Written by Marti Noxon
Directed by David Greenwalt
Buffy and her mom are at the mall, arguing about an outfit Joyce isn’t letting Buffy buy. Joyce sends Buffy to pick up her order before the store in question closes, but Buffy gets distracted by a heinous Texan stereotype of a vampire. The way she identifies him as a vampire is cool, though. She’s just riding the escalator, casually glancing around, when she notices that the male half of the couple on the up escalator isn’t reflected in the mirror to her right. She fails to stake him, but she does save the girl he was about to attack and scare him off. When she comes back, having completely forgotten about Joyce’s errand, Joyce thinks she’s just being a self-involved teenager.
At school, Xander and Cordy are snogging in a utility closet again. They both find they quite enjoy the snogging but don’t particularly like each other.
Whoa hey, today’s topic in health class will be Sex Ed! I’m sure this won’t be awkward at all. The lesson doesn’t go well, largely because Xander and Cordy keep making snide, oblique jabs at each other instead of actually answering Mr. Whitmore’s questions. They have a partner project for the week: taking care of chicken eggs as if they were babies.
Okay, pause. My school never did this, but is this something schools actually do? In what way does taking care of an egg resemble taking care of a baby? How can the teacher possibly monitor whether or not you’re actually doing the assignment? Why can’t the class visit a daycare or be required to babysit or something? Or use those freaky animatronic babies that wet their diapers and cry when neglected? Or hey, a flour sack is a classic. It doesn’t cry, but it does imitate the size and weight of a baby. A chicken egg is just silly, and how do two students who have different class schedules and live in separate houses even split the task of caring for it fairly? If I’d been in that class, I would’ve rebelled against such a stupid assignment by stashing my egg in my locker at the end of every school day and making up a bunch of stuff with my partner for the report.
Anyway. Cordelia hastily grabs a not-Xander for her partner and Xander grabs a not-Cordelia in retaliation (she is also a not-Willow, which makes Willow a little sad). They head to the library, where they find Buffy, who failed to show up for class because she was reporting on Heinous Texan Stereotype Vamp. Oh hey, apparently Willow is Jewish! Because Buffy was absent, she has no partner for this exercise. She gets to be a single mom.
Giles dishes out the exposition on Heinous Texan Stereotype Vamp, who, it turns out, has a brother. They were already mass-murderers before they became vampires. They seem like real fun guys. Willow suggests that Buffy work with Angel to hunt Heinous Texan Stereotype Vamp Bros (because apparently Angel is all healed up now from Drusilla’s ritual). Xander suspects very little actual hunting will take place.
And he would be right! Cue intense Buffy/Angel snogging in a graveyard. They make a cursory attempt to look for vampires, then resume the snogging with enthusiasm. Had they searched for about two more seconds, they would probably have noticed the Heinous Texan Stereotype Vamp Bros chilling just at the edge of the cemetery, watching them and chatting about how weird it is that Angel, a vampire, is kissing the Slayer. One seems very stupid, the other seems very cowardly, and both have enormous egos.
Back at home, Buffy is ready for bed and checking off her list of egg-sitting tasks. None of which involves actually doing anything with the egg. Again, may I say how stupid this assignment is? She pats the egg and snuggles under the covers to go to sleep.
Alas! The egg did not fall out of the south end of a chicken. A small section of shell breaks off and a creepy pinkish tentacle thing emerges, slithering over to Buffy until it reaches her face, where it sticks tendrils over every orifice. Ewwwwww.
The next morning, the Heinous Texan Stereotype Vamp Bros are chilling in the sewer, basically repeating the same conversation they already had in the cemetery. They get on each other’s nerves so much that they end up rasslin’. What is the point of these guys?
Buffy wakes up completely exhausted, but the little piece of shell on the egg has sealed back in place, so she suspects nothing. At school, Buffy, Willow, and Xander go to the library because health class is cancelled. Willow is as exhausted as Buffy, but Xander is fine. Xander pulls out his egg and starts tossing it around carelessly. He drops it, and it doesn’t break! Because he hard-boiled it. (I see Xander’s taking my approach to this assignment.) It would appear that this is why Xander isn’t as listless as the girls. Giles doesn’t notice the crackling egg on one of his bookshelves. Uh-oh! Cordelia comes in, pretending she wants to solve the mystery of Mr. Whitmore’s absence, but really she just wants an excuse to poke around more closets with Xander so that they can keep smooshing faces. He quickly leaves with her.
Buffy and Angel’s next patrol goes much the same as the first. So much snogging. He offers to hunt for her so she can go home. Though they get no slaying done, they do have a conversation about their future. Because he’s a vampire, Angel can’t have kids. *cough* Buffy isn’t interested in having kids (at least not anytime soon), so that’s not a problem for her. She lives in the now, but the only thing she does see in her future when she bothers to look is Angel. It’s mutual. More snogging! The camera pans across a headstone that says “In Loving Memory.” I’m sure that’s not foreshadowing or anything.
At the school, a guard finds the basement door ajar and goes to check it out. He discovers a large, irregular hole in the wall of the basement, but before he can see what it is, Mr. Whitmore whops him over the head with a pickaxe.
Buffy gets home in time to see her egg rustling around in its little basket. An extremely creepy little scorpion-like pink critter hatches out of it! It skitters around her room, then jumps on her from out of nowhere. She manages to get it off her and stabs it to death with her scissors. Danger over, she calls Willow to tell her to smash her egg. Willow says her egg is just fine, and she suggests that maybe Buffy’s egg was a trap set by the Heinous Texan Stereotype Vamp Bros. (What? That makes no sense!) They hang up, and the camera shows that Willow’s egg already hatched! She’s been taken over by the skittery thing!
Joyce comes into Buffy’s room because she heard Buffy talking, and she is very displeased to find that Buffy is dressed as if she’s about to head out. Buffy is super grounded.
At school, she sees Cordelia and asks if her egg is weird. Cordy thinks Buffy’s insane. Xander decides to use his hardboiled egg as a morning snack. He peels it and is about to take a big bite when he looks at it and sees the dead skittery thing inside!
Willow and Cordy are going to help Buffy and Xander dissect the skittery things, only they’re not really, because they’re both being controlled by them. Buffy thinks Mr. Whitmore is part of it, a theory which Willow agrees with, only with a little too much information considering that they currently know nothing. Before Buffy and Xander can get too confused about this, Willow and Cordy knock them out with heavy science lab equipment and drag them into a closet.
Willow, Cordy, and several other students who’ve become skittery thing marionettes march down to the basement, grabbing pickaxes and other tools. In the library, Joyce arrives to pick Buffy up, but Buffy is not there. She rants to Giles about how Buffy is irresponsible. He pulls the “Look, a distraction!” move, which she falls for, giving him the opportunity to pull a skittery thing out of a drawer and stick it on her back! Noooo, they got Giles too! He and Joyce march, zombie-like, to join the other pickaxe workers.
When Buffy and Xander wake up, they find two eggs twitching on the floor next to them! Buffy promptly squashes them with a toolbox. They run to the library, where they find the eggshells. They, the non-researchy two, don’t even need to do the research, because Giles already did before his skittery thing got him.
Now we see what the pickaxe workers are doing. They’re chiseling away at the school foundation to reveal an enormous pinkish creature, and they’re also digging up a bunch of eggs and putting them in crates.
Buffy and Xander read up about Bezoars, the things that are controlling people. They hear Jonathan screaming in the hallway, but by the time they reach him, he’s acting like everything is normal. This is convenient, because now they have a Bezoar zombie they can follow to the nest.
Once there, they see the mama Bezoar, and Buffy goes looking for a weapon. This is the precise moment when the Heinous Texan Stereotype Vamp Bros catch up to her. Their fight sends them tumbling into the Bezoar room, where Bezoar zombie Willow tells the others to kill all three of them. Buffy and the Heinous Texan Stereotype Vamp Bros have to fight the Bezoar zombies back-to-back.
Meanwhile, Xander is following Bezoar zombie Cordelia to try to rescue her, but it doesn’t go so well.
Heinous Texan Stereotype Vamp Bro #2 gets pulled into the Sarlacc pit—I mean mama Bezoar pit—and eaten. Heinous Texan Stereotype Vamp Bro #1 blames Buffy, to which she takes great offense. Bezoar zombie Joyce tries to crack her head open with her pickaxe. Buffy evades, but the pickaxe comes in handy, because the next second, she gets pulled into the mama Bezoar pit too. Heinous Texan Stereotype Vamp Bro #1 and all the Bezoar zombies step closer to see what’ll happen, and the mama Bezoar soon lets out a dying shriek. All the baby Bezoars die and drop off the victims, causing them to pass out. Buffy, covered in black Bezoar blood, climbs out of the pit.
Heinous Texan Stereotype Vamp Bro #1 wisely decides to cut his losses and skedaddle.
A somewhat disoriented Giles tries to convince everyone the weirdness was caused by a gas leak. They seem fine with this explanation. Willow is sorry she knocked Xander out. Joyce is glad Buffy didn’t get hurt in the gas leak, but she’s still very mad that Buffy wasn’t where they agreed she was supposed to be. The grounding has now been lengthened and intensified.
Turns out there’s a loophole in the grounding parameters, though: if Angel sits on the roof and Buffy crouches next to her window, they can snog without her leaving her room or anyone else coming inside it. Ha!
So, as much as I appreciate getting three Buffy/Angel snog scenes in a single episode, “Bad Eggs” is pretty much ridiculous. What do vampire brothers from Texas and body-snatching parasites have in common? Nothing at all! What the hell are they doing in the same episode together? I have no idea! I’m glad the whole episode wasn’t about the Gorches, because they are some of the lamest and most irritating vampires on the show so far. Where are Spike and Drusilla? The Bezoar and its creepy offspring are perfectly serviceable monsters of the week, but still not great. Maybe if the Gorches subplot had been scrapped, the Bezoar plot could’ve been better. The scene where Buffy kills the thing that came out of her egg, the bit where we see that Willow is under Bezoar control, and the bit where Giles puts a Bezoar on Joyce are all great, but the rest is so silly that the horror of everyone having their bodies taken over by these creepy critters doesn’t really get a chance to sink in. The foreshadowing about what’s coming for Buffy and Angel is pretty much the only thing that has any impact on the season arc, so it’s only slightly less of a stand-alone than “Ted.” The intended metaphor seems to have been slightly fumbled as well. The eggs are supposed to represent children so that the teenagers can learn responsibility. When it turns out they’re actually skittery Bezoar offspring, the metaphor transforms from this basic Plot B metaphor into a ridiculous Plot A metaphor. The skittery things still represent children, but in the most cynical way possible. Now they’re children in the sense that they’re parasites who suck the energy out of their parents, and before long, the parents’ entire lives are taken over by childcare. So…does that mean the moral is to practice safe sex/no sex so that this doesn’t happen to you? Bah. Maybe I’m taking that metaphor too far, but they started it. The Buffy/Angel scenes, a handful of genuinely creepy scenes, and plenty of hilarious dialogue make it more worth watching than, say, “Teacher’s Pet” and “I Robot, You Jane,” but not by much.
I need to talk about Buffy/Angel and Buffy/Joyce. Things are majorly heating up for Buffy and Angel. They can’t keep their hands (or lips) off each other when they’re together, and they’re both feeling pretty serious about the relationship. Angel is all Buffy cares to see in her future. This could be read as a very immature attitude, but I think it’s at least as much about Buffy being resigned to dying young as it’s about letting herself be ruled by passion. Some might watch this episode and be inclined to say that the Buffy/Angel relationship is purely physical, but a comparison with Xander/Cordelia (which is purely physical at this point) will show otherwise. The Buffy/Angel parts of the episode are funny, adorable, and compelling. The Buffy/Joyce parts, on the other hand…not so much. Joyce’s reaction to finding Buffy dressed in her room in the middle of the night seems kind of insane to me. Two weeks grounded just for that? It’s not like Joyce caught her actually out of the house in the dead of night. It was pretty much a preemptive grounding. Not cool. And then she’s even worse at the end! If Buffy was still in the school building, does it really matter if she wasn’t specifically in the library right that second? They ended “Ted” on really good terms with each other, so where is this super strict crap coming from? What makes it even more jarring is that, by “Surprise,” Joyce is back to her usual mostly pleasant self, with no mention at all of the intense grounding at the end of this episode.
The only thing I can say about Willow (because she spends so much of the episode under the Bezoar’s control) is that I love how smug she looks when she correctly answers Mr. Whitmore’s question in health class. It wasn’t even a particularly hard question, but she’s so pleased to get praise from the teacher. Oh, and we also learn that she’s Jewish!
Xander and Cordy are still a unit when it comes to character development. The pressure is building for something to change, because kissing in closets while sniping at each other everywhere else is not working. Xander is ready to accept he’s insane and just admit that it’s a relationship already, but Cordelia is still too fond of her social status to want anyone else to know she’s locking lips with one of the losers she and her clique always pick on.
Basically nothing for Giles, although his lines are pretty funny.
Angel is still about what he considers to be the unequal nature of his relationship with Buffy. In his mind, she’s basically way out of his league because she’s human and such a good person, and he’s still struggling not to feel guilty about how little he can offer her compared to a human man. It’s clear that he thinks it should bother Buffy more that he can’t have kids or give her any of that other normal life stuff. He wants her to get everything she wants, and he hates that he can’t offer that. As selfish as he feels, he’s not acting it. The entire time they’ve known each other, he’s let Buffy set the pace. He hasn’t pushed for more than she’s ready to give. Even though Angel’s offer to hunt the Gorches for Buffy comes to nothing, I do really like that he made the offer in the first place. He’s taking on more responsibility.
“Are they getting weirder? Have you noticed the weirdness of them?”
“I suppose there is a sort of…Machiavellian ingenuity to your transgression.”
“I resent that! …Or possibly thank you.”
“Me? Why do I have to dissect it?”
“Uh, because you’re the Slayer?”
“And I slayed. My work here is done.”
“Oh, no, I almost ate one of these things; I think I’ve filled my gross-out quota for the decade.”
12/8/2015 06:40:59 am
I have ALL the same questions about whether schools do the egg thing, and why. Buffy's filling out her diary with items like "feeding" and "burping" and it's like how did she do those things? Who's going to know if she didn't? Why not just replace the egg with one from the fridge if she happens to break it?
Lenore Warren, M.A.
12/8/2015 07:13:36 am
Yeah, this is one of the few episodes where I think Xander was the smartest of the gang.
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The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.