time to save the day. Look, the plot of this episode is just not that interesting. Of course she saves him and then Willow makes a little speech about how they’re doing the smart thing by staying virgins and the jock guy is stupid and angry and Xander does a cool little thing where he tears the eggs to shreds with a machete. Also, to his credit, he does apologize for being an idiot. Buffy has another conversation with Angel at The Bronze, where he congratulates her for doing such a good job fighting the pointless vampire (no thanks to him) and tells her to keep the jacket.
Then, of course, we get our final shot. I will use this time to throw in my question about Dr. Gregory. Since these eggs have been laid in the school, in the room where she killed him, are we to assume that she mated with Dr. Gregory? Are we to assume that Dr. Gregory was a super old virgin? Or did she carry the fertilized eggs from her house, which would clearly be much safer, and store them in the closet? What were they hanging up with? She’s not a spider. Since we never hear from them again, are we to assume that they slithered off somewhere to become full sized sexy women monsters too? Or did the Sunnydale High janitor finally show up?
Notes and Questions
Imdb tells me that Dr. Gregory was also in Witch. Did I miss that?
The principal doesn’t really go around showing your permanent record to the teachers, does he/she? Like is that legal?
Does Sunnydale high school not have a cleaning crew? I mean, his glasses were laying in the middle of the floor. Even if they were the first class of the day, which I’m willing to accept, wouldn’t someone have grabbed the glasses? Again, perhaps I don’t understand cleaning crews in high schools.
Do high school boys (or adult boys, whatever) really have these cliche discussions about how many times they’ve participated in sex? Like I’ll buy that they do, I just don’t know and have always been curious.
I know that Giles line about how “every day is the same” is delivered for comedy but honestly, too many days of sunshine feel insanely oppressive to me. I’m a big fan of rain. Just saying!
I have had several friends tell me that Miss French would not be allowed to dress that way as a teacher. Tell me, oh schooled people. Is this true?
Also, is a substitute teacher just going to be like, “Okay! Model eggs for the science fair!”?