Buffy's biology teacher is killed by a giant praying mantis that assumes the form of a beautiful substitute teacher.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Price Jackson ...
Blayne Moll (as Jackson Price)
William Monaghan ...
Homeless Guy
Michael Ross Verona ...
Karim Oliver ...
Bud #1


Xander dreams of greatness. In Biology class the teacher, Dr. Gregory, is secretly eaten afterward, disappears, and is declared missing. Meanwhile, Angel gives Buffy another cryptic warning (and his black leather jacket) but no real personal info. A substitute teacher Ms. Natalie French steps in to continue the Biology lesson on insects, and her good looks guarantee volunteers after class. Later, Cordelia Chase finds Dr. Gregory decapitated. To Buffy's surprise vampires flee from Ms. French, leaving her and Giles to wonder why. She asks pheromone-soaked Xander to come study with her after class. Another student, Blayne also went to her house, but he didn't return from his previous appointment with Ms. French. When Xander arrives at her house he ends up drugged and locked up in her basement. He still refuses to believe his 'hot date' is a shape-shifting bug, even after being trapped with Blayne, but when she resumes her mantis-form, the and puts Xander in the cage with Blayne he ... Written by RubyRed67

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Release Date:

24 March 1997 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The tease at the end of the episode shows one of the Mantis Monster eggs, hidden away in the science lab, beginning to hatch. This could be interpreted as a reference to Creature Feature Cinema, where the monster is frequently shown to have survived in some form, regardless of intent for a sequel. In continuity-based television, however, such a tease is almost always indicative of a follow-up sometime later in the series. In this case, the fate of the creature's offspring is never addressed. See more »


Doctor Gregory was giving the class a lecture about ants. But he projects an image of a beetle onto the wall behind him. See more »


Giles: Dr. Ferris Carlyle spent years transcribing a lost pre-Germanic language. What he discovered he kept to himself until several teenage boys were murdered in the Cotswolds. Then he went hunting for it.
Buffy: It being...
Giles: Uh, he calls her a She-Mantis. This type of creature, the Kleptes-Virgo, or, or virgin-thief, appears in - in many cultures. The Greek sirens, the Celtic sea maidens, who - who tore the living flesh from the bones of, um...
Buffy: Giles, while we're young!
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Crazy Credits

Misspelling: "Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation is the aurthor of this motion picture for purposes of copyright and other laws." See more »


Featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Gift (2001) See more »


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Buffy the bug-hunter.
14 June 2015 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

When Buffy's biology teacher Dr. Gregory (William Monaghan) goes missing (only to turn up later minus his noggin), sexy substitute teacher Natalie French (Musetta Vander) takes over his classes, much to the delight of the male pupils who are only too happy to help out with the class project. What they don't realise—until it's too late, that is—is that Miss French is actually a shape-shifting she-mantis, a giant cannibalistic insect looking for virgins to fertilise her eggs, after which she devours their heads!

As a fan of cheesy science fiction films, particularly those featuring giant man-eating bugs, I think I enjoyed this one a little more than your average Buffy fan. The episode starts off in fine form with Xander fantasising about Buffy, impressing the girl with both his vampire killing and fret-widdling skills, but he soon forgets about the slayer once Miss French starts to release her pheromones. Xander is lured to the home of his new teacher, who is waiting for him in a cleavage enhancing dress, clutching a pair of Martinis; his dream of scoring with an older lady turns into a nightmare, however, when he wakes up in a cage in the basement, with Miss French now in mantis form, preparing to lay her eggs.

Xander's awkwardness with women provides some genuinely funny moments, and Musetta Vander is a nice distraction, but for me this episode is a winner thanks to the terrific mantis monster at the end, a cool animatronic creation that reminds me just how much I prefer practical creature effects over CGI.

7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.

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