He's got a crush on a giant insect!
In the first of one of his "my love interest is a monster" moments, Xander falls for a substitute teacher who preys on virgins.
- Always a Bigger Fish: A vampire with a nightmarish metal claw is about to attack a woman when she turns around and is revealed to be the substitute teacher. The vampire hisses, recoils, runs off and dives into a manhole.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Xander and Blayne vigorously deny being virgins after their rescue.
- Artistic Licence Biology: Mantises don't necessarily eat their mates; it's typically only observed in the lab and not in the wild.
- For some reason, whenever it's on-screen, the she-mantis makes a sound like a cicada.
- As You Know: Giles feels the need to explain who the Master is to the only other people who already know.
- Attempted Rape: By a giant mantis.
- The Beard: After Blayne mocks Xander's non-sex life, he asks Buffy and Willow to pretend to be his girls. Willow is certainly eager to play along.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies
- Blatant Lies: Twice in a single conversation.
Giles: Um, this computer invasion that Willow is planning. One assumes that it's entirely legal?
Willow/Buffy: Of course/Entirely.
Giles: Right. Wasn't here. Didn't see you. Couldn't have stopped you.
- Buffy Speak / Cryptic Conversation
Giles: That's all he said? Fork Guy?
Giles: I think there are too many 'guys' in your life.
- And Buffy's "Destructo Girl. That's me."
- Chekhov's Classroom: The lecture from the science teacher's substitute about the cannibalism seen in female praying mantises.
- Continuity Nod: The biology teacher was in the previous episode as well.
- Conceive and Kill
- Cut Apart: Buffy is about to kick down Ms French's door when a harmless old lady opens it — turns out she's the real Natalie French, whose identity the She-Mantis used as a cover.
- Daydream Surprise: Xander saving Damsel in Distress Buffy, who's wearing a red dress. Plus he's a rock star. When Ms. Finch invites him to her house it cuts back to him jamming.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Xander mentions being distracted by the cheerleading squads' new short skirts, then is distracted on camera by Ms French's slow-motion Sexy Walk.
- The End... Or Is It?: Some of Ms. French's eggs are still unaccounted for. And they're starting to hatch. Oddly enough, this is never brought up again.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Buffy captures the Claw-vampire and uses him to find out where the She-Mantis is.
- Exorcist Head: Or "the full-on Exorcist twist".
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Buffy's hair is all curly in Xander's dream, a clue that it's not the real Buffy. This trope continues throughout the series, where Buffy will often adopt curly hair in episodes where she's Not Herself.
- Flashback Echo: Xander flashbacks to the dream of himself as a rock star when he thinks he's scored with the new teacher.
- Gender-Inverted Trope: Buffy and Willow rescuing the boys from Virgin Sacrifice.
- Gilligan Cut: Giles asks Buffy to promise she won't do anything rash (like hunt a knife-handed vampire after the clearly-upsetting death of Dr. Gregory). She does. Cut to her in the park where the vampire was last seen.
- Gone Mad From The Revelation: Dr. Ferris Carlyle on discovering the existence of the She-Mantis.
- Homoerotic Subtext: Xander calling Angel "buff" and "a very attractive man".
- Hook Hand combined with Wolverine Claws for "Claw".
- Horny Devil: The closest we get to this trope on the series.
- Hot for Teacher
- Little Black Dress. One might also call it a Freudian Slip.
Xander: It's the most beautiful chest... dress I've ever seen.
- Lecture As Exposition
- Living Aphrodisiac
- Matter of Life and Death
- Monster of the Week: The She-Mantis.
- Nonverbal Miscommunication: Willow trying to tell Buffy the answers behind Dr. Gregory's back.
Dr. Gregory: If you read the homework you should know the two ways that ants communicate.
(Willow strokes Xander)
(Willow sniffs Xander)
- Not So Stoic: Buffy normally handles death well. She quietly cries in the library after finding the body of Dr. Gregory.
- The Obi-Wan: Buffy's biology teacher expresses confidence in her abilities as a student and encourages her to excel. He is immediately slaughtered by a giant insect.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Ms. French has a strange way of pronouncing her r's. It works for the character, given that she's a giant insect. Really it's because her actress is South African.
- Percussive Therapy: Xander takes a machete to the She-Mantis eggs.
- Police Are Useless: Buffy's fight with Claw is interrupted by the police arriving (one of whom was disguised as a wino earlier). This appears to be one of the few occasions we see the Sunnydale police actively trying to catch a killer.
- Screaming Woman: With a camera pullback from inside her mouth. Also, Cordelia, which rapidly becomes her usual role.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: Buffy killing the She-Mantis — likely more for budget reasons than averting violence.
- Ship Tease: Buffy continuing to wear Angel's coat, and her "Oh boy" as she watches him walk away at the end.
- Slipping a Mickey
- Stealth Pun: When forcing her to take counselling, Mr Flutie shouts at Buffy to "Heal!" She sits. Good dog.
- Urban Legend Love Life: Jerk Jock Blayne
- Virgin Power
- Weirdness Magnet: The first time this hits Xander.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Whatever happened to the eggs...
- Blayne is never seen or mentioned again after this episode, despite surving and clearly being set up as a sort of Gender Flip version of Cordelia to antagonise Xander. It wouldn't seem so odd but this episode comes straight after the one introducing Amy Madison who becomes a reccurring character on and off til the end of the show's run.
- You're Just Jealous / Idiot Ball: Xander disregarding Buffy’s attempts to warn him about the killer bug.
- You Must Be Cold: Angel lends Buffy his coat, pissing off a Genre Savvy Xander who knows what it implies.