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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Reptile Boy
October 13, 1997
5V05

 
Credits

Writer:
David Greenwalt


Director:
David Greenwalt


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Cast:
Greg Vaughn as Richard
Todd Babcock as Tom
Jordana Spiro as Callie
Robin Atkin Downes as Machida
Danny Strong as Jonathan
Christopher Dahlberg as Tackle
Jason Posey as Linebacker
Coby Bell as Young Man

 
Synopsis

Cordelia has decided college boys are her mission in life, while Buffy has decided her mission is her life, and it sucks. Giles is scolding her constantly, and Angel is upping the angst factor in the way that only he can. Cordelia's plans to snare a rich college boy at a frat party have hit a slight flaw: they want Buffy to tag along. Buffy decides to go with Cordy, since she wants an unundead boyfriend, and just one night of normal juvenile fun. This is fine on paper, except the frat boys kidnap girls on a yearly basis to sacrifice them to a large demonic snake who lives in the basement of their frat house. They drug Buffy and Cordy, who wake up chained to the wall by the snake demon. The rest of the Gang find this out and storm in to the rescue. Buffy decides Angel's not such a bad boyfriend after all. — Short synopsis by Bruce.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Monstervision

It's quite interesting that Indian movies were a motif in this episode, because half-human, half-snake serpent people called nagas are prominent in Indian mythology. Like Machida, the nagas were believed to live underground, and in fact some, especially in southern India, still worship the nagas as bringers of fertility.

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Dialogue to Die For

Willow's explanation of the Indian movie: "She's sad because her lover gave her twelve gold coins, but then the wizard cut open the bag of salt, and now the dancing minions have no place to put their big maple... fish thing."

Willow on coffee: "It's the non-relationship drink of choice. It's not a date, it's a caffeinated beverage. Okay, sure, it's hot and bitter like a relationship that way, but..."

Willow's first-ever outburst: "(to Angel)Well, why do you think she went to that party? Because you gave her the brush-off! (to Giles) And you never let her do anything except work and patrol! And I know she's the chosen one, but you're killing her with the pressure! I mean, she's sixteen going on forty! (to Angel) And you! I mean, you're gonna live forever! You don't have time for a cup of coffee? Okay, I don't feel better now, and we've gotta help Buffy."

Willow, yet again: "Hey! Buffy! Snake! Basement! Now!"

Buffy: "I told one lie, I had one drink."  Giles: "Yes, and you were very nearly devoured by a giant demon snake. The words 'let that be a lesson' are a tad redundant at this juncture."

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Angel and Buffy's whole conversation in the graveyard about whether or not they should be dating really doesn't seem to make sense in the context of everything else that's happened between them up to this point.
Especially unpleasant and confusing is the conversation's end:  Angel: "This isn't some fairy tale. When I kiss you, you don't wake up from a deep sleep and live happily ever after."
Buffy: "No. When you kiss me I wanna die."

Cordelia: "You guys. I just... hate you guys! The weirdest things always happen when you're around!"

Buffy's response to Angel finally, after all her carrying on during this episode, asking her out for coffee: "Yeah. Sometime. I'll let you know."
    This is why men do not understand women. ;)
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References

    Dorothy Parker
  • "When you live on top of a mystical convergence it's only a matter of time before a fresh hell breaks loose."  It's not clear whether this is a deliberate reference or not, but "What fresh hell is this?" is one of the best-known lines of the acerbic, highly-quotable writer Dorothy Parker (1893-1967).

  • "I'll bring the betel nuts."  Betel nuts are the pungent seeds of the betel palm (Areca catechu), a palm tree native to southeastern Asia. Betel nuts are combined with betel leaves (the leaves of a pepper plant—Piper betle—that is entirely unrelated to the betel palm) and lime in something called a "quid," which is chewed as a stimulant by the peoples of southeastern Asia.

  • "You could belong to a fraternity of rich and powerful men... in the Bizarro world."  In DC Comics' Superman comics, Bizarro-world is an evil alternate universe where everything is a twisted, negative mirror-image of the real world. The Bizarro-world concept was recently re-popularized by the 1996 episode of Seinfeld entitled "The Bizarro Jerry."

  • "Anyway, the Hulk is gone, so you don't have to dance with me."  A reference to Marvel Comics' super-sized, emerald-skinned superhero the Incredible Hulk.
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Goofs and Gaffes

  • The Zeta Kappas were tried and sentenced awfully fast.
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Notes

  • Angel re-states in this episode that he is 241 years old, the age established for him in "Some Assembly Required."

  • Kent Preparatory School (which Callie attended) is just outside of Sunnydale.

  • The Delta Zeta Kappa fraternity house is just south of the cemetery. It is not established where Crestwood College itself is.

  • In addition to Kent, St. Michael's and Grant are other schools which are mentioned, which may or may not be in the area of Sunnydale.

  • Jonathan, played by Danny Strong and introduced last week in "Inca Mummy Girl," re-appears at the end of this episode and is named for the first time.
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Music

  • Act of Faith - "Bring Me On" (From Scream, self-released, 1997)
      This is the song the frat brothers make Xander dance to as punishment for crashing their party.

  • Louie Says - "She" (From Gravity, Suffering, Love and Fate, RCA Records, 1997)
      This is the slow song which Tom and Buffy dance to after he saves her from the drunken lout. It also plays at the end, when Buffy says she'll go out for coffee with Angel "...some time."

  • This episode also includes a few original songs by series composers Shawn K. Clement and Sean Murray: "Graffiti Sound" (as Buffy waits on the steps outside the school), "Devil's Lair" (as Buffy and Cordelia arrive at the frat party), "If I Can't Have You" (as Richard greets Buffy and Cordelia at the frat party), "Wolves" (as Buffy watches Cordelia walk off with Richard), and "Secrets" (as Cordelia scolds Jonathan at the Bronze).
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Comments

Brian:
Oh, dear. Buffy on autopilot. David Greenwalt is the number two man in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer power structure, and so I expected far, far better than this from him. The first half of the episode played like a retread of tired themes and recycled scenes from the previous episodes of the series — Buffy and Angel can't seem to get it together, Xander's jealous, Giles thinks he has something to teach Buffy until she whups his ass, Xander and Cordelia insult each other... we've seen it all before. Nothing was actually developed here. Angel and Buffy were running in place; they talk around each other in circles, and at the end have gone absolutely nowhere. The characterization of Cordelia was off, she's always been self-involved to the point of semi-oblivion but never as airheaded or ditzy as she was in this episode. The second half was an improvement only because the threads of the plot, uninspired and perfunctory as it may have been, finally come together into some semblance of forward narrative motion. Ultimately, the inclusion of so much continuity in an otherwise inconsequential episode makes it scream "filler" from beginning to end. Only two things save this episode from being given the first zero-out-of-ten rating. First, SMG turned in another episode-saving performance, portraying Buffy's emotional pain at the burdens of her life and her discomfort at the frat party with such believability that I remained engrossed in the episode. Second, Willow was simply marvelous in this episode, both in terms of how the character was written and of Alyson Hannigan's performance. Her scenes with Xander in the early going played beautifully on their strength as a double-act, and her outburst at the end, chewing out Giles and Angel, was oh-so-satisfying. As with the rest of this episode, nothing about her character was given any development, but within the void that was "Reptile Boy" she shone. (3/10)
Will:
Buffy and Cordy play the damsels in distress... Giles, Willow, Xander (freshly out of drag) and Angel (with his game face) to the rescue. I'm not completely sure what to make of this episode. I am positive that I enjoyed it, but it felt like something was missing. I know that Spike and Drusilla will return in future episodes, but I think that I prefer the continuity episodes rather than the non-related fillers like this one. The episode was quite entertaining. Two scenes stand out for me. Firstly, Xander trying to be all protective (or should I say jealous) of Buffy and her going to the frat party. Xander seems to have a half-track mind. He wants to be there to partake of the orgy that, as we all know, always takes place in frat houses. The other scene that I loved was when Willow is lecturing Giles and Angel about how they are each mistreating poor Buffy. I found myself cheering at the end of the scene. Surprisingly, I was not all too nauseated by seeing Cordelia throughout the entire episode. One thing that I am having trouble with was the choice of the type of monster. I found Machida (named after a company that makes power tools?) to be reminiscent of one of the creatures in that cheesy '80's movie The Beastmaster. I think they could have done better than a really big snake. Overall I liked the story and the performances were equally good. I just found that many of the other offerings from Joss and company have been better. (6/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
October 13, 1997 3.5 100 of 118 (tie)
December 29, 1997 3.3 85 of 108
August 31, 1998 2.2 93 of 128 (tie)

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