The Puppet Show
Written by: Dean Batali & Rob DesHotel
INT. AUDITORIUM - DAY
A poster: ‘TALENT SHOW AUDITIONS - TODAY'
CORDELIA and a GIRL WITH A TUBA fill out audition forms.
So, what's your act?
The girl points to her tuba: is this a trick question?
Haven't decided, huh?
Well, you'd better be
along the lines of spectacular.
Because I sing.
Who gets these?
Cursed by the wretched
name of Rupert Giles.
He sits in the auditorium seats, staring blankly into space. Buffy, Willow, and Xander are seated around him.
How did you finagle
such a primo assignment?
Our new Fuhrer Mr. Miller --
I think they're
called ‘principals' now.
Mm-hmm. He thought it
would behoove me to have
more contact with the
student. I tried to
explain that my vocational
choice of librarian was a
deliberate attempt to minimize
said contact. He would have
none of it.
Giles, into every generation
is born one who must oversee
the annual abomination known
as the school talentless show.
You can not escape your destiny.
Might I at least look forward to
your participation in this even prophesied event?
Nah, I thought I'd take on your
traditional role and just watch.
The three of them chuckle.
Let's leave Sir Andrew Lloyd
Giles to this business he calls show.
They get up and see that PRINCIPAL MILLER is there. In years and schools past, he has ruled with unwavering confidence and was able, despite his size and appearance, to strike fear and respect into his students. But that was then and this is Sunnydale.
Oh, look at this: three more
anxious participants for our show.
Oh, no, sir. Thank you, though.
We were just--
They try to escape. Mr. Miller stops them.
No, stay. I think you could put
on a wonderful act for the audience
to watch. And mock. And laugh. At.
Buffy smiles weakly.
Looks like we just volunteered.
Principal Flutie may have tolerated
anti-social, recalcitrant behavior like
yours. He was all touch-feely and
weak-willed. Which explains why
he was eaten by wild dogs, god rest
his soul. But there's a new sheriff in
town. Sunnydale High has touched
and felt for the last time.
He walks off. Giles turns to the trio.
Audition forms are on the table.
INT. AUDITORIUM STAGE - A FEW MOMENTS LATER
A ‘Chorus Line' MONTAGE begins as:
A GIRL DANCER (ALICE) does some moves. She is very athletic and very good. She picks up a cane and throws it into the air. It doesn't come down. She stares into the rafters.
A CARROT-TOP WANNABE (ELLIOT) holds up a long toilet plunger with a toothbrush attached to the top.
Here's a way to save time in
the morning. Unclog your toilet
while practicing good hygiene.
A GOOD-LOOKING KID (MARIO) wears a cape and holds a top-hat.
And so, I reach into my hat
and -- abra cadabra -- pull out...
He looks inside his hat, then looks around the stage.
Has anyone seen a rabbit?
The girl with the tuba (FRIDA) sits on a stool.
I now present my tribute to Jimi Hendrix.
She brings the tuba to her mouth, plays the opening two notes to ‘PURPLE HAZE,' then breaks into the main melody.
Cordelia stands on stage, holding a mic, passionately but quietly selling her song.
‘Isn't it ironic, don't you think?
A little too ironic. Oh, yeah, I really do think.'
(cutting her off)
Okay, thank you.
Wait, I'm about to
scream about the rain.
(forcing a smile)
Surprise me later.
And of course I'll
be wearing a knit cap.
Okay, last up, thank goodness,
is... Morgan and Sid.
A SHY-LOOKING BOY (MORGAN) with a VENTRILOQUIST DUMMY (SID) moves to center stage. Morgan sits on a stool.
Hi, I'm Morgan.
(then, as Sid)
And I'm Sid.
As Sid ‘speaks,' Morgan's mouth moves freely. It's as if he isn't even trying not to move his lips. He's terrible.
Hey, Morgan, would you
like to tell some jokes?
As a matter of fact it is.
It's also a wood nose and wood mouth!
Our gang watches, pained. They look away, embarrassed for Morgan. And yet Morgan continues.
I didn't sleep at all last night.
Itching like crazy.
Some kind of rash?
Termites. Doctor Carpenter says--
Suddenly, Sid begins talking in a new voice. This time, Morgan's lips don't move.
--All right, time out. Let's
stop this before someone gets hurt.
Kid, you are the worst. Even I can
see your lips move. On top of that,
you're spitting all over me.
Giles and the others chuckle at this.
And you call those jokes?
My jockey shorts are made
of better material. And they're edible.
Everyone laughs. Morgan looks at the audience, pleased.
INT. AUDITORIUM - A LITTLE LATER
Giles speaks to the auditioners as they gather their things.
...and our first rehearsal sill be tomorrow morning.
(looking at Cordelia)
Some of you might want to get here
early and run through your act before I arrive.
(pointing to our gang)
What about the odd squad?
They didn't even audition.
I'll expect to see them here bright
and early with an idea of what they want to do.
Not be here bright and
early comes to mind.
They start out. Buffy looks over and sees Morgan ‘talking' with his dummy, Sid.
Hey, Morgan, you were funny up there.
Morgan keeps right on talking with Sid.
SID LOOKS up at Buffy, then motions with his head to Morgan.
Huh? Oh, thanks.
Buffy smiles and moves on. Morgan looks at Sid.
Did you hear that?
Of course I did. I told you you'd
be great. Just keep letting me call the shots.
INT. LOCKER ROOM - LATER
Alice, the dancing girl, comes in, wearing her tights and leg-warmers from the audition. She goes to a locker.
A NOISE startles her. She looks around.
There's no response. She opens her locker. She hears a noise from the other direction and quickly turns around.
Is somebody there?
She cautiously walks towards the end of the lockers.
LOW POV: OF SOMEONE WATCHING HER
Her back is to us as she peers around the locker.
POV: RUSHES UP BEHIND HER
She turns in time to face the thing and SCREAMS INTO CAMERA.
EXT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - THE NEXT MORNING
STUDENTS arrive and head into the building.
INT. AUDITORIUM - SAME TIME
Buffy, Willow, and Xander walk in and see other talent show members (Mario, the Tuba Girl, etc.) who are working on their acts.
I had a beautiful dream that the two
of you came up with something great
for us to do in the show.
It's good to dream.
Well, every minute brings Giles closer
to being here, so we'd better settle on
something that vaguely resembles a talent.
You know, talent is really such a subjective
thing. What I consider to be one of my greatest
talents? Other people would just call rude and offensive.
ANGLE: MORGAN REHEARSING ON STAGE
He sits on a stool with Sid on his knee.
Could you move my leg?
What's the problem, Sid?
Damn shin splints.
Morgan un-crosses Sid's leg. Sid sighs, relived. Then:
I'd spend more time in the pool,
but that water seal stuff smells like crap.
Buffy, Willow, and Xander pass by. We hear a WOLF WHISTLE. Buffy turns around. Sid's eyes are SPINNING in their sockets. Buffy laughs.
Wow, Morgan, you're really
getting good with that thing.
Tell the girl thank you.
Morgan's a little shy around
pretty girls. But I'm not.
Xander rolls his eyes. Buffy and Willow giggle.
(patting Sid's head)
Aw, you're sweet.
What say you and me do a little
rehearsing of our own? I'd feel
right at home sitting on your knee.
Hey, wood-man, watch your mouth.
(then, to Morgan)
I mean... watch his mouth.
Sorry, pal. Just checking out the scenery.
(looks Buffy up and down)
And I likes what I see.
Your friend ain't that bad either.
Either of you ladies ever been with
a dummy? Once you go wood,
nothing's as good.
(trying to be polite)
Okay, Morgan. We get the joke.
Horny dummy -- ha ha. But you
might think about getting some
new schtick. Unless you want
your best prop ending up as a Duraflame log.
ANGLE: GILES AND MR. MILLER
as they come in.
By the way, thanks for steering this
talent show ship. I owe you a debt of gratitude.
He flips Giles a quarter.
I love that gag.
But seriously, thanks.
It is a cross I carry with
the joy of Jesus himself.
Ooh, don't say that around the students.
Church/State matters, you know.
I'll be careful.
(looks at the students)
I've got to say, this place isn't nearly as bad
as I was told. I'd heard reports of mysterious
gang activity, witchery, the occasional case
of spontaneous cheerleader combustion.
But I'm beginning to think those were just
rumors. I haven't seen any of that.
A SCREAM echoes throughout the school.
INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM - A LITTLE LATER
A POLICE OFFICER removes yellow tape from the doorway.
Who found the body?
The custodian. She was cleaning the locker room--
They clean this place?
Every other month.
(looks over notes)
The girl's crossed-country coach said
she never showed for last night's meet
at Mehlville. The detectives surmise the
murder occurred after the talent show auditions.
Any gory details?
The goriest. Alice's heart was removed.
That deserves an ‘ick.'
And it's missing.
So we're looking at a myriad of
possibilities: vampires, a ritual sacrifice.
Or it might be the work of any number of
your garden variety creatures with a taste for humanity.
But it's definitely of the genus supernatural.
It seems to be. And it somehow managed
to pass into the school undetected.
(shaking her head)
We've got to tighten our admission standards.
INT. AUDITORIUM - LATER THAT DAY
Buffy, Xander, and Willow come in. Xander is miffed.
How jaded has our school become when
you don't even get the day off after a brutal
murder? I bet most other places, that's an
automatic. But no! We forge on.
Still stressed about the talent show, huh?
They could have at least canceled that.
You know, to say, ‘Hey, we understand.'
Mr. Miller said we're supposed
to carry on in Alice's memory.
How about we do a scene
from a piece of classic theater.
Forsooth! The song of Shakespeare
beats within my breast!
Maybe we should sticketh
with something American.
They come around the corner and see Sid, with his back to them, SITING ALONE on stage -- TALKING.
...Right now you and me got to be on
the lookout. Figure out who's going to be next.
Morgan appears from the OTHER SIDE of the stage.
How are we supposed to--
He sees our gang and stops.
I was, uh, just working on throwing my voice.
Wow. Pretty good.
Morgan, did you--
Buffy approaches him. Morgan quickly grabs Sid. Buffy stops, then steps back a bit.
Um... did you notice anything weird
going on around her yesterday?
Weird? What do you mean?
With Alice. Did she say anything
to you? Was she arguing with anyone?
No. She was dancing. Sid and I were talking.
So you didn't see or hear anything at all?
Sid's head SPINS towards Buffy.
Look, hot-pants, he answered
your questions. Leave him alone.
Oh, how nice. Company.
Now, if you want to take me
into the box and work me over--
Morgan, that's getting a little old.
How about talking to me yourself?
He's said all he[‘s] going to say.
It's okay, Sid. We're done.
He sets Sid in his case, with Sid's head FACING TO THE LEFT.
I didn't mean to make you mad.
No, I'm-- it's him. He's...
Xander watches Morgan start to close the case, and does a double take. WE SEE Sid's head FACING TO THE RIGHT. Morgan shuts the case and holds it close to him.
We've got to go.
Morgan hurries out.
INT. CLASSROOM - LATER THAT DAY
Buffy, Morgan, Cordelia and some of the other kids from the talent show are at their desks. Morgan has Sid with him.
No one pays attention as the TEACHER rambles on.
It was a result of this that President Monroe
put forth the eponymous -- meaning named
after one's self -- Monroe Doctrine, which in
one sense established the U.S. as a local peace keeper..
Buffy absentmindedly looks up and over a few rows to where Morgan is sitting and listening intently to the teacher. SID IS STARING right at Buffy. Buffy returns his ‘gaze.'
ZOOM IN ON: SID
who continues to stare.
Buffy, inexplicably rattled, looks away. She glances up. Sid's still staring.
(leaning in to Buffy)
Looks like someone digs you. That's adorable.
You and the dummy could tour in the freak show.
The teacher looks out to the class.
Okay, who can tell me how Spain
responded to this policy? Morgan?
Sid is WHISPERING something in his ear.
He looks up.
Wouldn't that be somewhere
down and to the left of England?
The class laughs.
Although I once knew a Spanish girl
whose position was usually --
Morgan quickly CLASPS his hand over Sid's mouth as the class erupts in more laughter. The teacher walks over to Morgan.
Give me your puppet.
I'll put him away.
She takes Sid from him.
You'll get it back at the end of the day.
Morgan watches nervously as the teacher puts Sid in a drawer.
CLOSE ON: SID
as the drawer closes.
Okay, then, in the first part of the nineteenth century --
We hear Sid's MUFFLED VOICE from the drawer.
Hey, it's dark in here!
The class giggles.
Morgan, that is enough.
The class laughs some more, except for Buffy, who eyes Morgan suspiciously.
INT. CLASSROOM - LATER
The classroom is empty. The teacher grades papers at her desk. Morgan passes by the door carrying his case.
Morgan, could I see you for a moment, please?
Morgan comes inside.
I wanted to ask you, is everything okay?
At home? Here at school?
I feel like lately you've become...
a little detached. You're not participating
as much, you're goofing off, disrupting class...
You're one of the brightest kids I've
seen in a long time. But lately it seems
like you're not all ‘there.' Don't let this
talent show stuff get in the way of your
school work, okay?
Is that all?
She looks at him. He hasn't heard any of this.
He starts off.
Oh, wait. I need to give you--
The teacher opens the drawer where she put Sid.
ANGLE: THE DRAWER
is EMPTY. She looks up. Morgan is gone.
INT. LIBRARY - SAME TIME
Buffy, Xander, and Willow are there with Giles.
Sid was staring at you?
No. Morgan made it-- he had Sid
turned so that he was facing me.
Staring at you.
And to turn the creepy quotient up to eleven,
Morgan's always referring to himself as Sid
and ‘us' and ‘we,' like they're locker partners
It's as if he thinks Sid is alive.
He's not the only one.
Xander, did you wish to join our palaver?
Well, earlier, in the auditorium--
You're going to love this.
I think I saw Sid move.
All me to do a double-take: what?
When Morgan was putting Sid in his case.
What did he do, wave?
It was nothing that obvious. It's hard
to explain. I saw him... after he moved.
You know, like he had moved.
So in other words you saw
him laying there. Perfectly still.
Well, no. He was... It was the way that-
But you get bonus points for conviction.
While there have been numerous
accounts of dolls being possessed by evil spirits--
There you go!
--a more likely scenario is that we're
dealing with a form of schizophrenia.
That's more likely.
Morgan's id is being represented by a
vessel that allows his innermost fantasies
to be revealed.
Yeah, I figured that out when
Sid tried to look up my dress.
Unfortunately, Morgan may have gone
one step further into the harvesting of
human organs under the misguided belief
that this will bring his puppet to life.
The Geppeto Complex, if you will.
Do you actually know this stuff,
or do you make it up as you go along?
It is fun, isn't it?
Perhaps some of your talent show castmates
have information which might help us prove our theory.
We're on it.
Maybe I can turn up something in
Morgan's locker: a photo of Alice,
a book about Pinocchio, a fresh
human heart. The usual stuff
INT. HALLWAY - A LITTLE LATER
Buffy PEERS around a corner. The hallway is empty.
POV: FROM AFAR
watches Buffy puts her foot on her victim's chest and points the stick at him.
Suspicious, she stops and looks down the hall behind her. Nothing. She turns back.
She steps out in front of an adjacent hallway and is RAMMED in the side with a large stick. She REACTS in a flash, GRABS the stick, and uses it to FLIP her assailant over and down onto the ground.
POV: FROM AFAR
as Buffy puts her foot on her victim's chest and points the stick at him.
Why are you following--
A stream of water DRIBBLES onto her arm. She looks up and realizes her weapon is a mop and her victim is a JANITOR.
You're not following me.
You're mopping. And I'm sorry.
He is speechless (and paid as such). Buffy helps him up and cowers away.
(calling after him)
Careful, wet floors!
Buffy continues down a row of lockers and stops at one. She is about to break it open when she HEARS A DOOR CLOSE down the hall. She moves to the door: ‘SUPPLY ROOM.'
Inside, two people are ARGUING in whispers. Buffy listens.
Don't you trust me?
Of course I do.
Haven't I come through for you?
Well, now I need you to come through for me.
Sometimes that's what it takes.
I've explained this to you--
I know, I know.
So are you with me?
A long beat of silence.
The door starts to open. Buffy HIDES behind a wall.
Morgan pokes his head out of the closet, looking both ways. The coast is clear. He comes out, carrying Sid.
I knew I could count on you.
who watches from her hiding place.
INT. HALLWAY - A MOMENT LATER
Buffy looks on as Morgan goes to his locker and opens it.
Shouldn't we stick together?
You need to be by yourself.
When do you want me to--
Soon. I'll know when the time is right.
Morgan puts Sid in his case, puts the case in the locker, then closes the door. He disappears down the hall.
Buffy goes to the locker.
Okay, three to the right, two to the left--
She BREAKS it open.
She starts rummaging through Morgan's things -- notebooks, coat pockets, etc. She finds nothing, and is about to close the door. She looks at Sid's case, stops, then opens it.
Sid STARES up at her, motionless. She POKES him once. Twice. Nothing. She reaches to pick him up.
Buffy spins around and sees:
He grabs Sid out of her arms.
What are you doing?
Buffy steels herself.
Morgan, it's over. We need to
get you some help.
I don't need help.
I've seen you. Whispering to your
dummy when there's no one around.
Pretending he's a real person. Telling
Sid you'll kill for him.
No, it's --
He's not real. He's just wood.
Buffy taps on Sid's head. It tilts to one side. Morgan TENSES UP.
Cut it out.
Buffy lifts one of Sid's arms. It flops down.
(gritting his teeth)
He doesn't like that.
He's not alive! He's a doll!
Sid, still in Morgan's arms, suddenly LASHES OUT at Buffy.
Leave him alone!
Morgan, stop that. Talk to me.
Morgan's not talking now. I am.
The conversation becomes more rapid-fire, with the dialogue almost overlapping.
I'm not speaking to that thing--
(to Buffy; taunting)
I've been watching you.
I know what you're up to--
You can play hide-and-seek
all you want, but it won't do any good--
You're getting careless.
It's just a matter of time before--
(turns on Morgan)
Morgan is stunned. Buffy looks from Morgan to Sid. There is a long beat of silence. Buffy slowly reaches for Sid.
Maybe it'd be best if
you just gave that to me...
I can't do that.
Let me help you.
Morgan looks at Buffy, then Sid.
She's not your friend, Morgan.
I'm your friend.
Don't listen to him.
Morgan wavers for a beat, then softens. He starts to hand Sid over. Then, with resolve:
Morgan swings the locker door, smashing Buffy in the face. He TAKES OFF. Buffy is startled for a second, then:
She gives chase. A VOICE FROM BEHIND calls after her.
Buffy stops. Turns around. Mr. Miller is standing there.
One thing about running
in the halls? I'm against it.
Sorry. I'm... late for class.
Busted. School's out.
Really? Boy, these
days just zip by, don't they?
I will not allow delinquency
in my halls. This sort of thing
leads to the kind of incident that
occurred last night. If my predecessor
had clamped down on such infractions,
maybe he wouldn't have been eaten by wild dogs.
There's probably some truth there.
Where's the fire, anyway?
Buffy looks down the hall. Morgan is gone.
EXT. SUNNYDALE HIGH - THE NEXT MORNING
Another day begins at our favorite school.
SHERYL CROW walks by. Buffy kills her.
INT. AUDITORIUM - CONTINUOUS
Giles is posting a piece of paper to a wall as the cast of the talent show (including the Tuba Girl, the Carrot-Top Wannabe, Mario the Magician and Cordelia) gathers around.
Here's the rundown for the show.
We'll have our final rehearsal this
evening, then raise the curtain tomorrow
night at eight.
Buffy comes in and pulls Giles aside.
Hey, Mr. Producer. How goes the talent biz?
You know, a few days ago,
I would have rather bathed
with a Gila monster than taken
on this task.
Then you should speak up next time.
But it's become refreshing.
You and I deal with so much
darkness and death. The stage
is an escape. It's like another world.
Third? I'm going on third?
Giles's face falls.
A world where divas
have replaced the undead.
as she looks over the show order, distraught.
Define the problem.
I'm, like, the headliner. I should
be last. I can't be sandwiched
between the juggling ‘Brothers
Carry-My-Stuff' and Tootie and
her Psychic Pit Bull.
The Pit Bull is pretty good.
Cordelia rips the show order off the wall and makes a bee-line for Giles.
This is unacceptable.
She shoves the paper at Giles, as if to say ‘as if.'
Cordelia, there's no ‘I' in ‘talent show.'
There's a big one in ‘Cordelia.'
It's all about pacing. You need
a passionate come-down after
the jugglers and an emotional
hand-off to the pit bull. Otherwise
it's just bananas on bananas.
Cordelia thinks about this.
Oh. So, really, the star should go on third.
(whatever it takes)
She crosses away, pleased. Giles turns back to Buffy.
I have learned, first and
foremost, that actors need to be coddled.
Uh-huh. So, anyway,
there's this killer on the loose?
Yes, of course. Any sign
of him... er, them? Morgan?
Nope. Not since our little
mano-a-mannequin in the
hallway. And I looked for
him all night.
I'm afraid he may have
been out hunting for his next victim.
Which is exactly what
he thinks Sid told him to do.
Xander and Willow come running in.
Buffy, it's Morgan.
I know. He's crazy.
EXT. SCHOOL - A LITTLE LATER
Buffy, Willow, and Xander look on as a covered body is loaded into an ambulance. Giles is talking with some POLICE OFFICERS in the background.
Okay. A girl is found mutilated
in the school locker room. At the
exact same time, a fiercely intelligent
loner befriends a wooden dummy,
who speaks with a mind of his own
and instructs said loner to kill.
Coincidence? Apparently so!
Things did seem pretty written on Morgan's shirt.
Or maybe suspecting him
was just the easiest thing to do.
Buffy, we all thought he was psycho.
Everyone in the talent show told us a
different story about how weird he was.
Yeah. You see a kid, you see a dummy,
you see the dummy whisper in the kid's
ear, you think crazy kid
Maybe so, but... you know how
people look at the three of us?
That look that says they're seeing
someone who's different, not like
them, and it scares them? I could
live forever without seeing that
again. But I think it's the exact same
look we used to give Morgan. We never
even gave him a chance.
Giles comes over.
Well, this is most gruesome.
Another missing heart?
No, a brain. Morgan's skull was severed.
I'm thinking that must have hurt.
Did they find the vessel which
served as Morgan's unspoken id?
Sometimes what you say seeps in.
I tried to get as much information
about that as I could. But when I
asked the authorities if they found
a puppet near the body, they quite
rudely asked me to leave.
So that's probably a no.
LOW ANGLE POV
from behind the bushes. Someone is watching them.
Which is odd. Because I was under
the impression that Morgan and Sid
INT. LIBRARY - A LITTLE LATER
Our gang of four is there. Giles takes a book from the shelf.
I never thought I'd say these
words, but Xander may be right.
I'll expect a formal letter
of apology in the morning.
The dummy has a mind of its own.
He means Sid.
He means Sid.
Giles opens the book and refers to a passage.
Sid hopes to become human, so he's
harvesting body parts -- the best one's
available. Morgan was the smartest kid
in school, and Alice's heart would have
been most healthy.
More guts, more glory?
That's one way to put it.
All right, wait. So as of now
we're ruling out any suspect who
is living, breathing, body-dwelling --
let's say for argument's sake, an actual
human being -- in favor of the theory
that these murders, where vital organs
were removed with great precision,
were committed by a piece of wood.
I just wanted to make sure we're on the same page.
INT. AUDITORIUM - THAT NIGHT
Mario is performing on stage as Giles and the others watch from the seats. Mario holds a small sheet.
Okay, so I hold this sheet in front of the tiger cub.
(explaining to audience)
Tomorrow night I'll have a tiger cub.
He pulls the sheet away, revealing that wasn't there to begin with.
He looks out at the audience, pleased.
Delightful. If I could just have
everyone's attention before we
break for the night.
He faces the students.
I know these past few days have been
somewhat difficult what with all the... distractions.
Giles continues speaking as we:
ANGLE: JUST OUTSIDE THE PROP ROOM
A book bag laying on the floor is PULLED into the shadows by an unseen hand.
But Mr. Miller feels this kind of
positive experience is just what
Sunnydale High needs right now.
So once again it falls upon the
poets and artists to lift the spirits
of an otherwise dreary society.
The cast members look confused.
What's he talking about?
Not a clue.
He's been under a lot of stress.
Therefore, when you take to the
stage, let us not forget that we
perform in memory of our friend Morgan.
I thought we were doing this in memory of Alice?
Her, too. Very well, then. Until tomorrow.
Everyone gathers their stuff and the auditorium starts to clear out. Buffy looks around near the prop room.
You coming, Buffy?
Yeah. I've just got to find my bag.
I thought it was right here.
I'll catch up.
The others leave as Buffy looks around the area. She checks behind a curtain, and crouches down to look under a desk.
A NOISE from inside the prop room causes her to look up. She cautiously walks over to investigate, and pushes the door open.
INT. PROP ROOM - CONTINUOUS
It is a small room/large closet. The shelves are crammed with theatrical supplies -- masks, wig heads, a statue or two, swords and knives, etc. A few costumes hang on racks.
Buffy peers inside.
ANGLE: FROM THE SHELVES
as Buffy moves a bit further in, pushing aside clothes, etc.
She turns back. A DARK FIGURE blocks the doorway.
Buffy GASPS. Then, letting out her breath:
He is looking considerably more harried than the last time we saw him. You know, what with the murders and all.
Yet you're still here.
I was looking for something.
He moves closer to her.
You know, with everything that's
been going on around here, I'm not
sure how safe it is for a girl like
yourself to be here alone.
Buffy realizes he's blocking the doorway.
I was just leaving.
He looks at her for a beat.
And I know how to take care of myself.
All right then.
Well, break a leg! I mean,
don't, actually... you know.
He turns to go, then turns back.
Is that your bag?
She looks in the corner of the room.
Mr. Miller leaves as Buffy picks up her bag. She goes to the door, stops, and looks around the room. She heads out, pulling the door shut.
ANGLE: A SHELF
SID SITS there with his eyes wide open, hiding behind a couple of wig heads. A shadow sweeps across his face as the door is closed.
INT. AUDITORIUM STAGE - CONTINUOUS
Buffy walks across the empty stage, heading for the exit.
THE LIGHTS GO OUT, casting the room into darkness.
Buffy stops and looks around.
Something SKITTERS into the wings behind her. She looks and sees a SHADOW DISAPPEAR. She slowly crosses over, then hears the same noise -- a light pitter patter -- near the front of the stage. She whirls around to see:
A black fly curtain SWINGING slightly. The metal chain sewn into the bottom of the curtain SCRAPES against the floor.
She hears the skittering again. Her eyes follow the sound up into the fly space above the stage wings. Silence.
Something catches her eye directly overhead.
A huge stage light comes CRASHING down.
INT. AUDITORIUM STAGE - CONTINUOUS
Buffy lays MOTIONLESS, pinned beneath the tonnage of the light. She groggily comes to.
Above, in the fly space, she hears the CLANKING of something running across the catwalk.
Buffy tries to free herself, but her arms and legs are entangled in the heavy cable and ropes. She hears the skittering noise as it descends from the catwalk, then lands in the wings with a THUMP.
Whoever is there,
I'm going to hurt you. Badly.
(then, to herself)
If you'll just give me a minute.
Buffy manages to get an arm free. The PATTER of footsteps FADES AWAY from her.
There is a beat of silence. Then:
The RINGING sound of a knife being pulled from its sheath ECHOES throughout the auditorium.
Buffy frantically works harder to free herself. She pulls at a rope, which digs deeper into her leg. She grimaces.
The SCRAPING sound of something being dragged -- let's say the knife -- gets closer and closer. Then it stops.
Buffy looks in front of her. Sees nothing but blackness.
SID -- all alone now, no arm up his back or nothing -- FLIES out of the darkness holding a BUTCHER KNIFE almost as big as he is. He lands on Buffy and slices at her.
It's payback time!
Buffy grabs him with her free arm and THROWS him off. He comes right back at her, leaping onto her feet (which are ensnared in the ropes), and crawling over the light.
as she tries to swat him away.
Sid FLAILS and FLAILS, narrowly missing Buffy's face. Buffy tries to shield herself with her free arm.
I should have known it was you!
You always knew it was me!
Sid swings his knife again.
She pulls her arm away: Sid has drawn blood.
Sid stands atop the light and hoists the knife over his shoulder with both hands.
He starts to bring the knife down. Buffy manages to wriggle aside just as the knife grazes her. It SLICES through one of the ropes, FREEING Buffy's other arm.
My parts belong to me!
She swings at Sid, knocking him into the shadows.
Buffy pushes the light off, stands up, and looks around. She picks up a sandbag, twirls it as if she's winding up, then calls out to the darkness.
You've killed for the last time.
From behind her, Sid SWINGS in on a cable, brandishing his knife. Buffy spins quickly, brings the sandbag around like a baseball bat, and WHACKS Sid in the face. He goes flying across the stage. We hear him SLAM against a wall and fall to the ground.
Buffy walks over and sees him in a heap.
She raises the sandbag to finish him. He looks up wearily.
Go ahead. But there will be
others to come and destroy you.
I've gotten rid of vampires, evil robots,
and one really big bug. I'm not exactly
shaking in my hip boots at the threats
of some dime-store dummy.
I didn't choose this package.
That was your doing.
She pauses for a second, dropping the sandbag to her side.
You know, much as I hate these
moments when the good guy allows
the bad guy to talk on and on in a
pathetic attempt to save his own life,
I've got to ask: what the hell are you talking about?
You won. You can take your
heart and your brain and move on.
I'm sure they would have
made great trophies for your case.
That would have been justice.
Yeah, except for one thing--
Buffy raises the sandbag over her head.
--You lost. And now, you'll never be human.
Neither will you.
They stare at each other for a beat, confused. Then:
INT. LIBRARY - LATER
Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles listen drop-jawed as the puppet tells his story.
It was 1948. I was working the
Kirkwood district in St. Louis.
who sits on a stool, holding court.
We were on the tail of this serial killer.
Gruesome guy. Cut out hearts, brains--
We know the M.O.
We get a call about a crime in progress.
I burst in on this guy standing over his
victim. Only this guy ain't no guy. He's
got flesh hanging off his face, eyes like
the devil, scales covering every inch of his body.
A humanoid demon.
Two-points for the egghead. So this
thing takes off; I chase it into the darkness.
Big rookie mistake.
Is this story going to end anywhere
near "And that's why I'm a puppet"?
Hold on to your huevos, Opie. We're
finally face to face in this magic shop.
He jumps me; I pump him full of bullets.
He's this close to death when he starts
jabbering at me like a catholic priest.
Apparently, he thought it'd be cute to
curse my soul into the nearest object.
(spreading his arms wide)
Just my luck -- I couldn't have chased
him into a brothel.
Where's the part about when you spent
the night in a whale and wished upon a star?
Excuse me, that was Pinocchio.
He was a marionette. With strings.
That punk has done more harm to
people like me than Mortimer Snerd.
I am a ventriloquist's partner.
Didn't they used to call you guys ‘Dummies?'
Yeah, and I'm sure they used to
call you ‘retarded,' but I bet you prefer ‘slow.'
Boys, let's not fight.
So what happened to the demon?
Apparently, he went on to lead a happy
and successful life. Because seven years
later in Chicago, the same crimes start happening.
How did you know?
Hey, I read! And I got real interested in
this guy. He's been kicking around since
the early 14th century, when he got banished
from his own little corner of hell after he
took the heart and brain of his master's
human bride. Seems he wanted to be able
to roan the earth like you and me. Now,
every seven years, he has to do another
slice-and-dice, and every time he does that,
he takes on a new human form.
I must say, it's a delightful change to have
someone else around who can explain these matters.
So I track the demon down, I finally figure
out it's here, and my first thought is--
(pointing at Buffy)
Then those knife slashes to my face
weren't just a ‘getting-to-know-you' kind of thing?
Who can blame me for thinking?
Look at you. You're strong. Athletic...
(getting lost in thought)
(snapping out of it)
I'm back. And you're always
sneaking around. I just assumed.
Yeah, well, I kind of played the
stereotype against you, too.
You thought I was an evil puppet.
No, I thought you were a lifeless piece of wood.
The only way this wood becomes lifeless
is if I cut that demon's heart right out of its chest.
Ah, and then the curse will be lifted and you will be free...
Something like that.
So what's the next move?
Don't know. This monster's got everything
it needs, and I still have no idea who it is.
Hopefully, I can track it down before it kills again.
Let me help. With your brains and my --
being human, we could get this guy.
No. I already got Morgan killed.
I'm not going to chance it with you.
Hey, I've fought--
I know, I know. Draculas, insects, Rock'em Sock'ems--
And I'm one of the few people who knows
what you're going through. We've both
seen evil, and we both know how to fight it.
You have no idea what evil is. You have no
idea what's out there. From now on, I work alone.
He goes to shut the door, then turns back.
With any luck, you'll never see me again.
He walks out. Our gang sits there in silence. Then:
Okay, I'll be the first to say it. We just had
a long, level-headed, fairly intelligent conversation...
He prefers the term ‘partner.'
Then ‘he' is a dummy!
With quite a grasp regarding the intricacies of the supernatural.
Poor Sid. Can you imagine the
kind of life he must lead?
Cursed for fifty years in the body of a wooden doll.
Traveling from town to town in
his obsessive search for an elusive prey.
Living out of a suitcase.
Heck, living in a suitcase.
Having to explain to people
over and over again...
With amazing detail that
almost sounded rehear--
Does anyone else get the feeling
we may have just been Keyser Soze'd?
Didn't all that sound a bit
neat, tidy, and convenient?
Maybe a little.
Not to mention -- how should I
put this -- preposterous? I mean, a good dummy?
I will say that in the cases I've studies,
most dolls are possessed by evil, not good, spirits.
Sid did seem a little restless.
He certainly left in a hurry.
And if anyone has a great poker face...
Buffy runs out. A beat. She comes back inside.
Sid was right. We'll never see him again.
INT. AUDITORIUM - THE NEXT NIGHT
It is a flurry of activity. PERFORMERS cross through, CREW MEMBERS move equipment around. Giles is at the center of the storm.
Fifteen minutes to curtain,
everyone. Fifteen minutes.
Set your props and we'll assemble
in the band room for a power circle.
Frida the Tuba Girl comes up to Giles.
I forgot to buff my tuba.
(handing her his
Here. Use this.
Cordelia comes up to Giles. She is wearing an Alanis Morissette knit cap.
(short of breath)
I can't go on. All those people. Staring
at me and judging me like I'm some kind of...
Buffy. What if I mess up?
Cordelia, there's an adage that,
if you're nervous, just imagine
your audience in their skivvies.
Boxers or briefs?
She goes off. Elliot the Carrot-Top wannabe runs up.
Mr. Giles, I can't find my watermelon.
It's the centerpiece for my ‘Crush-o-Rama' routine.
A CHUBBY GUY walks by, enjoying a slice of watermelon.
Elliot, I warned you about
the dangers of prop humor.
INT. PROP ROOM - SAME TIME
Xander and Willow are there looking for some props. Willow sees something on a shelf and reaches for it.
Hey, that scarf would be perfect.
The lights go out and the door SLAMS shut. It's PITCH BLACK.
Okay. Ha-ha, Xander. You got me. Turn on the light.
You know, jokes like this aren't very
funny, what with this school being on
a Hellmouth and all.
Suddenly, A FACE APPEARS an inch from Willow's, illuminated from below by a beam of light. She SCREAMS--
--then sees it's Xander, holding a flashlight to his face.
Actually, being on a Hellmouth and
all makes this kind of thing even funnier.
Willow grabs the flashlight from Xander and uses it to point up towards the shelf.
Just get me that scarf and let's get out of here.
Xander reaches up.
Do you hear something?
He stops. We hear DRIPPING. Willow aims the flashlight beam downward. A puddle of fluid is forming on the floor. She uses the flashlight and follows a steady drip upwards to see a pinkish liquid TRICKLING from the shelf.
Now would be a good time for light.
Xander turns the LIGHTS ON and grabs a step-stool. He and Willow step up to get a look. Xander pushes a couple of things out of the way.
What is it?
ANGLE: FROM THE SHELF
In the foreground is the source of the dripping: a human brain. Xander and Willow look at it.
INT. LIBRARY - A FEW MOMENTS LATER
Buffy and Xander watch as Willow works at the computer.
Why would this brain have been rejected?
I thought Morgan was the smartest kid in school.
He was. Look at his grades -- all A's.
He was even taking college classes.
Wait a second.
All these sick days.
He's been out, like, half the year.
Check the school nurse's file.
Willow types into the computer; looks at the screen.
Look at this. Medicine, physical therapy.
‘In case of emergency, contact Dr. Dale Leggett,
California Institute of Neuro Surgery - Cancer Ward.'
‘Patient's condition is terminal.'
He never told anyone.
This means that whatever is out
there still needs a healthy, intelligent brain--
In other words, I'm safe.
--and it's going to be looking
for the smartest person around.
INT. AUDITORIUM STAGE - SAME TIME
Giles is holding a weight, talking to someone who is off-screen.
...And then, if you calibrate this unit
as a counterweight, the rate of descent
will be maximized on impact.
PULL BACK to REVEAL he is speaking to Mario, who smiles.
Gee, Mr. Giles. You're really smart.
PULL BACK FURTHER -- they are standing next to a guillotine.
Could you do me a favor?
INT. HALLWAY - SAME TIME
The library doors swing open and Buffy comes running out.
She takes off down the hall. Xander and Willow follow.
INT. AUDITORIUM STAGE - SAME TIME
CLOSE-UP: THE GUILLOTINE BLADE
as it comes plummeting down.
THWACK! It slices through its target -- a large head of lettuce. Giles looks on.
Pretty cool, huh?
Actually, it looks quite excruciating.
Yeah, it does. This'll be great.
Mario pulls the blade back into place with a rope, then ties the end of the rope to a pin on a block a few feet away from the guillotine. Nearby is a wooden refrigerator-sized ox with ‘MARIO THE MAGNIFICENT' written on it.
How does this work, exactly?
A good magician never tells his secret.
Mario looks down at his own arm. The skin is starting to peel away, revealing the SCALY DEMON FLESH underneath.
Come on, we don't have much time.
He moves Giles down so that he's kneeling by the guillotine.
Okay, when I cut the rope with this hatchet,
the blade will come crashing down -- BAM!
And there's no one else to assist you?
I only work with the best.
Giles puts his head in the stockade-type device.
Now, turn over.
Yeah. You'll see the blade coming right at you.
Giles turns over.
Now slide down a bit.
Mario moves Giles so that his scalp is in the line with the path of the blade.
Shouldn't it be aimed at my neck?
No. This way, your scalp will be sliced
off and your brains will just come pouring out.
Well, what exactly is the trick?
Mario clicks the lock into place and stares down at Giles.
Horror flashes on Giles' face as Mario grabs the hatchet and raises it to cut the rope.
Buffy and Mario struggle. Buffy hits Mario in the face. When he turns back, Buffy sees that most of his neck and check are scaly.
Xander and Willow run in and see Buffy and Mario fighting.
Get me out of this thing!
They see Giles in the guillotine.
Where's the key?
Mario has it.
They see Mario, whose flesh is growing red and more scaly.
Here, this'll work.
Willow grabs the hatchet and starts chopping at the lock.
Buffy lifts Mario up and hurls him into his large magic box. The doors SLAM shut. After a beat, the box EXPLODES open. When Mario comes out, he has completely TRANSFORMED into the monstrous DEMON. He ROARS violently.
Demon Mario lunges over to the rope and starts chewing at it. Buffy jumps on his back.
who is still locked in the guillotine and unable to move his head. His eyes dart quickly back and forth in terror.
Hurry, now. Hurry!
CLOSE ON: THE ROPE
as the strands begin to fray.
Buffy gouges at Demon Mario's eyes. He HOWLS in pain and stumbles backwards, letting go of the rope.
The last few strands start to unravel.
Buffy, still struggling with Demon Mario, strains to grab the rope, but it BREAKS.
The rope whizzes by Buffy's hand, just out of her reach.
The blade drops towards Giles' head.
GILES' POV: THE BLADE FALLS
CLOSE ON: A HAND
as it closes around the rope.
BACK TO REAL TIME:
REVEAL Xander has grabbed the rope. The blade hovers inches from Giles' head.
Giles has his eyes tightly closed. He opens them, realizes he's okay. He lets out his breath.
Xander raises the blade back up as Willow BREAKS the lock with a final hack. Giles is free.
Demon Mario flips Buffy over. She lands on the floor. He straddles her and closes his hands around her throat.
Demon Mario looks up.
DEMON'S POV: SID FLIES DIRECTLY AT HIM
his knife leading the way.
Sid SINKS THE KNIFE into Demon Mario's face and pulls it Demon Mario into the guillotine. Sid jumps off of him.
Xander releases the rope. The blade falls onto the Demon Mario.
Our gang REACTS as they watch the blade slice into Demon Mario (out of frame). They cringe and turn away.
After a moment:
He feels the top of his head to make sure it's still there.
I must say to all of you, your timing
is impeccable. Xander, I could kiss you.
Unnecessary. And kind of icky.
In any case, good show.
And now for the big finish.
They turn to see Sid walking over to Demon Mario's body, wielding the butcher knife.
What are you doing?
It's not enough. He'll come back.
You need the heart. Then all this will be over.
Buffy realizes what he's saying. She puts out her hand.
No. I got to do it. Like the bookworm
said, it's the only way I can be free.
You mean dead.
Sid looks at her.
He climbs on top of Demon Mario and raises the knife. He looks over at Buffy, then brings the knife down in Demon Mario's chest and starts HACKING away, all business.
Our gang reacts as they watch.
Demon Mario's body starts to TWITCH. It convulses, then stops, lifeless. With a SCREAM, Sid raises the knife a final time. He drops the knife and his body goes rigid for a beat. Just as quickly, he body goes limp, and he COLLAPSES to the floor.
Buffy slowly walks over, kneels down, and picks up Sid's body.
(to no one in particular)
The moment is interrupted as Principal Miller appears. He is frantic and disheveled.
What's going on back here? There's an
audience out there waiting for a talent show to begin.
We had some... technical difficulties.
Mr. Miller looks around and sees the carnage on stage.
Get this placed cleaned up. If these last
few days are any indication of what used
to go on around here, maybe it's a good
thing my predecessor was eaten by wild dogs.
He goes off. A long beat as everyone looks at each other.
INT. AUDITORIUM STAGE - A WHILE LATER
Buffy, Xander, and Willow are in the middle of their acts -- a scene from ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.' Buffy and Willow stand together; Xander is off to one side. Giles watches from the wings.
Blanche, there are things that happen
between a man and a woman in the
dark -- that sort of makes everything
else seem -- unimportant.
What you are talking about is brutal
desire -- just -- Desire! -- the name of
that rattle-trap street-car that bangs through
the Quarter, up one old narrow street and down another...
(as Stanley, calling into the wings)
Haven't you ever ridden on the street-car?
It brought me here, where I'm
not wanted any where I'm ashamed to be.
Giles reacts: They're awful.
This is how I look at it. A man like
that is someone to go out with -- once --
twice -- three times when the devil is in
you. But live with? Have a child by?
I have told you I love him.
Then I tremble for you! --
I just -- tremble for you...
The audience stares at them in disbelief.
INT. HALLWAY - LATER THAT NIGHT
CLOSE UP: SID'S HEAD
as it looks from side to side.
PULL BACK to see that Buffy is holding him, making him move. She stands at her locker with Xander and Willow
What are you going to do with him?
I don't know. It's just, after everything
we've been through, I thought I'd hang
on to him for a while. As sort of a reminder.
Buffy puts Sid in her locker.
That I'm not the only one.
She closes the locker and they walk away.
ZOOM IN on the locker to look through the slats in the door.
Light crosses Sid's face as he STARES straight ahead.