We meet Buffy's kind and inspiring biology teacher. Awesome, there's another authority figure who believes in Buffy. Maybe he can join Giles in helping her not get kicked out of school oh wait no he's dead. Why does anyone even go to this school? The mortality rate is akin to sky diving while smoking crack and juggling chainsaws.
Anyway, enter Miss French, the beguiling substitute teacher who seems to have all the boys under a spell. I would say that seems suspicious, but now that I think about it, it's pretty much par for the course. Except there actually does seem to be something a little off about her, like her obsession with insects and high school boys. Oh, and the fact that she scares off vampires and her head can do a full 180 degree twist.
Yup, she's a bug lady. Who mates with and eats virgins. And she's got her little bug eyes on Xander.
Things I Like:
Xander's endearing yet crippling insecurity works best in episodes like this. It's hilarious watching him try to prove his sexual prowess to the other guys, and then being all paranoid and protective of Buffy when she talks to Angel. I like that he is capable of staying somewhat calm while trapped in the basement with Blake.
And Willow is so adorable in this episode. Her love for Xander is clear in her efforts to save him, and in her somewhat clumsy attempts to convince him that it's alright to be a virgin. Certainly nothing she'll ever bring up again, though
Things I Don't Like:
Ugh...I've had enough of the predatory, sexually aggressive older woman trope to last me a lifetime. I just don't think it's particularly clever or engaging, and it's not done that well here. I don't know if I would class Musetta Vander (Miss French) as one of the great actors of our time. And the special praying mantis effects are, well...not awesome. I'm going to be honest, this just isn't one of Buffy's best episodes. By a lot.
- OMG Xander I love your fantasy life so much I could die. Killing a vampire, kissing Buffy, and finishing off with a killer guitar solo. Brilliant.
- After seeing the decapitated body of Dr Gregory, Cordelia is unable to eat and loses several ounces. Trust Cordelia to find the sunny side to every situation.
- OK, this whole Slayer/praying mantis fight is all kinds of ridiculous.
- I don't understand the logic in a praying mantis that can only eat virgins. Note that I do not consider a giant shape-shifting praying mantis outside the realm of possibilities -- just one that feeds exclusively on virgins.
This one gets 3 stakes out of 10.