Recap: Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 1 E 8 I Robot You Jane

There's a demon on the internet.

Willow meets a guy online and, when meeting him, discovers he is a demonic spirit in a robot's body. Yeah...this is a weird one.

  • All According to Plan: Buffy kicks in the door. Cut to Moloch saying, "Here they come."
  • Anachronism Stew
    Jenny: You think the realm of the mystical is limited to ancient texts and relics? That bad old science made the magic go away? The divine exists in cyberspace same as out here.
    Giles: Are you a witch?
    Jenny: Mm. I don't have that kinda power. "Techno-pagan" is the term.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Averted. Giles—worried about how he's going to convince Jenny that there are such things as demons, let alone one on the internet—finds out she already knows all about the supernatural.
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration
    Robo-Moloch: Don't you see? I can give you everything! I can control the world! Right now a man in Beijing is transferring money to a Swiss bank account for a contract on his mother's life. [Beat] Good on him!
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Who didn't think Jenny Calender was meant to be Giles' future Love Interest the moment you see them engaging in Snark-to-Snark Combat?
  • Blank Book: Moloch's prison-book after he escapes.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: When Giles suggests Buffy tail Dave, she sarcastically replies, "What, in dark glasses and a trenchcoat?" Gilligan Cut to Buffy following Dave in a trendy short trenchcoat and pink-framed sunglasses.
  • Continuity Nod: To cheer up Willow, Buffy mentions that she likes a vampire and Xander brings his date with a mantis.
  • The Corrupter: Moloch has this as a title because it twists the minds of mortals to serve it.
  • Creator Cameo: Joss is the radio broadcaster who reads news detailing Moloch's internet doings.
  • Date My Avatar: Willow setting up a date with her nice charming chat-buddy Malcolm...who is actually an incorporeal murderous demon possessing the computer system.
  • Deadly Dodging: Buffy stands in front of an electrical junction box and taunts Moloch into putting his fist through it, frying himself.
  • Deadly Gas: The halogen gas system used against Buffy and Xander.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Plenty of jibes at Giles being Born in the Wrong Century.
      Jenny: Oh, I know, our ways are strange to you, but soon you will join us in the 20th century. With three whole years to spare!
    • Giles heads into the library to do some research.
      Giles: I'll be back in the Middle Ages.
      Jenny: Did you ever leave?
  • Distant Prologue: Cortona, Italy, 1418.
  • Digitized Hacker:
    Xander: He's in a computer! What can he [Moloch] do?
    Buffy: You mean besides convince a perfectly nice kid to try and kill me? I don't know. How 'bout mess up all the medical equipment in the world?
    Giles: Randomize traffic signals.
    Buffy: Access launch codes for our nuclear missiles.
    Giles: Destroy the world's economy.
    Giles: Right, yours was best.
  • Electrified Bathtub: Buffy is set up to shut off the water in a locker room shower just as the puddle reaches a live wire. She is warned at the last second about the trap and jumps out just in time, with only static-frazzled hair to show for it—much to her annoyance.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    Giles: I don't know. And I don't know who could've read that book. It wasn't even in English.
    Buffy: Where was it?
    Giles: Uh, in a pile with others that were, um...uh....scanned.
    [Everyone looks at the computer]
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Xander and Buffy tell Willow not to be too upset that her dream guy turned out to be a demon because Xander's crush turned out to be a giant praying mantis and Buffy fell in love with Angel, who turned out to be a vampire. The three conclude that they have no chance of having a normal relationship, ever, and then start laughing...and then descend into awkward silence when they realize the significance of this conclusion. Cue credits.
  • Funny Background Event: Much of Moloch's tampering on the internet can be found with characters being confused at what's happening in the episode, such as a student whose research on Nazi Germany was derailed because Moloch said it was an example of "well-ordered society" or criminal records being downloaded.
  • Good Shepherd: In the prologue, a group of monks seal Moloch into the book. They're the reason he hasn't corrupted someone in centuries.
  • Haunted Technology: The Internet has been possessed by a demon.
  • Heel Face Door Slam: After nearly having Buffy killed, Dave tells Moloch that he isn't going to be a part of his plan anymore...and is promptly murdered by Fritz.
  • I, Noun: "I, Robot".
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Willow realizes Malcolm is not who he says he is after he mentions Buffy had burned her old school down—something he had no reason to know.
  • In a Single Bound: Buffy jumps the chain-link fence; Xander falls off it trying to climb over.
  • It's a Small Net After All: Buffy consults a computer geek who informs her that anytime you have an e-mail address to start from, "you can pull up someone's profile based on their user name." Although this may have been slightly more likely to be true in 1997 than it is today. Using e-mail instead of username also appears to be gaining on popularity (with or without another screen name). The Internet changes fast.
  • It Won't Turn Off: Willow's computer monitor.
  • Killer Robot: When Moloch becomes confined to his robot body, he is not pleased.
  • Kubrick Stare: Fritz has this often because he's a nut and Moloch's brute.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: "You're a computer geek...genius."
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    Buffy: He's gone binary on us.
    Xander: Okay, for those of us in our studio audience who are me—you guys are saying that Moloch is in this computer?
  • Literary Allusion Title: To I, Robot on the one hand and to Tarzan on the other.
  • Make It Look Like A Suicide: When Dave won't go through with Buffy's murder, Moloch prints out a suicide note and has Fritz kill him. Buffy finds him hanging from the roof of the computer lab with the note attached to his chest.
  • Mailer Daemon: Moloch uses the internet's chat rooms to bring Willow over to his side.
  • More Than Mind Control: Technically speaking, Moloch doesn't use magical mind control—he uses a mundane variety based on a twisted notion of "love".
  • Mother Nature, Father Science: Inverted with Giles and Miss Calendar, if books count as "nature".
  • Neck Snap: Moloch's modus operandi when killing people.
  • New Media Are Evil: Played with. On one hand, Giles doesn't like computers and Jenny goes to great lengths to convince him otherwise. There's nothing dangerous about the internet per se except that a demon has possessed it.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Techno-pagan.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Moloch has these in both his true form and robot form.
  • Remote Body: Before the spell is cast, Moloch is not truly in the robot form but in the internet as a whole.
  • Rewriting Reality: Jenny types in the evocation that Giles is reading aloud.
  • Saintly Church: The prologue includes a group of heroic monks sealing Moloch into a book, thus keeping the world safe from him for hundreds of years.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: in a book, in this case.
  • Self-Harm/Carved Mark/Madness Mantra: Fritz carves an "M" in his arm while saying, "I'm jacked in. I'm jacked in. I'm jacked in."
  • Sinister Surveillance: By possessing the internet, Moloch can survey all over the world.
  • Speak of the Devil: It appears scanning him also applies.
  • Spot of Tea: Giles' cure-all for recovering from near-electrocution.
  • Spider-Sense: Lampshaded.
    Buffy: I can just tell something's wrong—my spider sense is tingling.
    Giles: Your spider sense?
    Buffy: Pop culture reference...sorry.
  • Skyward Scream: Moloch when he's originally bound into the book.
  • There Was a Door: Robo-Moloch.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Both Xander and Willow get physical in this episode; Xander even lampshades it.
    Xander: Hey! I got to hit someone!
  • Who Are You?: Giles, re: Ms. Calender's blasť response to the supernatural.
    "You don't seem particularly surprised by...who are you?"
  • You Watch Too Much X: When Giles suggests they upload a Computer Virus.