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 Cut: 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
- Miming the Cues: Buffy didn't do her homework, so when the teacher asks her to explain how ants communicate, Willow has to help her. She gets the mime for "touch" right, but she misinterprets "smell" as "B.O." The teacher, without even turning around, asks if Willow has anything else to say.
- Monster of the Week: The She-Mantis.
- 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.