This post is the opinion of Netanel Ganin and is in no way to be construed as an official communication from any section of any institution.
S01, E04 – Teacher’s Pet
So the new science teacher is a giant praying mantis. She gets a vague-ish name of “She-Mantis” a “Kleptes-Virgo” but there isn’t much more explanation other than “she’s a giant praying mantis”. Despite the cliff hanger ending, we never see her species again. [If you’ve read the comics lemme know if any more giant praying mantises show up!]
So naturally at some point Buffy will need to do some research to defeat this MOTW.
This is mostly a gag line, so Giles doesn’t say anything — but I will!
General works on mantises will be found at QL505.83 [Zoology—Invertebrates—Arthropoda—Insects—Mantodea (Mantids)—General works, treatises, and textbooks], but remember, Giles’ colleague also knew of her back in England, so you may also want to check:
QL505.865.A3-Z [Zoology—Invertebrates—Arthropoda—Insects—Mantodea (Mantids)—Geographical distribution—Europe—By region, country, or island, A-Z], and don’t forget to cutter for England!
Let’s add GR752.A-Z [Folklore—By subject—Nature—Animals, plants, and minerals—Animals. Animal lore—Special kinds of animals—Insects—Other insects, A-Z] into the mix too [cutter for ‘mantis’] because folklore works on mantises might be just the thing for this particular beastie.
Some good DDC spots to check will be: scientific works: 595.727 [Science–Natural history of plants and animals–Animals (Zoology)–Specific taxonomic groups of animals–Arthropoda–Insecta–Apterygota; Orthoptera and related orders–Orthoptera and related orders–Mantodea] or folkloric works: 398.3692727 [Social sciences–Customs, etiquette & fokllore–Folklore–History and criticism of specific subjects of folklore–Real phenomena as subjects of folklore–Animals–Mantodea]
So finally, we’re sure it’s a mantis, and Buffy has a plan to take it down — bat sonar! But wherever do we get audio recordings of bat sonar? Buffy can’t just pull up a youtube vid and blast it at the mantis, after all. Never fear, the never before seen and never to be seen again vid library is here!
Needless to say, the vid library is a smashing success and Giles manages to transfer some audio onto a hand-held tape recorder for Buffy. She ventures off to face the mantis and smashes on that play button:
Womp womp. Sounds like Giles was recording some filing instructions? But for whom? Are there unseen student employees at the Sunnydale High library? Maybe he’s working on a paper and just getting his thoughts in order. And what’s the second half of this? [it gets cut off by Buffy flipping to the other sound which had the bat sounds] Maybe “it’s extremely important to file not simply alphabetically…but also by subject matter” “…but also by mystical rune” “…but also by sexy cover of Behind Blue Eyes”
This, not “hey whatever happened to the egg she left behind” is the REAL unanswered question of the episode.
S01, E05 – Never Kill A Boy On The First Date
One thing that makes BtVS so great is that they don’t forget about the Big Bad or the myth-arc or whatever you want to call it. Even in MOTW episodes, they take pains to check in with The Master monologuing in his church, or Angel snarking with Dru and Spike. There are long strings of X-Files MOTW in which the show (and Mulder and Scully) act like there’s no imminent alien invasion or Mulder’s sister wasn’t just replaced by a bee-clone. [Or whatever was going on with her]
Anyway — before we check in with The Master we get a cut that I really like
Then we slam cut to The Master’s DUSTY-ass book
See the show is pretty consistent on knowledge being power. You study, do your research, learn about what you’re going to face, and you’ll succeed. Heck it was the secondary thesis of the previous episode [after, sex is bad] Sure there’s a lot about friendship, practicing fighting technique, being magically strong, etc. but Giles and his book-learning ethic is a constant edge on Buffy’s side.
That’s why I like this cut, The Master reads too! He’s got Buffy’s strength and Giles’ appreciation of old tomes, which makes him a more formidable adversary. Though he really should take better care of a rare book like that. Being kept in his dank church can’t be good, preservation-wise.
Into the library comes boy of the week Owen, and Giles has some real bad customer service:
He’s specifically looking some Emily Dickinson, though doesn’t say which work. Giles unhelpfully waves him:
But I’m here to provide a little more information. In LCC Emily Dickinson’s works can be found at PS1541 and in Dewey at 811.4.
Later, Owen is picking up Buffy for a date and she and Giles need to do a quick play-acting to explain why he’s at her house at night.
This presumably further cements for Owen that librarians are cold and unforgiving and libraries aren’t welcoming places. Not repping us so well, Giles.
Giles rushes off to guard the morgue while Buffy’s on her date. Willow is concerned for Giles’ safety.