xander Teacher's Pet

Season 1, Episode 4

This episode marks the first of Xander's forays into bug-world, and marks the first time Buffy tries to convince Giles that something weird is going on. Also marks the first time we've seen Angel since the debut of the series.


Show opens with a scene at The Bronze -- Xander's playing onstage and fighting vampires, while Buffy looks on admiringly. Turns out that Xander's been napping in class. Dr. Gregory asks Buffy some questions about ant behavior, and Willow pantomimes the answers to her. This doesn't go unnoticed by Dr. Gregory, who asks Buffy to stay after class. This is when Dr. Gregory tells Buffy that he doesn't care what her transcript says, he believes she's capable of doing good work...but in order for that to happen, she has to do the work. Buffy leaves and we see that something attacks Dr. Gregory, and his glasses fall onto the floor.

That night, Xander's at The Bronze and is sitting near 2 guys. One of the guys, Blayne, is bragging about his conquests and Xander makes a smart remark to him. So Blayne then asks Xander about his conquests, and Xander makes another smart remark. Just then, Buffy and Willow arrive, and Xander decides to look the part of the ladies' man. Angel shows up and Buffy notices that his arm's torn up; Angel tells her to watch out for this vampire, and he gives her his jacket and leaves. This is the first time that Angel's seen by Willow and Xander.

The next day, the gang's outside when a beautiful woman approaches them. She asks Xander where the science room is. Xander's dumb-struck, and Buffy and Willow laugh at him. Blayne comes up and escorts the woman to class. There we see that she's the substitute teacher, Natalie French, and she'll be taking over Dr. Gregory's class since he's missing. Miss French picks up the lesson on insects and then says she'll need some volunteers to help her make egg sacs. All of the guys volunteer, and Xander and Blayne are chosen. Buffy sees Dr. Gregory's glasses on the floor, which makes her wonder where he is and why he didn't take his glasses.

Next the gang's in the cafeteria, and Blayne comes by to rib Xander about helping Miss French out; apparently, Blayne's going to help her before Xander will. More smart remarks, then Cordy appears to get lunch. In doing so, she finds the headless body of Dr. Gregory in the fridge. The gang meets up with Giles and they try to figure out what's going on.

That night, against Giles's orders, Buffy goes looking for the claw vampire and finds him. She's unable to pursue the fight because cops come, but she does spy Miss French walking with a bag of groceries. As soon as The Claw gets near her, she gives him a look and he takes off. This tips Buffy off that there's more to Miss French than there seems to be.

The next day, Buffy's been detained by Principal Flutie, who's insisted she see a counselor because she saw Dr. Gregory's body. Buffy's late for class and misses a pop quiz; she sees Miss French turn her head completely around without moving the rest of her body, and she's shocked. In the library, after Willow breaks into the coroner's files and sees the autopsy photos of Dr. Gregory, Buffy notices that the marks on him look serrated. She recognizes them as being made by an insect, and goes off to look for books about bugs. Meanwhile, Xander's asked over to Miss French's house because she forgot to bring the materials to make egg sacs.

Later, Buffy tries to warn Xander that Miss French isn't what she seems, but Xander doesn't listen to her. He's very defensive and this is the first time he shows disdain for and jealousy of Angel. Xander walks off, leaving Buffy staring open-mouthed. Later Buffy discovers that Miss French is really a praying mantis, and Giles recalls something an old colleague of his once encountered: a She-Mantis. The insect takes the form of a human female and looks to mate with male virgins. Knowing that Xander's a virgin, Willow panics and they get ready to go looking for him.

Meanwhile, Xander's at Miss French's house, where she gives him something to drink that knocks him out. He comes to in a cage in the basement, and in the next cage is Blayne. Blayne's freaking out because he's seen Miss French mate with other victims and bite their heads off. Xander takes a bar from his cage and hides it. When the giant mantis comes for him, he hits it but is unable to escape. She begins to get closer to him...

Back at the library, Buffy tells Giles to record bat sonar since that destroys the insect's nervous system, and Giles has learned from his friend that they must hack off all the insect's limbs to destroy it. Willow grabs the address for Miss French and they're off. Unfortunately, their lead turns out to be false; the real Miss French is a very old woman, no longer a substitute teacher. So Buffy enlists The Claw's help to track Miss French. They find her house, she kills The Claw, and they break into the basement. They use the sonar, spray the mantis, and Buffy hacks the limbs. Blayne and Xander are saved and Willow spills the fact that the mantis only went after virgins. Blayne's discredited as a stud, and Xander's just glad to be alive.

Later at The Bronze, Angel makes an appearance, congratulates Buffy on getting rid of The Claw, and tells her she can keep his jacket. The next day at school, Buffy puts Dr. Gregory's glasses in the pocket of his labcoat, and the camera pans to a few large egg sacs, one of which is opening....

What Got the Job Done:

1. Buffy used bat sonar, bug spray, and a scythe-type, machete-type thing to kill the She-Mantis.

What We Learn in This Episode:

1. Anything can happen in Sunnydale.
2. Xander's middle name is Lavelle. "Oh, forgiveness is my middle name...Actually, it's Lavelle, and I'd appreciate it if you'd guard that secret with your life." -- Xander to Miss French, when she asks him to forgive her for doing something stupid.

An Amusing Quote:

"So I'm an undead monster that can shave with my hand, how many things am I afraid of?" -- Buffy to Giles, on seeing The Claw's reaction to Miss French.

Settings Seen:

1. Sunnydale High School
2. Miss French's house
3. The real Miss French's house
4. The Park
5. The Bronze (alley)

Characters Seen:

1. Buffy
2. Willow
3. Xander
4. Giles
5. Cordelia
6. Principal Bob Flutie
7. Angel
8. Dr. Gregory
9. The Claw
10. Miss Natalie French (She-Mantis)
11. Blayne
12. Natalie French (The Real One)

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This page last updated on July 9, 1998.

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