FEATURE: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Bad Eggs
Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy and Angel's relationship is intensifying, Cordelia and Xander's is also yet still very closet based and Buffy's having difficulty hiding her identity from her mum.
Bad Eggs finds the gang each looking after eggs as part of their sexual health education, learning about the responsibility of having their own offspring. Only these eggs are offspring of something a whole lot nastier than a chicken as the Bezoar Mother takes over Sunnydale High one student at a time. Buffy sets out to deal with the problem, but also has to contend with two vampire brothers, Lyle and Tector Gorch, who have set their sights on a showdown with the Slayer.
Bad Eggs is another one of those episodes, like last week's Ted, which I had written off long ago and simply never went back to. It's still one of the lesser outings for the Scooby Gang but there's a lot to like about it as well. The script has plenty of laugh out loud moments; there's Giles' reaction to the eggs, Buffy's incredulity at becoming a single mother and Xander and Cordelia's sparring to name but a few. It's also notable for its quieter moments, particularly the scene between Buffy and Joyce at the beginning of the episode in which the latter bemoans her daughter for not taking responsibility and despairing when Buffy quips about saving the world from vampires. Sarah Michelle Gellar and Kristine Sutherland have such a wonderful chemistry that any scene in which its just the two of them is welcome and it's refreshing to still be in the 'Joyce doesn't know' section of the series.
So then to the rest of the episode; when I watched it as a wee 'un, I simply didn't have the science fiction knowledge that this episode requires; it's packed full of references (as you'd expect from a Whedon-penned script) with Alien and Invasion of the Body Snatchers being the most notable. Later in the same year, Robert Rodriguez' The Faculty would hit cinemas which tackles a similar parasite in a high school premise that Bad Eggs does and it would be remiss of me not to compare the two.
The Faculty remains one of my favourite teen horror/sci-fi combinations and the film and Buffy share a fair amount of the same DNA. The Faculty features a group of misfits (amongst them Buffy alum Clea DuVall as well as Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett) who realise their school is being overrun by alien parasites and attempt to kill the queen before their world is lost. Remarkably similar then to Buffy's own tale, but actually a whole lot better. Given more room to breathe, the concept is allowed to affect each character in turn whilst a lot of Buffy's supporting cast are relegated to minor spots in the episode; Angel, Willow and Cordelia in particular.
The Faculty is also more knowing with its references and with Kevin Williamson on screenplay duties, it crafts darkly witty take on the bodysnatcher sub-genre. The film benefits from a bigger budget and the reveal of the queen is rather impressive, remaining so to this date, despite the 16 years which have passed (oh dear God). However, for Bad Eggs, it's an episode which betrays its budget, particularly in the school basement scene. The styrofoam pieces of concrete and the one eye representing the Mother Bezoar look really cheap whilst the bezoars themselves manage to get away with looking rubbery through sheer ick factor. That said, the scene in which the bezoar first releases itself and wraps its tendrils around Buffy is really creepy and the confrontation in the bathroom channels the post-chestbursting moment from Alien particularly well.
If you haven't seen The Faculty, I heartily recommend it (if you hadn't guessed) but in the meantime, Bad Eggs is no bad substitute. A better episode than I gave it credit for previously, it's more notable for its quippy dialogue and quieter moments than it is for this instalment's feature creature.
Quote of the Week:
Xander - 'Can I just say geeeurgggh?"
Buffy - "I see your geeeurgggh and raise you a nnnyaaaargh"
Inventive Kill: Xander inadvertently boils his Bezoar alive by attempting to cheat his assignment.
Demonology 101: Lyle Gorch will be back in the third season episode Homecoming.
You can read Becky's look at Ted here.