Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 1, Episode 9

The Puppet Show (5 May 1997)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Fantasy
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,398 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 1 critic

Buffy suspects that a ventriloquist's dummy may be harvesting organs from classmates performing in a talent show.



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Title: The Puppet Show (05 May 1997)

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Episode cast overview:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Rich Werner ...
Morgan Shay (as Richard Werner)
Burke Roberts ...
Mrs. Jackson
Tom Wyner ...
Sid (voice)
Krissy Carlson ...
Emily (Dancer)
Michelle Miracle ...
Locker Girl


Mr. Snyder, Sunnydale High's new principal after the devouring of fatherly Mr. Robert Flutie, believes in order and discipline to instill school spirit, so he orders Giles to produce a talent show and punishes the absentee trio by forcibly enrolling them as candidates. Then dancer Emily is found with her heart cut out, but demons don't usually use a knife, yet one was found next to her, so the human student contestants are screened. The weirdest suspect proves to be gifted ventriloquist Morgan Shay, who treats his inseparable wooden dummy Sid as real, in fact takes orders from it in private, and if it is as Giles suspects one of seven demon who take possession of human bodies, anybody may be turned bad by it... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 May 1997 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


During a panel discussion that was a DVD extra for the Season 7 DVDs, Joss Whedon said that after they shot this episode, they got a note from the network asking for the talent-show scene from Oedipus to be removed. The note said: "We realize that it's Shakespeare, but does he have to talk about sleeping with his mother?" The ancient Greek play Oedipus Rex was actually written by the Athenian playwright Sophocles about two thousand years before Shakespeare was born. See more »


While Buffy is searching around in the backstage area, there is a mirror in the background of the shot. For a brief second, you can see the reflection of a crew member. See more »


Principal Snyder: There are things I will not tolerate: students loitering on campus after school, horrible murders with hearts being removed, and also smoking.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The scoobies do their talent show theatrical scene during the closing credits. See more »


References The Usual Suspects (1995) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Written by Nerf Herder
Performed by Brandon K. Verrett
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Buffy The "Dummy" slayer?...
10 April 2014 | by (victoria b.c canada) – See all my reviews

When Buffy, Xander, and Willow are caught by the new principle by making fun of the talent auditions, he forces the three of them to audition themselves. They happen to encounter a talented but very peculiar ventriloquist (The paring of Morgan (Human) & Sid (Dummy) People are getting killed off one by one with their hearts being removed. Morgan is the prime suspect, but Buffy is more frightened by the Dummy. With the school shrouded in mystery over the killer, Buffy will have to get over her phobia of dummies to solve this mystery and keep the school safe

This episode is extremely creepy! I might raise some eyebrows by saying this, but Sid makes Chucky look like a walk in the park in comparison. That dummy gave me the willies in many ways. Joss Whedon knows this and takes every opportunity to pray on these fears. Wait until you see the shot of the dummy leering in the window while Buffy sleeps! There is another suspenseful scene where the dummy stares at Buffy in class. The amazing score really adds to the atmosphere in this one. It's one of the best scores I've heard since the original Halloween movie. That may be an exaggeration to some, but to me it isn't. What was cool about this episode is how vulnerable and fragile Buffy is here. She always has moments of vulnerability, but I truly felt the fear from her in this one. Not only was it great psychology but good storytelling as well. I give major credit to Sarah Michelle Gellar for giving such a great performance. It also benefits from some sly humor at times. I did feel the conclusion was a tad disappointing after some amazing buildup, but I do give it credit it for being rather unconventional at the same time. I just felt a better ending was needed after some terrific storytelling for 30 minutes or so.

Buffy fans should love this episode. Some may be disappointed at the lack of Vampire action, but this is a great mystery that is filled with some wonderful psychology. I don't know about everybody else, but I sure got the creeps from this one. I have but one request, now... I never want to hear Charisma Carpenter sing again as long as I live!

P.S. Stay for the end credits! I believe this was the first time in this series at this juncture for something to happen in the end credits


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