Inca Mummy Girl

Note: I’m sorry, I’m publishing this one without pictures right now because the site we were using seems to have vanished and I just could not bring myself to find everything I needed. I am sorry. 😦

Apparently Joelle does not love writing about the monster of the week episodes as much as I do. I was initially thinking I did not love this episode so much and then I started watching it and was excited by all the things that amused me in it. I have way a lot to say as it turns out. 😛 So I guess I’ll just get going on it.

Let me start by asking some basic questions. I know that exchange students exist. I am aware that’s a thing. But I was not aware that they came for such short periods of time? 2 weeks seems like a really brief time to like… go to school and classes and such. Also, while I would totally understand Buffy’s mom deciding to take in one of these exchange students, it does seem weird to me that her mom would choose to have a male exchange student? Particularly considering how little she’s around, the fact that her daughter is 16 years old, the fact that she’s clearly worried about her being in trouble or whatever anyway and oh yeah, the fact that apparently the plan was for the student to sleep in her room. I’m just saying. This seems like a really poorly thought out plan.

I wonder how hard it is for Buffy to not use violence in day to day interactions? Like when that’s really something that she’s in training for on a constant basis and she knows that she has that ability. She is this very physical person and I imagine, while she is certainly an intelligent person, it is certainly true that talking people down is probably not her first impulse.

I wonder to some extent how much tutoring Willow does? It comes up from time to time but I never get a good sense of how much of her time is actually spent on that. Either way. On a much more important note, I wonder what exactly Rodney thought that he wanted with the giant, ugly plate? I mean, he wasn’t even in the room (I don’t think) when the presentation was going on so I don’t think that he heard the part about it being the seal for the curse? At least that I could see being sort-of a “cool” thing. Although I guess before this he was just defacing a mask for no reason so who knows.

I love seeing Buffy in this role of asking Giles almost as a father. “Can I go? Can I go?” As Joelle said in the last entry, obviously at this point Giles is far more connected to the Council at this point and he is still trying to come down on her about balancing her teenager life with her Slayer responsibilities. But I love this scene and how amazing would it have been to be able to kick my dad when he was telling me no? SO AWESOME, is the answer to that question. 😛

Oh yeah. We’ve forgotten about something. Rodney. That was a concern. “I don’t think I saw him on the bus back from the field trip.” Okay Sunnydale High. REALLY? REALLY? Do we really not even bother to do head counts? I mean, I realize that students die and disappear in this town all the time but I would really think that even in this school, it would be fairly important when coming back from a trip to make sure that you were coming back with the same number of kids you left with. For shame, for shame. Anyway. They’re sad about his death for a full 8 seconds or so and then we mostly don’t worry about that anymore. Who has time, really? 😛

Buffy has a brief talk with Xander about how he doesn’t actually have romantic feelings for Willow. Somehow during this conversation Willow walks in and neither of them notice. This drives me nuts on two levels. On one level it drives me crazy because unless they both lost their peripheral vision recently for no good reason, there is absolutely no excuse for them to have not noticed that door opening. Particularly Buffy, with all her Slayer skills, should definitely have noticed that. And the other level is just that this is one of those things in tv shows and movies that happens all the time and annoys me. How is that people are just constantly walking in and overhearing conversations about themselves? Frequently they walk in long enough to hear exactly the wrong part of a conversation but either way, this is really not something that has ever happened to me and I can’t imagine that it happens so frequently to other people either. It’s just a writer’s trick they use in scripts to move characters along and it always annoys me. JUST SAYING. It is not the last time it’ll happen in this show.

Well, since the museum was apparently really not paying any attention whatsoever to it’s precious collection of ancient South American artifacts, not only did they sneak in to look and discover that the mummy had been replaced by Rodney (wonder what the museum did about that, btw? How much you want to bet they just removed the braces? Not sure how you cover the whole “oops the ancient ugly plate is broken” thing though), but they stole what they could find of the seal too. But since Giles knows nothing about pictograms, Willow is apparently not sure how to use the internet to find them (I always think it’s a little weird that never comes up), so their that is “Well, gee. Ampata is from South America. So he could totally know how to interpret ancient pictograms, right?” Yeah, guys. That seems entirely likely.

Whatever. Buffy scurries off to the bus station to find Ampata. I’m totally confused as to why they would just send this exchange student to like… a bus station. Wouldn’t he fly in somewhere? I’m also confused about how in the world the still half mummified corpse of the Inca princess managed to find her way to the bus station from the museum. I mean, we have no idea of the distance, but however far it was, it still had to have been a difficult task. Especially since there was really no way for her to know where it was and it’s not like she could really ask in her condition. Realistically it would have made more sense for her to life suck someone else, look like a person, ask directions to the bus station. THEN life suck Ampata and meet Buffy. Also, how much of an international incident do you think it would cause for this high school student to just completely disappear? Wouldn’t his parents have been calling? Trying to make sure he was okay and everything? How did she explain the fact that Ampata just disappeared after a few days? This whole storyline takes place in such a completely insane alternate reality that it’s fun to contemplate.

FIRST SIGHTING OF OZ! I have nothing to say about that really, except that he’s funny and charming and adorable.

Xander takes Ampata to the completely deserted bleachers. She’s wearing the most disturbing mom jeans (can these please never come back in fashion?) and has her whole whatever about Twinkies with him. I always struggle somewhat with this idea that Xander is this guy who has never been anything but the MOST UNPOPULAR PERSON IN SCHOOL or whatever. Like it seems ridiculous that he doesn’t have friends besides Willow and Buffy or whatever. I agree he can totally be an asshole but certainly no more than a lot of people in that school and he’s certainly not such a geek that he should be untouchable or whatever. I feel certain that girls would have had crushes on him before. Always annoys me. Unexpectedly they are attacked by the man, who is weirdly fended off by being knocked down the bleachers once. I am really not clear on why he ran away.

Willow tells Xander he should take Ampada to the dance because she’s a better person than she should be. Ampada life sucks her guard. Does Ampada have super strength? I feel like she must but if so, then shouldn’t the guard ALSO have super strength? I feel like it should have been a lot more of a fight.

I really love the scene before the dance. It’s so well choreographed, both of them sort-of dancing around the edge of each other’s secrets as they shut drawers and trunks and stuff. It’s awesome. I love it. Best scene in the whole episode.

At the dance, we have our first view of Jonathan, Oz’s first view of a brokenhearted Willow and a whole lot of ridiculous costumes. Do exchange students have to speak some English to BE exchange students to America? I actually have no idea but all the exchange students I met briefly when I was younger did so I had always assumed…

Giles rushes to construct the seal. I love his glee at finding the pieces. Ampata kind of kicks his ass, which is another reason I assume she has super strength because he should be able to take some amount of care of himself. Buffy bursts in just in time with her pun about mummies who don’t “kiss and tell”. I feel like she spent the entire car ride thinking that up and was delighted to be able to deliver it. I think it probably ranks in like top 10 worst Buffy puns, which is saying something. It still makes me groan every time. Fight, fight, bang, bang, no more mummy. I do enjoy the last little bit, even if it’s not at all subtle in this episode. It’s a consistent Buffy theme. What makes you the person you are is the choices you end up making when it counts.

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Inca Mummy Girl

This is a silly episode.  And pretty racist? But mostly silly.

Buffy, I cannot handle this outfit. Stop it.

It opens with Buffy’s class going to a museum for a whole cultural shebang and talking about the foreign exchange students that will be staying with various students. Well, it opens with that, and Xander’s insanely inappropriate jealousy that a boy will, like, be near Buffy in any capacity. I’m so over you, Xander. Knock it off already and grow and change all that, please. You’re being gross.

I do enjoy how creepy the mummy looks, and find myself wishing (yet again) I had a room full of Buffy props in my house, to the delight and thrill of my guests, I’m sure. I also enjoy how creepy it is that the mummy sucks the life out of…that one kid’s name. (Who, by the way, broke that ancient seal SO UNNECESSARILY. The mummy’s hands clearly are limp and not holding on tightly at all, and the seal is free for a couple seconds before he smashes it all over the place. I can only assume he wanted to be life-sucked by an ancient princess.) (Who doesn’t) (am I right.)

creeeepy

The use of humor in this episode is actually really well done, for as campy and ridiculous as the plot is on paper. Buffy pummeling Giles during training because it’s her duty but also because he doesn’t want her to go to the school dance; related: Buffy’s scone comment; the group sarcastically predicting that Rodney (ah! There’s his name) awoke the mummy and got attacked by it, and the way their faces fall when they realize that’s a very likely scenario in Sunnydale; it’s all in the beginning and it’s all funny and good.

But Xander also hurts Willow’s feelings right away by saying he never thinks about her lips (although that’s going to get better in just a min) and EFF YOU, XANDER. WILLOW IS PERFECT. DON’T HURT HER. SHE HAS LOVELY LIPS.

Ok but for real, Twinkies are gross

So, in the world of the actual plot, Xander asks Ampata to the dance. They’re actually kind of cute together? I mean, as cute as an asshole and a murderous mummy can be.

Buffy’s dance plans are canceled due to mummy that’s on the loose, and oh, can we talk about this dance, please? It’s not “cultural appreciation” to dress up as caricatures of members of that culture. The fact that nobody is like “Hey, this is strange and not okay” is also…bad. I can only assume that the whole thing was constructed in order for us to see Willow in an Eskimo costume. Willow + furry hood = the cutest. (No but seriously NOT OKAY, GUYS. NOT OKAY.)

I will accept this as an apology.

I want to say that despite this episode’s obvious flaws when it comes to race/culture, I really appreciate how they portray Ampata. She’s not demonized. She acts as a foil to Buffy, and she’s a complex, imperfect character who we can relate to, and who Buffy can relate to. In a lot of ways, Buffy is offered as a sacrifice (by the Watchers’ Council) and in turn, has to sacrifice being a normal person to fulfill her duties. We can easily sympathize with Ampata, even if she’s doing bad things.

I love Oz’s “who is that girl?” moment because, well, everything Oz does is lovely and good, and also, because he’s not checking out any of the half-naked ladies in the place; he’s checking out the one who’s bundled up and clearly, well, somewhat individual. He’s a good guy, that Oz.

awww

AND OMG IS THIS THE FIRST TIME WE MEET JONATHAN TOO??

Xander telling Ampata he loves her after 24 hours is gross. For their credit, though, at least she attempts not to life-suck him for about six and a half minutes before surrendering to the urge. But then she dries out and Buffy pulls her and her arms come off and…ew.

There’s not much more to say about this episode. I’m so very glad Oz is in the picture, I want Giles to awkwardly introduce himself to people by saying “Hello, can you translate this?” and stop it, stop it, Xander!