Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | November 30, 2010

Cordia’s Review: S1, E04 – Teacher’s Pet

Teacher’s Pet
Season 1, Episode 4
Original airing: 3/24/97

My Rating: 60

The Good, The Bad, The Meh:
Normally, this would be two sections: the Good and the Bad. But this episode just sort of made me feel like it was the Okay and the Meh. It’s not a bad episode, but it’s not particularly good either. We see a little vampire action mixed with a lot of the main villain: a male-virgin-eating giant bug. But there wasn’t anything about this episode that really stood out to me and made it memorable.

Natalie makes sense as a villain. The actress plays the sultry role well and Xander’s reaction to her is believable. But most of my attention was distracted by the obnoxious Blaine, Buffy’s sudden scholastic bent and Giles’ transatlantic phone call. The littler things popped out at me in this episode and I found the main villain pretty easy to ignore. She is also rather forgettable because we never really get to see her in bug-form. More than likely, there were some budgetary constraints resulting in a less-than-realistic costume, but never really seeing the giant Mantis made her a little less scary.

The Buffy-Willow-Giles scenes are fine. Willow researches, Giles has a last minute epiphany and Buffy kicks butt. But it feels off watching this crew work without Xander. One of the Slayerettes is missing and it made the library scenes a bit lacking in humor and dynamic.

The part of the episode I enjoyed the most was the interaction between Buffy and Angel. The two scenes they shared were charged with attraction and Buffy’s small “Oh, boy” after Angel tells her she looks good in his jacket is spot-on. She recognizes that this ambiguous, smoldering man is a danger to her emotionally. And yet, he’s frustrating as a character. Nobody, including the audience, knows anything about his character and his warnings are so vague as to be almost useless. And even his potential as a foil-character to Xander is limited due to Buffy being obviously smitten with Angel and not attracted to Xander at all. I’d like a little more time on this character, please!

Favorite Moment:
When Buffy is ‘dissecting’ Bug-Natalie at the end of the episode, the audience is treated to a shot of Xander watching Buffy dissect Bug-Natalie. His face reflects a bit of awe and quite a bit of horror. It’s interesting to see him watch Buffy in this moment when he’s spent the rest of the episode imaging himself as her savior. Is he wondering if he can actually kill something, like she does? Is he scared of her or amazed by her? Does this change his impression of or feelings for Buffy? How would it affect someone to watch the person they secretly want to impress ruthlessly hack-up a man-sized bug with a machete? It’s a wealth of speculation in one expression.

The Bottom Line:
The episode was okay. The villain was okay. Buffy’s hero-talk set-up for the bat sonar tape… was bad. But Giles’ lunge to turn the recorder on was good. So it all balanced out in the end. I just didn’t feel like there was much to distinguish this episode. The humor wasn’t really there, the danger was minimal and the classic horror film ending was a bit disappointing. Eggs hatching in the closet just as Buffy is closing the door? Really? But there was also nothing that stood out as truly horrible and would make me never want to see this episode again. In my opinion, it just sort of filled space. More vampires, now, please.

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