In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone is seriously, so bloated from pie right now. She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:
- Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
- Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
- Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
- Willow’s magic is utterly useless (this one won’t be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
- Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
- The show isn’t as feminist as people claim.
- All the monsters look like wieners.
- If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
- Angel is a dick.
- Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
- Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
- Some of this shit is racist as fuck.
- Science and technology are not to be trusted.
- Mental illness is stigmatized.
- Only Willow can use a computer.
- Buffy’s strength is flexible at the plot’s convenience.
- Cheap laughs and desperate grabs at plot plausibility are made through Xenophobia.
- Oz is the Anti-Xander
- Spike is capable of love despite his lack of soul
- Don’t freaking tell me the vampires don’t need to breathe because they’re constantly out of frickin’ breath.
Have I missed any that were added in past recaps? Let me know in the comments. Even though I might forget that you mentioned it.
WARNING: Some people have mentioned they’re watching along with me, and that’s awesome, but I’ve seen the entire series already and I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So… you know, take that under consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it.
Before we go any further with this recap, I need to share my gender swap Giles cosplay with you all: You can’t see it in the picture, but underneath that tight white shirt, I’m wearing a leopard print bra. Because you know Giles has a little freak in him. Also, yes. That is the Handbook for The Recently Deceased in my hand. It seems like a Watcher would have a copy of that for emergencies.
Okay, so. “Bad Eggs.” Let me provide some context here, because apparently not every country does the egg nonsense, which I have recently learned. In American middle schools and high schools in the twentieth century, we all had to do the egg thing. In my school, we even called it “the egg thing.” In health class, we were given eggs with little stickers on top (to prove we hadn’t broken an egg and swapped it with a new one) and we had to take care of the egg for something like three days. The point of the lesson was to teach us how hard it is to be a parent, and scare us away from teen sex. It’s fucking dumb, because there is a lot more unpleasant bullshit that goes into parenting, aside from the bare minimum of not dropping your baby. Now they apparently do this with baby dolls programed to randomly cry and you can’t turn the crying mechanism off; it only turns off when you’ve rocked it or changed it or fed it. I assume it uses some kind of computerized sensor that I don’t understand. But anyway, this episode is based off that popular eggs-periment (I’m sorry, I had to. I promise that will be the last egg pun), so if you’re unfamiliar with it, there you go.
The episode opens in the mall. Joyce and Buffy are shopping, and Buffy is arguing about an outfit she feels that Joyce should have bought her. And right out of the gate, Joyce is laying down that stellar parenting:
Joyce: “It’s an outfit. An outfit that you may never buy.”
Buffy: “I looked good in it.”
Joyce: “You looked like a streetwalker.”
Good job, Joyce! You’ve effectively thrown other women (and come on, I’m not sure streetwalkers is the preferred term here) under the bus to slut shame your daughter! We have a two-fer! (#3, #6)
The mall is closing, and Joyce still has to go to the printer to pick up flyers for the gallery. That is some exciting mall they’ve got in Sunnydale. It has a print shop in it. Joyce and Buffy split up to finish their mall-related errands (which seem like they should involve a lengthy visit to a podiatrist’s waiting room or a time-share sales presentation, given the excitement level provided by a mall with a print shop in it), and she spots a cowboy vampire canoodling with a woman on the escalator. She pursues, of course, and finds the vampire and his intended meal in a closed arcade. They fight, and the vampire runs off, but not before dropping a few really gross, sleazy, Wal-Mart rodeo superstar lines and saying his name is Lyle Gorch. Believe it or not, that’s going to be important later and in season three.
When Buffy split off from her mom, she was supposed to go pick up her mom’s dress from a mom dress store. Though she forgets it due to vampire, she can’t tell her mom that–well, she kind of does; when Joyce asks Buffy if she thinks of anything other than clothes or boys, Buffy responds:
Buffy: “Saving the world from vampires?”
This obviously comes off as sass to her mother, who is just about done with lecturing her daughter about responsibility.
After the opening credits, Xander and Cordelia are making out in the janitors’ closet again, and Xander is talking like a man who doesn’t want to make out with anyone at all:
Xander: “This would work a lot better for me if you didn’t talk.”
This series would work a lot better for me if you didn’t show up in every episode, but here we are, Xander. It’s not like you’re bounding through pussy like a golden retriever in a field of daisies, is it? You spend like 90% of your time on this show whining about how you can’t get a girl. Now, the most popular girl in school wants to make out with you a ton, and you’re going to act like you’re better than her? (#5)
They talk about what a bummer it is that they like to suck face, but still hate each other. Ultimately, and probably because they’re horny television teenagers, they choose making out over hatred.
Here’s something I don’t get about this show: it gets a lot of credit for showing “real” teen characters, but on closer examination, they don’t come off as very real at all. Sure, there are times when you’re watching and you’re like, “I can identify with this, because I remember feeling that way when I was in high school.” But those moments aren’t as frequent as the ones where a junior in high school in the 90’s will reference a pop culture moment from the sixties or seventies, or they’ll become stereotypes, like the horny teenagers who can’t overcome their hormones.
Case in point, we cut from the make-out closet to a teacher writing the word “SEX” on the chalkboard and enunciating each letter as he says them like a gavel falling. I really expect them to pan out and reveal that he’s the gym teacher from Mean Girls. The teacher goes on to describe the sex drive of mammals, and poses a rhetorical question about sexual thoughts and feelings distracting someone. Xander enthusiastically volunteers that it happens to him… so, why are you trying as hard as you can to verbally wound your way out of a chance to actually have sex with Cordelia?
The teacher goes on to explain that while teenagers have a difficult time controlling sexual urges, there are negative consequences to sex:
Teacher: “Would anyone care to offer one such consequence?”
Cordelia: “Well, that depends. Are you talking about sex in the car, or out of the car? Because I have a friend–not me–that was in a Miata, parked at the top of a hill, and then she kicked the gearshift and then–”
The teacher is looking for something a little more specific, so he cuts her off. But you go get it, Cordelia. You go get it, and from someone more worthy than Xander.
Xander offers his own example, directed at Cordelia:
Xander: “You wanna talk negative consequence? How about the heartbreak of halitosis? I mean, a girl may seem spiffy, but if she ignores her flossing, the bloom is definitely off the rose.”
Because Cordelia shared a story about having sex–and not having sex with Xander–he decides she has to be punished by being insulted in front of the entire class, whether they’re aware that he’s insulting her or not. Xander’s attempt to humiliate Cordelia falls in line with the typical Nice Guy stance, that if a woman isn’t rewarding your attention with sex, she’s a worthless slut in need of a good degrading. (#5)
The situation devolves into the two trading barbs, until the teacher stops the and Willow volunteers the most obvious negative consequence to teen sex: pregnancy. The teacher reveals about forty-eight eggs on his desk, so I assume he’s doing this experiment with more than one class period. He tells the students to break into parenting teams and claim an egg to care for like a child.
Xander and Cordelia make it a point to not pair up together, but here’s an interesting thing I never noticed before: when everyone gets up to claim their eggs, Willow tries to get Xander’s attention, presumably to ask him to be her parenting partner. Xander doesn’t even think to team up with Willow; he’s on his feet like a shot to go talk to another girl at the front of the class. Why? Because to him, Willow isn’t going to a useful tool in making Cordelia jealous, and this other girl might be, proving that the only useful application of a woman in Xander’s life is to help him on his quest for sex.
Willow and Xander meet Buffy and Giles in the library, and inform Buffy that she skipped class. Willow hands Buffy an egg and says the teacher noted Buffy’s absence and wanted her to have the egg.
Buffy: “As far as punishments go, this is fairly abstract.”
They explain the egg project to Buffy, who panics and says she can’t take care of anything. And the example she uses, oh my god. The example she uses. She says she sat on her GigaPet and broke it. Are you fucking kidding me? I haven’t thought of those in forever. I now have a yearning for my old Tamagotchi. Mine was the yellow egg with pink accidents, and I spanked it so much it returned home in its space ship. Man. I wish I had one of those again, so bad.
They also break some pretty bad news to Buffy. Since she was absent, leaving an even number of students in class that day, Buffy is a single mom.
Buffy: “Do you know what this says about me? That I’m doomed to live my mother’s life. How deeply scary is that?”
It is at this point I notice that this whole time, Giles has been reading, in their immediate vicinity, and he has totally blocked out their conversation. I wonder if he has earplugs in, and they just haven’t noticed. When he does come out of his reading zone, he nearly crushes Buffy’s egg with a giant book. He’s found the identity of the cowboy vampire (I guarantee you there are at least seventy small-press erotic romances titled The Cowboy Vampire). He’s one of two Gorch brothers:
Giles: “They made their reputation by massacring an entire Mexican village in 1886.”
Buffy: “Friendly little demons.”
Giles: “That was before they became vampires.”
He goes on to explain that the brothers are about as smart as you’d expect a team of murdering cowboys named Tector and Lyle would be, so they don’t have much to worry about. But he does caution Buffy:
Giles: “I don’t think you should underestimate them. You may need to have some help if… Why do you all have eggs?”
Willow, ever the romantic, suggests that Buffy enlist Angel in her search for the brothers Gorch, which makes Xander go on yet another pout rant. He implies that rather than going after vampires, Buffy and Angel will just start getting frickety all over the place. Because Xander is a bitter, jealous Nice Guy. Buffy blows him off. She and Angel can control themselves, after all.
Cut to Buffy and Angel, making out in the cemetery. I really hate the wet, smacking, sloshing noises that TV shows blast in your ears to give you the audible cue that someone is kissing. It grosses me out like crazy. It could be because I don’t actually enjoy mouth kissing myself, but somehow it just sounds so… ugh. I mean, if they used that sound effect during scenes where people are having sex, but not kissing, if you get my drift, I would be enthusiastically on board.
Anyway, while Buffy and Angel fulfill the prophecy set forth by Xander, the Gorches watch from afar, wondering why Angelus is kissing the Slayer. So, they knew him from before his good vampire days. They decide to not attack the Slayer, because Lyle, the thinker of the pair, has a plan that the Slayer needs to be alive for.
Back home, Buffy is going through her checklist of stuff she’s had to do for her egg–whom she has named Eggbert, which I also named my egg in seventh grade–and goes to bed. Unlike my seventh grade egg, Buffy’s hatches and a horrific, slimy pink tentacle extrudes from the hole in the shell and start crawling over her face.
Meanwhile, in the sewers, the Gorch Bros. are Louis-ing it up on rats. Tector isn’t pleased with their accommodations, which lack both whores and ice machines. Lyle reminds him that they’re supposed to be keeping a low profile for his plan to work. In an argument that supplies exposition, we learn that Lyle raised Tector, and then they get into a physical fight for entertainment. Like you do.
Buffy’s alarm clock goes off–I think it should be illegal to have the sound of an alarm clock going off in any form of media, for obvious reasons relating to waking up hatred–and there’s Eggbert, sitting there without a scratch on it. Downstairs, Joyce is in the kitchen, and she questions some of Buffy’s parenting choices, which annoys Buffy. Imagine if it were a real baby, Buffy. Do you have any idea how many times I had to undress a screaming, practically heat-stroking baby because my maternal figures think infants need to be kept at a minimum of 350 degrees at all times?
Buffy tells her mom that she’s not feeling well, but she goes to school anyway. She and Willow and Xander are waiting in the library when Giles sees them. Willow and Buffy are both mopey, but Xander is fresh as a daisy. Giles asks Buffy how the hunt went, and her response makes Xander and Giles kind of worried; Willow and Buffy are listless and fatigued. Xander chalks this up to the stress of being a new parent, a stress that he’s deftly avoided by hard boiling his pseudo-child.
Since the three honest Scoobies are busy explaining the concept of cheating to Xander, Giles doesn’t notice the egg nestled in a bookshelf. He just puts the books away and covers it up. Clearly, he’s not a vigorous shelver. If that was my book shelf, that egg would be hella broken.
Cordelia comes to the library and announces that their teacher, Mr. Whitmore, is:
Cordelia: “Missing. Presumed dead.”
Giles: “Presumed by whom?”
Cordelia: “Well, me!”
Aha! You’re saying to yourself. Yet another case where Cordelia is right all along, and everyone underestimates her. Sadly, that isn’t what’s happening. She just wants an excuse to thoroughly search closets for Mr. Whitmore’s body, with Xander along to help her, of course. Willow has caught on to something weird, and she comments on how strange Cordelia and Xander are acting, but she and Buffy already know that Xander and Cordelia are kind of strange, so it’s a non-issue. Despite Giles’s warning that she should suspend her Gorch hunt until she’s recovered from whatever food poisoning or flu bug that’s stricken her, Buffy plans to go out patrolling again that night.
Cut to more of those awful wet sounds as Buffy and Angel paw each other in the cemetery (by the way, Angel is always softly panting when they break apart, so (#20)). I get that Buffy is a teenager, hormones, etc., and all of that is getting in the way of completing this Gorch quest, but what’s Angel’s excuse? Why isn’t he exercising some of the self-control that keeps him from eating people up in order to stop making out with Buffy and concentrating on the problem at hand?
One of the things I didn’t quite understand about this show when I first watched it (because I was twenty-two and still a pretty young twenty-two, emotionally) was how disturbing it is that Angel is two hundred years old or something, and he’s still basically a teenager. Or a dude stuck in the teenage mindset. While I could use this opportunity to make a “LOL men!” joke, it’s pretty disturbing when you consider that in a lot of media, we’re comfortable with the idea of a male character retaining a certain level of immaturity no matter what his age is. Does that mean we’re comfortable with men retaining a certain level of immaturity, no matter their ages, in real life? (I think we already all know the answer to that).
Because the egg project has the birds and the bees up in the air (as they should be!), Buffy mentions having kids, and how it’s not something she’d like to do right now. And then Angel has that awkward job where he has to say, “Yeah, sorry, I can’t have kids, because vampire.”
Watching this series now, as opposed to just watching it for fun later, I noticed this scene pretty hard. I used to think Buffy just assumed she and Angel would be together forever, so when they break up in season three (technically during season one of Angel, but Buffy can’t remember that), I always kind of thought, “Well, he never gave you any forever promises, dude. You just got kind of swept up in thinking this was forever.” But then he says some shit in this episode about how he can’t have kids, as in, just in case you were planning for our future. No wonder Buffy thought they were together forever, if he’s discussing their breeding plans.
This is also the point in the series that needless Buffy/Angel drama starts to get crammed into every episode, regardless of whether or not it fits. Buffy is sixteen, so what’s the point of bringing up her future kid plans? Slow down, show. You don’t need to know if you want kids or not when you’re in high school. You might know, but it’s not like you have to make that decision right then. The whole point of this interaction was to reiterate to the audience that Angel is a vampire, and therefore their love can never be. We get it. By the end of this season, we’ll really get it. Season three? Oh brother. This is the first episode where it becomes really intrusive.
Back at Sunnydale high, a security guard is walking around the building. It’s probably his first day, because he’s not dead. Yet. He goes into the basement for seemingly no reason–okay, this is clearly his first day–and finds a hole in the wall. He’s checking it out when the missing health teacher pops up and attacks him with a pick axe.
Back in Buffy’s room, Buffy is sneaking in through the window when she sees little Eggbert moving around on her bedside table.
Eggbert hatches a creepy little skin spider, which Buffy stabs to death with a pair of scissors. This scene brilliantly preys upon the fear we all feel when we realize that the spider we just saw is now nowhere to be seen.
Buffy immediately calls Willow and warns her to break her egg, but Willow is really nonchalant about the whole thing, saying that her egg is in the fridge and it’s not doing anything weird, so maybe it’s a trap sent to Buffy by the Gorch brothers. And then Buffy realizes it’s the middle of the night and she’s raving about eggs, and hangs up with Willow. Then we see Willow looking like this:
And oh yeah, her egg is broken and dripping with purple goo.
Joyce comes in to figure out who the hell Buffy is talking to in the middle of the night, and sees that, hey, Buffy has her coat on. She’s fucking done, and she grounds Buffy. I would totally be pro-Joyce right now, if I didn’t already know that she rarely follows up on her punishments, just because she’s barely ever at home. Her scolding of Buffy apparently lasts all night long, because she’s still at it as they’re pulling up to the school. She does the routine fiction laying out of grounded ground rules: no this, no that, no blah blah blah. Why do TV shows and movies always do this? Doesn’t everyone in the world know what “grounded” means?
Except for the parents in Mean Girls, of course, who completely forgot the ways of American life while in the Savannah, and thought “being grounded” meant the kids can just continue on with their lives in the face of the parents’ absentee neglect.
But I digress.
Joyce tells Buffy that since school gets out at 2:30, she has to go to the library and wait until she gets picked up at five. “Go spend two and a half hours with that librarian who shows what would appear to be, to the casual observer, a highly inappropriate interest in you.” (#3, #8)
On her way into school, Buffy stops Cordelia, who is wearing a weird teddy bear backpack that’s totally incongruous with… just generally being Cordelia. When Buffy comments on it, Cordelia tells her a long-winded story about trends and why she’s wearing the backpack, but Buffy isn’t interested. She questions Cordelia about her egg, but Cordy says it’s just hanging out in her bear, being an egg. Then–and I have never once noticed this line before and I’m totally horrified about it–Cordelia sees a black girl and shouts:
Cordelia: “Shanice? Is that your real hair?”
What in the actual fuck is going on here? (#12) We all know that Cordelia is an insensitive person who says totally offensive stuff all the time. We also know that this is a common thing that happens when insensitive people try to give really offensive compliments to people of color. But it’s not like that aspect is commented on at all. In fact, Shanice stops and talks to her, like she’s totally flattered, and the whole thing just fades weirdly into the background like, “Have some of this troubling whiteness, I’ll just toddle off over here.” It was totally weird and unnecessary. We’ve seen Cordelia be rude and even downright xenophobic, but it was always presented in a way that made it clear that it was awful. This just kind of waves as it blows past.
Meanwhile, Xander decides, “Fuck graduating, I’m going to eat this egg,” and gets to peelin’ as Buffy tells Willow and Cordelia that she’s going to take the thing that hatched from her egg to Giles, so he can do research. Willow is like, “Why don’t you take it to the science lab, and I’ll go get Giles.”
Xander is about to take a bite from his delicious, hard-boiled nightmare when he sees what it actually is:
As much as I dislike Xander, nobody deserves to bite into that. I bet the texture is super rubbery and the goo tastes like liquid hand soap.
In the science lab, the Scoobies are wondering what the hell this egg monster is.
Willow says that Giles is busy, but he’ll be along in a minute. As they discuss what’s up with the egg, Cordelia’s xenomorph starts creeping out of her backpack in the most horrifying way possible:
Xander: “So I guess we know what happened to Mr. Whittmore.”
Cordelia: “He saw this and ran away?”
Buffy: “Try best case scenario.”
Willow: “It’s possible that Mr. Whittmore wasn’t harmed. Maybe the offspring simply used him to return to the Mother Bezoar.”
It takes Buffy and Xander a second to realize that what Willow just said was really strange, and that’s all the time it takes for Willow and Cordelia to knock them unconscious and, with the help of other, similarly body-snatched students, thrown into a closet or something.
So, Xander finally gets his wish, to be locked in a closet with Buffy. Har har.
The possessed students go into this big storage room full of tools, including just gallons of pick axes:
It seems like kind of a weird amount of pick axes to have at a high school. The number of possible explanations are overwhelming. Maybe the Gorches put them there. Maybe the students brought them in from home. Maybe there’s a landscaping club. Or a dwarven mining course. Or Intro to Archaic and Brutal Prison Punishments, and it’s extremely hands-on learning. But for whatever reason, there are definitely plenty of pick axes, and everybody, students and faculty alike, are taking them down to the hole in the basement.
Okay, I’m not going to try to screen cap it, but there’s a really hilarious moment when they’re all filing down into the basement, and the music is really suspenseful and the camera pans to a sign on the basement door that’s like “Door is to remain locked at all times,” or something and it makes me laugh so, so hard every time I see it. If we didn’t know they were being controlled by evil forces already, we would definitely know by how they’re going through that unlocked door that’s supposed to be locked.
Joyce comes to pick up Buffy and finds Giles alone in the library. He hasn’t seen Buffy all day, and he sympathizes with Joyce’s frustration about Buffy running off. But Joyce says something about children that to me, as a parent, is really horrifying:
Joyce: “It can be such a… oh, I don’t want to say ‘burden,’ but, uh… actually, I kind of do want to say ‘burden.'”
This troubles me on such a deep, deep level. I will be the first to say that raising a child, even in the very best of circumstances, is going to be probably the most difficult thing a person who chooses to have a child will do in their entire life. It is awful and hard and there are times when you wonder if you’re so emotionally distanced from your children that you would switch places with an alternate universe version of yourself and live a child free life without regret. But I hate hearing people who have them describe children as burdens. Maybe it’s because my son is autistic, and you hear on the news all the time about the burden of care placed on parents, usually as a justification for murder (seriously, look up stories about disabled kids being murdered by their caretakers, and see if “burden” isn’t used by at least one family friend). Even if it’s a neurotypical kid, it’s not cool to call them burdens. Joyce chose to have a kid, the kid turns out to be a good kid, but kind of a handful as a teen, and now she’s some martyr? THIS IS WHAT PARENTING IS, JOYCE. THIS IS WHAT YOU SIGNED ON FOR. Be frustrated. Be angry with your kid. Hell, wish you could flip a switch and change her personality entirely. But don’t call her a burden. She’s your fucking child, and she didn’t ask for you to conceive, grow, birth, and raise her. (#3)
Joyce notices a couple of books Giles has, and how weird they are:
Joyce: “Bristow’s Demon Index? Hell’s Offspring?”
Giles: “A hobby of mine. But having nothing to do with Buffy in any way.”
Good save, Giles.
As it turns out, Giles is also possessed by the facehugger, and he puts one on Joyce the moment she turns around. Buffy and Xander wake up in the closet and find two eggs, ready to hatch, right next to them.
We just saw Giles pick up an already hatched facehugger and put it on Joyce. Why didn’t the other possessed people just do that to Buffy and Xander?
They run directly to the library for Giles’s help, but he’s not there because xenomorph. It’s a good thing he left the book with the exact creature they’re fighting wide open on the desk for them to find. They also find an egg shell.
Down in the basement hole, a fleshy, Lovecraftian horror is emerging from the concrete people are cutting up with pick axes. Other people are harvesting eggs from the same hole. Seems like a risky system, to me. Having pick axes around all those eggs.
The monster is a Bezoar, a creature that basically pumps out these eggs so that it has walking around hosts to do its bidding. Standard Invasion of The Bodysnatchers stuff. Xander and Buffy have just read this when they hear a kid screaming in the hallway. It’s good old Jonathan, who I don’t think even has a name yet, does he? I can’t remember. Anyway, he’s totally fine the instant Buffy and Xander get there, so they know he’s been Facehugged, and they decide to follow him.
While Xander pretends to be possessed (in the hopes of stopping the spread of more eggs), Buffy goes for a weapon. She’s cornered by the Gorch brothers, who start a fight, and they tumble back into the Bezoar hole. The Gorches seem to have no idea about the Bezoar, so I’m guessing it wasn’t their great plan, after all. Xenomorph Willow orders the rest of the body-snatchees to kill Buffy and the Gorches, so vamps and Slayer team up and start taking them on, while simultaneously trying to beat up each other.
So. Wait. The Gorches are vampires… why are they only throwing punches at these people and not ripping their throats out and stuff? And why are their punches only human-strong and knocking people back? On that note, why is Buffy having such a hard time fighting off humans, even if they have been snatched? It’s not like the facehuggers are making them extra strong. If that were the case they wouldn’t need a whole chain of workers, and it would have taken four of them to drag Buffy and Xander into that closet. So, why is Buffy unable to render them at least unconscious? Why is she having just as much trouble fighting them as she is fighting the Gorches? (#16)
Xander runs after Cordelia and another person to try and get the eggs. Xander doesn’t want to hurt Cordelia, but she punches him in the head, and he punches her back, knocking her out. Xander is able to knock Cordelia out, but Buffy and the Gorches can’t knock out the people in the hole? Whatever. I want to focus more on the fact that here we have the Nice Guy male character, frustrated with his romantic partner, getting the opportunity to punch her in the face. Before anyone rushes to the comment box to explain that Cordelia is possessed and Xander had to defend himself, trust me to understand the plot of this episode. I know the reason he had to punch her. I also know that this show is written by a writer who could have easily not written a scene where Xander punches Cordelia, and I trust everybody else to keep that in mind, as well. The writers didn’t have to make Xander punch Cordelia. Buffy didn’t have to punch Willow, or Giles, or her mother. So why is the teenage boy, who’s already verbally abusive to his intimate partner, granted the opportunity to physically assault her? This is a show that has been hailed for its female empowerment. Should there really be a point, anywhere in the series, where someone striking their romantic partner is written as justifiable? (#6) Also, keep in mind that Marti Noxon wrote this episode. She took over as show runner in season six, in which Buffy beats up Spike (not because he’s a vampire; in this case, it’s just intimate partner violence), Spike attempts to rape Buffy and is redeemed and made a love interest again, the three evil nerds enslave a former romantic partner of one of them and kill her when she realizes what’s been done to her, and a female character is brutally murdered. Some of her work on this show was deeply, deeply problematic.
Tector Gorch decides that it’s somehow wise to engage the giant, pulsing, one-eyed horror encased in concrete, and ends up getting pulled in to be, I assume, eaten by the Bezoar. The Bezoar gets Buffy, too, but she manages to pull a pick axe in with her. After some gurgling noises, the facehuggers drop off everybody’s backs and they all fall unconscious, leaving Lyle Gorch very alone and very confused. He watches in horror and admiration as Buffy, covered in black slime, crawls out of the Bezoar hole. Seeing that she is clearly done with the bullshittery that has been her day, Lyle wisely decides to run, rather than engage.
Outside the school, dazed and dirty students emerge to Giles reassuring them that it was all a gas leak, and to go home and get fresh air. Willow and Cordelia both ask Xander if they hit him. Willow feels bad, Cordy just didn’t want to be the only one who didn’t hit him. Either way, Xander does not tell Cordelia that he punched her, and doesn’t act even slightly sorry for it.
Joyce catches up with Buffy, who tells her that she was in the gym when the gas leak happened. Joyce goes from “thank god you’re alive” to “why weren’t you in the library,” in like, two seconds, and even when Buffy reminds her that there was a gas leak, that’s not good enough. Buffy needs to learn some responsibility, and apparently a part of that responsibility is not being affected by gas leaks. A+ common sense, Joyce. PS., Buffy has a hugely visible contusion on her forehead, indicating that she, too, could have been one of the affected students. (#3)
Joyce grounds Buffy to her room until further notice, so cut to wet, smacking sounds as Buffy and Angel make out through the window, so as to subvert Buffy’s grounding. Then banter, and an uncomfortably long shot of making out.
So, this episode is one I really like. Yeah, the plot is derivative, some of the stuff is contrived, and I hate the Xander/Cordelia dynamic bullshit, but I don’t know. I just really like eggs. That, and I really like the continuation of the “Buffy is irresponsible” theme that will tie up her choices at the end of the season in a neat little bow.
The only things that bug me, from a storytelling perspective, are, what was the Gorches’ plan, if it wasn’t the Bezoar? And how did the Bezoar get its eggs into the kids’ hands, anyway? Was the health teacher possessed that whole time? Were the eggs in the grocery store? These are things one would like to know, before one approaches an egg with intent to scramble.