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Stew’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer Retrospective: Season 2, Episodes 11 & 12

May 24, 2023 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2-11 Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

JOHN RITTER WAS ON THIS SHOW?! A BTVS Retrospective: S2 E11-12


Episode 11

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

After that tense two-parter, we handily clean up our unresolved plot threads by seeing Buffy, Xander, and Willow casually alert the audience that the Court Of Terrakion contract has been cancelled for… reasons. They are also making super hip and timely 1997 references to Captain & Tenille… though that MIGHT have been the joke, and I’m not prepared for the hipsterness of it all.

Here is my actual “quick note” I took on the very next big moment of the episode as I watched it in real time:


See, I have NO IDEA WHY, but in college, I decided I was an enormous fan of John Ritter. I’ve probably seen, like, 3 episodes of Three’s Company in my life, so other than the general awesomeness of John Ritter, I do not remember why I decided I was so infatuated with him. My first ever laptop’s wallpaper was a picture of John Ritter that I found online from the show Hooperman. I’ve never seen an episode of Hooperman.

I never even have seen an episode of the 8 Simple Rules… show he was doing at the time of his tragically untimely death.

I DO NOT REMEMBER what it was that made me love John Ritter back in about 1999 or so for several years.

But what I DO remember is seeing Bride of Chucky with my friends in theater, and JUMPING UP to yell “John Ritter, fight back!” when Chucky was killing him.

Anyway, seeing John Ritter is my very favorite kind of nostalgia. It reminds me of a time where I was probably being a weirdo super-hipster, but I wasn’t doing so acerbically or sarcastically. I genuinely recognized that John Ritter was amazing, even if the reason I latched onto him was probably my brain going “This would be a weird character trait to adopt”.

ANYWAY! John Ritter is playing a character named Ted, and he is dating Buffy’s mom.

Buffy does not get down with her mom’s new affections, and she takes out her aggression by pummeling a vampire for quite a while before staking him. Giles instantly picks up on her viciousness. Also, we are at Season 2, Episode 11 and the dusting of vampires upon their death effects are clearly getting worse.

At school, Buffy tells Xander and Willow that she senses something “off” about Ted. He then fucking appears out of nowhere and invites the kids mini-golfing.

Giles and Ms. Calendar have a talk where Ms. Calendar puts Giles on the minor-est of blasts for essentially putting the onus on her to forgive him for what happened to her. She seems to still care for him, but she tells him she can’t be responsible for her own coping AND his feelings, and WOW that is a progressive storyline for 1998!

Men! Women aren’t responsible for managing your own guilt if you upset them. Say it louder for the yadda yadda yadda, Ms. Calendar.

At mini-golf day, Buffy is still stewing and being bratty. He tries to parent her over taking an angry shot, basically encouraging her to grow from her mistakes and deal with them rather than get a do-over, and HOLY CRAP now that I’ve finished that episode, the writers completely ignored their own lesson here later on!

Anyway, Buffy tries to cheat when no one is around, but Ted catches her and threatens to slap the shit out of her. Well that was a quick reveal that he is a villain. Buffy tells mom about this the next day, but mom does not believe her. To be fair, there is a reason for that, I guess. A stupid, stupid reason.

Cordelia gets pissed off at Xander complimenting her, so they trade barbs, then rush off to make out.

Buffy stalks Ted at his call center job, where he is far and away the best salesman. He has a picture of her mom at his desk. A co-worker casually mentions Ted has a wedding in two months, though at dinner later that night, mom refutes the idea they are engaged. Ted hints that he might like things to go that way. Buffy has a fit, and mom sends her to her room. She rushes out to hunt for vamps in frustration.

When she returns home, Ted is in her room. He has rooted through her belongings and found her diary (WHY WOULD YOU RECORD YOUR BEING A SLAYER, YOU IDIOT?) and slaying tools. He threatens to institutionalize her and calls her delusional. She talks back, and he slaps her, giving Buffy the impetus to fight back whereupon she fucking KILLS HIM RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER MOM? Holy fuck! Show is getting interesting! I bet it lasts!

Also, a LOT of people in fiction die by falling down staircases, and I really need to look up how common that is. Just since 2023 started (and I’m writing this on February 13th), I’ve seen:

-The Talking Tina episode of Twilight Zone

-The 2004 The Punisher movie

-Now this.

Buffy is brought in and questioned by the police, but she is released FOR NOW until they investigate her claims that he attached her. At school the next day, everyone is whispering behind her back even though, like, an average of one kid dies per week here, so let’s not act like this is a big deal to these kids. See, the problem with this show is that every episode exists in its own bubble, but it wants the projection of continuity.

Buffy is emotionally WRECKED. She fucked up, and she knows it. And it’s not just that she might go to jail; it’s that she abused her powers. She sees the police are there asking her teachers about her. How is THIS an episode where the principal does not appear?! This should be his element!

Xander eats one of Ted’s leftover cookies and cheers up, making everyone remark about how openly weird that is. I finally put together that Buffy kept refusing Ted’s food that everyone else was gaga over. It turns out there is a tranquilizer drug in the food, and that’s why everyone was so calm and happy all the time.


Buffy’s mom was freaking out over Ted’s death right after dinner.

So… boo to that.

Buffy heads home to find her window is nailed shut… AND TED IS IN HER ROOM. Oh, show. Never stop immediately underwriting your own consequences. Ted even mentions the people in the morgue saw him get up and leave, so we know Buffy is off the hook (except, you know, assault is still a crime). Buffy cuts Ted’s arm… he is a robot? What the actual shit is this?

Cordy, Xander, and Willow go to Ted’s apartment. They find his four previous wives all dead in his closet. LITERAL SKELETONS IN HIS CLOSET, GUYS. It’s so easy to write for a TV show.

Actually, I joke, but this was a decent moment, as they never show you the bodies or say the word “skeletons”, so you just put it together in your head. It’s a nice subtlety that this show delivers every few episodes when it feels like it.

Ted reveals himself to mom, but she resists him, so he KTFO’s her, allowing Buffy to hit him in the head with a skillet, and… that’s it. Fight over.

Turns out Ted died years ago, but before he did, he built a robot to return his wife to him. After he passed, the robot just kept… collecting women. What a bullshit awful excuse THAT is.

This whole episode is so infuriating! You have the greatness of John Ritter! And Buffy facing consequences for submitting to her own anger and resentment. She is clearly bothered by what she did, as she should be! Clever writing with the Skeletons In The Closet stuff and the fact that Buffy never does want any of Ted’s food because she is being a brat. Like… there’s good stuff here!

But then the ramifications of what Buffy did are so cleanly and easily resolved. This guy who everyone thought was dead just comes back to life, goes to the house of the girl everyone thinks killed him, and then vanishes without a trace, and that’s it. The law does not get involved, and Mom just buys Buffy’s excuse of Ted just leaving forever.

Oh, and after the whole “I can’t manage your feelings for you, Rupert” thing from Ms. Calendar? She and Giles get back together after a 2 minute subplot where they hunt a vampire together while Buffy is under police scrutiny.

This episode wanted to be good, but Buffy The Vampire Slayer gonna Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and the show can’t get out of its own way sometimes.

Episode 12

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

You know what this show about high school students in the 1990’s has been seriously lacking? Scenes shot in or at a mall! So this episode starts off in one, with Buffy and her mom doing some shopping. Mom sends Buffy to get some dry-cleaning, but the slayer is distracted by the vampire version of Brad Paisley. He escapes her during a scuffle in the arcade.

After a shot of them making out and bickering in a closet, we get Xander and Cordy having a spat in Sex Ed class about what they don’t like about a partner during sex. So… have they actually banged? Is that what this is telling me? Cordelia refers to one of the dangers of sex being when you are doing it in a car and kick the gear shift and start moving. CORDY DRIVING ADVENTURES. This started as a joke here, but I’m actually becoming very convinced people were supposed to pick up on this ongoing story.

This show should have been called Cordelia The Student Driver, man.

The Sex Ed teacher gives everyone an egg to take care of. What the hell? I thought you got a doll in these classes. How do you take care of an egg? It doesn’t cry; you don’t need to feed it. What is this?

Brad Paisley vampire has a brother. Turns out THEY have a chapter in the Every Vampire Ever Book, too. I think they are called The Gorges? Or Giles says they are gorgeous? I don’t know. I suppose I shouldn’t have made fun of the show for when the vampires were called “Nick” after all.

Buffy and Angel are making out in a cemetery, and this episode is VERY horny. They are ignoring their surroundings to suck face, and what they don’t see are two Gorgeous brothers watching them from the trees. One wants to strike now, but Brad Paisely holds him back.

OH COME ON. The EGGS are the monsters? Buffy’s egg cracks and a hentai tentacle crawls out towards Buffy and violates her… in the ear. When she wakes up the next day, she is extremely worn out and tired. At school, Willow is in the same state. Xander seems fine, and it is revealed he boiled his egg to keep it safe from breaking.

Cordelia comes in and is concerned that their Sex Ed teacher is MIA. She thinks this is Scooby business, but the team is too lethargic to care. She and Xander abscond to “check out the closets”.

Back to Angel and Buffy on patrol, and she isn’t too tired for a make-out session and an intense discussion about the future now that she has an egg. She kind of figured she would have a kid someday, but all she wants is Angel. He reports that he is incapable of reproducing because he is a vampire. NO YOU AREN’T, GUY! I’ve heard what happens in Breaking Dawn! You can have the CGI-est kids ever!

Late at night, a school security guard is checking the halls when he sees a door open. As he investigates, he finds a giant hole in the wall. Sex Ed teacher pops out from behind him and chucks him into the hole.

Buffy returns home to find her egg actively hatching, revealing the biggest rip-off of a Xenomoroph face-hugger you have ever seen. WOW, Buffy The Vampire Slayer. That thing isn’t even pretending to be original! She kills it and calls Willow, who is already possessed by her egg monster.

How many times have characters on this show been brainwashed/mind-controlled already? Damn.

The Hypno-hyenas.

The Halloween costumes.

Moloch corrupting kids in the schol.

Eygon controlled Ms. Calendar.

That’s way too much already. Can we just keep our characters in their right minds for a few episodes from here out, all right?

Buffy attempts to run off to check on Willow, but mom finds her and grounds her. Look, almost killing and then likely actually killing a man is one thing, Buffy, but you will NOT go check on your sick friend!

Cordelia asks a black girl at school the next day if her hair is real. This is apropos of nothing other than to remind you this show was not made in 2023.

Cordy and Willow both turn out to be possessed, and they jump Buffy and Xander and attack them, then lock them in a closet with some unhatched eggs. They and the rest of the possessed students and teachers go to the room in the school where they keep their axes and pickaxes. You know. THAT classroom. Then hi-ho, it’s off to the hole they go. There is a big, pulsating monster under the school making eggs.

Mom shows up at school and heads to the library where a grounded Buffy is supposed to be. Giles says he will help find her… then he sticks a back-hugger on her! He is possessed, too.

Buffy and Xander break loose before their eggs hatch and find the hole. Xander infiltrates the zombies under the monster’s control while Buffy heads off to find weapons. As she returns, the cowboy vamps attack! I forgot about them! We get a Triple Threat match of Buffy Vs The Cowboy Vampires Vs The Possessed People. Brad Paisely’s brother gets eaten by the monster. Buffy falls into the monster’s pit… and just kills the threat off-screen.

Fascinating stuff, as always, BTVS. You know how much I love me some plot resolutions that are entirely unearned. Every villain on this show has one god damned hit point.

Oh, elsewhere: Xander fucking DECKS Cordy to stop her from delivering eggs to another location. That’s what you get for touching a black woman’s hair!

The show wraps up with everyone believing there was a massive gas leak at the school. Buffy’s mom, despite this immensely serious news, is ONLY CONCERNED that Buffy was not in the library. So now Buffy is mega-grounded! Mom is becoming the new Xander. I despise this character. Her parenting is consistently awful, and the writers have no god damn idea what to do with her.

Mom goes from non-existent to oblivious to completely disaffected to insanely strict with very little reason or growth. What a waste of a character. Buffy should have just been an orphan.