Inca Mummy Girl
Season 2, Episode 4
Written by: Matt Kiene & Joe Reinkemeyer
Commentary already: Does it actually take two writers to write this episode? Really??
DIR: Ellen S. Pressman
Blurb: A beautiful Inca princess who was buried alive in a tomb 500 years ago is accidentally brought back to life in the Sunnydale Natural History Museum.
Scene 01: Our gang walks in beautiful sunshine, happy and smiley. Buffy is complaining that something sucks, but Willow tells her it isn't that bad. Xander jumps in with the fact that all of the parents are getting on board with it this year. 'IT' is a student hosting program in which foreign high school students travel to Sunnydale and are housed by a family there for two weeks so they can get a slice of American life.
Obviously, Joyce is one of the parents on board. This will also obviously makes things more challenging for Buffy if any evil happens to stop by.
Scene 02: The conversation is taking place on their way to a field trip to the blurbby museum. Cordelia has a booklet of the students that will be arriving and their assignments, so that each host family will know what sort of culture they'll be interacting with. Cordy is very happy. She is going to be housing Sven, a buff Swedish hunk-o-licious.
She asks Buffy about her student, but she hasn't been that interested to find out. She knows its a guy from South America and that's about it. Xander is taken aback by the 'guy at her house who isn't a girl' part of that. Willow is all grins.
Scene 03: Cordelia wanders off, telling Buffy her guy could end up dogly and she's living on the edge. Xander remains upset about Buffy's 'guy-parts having' hosted student.
A little ways away, some loser named Rodney is doing something to some wooden mask, because security in Sunnydale is very lax, as we know.
Buffy sighs that she should go stop him from doing whatever he's doing (which appears to be scraping paint off of the mask into a baggie). Willow steps in, telling her they can probably fix this one without violence.
Buffy exchanges banter with Xander about her not always using violence....
Scene 04: Museum curator announces that the Inca exhibit is now open for viewing. He announces that the human sacrifices are about to begin....
Scene 05: The students, including our gang, are led up an exhibit ramp to view the Inca Princess on display as we get a potted history lesson of who she was and how she got herself mummified.
We pan down the mummy to see a plate held in her hands, which will be semi-important. The interesting thing here is the naive trust that Sunnydale's museum community places in their visitors. The mummy is completely exposed to any wandering grabby-touchy hand that trails by, as it is not encased in glass and the students are able to get within half a foot of it lying in a stone sarcophagus.
Commentary: Future museums may wanted to have investigated Sunnydale's museum a little bit before sending their priceless artifacts for display... judging by the diamond that The Trio is able to relatively easily steal, they apparently don't. Who knows how many objects were saved from future vandalism or theft by the implosion of Sunnydale?
Cordelia and entourage are still giggling over foreign student pictures, which brings Xan back to his objections about this exchange student staying in Buffy's house. Buffy tells him his name is Ampata and he's coming to the bus depot the next night. This is all within earshot of the mummy.
Scene 06: Sometime later, Rodney sneaks back to the exhibit, which is strangely empty - or it's after hours and the before-closing security sweep was a dismal failure - but anyway, he is fascinated with the plate thing in the mummy's hands. Now, because the mummy and her seal aren't in a glass case and is within easy reaching distance, he's able to reach down into her sarcophagus and pull on the plate, which breaks the seal.
Commentary: This would be one of those times when I'm actually a little angry at a script for insulting me with the stupid-on-display that I'm not supposed to think about. And, also for a 500 years old seal, it looks remarkably like it's made out of white china, instead of earth-colored clay.
So, Rod breaks the seal, but continues foraging around the mummy for some momento to steal. Unshockingly to us, though he looks surprised in his Cletus-way, hands reach up and grab him around the throat, while the mummy's empty eyes open their lids to gaze sightlessly at him.
Commentary: This could have been, and perhaps that was the intent, a gruesome EC Comics moment, but alas - it all comes off as so obvious and the set up is crap so none of it works. Plus the long intro leading up to this (cough)shock moment(cough) wasn't worth it in the least. I suspect my next complaint has more to do with the film stock, again, then the set dressing or lighting, but it all looks so drab once we're out of the bright sunshine, too, that the scene seems to last longer than it actually does with nothing very interesting to look at.
-Insert Buffy theme & Credits-
Scene 07: We cut back into the library the following day, where Buffy is working out with Giles... the librarian... in the library... as they are wont to do, in direct circumvention of trying to keep Buffy's unusual activities secreted.
She wants to go to the exchange student costume dance, which Giles refuses on the grounds that she has to patrol. She whines that he needs to budge (whereas, she could just tell him she's going and be done with it... he's her mentor, not her owner). Buffy pulls the "if I don't do normal things while I have a stranger living with me, it could cause suspicion" card on him.
When he still seems hesitant, she looks at the blocking pad he's holding up, and goes to give him one of her super-strength kicks that would no doubt knock him to the floor despite his "protection". He suddenly relents and she gives a tiny cheer for winning the argument.
Scene 08: With this decided, Xan offers to play wheel-man with his mom's car and will pick up Buffy. She mentions that he's taking Willow, she thought. He confirms, but points out if he has others in the car, then it is him taking her to the dance, rather than TAKING HER TO THE DANCE.
Buffy gets it. He wants to avoid Dateville connotations of being at the dance with his best friend. She teases him about never thinking about Willow's lips... and naturally Willow has come in unnoticed. Her heart shatters, again, as Xan tells Buffy that he thinks of Willow as best friend material, which makes thoughts of a not-best-friend nature verboten, and that means there will be no thoughts about her lips - or anything else.
Willow makes her presence known, hiding her hurt-face behind worried-face because she actually stopped by to tell Buffy that Rodney is missing rather than to have her heart metaphorically cut out by Xander's lack of interest in smoochies, again.
There is some joking about Rodney waking the mummy at the museum and getting attacked, before a look of realization goes through the foursome that this is Sunnydale....
Scene 09: The quartet return to the empty museum to check out the mummy display and rule out any evil curses associated with the mummy.
Buffy says some day she'll live in a town where evil curses are just generally discounted without saying.
They find the broken seal, but the mummy remains in its restful place. Giles is pointing out the interesting pictograms on the broken shards of the plate, when they're suddenly attacked by a yelling man with a machete. Xander barely avoids getting a beheading!
Commentary: Hmmm. I use explanation point, but there is no excitement in this scene. I don't know why I can't seem to care about any of this.
Machete guy takes one look at mummy and runs out (And Buffy doesn't immediately go after him, even though he nearly beheaded her best friend? - I think not). Everyone starts to retreat with Giles absconding with a piece of that plate (apparently the curators also don't check the exhibits that they allow the pubic to manhandle at closing or before opening either).
Willow interrupts, noting that the mummy has braces... a non-Incan technology. Their mummy isn't the mummy that should be lying there, but is Rodney!
Commentary: Again, explanation point, but no shocking revelation. This script and its filming is making everything feel mundane.
Scene 10: The gang discuss what to do next in the library, when Buffy realizes she has to rush to the bus station to pick up her exchange student. Xander complains about her priorities and is basically still jealous-guy about the arrival of this "Latin lover whose stock in trade is the breaking of hearts" that will be staying with her.
Commentary: Nicky's delivery of this line is cute and amusing, but Xander's obsession about this anonymous exchange student is overdone and repetitive. This is just a weak script.
Scene 11: At the Sunnydale Bus Depot, unsuspecting victim - Ampata - arrives and looks for Buffy to escort him to her house. He hears his name whispered and wanders off to find its source. (I forgive him because he's not a Sunnydale resident, although I do wonder about people who go wandering off into abandoned parking lots when voices they don't know call their name in creepy whispers.) Naturally, Buffy is not the one who is calling out to him.
He gasps in shock as mummy comes at him. Before he can respond with running feet, she grabs him and kisses him - draining away his life force and mummifying him nearly instantly....
Scene 12: Buffy arrives with Willow and Xander at the bus depot, forty minutes late. She calls out for Ampata and is greeted by a girl stating she is there. Xander's mouth instantly drops.
This is unexpected, since they had been expecting a male student.
Scene 13: Buffy gives the faux-Ampata a tour of her house and the gang end in the kitchen. Despite the fact she speaks English just fine, Xan embarrasses himself by talking loud and making hand gestures to suggest taking a drink, unnecessarily. Willow points out that Ampata is a girl, and she responds amusingly that she has been for many years now.
Xan also spends the whole time sitting very close to her and giggling. Willow is obviously uncomfortable. Buffy seems both sympathetic and amused. I'm a bit nauseous.
Scene 14: That evening, faux-Ampata and Buffy bond a little before bedtime. Ampata relishes this chance to experience something other than her cramped coffin. She tells Buffy that she wants to fit in and have a normal life like Buffy's ... oh, the irony... oh the compare/contrast theme whose imprint will be bludgeoned into our very soul before this episode is over.
Outside in the bushes, knife-guy watches....
Scene 15: Next day at school, Cordelia is making some plans with Devon - a singer who we don't care about, except that he knows Oz - who we do.
But this isn't really about Devon or Oz (yet), but is about Cordy. She complains bitterly that her foreign exchange student Sven doesn't even speak American.
Scene 16: Oh, wait, I guess this is about Oz... OZ!
Devon pesters Oz about the hotness of Cordelia, which he is relatively blah about. Devon is a vacuous tool. Oz is, well, for one he's Seth Green looking hot enough to tackle. But, also he's sweet, cool, laid back Oz.
We should move on before I get stuck....
Scene 17: Nearby, but not near enough for Willow and Oz to meet yet, she's walking with Xander. He's fretting over his costume for the dance, as he fears the mocking. She asks why he's suddenly so worried about looking stupid, but realizes that came out wrong a moment later.
He barely notices, for fake-Ampata is walking up the front walk with Buffy....
Scene 18: Ampata tells Buffy that she hasn't see so many people at once in a long while. Buffy tells her sunnily that she'll make new friends in no time, and tells her she already knows somebody who wants to meet her.
This turns out to be Giles, who skims over the pleasantries to jump right into translating the broken bit of seal they retrieved where they found Rodney.
Scene 19: At first Ampata is taken aback, but denies to Buffy that anything is wrong. She tells them the shard is old and valuable. She also suggests that Giles should hide it away, but he asks again if she can help them translate what is there, because all South American people are able to read ancient Incan, for their 'archeology club'.
Commentary: I'm wondering at this point if anyone else has noticed Rodney's body lying in the sarcophagous on display at the museum. Did the gang inform anyone? Are they just going to keep their mouths closed and let Rodney get shipped off at the end of the exhibit?!
And, what is that red... button? pin?... thingie on Giles' sweater?
Ampata tells him she believes the figure with the knife on the shard is "bodyguard" and informs him that legends say there is always a guard who protects the mummy from being disturbed.
Buffy decides she has to check for the bodyguard, since he's already attacked them once. Giles goes back to looking for other symbols on the shard. Xander offers to spend the day with Ampata to keep her occupied. Giles tries to give instruction to Willow, but she's distracted by the obvious interest of Xan in Ampata and is busy throwing hurt face in their direction as they walk away smiling at each other.
Scene 20: Ahhhh... the twinkie scene.
So, in the best scene in the whole episode - at least to me - Xander is looking adorable in his geekhood. He and Fake-Ampata are sitting on some bleachers outside, when he introduces her to the joy that is stuffing a twinkie down your gullet ... which isn't nearly as X-rated as it sounds. It mostly involves talking while your mouth is full of spongecake and whipped cream so we get plenty of shots of chewed food.
Commentary: That part isn't so favorited by me. But, Xander is jokey and cute and huggable. Mummy-Girl is charming and funny and beautiful. The scene is cutsey without being obnoxious and I really like the interaction between them.
Scene 21: In the library, Buffy thinks she's matched a symbol (I suppose she's working the guard angle through the books, rather than going looking like I had thought) from the shard. She looks to confirm with Willow, but the red head is distracted by thoughts of Xan and Ampata.
Buffy sympathizes and reminds her that their visitor will only be around for 2 weeks. Wills concedes, but then complains that Xan will just find someone else who isn't her to obsess about (I keep hoping it's going to be Spike, but that never seems to happen).
Commentary: My second favorite scene: Willow's tragic/funny analysis of her situation... which deserves quotage:
Willow: Well, you know, I have a choice. I can spend my life waiting for Xander to go out with every other girl in the world until he notices me.... Or, I can just (nods) get on with my life.
Buffy (being supportive): Good for you.
Willow: Well, I didn't choose yet.
Oh, Aly - so charming and funny, so sad and tragic... she always does such a fantastic job balancing Willow's emotional turmoil.
Giles has come in during this to examine more of the shard under an magnifier. He states that he's found something interesting. According to the rather densely written sliver of their part of the seal - the mummy has the ability to drain human life-essences. Buffy realizes it isn't just a guy with a huge knife they must contend with....
Scene 22: ... but he is the main concern, as right now he's launching another surprise attack (from the top of the metal bleachers - I can only assume that he has the ability to off-screen teleport, like all men who wield pointy/slashy implements) on Xander and Incan-Mummy-Chick.
He accuses Xander of taking the seal and threatens him with bodily harm, when he's distracted by seeing Faux-Ampata who he seems to recognize. Xan is able to kick him down the bleachers.
Xan grabs Ampata's hand and they make a dash for safety.
Scene 23: In the library, Willow wonders why the knife-guy is so into them and Xan reports his interest in the seal. Ampata suggests destroying what they have collected. Conversation nearly curves into Slayer territory - but pointed looks from Giles and Buffy shut Xan up and he covers that their archeology club is actually a crime club. She doesn't believe they're telling her everything and rushes out with Xan following, frustrated at not being able to tell her about Rodney's mummification and Buffy's monsterhunting.
In the hallway, Ampata sits, upset by the recent assault on her and Xan.
Willow joins them as she's at the waterfountain to talk to Xander. He tells her he's trying to convince their guest that their 'crime club' isn't all about being imperiled.
Will tells him that he should ask Ampata out to the dance, not as a group date thing... just those two guys, together (Because she's the best, supportive friend, even as her heart is breaking - or she's just passive-aggressive. I was more into the 'Willow is such a great friend', before we met her mother... now I wonder if she doesn't just like playing the martyr).
Scene 24: In the library, Buffy and Giles come up with a plan to go back to the museum after hours and look for the rest of the plate. She's unhappy because that means her plans to attend the dance are cancelled plans.
Commentary: I hate this scene because of the stupidity. Both of them act like it is just now occurring to them that they should seek out the rest of the seal at the museum, after they've been struggling for days to figure out their tiny portion of it. Buffy also hopes that maybe if they find the rest of the shards, they'll find knife-guy... who already attacked them at the museum. The museum where the first clear victim (Rodney the vandal) was killed and stuffed where the missing mummy was resting. It's just now occurring to them that they need to return to the museum? Really?
This entire script, actually, is playing like a very early S1 episode - but this little Buffy/Giles scene is the most aggregious example of it.
Scene 25: In the hallway, Xander is leading up to a big secret to share with Ampata. It appears that maybe he's going to blow the Scooby Gang thing, but his actual purpose is to tell her that he likes her and plans on asking her to the exchange mixer. She reveals that she likes him as well.
Scene 26: She takes a trip to the girl's room. As she puts on her borrowed lipstick (remember, she's also walking around in boy's clothing which Buffy will belatedly start putting together as clues later), knife-guy once again does the 'off screen teleporting' so he can suddenly appear standing behind her.
Knife-Guy confronts her. She begs to be allowed to live out the life now that she was denied. He points out that she'll have to kill innocent people for this life she's trying to reclaim. She goes on about how it wasn't fair what happened to her, which is true. But, he reminds her that she was the Chosen One (but this doesn't read as a Slayer-Chosen-One, so much as a Human-Sacrifice-Chosen-One).
He tells her that she doesn't have a choice. She has to return to her death-like state.
He goes to stab her with his knife, but she's able to grab his arm and put him in a hold.
Commentary: This scene has problems, because we don't get any indication of super strength from her before or after this scene. So far, she's seemed to be more of a sneak-attack-predator. Here, though, she's suddenly holding this muscular slab-o-beef so she can give him the kiss-of-death. But, because of the poor way that this scene is blocked and played, the guard doesn't actually look like he's struggling in her grip. He's basically completely passive as she leans in to kiss him to death, so it's impossible to tell if she's really holding him helpless, if she's using some sort of hypno-whammy to force his passivity, or if he's just too freaked at his sudden vulnerability to react until it is too late for him.
It comes down to looking like the scene was just rushed through clumsily to remove him as the threat and to give the gang the giant-neon-clue that he wasn't their problem (which they should already know clearly, considering Rodney's corpse). This scene is really an example of the way the script was poorly put together.
Princess delivers the death kiss and it's bye-bye bodyguard.
Scene 27: She rejoins Xan in the hallway and accepts his invitation, causing broad grinning and hand holding.
Commentary: Which adds to the awkwardness with the bodyguard in the girl's room... what did he do, just hang out in a stall and hope that she happened to choose that bathroom? Slip in while Xander was looking at his shoes with the profound lack of peripheral vision we've already seen in "WttH/The Harvest"? Did he really have off-screen teleportation?
We'll never know. He's dead now. Again, sloppy scripting combined with inattentive filming hurts this story, which wouldn't be a bad take on the mummy-tale, otherwise.
Scene 28: In Buffy's room that evening, the bus depot has sent over the abandoned stuff of Ampata's that no one seemed to think about when she showed up in front of Buffy with only the clothes on her back. Ampata asks Buffy for lipstick... again... apparently....
Commentary: Now, I'm wondering if the script was alright, if not brilliant, but that assembling the episode was where the problem lay? It feels like this scene should have come before the scene where we already saw Ampata with a lipstick in the bathroom. No, there are definitely script issues, too. But editing wasn't trying to help anything out.
Anyway, Ampata tells Buffy she reminds her of an Incan Princess from long ago who also thought of other people before herself (OW! Stop dropping sledgehammers on me!). In the meantime, Buffy is unpacking a backpack and sees men's underwear.
While Buffy is puzzling over this, Ampata gets a glance inside Buffy's desk drawer before it is quickly shut by the Slayer - it's the drawer with the holy water and stakes. Ampata is going on about how the princess was 'Chosen', which of course Buffy knows all about. They're able to bond on a sly level, without either one revealing that they're the Chosen Ones they're talking about.
Ampata and Buffy think about the lost princess and her having to give up any chance at love and a life for others' needs.
Buffy, meanwhile, returns to offering to unpack Ampata's things and opens the travel trunk. She's looking at the other girl, so she misses what we catch sight of... the actual Ampata's dessicated body stuffed in it. Faux-Ampata is spared from answering awkward questions about actual-Ampata when Xan and Willow ring the doorbell downstairs and Buffy rushes off to greet them.
Mummy-Ampata quickly locks up the trunk with a worried look.
Scene 29: Xan and Ampata are sent off to the culture-dance. Joyce laments that Buffy can't be convinced to go, though of course, she doesn't know why her daughter is being stubborn about this.
Commentary: For those of you not aware of Xander's joke about being from the country of Leone... he's referencing Django/Man With No Name flavor of spaghetti westerns that were big in the 60's.
Scene 30: At the dance, 'Dingoes Ate My Baby' is playing. Devon is singing in his whiskey-rough voiced way, while Oz is on guitar.
Commentary: The Dingoes are snatching their name from a tragic case of infant death in Australia. The mother of the baby claims a dingo snatched the infant in the middle of the night and ran off with it, while the police suspected her of infanticide. Later, after a media circus where "A dingo ate my baby!" became a rather darkly humorous utterance (I suspect due to Meryl Streep's Australian accent in the movie), a baby's jacket was found near a dingo den. It should be noted that the line for which Devon's bad is named wasn't actually uttered in the movie that brought the case to the American public's attention.
Cordelia comes in all smiles in her Hawaiian bikini get-up. After looking around, she immediately targets Willow for a little vinegar comment due to her choice to come as an Eskimo.
Commentary: Give a hand to Aly, again, though for both making a huge fur coat adorable and for wearing the thing under the hot filming lights.
The Cordettes ask Cordelia about Sven and she reports that she's been trying to ditch him, but he keeps tracking her down. Which he does again now, much to her annoyance. A Cordette offers to take him off Cordy's hands of awhile and leads him away to dance or get punch or something.
Scene 31: Xander and fake-Ampata arrive and she's amazed by her, presumably, first dance/party. Willow notes that she's wearing something clingy and naturally feels like a huge dork in her outfit.
Willow shares pleasantries with them, but looks a little lost without Buffy there to boost her ego, what with Ampata looking fabulous and she looking frumpy and drowning in her parka.
Scene 32: Over at Buffy's, she answers the door to a mildly frantic Giles. He reports to her that the bodyguard's body was found at the school in a stall. Buffy's confused as to why the mummy might kill her own guard, but Giles reports that on looking again at the seal, he's convinced that the guard's duty wasn't to protect the mummy, but to ensure that it wouldn't awaken.
At first Buffy thinks that Ampata translated the seal wrong, but at Giles' look of doubt, she starts putting together some clues: Ampata being wiggy about the seal from the start, her boy-wear, her insistence that she didn't need help unpacking, the mix up between expecting a boy and getting a girl exchange student....
Commentary: Actually, I'm generously reading between the lines and assuming that all of these things are occurring to her. Also, Joyce who?
She rushes upstairs to look at Ampata's traveling trunk. They find all boy's clothing and a mummified body.
Scene 33: Back at the dance, Xan and Ampata go out onto the floor, while Willow watches with suppressed grief.
Meanwhile, from stage, Oz asks Devon about a girl that he's suddenly noticed and been entranced by. Devon assumes it's Ampata, but we quickly find out it's Willow who has captured his interest in her Eskimo-getup.
Scene 34: In Giles' old car, they're rushing -- or attempting to rush -- to the school to find Ampata and Xander. Giles' car sounds on death's door. Buffy complains.
Scene 35: Swaying Ampata/Xander dance. They stare in each other's eyes and go in for the first kiss.
But then, Ampata starts as her hand starts to mummify over his shoulder. She looks at him with brief panic and leaves him on the dance floor, dumbfounded over what just happened to their moment.
Commentary: Which actually brings up a question that we'll never have answered. Is Ampata's kiss-of-death always active? Could she theoretically have a normal relationship without killing her suitor if she's very careful, or would her kiss automatically start draining the life from her boyfriend?
As Xan is left with mild confusion, Ampata looks for someone to feed on... she spots lonely looking boy (who I will just call Jonathon right now) sitting on The Bronze stairs to the mezzanine.
Scene 36: Back in the rescue-mobile, Buffy is angry at herself for not realizing something was wrong with Ampata. It occurs to Giles that if breaking the seal freed the mummy, then reassembling it might force her back into suspension. He'll drop Buffy off at The Bronze to rescue Xander while he goes to the museum in search of the rest of the seal fragments.
Scene 37: At the dance, Xander looks for Ampata to talk about why she had her freak-out when things were going so well. Xan stops by Willow, but she hasn't seen anything, being trapped in her bulky parka and all.
In the meanwhile, Cordette who took over Sven duty is walking with Sven... and he's talking English just fine! He's complaining to Cordette about what he's gotten stuck with as a host!
Commentary: Mild amusement. I stress 'MILD'... moving on.
Scene 38: While Xander is looking for Ampata to talk, she's making time with Jonathon! It's not that she's lost interest in Xan though, it's just that her hand and arm have become gnarly. She is taking an awfully casual amount of time to liplock Jon, though. (Are you *playing* with your food, Fake-Ampata?!)
Just before Jon gets his fatal kiss, they hear Xander calling for her. Jon slips away quickly, leaving her standing there frustrated and worried.
Xander finds Ampata, where she is crying in a combination of happiness and deep despair. He tries to get her to talk to him about why.
Commentary: This is another fine scene, with excellent chemistry between Nicky and Ara Celi. And, I like the backlighting allowing Ampata to hide her deteriorating condition from him, even though their standing face to face. Both actors do a really nice job here with their dialog as well.
She throws herself into his arms and they finally kiss. At first, it seems like it'll be alright, but then her kisses get more passionate. She grabs the back of his head, and suddenly his eyes jerk open in surprise as we cut to fade out!
Scene 39: Xander appears stunned, but Ampata pushes him away and to the floor, refusing to drain him for herself. She cradles him and apologizes for hurting him, but he's too disoriented to respond....
Scene 40: Meanwhile, Giles is trying to re-assemble the seal. Ampata senses the seal being placed back together and drops Xander to go stop Giles.
Scene 41: At the dance, Willow is struggling to get some cheese, but is too heartbroken by Xander and Ampata to think about removing her gloves.
Buffy rushes up to her. She clues Willow in on Ampata as Mummy. Wills is momentarily relieved about this news, before her brain catches up that Xander is now in danger... again. She just misses Oz coming up behind her to introduce himself as she takes off with Buffy to save Xander.
They find him slumped against a wall, still a bit out of it. Buffy asks after Ampata and Xan remembers her mention of the seal. The gang take off to get to Giles next.
Scene 42: At the museum, Giles obliviously works on his seal-gluing. Ampata interrupts, taking the seal from him and re-smashing it. She grabs him by the throat, but Buffy is there with a quip before she can get to the energy draining.
Buffy makes a Slayer-strength leap, revealing that she's about as normal as Ampata.
They briefly fight, before the mummy maneuvers Buffy into her crypt and closes the lid on her. Meanwhile, Willow has ditched her heavy coat and runs in following Buffy. Instead, she runs right into Ampata, who puts the strangle hold on her next.
She tries to kiss Willow to death - but Xan rescues her and offers himself in her place.
He believes that she'll choose him over her life, but he's wrong. She grabs him and goes into the kiss.
Commentary: And, I must note that Willow just stands there. Damn stupid script/directing.
Buffy, meanwhile, pushes against the heavy lid. She's able to escape and get to Xander and Ampata before the rapidly mummifying girl can complete the lip lock. She grabs mummy girl and yanks her away from Xander, leaving her arms in Xan's hands...!
Xander drops them and collapses against the wall in horror and grief. Willow goes to him to comfort him. Ampata has grown brittle and when Buffy drops her to the ground, her body shatters.
Commentary: No, that doesn't make a lick of sense. Neither does Giles being unconcious, nor Willow's inaction when Xan was at risk, nor the very little amount of shattered parts that Ampata's torso left behind. It hate this non-sensical ending.
Giles recovers off-screen and the gang leave the exhibit and Ampata's shattered remains behind them.
Scene 43: The following day, Xander is severly moping about Ampata specifically, but also his general poor taste in women (excepting Buffy - but as we'll learn, his attraction to her actually fits right in with his other attractions - but we'll discuss that much later).
I do note here that Xan and Buffy managed to coordinate colors for this heart to heart stroll at the school.
She assures Xan that Ampata wasn't evil. Buffy sympathizes with faux-Ampata's position. She points out her own selfishness after she found out she was fated to die at The Master's hands. But, Xander points out to her that in the end, she did the right thing - she offered up her life for those around her. Ampata chose herself.
Buffy smiles and tells him that she had him to bring her back.
Commentary: Nicky and SMG do some nice work in this scene, too. Nicky especially - watch his 'face-acting'... even when he's smiling at Buffy, it's reserved and sad.
The Good: Nick and Ara do very nice jobs with their scenes together.
Ampata's arms coming off was a nice, gruesome touch and this episode could have used more touches like that one.
I love continuity, so love Buffy's bringing up her wanting to run away from her destiny in "Prophecy Girl" as well as Xander pointing out that when it counted, she didn't.
The Bad: The extent of Ampata's powers is muddled from scene to scene based on how much her victim needs to be subdued for her to kiss.
The Princess/Slayer compare/contrast theme is overdone in some scenes... like hammer in the point overdone.
The Bodyguard's ability to off-screen teleport, which didn't strike me as an in-episode power of his, was actively irritating and clumsy. This is BTVS, not a cheap C-grade horror sequel!
I also wasn't crazy about the acting (in)ability of the bodyguard, either (Ouch - sorry - but it's true).
That ending battle was all kinds of bad directing. In fact, too many scenes were clumsy and badly set up.
Other Thoughts: In addition to the bad scripting and some bad directing choices, the overall pace of the episode felt slow and ponderous. It's not as bad as I remember. I certainly found it more engaging (though Cordelia's part was less amusing then I remembered) than Teachers Pet or I Robot, You Jane.
I liked Ara Celi and her faux-Ampata, but I wish she'd been given a better story around her.
The Scoring: I thought that I'd end up giving this a below average score, but there are enough individual scenes to lift the episode as a whole. A weak 3.0 out of 5 will be my judgement.