Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1×08 – I Robot…You Jane

ROMANCE. Internet-style.

ROMANCE. Internet-style.

Previously: Buffy loves Angel. Angel loves Buffy. Darla tries to tempt Angel to kill Buffy but he doesn’t bite. Haha, get it? Bite? Darla has a guns that never run out of ammo and shoots at Buffy forever. Angel finally dusts Darla. RIP Darla! We’ll never forget you! No seriously, we won’t. The Anointed Colin does absolutely nothing so I don’t even know what the big deal is about him rising.

Guys. Guys. I seriously groaned when I read the title of the next episode for me to recap. It’s been so long since I’ve watched this season that I’m forgetting a lot of what happened and finding myself pleased at how witty and clever the episodes are. However, I seem to recall hating this stupid episode so let’s see if I’m going to change my mind. TO THE RECAP!

 

 

Whoa. 16 seconds in and I literally went, “WHAT? HAHAHAHA” to my computer. All because of the cheesy intro music and this shot:

Dun dun DUNNNN

Dun dun DUNNNN

Ok ok, let’s keep going. Someone is speaking in Italian but luckily we have some handy subtitles for uneducated louts like myself. A young man named Carlos is kneeling in this castle. Someone calls him his ‘dear one’ and Carlos comes over to kneel before him. It’s the demon Moloch, with large horns and an ugly greenish face. He gently places a hand behind Carlos’ neck and tells Carlos that he loves him. He can give Carlos everything. All he wants in return is Carlos’ love. Don’t fall for it, Carlos! Soon he’ll be telling you to get in his white van full of candy!

Carlos ignores my sounds advice and tells Moloch that he has his love as he smiles up at him. Moloch smiles back and promptly twists Carlos’ neck, killing him.

I love you 5ever. That's way better than 4ever.

I love you 5ever. That’s way better than 4ever.

Elsewhere, at a monastery, a monk is telling his fellow monks that they have to stop Moloch. They form a circle to and the monk begins to pray as he holds open a large, book with blank pages.

Moloch feels something and is not pumped about what’s about to happen to him.

The monk raises his arms and shouts, “I command you…come!”

Moloch screams and disintegrates into small pieces. The pieces swirl around and fall into the open book the monk is holding. Strange symbols appear on the pages and the monk slams it shut. He puts it into a box and locks it, saying he sure hopes no one ever reads this book, like, ever again cause then Moloch will escape. I wonder what will happen far, far in the future aka 1997?

Buffy opens a crate and is all, Yawn, a book. Sure enough, it’s the Book of Moloch. Giles tells her to put it in a pile with some other books, to be scanned onto computer files. There’s some new people in this scene: two boys and a hot young teacher. It’s Jenny Calendar! Hey there, Jenny!

Jenny corrects Giles when he says ‘skim’ instead of ‘scan’ and he gives her a look of pure bitchiness:

You better respect, bitch!

You better respect, bitch!

 

Jenny teases Giles about coming into the 20th century, and about calling the computer the ‘idiot box’. The idiot box is the TV, Giles. Get with it.

When Giles snootily says that he prefers a good book one of the students -Fritz- gets all up in his face about how the printed page is obsolete. He rants some more about information being an ‘entity’ and how reality is ‘virtual’ and if you’re not ‘jacked in’ you’re ‘not alive’. This guy is insane. I hope he dies.

Jenny also thinks Fritz sounds like a crazy person but says he has a point. After all, more people sent emails last year than regular letters. Giles is horrified.

Jenny tells the students that it’s time to wrap up for the day. Willow still has a few more books to scan and decides to stay. She asks Xander to hang with her and help. Xander’s like, is that some kind of joke? He says he loves Willow, but he’s leaving. Then he calls out, “Buffy! Wait up!” and runs out and seriously Willow, and Xander, stop chasing people that aren’t interested. Stupid high school kids.

Willow works on, alone. She hold a scanner and runs it over the pages of, you guessed it, the Moloch book. As she runs the hand held scanner over the pages the symbols disappear. Willow doesn’t notice. Suddenly, her computer screen goes back and a sentence types itself out:

Where am I?

Credits!

Willow is dreamily walking down the hall, lost in her own dreamy thoughts. She’s so lost in dreamland that she doesn’t even hear Buffy when she calls out her name. Buffy runs up to her, saying that she tried to call her all night long and Willow confesses that she was talking to a boy. A boy she met last week. So I guess it’s been a week since the library scanning.

Buffy wants to know all about this mysterious boy and rapid-fires a million questions at Willow. Apparently this ‘boy’ is named Malcolm, she hasn’t kissed him yet and he’s very nice. Oh, and Willow has no idea what he looks like. Buffy is confused.

As they enter the computer lab, the other two weirdo guys from the beginning  are already there, typing away. Fritz whispers to his computer, “Yes…I will, I promise.” Okay. That’s odd.

Willow tells Buffy that she met Malcolm online. Buffy has no idea what that means. Willow points to her class computer.

Oh, look! Willow has an email from Malcolm:

This is like that movie about internet romance and emails! You know! The Deer Hunter!

This is like that movie from the 90’s about internet romance and emails! You know? Starship Troopers?

 

Willow just about dies. “Oh, he’s so sweet!” Buffy decides that Willow needs to calm herself, seeing that Willow knows nothing about this Malcolm character. Willow says she knew Buffy would react like this. I’m torn. On one hand, Buffy is right. On the other, does she have to immediately rain on Willow’s parade? Like, let her be happy for a second, then start talking reason to her.

There’s a webcam sitting next to the keyboard. It’s watching the two girls. Watching and listening to what they say. It zooms in on Buffy’s face as she tells Willow that Malcolm could be different than she thinks. Is this an Afterschool Special? Or is this one of those Very Special Episodes?

In an office…somewhere…a computer flicks on and starts scrolling through student records, stopping on Buffy’s. Hey, did you know her birthday is October 24, 1980? And her GPA is only 2.8. Aw! Poor Buffy. This school is quite advanced. Her record even has a photo of her. GOD THIS EPISODE IS LAME.

Back in the computer lab. Fritz is still there. Buffy’s school record pops onto his computer screen. Then the words, ‘Watch her’ appear.

Buffy and Willow are still talking about Malcolm.  Willow proudly tells Buffy everything she knows about him: his name is Malcolm Black, he lives 80 miles away in Elmwood and he LIKES WILLOW. Oh Willow. You’re so desperately lonely. All she wants is to go to that dammed ice cream bar.

Buffy wants to know what he looks like. What if he has a hairy back? Willow says it isn’t always about looks. She says that she herself may not be what Malcolm thinks is attractive. Willow, bite your tongue! You’re adorable and a ginger. I love gingers. I always wanted to be a ginger. Always.*kicks rock with toe*

Buffy relents that she only wants the best for her Willow. Aw.

Jenny Calendar gets up from her teacher desk and asks Fritz about all the time he and Dave, the other crazy guy from the library, have been logging online. Fritz says they’re working on a new project and when Jenny Calendar asks if she’ll be excited about it he answers, “You’ll die.” OKAY CREEPER.

Outside on the school steps, a student has the very first laptop ever made. He must be super rich, cause I don’t know many kids that had laptops in 1997 BUT WHATEVER JOSS. I’ll just shut up now I guess.

Anyways, the student is all confused because someone changed his school project to say: “Nazi Germany was a model of a well-ordered society.” Um. How did Moloch/Malcolm manage to do this? I doubt that kid typed that while online. Whatever. MAGIC I guess. I know, I’m questioning reality on a show about a vampire slayer.

Xander covers Willow’s eyes and she guesses his name. They chat and he’s extra, extra charming, asking her if she’s coming to the Bronze tonight. She’s not, cause, you know, Malcolm. Xander’s already heard about this guy and seems a touch displeased about it. Willow breezes off, dreaming of more romantic typing in her future.

Buffy pops up and laughs when Xander complains that he doesn’t like this whole Willow thing. She points out the he’s jealous cause he’s not number one in Willow Town anymore.

Xander and Buffy talk about how no one really knows anything about Malcolm. Buffy gets all worried for a moment but then laughs it off. Willow’s not going to get murdered by an axe murderer! Pfffft!

Later, back in the computer lab, Fritz is watching his computer scroll random equations and symbols. He keeps muttering, “I’m jacked in. I’m jacked in” as he carves the letter ‘M’ into his forearm with an exacto knife. All perfectly normal stuff here.

The next day, Willow is late for gym class. She tells Buffy that she overslept and Buffy’s all, “Till 5th period?” That’s not like Willow. Buffy really pushes for Willow to arrange a safe, daytime meet up with Malcolm. Willow is defensive, saying that they really care about each other and it’s no big deal if she skips a couple of classes. When Buffy says that Willow just said she overslept, Willow gets sulky. “Malcolm said you wouldn’t understand.” Buffy says that Malcolm was right and leaves. Eeeeeesh.

Later, Buffy finds Dave in the computer lab. She asks him if it’s possible to trace an email.  She wants to find the actual location of the computer that sent it. Dave is intrigued and says it’s a challenge. A challenge? Come on, more like impossible, yes? No? Ok, ok, I’ll shut up.

When Dave finds out the email spying involves Willow and Malcolm he immediately stops smiling. He won’t help her now. He tells Buffy to leave Willow alone. Buffy asks him if he’s Malcolm but he’s not. She gives up and leaves the office, Fritz lurking and watching her as she goes.

Buffy goes to Giles. She knows something is up. Dave, Fritz, Willow. Something weird is happening.  Giles is out of his element. Computers terrify him. He suggests that Buffy trail Dave so she does. I’m not sure how she does, since he drives away from school and she stands there, watching him leave. BUT SOMEHOW she manages to be at some secret-y government-looking facility as Dave pulls in. I guess she ran the whole way using her slayer powers. *facepalm times a million kabillion trillion zillion* She watches him get out of his car and go inside. A security camera pans over. Someone watches her from a computer. It’s Fritz, still in the computer lab. Wtf. Fine.  *throws hands in air in defeat*

Fritz asks the computer what he should do about Buffy getting too close. The computer types: “Kill her.”

Buffy tells Giles and Xander about the building. All she knows is that the sign said, ‘CRD’. Luckily, Xander knows all about the place:

XANDER: Calax Research and Development. Computer research lab. Third biggest employer in Sunnydale, till it closed last year…what, I can’t have information sometimes?

I love how Xander knows random things, like the time her knew that Sunnydale had a series of underground tunnels and how to get to them.

Buffy says it sure wasn’t looking closed down. She knows something is wrong and decides to break in tonight. Giles is not up for this but Jenny Calendar walks in and interrupts the scolding.

Jenny Calendar just wanted to check in on the new database because she knows Giles won’t touch it and I am so tired of this new wave of technology being shoved down our throats. She is surprised to see Buffy and Xander in the library. Again.

BUFFY: We’re literary.

XANDER: To read is makes our speaking English good.

ME: LMAO

Buffy drags Xander out, scolding him all the way for being an idiot.

Willow is online chatting with Malcolm. He tells her that he’s never felt this way about anyone before.  Willow is thrilled. She hesitantly asks/types if they should meet and he replies they should, soon. She says Buffy doesn’t understand how comfortable Malcolm makes her feel and Malcolm drops the ball but saying that Buffy makes trouble and that’s why she got kicked out of her old school. Ruh-roh! Willow is suspicious. How did he know that? Malcolm tries the ole, “it’s on her permanent record….you must have mentioned it…” but Willow isn’t convinced. She says she has to go. Malcolm doesn’t want her to, but she says bye and turns the computer off. She just hits the button on the monitor and turns it off. Cause that’s how you turn off computers.

Meanwhile, still in the library, Giles and Jenny Calendar are arguing. She says he’s a snob and wants to horde all the knowledge to white guys. Wow. He says he doesn’t think that just because something is new that it’s better. Blah bah blah just kiss already.

Jenny Calendar picks up the Moloch book, saying, “Well, I think you’ll be very happy here with your musty old books.” She points out that it’s pages are blank. It doesn’t take Giles long to figure that this book is up to no good. He starts to leave, saying it was nice talking with her. She replies that they were fighting and he absentmindedly tells her that they must do it again sometime.

Dave comes up to Buffy, apologizing for the other day. He says that Willow was looking for her. In fact, she’s waiting for Buffy right now, in the girl’s locker room! Buffy’s all, good, I’ll go there right now, this couldn’t possibly be a trap or anything!

Buffy calls out Willow’s name, but no one’s in the locker room. No one but creepy Fritz, that is! He turns on the shower and leaves. Buffy’s all, “Will? You taking a shower?” and goes to look. This is like the beginning of a porno.

Willow’s not in the showers. Buffy reaches over and starts turning the shower off, not noticing the exposed wires that the water has almost reached. Wires? In the high school showers? Where people shower? They have electrical in there? Ok. I’ll stop complaining.

Looks like Dave has had a change of heart because he runs in and calls out to Buffy. She spins and sees the wires. She jumps just as the water reaches them. She escapes electrocution but the bottoms of her shoes are smoking.

Dave runs back to the computer lab and shouts that he can’t do it! The computer types/talks back to him that he promised. The voice is such a rip-off of 2010 A Space Odyssey’s HAL. “But you promised,” Not-HAL 9000 replies.  He might as well have added,“Just what do you thing you are you doing, Dave?” HA. They’re both named Dave!

The computer tells Dave that the program is almost complete. He can give Dave everything, knowledge, power…all he wants is Dave’s love. OH OH! Don’t fall for it, Dave!

Dave still can’t kill Buffy. Moloch/Malcolm/Not-HAL 9000 pulls up ‘Scratch Pad’, a writing program, and starts typing a suicide note. He signs it, “Love, Dave.” Dave backs away but doesn’t see creepy Fritz lurking behind him. Judging from the evil grin on his face, Fritz has no problem with the idea of killing Dave.

A frizzy Buffy is in the library, being soothed by Xander and Giles. “Tell me the truth,” she says to them, all big sad eyes. “How’s my hair?” They lie and say it’s her best hair ever!

Buffy can’t figure out why Dave would do such a thing. Giles thinks he knows. He pulls out the book of Moloch, telling them that Moloch was once trapped in there but was let out. Xander and Buffy scold Giles for releasing Moloch and Giles says he didn’t do it! Jenny Calendar showed him the blank pages of the book. In fact, he has no idea who could have read it, since it wasn’t in English and it was in the pile…to be scanned…

They all look at the computer. MOLOCH’S IN THE COMPUTER OMG. Yeah. It’s official. I still hate this episode.

Giles suggests that since Willow scanned him into her file then they should try to delete it and therefore him. Oh god, when will this episode end.

Buffy turns on the computer. It just immediately starts up. Cause that’s how computers work, especially in the 90s! She guesses that the file is called ‘Willow’ and drags it into the trash. A pixelated Moloch face fills the monitor. “Stay away from Willow!” he demands.”This is none of your business!”  Buffy gasps a huge gasp of fright. Probably the same gasp she gave when she read this script.

Xander, Buffy and Giles discuss ways that Moloch could do evil things from inside a computer. Inside a computer. Why are you subjecting me to this, Joss? Why?

Xander doesn’t think he can really do all that much so Buffy suggests he could do things like messing up the world’s medical supplies or access launch codes for nuclear weapons. Giles gives it a go and comes up with randomizing traffic lights. Nice try, Giles. Buffy wins this round.

Buffy goes to see if Willow’s in the computer lab. She isn’t, but guess who is? Dave. He’s not doing so great though, seeing as how he’s hung by the neck with the fake suicide note pinned to his chest. Bad day for Dave.

Buffy goes back to the library and tells them what she found. She wants Giles to figure out how to get Moloch out of the intermanet. God, please let this episode end.

Giles doesn’t know how to begin so Buffy suggests getting sexy Jenny Calendar to help. Giles frowns a lot at this.

Xander and Buffy leave to go to Willow’s house.

Willow has just gotten home. She goes to her room and her computer cheerily announces that she has mail. Willow doesn’t seem too keen but she reads it. “No more waiting. I need you to see me.” Willow turns the computer off and turns away. “You have mail!” her computer cheerfully informs her. Willow is kinda freaked out by her computer turning itself back on. Just as she’s about to go read the email her doorbell rings.

Downstairs, Willow opens the door to find no one is there. As she turns to go back inside Fritz pops out of the darkness and holds a rag over her mouth. Willow goes limp. I need to find out where these people get stuff like chloroform. Probably the science lab. It’s always the science lab.

Giles is looking through his books. Jenny Calendar comes inside the library saying that she got his urgent message. Giles stammers a bit and then just spits it out: There’s a demon in the internet. Jenny just nods. “I know.” WELL DONE, JENNY CALENDAR.

Buffy and Xander arrive at Willow’s to find the door open and no one home. They find Moloch’s message about meeting Willow still on her computer screen. Xander thinks that means they’re down at the research building Buffy trailed Fritz to. They’re off to the secret research place!

Jenny Calendar is all excited by this demon in the internet thing. Well, at least one of us is. She says that there’s been signs; power surges, shut downs and oh yeah, she’s been casting bones. She knew this would happen eventually. She thinks it’s a mischief demon and looks impressed when Giles informs her it’s Moloch. “The corruptor,” she breathes.

Giles is like, da fuck? Who are you? For realsies? He asks if she’s a witch and Jenny says no. She calls herself a Technopagan and I CAN’T. I JUST CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE.

Ok. 12 minutes of this horrid episode left. Giles and Jenny try to figure out how to get Moloch offline and back into the book. Buffy calls him from a payphone to tell her she’s going to get Willow out of the computer research building. She tells Giles to hurry and rather rudely hangs up on him. The hell, Buffy?

ZOMG, this next scene. So Willow wakes up and hears Malcolm/Moloch welcome her. He calls her ‘my love’ and says that it’s so good to finally see her with his own two eyes:

I've seen your face before my friend, but I don't know if you know who I am  Well I was there and I saw what you did, I saw it with my own two eyes  So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you've been  It's all been a pack of lies

I’ve seen your face before my friend,
but I don’t know if you know who I am
Well I was there and I saw what you did, I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you’ve been
It’s all been a pack of lies!
*DRAMATIC DRUMS!*

whut

whut

Yes. This is really happening.

The scientists and Fritz have made this crappy robot for Moloch to live in while he’s still controlling the interweb. I’m crying inside, you guys. See what I do for you? See how I suffer?

Moloch is just thrilled to be alive again. He happily kills Fritz by using his patented head-snap move. Fritz happily dies. The other scientist is just fine with this. Willow looks scared. Ugh.

Jenny goes online to ask her Technopagan ‘group’ to help form a circle…online…to put Moloch back in the book.

Moloch wants to give everything to Willow, as a thank you for bringing him back to life from the book. Willow is really unhappy that he pretended to be human and that he loved her. He tells her he does love her. Look out, Willow! That usually means a snapped neck. I wish he’d snap my neck and put me out of my recapping misery.

Buffy and Xander sneak inside. Buffy knocks out the useless security guy at the front desk and sees this:

The sad thing is that they are serious

COME ON NOW. THIS IS JUST EMBARRASSING ALL OF US.

They go into another room and the doors all lock. The lights turn off. Red lights flash and an alarm goes off. Some sort of gas starts spraying from the ceiling. Yep, Moloch knows they’re there. Good job, idiots.

Jenny gets her internet friends online. They form a circle around the world. She gets Giles to read the spell and starts typing it. I don’t know what program, exactly, she’s typing it INTO, but I gave up a long time ago, friends.

Xander and Buffy bang on the doors. They’re trapped. Trapped and slowly dying from the gas. Luckies.

Willow wants to leave. She tells Moloch she’ll never be his, because she’s an idiot. He says, “pity,” and prepares to snap Willow’s neck. She doesn’t even try to dodge him. Not even a little.

Giles keeps reading the spell. It’s working. Moloch loses some of the grip he has…on the…internet? Or something. Anyways, Buffy is able to open the door and runs in. She takes a huge leap to kick him in the chest and bounces off him with a hilarious metallic clang. I laughed.

Giles and Jenny finish the spell. They open the book but Moloch isn’t in there. Where is he?

Moloch’s kicked off the internet and is now trapped in the stupid robot body the scientists built. He’s pissed about it, too. Oh Moloch. That makes two of us.

Buffy, Xander and Willow try to escape but Moloch busts right through the wall. I’m not even going to try anymore, you guys. Moloch and Buffy fight and Willow smashes him with a fire extinguisher and then Buffy tricks Moloch into punching a fuse box and then he explodes and his head falls off oh my effing god wtf why.

The next day Giles and Jenny Calendar talk. Jenny is charmed by Giles as she SHOULD BE.

Buffy, Willow and Xander talk by the fountain. Buffy and Xander cheer Willow up a little by saying that they too have screwed up love lives. Xander and the praying she-mantis, Buffy and her Angel/David Boranose. Yay! They’ll never have a happy, normal relationship on the Hellmouth! They laugh, and then are depressed. HA. Not as depressed as I am, you jerks.

I can only assume these are the expressions they had after reading this terrible excuse for a script.

I can only assume these are the expressions they had after reading this terrible excuse for a script.

Please like & share:
  • s

    I am rewatching this series with you and was sorely tempted to skip this episode, but in a move of solidarity, I decided to suffer through it with you. Oh BtVS. So many hits, but still so many misses.

  • Josie Morin

    Haha, that’s funny, I also was tempted to skip it. You are a true friend to suffer through this one with me. BFFS!

    On the plus side, Joss will redeem himself with the next episode: The Puppet Show!

  • out_there

    Outside on the school steps, a student has the very first laptop ever made. He must be super rich, cause I don’t know many kids that had laptops in 1997 BUT WHATEVER JOSS. I’ll just shut up now I guess.

    Actually, when I was in year 9, which would have been ’96, there’d been a laptop pilot program so there were about two whole classes of kids that had laptops at school for notetaking.

    So, yeah, not impossible. Of course, not something that my parents could have afforded (back when laptops were $2K or so and pretty damn heavy to be taking to school every day).