Inca Mummy Girl S2 E4

Buffy and the Art of Story Podcast CoverThis week on Buffy and the Art of Story: Inca Mummy Girl (Season 2 Episode 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

This podcast episode covers (1) a clear Inciting Incident; (2) how a very flawed character draws the audience in; (3) emotional arcs with major commitments; and (4) a new character – Oz!

As always, the discussion is spoiler-free, except at the end (with plenty of warning).

Next Up: Reptile Boy S2 E5

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In addition to hosting the podcast Buffy and the Art of Story, Lisa M. Lilly is the author of the bestselling four-book Awakening supernatural thriller series and the Q.C. Davis mysteries, as well as numerous short stories. She also writes non-fiction, including books on writing craft, under L.M. Lilly. She is the founder of

Episode Transcript for Inca Mummy Girl

Today we’re talking about Season Two Episode Four, Inca Mummy Girl.

Along with the usual breakdown of the plot, we’ll cover:

  • the very clear Inciting Incident here;
  • how Xander, a very flawed character, draws the audience in;
  • emotional character arcs with major commitments;
  • some of the wittiest quotes so far; and
  • a new character (Oz) who I hope you’ll all come to love if you don’t already.

As always, there will be no Spoilers except at the end to talk about foreshadowing, but I’ll give you plenty of warning.

Okay, let’s dive into the Hellmouth.

Inca Mummy Girl was written by Matt Kiene and Joe Reinkemeyer and directed by Ellen S. Pressman.

Opening Conflict

We start with our Opening Conflict. This is the conflict to draw the reader into the story, whether or not it relates to the main plot.

Here, it does.

Buffy, Willow and Xander are walking outside toward a museum. Buffy is complaining that it’s so unfair she has to have a complete stranger living with her for two weeks as part of the cultural exchange program. And we can imagine it will be hard for Buffy to hide her secret identity with someone staying with her. Xander, though, thinks that this melding of two cultures is beautiful.

Inside the museum, Cordelia is looking through photographs of the exchange students. She says hers is Sven, “100% Swedish, 100% gorgeous, 100% staying at my house.” Buffy has not seen a photo of her exchange student.

She kind of shrugs when either Xander or Willow asks about what the student looks like. But she does say he is guy-like. Suddenly Xander doesn’t think the cultural exchange program is such a great idea.

Does Buffy Always Resort To Violence?

We see a new character, Rodney. He is scraping at one of the masks on display. Xander makes some disparaging comments about Rodney’s intelligence and we get the first set of favorite quotes for me from this episode.

Willow: You just don’t like him because of that time he beat you up every day for five years.

Xander: Yeah, I’m irrational that way.

Buffy says she better go stop Rodney. And Willow says she’ll do it because not everything is solved by violence. After she’s gone, Buffy says to Xander that she doesn’t always use violence. And Xander tells her what’s important is that she believes that.

Willow is very nice to Rodney and gently leads him away from the idea of damaging the mask. It turns out that she tutors him, and he seems to like her. But, as we’ll see, she doesn’t really discourage Rodney from vandalism, and it does not end well for him.

The Incan Princess

The museum guide says that the human sacrifice is about to begin and leads them into an exhibit with the mummy. She was an Incan princess sacrificed at the age of sixteen to protect her people. A stone seal protects her.

While they’re in the exhibit and standing near the mummy, Buffy and Xander talk further about the exchange student, Ampata. Buffy says she’s picking him up at the Sunnydale bus depot after everyone leaves.

Story Spark In Inca Mummy Girl

Next we get our Story Spark or Inciting Incident that sets our main plot in motion. It happens about 4 minutes 51 seconds in. Rodney has broken into the exhibit, and he tries to steal that stone seal which the mummy is holding. It breaks.

Breaking the seal seems to free the mummy, because it grabs him and sucks the life out of him.

This is such a clear Inciting Incident for the story. We know right away what this is going to be about. And it is a classic horror movie trope – the mummy.

Buffy And Giles Argue

After the credits we see Buffy and Giles training. He’s holding up these big pads. She is punching really hard, and it is obviously jarring for him. They’re having an argument because she wants to go to the cultural exchange dance. He says no because she’s the Chosen One.

We get another great quote. Buffy says, “Just this once I’d like to be the overlooked one.”

She also tells him, “Some on, Giles, budge. No one likes a non-budger.”

Eventually after more training. Giles says yes. Because Buffy makes the point that having a student staying with her means she needs to act like she has a normal life. Also, I think the training helped persuade him because we get a nice Giles’ comment: “I’ll just go and introduce my shoulder to an ice pack.”

Xander Forgets Kissing Willow?

Buffy and Xander, alone in the library, are talking about the dance. Xander wants her to go with him and Willow. If he and Willow go alone, it’ll seem too much like a date. And Buffy says come on, in all this time he’s known Willow he’s really never thought about her lips?

Xander says, “I love Willow. She’s my best friend.” Which makes her not the kind of girl that he thinks about her lips very much. Willow walks in behind during Xander’s lines. Her face lights up when he says she’s his best friend and he loves her and then just falls when he says the part about he doesn’t think about her lips.

Alyson Hannigan is so expressive here. She tells so much through her face.

I don’t I don’t like this scene, though, because we’re completely ignoring that Xander almost kissed Willow in the first episode of the season. I don’t buy that Xander would forget that. The way this is played, it seems like he has. I don’t feel like it’s directed or acted in a way that tells me Xander remembers that and feels weird about it and doesn’t want to tell Buffy about it. It really seems more like that just never happened.

Back In The Day In TV

It’s one of the rare times in the series where I feel like there is still that holdover from when each episode of TV had to be self-contained and could almost ignore what happened before. When I went back and watched one of my favorite shows, The Bionic Woman, from the seventies, I saw how much of that there was. I feel like that’s a little bit of what is happening here.

I also am pretty sure the network must have wanted – or maybe the producers and writers wanted – to keep that tension spooling out. And rather than address that almost-kiss, they liked starting almost with a clean slate with Willow and Xander. As if that never happened. So we can have more tension there and not follow up on that moment.

Willow doesn’t say anything about overhearing. She tells them that Rodney is missing.

What It Means That Rodney’s Missing

The three of them joke around about how maybe he broke in to see the mummy and it came alive and killed him. And then they all become very somber as they realize that’s probably what happened, given that it’s Sunnydale. Giles says he’s not is convinced that’s what happened, but they should go to the museum just to rule out evil curses.

We get another great quote from Buffy. “One day I’m going to live in a town where evil curses are generally ruled out without saying.”

At the exhibit they find the stone seal is broken but the mummy is there. Seemingly from nowhere, a man with dark hair in a ponytail (who is wearing what looks to me like a white martial arts training or karate suit) comes out. Te attacks them.

Then he sees the mummy and he runs away.

Everyone is really shaken. They’re about to leave when Willow looks more closely at the mummy. She asks Giles if the Incan’s were very advanced. He says yes and she asks if they had orthodontists.

We see that the mummy has braces, which Rodney also had. They all realize that this is Rodney, turned into a mummy.

Giles takes the part of the stone seal that is still left it has pictographs and writing on it. He says it’ll take weeks to translate.

Meeting Ampata

Buffy says she has to go when they’re back at the library. She’s late. She forgot she has to pick up Ampata. Xander tries to persuade her that that’s not important.

Of course she has to go there. She’s not going to leave Ampata at the bus station.

This is one of several examples of Xander’s jealousy over anyone that Buffy might possibly be interested in. In retrospect, it gets on my nerves.

Here, it plays a purpose. Because we’re going to see him fall for him Ampata. So we get that switch, and I feel like that’s why we need this contrast.

Changing Times Change Views Of Characters And Stories

Each time I rewatch Buffy, it’s at a different time in my life. And a different time in what is going on in the larger world. I very much grew up in, I think, the same world as most of the writers in terms of the decades we were young. There was definitely that idea that if a boy, or when you’re older a man, was interested in you, and you didn’t feel the same way, you somehow owed that person something. You owed it to them to date them and ”just give it a try.”

Or if you did, and you still didn’t feel that way, there was the sense that they had a right to comment on anyone you dated. If you got involved with someone and it didn’t work out, there would often be an attitude of “Well, that’s what you deserve because you have this great guy here and you chose someone else.”

Interestingly, to my recollection, it did not work the other way. If a girl was interested in a boy and he didn’t return it and she kept having these feelings or acted possessive, she was just viewed is kind of sad and pathetic.

I like to think Xander if he grew up now would behave differently. He might still have crush on Buffy, but his sense of entitlement and that she somehow owed him – or that he could criticize anything she did relating to other people she was interested in – would be different.

Nearing The First Major Plot Turn

We are now nearing the first major plot point. It typically comes about one quarter through a story. It is from outside the protagonist and spins the story in a new direction, which we will see here. It also usually makes things more complicated or challenging for the protagonist. Which is definitely the case here.

We’re not there yet, though we are about a quarter through the episode. 10 minutes 22 seconds and it’s a 42-43 minute episode.

We see this young man alone Someone whispers, “Ampata.” Ampata looks around, and the mummy appears and sucks the life out of him.

The One-Quarter Twist In Inca Mummy Girl

When Buffy arrives and calls out for him, this very beautiful young woman steps out. And that is what I think of as the One-Quarter Twist. It’s 11 minutes in and it really turns our story in a new direction.

(I also enjoy that a couple years later I was still watching the soap opera All My Children and this actress turned up on that show. Which Sarah Michelle Gellar was also on many years before.)

Everyone is surprised that Ampata is a girl. Including Willow, who says, “Ampata, you’re a girl.”

Xander is clearly smitten with Ampata. She finds him quite fun, and he makes her laugh. Which I can relate to. Someone who can make you laugh is wonderful thing. And she has been a mummy forever. So he’s the first guy that she has talked to. She genuinely seems to have fun with him.

And Willow, we can see, feels very sad about this.

Ampata And Buffy Bond

Ampata’s very impressed with Buffy’s house and later Buffy’s room. Buffy asks what it’s like where Ampata is from. And she says it was very cramped and very dead at home.

Throughout the episode, I like that Ampata’s answers are careful and honest. Everything she says is true, if you take it literally. But she answers in a way that doesn’t raise suspicions. I pretty much believe she’s able to do this because we’re told, or we get the impression, that as she has been taken around the world. She has listened to a lot of conversations. So we get the feeling she learned a lot about different cultures, including the United States. So I more or less buy that she is able to d put up this front.

She also seems like a well-rounded character.

When Buffy asks about , and she says, “It is just me at home,” Buffy empathizes with her. Because Buffy so often feels isolated. And she tells Ampata she’ll meet people. Ampata says she wants to fit in and be just like Buffy and have a normal life.

Contrasts To Oz

Back at school, Cordelia is talking to Devon, a musician she’s dating. Both of them are irritated with Sven, the exchange student, who is standing nearby. Cordelia is just awful. She says things to Sven almost as if he were a pet dog, like “Come, Sven.” We’re going to deal with that later in the episode.

After she leaves, Devon is talking to a new character, with red hair, who is winding up microphone cable. There’s a guitar behind him, and it is Oz. Devon asks Oz what he thinks of Cordelia. And Oz, in an ironic tone, a kind of flat voice, says, “Yes, she’s a hot girl but she’s not his type.”

Devon tells him he’s too picky and Oz says he’s not, that Devon is just impressed by any pretty girl who can walk and talk. Devon says, “They don’t have to talk.” We are supposed to see Devon as a jerk here. Or at least as very, very shallow.

And I see it as clearly meant to contrast to Oz.

The Dance

Willow and Xander are talking about costumes for the dance. Xander is struggling with what to wear. And Willow has this great quote” Why are you suddenly so worried about looking like an idiot? That came out wrong.”

I thought that was fun. Especially because Willow just says it. She isn’t saying it to be mean or because she is jealous. She’s just thinking Xander never worried about looking silly before.

Buffy brings Ampata to meet Giles. Who right away asks her to translate the seal. They claim it’s for an archaeology club.

Ampta tells them that the man who is pictured on the seal is something like a bodyguard for the mummy. Buffy and Giles have work to do so. Buffy starts to ask Willow to hang out with Ampata. But Xander jumps in right away and says he will take Ampata around.

Willow looks after them. She says, “Boy they really like each other.

About 18 minutes in we see Xander and Ampata at the bleachers. He is explaining Twinkies to Ampata and making her laugh by showing her how to eat one by stuffing the whole thing in his mouth.

Willow Faces The Truth

Buffy and Willow are researching, but Willow is distracted. When Buffy asks her something, Willow says, “Yes, I’m caring about mummies.”

They have this great conversation where Buffy says that Ampata is only going to be here for two weeks. But Willow says then Xander will just find someone else who’s not her. And at least with Buffy she knew Xander didn’t have a shot.

Willow says she needs to make a choice. She can wait for Xander to go through everyone else who’s not her, or she can accept that it’s just not happening and move on. Buffy says good for her. And Willow says, “I didn’t choose yet.”

I love this because it is so realistic. That feeling of knowing what you need to do to move on, but just not being able to accept that and make that choice.

Bodyguard Attacks

Based on Buffy’s research, Giles thinks the killer is probably the mummy and it can feed on a person’s life force. But they don’t know how to find the mummy or to kill it.

Back at the bleachers, about 20 minutes in – and so we are getting near the Midpoint of the episode – the bodyguard appears and attacks Xander, saying Xander had the seal.

But then the bodyguard looks closely at Ampata and says, “It’s you.”

I don’t think Xander really picks up on that.

Back in the library, Ampata is very shaken up. She tells them they should destroy the seal, that someone could die. They are talking in code about what’s going on. She gets very upset and says, “You’re not telling me everything.”

A Series Of Midpoint Commitments

This is very near 21 minutes, and so exactly the Midpoint of the episode. At this point, I usually expect to see some kind of major commitment by the protagonist or a significant reversal.

Here, what we see instead are a series of very significant commitments by the other characters. I feel like that that works. So I learned something here. That it doesn’t always have to be the protagonist. Although, generally, I think that is the best route, particularly if you are telling a single story, one novel, or even one novel in the series. Then we want our protagonist to be the one driving that Midpoint.

But not something like a television series where you a twenty-two-episode arc or even a twelve-episode season arc. Then you can have an episode (or two or three) that are more focused on the other characters.

Here, first I see Ampata making somewhat of a commitment by saying, “You’re not telling me everything.” She’s letting her emotions show through. But she will make more major commitment very shortly.

Xander is first to throws caution to the wind. He says, “You’re right. We’re not telling you everything. And it’s time we do.” He is about to say that Buffy’s the Slayer. But Giles clears his throat, and Buffy glares at him. And they switch and say, okay, it’s not an archaeology club it’s a crime club.

A Reversal For Ampata And Willow Commits

Ampata goes out to the hall, very upset. She says she just wants a normal life. This is a reversal for Ampata. She really thought maybe she could have a normal life, at least for a little while. And now she has this bodyguard coming after her and these friends that she’s made are getting close to what’s really going on.

Next Willow makes a major commitment. She comes out into the hall. Ampata is at the drinking fountain. Xander tells Willow why Ampata is so upset, and Willow says, “You should take her to the dance.” I really like that. His response is hey, we will all go that’ll be great. And Willow is saying no, just take Ampata.

Xander says, “But you were all excited about it.” Willow says no, just the two of you should go and she’ll see him there.

Willow’s Choice

This was so wonderful for Willow and so sad. It is her making that choice. She is looking at both what’s good for Xander and what will be good for Ampata. But it is also what is good for her. She is saying, “Okay, this is how it is. You guys go to the dance.” And I feel that this is a big moment for her. That she is moving on.

I think she’ll still have her feelings for Xander. But this is a new direction for her. And Xander says to her, “You’re my best friend,” and she says, “I know.”

Again, Alyson Hannigan’s face – so expressive – tells us everything about how Willow feels.

Buffy Commits Too

Buffy and Giles decide they should go back to the museum that night to see if the other pieces are there. And Buffy seems very pleased for a moment, saying, “I came up with a plan.” And then she says something like, “No, wait. I have other plans. Dance plans.” Then she frowns. “Canceled plans.” That’s about 23 minutes in.

I see that as something of a commitment by Buffy.

In the beginning, she was fighting so hard to go to the dance. And here she is saying, okay, she really wanted to go to the dance have that normal life part but “I can’t. This is my duty.”

Ampata Throws Caution To The Wind

Ampata is really happy when Xander asks her to the dance. And they both confess that they like each other. So of course something terrible happens.

In the Women’s Room, the bodyguard confronts her. Ampata begs him not to kill her. And he says she’s already dead. She argues that she was innocent she was sacrificed and it wasn’t fair. But he points out that the people she kills now are innocent. She must die. She’s the chosen one, and she has no choice.

At 25 minutes in, she throws caution to the wind and she puts her hands on him and sucks the life out of him. And kills him.

This is a very serious commitment to the quest by our antagonist.

Buffy And Ampata Hide Their Secrets

At the house, Ampata is getting ready for the dance. She asks Buffy for a lipstick. She’s also asking why Buffy’s not going to the dance. And Buffy says she has work to do.

Ampata tells Buffy that Buffy reminds her of the story from her people about the Incan Princess. Because Buffy always puts others before herself. Ampata relays the story of the sixteen-year-old being sacrificed to protect her people. Buffy resonates with this, for obvious reasons. As they are talking, Buffy is starting to open up Ampata’s backpack that was sent over from the train station.

She almost sees that there are boys’ clothes in there. But at that same moment Ampata is opening a drawer of Buffy’s dressing table. There are stakes inside. Buffy runs over to close it and hand Ampata a lipstick. So they’ve almost seen each other’s secrets.

Then Buffy starts to open Ampata’s trunk. And we can see there is a mummified body inside but the doorbell rings.

Buffy leaves to get it and Ampata locks the trunk with a padlock.

The Costumes

Xander arrives. He looks like one of many characters Clint Eastwood played in what was called spaghetti westerns (because they were filmed, I guess, in Italy) and he makes a joke about that. And this further confirms my view that someone in the writers room was a Clint Eastwood fan.

At the dance, Devon’s band is playing. He’s the singer and Oz is in the background playing guitar. Cordelia is wearing what looks almost like a bathing suit with a sort of skirt bottom and a flower in her hair. Willow, on the other hand, is wearing a furred coat and hood with the hood up around her face and holding a spear.

Cordelia looks at her and says as a joke, “Oh, I almost wore that.”

Later when Ampata comes in, she compliments Willow on an authentic costume and she seems genuine about it. Willow, seeing Ampata’s beautiful dress, says to herself, “I guess I should worn something sexy.”

We see Cordelia complaining to her friend about Sven. How he follows her around and he doesn’t understand anything. And she says to him something like “Get punchee” and “Get fruit drinkee.” So obnoxious.

Later Cordelia’s friend is nice to Sven and is talking with him. And he says in perfect English, “What is wrong with Cordelia? Is he even from this country?”

Three-Quarter Turn In Inca Mummy Girl

We are moving toward the Three-Quarter Turn. This plot turn spins the story in a new direction though it grows out of the Midpoint. And here it starts around 31 minutes 36 seconds in.

Giles shows up at Buffy’s home instead of meeting her at the museum. He tells her the bodyguard was found mummified in the restroom. And unlike what Ampata told them, the man in the stone seal is not a bodyguard for the mummy. He’s a guard to keep the mummy from escaping.

Buffy goes up to check Ampata’s trunk and finds the mummified corpse. And she says in another fun quote, “What kind of girl travels with a mummified corpse and doesn’t even pack a lipstick?”

This is a major new direction for our protagonist because she and Giles realize Ampata is the mummy. We knew that, but Buffy did not.

Who Is That Girl?

Back at the Bronze, Xander and Ampata are dancing. They both seem so happy. As they start to kiss, her hands start to mummy. Xander doesn’t see it, but she feels it and she runs away from him.

Before that, though, Oz and Devon are on stage. Oz says, “Who is that girl?”

Devon thinks he means Ampata and tells him about her being a foreign exchange student. And Oz says No. He’s pointing to Willow, and he’s definitely very taken with her.

Giles and Buffy are on their way to the museum but realize that Xander is in danger, so Buffy is going to go to the Bronze. Giles will head to the museum alone.

Ampata at the Bronze has run away from Xander. She finds this high school boy who looks a little bit lost and lonely he sitting by himself. I think he is wearing some kind of cowboy hat. She draws him back into some isolated area of the Bronze. They start to kiss and she starts to suck the life out of him.

He does ask her before they kiss isn’t she with Xander. And she says, “Does it look like I’m with Xander?”

Stay tuned for Spoilers about this boy. For now, he is saved when Xander calls to Ampata, distracting her. The boy runs off.

Xander In Danger

Xander asked why Ampata ran away. She starts to cry and tells him she’s very happy and very sad but she can’t tell him why. It’s a secret. Now they do kiss. Her dried hands grip his face as she starts to suck the life from him. It’s like she can’t help it.

And we cut to a commercial. Another great hook before that commercial comes in and you potentially lose the audience.

Afterwards Ampata does break away from Xander. She says kind of under her breath, “No, I can’t.” She tells him she’s sorry.

Giles is at the museum and he’s fitting the seal together. He’s very close to finishing it.  Ampata somehow feels this. She runs away, leaving Xander.

Buffy comes into the Bronze. She finds Willow and tells her Ampata is the mummy. Willow says at first, “Oh good,” and then she says, “Xander!” They run off to find Xander.

Oz comes up and is about to talk to Willow. But she has disappeared with Buffy. And he says to himself, “Who is that girl?”

Heading For The Museum (And The Climax)

Willow and Buffy find Xander and they all head for the museum. Giles is there alone. He is still fitting that seal together.

If you look too closely, the timing doesn’t really work here. There aren’t that many pieces to the seal. I suppose Giles could have been hunting for it and gradually piecing it together. But it seems kind of crazy that Ampata was at the Bronze, we had all these things happening, and somehow she gets to the museum before Giles finishes.

But it does make for a good Climax. He is just about to put the last piece in. Ampata sneaks up on him and tries to kill him. We are getting our climax of the main plot (of stop the mummy). But also Xander’s emotional arc and Ampata’s as well.

Buffy interrupts. She stops Ampata from hurting Giles. They fight. Ampata throws Buffy into the coffin and closes the lid on her.

The Climax Of Inca Mummy Girl

Xander and Willow arrive. Ampata grabs Willow. And she is trying to suck the life out of Willow. Xander yells at Ampata to let Willow go. Ampata says that they can be together. She just needs this one more. Let her have this one. Otherwise she’ll die and that will be it.

42 minutes, 5 seconds in, Xander says if she wants a life she’ll have to take his and can she do that?

This is the true climax. The pinnacle of the story. Ampata says yes. And she grabs him and starts to suck the life out of him.

Buffy frees herself and pulls Ampata away as she is disintegrating.

I like that we see Xander standing up to Ampata. We see not just that he will protect Willow, but that he is not going to be happy at the expense of other people.

I don’t think we ever thought that Xander would make a choice to say, “Okay, I’ll be with this mummy girl who has to kill people to stay alive” But it is in the heat of the moment. It’s good to see that Xander does not hesitate even for a second to stop Ampata. To basically sacrifice himself in Willow’s place, though he probably thought Ampata was going to say no, she couldn’t take his life.

But I believe he really meant it. “If you want to take someone’s life, you have to take mine.”

Falling Action In Inca Mummy Girl

We have a very short Falling Action section. Less than a minute where we tie up loose ends.

Willow is comforting Xander at the museum. The next day, Xander and Buffy are walking together. He says he has the worst taste in women ever. And either here or earlier in the episode he calls back to having fallen for the teacher who was praying mantis.

Buffy, though, tells him Ampata wasn’t evil. That she really cared about Xander. also says Ampata got gipped. She had her life taken away from her. Buffy remembers how she felt when she found out she was chosen, and says she wasn’t exactly thinking about doing the right thing.

Xander points out that she did and that she gave up her life. Buffy says, “And I had you to bring me back.”

And that is the end.

Xander-Focused Episodes

I found it interesting how many episodes in these early seasons focused on Xander. On the one hand, as I mentioned, he’s not quite a sympathetic a character, especially when we view him two decades later.

In other ways, though, there are aspects that I think everyone can identify with. Everyone has fallen for someone who doesn’t return their feelings. Which we also have with Willow.

And I think everyone has had that feeling, especially during high school years, that they will never figure these things out. Xander has this feeling not just that Buffy’s not interested, but that he is rejected over and over again. His fear is that this this is what his life will be. And then at the end we get that fear that okay, here was someone who did want him, but there was something so wrong with her. And his feeling that, “Okay yeah. When I do find somebody, I choose someone who is evil.”

All of these things are things that audience members can identify with.

We also have some great things to model in Xander even looking back two decades. I love that he admires Buffy’s strength, I’d love to say that all of course any guy should be comfortable with a strong woman. But we really had few representations of that in our stories at the time.

Other than some short Spoilers, that is all I have for this episode.

Next Week: Reptile Boy

Next week we will talk about Reptile Boy. It is another one-off episode, I find it a lot of fun. This time it is very Cordelia-focused in that she persuades Buffy to go with her to a fraternity party and nothing good ever happens at one of those. Especially in the Buffyverse.

If you’re not sticking around for the Spoilers, thank you so much for listening and I hope to see you next Monday.




And we’re back for Spoilers.


The boy we saw Ampata try to kill at the Bronze is Jonathan. He will turn up several different times. Including in the next episode, Reptile Boy. We will see him at the end, and that’s the first time we learn his name.

He becomes increasingly more important.

At first we keep seeing him as sort of the butt of jokes, which he definitely is at one point from one of Cordelia’s friends. Mostly, though, we see him as a sort of generic victim or the generic kind of nerdy high school boy. Which is what will happen in Reptile Boy.

Eventually he will have some very pivotal episodes in Buffy. Including in Season Rour when he alters the entire world for an episode and gets to be in the credits looking very cool.

And of course that helps prepare us for the major world alteration in Season Five.

He’ll also be one of our three villains in Season Six. I find his story arc, or his character arc, the interesting of the villains in Season Six. So I’m really looking forward to that. And also to Earshot, the episode where he really comes into focus. I think that’s in Season Three, where we think that he is the villain of that piece.


The other major character who comes in here is Oz. I love this subtle introduction of him. I don’t know if I picked up how important he would be when I saw this the first time. But I really like that he is this very reserved young guy who doesn’t say a lot and has this dry wit. And that he is so taken with Willow from the moment he sees her.

It’s so much fun the next time they cross paths. I feel pretty sure it’s in the Halloween episode where she’s wearing the ghost costume. o they literally cross paths, but he doesn’t recognize her. Not until he sees her much late, at the end of the episode without the costume.

I am also looking forward to talking about Oz, and that relationship. It will be key this season, and in Season Four will give us one of the most heartbreaking episodes of Buffy ever. Two of the most heartbreaking episodes. One when he leaves and one when he comes back.

But there’s a lot to go before we get to that, starting next week with Reptile Boy.

I hope to see you next Monday. Thank you for listening.

The podcast Buffy and the Art of Story is a production of Spiny Woman LLC copyright 2020.