Get ready for a Xander-centric episode on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 4.
I've never been the biggest fan of the character. Sure, he has his moments, but overall he's my least favorite of the Scoobies. It may be due to his horrid attitude to Cordelia and Anya.
Still, "Teacher's Pet" is the awakening of Xander. Let's jump right into the rewatch.
Poor Dr. Gregory. It's a shame whenever a good teacher from Sunnydale High gets killed off.
He was a great support to Buffy and treated her like any other student. I loved seeing Buffy motivated and happy after his encouragement. Her success at defeating the Monster of the Week was because she put it upon herself to read and learn.
If only the giant insect didn't get in the way...
Dr. Gregory: 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. And please don’t listen to the principal or anyone else’s negative opinion about you. Let’s make him eat that permanent record. What do you say?
Buffy: Okay, thanks.
Is Blaine the worst? He's such a "player bro" stereotype of high school culture. Of course Xander's biggest enemy for "Teacher's Pet" would be the jock.
Xander's confidence in his masculinity must be low because he was quick to show up Blaine at The Bronze.
Real confidence would've been standing up to the player, but we're talking about Xander here. This was all about his ego and image. Though, I can't judge...we've all been there before.
We caught the first few early glimpses of the complicated Buffy/Angel and Xander/Willow love dynamics.
It's so obvious Willow has a thing for Xander.
We saw her early flirtation on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 3, but this is when she went for it. She jumped at the chance to pretend to be his girlfriend in front of Blaine. She nearly pawed at Xander's chest to help her "friend."
Buffy, on the other hand, is living for the Angel curiosity. She's hooked on him.
If any guy I liked had strange cuts and scratches on their arms, I would be worried. (That's a major red flag!)
But we're talking about Angel here. He's mysterious and brooding in that tall, dark and handsome sort of way. And giving his jacket to her to keep warm was pretty darn sexy.
I'm starting to see why Buffy's curiosity is peaked. I blame the mystery.
There was something clearly off about Miss French. The scene of her walking on the steps of Sunnydale High screamed villain. And Xander being obsessed with her supported the theory.
I don't like when episodes are too "on the nose" about their storylines, and "Teacher's Pet" fell into this trap.
Her passion for talking about the praying mantis and her holding the bug itself made the entire scene obvious. She was the demon in the beginning who killed Dr. Gregory. She would be the villain of the week.
Why even pretend with the mystery?
Can we laugh at the decapitated victim for a second? I mean...come on.
I'm not sure if the team was trying to save money here or stick to a clear episode rating, but there was a purpose for the camera angle here.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is more graphic in the future. This was a simple way to get around the extra work of showing the decapitated teacher.
But at least we got the Cordelia reaction and the guidance counselor conversation as a treat. This is Cordelia at her height queen bee trope. She is more focused on the effect it has on her than the actual murder.
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?!” It really gets to you with a thing like that. 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 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 used Mercedes have leather seats.Cordelia
The side storyline of the knife-wielding vampire felt out of place.
It was clear this vampire was a red herring for the real enemy that was Miss French. We basically wasted time watching as he was shoehorned into "Teacher's Pet" as a suspect.
Don't get me wrong, I understand that his purpose was to show how sketchy Miss French was and to lead to the Scoobies to her lair. However, why would the vampire help Buffy at all? He had no reason to if he was trying to kill her.
His connection to the main story was forced.
Buffy: Any luck?
Giles: I’ve not found any creature as of 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: Nothing human...but there are some insects that can. Whatever she is, I’m going to be ready for her.
Giles: What are you gonna do?
Buffy: My homework.
The She-Mantis being the Monster of the Week continued the trend of featuring enemies outside of the vampire world.
I liked the concept as an idea, but the execution wasn't the greatest. It focused heavily on darkness to make the monster terrifying and hide, what I think to be, are the prosthetic monster props.
The downside is now Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 4 was a visually, poorly lit episode.
Miss French pretending to be a predatory human was scary. The way she looked at her male students struck fear because you knew something was off about her. And characters like Xander and Blaine were captivated somehow.
The monster on the screen, however, wasn't so.
The scene with Miss French coming onto Xander may be the most uncomfortable moment yet in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Xander is so awkward and Miss French wants him for another purpose. He's falling for her trap and ignoring all of the warnings Buffy gave him. Sure, he's attracted to her pheromones, but after everything he's seen with vampires and witches, I thought his common sense would know better.
Miss French's hand transforming into insect form was sudden. She revealed it pretty quickly in mid-conversation, like it was a fun surprise. I expected her to lure him further into the trap before dropping the bombshell.
Miss French: Can I ask you a personal question? Have you ever been with a woman before?
Xander: You mean like in the same room?
Miss French: You know what I mean.
Xander: Oh that, well, let me think. Yeah, there was several, and I mean quite a few times. And then there was...oh, she was incredibly...no, uh huh.
Miss French: I know, I can tell.
Xander: You can?
Miss French: Oh, I like it. You might say...I need it.
Why was Xander's virginity such a surprising thing for Buffy? SHE'S A VIRGIN!
The She-Mantis targeting virgins was a fun twist and emphasized a lot of the innocence theme that pops up earlier in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series. However, with keeping in mind that Buffy, Xander and Willow are virgins themselves during "Teacher's Pet", Buffy shouldn't have been so shy to ask.
A simple "yes or no" could save his life.
I loved that Willow was the one direct enough to answer her question. She had no time to waste in saving her friend/crush. Albeit, in a really funny way that was so Willow.
Giles: Well, basically, the She-Mantis assumes the form of a beautiful woman and lures innocent virgins back to her nest.
Buffy: Virgins?! Well, Xander’s not...uh...uh...I mean he’s probably...
Willow: He’s gonna die!
[Willow gets up and leaves]
There was no point to end Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 4 on a cliffhanger. We never see the She-Mantis, or a He-Mantis, ever again.
The hatching eggs served no purpose except for a few fun jokes in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1.
Xander taking his frustration out on the demon eggs summed up my thoughts on "Teacher's Pet". It was a fun idea to tackle as a Monster of the Week since we haven't seen a demon-like creature yet. Though, it didn't do much to push the overall storyline forward.
Xander is still obsessed with Buffy. Willow is still secretly pining after Xander. And Buffy is starting to admit her attraction to Angel.
We don't really learn anything except reaffirming the hellmouth is a terrible place to live on. (Which is something we already knew.)
What did you think of "Teacher's Pet"? Was Xander being a jerk to Buffy? Would you have still pursued Angel after seeing his bloody cuts?
Want to join us in rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer? We'll be posting new rewatch posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Come back here and let us know what you think.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.