Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1×09 – The Puppet Show


Talent show? More like...no-talent show. Amirite??

Talent show? More like…no-talent show. Amirite??

Previously on a very special episode of BTVS: Oh my effing god what a terrible episode. Joss let us all know the dangers of the INTERNET. Willow gets a boyfriend. An INTERNET boyfriend that is. A demon was released into the INTERNET – YES THE INTERNET – by scanning the pages of the book it was trapped in. Some red shirts showed up and were killed. RIP Red Shirts! We’ll never speak of you again! Just like we’ll never again speak of this episode. Jenny Calendar shows up. Giles hates THE INTERNET. I can’t continue talking about this episode anymore.



Someone creepy is watching a dancer stretch. He’s a heavy breather and it’s disturbing. He groans, “I will be whole. I will be new” as the dancer warms up. We don’t see who’s talking but my bets are that it’s THE INTERNET.

The dancer is still warming up backstage and it turns out there’s a talent show and it’s tryouts.  We see a juggler, and a violinist and a girl playing the tuba (really?), a magician, a ventriloquist, and finally, the scariest thing of all: Cordelia singing.

She’s singing ‘The Greatest Love of All’ and can I be the only person in the world to say that I’ve never liked Whitney Houston? Am I alone in this? Cause, ugh.

Cordelia is horribly off key and completely oblivious that she sucks. Giles is sitting in the seats, watching. He looks like he wants to die.

He cuts her off and says it’s lovely in his sexy accent. Oh Giles, I love you so much. You’re so hot.

Giles calls on the next act: Lisa and her Amazing Tuba. As she starts puffing Willow, Xander and Buffy show up to bug Giles. He’s all, “Oh. You three” in the most disappointed voice.

They tease him about being forced to be the producer of this talent show. Giles is not pleased that the new guy, Principal Snyder, made him do this. I’m pumped that Principal Snyder is finally here! Yes!

Giles:  If you had any shred of decency, you would have participated, or at least, um, helped.

Buffy:  Nah! I think I’ll take on your traditional role… and watch!

Xander:  And mock!

Willow:  And laugh!

They get up to leave, pleased with their coolness and immediately bump into Principal Snyder.  He heard every word they said AND he knows they left the school grounds yesterday. He volunteers them to participate in the talent show. They beg to be spared this awful fate but he doesn’t have any pity for them.

Snyder: My predecessor, Mr. Flutie, may have gone in for all that touchy-feely relating nonsense, but he was eaten. You’re in my world now. And Sunnydale has touched and felt for the last time.


Buffy, Xander and Willow sit back down, dejected. The tuba player has finished her morose solo. It’s time for the next act: the ventriloquist. WTF.

Buffy uses a Buffyism regarding the dummy: “It gave me the wig.”

Huh. I remembered that wrong I could’ve sworn the word was ‘wiggins’. I am losing my mind in my old age.

The ventriloquist introduces himself as Morgan and then, in the worst attempt ever, makes the dummy speak. Morgan’s mouth moves just as much as if he was talking when he makes ‘Sid’ speak. Booo! Get off the stage! You suck!

Suddenly, the act changes. Sid’s voice drops and when he speaks Morgan’s mouth no longer moves. Sid tells Morgan that his jokes suck and even he can see his lips move. The people around him perk up, pleased that the act is getting both better and funnier. Everyone is happy, including Sid the Dummy.

Later, Emily the ballerina is alone in the locker room. She hears a noise and does what every normal person always does: she yells, “Is anybody there?”


Emily goes to investigate. We see the demon’s POV and he creeps up behind her, muttering, “I will be flesh!” Emily turns and screams. What an original scene!


More talent show rehearsals. Buffy, Xander and Willow are holding small booklets and practicing their scene. Xander raises his hand in the air and then decides he can’t do whatever dramatic scene they’re about to read.

Sid whistles at them and makes a suggestive remark. Willow jumps up, smiling. She walks over and tells Morgan that he’s getting really good at ventriloquism. Sid keeps up with the suggestive comments, asking Willow if she wants to do a little reheasing with him. This gets Xander all up in arms. Then Sid says, “Once you go wood, nothin’s as good!” I laughed but the three friends are not impressed. They don’t think sexually suggestive jokes are funny, dammit!

Principal Snyder and Giles chat. Snyder tells Giles that it’s going to be a very different Sunnydale High. No more shenanigans!

Emily has been found. Lots and lots of screaming happens.

Giles tells Buffy, Willow and Xander what happened. It wasn’t a vampire. Her heart was removed. With a knife, which means not a demon but maybe a human. Buffy doesn’t agree that it’s a human. She still thinks demon. Giles disagrees and once again I say: listen to Buffy. Always listen to Buffy. She’s always right.

The group splits up and talks to kids about Emily. Everyone agrees that the last person to see her was Morgan. They say that Morgan’s been acting paranoid and gets a lot of headaches and argues with his dummy all the time. Okay. Seems pretty straightforward.

Buffy finds Morgan. He’s on the stage, talking to the dummy Sid. Buffy doesn’t think that’s weird or anything. She asks him about Emily but Morgan didn’t notice anything unusual. Morgan gets a sudden migraine and when Buffy asks him if he’s okay, Sid tells her to leave Morgan alone. Buffy still thinks it’s Morgan controlling his dummy. Oh Buffy, you so silly.

The group meet up at the library. Giles, Willow and Xander all agree that all signs point to Morgan.  Buffy still thinks it’s a demon but we all know what that gets her. Giles says he’ll look into the demon theory but for now they have to lay low cause Principal Snyder is watching them like a hawk.

Buffy is assigned Morgan Watch. She walks down the empty hallway. One may think she’s looking for her pants or maybe the rest of her dress but no. That is her outfit.

Helloooo? Have you seen some extra fabric? My bum is so chilly!

Helloooo? Have you seen some extra fabric? My bum is so chilly!

She finds Morgan’s locker. Willow has once again ‘hacked’ the school computers and given her the lock combo. Because Willow is a nerd. Never forget that.

I guess Willow failed in her nerd-duties cause Buffy just gives up on turning the lock and instead smashes it right through the locker door. There! Locker open!

Just as she reaches inside Principal Snyder grabs her hand. Where’d you come from??

He’s really intimidating. Snyder tells her school is over, go home. He doesn’t tolerate loitering, horrible heart-removing murders or smoking.  Buffy assures him she does none of that.

Snyder knows she’s up to something. He tells her to get whatever she was getting so Buffy reaches in for the dummy case. It’s empty.

Morgan and Sid are hiding behind a door. They’ve seen everything. Everything!

Morgan and Sid argue. Sid wants him to do something to Buffy and I don’t think he’s talking about taking her to that elusive ice cream bar. Morgan refuses so Sid says he’ll do it. He wants to be free.

Buffy’s at home in her room. Joyce tells her she’s excited about watching her in the talent show. Buffy’s mortified and asks her mom to stay far away from it, or she’ll end up getting stage fright. Joyce attempts to be a good parent and asks if everything is ok. Buffy says it is, in the most unconvincing way ever. Joyce tells her to get some sleep and as she turns off the light we see that Sid is watching through the window. Hey! That’s Angel’s job!

Later, a sleeping Buffy suddenly wakes up. She hears tiny footsteps and looks under her bed. I guess she sees Sid but the shot is so dark I can’t tell. Step it up, lighting team!

Buffy screams and gets out of bed as Joyce rushes in. Buffy is scared and runs over, telling her there’s something in her bed. She lets Joyce go and lift the covers and I’m like whaaaaaa, Buffy? You’re the Slayer. Don’t send your mom over to the danger. It’s not like Angel’s here with his shirt off.

Joyce doesn’t find anything and asks if she had a nightmare. Buffy’s not even sure anymore. She says she’s sorry she woke her up and Joyce says, “Don’t worry, I was dreaming about bills.” Cause she’s AN ADULT. I’m sure she goes to do some more tax returns when she leaves the room. Cause she’s AN ADULT doing ADULT things.

The next day, at the talent show rehearsals, Buffy tells Giles and the gang she’s pretty sure that Sid the Dummy was in her room last night. He was alone, and alive. He ran across her room and pounced on her face.  “Like a cat!” Xander says. Buffy agrees, telling them that when she turned the lights on it was already gone out her window. “Like a cat!” Xander repeats. Buffy insists it was Sid but they don’t believe her and I just want to shake all of them.

Giles has managed to find something that supports Buffy’s demon theory. Blah blah, brotherhood of seven demons, human form, need brains and a heart to maintain humanity so they don’t revert back to their demon forms yadda yadda.

Since demons are preternaturally strong and Morgan’s looking weaker everyday, it doesn’t seem that Morgan is the demon.  They all look up at the stage. Morgan has Sid on his lap. It looks like Morgan’s in pain again; he’s holding his head in his hands and wincing.

History class. Buffy looks over to Morgan, who has Sid on his lap. Sid twists his head around and gives Buffy the hairy eyeball. It’s sufficiently creepy. Buffy wimps out and looks away, then looks back. He’s still staring. Staring. Staring into my soul.



The teacher notices Sid whispering into Morgan’s ear. She calls Morgan’s name and Sid tells her, “Morgan has other things on his mind!” This gets a laugh from the class, angering the teacher. She should be used to it, cause there’s no way the class didn’t already get a laugh from that terrible outfit. Congrats, Buffy! Finally, someone wore something worse than your outfits!

I'm a dried-up spinster!

I’m a dried-up spinster at age 29!

The teacher storms over and takes Sid away. She puts Sid in a small cupboard. As she starts teaching again Sid calls out to Buffy, “I’m still watching you!” from inside the cupboard. The teacher’s pretty pissed off and tells Morgan to can it.

After school, Morgan goes back to history class to get Sid back. The teacher asks him if he’s okay, saying he seems ‘detached’. Morgan makes this face:


OMG I'M fine just give me my dolllllllllllll

OMG I’M fine just give me my dolllllllllllll

The teacher opens the cupboard but Sid’s not there. Morgan has a meltdown.

Buffy, Willow and Giles walk into the library to find Xander holding Sid. Xander acts kinda dickish, demonstrating to Buffy that Sid isn’t real. He makes lame jokes and works Sid’s mouth. Sid plays dead but Buffy doesn’t like it one bit. She goes to talk to Morgan, since he’s finally alone with no Sid.

Buffy looks for Morgan backstage but no one seems to be there. No one that is, but good ole Principal Snyder. Snyder’s all creepy and menacing again. That guy is a gem.

Snyder once again asks Buffy what she’s look ing for. When she asks if he’s seem Morgan he replies that with everything that’s been going on he’s not sure how safe it is for a girl to be alone here. He comes across as a serial killer or maybe, dare we say…a demon??? Buffy refuses to be intimidated so he turns and leaves her alone. Atta girl, Buff!

Xander’s alone with Sid while Willow and Giles research in another part of the library.

Willow: Look what I found in the section on toys and magic: ‘On rare occasions inanimate objects of human quality, such as dolls and mannequins, already mystically possessed of consciousness, have acted upon their desire to become human by harvesting organs.’

Giles:  Emily’s heart.

Willow:  Morgan’s dummy.

Giles:  Hmm.

Hmm, Giles? HMM?

Back in the other part of the library, Xander realizes that Sid isn’t on the chair where he left him. He lets out a scream and jumps on a chair like a girl. Giles and Willow race over to see what’s happening and when they find out they start acting like a rat’s on the floor. Giles even drops his book. It’s awesome.

Buffy keeps looking for Morgan. She finds him, sans brain. She backs away and a huge iron chandelier falls on her head, knocking her out. Sing to meeee, my angel of muuuuuusic!

Buffy wakes up and struggles to lift the heavy chandelier off her. Sid pops up and tries to stab her in the head a few times but she manages to knock him away. She wiggles out and pins Sid against the wall. They both tell each other that it’s over, now you’ll never be human. Wait, what?

Turns out that Sid isn’t the bad guy after all. He’s a demon hunter that was cursed into a dummy. He thought Buffy was the demon.

Sid’s managed to kill six of the seven demons. He needs to kill the seventh to lift the curse he’s under. But now that the demon has a heart and a brain he can keep the human body he’s in and he’ll be moving on. So whoever doesn’t show up for the talent show is the demon.

TALENT SHOW!? Giles remembers that he completely forgot about it. He rushes away.

Buffy and Sid sit up in the catwalk, watching the stage. They bond a little and Buffy tells him she’s the Slayer. He’s impressed, especially as he thinks about her muscle tone. Buffy’s grossed out. Sid reminds her that he used to be a guy and Buffy figures out that once the last demon is killed, Sid himself dies since his real body turned to dust long ago.

Giles pulls everyone in the talent show to the stage. He’s confused: everyone’s here. No one’s missing. They decide the demon isn’t part of the talent show after all.

Buffy goes looking for Sid but instead she finds Morgan’s brain and is all ewwwwww.

Willow, Xander and Buffy look up Morgan on the school computer. Buffy can’t figure out why the demon rejected Morgan’s big, smart brain. He was the smartest kid in school. Wait, I thought Willow was? Willow looks at the school nurse files and discovers that Morgan had brain cancer, which explains the headaches but not why he was in school and not on anti-cancer and anti-death treatments but whatever I’ll just shut up.

The gang decide that the demon had to give up the diseased brain and will go for the smartest brain in the school again and since Morgan’s gone…Buffy and Xander look at Willow. Willow’s all, “What?”

Back at the talent show, Giles is helping the kid with the magic act set up his guillotine wait what? The kid, Marc, says that Giles is so smart and by the way, his assistant is sick so can Giles help with his act? Giles, the smartest person in Sunnydale, lies down and allows himself to be strapped in, even after watching the guillotine slice a melon in a practice run.  Seriously, Giles? Even after the incident with the hyena zookeeper?

Giles, his head in the guillotine, asks Marc why it isn’t aimed at his neck for the trick. Marc tells him that this way the head gets sliced open and the brains pour out. Giles is still not getting it and asks what the trick is. Marc’s all, what trick? and starts chopping at the rope holding the blade up. Really Giles? Really?

The gang suddenly realize that Giles is the one in danger. Buffy runs backstage to see  Marc still hacking away at the rope. She tackles him just as Giles is about to be minus one brain. They start fighting.

The rope snaps and the blade starts coming down. Xander grabs it just in time.

Willow chops at the lock with Marc’s axe.

As Buffy fights the demon, he starts reverting back to his evil demon form.

Sid jumps on the demon’s back and starts stabbing it.

Willow finally manages to chop the lock off and Giles jumps up just in time for Buffy to kick the demon onto the bench. Xander lets go of the rope and that’s all she wrote for that demon. His head is chopped off.

Sid walks over, saying that the demon will come back unless he stabs him in the heart. So he totally does and then dies himself. It’s all very moving.

Buffy picks Sid up and holds him in her arms. “It’s over,” she says, just as the stage curtain is drawn back to reveal this:

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Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 2.09.26 AM Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 2.10.59 AM Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 2.11.26 AM Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 2.11.16 AM


Principal Snyder: I don’t get it. What is it? Avant-garde?

The credits start to run and we are treated to one of the greatest moments in the series. Xander, Willow and Buffy are performing a scene from Oedipus Rex and they are terrible. Xander is awful. Willow is terrified. Buffy is irritated and rolls her eyes a lot. Xander starts fumbling his lines but manages to get through it. Buffy nudges Willow who suddenly bolts offstage. Xander and Buffy step together. IT IS THE BEST .