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Buffy’s kindly biology teacher, Dr. Gregory, is attacked after class by a giant praying mantis, but as far as the students know, their teacher is just missing. The mysterious Angel appears at the Bronze that night to warn Buffy about a pending attack. His arm looks as if it was cut by a tiger’s claw.
The next day, Dr. Gregory’s class is being taught by a substitute teacher — the comely Miss Natalie French, who drives Xander ga-ga. She tells the class about the science fair, and asks for volunteers to help her create a model of a praying mantis egg sacks — after school.
As expected, Xander’s hand shoots up, as does football heartthrob Blayne’s and every other boy in the class. Miss French decides that Blayne can be her assistant that afternoon, and Xander the next. Later in the cafeteria, Cordelia opens the fridge to discover Dr. Gregory’s headless body.
Buffy speculates that Angel’s warning and his unusual wound have something to do with Dr. Gregory’s gruesome murder, so she stakes out the park. She sees a vampire with one arm that has three sharp claws where the hand should be. The creature approaches Miss French, who is walking by with grocery bags, but instead of pouncing on her, he sniffs her and runs away in terror.
Buffy catches the teacher turning her head around — all the way around. Buffy finally figures it out: Miss French is a praying mantis! Following her lead, Giles tries to get in touch with a friend in England who’s an expert in the field — the only catch being that the man is institutionalized.
Meanwhile, hacker par excellence Willow has found that Blayne’s mother has reported him missing. Since it’s Xander’s turn to work with Miss French this afternoon, Buffy warns him, but he thinks Buffy is just jealous. Miss French gives Xander a drink as soon as he shows up.
As he’s getting woozy, he thinks he hears someone calling, but she ignores it. She takes his hand, and her arm turns into a praying mantis’ foreleg. He promptly passes out, and he is dragged away by Miss French.
When he comes to, he finds himself in a cage in Miss French’s cellar, with Blayne in an adjoining cage. Surrounded by headless bodies in cages, he calls to Miss French, who is now completely converted to her giant-mantis form.
After talking to his strait-jacketed friend, Giles confirms there is a creature called a She Mantis, who lures male virgins to her nest. An extremely powerful foe, it was the She Mantis who put Giles’ friend into his deranged condition. Buffy suggests that Giles record some bat sonar from the video library — playing that for the She-Mantis will disrupt her nervous system.
Exhausting other methods, Buffy decides to enlist Claw Guy to help her sniff out the She-Mantis. Going from door to door, he finally winces when they reach the correct house. Turning on her, he tries to attack Buffy, who promptly kills him with a fence slat.
Buffy enters the basement and uses a few blasts of the insecticide to send her scurrying off, then plays the bat sonar. The tape has the desired effect on the crazed insect, enabling Buffy to hack it to death with a machete. We think this is the end of the She-Mantis until we catch a glimpse of the inside of Dr. Gregory’s classroom closet, where a glistening egg sack is stirring at the bottom.
SCREEN IS BLACK – We hear a TERRIFIED SCREAM, PULLING BACK we discover we were INSIDE THE SCREAMING GIRL’S MOUTH. Now we see we’re —
INT. THE BRONZE – NIGHT
A BLOODTHIRSTY VAMPIRE advances on BUFFY. Tables are overturned, the BAND has stopped in mid-play, and everyone except Buffy (in hot dress, out of breath) is scared shitless, giving the monster a wide berth.
He lunges, she sidesteps and throws a punch, he grabs her arm with alarming speed and slams her down on top of a table. He’s strong and scary and he’s got her pinned. He lowers his teeth for the kill as —
A HAND — reaches in, grabs him by the hair. He looks up:
DRAMATIC ANGLE – BUFFY’S SAVIOR
Is XANDER. Calm, confident, cool.
May I cut in?
The vampire snarls and goes for Xander’s throat. Xander slams his head into the table, stands him up, and almost casually finishes him off with a crashing blow. The vamp careens over tables and chairs, lands in a heap on the floor.
Xander pulls Buffy off the table to her feet.
Are you all right?
Thanks to you.
She takes his hand in hers. Neither notices the Vamp stirring.
You hurt your hand . . . will you
still be able to . . . ?
Finish my solo and then kiss you
like you’ve never been kissed before?
She nods, smitten. He gives her his million dollar grin, heads for the stage, never breaking stride as he grabs a chair by the leg, cracks it over a table (turning the chair leg into a stake which he flings through the vamp’s heart).
He leaps on stage, grabs his guitar, assumes his GUITAR GOD POSE and THRASHES OUT some mind numbing, teeth-jangling POWER CHORDS. Buffy watches in awe. The band looks on, as Xander goes into a smoking solo.
CLOSE – BUFFY – digging him, but saying, incongruously:
You’re drooling . . .
SMASH CUT TO:
INT. BIOLOGY CLASSROOM – DAY
Xander dreams on his desk. The lights are low: the class is being shown slides of insects. Buffy, WILLOW and BLAYNE MALL (football star, stud) sit nearby. Buffy shakes him.
Xander . . . you’ve got a little . . .
He bolts up from his Buffy fantasy. Buffy brushes her mouth to indicate he should wipe his. He does, straightening up as DR. GREGORY (kindly, older, glasses; his name stitched on his white lab coat) turns on the lights and moves down the aisle towards them.
Their ancestors were here long
before we were – their progeny will
be here long after we’re gone. The
simple and ubiquitous ant. If you
did the homework, you’ll know the
two ways that ants communicate . . .
Buffy doesn’t have a clue. Glances at Willow.
Ways that ants communicate.
Yes . . .
With other ants.
No, with lemons. From the
homework, the ants are
communicating in two ways . . .
She watches Willow, behind Dr. Gregory’s back, frantically mime “touch” and “smell” by touching and smelling Xander — to his discomfort.
. . . touch . . . and . . . B.O.?
Laughter from the class.
Thank God someone finally found the
courage to mention that.
Touch and smell, Ms. Summers.
(without turning to look at Willow)
Is there anything else Ms.
Rosenberg would like to tell you?
Willow hangs her head. The CLASS BELL rings. Kids grab their stuff, shuffle out.
Chapters six through eight by
Could I see you for a moment?
Willow and Xander exchange sympathetic looks with Buffy as they make their way out with the rest of the kids.
INT. SCHOOL HALL – DAY
Blayne shoves past, calls to GORGEOUS GIRL:
Cheryl, wait up, doll.
(aside to Xander)
Isn’t she something?
Do you know what a woman like that
(Xander waits to hear:)
No, I guess you wouldn’t.
Blayne walks off. Xander calls after:
(calls out to Blayne)
Something really cutting!
Sometimes I just go with the generic insult.
Why pay more for the brand name?
INT. BIOLOGY CLASSROOM – DAY
Display table in front holds an ant farm, small glass cases with ladybugs, spiders and a praying mantis. Dr. Gregory puts some books inside a SMALL CLOSET next to the blackboard.
I gather you had a few problems at
your last school.
Well, what teenager doesn’t —
(emerging from closet)
Cut school, get in fights, burn
down the gymnasium?
(off her look)
Principal Flutie showed me your
That fire, there were major
extenuating circumstances —
actually it’s sort of funny —
I can’t wait to see what you’re
going to do here.
Destructo-Girl, that’s me.
But I suspect it’s going to be great.
You mean great in a bad way?
He takes off his glasses, wipes them under:
You’ve got a first rate mind. You
can think on your feet — imagine
what you could accomplish if you did . . . ?
The homework thing?
The homework thing. I understand
you probably have a good excuse for
not doing it. Amazingly enough, I
don’t care. I know you can excel
in this class and so I expect no
less. Is that clear?
Don’t be sorry, be smart.
He holds glasses out in front of him, making sure they’re clean. We see Buffy through the glasses.
And please don’t listen to the
Principal or anyone else’s negative
opinions about you. Let’s make ’em
eat that permanent record, what do you say?
Uh . . . thanks?
A moment, which he breaks, a slight smile on his lips:
Chapters six through eight.
She exits. He folds his glasses, places them next to the praying mantis on the display table.
Humming to himself, he turns out the lights again, darkening the room. HEARS a noise. Looks over his right shoulder: nothing. He goes and starts looking over some slides on the wall.
Until, from the left, a HUGE and HORRIFYING MANTIS FORELEG jackknifes open and sinks it’s SHARP SPINES into his neck. We don’t see much of the creature beyond the terrible forelegs — but it’s big, it’s ugly, and it isn’t very nice.
He’s RIPPED OUT OF FRAME, banging into the display table. His glasses fall to the floor — one lens cracks — reflected in the glasses, we see Dr. Gregory struggling futilely in the horrible monster’s grasp — along with CRACKING and CRUNCHING SOUNDS. Something’s having supper.
END OF TEASER
INT. BRONZE – NIGHT
A decent crowd tonight. The band that was backing Xander up in his fantasy is playing.
Xander is on the edge of the crowd, near the stage. He looks about for some familiar faces. Looks up at one of the band members, gives him a high sign and a smile like they’re best buds. The band member ignores him. Slightly sheepishly, he moves away from the dance floor, still searching for his buds.
ANGLE: FROM THE BALCONY
As we look down on Xander wandering, we TILT UP to find Buffy and Willow in mid-conversation at one of the tables up here.
Dr. Gregory didn’t chew me out or
anything. He was really cool. But
Flutie showed him my permanent
record. Apparently I fall
somewhere between Charles Manson
and a really bad person.
And you can’t tell Dr. Gregory what
really happened at your old school?
I was fighting vampires? I’m
thinking he might not believe me.
Yeah, he probably gets that excuse all the time.
Here lies a problem. What used to
be my table occupied by pitiful
losers. Of course we’ll have to burn it.
Sad, you have so many memories
here. You and Lawrence, you and
Mark, you and John. You spent the
better part of your “J” through “M” here.
Cordelia gives a look and moves on.
ANGLE: COUCHES NEAR COFFEE BAR
Blayne and football buds are lounging.
Seven. Including Cheryl. I tell
you though, her sister was looking
to make it eight.
Cheryl’s sister? The one in college?
Xander appears at the edges of the group.
Home for the holidays and looking
for love. Not my type, though.
Girl’s really gotta have something
to go with me.
Something like a lobotomy?
Xander. How many times’ve you scored?
Well . . .
Just a question.
Are we talking today or the whole
week? Uh oh, duty calls.
Xander moves to intercept Buffy and Willow, who are coming down the stairs. He throws his arms around the two of them, saying loudly:
Babes . . .
What are you doing?
Work with me here. Blayne had the
nerve to question my manliness.
I’m just giving him a visual.
(clutching Xander tighter)
We’ll show him.
I don’t believe it.
I know. And after all my conquests–
Buffy steps away, toward the door. Framed in the doorway is ANGEL, standing half in the shadows. Xander and Willow watch her head for him.
That must be Angel. I think.
That weird guy? That warned her
about the vampires?
That’s him, I’ll bet you.
(a little plaintively)
Well, he’s buff. She never said
anything about him being buff.
You think he’s buff?
He’s a very attractive man! How
come that never came up?
EXT. RIGHT OUTSIDE THE BRONZE – CONTINUOUS
Buffy approaches Angel, distrust on her face.
Well, look who’s here.
I’d say it’s nice to see you but we
both know that’s a big fib.
I won’t stay long.
No, you’ll just give me a cryptic
warning about some exciting new
catastrophe and then disappear into
the night. Right?
You can take it.
I mean you look cold.
Angel takes off his leather jacket.
ANGLE – XANDER AND WILLOW INSIDE
Watching Angel slip the jacket on Buffy. Xander no longer has his arm around Willow.
Oh right, give her your jacket.
It’s a balmy night, nobody needs to
be trading clothing out there.
I don’t think she even likes him . . .
ANGLE – BUFFY AND ANGEL OUTSIDE
Little big on me.
She sees a recent and unusual wound on Angel’s (now bare) arm — three long and parallel cuts — like a tiger’s claw. Her attitude changes to one of concern.
I didn’t pay attention.
To somebody with a big fork?
The fork guy?
Don’t let him corner you. And
don’t give him a moment’s mercy.
He’ll rip your throat out.
Okay, I give you improved marks.
Ripping the throat out:
non-cryptic, it’s a strong visual . . .
He almost smiles.
I have to go.
He walks off, disappears around a corner. She stares after him.
Sweet dreams to you, too.
After a moment she heads back into the Bronze.
EXT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL – DAY – ESTABLISHING
That’s all he said, “Fork” guy?
EXT. THE QUAD – DAY
Kids socialize between classes. Buffy talks to Giles, Willow reads a science book.
That’s all. “Cryptic” guy said “Fork” guy.
I think there’s too many guys in
(she gives him a look)
I’ll see what I can find out.
(gazes at sky with loathing)
God, every day here is the same.
Bright, sunny, beautiful. How can
we escape this torment?
(Alternate line, in case it’s raining, foggy or dark.
(gazes at sky)
Reminds me of home.
Dark, dank, dreary. You must be so
He gives her a look, shoves off.)
Xander saunters up as Giles exits.
Guess what I just over-heard in the
office. No Dr. Gregory today.
Ergo those of us who blew off our
Science homework . . .
(shuts Willow’s book)
. . . are not as dumb as we look.
What happened, is he sick?
They didn’t say anything about sick
— something about . . . missing.
Hold on, let me think, the
cheerleaders were modeling the new
short skirts and I kinda got . . .
yeah, I think they said missing.
Xander reads Buffy’s concern, turns to Willow.
Which is bad.
If something’s wrong, yeah.
He’s one of the only teachers who
doesn’t think Buffy is a felon.
I’m really sorry. I’m sure he’ll — iya-hoo.
Xander sees something O.S. that chills his bacon. Buffy and Willow follow his gaze. THEIR POV – BEAUTY SHOT
NATALIE FRENCH, late twenties, heart-stopper. Xander and every other boy on campus can’t take their eyes off her. She slows as she passes Xander, turns, stops.
Could you help me?
Egguh — yes.
I’m looking for Science one oh nine.
Sure. It’s, uh . . . I go there
(to Buffy and Willow)
— oh god, where is it?
Blayne steps in front of Xander.
Hi. Blayne Mall. I’m going there
right now. It’s not far from the
Varsity Field where I took all city last year . . .
Thank you, Blayne.
She gives Xander a dazzling smile, heads off with Blayne.
Funny how the earth never opens up
and swallows you when you want it to.
INT. BIOLOGY CLASSROOM – DAY
A lovely hand writes “NATALIE FRENCH” on the board as students enter, take their seats. Buffy and Willow walk towards their desks. Something catches Buffy’s eye. She stops, turns back; Willow watches her pick Dr. Gregory’s glasses off the floor. Buffy notes the cracked lens.
If he dropped his glasses why
didn’t he pick them up?
Buffy puts them on the display table and they take their seats.
Natalie turns from the board as the class settles. Amongst the students are Xander and Blayne.
My name is Natalie French, I’ll be
substituting for Dr. Gregory.
Do you know when he’s coming back?
No I don’t . . .
(looks at seating chart)
Buffy. They just call and tell me
where they want me.
I’ll tell you where I want you . . .
Excuse me, Blayne?
I was just wondering if you were
going to pick up where Dr. Gregory left off.
Yes, his notes tell me you were
right in the middle of insect life.
Natalie picks up the praying mantis in its little case.
The praying mantis is a fascinating
creature, forced to live alone.
Who can tell me why — Buffy?
Buffy looks at the mantis.
Well, the words “bug ugly” kinda
spring to mind.
Natalie’s eyes suddenly go cold.
There’s nothing ugly about these
unique creatures. The reason they
live alone is because they’re cannibals.
General “ee-yews” from the class.
It’s hardly their fault — it’s the
way Nature designed them: noble, solitary . . .
Buffy and Willow exchange a look — this broad’s weird — Xander, Blayne and the boys are all transfixed — and not by what she’s saying.
And prolific: over eighteen
hundred species worldwide. In
nearly all of them the female is
larger and more aggressive than the male.
Nothing wrong with an aggressive female.
Natalie picks up a text.
The California Mantis lays her eggs
and then finds a mate . . .
She walks past Xander, giving him a warm smile on the word “mate”. He looks up at her, oh so ready to be that mate.
. . . to fertilize them. Once he’s
played his part, she covers the
eggs in a protective sack and
attaches them to a leaf or a twig,
out of danger.
Natalie shows them a COLOR PHOTO of a MANTIS EGG SACK — a gooey cocoon-like sack ‘o eggs.
If she’s done her job correctly, in
a few months she’ll have several
Natalie pauses in front of a BULLETIN BOARD that announces: SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS DUE BY THE 18th.
We should make some model egg sacks
for the Science Fair. Who’d like
to help me do that after school? I
warn you, it’s a delicate art, I’d
have to work with you very closely,
one on one . . .
Every male hand in the class shoots up. Natalie smiles.
INT. SCHOOL CAFETERIA – DAY
Lunch time. CAFETERIA WORKERS ladle out vile piles of weenie casserole. Buffy, Xander, Willow are in line; on the BULLETIN BOARD: TODAY’S SPECIAL — HOT DOG SURPRISE.
Hot dog surprise . . . be still my heart.
Call me old fashioned, I don’t want
any more surprises in my hot dogs . . .
Xander admires himself in the stainless steel finish of the food service counter.
I wonder what she sees in me . . .
He looks over to see if Buffy is listening. She’s not.
Probably just the quiet good looks
coupled with a certain smoky magnetism.
Now Buffy and Willow are looking at him.
Miss French. You two might be a
little young to understand what an
older woman sees in a younger man.
Oh I understand.
A younger man is too dumb to wonder
why an older woman can’t find
someone her own age and too
desperate to care about the
I’m not too dumb to . . . what
Buffy and Willow exchange a look.
Well, he is young.
And so terribly innocent.
Those who can, do. Those who can’t
laugh at those who . . . can do.
Blayne, tray piled high, moves past Xander.
Gotta carb up for my one on one
with Miss French today. When’s
yours? Oh right, tomorrow. You
came in second and I came in first.
I guess that’s what they call
I guess that’s what they call rehearsal.
Blayne moves off; Xander, pleased with his comeback, turns to Willow and Buffy, blows imaginary smoke from an imaginary gun.
Cordelia shoves her way past them —
Excuse you . . .
— heading for the INDUSTRIAL SIZE fridge behind the food line.
She flashes a prescription (like a badge) at a WORKER.
. . . medically prescribed lunch, my
doctor ships it daily, I’ll only be
here as long as I can hold my breath . . .
She whips open the door and the HEADLESS BODY of Dr. Gregory is wedged inside.
Cordelia, cafeteria workers and various kids SCREAM in horror! Willow and Xander react — Buffy quickly moves up, looks down at the corpse — we won’t see the gore but we do see the name on his white lab coat: DR. GREGORY. Off Buffy,
INT. LIBRARY – DAY
Water is poured into a glass from a small pitcher. We widen to reveal Giles, who brings the glass over to Buffy. She is sitting with Willow, Xander pacing nearby.
Here. Drink this.
No thank you.
She says it as absently as she drinks the water. She’s elsewhere.
I’ve never seen . . . I mean, I’ve
never seen anything like . . . that was new.
Who would want to hurt Dr. Gregory?
He had no enemies on the staff that
I know of. He was a civilized man.
I liked him.
So did I.
Well, we’re gonna find out who did
this. We’ll find them and we’ll stop them.
Count on it.
What do we know?
Buffy rises, focused now.
Not a lot. He was killed on
campus, I’m guessing. The same day
we last saw him.
How do you know?
Didn’t change his clothes.
This is a question nobody
particularly wants to hear, but,
where did they put his head?
Good point. I didn’t want to hear that.
Angel. He warned me something was coming.
Yes. Yes he did and I wish I knew
what he meant.
(grabbing a text)
All I could locate was an oblique
reference to a vampire who
displeased the Master and cut off
his hand for penance.
Cut off his hand and replaced it with a fork?
Wow, I’ve heard of eating disorders, but . . .
I don’t know what he replaced it with.
Why would that guy come after a teacher?
I’m not certain he did. There was
an incident two nights ago with a
homeless man in Weatherly Park. He
was practically shredded. But
nothing like Dr. Gregory.
Fork guy doesn’t do heads.
And Dr. Gregory’s blood wasn’t drained.
So there’s something else out
there? Besides silverware man?
This is fun. We’re on Monster Island.
We don’t know it’s something else.
This fellow is still our likeliest suspect.
Where was that guy killed?
Buffy, I know you’re upset. But
this is not the time to go hunting.
Not until we know more. Promise me
you won’t do anything rash.
Cross my heart.
SMASH CUT TO:
BUFFY OUT THERE ALONE – EXT. WEATHERLY PARK – NIGHT
Houses ring the park. The sidewalks are pretty deserted this time of night. Buffy, dressed for hunting, crosses the street, quickly and gracefully vaults the locked fence next to the sign: WEATHERLY PARK – CLOSES AT 10:00 P.M.
She moves cautiously through the spooky trees and bushes. She HEARS a sound, spins into a Fu crouch as a LARGE FIGURE stumbles out of the bushes — HOMELESS GUY with a bottle in a paper bag.
Shouldn’t be here at night l’il
They veer off in opposite directions. She spots something on the ground — a body! She runs to it, kneels down: it’s just ANOTHER HOMELESS GUY sleeping. Buffy hunts on, passing some thick foliage growing up over some large rocks. She stops, moves back: something about the foliage bugs her.
She pokes at it — it’s loose — she pulls it back, revealing a SMALL STORM DRAIN. Someone wants to keep this tunnel entrance a secret.
Buffy peers into the round hole and the blackness within. That’s when AN ARM shoots out of the darkness — an arm with three sharp claws where the hand should be. She drops to the ground — the claws shredding her jacket — and out of the tunnel comes one bad mother of a vampire. Long hair, wild eyes, we’ll call him CLAW.
He takes a big swipe at her face, she uses her feet to trip him. As he falls to the ground she leaps to her feet, body stomps him — WHAM, WHAM, WHAM — whips out a stake and dives. He rolls — the stakes sinks into the earth.
He grabs her from behind, his claw inching towards her throat. She stomps on his insole, elbows him in the gut, turns and kicks him hard in the knee. He grabs it in pain.
MAN’S VOICE (O.S.)
Hold it! Police!
Sounds of people coming, lots of flashlights. Claw bolts into the underbrush. Buffy, winded and hurt, crawls out of sight as the Homeless Guy (really a cop), gun out, bursts onto the scene followed by
THREE UNIFORMED COPS.
I heard him — spread out!
The homeless guy and the cops move into the foliage.
EXT. PARK – NIGHT
The opposite side from where Buffy entered. A WOMAN (we don’t see her face) carrying two grocery bags, walks down the sidewalk. Her heels CLICK-CLACK in the night.
We can HEAR COPS SHOUTING on the other side of the park, but it’s pretty distant. ANGLE – STALKING CAM
Shooting through the fence — something is stalking the woman. She’s oblivious. REVERSE ANGLE – CLAW
Sees his next meal. He scampers up the fence with frightening speed. A beat later, Buffy appears out of the trees, sees what’s happening, bolts for the fence.
ANGLE – THE SIDEWALK
The woman walks on as Claw drops into frame RIGHT BEHIND HER. She turns, it’s sexy substitute teacher Natalie French. Buffy, racing for the fence, sees Claw do something unexpected — he sniffs Natalie, pulls back in REAL TERROR and runs (we now see — only now — he’s limping, thanks to Buffy’s kick) into the street, diving for the nearest sewer gutter which he slithers into, disappearing from sight.
ANGLE – BUFFY STOPS IN THE SHADOWS
Unseen, she watches Natalie, unfazed, continue on her way. Off Buffy wondering what kind of ju-ju this babe has,
END OF ACT ONE
EXT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL – DAY
Another sunny day in paradise.
You went hunting last night.
INT. GILES’ OFFICE -DAY
Giles faces Buffy (her books and Angel’s jacket nearby).
. . . when you promised me you wouldn’t.
Yeah, I lied, I’m a bad person.
Let’s move on.
Did you see someone with a fork?
More like a jumbo claw.
Oh, well, at least you weren’t hurt.
And I saw something else, something much more interesting than your run-of-the-mill killer vampire.
What was that?
Do you know Miss French, the
teacher who’s substituting for Dr. Gregory?
Oh, she’s lovely . . .
(off Buffy’s look)
. . . in a common, extremely
well-proportioned sort of way.
I’m chasing clawguy last night,
we’re on the street . . .
And Miss Well-Proportioned is
heading home, I figure she’s his
next meal. He takes one look at
her and runs screaming for cover.
He what? Ran away?
He was petrified.
Of Miss French.
Yes! So I’m an undead monster who can shave with his hand — how many things am I afraid of?
Not many. And not substitute
teachers, as a rule.
So what is her deal?
I think it would be a good idea to keep an eye on her.
Then I’d better get to class.
INT. HIGH SCHOOL – HALL OUTSIDE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE – DAY
Buffy moves down the hall, fast. PRINCIPAL FLUTIE steps out of his office, sees her, grabs her.
You were there, you saw Dr.
Gregory, didn’t you?
You mean yesterday in the
cafeteria, after he was —
Don’t say “dead”, or decapitated,
or decomposing. I would stay away
from “d” words all together. But
you witnessed the event so this way please.
I’ve gotta . . . I’ll be late for biology.
Extremely late. You have to see a
counselor. Everyone who saw the
body has to see a crisis counselor.
He takes her arm, leads her toward an office.
I really don’t need —
We all need help with our feelings,
otherwise we bottle them up and
before you know it powerful
laxatives are involved.
He parks her outside the Counselor’s Office. The door is open and we can see CORDELIA talking to an unseen counselor.
I really believe if we all reach
out to one another we can beat this
thing. I’m always here if you need
a hug — but not a real hug,
there’s no touching in this school,
we’re sensitive to wrong touching.
But I really feel okay.
No you talk to the counselor and
start the healing. You have to heal.
(starts to leave)
Mr. Flutie, I —
(as to a dog)
Flutie retreats. Buffy sighs, waits her turn. Buffy listens to Cordelia, and we:
INT. COUNSELOR’S OFFICE – CONTINUOUS
We are close on Cordelia as she unburdens herself.
. . . it was . . . let’s just say I
haven’t been able to eat a
thing since yesterday . . . I think I
lost like seven and a half
ounces — way swifter than the
so-called diet that quack put me on —
(off counselor’s unseen look)
— oh, I’m not saying we should
kill a teacher everyday just so I
can lose weight, I’m just saying
when tragedy strikes we have to
look on the bright side — you
know, like how even a used Mercedes
still has leather seats.
Off Buffy, we cut to:
INT. BIOLOGY CLASSROOM – DAY
Xander, Willow and the rest of the class are taking a test. Buffy and Blayne are missing. Natalie moves down the aisle.
Keep your eyes straight ahead, on
your own test . . .
She stops next to Xander, leans down, puts her GORGEOUS, POUTING LIPS two inches from his ear.
I think you meant “pollination” for
Xander looks up at her gratefully, changes the answer.
I’ll see you here after school.
She delicately puts a hand on his shoulder. His breathing comes a little quicker. INT. HALL OUTSIDE BIOLOGY CLASSROOM – DAY
Buffy moves up to the door, looks through the window at the class, bummed.
Great, a pop quiz.
She looks at BLAYNE’S EMPTY SEAT. Then at Natalie (her back to the door) her hand on Xander’s shoulder.
As if sensing Buffy, Natalie straightens up, then slowly and IMPOSSIBLY (SPECIAL EFFECT) cranks her head around a hundred and eighty degrees — a demi-second before she’d be seen, Buffy takes a shocked step backwards, out of sight.
INT. LIBRARY – DAY
Giles pours over texts, looks up as Buffy and Willow enter.
No, no I’m not saying she craned
her neck, it was the full-on exorcist twist.
Which reminds me, how come Blayne
who worked with her “one on one”
yesterday, isn’t here today?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Willow moves to the computer. Buffy turns to Giles.
I haven’t found any creature just
yet that strikes terror in a
vampire’s heart — I’m not sure I want to.
Try looking under “Things That Can
Turn Their Heads All The Way Around”.
Nothing human can do that.
No. Nothing human. But there’s
some insects that can.
Whatever she is, I’m gonna be ready for her.
Willow and Giles both look up as she heads for the stacks.
What are you going to do?
She disappears into the stack, only to return a second later.
Where’s the books on bugs?
INT. BIOLOGY CLASSROOM – DAY
PAN ACROSS an OPEN TEXT. The COLOR PHOTO of the EGG SACKS. PAN from the book to a MODEL of the egg sacks, two feet long. Natalie traces her hand across the model, gently, almost lovingly, then moves to a small fridge, takes out bread, low fat mayo and a small covered tub marked “Food”.
She spreads the mayo on the bread and is reaching for the “Food” tub when Xander enters.
Oh, hi. I was just grabbing a
snack. Can I make you something?
No thanks, I never eat when I’m
making egg sacks.
(re: egg sack model)
Wow, if these were real, the bugs’d be . . .
Big as you.
Yeah. So where do we start?
Oh Xander, I’ve done something
really stupid, I hope you can forgive me.
Forgiveness is my middle name —
actually it’s LaVelle — I’d
appreciate it if you’d guard that
secret with your life.
I have a teacher conference in half
an hour and I left the paint and
paper mache’ at home. I don’t
suppose you’d want to come to my
place tonight and work on it there.
Come to . . . your place?
FLASH CUT – XANDER IN HIS GUITAR GOD POSE, HITS A POWER CHORD BACK TO SCENE
It’d just be the two of us. I’d
feel more comfortable there, you
know, about letting my hair down.
She lasers him with a steamy look.
Right, that’s important, ’cause
when your hair’s not down it’s . . . up.
It’s a date then. Seven-thirty.
(hands him paper)
Here’s my address.
(I want you)
I’ll see you tonight.
They trade a meaningful look, he turns his back, heads for the door. She opens the tub marked “Food”. Inside: live crickets. She sprinkles several on the bread.
INT. SCHOOL HALL – DAY
Xander exits, does a MIGHTY VICTORY DANCE — this is it!
INT. BIOLOGY CLASSROOM – SAME TIME
As Miss French bites contentedly into her sandwich.
INT. LIBRARY – DAY
Willow’s at the computer, Giles pours over texts. Buffy charges out of the stacks, book in hand, featuring PHOTOS of the praying mantis.
Dig this — “the praying mantis can
rotate it’s head a hundred and
eighty degrees while waiting for a
meal to wander by . . .” Hah!
(off their looks)
Well, come on guys. Hah!
Well, Miss French is sort of big. For a bug.
She is also, by and large, woman-shaped.
Factoid one: only the praying
mantis can turn it’s head like
that. Factoid two: a pretty
wacked-out vampire is scared to
death of her. Factoid three: her
fashion sense screams predator.
It’s the shoulder pads.
If you’re right, she’d have to be a
shapeshifter, or perception distorter . . .
(making a connection)
Half a moment . . .
I had a chum at Oxford, Carlyle,
advanced degrees in entomology and mythology . . .
Whosy and whatsy?
Bugs and fairy tales.
I knew that.
If I recall correctly, poor
Carlyle, just before he went mad,
claimed there was a beast —
Buffy, nine one one. Blayne’s mom
called the school, he never came
home last night.
The boy who worked with Miss French yesterday?
Yeah. If Miss French is
responsible for . . . Xander’s
supposed to be helping her right
now . . . he’s got a crush on a giant insect!
Let’s not panic, I’ll warn him. I
need you to stretch your hacker
muscles and see if you can get
something from the Coroner’s office.
What are we looking for?
Autopsy on Dr. Gregory. I’ve been
trying to figure out the marks I
saw on his corpse — I’m thinking
they might have been teeth — and
these cuddlies . . .
She shows Willow a picture of HORRIBLE MANTIS TEETH.
. . . should definitely be brushing after every meal.
You were saying something about a beast?
I just have to make one
trans-Atlantic phone call.
(heads for phone; stops)
This computer invasion Willow’s
performing on the Coroner’s
office — one assumes it’s entirely legal?
Of course — — entirely.
So I wasn’t here, didn’t see it,
couldn’t have stopped you.
Buffy grabs her jacket (the one Angel gave her), heads out.
EXT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL – DAY
Late in the day. Xander, in the best mood, strolls out of school, humming a little tune. Buffy, wearing the jacket, catches up with him.
So how’d it go with Miss French after school?
Well, it’s a little demanding being
her . . . absolute favorite guy in the
universe, but I’ll just have to
Xander, she’s not what she seems.
I know, she’s so much more.
Look, I have to tell you some stuff
about her and I really need you to listen, okay?
Xander stops, listens respectfully.
I don’t think she’s human. She can
do the twisty with her head — ever
see the Exorcist? Plus Blayne, who
was last seen in her class
yesterday afternoon, is now missing.
I see. So she’s not human she’s . . .?
Technically I guess you’d have to
call her a big old bug.
I know it sounds a little weird but —
It’s not weird, it’s perfectly understandable.
I’ve met someone, you’re jealous.
I’m not —
Nothing I could do about it.
There’s just a certain chemical
thing between Miss French and me.
I know, I just read about it, it’s
called, uh, a pheromone, this
chemical attractant insects give off.
SHE’S NOT AN INSECT!! — okay?
She’s a woman. Hard as it may be
for you to conceive, a human
woman finds me attractive. I
realize she’s no mystery guy
handing out leather jackets — and
while we’re on the subject, what
kinda girly-name is Angel anyway?
What’s that got to do with —
Nothing! It just bugs me.
I really gotta . . .
(he takes off)
Xander . . .
INT. NATALIE FRENCH’S HOUSE – NIGHT
Candles, romantic light. She’s wearing a knockout dress, pouring martinis when there’s a knock at the front door. She opens it, revealing Xander.
Hi, come on in.
He can’t help but stare at the low-cut dress.
Oh, should I change, is it too . . .?
No, no. It’s the most beautiful
chest — dress! — I’ve ever seen.
Thank you, that’s sweet. Martini?
She offers him a glass. He hesitates.
I’m sorry, would you like something
else? I just need to relax a
little, I’m kind of nervous around
you. You’re probably cool as a cucumber.
(mile a minute)
I like cucumbers — you know in
that Greek salad thing with the
yogurt — you like Greek food? I’m
exempting schwarma here, what is
that all about, big meat hive . . .
(grabs glass, drains it)
(clinks his empty glass)
Can I ask you a personal question?
Have you ever been with a woman before?
You mean like, in the same room —
You know what I mean.
Oh, that. Well, let me think,
there was . . . several, you know, I
mean quite a few times that . . . and
then there was . . . she was so
incredibly . . . no.
(touching his hair, face)
I know, I can tell.
I like it. You might say I need it.
Well, needs are, you know, needs
should definitely be met as long as
they don’t require ointments the
next day or —
Dimly in the b.g., Xander HEARS someone yelling “help me!”
Do you hear —
Sounds like somebody crying for —
I don’t hear anything. Your hands are so . . .
(takes his hands)
. . . hot.
Xander stares at her, then down at his hands, looking a little woozy. FLASHBACK – TO XANDER’S FANTASY SEQUENCE
When Buffy took his hand.
You hurt your hand . . .
BACK TO SCENE
Now he’s looking very woozy, downright drugged.
Buffy. I love Buffy . . . wow, so
that’s a martini, huh?
Again the distant YELLING, “somebody help me!”
Are you sure somebody’s not —
Would you like to touch me with
He looks down — her HANDS stroking HIS.
Your hands are really . . .
SPECIAL FX – HER FOREARM AND ONE OF HER HANDS
Suddenly ripple, turn MANTIS-LIKE.
. . . serrated? That drink must have,
I think I need to . . .
Xander passes out, hitting the floor with a THUNK. Natalie bends down —
TWO SERRATED FORELEGS SLIDE UNDER XANDER’S FEET
ANGLE – CELLAR DOOR
Xander’s torso is pulled out of sight.
END OF ACT TWO
INT. NATALIE’S CELLAR – DARK
ANGLE ON Xander, as he comes awake, looking groggily at his surroundings.
Welcome to hell, which we will photograph tastefully as far as the gore is concerned. The HORRIBLE SHE-MANTIS, tending to some eggs, still dimly seen, shuffles about in the b.g.
PAN a row of small barred cages. In a couple, we see bodies — sans heads.
In the distance he can make out the shape — but not the features — of the Mantis-creature. Xander swallows hard, tries to find his voice:
Miss . . . French?
To his horror, Natalie’s voice (treated) emanates from the:
Please, call me Natalie.
EXT. SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL – NIGHT
Dark, deserted, the only lights are coming from the library.
INT. LIBRARY – NIGHT
Giles is on the phone — the fury of the once great English Empire in his voice.
Young lady, I don’t care what time
it is, unlock his cell, unstrap him
and bring him to the phone this
instant. Lives are at stake!
(Buffy joins her)
Coroner’s autopsy, complete with . . .
. . . yuck, color pictures.
Buffy studies the screen (we don’t see the pictures).
They are teeth marks . . .
(re: mantis in text book)
. . . which match perfectly the one
insect that nips off its prey’s head.
Okay, this I do not like . . .
It’s the way they feed: head first.
And the way they mate —
The female eats the male’s head while they’re . . .
No, no see, Xander is, I really
like his head, that’s where you
find his eyes and hair, his
adorable smile . . .
Take it easy, Will, Xander’s not in
any immediate danger. I saw him
leave school — I’m sure he’s safe
and sound at home right now.
INT. NATALIE’S CELLAR – NIGHT
Xander, keeping an eye on the She-Mantis in b.g., backs into the farthest corner of his cage — A HAND darts in from the DARK CAGE next to him.
He looks in the cage, makes out:
Blayne, a blubbering mass of terror, cowers in his cage.
Oh god, oh god, oh god . . .
Are you —
You gotta get me outta here, you
gotta . . . she, she gets you and . . .
What? What does she do?
No, no, no, no . . .
Xander gets his hands through the cage, shakes Blayne.
Blayne! What does she do?
She . . .she takes you out of the
cage and ties you up then she,
like, starts throbbing and moving
and all these eggs come shooting
out of her — and then . . .
What? Then what?
She mates with you!
She . . .?
That’s not the worst part.
Have you seen her teeth? Right
while she’s — right in the middle
of — I SAW HER DO IT!
He points to a body in a nearby cage. Xander looks from the body to the Mantis-bitch as she delicately hangs the jellied EGG SACK from a ceiling rafter.
I don’t want to die like that!
Blayne . . . Blayne! Chill. Listen
to me, we’re gonna get out of this.
You got a plan? What is it?
(doesn’t have a clue)
Let me just perfect it . . .
Oh god, oh god, oh god . . .
INT. LIBRARY – NIGHT
Giles is on the phone.
I understand, Carlyle, I’ll take
every precaution . . . It sounds just
like the creature you described.
You were right all along, about everything.
No you weren’t right about your
mother coming back as a Dachshund,
but . . . Try to rest. Ta.
He hangs up, moves quickly to Buffy and Willow.
Dr. Carlyle Ferris spent years
transcribing a lost, pre-Germanic
language — what he discovered he
kept to himself, until several
teenage boys were murdered in the
Cotswalds. Then he went hunting for it.
“It” being . . .?
He calls her a She-Mantis. This
type of creature, the Kleptes-Virgo
or virgin-thief appears in many
cultures: the Greek Sirens, the
Celtic Sea-maidens who tore the
living flesh from the bones of —
Giles, while we’re young.
The She-Mantis assumes the form of
a beautiful woman and lures
innocent virgins back to her nest.
(to Willow, comforting)
Well, Xander’s not a . . . I mean he’s probably —
— going to die!
Willow grabs a phone, dials in b.g. as Buffy stretches out her fingers and arms, preparing for battle.
This thing is breeding. We gotta
find it and snuff it. Any tips on
the snuffing part?
Carlyle recommends cleaving all
body parts with a sharp blade.
Slice and dice.
Whatever you do it’s got to be
sudden and swift — this beast is dangerous.
Well, your buddy Carlyle faced it,
he’s still around.
Yes . . . in a straight jacket howling
his innards out day and night.
Okay Admiral, way to inspire the troops.
Willow slams down the phone.
Xander’s not home — he told his
mom he had to go to his teacher’s
house and work on a science
project. He didn’t tell her where.
See if you can get her address off
the substitute rolls.
Willow bolts to the computer.
You gotta record some bat sonar, fast.
Bat sonar. Right. What?
Bats eat them — a praying mantis
hears sonar, its whole nervous
system goes kaplooie.
Where am I going to find —
— in the vid library. I know it’s
not books but it’s still dark and
musty, you’ll be right at home.
She points him toward the back of the stacks and the door marked VIDEOS.
I’ll handle the armory.
INT. NATALIE’S CELLAR – NIGHT
She-Mantis shuffles in the b.g. IN THE CAGES, Xander struggles with a bar that separates his cage from Blayne’s.
What are you — don’t do anything
that’ll make her mad.
Xander ignores Blayne, shoves and pulls until a three foot hunk of bar comes loose.
Hey, all right. Now I can get out of my cage . . .
. . . into yours. What’d you do that for?
I think you’re going to need it.
THEIR POV – THE SHE-MANTIS
is coming for them.
INT. LIBRARY – NIGHT
The printer cranks out a NAME and ADDRESS: NATALIE FRENCH, 837 WEATHERLY DRIVE, SUNNYDALE, CALIFORNIA. Buffy, dressed for fighting, equipment bag in hand, runs in. Willow waits at the printer.
Getting her address . . .
Giles emerges from the video library — hands her his micro cassette recorder.
Recording bat sonar is so
soothingly like having one’s teeth drilled.
Willow rips the paper out of the printer.
As they race for the door:
According to Miss French’s
personnel records, she was born in
nineteen oh seven — she’s like
ninety years old.
She is terribly well-preserved.
And they’re gone.
INT. NATALIE’S CELLAR – NIGHT
Xander and Blayne cower in their cages as SHE steps out of the shadows and we get our first good look at her huge, hideous face: the triangular head with large compound eyes, the antennae, the collection of sharp mouth parts designed to maul and sever.
She stops in front of Blayne’s cage. He screams, scrambles for the back — squeezes through into Xander’s cage.
He did that, he broke the cage,
take him not me, take him!!
She turns her insect head and gazes at Xander. He looks back at her, trying to keep his terror down, the iron bar gripped tightly behind his back.
EXT. THE REAL MRS. FRENCH’S HOUSE – NIGHT
The Giles-mobile, possibly an older model Citroen, roars to a stop in front of 837 WEATHERLY, a modest, well-kempt home. Giles is behind the wheel. They pile out.
ANGLE: THE FRONT DOOR
As they approach it.
What now? I mean we can’t just
kick down the front door.
Yes, that would be wrong.
She’s already bracing to kick it as she speaks. Just as she’s about to kick it in, it’s opened by the SWEETEST LITTLE OLD LADY. We’ll call her the REAL MISS FRENCH.
REAL MISS FRENCH
Hello dear, I thought I heard . . .
are you selling something? Because
I’d love to help out but you know
I’m on a fixed income.
I’m looking for Miss French.
REAL MISS FRENCH
I’m Miss French.
Natalie French, the substitute biology teacher.
REAL MISS FRENCH
Goodness, that’s me. I taught for
over thirty years, then I retired
in nineteen seventy-two . . .
Buffy turns to Willow.
She used Miss French’s records to
get in the school — bite me, she
could be anywhere.
REAL MISS FRENCH
No, I’m right here, dear.
INT. NATALIE’S CELLAR – NIGHT
The SHE-MANTIS raises a terrible, spiny foreleg — Blayne scurries to the farthest corner of the cage. Xander holds his ground as she points her foreleg first at Blayne, then at Xander, then at Blayne, etc.
What’s she doing?
I . . . think it’s . . . eenie, meenie, mynie . . .
And, as her foreleg settles on Xander — the chosen one.
. . . moe.
END OF ACT THREE
INT. NATALIE’S CELLAR – NIGHT
She unlocks the cage, opens the door, reaches in for him.
(to keep her from touching him)
I’m coming, I’m coming.
He steps out — and swings the iron bar at her — hard. It THUNKS into her body. He runs like hell. Almost makes the stairs before he’s pincered by a powerful foreleg, lifted in the air and slammed to the ground, wind knocked out of him.
EXT. THE REAL MISS FRENCH’S HOUSE – NIGHT
Buffy heads to the street, looking at WEATHERLY PARK across the way. Giles and Willow follow her, unsure of the next move.
What do you do now?
Abject prayer and supplication
spring to mind.
I saw her walking past this park.
Carrying grocery bags. She lives
in this neighborhood.
They look up and down the street.
THEIR POV – A LOT OF HOUSES
Willow, pretty upset, heads off in the direction of the house next to the Real Miss French’s.
I’m gonna start banging on doors.
We don’t have time for that.
We have to do something!
Buffy grabs a hefty length of rope from her equipment bag, heads into the street towards the rain gutter.
I won’t be long.
And before they can stop her, she’s lowered herself into the gutter and disappeared from sight.
INT. NATALIE’S CELLAR – NIGHT
Xander’s hands are held fast in leather or rope shackles. The She-Mantis stands nearby eyeing him. BLAYNE IN HIS CAGE
Quietly, insanely, watching.
Oh yeah, here it comes . . .
What, what’s happening?!
How do you like your eggs, bro,
over easy or sunny side up?
Eggs? She’s going to lay some . . .?
Xander looks at the monster, it almost smiles.
EXT. STREET NEXT TO WEATHERLY PARK – NIGHT
Giles and Willow wait anxiously.
Come on Buffy . . .
EXT. WEATHERLY PARK – NIGHT
CAMERA PUSHES in on the SMALL STORM DRAIN where Buffy was attacked by Claw. We HEAR sounds of a struggle. The foliage covering the storm drain is thrust aside and Claw, SNARLING, is thrown out on his face, his hands tied behind his back. Buffy emerges from the drain, drags him to his feet (he’s over his limp).
She gives him a none-too-gentle shove down the path.
INT. NATALIE’S CELLAR – NIGHT
We see the She-Mantis breathing hard, PAN to the fresh BATCH OF EGGS next to her body and find Xander. PUSH IN on Xander.
FLASHBACK – XANDER IN BIOLOGY CLASS – DAY
The California Mantis lays her eggs
and then finds a mate . . .
She walks past Xander, giving him a warm smile on the word “mate”. He looks up at her, oh so ready to be that mate.
EXT. STREET – NIGHT – CLOSE CLAW
His hands bound behind him trying to close one of his razor talons on the rope. Buffy shoves Claw (very fast) past houses. Willow and Giles keep their distance.
Which house, where is she?
They pass more houses.
You’re not afraid of much, but
you’re afraid of her —
They pass more houses.
— and her cold blood . . .
Suddenly Claw’s face fills with fear, he struggles mightily in Buffy’s grasp. Buffy follows his gaze to a small house, white picket fence.
She drags him closer — he growls and cringes even more.
Better than radar . . .
She sees a SMALL CELLAR window next to the driveway. The only light in the house is coming from her.
ANGLE – HE’S GOT A CLAW ON ONE OF THE ROPES NOW
Willow sees Claw cutting through the rope.
Indeed, Buffy does run with Claw right on her heels. She dives at the white picket fence, gets her hands on the slats as he grabs her from behind. He closes in for the kill. She rips the slat loose and uses it to pierce his heart. We don’t see the gore but we do see the surprise on his face before he crumbles to dust.
Giles and Willow are staring, somewhat shocked, as Buffy heads up to the house.
You guys coming?
INT. NATALIE’S CELLAR – NIGHT
Xander, still tethered, watches in horror as the She-Mantis lowers her ghastly face towards him. He struggles futilely. It’s the grossest thing that has ever happened to him, until, through teeth dripping with unspeakable fluids, she says:
Xander struggles to keep a grasp on his sanity as that horrible mouth moves closer and closer.
Can I just say one thing?
(she seems to hesitate)
Blayne looks away in his cage. As she engulfs Xander in her horrible body, the SMALL FLOOR WINDOW behind her is kicked in. Buffy drops in, equipment bag in hand.
Let him go.
The She-Mantis HISSES, heads for Buffy who grabs two large spray cans out of her bag.
Buffy raises the spray cans — we SEE A PICTURE OF A DEAD BUG — and the words KILLS GARDEN PESTS FAST! on them.
Buffy blasts her with both barrels — two clouds of insect spray hit her in the face. She HOWLS, and retreats with alarming speed into the dark recesses of the cellar. Giles and Willow drop in through the cellar window, run to Xander, free him.
Blayne starts screaming from his cage:
Help me! Help me!!
(to the others)
Get him out. The bug is mine.
She advances into the darkness.
ANGLE: THE DARK PART OF THE CELLAR
Moving very slowly, she pulls her machete from her bag and her tape recorder from her pocket with the other. She talks to the shadows:
Remember Dr. Gregory — you scarfed
his head? He taught me if you do
your homework you learn stuff.
Like what happens to your nervous
system when you hear this:
Buffy punches play.
“. . . extremely important to file not
simply alphabetically by author . . .”
That’s the wrong side!
The She-Mantis comes SCREECHING from the shadows and knocks the recorder out of Buffy’s hand, sends it skittering across the floor and under an old refrigerator.
Giles runs to the refrigerator, trying to retrieve it.
ANGLE: THE DARK PART OF THE CELLAR
The She-Mantis swings again — Buffy jumps — the foreleg slicing, just missing Buffy’s legs. Buffy raises the machete with both arms and swings it through the air —
She cuts the Mantis. The Mantis howls with rage and pain.
Xander retrieves the bug spray as Willow tries to open Blayne’s cage. Xander comes into the dark and —
— blasts the She-Mantis with the spray. She howls, turns on him —
Xander, get out!
She pushes him back. The She-Mantis seizes the moment of Buffy’s distraction to SLAM Buffy to the ground with a foreleg, the machete skittering away. She raises her foreleg, intent on cutting Buffy’s head off.
Giles retrieves the recorder, hits buttons. A HIGH-PITCHED SOUND reverberates through the room: bat sonar. The She-Mantis SCREECHES, howls and shakes her head — the sonar is driving her bat shit.
Buffy KICKS and TRIPS the mantis up. It falls to the ground as Buffy picks up the machete.
Bat sonar makes your whole nervous
system go to hell. You can go there with it.
She raises the machete high over her head and brings it down — we PAN AWAY from any gore to THE WALL where we see BUFFY IN SILHOUETTE hack this thing to pieces.
Xander, Willow, Blayne and Giles who look down at the floor and what’s left (we don’t see it) of the She-Mantis.
I’d say it’s deceased.
Just for the record, you were
right, I was an idiot and God bless you.
She smiles, they share a moment, then:
(to Giles and Willow)
And thank you guys, too.
I’m really glad you’re okay. It’s
so unfair how she only went after virgins . . .
What . . .?
I mean here you guys are, doing the
right thing — the smart thing —
when a lot of other boys your age —
Big flag on that play, babe. I am
Cat’s out of the bag, lads. It’s
part of the She-Mantis M.O.
Isn’t this the perfect ending to a wonderful day.
My dad’s a lawyer — anybody
repeats this to anybody, they’re
gonna find themselves facing a lawsuit.
Blayne — shut up.
I don’t think it’s bad at all. I think it’s really —
Xander takes the machete from Buffy.
(big step back)
— sweet. But certainly nothing
I’ll ever bring up again —
Xander moves past her and hacks at the egg sacks attached to the rafters, destroying them. INT. THE BRONZE – NIGHT
Buffy is by the bar as Angel walks out of the darkness, that slight smile playing about his lips. For a moment, neither of them speaks.
I heard a rumor there was one less
vampire walking around making a
nuisance of himself.
There is. Thanks for the tip.
Of course, it would make things
easier if I knew how to get in
touch with you.
I’ll be around.
Or who you where . . .
He just smiles at that one.
Well, anyway, you can have your jacket back.
Looks better on you.
He absently runs his hand along the collar for a moment. Things get a teeny bit steamy in there, but neither of them makes a move.
She watches him a moment.
Oh, boy . . .
INT. BIOLOGY CLASSROOM – DAY
Several days later. Dr. Gregory’s glasses lie on the display table where he left them. Xander, Willow, Blayne, Buffy listen to a second-rate TEACHER droning:
All mid-term papers will be exactly
six pages long — no more, no less.
One third of your grade will be
dependent on those papers — no
more, no less . . .
PUSH IN ON Buffy, missing the hell out of Dr. Gregory. The bell rings. The kids get up, exit the class.
Buffy stops at the display table, looks down at Dr. Gregory’s glasses as the second-rate teacher neatly folds his papers and books and marches out. Buffy picks up the glasses, looks at them for a beat, gently wipes them off and heads for the closet.
ANGLE: IN THE CLOSET
There is a box of Dr. Gregory’s personal stuff in here. Buffy gently places the glasses in it and leaves. We hold on the box for a moment before moving down, to the dark bottom of the closet. Hanging from the lowest shelf, way in the back, is a glistening egg sack. It moves. It cracks.
In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against
the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.
The Bronze. A girl is screaming. A vampire is advancing on Buffy as she
backs into a pole. She throws a solid right to his face followed by a
left. The vampire isn’t fazed, and he grabs her and throws her onto a
pool table. He leans over her to bite. Xander comes up behind the
vampire, grabs him by the shoulders and pulls him off of Buffy.
Xander: May I cut in?
He bashes the vampire’s head into the pool table, turns him around and
punches him in the gut and the face. The vampire falls to the floor,
unconscious. Buffy is impressed and gives him a big smile. Xander offers
her his hand to help her off of the pool table.
Xander: You alright?
Buffy: (exhales) Thanks to you!
She slides off of the table and notices Xander’s hand.
Buffy: You hurt your hand! Will you still be able to…
Xander: …finish my solo and kiss you like you’ve never been kissed
He gives her a wink and starts back to the stage. The vampire gets back
up and growls at Buffy. Xander sees him, breaks the leg off of a chair
that’s been knocked over and throws the makeshift stake at the vampire.
Buffy watches the stake fly into the vampire’s chest, and he falls dead.
She turns her gaze back on Xander. He jumps up onto stage and grabs his
guitar to continue his solo. Buffy looks up at him adoringly and advances to the stage as he plays.
Buffy: You’re drooling.
Xander gives her a confused look.
Cut to science class. It’s dark because Dr. Gregory is giving a slide show.
He wakes up from his daydream and shakes his head. Buffy indicates the corner of her mouth.
Buffy: You’ve got a little…
He picks up on her gesture and quickly wipes the drool off of his mouth and chin.
Dr. Gregory: Their ancestors were here long before we were. Their progeny will be here long after we are gone. The simple and ubiquitous ant.
He turns off the projector, turns the lights on and begins walking up the aisle.
Dr. Gregory: Now. If you read the homework you should know the two ways that ants communicate.
He stops at Xander’s lab table and leans on it to face Buffy. Dr. Gregory: Miss Summers.
Buffy: (on the spot) Ways that ants communicate.
Dr. Gregory: (nodding his head) Mm.
Buffy: With other ants.
Dr. Gregory: From the homework.
Behind him Willow tries to get Buffy’s attention.
Dr. Gregory: Ants are communicating…
Buffy: (sees Willow’s signals) Um, uh, uh…
Willow strokes Xander’s back, indicating “touch”.
Dr. Gregory: (nodding) Mm-hmm.
Buffy: And, um…
She looks at Willow again. She is sniffing Xander, indicating “smell”. Buffy: (confused) B.O.?
Several students laugh. Willow gives her a disappointed look. Blayne: Thank God someone finally found the courage to mention that! Dr. Gregory: That would be ‘touch’ and ‘smell’, Miss Summers. Is there
anything else Miss Rosenberg would like to tell you?
Willow quickly turns away in her seat. The bell rings. Dr. Gregory starts to move back to the front of the class.
Dr. Gregory: Alright, chapters six through eight by tomorrow, people. (stops and looks back at Buffy) Can I see you for a moment?
Buffy nods. Cut to after the other students have left the room. Buffy leans against a lab table. Dr. Gregory idly reviews his slides.
Dr. Gregory: I gather you had a few problems at your last school? Buffy: Well, what teenager doesn’t?
Dr. Gregory: Cut school, get in fights, burn down the gymnasium… Principal Flutie showed me your permanent record.
He walks to the front of the class, and Buffy follows him.
Buffy: Well, that fire, I mean, there was major extenuating circumstances. Actually, it’s, uh, kinda funny!
Dr. Gregory: Can’t wait to see what you’re gonna do here.
He goes to the closet, gets his other glasses from his coat and cleans them.
Buffy: Destructo Girl. That’s me.
Dr. Gregory: But I suspect it’s gonna be great.
Buffy: You mean, ‘great’ in a bad way?
Dr. Gregory: (looks at her, then back at his glasses) You have a first rate mind and you can think on your feet. Imagine what you could accomplish if you actually did the…
Buffy: …the homework thing.
Dr. Gregory: The homework thing. I understand you probably have a good excuse for not doing it. (closes the closet and walks back to his lab table) Amazingly enough, I don’t care. I know you can excel in this class, and so I expect no less. Is that clear?
Buffy: Yeah! Sorry.
Dr. Gregory: Don’t be sorry, be smart. (looks at another slide) And please don’t listen to the principal or anyone else’s negative opinion about you. Let’s make ’em eat that permanent record. Whadaya say?
He looks up at Buffy and gives her a little smile. She smiles back. Buffy: Okay! Thanks.
He nods his head. She grabs her bag.
Dr. Gregory: Chapters six through eight!
Buffy looks back at him with a smile and leaves the classroom. Dr. Gregory puts the slide down, goes over to turn off the lights and comes back to his slide-viewing plate. While he concentrates on the slides, the closet door opens. Cut to a view of Dr. Gregory from the closet. The camera advances on him. Cut in front of him. He’s concentrating on the slides. Cut behind him. A large, green mantis claw goes around his neck.
Dr. Gregory looks up behind him and screams. The claw drags him off of his chair. His glasses hit the floor and break, and an instant later so does he.
Opening credits roll. Buffy’s theme plays.
The Bronze. The live band is Superfine, playing “Already Met You”. Xander dances lamely through the crowd.
Lyrics: The first date’s the worst date / It’s hard to know just what to do / And I take you to dinner / You don’t eat, you just play with your food
Xander is on the dance floor and looks around. He makes his way to the stage and gives the singer an acknowledging nod and grin.
Lyrics: And there’s something familiar…
The singer gives him a “get outta here” look.
Lyrics: About every word you say
Xander is disappointed and moves away from the stage.
Lyrics: It’s hard to believe it’s happened again / I already met you / And I already met you / You’re like my last girlfriend / Yes, and the girlfriend I had before her
Xander goes over to the bar where Blayne and his friend are sitting.
Blayne: Seven, including Cheryl. I’ll tell you, though, her sister was lookin’ to make it eight!
Boy: Ooo, Cheryl’s sister? The one in college?
Blayne: (nods) Home for the holidays and lookin’ for love! She’s not my type, though. Girls really gotta have something to go with me.
Xander: (interrupting) Something like a lobotomy?
The two boys look at him.
Blayne: Xander. How many times you score?
Xander: Well, uh…
Blayne: It’s just a question.
Xander: Are we talking today, or the whole week?
The two boys snicker. Xander spots Buffy and Willow coming down the stairs.
Xander: Ooo! Duty calls!
He leaves the bar and approaches the girls as Blayne and his friend watch.
The girls look back at him. He comes up to them with his arms wide open and grabs them both around the shoulders.
Buffy: What are you doing?
Xander: (to Buffy) Work with me here. Blayne had the nerve to question my manliness. I’m just gonna give him a visual.
Willow: (throws her arms around him tightly) We’ll show him!
Xander looks back at Blayne, gives him a thumbs up and puts his arm back around Willow. The two boys seem impressed.
Buffy: (distracted) I don’t believe it.
Xander: I know, and after all my conquests.
Buffy sees Angel and goes over to him.
Xander: Who’s that?
Willow: That must be Angel! I think?
Xander: That weird guy that warned her about all the vampires? Willow: That’s him, I’ll bet you.
Xander: Well, he’s buff! She never said anything about him being buff! Willow: You think he’s buff?
Xander: He’s a very attractive man! How come that never came up? Cut to Angel. Buffy comes up to him.
Buffy: Well! Look who’s here!
Buffy: I’d say it’s nice to see you, but then we both know that’s a big fib.
Angel: I won’t be long.
Buffy: No, you’ll just give me a cryptic warning about some exciting new catastrophe, and then disappear into the night. Right?
Angel: You’re cold.
Buffy: You can take it.
Angel: (takes off his jacket) I mean, you look cold.
He puts his jacket around her shoulders. Cut to Willow and Xander.
Xander: Oh, right! Give her your jacket. It’s a balmy night, no one needs to be trading clothing out there!
Cut to Buffy and Angel.
Buffy: A little big on me. (notices a series of cuts on Angel’s arm) What happened?
Angel: I didn’t pay attention.
Buffy: To somebody with a big fork?
Angel: He’s coming.
Buffy: The Fork Guy?
Angel: Don’t let him corner you. Don’t give him a moment’s mercy. He’ll rip your throat out.
Buffy: Okay, I’ll give you improved marks for that one. Ripping a throat out, it’s a strong visual, it’s not cryptic!
Angel: I have to go. (leaves)
Buffy: (stares after him) Sweet dreams to you, too.
Cut to Sunnydale High the next morning. Buffy and Giles are walking along in front of the school. Giles is eating an apple.
Giles: That’s all he said? Fork Guy?
Buffy: That’s all Cryptic Guy said: Fork Guy.
Giles: I think there are too many ‘guys’ in your life. (laughs) They meet Willow sitting on a bench.
Giles: I’ll see what I can find out. (looks up at the sky) God, every day here is the same.
Buffy: Bright, sunny, beautiful, how ever can we escape this torment?
Willow gives her a smile. Buffy puts down her bag and sits down next to her.
Xander comes up behind Giles as he turns to leave.
Giles: Good morning.
Xander: Mornin’. (to the girls) Guess what I just heard in the office? No Dr. Gregory today. Ergo, those of us who blew off our science homework aren’t as dumb as we look.
He reaches down and flips Willow’s book closed. She has to stop it from sliding off of her lap.
Buffy: What happened, is he sick?
Xander: They didn’t say anything about sick, something about missing. Buffy: He’s missing?
Xander: Well, let me think. Um, the cheerleaders were modeling their new short skirts, that kinda got… Yeah! Yeah, they said missing.
Willow and Buffy exchange a look.
Xander: Which is bad?
Buffy: If something’s wrong, yeah!
Willow: He’s one of the only teachers that doesn’t think Buffy’s a felon.
Xander: I’m really sorry, I’m sure he’ll…
He looks up and sees Miss Natalie French walking toward them. Xander: I, uh, huh…
The girls look to see what’s distracting him.
Xander: Uh, huh… huh…
Cut to a slow motion shot of Natalie walking. She comes right up to Xander, who just stares at her.
Natalie: Could you help me?
Xander: Uuuuuuhhhhhh… Yes!
Willow and Buffy give each other amused looks.
Natalie: I’m looking for Science… 109.
Xander: Oh! It’s, um…
He looks around himself, trying to remember the way. He turns back to Natalie.
Xander: (smiles) I go there every day!
Xander: (looks to the girls for help) Oh, God, where is it?
Willow and Buffy just shrug. Blayne appears behind Natalie and introduces himself.
Blayne: Hi! Blayne Mall. I’m going there right now. It’s not far from the varsity field where I took All-City last year. (smiles smugly)
Natalie: Oh! Thank you, Blayne!
She and Blayne leave. Xander’s gaze follows them for a moment, and then he turns back to Willow and Buffy.
Xander: It’s funny how the Earth never opens up and swallows you when you want it to.
The girls nod their heads and give each other a smile.
Cut to science class. Natalie is writing her name on the board. Buffy, Willow and Xander walk in. Buffy spots Dr. Gregory’s glasses on the floor and picks them up.
Willow: What’s wrong?
Buffy: Dr. Gregory dropped his glasses… Why wouldn’t he pick them up?
She sets the glasses on the lab table and gives Natalie a glance as she walks to her stool. Natalie faces the class.
Natalie: My name is Natalie French, and I will be substituting for Dr. Gregory.
Buffy: Do you know when he’s coming back?
Natalie: No, I don’t, um, (checks her roster) Buffy. They just call and tell me where they want me.
Blayne: (in a low voice) I’ll tell you where I want you. Natalie: Excuse me, Blayne?
Blayne: Uh, I was just wondering if you were gonna pick up where Dr. Gregory left off.
Natalie: (smiles) Yes. His notes tell me you were right in the middle of insect life.
She picks up a mantis mounted in a clear plastic box.
Natalie: The praying mantis is a fascinating creature. Forced to live alone. Who can tell me why? Buffy?
She puts the mantis back down.
Buffy: Well, the words ‘bug-ugly’ kinda spring to mind. There’s lots of muffled laughter.
Natalie: There is nothing ugly about these unique creatures. The reason they live alone is because they’re cannibals!
Everyone in class looks disgusted.
Natalie: Oh, well, it’s hardly their fault! It’s the way nature designed them: noble, solitary and prolific. Over 1800 species worldwide, and in nearly all of them the female is larger and more aggressive than the male.
Blayne: (aside to Buffy) Nothing wrong with an aggressive female.
Buffy angles her head and gives him a look. Natalie picks up her notebook and starts to walk around the room.
Natalie: The California Mantis lays her eggs, and then finds a mate… She looks at Xander. He stares back.
Natalie: …to fertilize them. Once he’s played his part, she covers the eggs in a protective sack and attaches it to a leaf or twig out of danger. Now, if she’s done her job correctly, in a few months she’ll have several hundred offspring.
She has made her way back to the front of the class and puts down her notebook.
Natalie: You know, we should make some model egg sacks for the science fair. Who would like to help me do that after school?
All the boys raise their hands.
Natalie: (pleased) Good!
Cut to the cafeteria. Buffy, Willow and Xander are in line. Buffy: Hot dog surprise. Be still, my heart.
Willow: Call me old-fashioned, I don’t want any more surprises in my hot dogs.
Xander: I wonder what she sees in me? It’s probably the quiet good
looks coupled with a certain smoky magnetism.
Willow raises her eyebrows at him. She turns to Buffy and they smile.
Xander: Miss French. You two’re probably a little young to understand what an older woman would see in a younger man.
Buffy: Oh, I understand.
Buffy: The younger man is too dumb to wonder why an older woman can’t find someone her own age, and too desperate to care about the surgical improvements!
Xander: (taken aback) What surgical improvements?
Willow: (to Buffy) Well, he is young.
Buffy: And so terribly innocent!
Xander: Hey, those that can, do. Those that can’t laugh at those who… can do.
Blayne comes up next to Xander, getting lots of food.
Blayne: Gotta carb up for my one-on-one with Miss French today. When’s yours? Oh, right, tomorrow. You came in second, I came in first. Guess that’s what they call natural selection. (leaves)
Xander: Guess it’s what they call a rehearsal! (to the girls) Rehearsal… (laughs lamely)
The girls smile. Buffy goes over to get some utensils. As she walks back Cordelia comes in through the exit and bumps into her.
Cordelia: (to Buffy) Excuse you!
She goes behind the counter, showing a piece of paper to the cafeteria workers.
Cordelia: Medically prescribed lunch. My doctor ships it daily… I’ll only be here as long as I can hold my breath.
She opens a refrigerator and screams. Inside is a headless body. Buffy and Willow run to see what’s wrong. Cordelia backs away from the fridge.
Cordelia: (hysterically) His head! His head! Oh, my God, where’s his head?!
Buffy and Willow arrive to see what’s inside. Buffy stares in disbelief. Xander is close behind and has to look away when he sees. Willow looks squeamish. The name on the body’s lab coat is “Dr. Gregory”.
Cut to the library. Giles pours a glass of water. He brings it over to Buffy, who is sitting on the steps with Willow. Both girls have deeply sad looks on their faces. Buffy has been crying.
Giles: (hands the glass to Buffy) Here. Drink this.
Buffy: (idly takes the glass) No, thank you. (takes a sip) Xander: (behind Giles) I’ve never seen…
Giles looks back at Xander.
Xander: (shaken) I mean, I’ve never seen anything like… That was new. Willow: Who would wanna hurt Dr. Gregory?
Giles: Uh, he didn’t have any enemies on the staff that I’m aware of. He was a civilized man. I liked him.
Buffy: So did I.
Willow: (looks up at Giles) Well, we’re gonna find out who did this. We’ll find them and we’ll stop them.
Buffy: Count on it.
Giles: What do we know?
Buffy: Oh, not a lot, um… (sniffs and wipes a tear from her nose) He was killed here on campus. I’m guessing the last day we saw him.
Giles: How do you work that out?
Buffy: He didn’t change his clothing.
Xander: This is a question that no one particularly wants to hear, but… where did they put his head?
Willow: Good point. I didn’t wanna hear that.
Buffy: Angel! (gets up) He warned me that something was coming. She takes another sip of water as she walks over to the table.
Giles: Yes. Yes he did, didn’t he? I wish I knew what he meant. I’ve been trying to gather more information about the Master, our, uh, local vampire king. There was one oblique reference to a, a, a vampire who displeased the Master and cut his hand off in penance.
Buffy: Cut off his hand and replaced it with a fork?
Giles: I don’t know what he replaced it with.
Xander: So, why would he come after a teacher?
Giles: I’m not certain he did. There was an incident two nights ago… He walks over to the counter, picks up a newspaper and returns with it.
Giles: …uh, involving a homeless person in Weatherly Park. He was practically shredded, but, uh, nothing like Dr. Gregory.
Buffy: (looks at the paper) Fork Guy doesn’t do heads. Giles: Not historically.
Buffy: And Dr. Gregory’s blood wasn’t drained.
Xander: So there’s something else out there? Besides Silverwareman? Oh, this is fun, we’re on Monster Island.
Buffy: We’re on a Hellmouth. It’s a center of mystical convergence. Guess it’s the same thing. (walks toward Xander)
Giles: Well, unpleasant things do gravitate here, it’s true, but, uh, we don’t know there’s anything besides this chap. He’s still our likely
Buffy: Where was that guy killed? Weatherly Park?
Giles: Buffy. (advances toward her) I know you’re upset, but, uh, this is no time to go hunting, not until we know more. Please promise me you won’t do anything rash?
Buffy: Cross my heart.
Cut to the park at night. Buffy climbs the fence. She walks through the park, carefully looking around. A bum comes up to her, startling her.
Bum: Shouldn’t be out here at night, little lady. Dangerous.
The bum leaves. She notices another bum on the ground in front of a bench, and she checks him out. He’s okay, just asleep. Buffy continues stalking. Dogs bark in the distance. Buffy finds some shrubbery covering a sewer access hole. She moves it aside, and Fork Guy jumps out at her. She rushes backward. He swings with his claw, but misses. She slams her straight arm into his gut, then again into his back. He swings again, but Buffy dodges him. She backhand punches him in the face, does a roundhouse kick to his jaw and backhand punches his face again. He takes another swing at Buffy, but she evades it. She front kicks him. He lunges at her, and she grabs his arm and flips him over onto his back. Buffy tries to stake him, but he rolls away and back onto his feet. She kicks him again, and he staggers backward and falls. Buffy hears voices and turns to see people with flashlights coming over the hill.
Voices: Hold it! Police! Did you see that? I got nothing here!
Buffy looks back and forth between Fork Guy and the posse. The vampire runs off.
Voices: I heard it. Spread out. Let’s go over here. This way, this way. Alright…
Buffy makes tracks after the vampire.
Cut to the fence at the edge of the park. Natalie is walking home on the other side with grocery bags in her arms. The vampire stalks her and climbs over the fence. Buffy comes running up. The vampire lands behind Natalie. Buffy reaches the fence and watches. Natalie senses the vampire, stops and turns to face him. Fork Guy hisses and runs away in fear. Natalie watches him go. Buffy can’t believe what she’s seeing. The vampire crosses the street, lifts a manhole cover and climbs down. Natalie continues her walk home. Fork Guy pulls the manhole cover back into place. Buffy came only stare after Natalie, her mouth agape.
Sunnydale High, the next morning. Cut to the library.
Giles: You went hunting last night.
He walks into his office. She follows behind him.
Giles: When you assured me you wouldn’t. (takes a sip from his mug) Buffy: Yes, I lied, I’m a bad person, let’s move on.
Giles: (opens his file cabinet) Did you see someone with a fork?
Buffy: More like a jumbo claw.
Giles: (turns to face her) Oh. Well, uh, at least you’re not hurt.
Buffy: And I saw something else. Something much more interesting than your average run-of-the-mill killer vampire.
Buffy: Do you know Miss French, the teacher that’s subbing for Dr. Gregory?
Giles: (smiles) Yes. Yes, she’s lovely. In a, a common, extremely well proportioned way. (puts some files away)
Buffy: Well, I’m chasing Claw Guy last night, and Miss Well Proportioned is heading home. The Claw Guy takes one look at her and runs screaming for cover.
Giles: (confused) He what? Ran away?
Buffy: He was petrified.
Giles: Of Miss French?
Buffy: Uh-huh! So I’m an undead monster that can shave with my hand… How many things am I afraid of?
Giles: Not many. And not substitute teachers, as a rule. Buffy: So what’s her deal?
Giles: I think perhaps it would be a good idea if we kept an eye on her.
Buffy: Then I better get to class.
She leaves the office.
Cut to Buffy rushing down the stairs in the halls. She is stopped by Principal Flutie.
Mr. Flutie: You were there. You saw Dr. Gregory, didn’t you? Buffy: Um, you mean yesterday in the cafeteria when we found him…
Mr. Flutie: Don’t say dead! Or decapitated, or decomposing, I’d stay away from D-words altogether. But you witnessed the event, so this way, please. (starts down the hall)
Buffy: (stops him short) Well, no, I’m gonna be late for biology…
Mr. Flutie: Extremely late! (starts down the hall again) You have to see a counselor. Everyone who saw the body has to see a crisis counselor.
Buffy: But I really don’t need…
Mr. Flutie: We all need help with our feelings. Otherwise we bottle them up, and before you know it, powerful laxatives are involved. I really believe if we all reach out to one another we can beat this thing. I’m always here if you need a hug, (jumps back) but not a real hug! Because there’s no touching, this school is sensitive to wrong touching.
Buffy: But, I really, really don’t…
Mr. Flutie: No, you have to talk to a counselor and start the healing. You have to heal.
Buffy: But Mr. Flutie, I…
Mr. Flutie: Heal!
He sits her down in a chair outside of the counselor’s office and paces off. Buffy leans back in the chair and looks bummed. Then she hears Cordelia inside the office.
Cordelia: I don’t know what to say, it was really, I mean, one minute you’re in your normal life, and then who’s in the fridge? (the camera pans over to show her inside) It really gets to you, a thing like that. (cut inside) It was… let’s just say I haven’t been able to eat a thing since yesterday. I think I lost, like, seven and a half ounces? Way swifter than that so-called diet that quack put me on. Oh, I’m not saying that we should kill a teacher every day just so I can lose weight, I’m just saying when tragedy strikes, we have to look on the bright side. You know?
Cut to Buffy. What she’s hearing is just too weird.
Cordelia: Like, how even used Mercedes still have leather seats!
Cut to science class. Natalie is giving a pop quiz, and is walking along the aisle.
Natalie: Keep your eyes straight ahead on your own test. She comes up behind Xander.
Natalie: (in a low voice) I think you meant ‘pollination’ for number fourteen. (puts her hand on his shoulder) I’ll see you here after school.
Cut to the hall. Buffy comes running to class and looks in through the door window.
Buffy: Oh, great, a pop quiz.
Cut inside. Natalie suddenly straightens up. Buffy looks in. She sees Natalie turn her head around 180 degrees. Her eyes go wide with amazement. She quickly rolls away from the window.
Cut to the library. Buffy and Willow come in.
Buffy: No, I’m not saying she craned her neck. We are talking full-on Exorcist twist.
Buffy: Which reminds me, how come Blayne, who worked with her one-on one yesterday, isn’t here today?
Willow: Inquiring minds wanna know.
Buffy: (to Giles) Any luck?
Willow sits down in front of the PC and begins a search.
Giles: Um, I’ve not found any creature as yet that strikes terror in a vampire’s heart.
Buffy: Try looking under things that can turn their heads all the way around.
Giles: Nothing human can do that.
Buffy: No, nothing human. There are some insects that can. Whatever she is, I’m gonna be ready for her.
She turns and hops up the stairs to the stacks. Giles takes off his glasses.
Giles: What are you going to do?
Buffy: (turns back to answer) My homework.
She continues up into the stacks. Willow looks up at her and smiles, then continues her search. Buffy comes running back.
Buffy: Where are the books on bugs?
Cut to the science classroom. Natalie is at the desk spreading butter on a slice of bread. She’s about to open a plastic container when she hears Xander come in and looks up.
Natalie: Oh, Hi! I was just grabbing a snack. Can I fix you something?
Xander: No thanks, I never… eat when I’m making egg sacks. (sees the model) Wow, if this were real the bugs would be…
Natalie: …as big as you!
Xander: Yeah! So! Where do we start?
Natalie: Oh, Xander! (gets up) I’ve done something really stupid. I hope you can forgive me.
Xander: Oh, forgiveness is my middle name! Well, actually it’s LaVelle, and I’d appreciate it if you guard that secret with your life. (laughs)
Natalie: (laughs) I have a teacher’s conference in half an hour, and I left the paint and papier-mâché at home. I don’t suppose you’d like to come to my place tonight to work on it there?
Xander: (swallows) Come to, uh… your place?
He flashes to his guitar solo for a moment.
Natalie: 7:30? Here’s my address. (writes it down)
Xander can’t believe his luck.
Natalie: (hands him her address) I’ll see you tonight? Xander: (in a high, squeaky voice) Yeah!
Cut to the hall. Xander comes out of the classroom.
Xander: (pumping his fists into the air) Ooo, yes!
Cut inside the classroom. Natalie opens the container now. It’s full of crickets. She dumps them onto the buttered bread and folds the slice in half. She takes a bite. Crunchy!
Cut to the library. Buffy comes out of the stacks with a book.
Buffy: Dig this: ‘The praying mantis can rotate its head 180 degrees while waiting for its next meal to walk by.’ (slams the book shut) Ha! (silence) Well, c’mon, guys. Ha!
Willow: Well, Miss French is sort of big. For a bug?
Giles: And she is, by and large, woman shaped.
Buffy: (makes her way down to them) Okay. Factoid 1: Only the praying mantis can rotate its head like that. Factoid 2: A pretty whacked-out vampire is scared to death of her. Factoid 3: Her fashion sense screams predator.
Willow: It’s the shoulder pads.
Giles: If you’re right, then she’d have to be a shape shifter or a perception distorter. On a helpful note, I had a chum at Oxford, Carlyle, advanced degrees in entomology mythology.
Giles: Bugs and fairy tales.
Buffy: I knew that.
Giles: If I recall correctly, poor old Carlyle, just before he went mad, claimed there was some beast…
Willow: (the PC beeps) Buffy, 911! Blayne’s mom called the school. He never came home last night.
Giles: The boy who worked with Miss French yesterday?
Willow: Yeah! If Miss French is responsible for… Xander’s supposed to be helping her right now! He’s got a crush on a giant insect!
Buffy: Okay, don’t panic, I’ll warn him. But I need you to hack onto the coroner’s office for me.
Willow: Well, what are we looking for?
Buffy: Autopsy on Dr. Gregory. I’ve been trying to figures out these marks that I saw on his corpse… I’m thinking they were teeth. And, uh, these cuddlies? (points to a picture of a mantis) Should definitely be brushing after every meal. (Willow types) (to Giles) And you were saying something about a beast?
Giles: (gets up to go to his office) Oh, uh, yeah, I just need to make one transatlantic telephone call. (stops and turns back) Um, this computer invasion that Willow’s performing on the coroner’s office, one, one assumes it is entirely legal?
Willow and Buffy answer simultaneously.
Buffy: Of course!
Giles: Right. Wasn’t here, didn’t see it, couldn’t have stopped you.
Buffy: Good idea.
Cut outside. Buffy catches up with Xander.
Buffy: So, how’d it go with Miss French?
Xander: Well, it’s a bit demanding being her absolute favorite guy in the universe, but I’ll muddle through.
Buffy: Xander, she’s not what she seems.
Xander: I know, she’s so much more.
Buffy: Okay, um… I’m gonna have to tell you something about her, and I’m gonna need you to really listen, okay?
Buffy: I don’t think she’s human.
Xander: I see. So if she’s not human she’s…?
Buffy: Technically? A big bug.
Buffy: This sounds really weird, I’m aware of that…
Xander: It doesn’t sound weird at all, I completely understand. I’ve met someone, and you’re jealous.
Xander: Look, there’s nothing I can do about it. Uh, there’s just this certain chemical thing between Miss French and me.
Buffy: I know, I read all about it, it’s call, um, a pheromone. It’s a chemical attractant that insects give off.
Xander: She’s not an insect! She’s a woman, okay? And hard as that may be for you to conceive, an actual woman finds me attractive. I realize it’s no mystery guy handing out leather jackets, and while we’re on the subject, what kind of a girlie name is ‘Angel’ anyway?
Buffy: What does that have to do with…
Xander: Nothing! It just kinda bugs me. Look, I really gotta… He walks off. Buffy turns and watches him go.
Cut to Natalie’s house that night. She pours two martinis. Her dress shows lots of cleavage. The doorbell rings. She smiles and goes to open it.
Natalie: Hi! Come on in!
Xander stares at her cleavage as he comes in.
Natalie: Should I change? Is, is this too… (she closes the door)
Xander: No, no, it’s, the most beautiful chest… dress I’ve ever seen. She smiles and goes back into the living room. Xander follows.
Natalie: Thank you. That’s sweet. Martini? (offers him one) Oh, I’m sorry, would you like something else?
Xander quickly accepts the drink.
Natalie: (laughs) I just need to relax a little, I’m kinda nervous around you. (she sits down) You’re probably cool as a cucumber!
Xander: (sits down) I like cucumbers. Like in that Greek salad thing with the yogurt. Do you like Greek food? I’m exempting Schwarma, of course, I mean, what’s that all about? It’s a big meat hive.
They laugh, he nervously, she playfully. Xander gulps the martini. Xander: Hhhhhhho! Hello!
Natalie: Cheers! (clinks their glasses) Can I ask you a personal question?
She puts her glass down and gets closer to Xander.
Natalie: Have you ever been with a woman before?
Xander: You mean, like, in, uh, the same room?
Natalie: You know what I mean.
Xander: Oh, that, uh… Well, let me think. Um…
Natalie runs her fingers though his hair and around his ear. Xander: Yeah, there was, uh… several!
She continues her stroke down to Xander’s chin.
Xander: I mean, and, uh, quite a few times… And then there was, uh… Oh, she was incredibly… No. Uh-uh.
Natalie: I know. I can tell.
Xander: You can?
Natalie: Oh, I like it. You might say, I… need it.
Xander: Oh! Well, needs should, uh, y’know… Needs should definitely be met, as long as it doesn’t require ointments the next day, or…
Muffled yelling can be heard from somewhere.
Xander: Do you hear…
Xander: Sounds like someone crying…
Natalie: I don’t hear anything. (takes his hand) Your hands are so hot! Xander flashes to his dream.
Buffy: Oh, you hurt your hand!
Xander comes back. The drink is beginning to affect him. He leans back on the couch.
Xander: Buffy. I love Buffy. Wow! So that’s a martini, huh? Natalie: Mm-hmm.
Xander: (sits back up) Do you hear…
Natalie: (interrupting) Would you like to touch me with those hands?
Xander: (looks at Natalie’s hands) Your hands are sss… really… (her hands morph) serrated! Oh, wow, that martini, I… I really think I have to…
Xander falls to the floor unconscious. Two mantis claws drag him away by his feet.
Natalie’s basement. The camera pans down from the window above the stairs to Xander. He’s lying unconscious in a cage. There are squishing noises. Xander wakes up, looks around, grabs the bars and pulls himself up. He sees Natalie as a giant mantis preparing her nest.
Xander: Miss… French?
Natalie: Please, call me Natalie.
Xander backs away into the cage.
Cut to the library. Giles is on the phone.
Giles: Frankly, madam, I haven’t the faintest idea what time it is, nor do I care. Now, unlock his cell, unstrap him, and bring him to the telephone immediately. This is a matter of life and death!
Cut to Willow typing.
Willow: Got it! Coroner’s report, complete with… Yuk! …color pictures.
Buffy: There are teeth marks. Which match perfectly the one insect that nips off its prey’s head.
Willow: Okay, I-I don’t like this.
Buffy: Huh! It’s the way they feed, head first. It’s also the way they mate. The female bites off the male’s head while they’re…
Willow: No, no, no! See? Xander’s, I like his head! I-it’s where you find his eyes, and his hair, and his adorable smile…
Buffy: Hey, hey, take it easy, Willow. Xander is not in any immediate danger. I saw him leave school. He’s probably safe at home right now.
Cut to Natalie’s basement. Xander backs up in his cage and is surprised by Blayne when he reaches the far corner.
Xander: Ah! Blayne!
Blayne: (terrified) Oh, God! Oh, God!
Xander: Are you all right?
Blayne: Oh, God! (breathes) You gotta get me outta here! You gotta! She, she, she gets you, and, uh…
Blayne: …she, she…
Xander: What does she do?
Blayne: Oh, God! Oh, oh, no!
Xander: Blayne! What does she do?
Blayne: She, she… she, she takes you outta the cage, and she ties you up, and, and… she… she starts movin’, and throbbin’, and these eggs come shootin’ out of her! And then…
Blayne: And then…
Xander: Then what?
Blayne: She mates with you!
Blayne: That’s not the worst part!
Xander: That’s not?
Blayne: You seen her teeth? Right while she’s, you know, right in the middle of… I saw her do it! I don’t wanna die like that!
Xander: Blayne! Blayne! Chill! It’s okay. It’s gonna be okay. We’ll get outta this.
Blayne: (hopeful) You gotta plan? What is it?
Xander: Just, uh, let me perfect it!
Blayne: (gives up hope) Oh, God… Oh, God… Oh, God…
Cut to the library. Giles is talking with Carlyle on the phone in his office.
Giles: I-I understand, Carlyle. Yes… I-I’ll take every precaution. Uh, absolutely, i-i-it sounds exactly like the creature you described. Y-you were right all along about everything. Well, n-no, you weren’t right about your mother coming back as a Pekinese, but… uh… Try to rest, old man. Yes… Ta! Bye now!
He hangs up and comes out of his office. Willow and Buffy are at the PC.
Giles: Dr. Ferris Carlyle spent years transcribing a lost pre-Germanic language. What he discovered he kept to himself until several teenage boys were murdered in the Cotswolds. Then he went hunting for it.
Buffy: It being…
Giles: Uh, he calls her a She-Mantis. This type of creature, the Kleptes-Virgo, or, or virgin-thief, appears in, in many cultures. The Greek sirens, the Celtic sea maidens, who, who tore the living flesh from the bones of, um…
Buffy: Giles, while we’re young!
Giles: Uh, well, basically the, uh, the She-Mantis assumes the form of a beautiful woman and then lures innocent virgins back to her nest.
Buffy: Virgins? Well, Xander’s not a, uh… I mean, he’s probably… Willow: (quickly gets up, worried) …gonna die! (goes to the phone)
Buffy: Okay, okay, (walks around Giles) so this thing is breeding and we need to find it and snuff it. (faces Giles) Any tips on the snuffing part?
Giles: Uh, Carlyle recommends cleaving all body parts with a sharp blade.
Willow is on the phone in the background behind Buffy talking to Xander’s mom.
Buffy: Slice and Dice.
Giles: Well, whatever you do, it had better be certain and swift. This beast is extremely dangerous.
Buffy: Well, your buddy Carlyle faced it, and he’s still around. Giles: Yes, in a straitjacket, howling his innards out day and night. Buffy: Okay, Admiral, way to inspire the troops!
Willow: (off the phone now) Xander’s not home! He told his mom he was going to his teacher’s house to work on a science project. He didn’t tell her where.
Buffy: (to Willow) See if you can get her address off the substitute rolls. (to Giles) And you need to record bat sonar, and fast!
Giles: Bat sonar, right. What?
Buffy: Bats eat them. (leads Giles to the stairs) The mantis hears sonar, its entire nervous system goes kaplooey.
Giles: Where am I gonna find the…
Buffy: In the vid library? There’re no books, but it’s dark and musty, you’ll feel right at home, go! (exhales) (to herself) I guess I’ll handle the armory.
Cut to Natalie’s basement. Xander and Blayne are in their cages. Xander is working on one of the bars.
Blayne: Don’t do anything to make her mad!
Xander pulls the bar out.
Blayne: (brightens) Hey, alright, now I can get outta my cage! (bummed) Into yours. What’d you do that for?
Xander: A weapon!
Blayne: (sees Natalie coming) I think you’re gonna need it.
Xander looks up and is startled. He drops the bar.
Cut to the library. Miss French’s record is coming out of the printer. Buffy comes in the door.
Willow: Getting the address.
Buffy: Great! Giles?
Giles: (holding a tape recorder) Recording bat sonar is something soothingly akin to having one’s teeth drilled.
Buffy: (takes the tape recorder) Let’s roll!
They all head for the door.
Willow: According to Miss French’s personnel records, she was born in 1907. She’s, like, 90 years old!
Giles: And extremely well preserved!
Cut to Natalie’s basement. She is looking back and forth between the boys.
Blayne: Oh, God! (goes through the hole into Xander’s cage) Uh, he did that, he broke the cage, take him, not me, take him!
Cut to Giles, Buffy and Willow driving up to Miss French’s house. They get out and run up to the door.
Giles: What now, exactly? We can’t just kick the door down. Buffy: Yeah, that would be wrong.
She gets ready to kick, but the door opens. An old lady is there.
Miss French: Hello, dear! I thought I heard… Are you selling something? Because I’d like to help you out, but… You see, I’m on a fixed income.
Buffy: I’m looking for Miss French.
Miss French: I’m Miss French.
Buffy: Natalie French, the substitute biology teacher?
Miss French: (laughs) Goodness, that’s me! I taught for over thirty years. I retired in 1972.
Buffy: (to Giles) I can’t believe this! She used Miss French’s records to get into the school. She could be anywhere!
Miss French: No, dear! I’m right here!
Cut to Natalie’s basement.
Xander: What’s she doing?
Blayne: I think it’s eeny, meeny, miney…
The camera closes in on Xander’s terrified face.
Natalie’s basement. She opens the door to the cage. Xander crawls out on his butt, bar in hand.
Xander: I’m comin’, I’m comin’.
When he’s just out of the cage he swings the bar and hits Natalie as he gets up. She staggers. He runs for the stairs. Halfway up Natalie trips him with her claw, and he tumbles back down the stairs.
Cut to Miss French’s house. Giles, Willow and Buffy are going back to the car.
Willow: What do we do now?
Giles: Abject prayer and supplication would spring to mind.
Buffy: I saw her walking past this park with her grocery bags. She lives in this neighborhood.
Willow: I’m gonna start banging on doors. (heads for the next house) Buffy: (stops Willow) Wait, no, we do not have time for that! Willow: We have to do something!
Buffy: We will.
Cut to the manhole cover where Buffy saw Claw Guy go in. Buffy lifts it off and starts to climb in.
Buffy: I won’t be long. (goes down)
Giles: W… Buffy?
Cut to Natalie’s basement. Xander is tied up with leather straps. Natalie is in his face.
Blayne: Oh, yeah, here it comes!
Xander: What? What’s happening?!
Blayne: How do you like your eggs, bro, over easy or sunny side up? Xander: Eggs? She’s gonna lay some…
He sees her lay some eggs. He flashes to Natalie’s lecture in science class.
Natalie: The California Mantis lays her eggs, and then finds a mate to fertilize them.
His flashback is over, and he’s scared.
Cut to the manhole.
Willow: (into the hole) Come on, Buffy!
Cut to some bushes. There are sounds of Claw Guy swinging his arm and ropes whipping through the air. Buffy pushes Claw Guy out of the bushes. His arms are tied behind his back.
Claw Guy: You!
She shoves him down the street. Cut to Natalie’s street. Buffy is pushing Claw Guy down the sidewalk in front of her. Giles and Willow follow.
Buffy: Come on! Come on, where is she? Which house is it? I know you’re afraid of her, I saw you! Come on!
Claw Guy begins to react to Natalie’s presence.
Buffy: Come on. What? What is it? This is her, isn’t it, this is her house? This is it! Better than radar!
She lets go of him. Claw Guy cuts the ropes with his blades. Willow: Buffy!
He swings at Buffy, but she leans back in time, only to trip and fall backward over the miniature picket fence running along the walk to the house. Claw Guy jumps to follow. She crawls backward on her butt until she hits the fence on the other side of the lawn. She rips a picket from the fence and thrusts it into Claw Guy as he takes another swing at her. He falls over dead. Giles breathes a sigh of relief.
Cut to the basement. Natalie advances on Xander.
Natalie: Kiss me! (laughs) Kiss me!
Xander: Can I just say one thing? HEEEELLLLP! HEEEELLLLP! Buffy smashes the basement window and slides in.
Blayne: Uh, hey, o-over here, hello! In the cage!
She pulls her bag though the window.
Buffy: (to Natalie) Let him go!
She runs down the stairs and sets the bag down. Willow climbs in the window, too. Buffy pulls two cans of insect spray from the bag and sprays Natalie in the face. Giles climbs in as Willow runs behind Buffy to open the cage. The spray disorients Natalie. Giles comes down the stairs now too. Buffy points him at Xander.
Blayne: Help me! Help me!
Buffy: (to Giles) Get them outta here!
She pulls the tape recorder and a machete from her bag. Blayne: Hey, help me! Help me!
Giles undoes the leather straps holding Xander. Natalie retreats to the back of her nest. Buffy starts to close in on her.
Buffy: Remember Dr. Gregory? You scarfed his head? Yeah, well, he taught me, you do your homework, you learn stuff. Like what happens to your nervous system when you hear this!
She plays the tape. It’s Giles’ voice. Buffy stares at the machine in disbelief.
Tape: …extremely important to file not simply alphabetically… Buffy: (back to Giles) Giles!
Giles: (on the floor pointing at Natalie) I-it’s the wrong side!
Natalie knocks the tape recorder and machete from Buffy’s hands. Giles watches the recorder fly over him, hit the ground and slide under a refrigerator. He scrambles to get it. Buffy turns her attention back on Natalie. Natalie tries to trip Buffy, but she jumps over her claw. Xander comes up next to her with a can of bug spray and sprays it into Natalie’s face. Buffy pushes him away from danger, and Natalie takes the opportunity to knock her down. Buffy raises herself onto her hands and one leg, and with the other does two crouching side kicks to Natalie’s legs to keep her at bay. Giles searches under the refrigerator. Buffy kicks again. She sees the machete on the floor and grabs it. Giles has the recorder now, jumps around on the floor with the recorder in front of him and plays the tape. The sounds of bat sonar severely hurt and disorient Natalie. She flails her claws around.
Buffy: Bat sonar. Makes your whole nervous system go to Hell. You can go there with it!
She slashes at Natalie fiercely and repeatedly with the machete, hacking her to pieces. She’s winded afterward. Giles gets up. Willow runs over to Xander. Blayne is out of his cage. They look at the carnage.
Giles: Well, I… I’d say it’s deceased.
Willow: And dissected.
Xander: (to Buffy) You okay?
Xander: Just for the record, you were right, I’m an idiot, and God bless you!
Buffy lowers her head.
Xander: (to the others) And thank you guys, too.
Blayne: Yeah, really!
Willow: I’m really glad you’re okay. It’s so unfair how she only went after virgins.
Xander laughs and looks back and forth between the girls. Xander: (to Willow) What?
Willow: I mean, here you guys are, doing the right thing, the smart thing, when a lot of other boys your age…
Blayne: Flag down on that play, babe. I am not…
Giles: (interrupts) Well, you see, that’s the She-Mantis’ modus operandi. Uh, she only preys on the pure.
Xander: Well, isn’t this a perfect ending to a wonderful day!
Blayne: My dad’s a lawyer. Anyone repeats this to anybody, they’re gonna find themselves facing a lawsuit.
Xander: Blayne! Shut up!
Willow: I don’t think it’s bad, I think it’s really… Xander holds up the machete.
Willow: …sweet! It’s certainly nothing I’ll ever bring up again.
Xander takes the machete over to Natalie’s nest, looks it over and starts hacking away at it.
Cut to the Bronze. Buffy is at the bar wearing Angel’s jacket. Angel comes up behind her. Buffy senses him and looks up at him.
Angel: (smiles) I heard a rumor there was, uh, one less vampire walking around making a nuisance of himself.
Buffy: There is. Guess I should thank you for the tip. Angel: Pleasure’s mine.
Buffy: Course, it would make things easier if I knew how to get in touch with you.
Angel: I’ll be around.
Buffy: Or who you were?
Angel just smiles and moves around to the other side of her. Buffy: Well… Anyway, you can have your jacket back.
Angel: It looks better on you.
He turns and leaves. Buffy stares after him. Angel gives another look back and disappears into the crowd.
Buffy: (to herself) Oh boy!
Cut to science class the next day. There’s a new science teacher.
Teacher: All midterm papers will be exactly six pages long. No more, no less. One third of your grade will be dependent…
The camera closes in on Buffy, daydreaming.
Teacher: …on those papers. No more, no less.
The bell rings. Buffy comes back to Earth. Everyone gets up and leaves. On the way out Buffy sees Dr. Gregory’s glasses still on the lab bench where she left them. She picks them up and remembers him. She sees Dr. Gregory’s jacket still hanging on the hook on the closet door and goes over to put the glasses in a pocket. Cut to inside the closet. As she closes the door the camera pans down from Buffy to a lower shelf and stops on a cluster of She-Mantis eggs attached underneath. One of the eggs hatches.