Episode 4: Inca Mummy Girl
Well, I’ve decided to take up Colin on his offer to do an episode. At the very least, it’ll spare him from one more awkward season one style episode, though there are still a few more to go later. And this is one of the worst of those, and considering I’ve been one of the show’s biggest defenders during this whole thing, that should really make you afraid.
One oddity before we begin: for years I somehow remembered this episode’s title as the much wittier (in the sense that it has something resembling wit, rather than just blandly describing what happens) "Inca Dinka Doo." And that’s still how I prefer to remember it, because it’s not like there’s much else to recommend here.
One thing Colin hasn’t mentioned is the intro sequence during the first two seasons, which was narrated by a generic WB announcer guy in season one and thankfully changed to Giles in season two, before it went away and the writers could have those extra few seconds to tell the story.
Sunnydale High is doing a foreign exchange program, which includes a dance. Not exactly how it was handled at my school. Cordy’s handpicked a hot Nordic guy named Sven, while Buffy’s firmly participating against her will. At the museum we meet Rodney, a positively Stephen King-esque
bully who scrapes away at an exhibit in front of everyone and literally growls at the gang. Maybe I put in "Beer Bad" by mistake (to the newbies, that's an episode where people turn into cavemen, and one of the show's most notorious low points). And Willow’s tutoring him in chemistry, with all the predictable gags that entails.
There’s an Incan princess mummy on display, and Rodney goes more Chaotic Evil
by sneaking in and trying to steal the shield she’s holding, and when he naturally breaks it she wakes up and starts strangling him. I do have to give props to this model; it’s pretty creepy when it springs to life, especially the lack of eyes.
After credits, there’s the usual I Just Want to Be Normal
training scene, but it does give us:
Buffy: Oh, I know this one. I’m so stuffy, blah blah bliddy blah, give me a scone.
Giles: It’s as if you know me.
Buffy literally kicks at Giles until he lets her go to the dance, and Xander offers to drive her and Willow. Cut sitcom gag 2B, as Xander goes on about how he and Willow are Like Brother and Sister
, oblivious to how she’s behind him. I miss the days after they both got their own love interests. She reports that Rodney’s missing, with a bizarre Arbitrary Skepticism
with everyone joking about the mummy getting him. Thankfully, they all soon realize that’s a distinct possibility.
“One day I’m going to live in a town where evil curses are just generally ruled out without even saying.” The gang finds that the mummy’s still there, and they’re attacked by a sword-wielding guy clearly played by a white actor, who runs away after a few seconds. With nothing better to do, Willow notices that the mummy has braces: it’s Rodney. At least we won’t have to suffer through any more attempts to make him as ape-like as possible.
The gang returns to the library, having taken a piece of the shield to research. Apparently the museum has no problem with this, or that it was broken in the first place. Buffy remembers her exchange student Ompata (no idea if I’m spelling that correctly) is now arriving, and could translate the shield. Xander does some really embarrassing stretching for how Buffy’s going to fall in love with him; god, please just meet your real love interest already!
Ompata is attacked by the mummy, who kisses him and mummifies him. Interesting that this actually predates Stephen Sommers’ first Mummy film by two years. Now fully human, she claims to be Ompata when the gang shows up. Let the hilarity ensue!
So for simplicity’s sake I’ll now also refer to her as Ompata; she’s shown around Buffy’s house and it turns out she was conscious the whole time she was a mummy. It’s a nice explanation for how she speaks English, at least, though her openly discussing how she was moved around from place to place is a little weird. How much of a cover story is she going for here? And Willow is oddly obsessed with how she was expecting a man, for some cheap laughs.
Buffy shows Ompata her room, and there’s more weird half-truths about her past. Now she wants a normal life; symbolism! And the white Peruvian is watching from outside, so the story doesn’t entirely come to a halt.
Cordy’s talking to her boyfriend who we’ve never seen before, a musician who’ll be playing at the dance, and it turns out Sven speaks no English and she talks to him like a dog. Wasn’t there some Character Development
for her last season to get past this, including her talking to Buffy and the gang as friends earlier in this very episode? And the guy playing Sven is utterly average looking, which is weird considering how she went on about his picture before.
But the real point of the scene is to introduce new recurring and soon to be regular character Oz, who’s also in the band and is established as very picky regarding girls. He’s also played by Seth Green, easily the cast member who’s had the most success since the show (or at least, like Harrison Ford and Star Wars
, he’s the one person where you don’t immediately think of Buffy
when you hear his name). It’s pretty odd to remember that this was just a few months after the first Austin Powers
film, which didn’t make much money in the theater, so he was still relatively unknown.
Xander and Willow discuss how the dance is costumed, based on whatever country you want, and Xander’s having trouble picking one. “Why are you suddenly worried about looking like an idiot? That came out wrong.”
More weird half-truths from Ompata (okay, we get it!) before Giles bluntly asks her about the shield. The others have to improvise a cover story about an archeology club; so they spent no time rehearsing how this would go down? She plays dumb about most of it but says one part is about a bodyguard for the mummy, then Xander volunteers to stay with her while Buffy investigates, much to Willow’s remorse. And you already know how I feel about this whole subplot.
Xander introduces Ompata to Twinkies, in a scene that lasts about a minute
. That’s a big sign that this script was having problems getting to the proper length.
Willow mopes about Xander some more; see what I just said. And somehow Giles has made a lot of progress without Ompata’s help, having found out all about the mummy’s life sucking powers. Knowing one letter of an alphabet doesn’t make you fluent, you know. Unfortunately, the piece they have doesn’t say how to stop it. They do have more than half the episode to go, after all.
White Peruvian attacks Xander, but then recognizes Ompata and runs away again. Wake me up when he jumps out a window.
Everyone meets up in the library, where Xander is ready to spill the beans to Ompata completely. You know, being hypnotized to this point by a pair of boobs doesn’t exactly make a character likable. Ompata yells that they have to destroy the seal and storms out. Did we miss a couple lines here? Xander walks after her, which convinces Willow that I Want My Beloved to Be Happy
as she tells him to take Ompata to the dance. Okay, can we move on now, please?
Buffy and Giles decide to look for more shield pieces at the museum, where White Peruvian might also show up. “Hey, look at us! We came up with a plan. A good plan.” Uh, more of the setup for a plan, really, unless you actually know what to do with the guy. And Giles insists on doing it tonight instead of the dance: “But I have other plans, dance plans! …Cancelled plans.” Sometimes the Buffy Speak
can go a bit too far.
Xander asks Ompata to the dance, in a scene that takes rather longer than it should as we know it won’t last, her being the Monster of the Week
and all. At least there’s a cool Continuity Nod
of the type the show would soon be the master of: “You’re not a praying mantis, are you? Sorry, someone else.”
White Peruvian ambushes Ompata in the bathroom, and they have a conversation that tries to paint her as a tragic figure who wants to keep the love she’s just found, but it falls pretty flat because of the whole remorseless killing thing. And then he moronically goes for an overly elaborate attack that lets Ompata grab him and kill him, after which she accepts Xander’s invitation. So, let the hilarity ensue?
Part 2 coming soon.
edited 30th Oct '10 11:37:35 AM by Eegah