Inca Mummy Girl

Chris's Review | Perri's Review

Christina's Review

Might as well try to do this; Perri's always asking for ep reviews, and while this wasn't a great show, it's still good enough to make 99% of everything else on TV look pretty boring by comparison.


Cultural Awareness Week is kicking off in Sunnydale, including a Student Exchange program and a trip to the musem. Buffy's mom has opened their home to a South American exchange student without asking Buffy, a fact which puts the Slayer in bad mood even before the kid arrives. Xander is none-too-thrilled with the idea that a "Latin lover" will be sharing a house with Buffy for two weeks either. During the field trip to the museum, the Slayerettes view the mummified remains of an Incan princess who was buried alive five hundred years before to protect her people from the Dark. The mummy was placed under a curse to protect the body---or rather, to protect others from the body, something which becomes obvious after one of the other students removes and accidentally breaks the seal which keeps the mummy from resurrecting. The princess immediately sucks the life out of the trouble-making student and escapes from the museum.

Back at the high school, Buffy is beating up Giles for practice again and Xander is studying (and wincing) while the upcoming Cultural Exchange Dance is discussed. Willow is still pining after Xander, and Xander couldn't be more oblivious, making it clear to Buffy (and an eavesdropping Willow) that he considers his oldest friend "just a friend" and not girlfriend material. Willow enters with the news of the missing student, which is briefly dismissed as not a problem---and then reconsidered in the light of the recent trip to the museum and the fact that they're living on a Hellmouth. A quick detour back to the Inca exhibit reveals a shattered seal and an intact mummy. At that moment, a big Incan guy with a *really* big knife attacks the Slayerettes, then runs away... and a few seconds later, Willow realizes that the current mummy is actually the missing student. The real Incan princess is roaming Sunnydale. In fact, she has already ambushed Buffy's exchange student at the bus station, switching places with Ampata Guitteriez after sucking the life out of him, too.

Xander falls for "Ampata" at first sight while Willow looks on with an aching heart. The Incan princess is amazed and happy to be alive again, hoping to fit in with the high school students and extremely grateful to Buffy for her help in adjusting. Giles asks Ampata to translate the pictograms on the seal, and the princess interprets them to mean that the mummy had a bodyguard responsible for protecting her. She urges the Slayerettes to hide the seal.

Meanwhile, Cordelia is having problems with her exchange student, Sven, and is dating the lead singer for "Dingoes Ate My Baby". Dev thinks Cordelia's great, but his friend and lead guitarist Oz is less impressed, on the lookout for a girl with something more going for her than looks and the ability to walk and talk at the same time.

Ampata and Xander grow closer. Willow suppresses her jealousy and hurt, and suggests that Xander ask Ampata to the dance, and the exchange student happily accepts, as smitten with Xander as he is with her. She also kills her bodyguard after he attempts to kill her while reminding her of her duty to her people as the Chosen One. After more research, Giles determines that the an expedition to the museum is required to try to track down the bodyguard, and Buffy grudgingly agrees not to go to the dance in favor of Slayer duties. Xander and Ampata attend (as a Clint Eastwood clone and an Incan princess) as does Willow, dressed as an Eskimo. Giles shows up at Buffy's early to tell her that the translation Ampata gave them was incorrect, that the bodyguard was there to keep the mummy in the tomb---and that the Incan has been found mummified at the school. Buffy's suspicions are alerted, and after checking Ampata's luggage and finding the remains of the real exchange student, the two of them rush to the dance in order to save Xander.

On the way there, Giles and Buffy realize that fixing the seal would probably trap the mummy again, and Giles drops Buffy off before heading back to the exhibit to fix the seal.

Willow is having a lousy time (but has still managed to catch Oz's eye in her original costume) while Xander and Ampata are having a very good time... until Ampata's hands start to shrivel, necessitating another infusion of life force. Xander interrupts her attempt to kill another party-goer, and narrowly escapes with his life when Ampata kisses him. Giles's attempts to reassemble the seal are felt by the Incan princess, who leaves Xander nearly asphyxiated and then heads to the museum.

Willow and Buffy find Xander and drag him with them back to the exhibit (Willow further fascinating Oz in the process of totally ignoring him) just in time to save Giles from Ampata, who has smashed the seal. Ampata puts Buffy and Giles in the coffin, then attempts to kill Willow. Xander steps in, offering his life, and while Ampata does hesitate, she is on the verge of killing him when Buffy escapes from the tomb and pulls the decaying corpse off her friend. Willow and Buffy comfort a broken-hearted Xander. The next day, Xander is sadly contemplating his rotten taste in women while Buffy tries to offer support, pointing out that Ampata wasn't evil to start out, and that she did genuinely care for Xander---and that Buffy herself hadn't been too thrilled when she thought she was going to die the previous spring. "But you did the right thing. You gave your life," Xander argues. "Well, I had you to bring me back," Buffy responds.


Lots and lots of it. Including: Xander's reference to his last disastrous romantic encounter ("You're not a praying mantis, are you?"); his and Willow's acknowledgement of Xander's now-mostly-in-the-past feelings for Buffy; Xander's move with the Twinkie as a method of impressing women; Buffy's and Giles's continued sparring (literal and metaphorical) over her role as Slayer; and Buffy's wish to have a normal life underscored by Ampata's desperate attempts to regain hers. It's stuff like this that makes BtVS a good show---a shared history and awareness of how past events effect present developments.


New ones first.

Ampata is pretty sad, actually. While definitely a villainess (sucking the life out of people *would* have put a cramp in her and Xander's relationship, as he points out) I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. She was cheated of a real life, sacrificed and entombed before she had a chance to live or fall in love or do anything fun. She's so pathetically grateful to Buffy, and she does like Xander, even at his most goofy. She seems sweet, and it's too bad she's a life-sucking mummy. Ara Celi is *extremely* pretty, but acts shy and nice enough that you can't hate her too much when Xander falls for her.

Oz will hopefully be around for a while! I like this guy! Smart, funny, and he likes Willow the second he sees her. And for the record, I knew the second he and his friend started talking about women that he was going to be Willow's boyfriend. You don't give a guy a name unless you're going to kill him or have him date someone, and my money was on dating Willow. He's perfect for her. I *do* hope Joss shows us their first real meeting though. If he pulls a "samurai warriors in the basement" move and just presents us with a fait accompli during the next episode, I'm going to feel cheated. I want the works on this: a nice guy who appreciates Willow for all her best qualities, and who will hopefully make Mr. Clueless feel the sting of jealousy for once.

Speaking of whom: Nick Brendan really has a great episode here. He gets to fall in love, act silly, be heroic, lose the girl he's in love with, and also slip in some cool bits of concern for Buffy ("Be careful") and love and liking for Willow ("You are my best friend," after she suggests he ask Ampata to the dance). And yet, he's still such a goof; that Twinkie moment on the bleachers was *exactly* like the Gatorade stunt we never got to see. He's totally convincing, whether he's stuffing his face or offering his life for Willow's. The first time through, I couldn't appreciate the Ampata-Xander kissing scene because of the fear factor ("Ahhhh! Don't do it, nooo!") but the second time I watched it--yow. Whew. Okay. The guy knows how to kiss....

As Willow episodes go, this one is pretty damn painful. Poor, poor kiddo. Being sweet and smart and trying so very hard not to care about Xander, and do the right thing and still be a friend to him. Alyson Hannigan is brilliant, especially watching Xander and Ampata walk away hand in hand. <> I don't need to remember what it feels like to be a rejected sixteen-year-old, thank you very much! At least not this vividly! *Totally* sympathized with her first reaction to finding out Ampata was the mummy ("Oh. Good!...") I am very, very glad that Oz is hopefully going to develop into a long-term love interest for her, and I sincerely hope they don't kill him off.

Not as interesting an ep for either Buffy or Giles, although both actors are always fun to watch. Their interaction in the library and on the way to save Xander is priceless ("Isn't it about time you got a grown-up car?"). I love the chemistry between SMG and ASH; I never feel like I'm watching a repeat of a scene I've seen before, even when they're sniping about Slayer/Watcher duties and roles for the zillionth time. There's some nice Xander-Buffy moments too, when they discuss his luck with women; sweet and caring but awkward, kind of acknowledging the whole Spring Fling mess without directly referring to his asking her out and her rejection of him.

Plot Holes:

"Enough to negotiate a fleet of Mack trucks through" - Lizbet.

Where the heck did the Incan guy come from? The Seal? So, if he did, why didn't he stop Ampata from killing the first kid? And if not, why did he just keep appearing out of nowhere? Was he travelling with the exhibit? How did the Slayerettes manage to sneak into the museum not once, but twice, removing and breaking priceless artifacts in the process without getting caught? Anyone else notice that the real Ampata's body changed position in the trunk between the two times Buffy opened it?

It's stuff like this that makes it an okay episode, not a great one. None of it's bad enough to ruin it, but it is enough to make you roll your eyes and groan.

Other thoughts: *G* No Angel appearances in this ep, which is not a huge deal for me, but it's enough to have Angel missage for some viewers. We won't name names.

No Ms. Calender or Principal Snyder, which is too bad; the ep was pretty slow, either of them could have made an appearance in there somewhere, but probably not without it being awkward. Nice seeing Joyce Summers, and her interaction with Buffy and Ampata.

Giles fixing the Seal with rubber cement---"such a librarian, of course he has it with him!" - Dianne

Cordelia is still dating the universe. At least the lead singer for the band ( the name of which cracked me up, I couldn't stop giggling. I actually CRY IN THE DARK) seems to be on an intellectual and emotional par with her....

Rating: Two and a half out of five. Great Willow and Xander moments, fairly standard everything else; not one to watch and re-watch, unless you *like* feeling the pain of unrequited love over and over again.

Perri's Review

Oy. Let's just forget about Xander's love life altogether, until such time as it involves Willow. A couple of good lines and some nice Willow stuff weren't enough to save this episode.

Chris did it this time.

None to speak of, except for the one praying mantis crack. Stand-alone episode, thank god.

Yay, Willow's growing a spine! And if Oz has his way about it, she won't be mooning after Xander for a while. Which is good, because the boy has regressed amazingly and is once again utterly clueless.

Xander, Xander, Xander....He's right, he does have the universe's worst taste in women, and he continues to become an irritant when he falls in love. And for a guy who's usually pretty sensitive (for a 16-year-old male), he's oblivious to the point of cruelty to Willow's feelings for him. Actually, he's not oblivious -- he won't go to the dance with her as a a twosome because it would be too dangerously like a date. He has himself consciously, firmly settled into 'best friend' and, while he's loyal and very devoted to her on that level, he just can't get past it. Let's see what some jealousy will do....

Ampata as a bad guy was a vast improvement over Miss French -- not particularly scary, but very sympathetic; you feel sorry for her even as you scream at her to get her mitts off Xander! A very nicely drawn character, and her choice at the end of whether she could kill Xander to live was impossible to call. And she and Xander did make a nice couple.

All right, Willow! She's finally starting to assert herself, and admit that she can't hang around waiting for Xander forever. She's still putting his wants above her own (telling him to take Ampata to the dance as a date instead of smacking him upside the head and telling him to take her), but she's also starting to give in to her selfish side (the smug "good" when Buffy tells her about Ampata). Really looking forward to how her self-esteem is going to skyrocket when Oz gets the chance to show his interest.

Have I made it plain I like Oz? Not my type, but any man who overlooks Ampata and Cordelia to focus on Willow, especially in that Eskimo get-up, has scored major, major points with me. Not that I'm not still a Willow/Xander shipper, but Oz is just what Willow needs at this point, so more power to him.

Cordelia's still a twit; nice to see some things never change (although she was having a conversation with Buffy in public without wigging). Business as usual for Buffy and Giles, although I liked Buffy's sympathy towards Ampata and the whole Chosen One business. I also liked the way she's carefully trying not to get caught in between Xander and Willow; she's gently hinting around to Xander, but not giving Willow's secret away.

Best Moments:
Buffy 'violence' bit with Xander. Yes, Buff, you do tend to resort to violence as a first choice.

Buffy 'persuading' Giles to let her go to the dance. If you can't talk him into it, beat him into it. What were we saying about using violence...?

Willow's face as she hears Xander and Buffy talking about her. Painful.

Willow admitting she can't wait around for Xander. Her admission that, at least with Buffy, she knew he didn't have a chance, is very poignant and very heartbreaking. A spectacular performance from Alyson all the way through.

Xander realizing what's happening as Ampata kisses him. There's just some really nice camera work going on there.

Giles using rubber cement to glue the Seal back together. He is such a librarian!

Xander making Ampata take his life instead of Willow's. Forced to choose between a new love and his best friend, he chooses Willow without a second thought. There's hope for him yet.

Willow comforting Xander after Ampata 'died'.

The tag, with Buffy and Xander. Buffy's "You were there to bring me back" line is really nice.

Questions and Comments:
Where did Ampata get the Inca princess dress? She had no luggage, only the real Ampata's stuff.

And Ampata learned colloquial English how? Admittedly, she was apparently aware all those years she was on display, but her American English was still way good. Bodyguard? Where'd she pick that up?

For that matter, why did Giles expect Ampata to be able to translate those pictographs? If she was actually an exchange student, it would have been like grabbing an American student and asking her to translate Anasazi cave drawings!

You know, I'm getting tired of every bad guy on the Hellmouth being able to beat Giles up. The man has been trained to fight -- he had to be, to train Buffy, and we've seen him use a quarterstaff, at the very least. So why does he never, not once, get a good punch in before being decked? It's not just against the supernatural opponents -- the zookeeper in 'The Pack' took him out, for heaven's sake!

Dev can so not lipsynch!

Can we just ditch the hats altogether? Buffy looked like an idiot in the black one in 'The Pack' and Willow does no better in any of these. Give 'em baseball caps or let the whole hat thing go.

Snyder really should know better than to let this school go on field trips. First hyenas at the zoo, now a mummy at the museum.... And all the way to L.A. for the museum? (Sorry, the opening shots are of the Rose Garden and the L.A. Museum of Natural History; I used to go to college across the street from them.)

Speaking of the musuem, why were there no ropes around the mummy? How did the Slayerettes get in multiple times, at least once after hours? How did Ronald get to the seal in the first place?

Rating: 2 stars out of 5. Sorry, this plot wasn't much fun as 'Teacher's Pet' the first time around and it's not much better here; the vastly stronger bad guy is cancelled out by the lack of the great lines that almost salvaged 'Teacher's Pet'. This one, we watch the Willow scenes (Alyson pretty much saves the episode, although Nick does really well with what he's got), then fast-forward to the second half of Act Four and go from there.

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