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05 June 2006 @ 07:46 am
2.4: Inca Mummy Girl  
Xander: Buffy? Where are your priorities? Tracking down a mummifying killer or making time for some Latin lover whose stock in trade is the breakage of hearts?

Prompts and questions are there to spark discussion. If they're useful or interesting to you, go ahead and respond to any aspect of them. But please feel free to bring up anything else that interests you, as long as it somehow relates to the episode under discussion.

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Inca Mummy Girl
Writer: Matt Kiene + Joe Reinkemeyer
Director: Ellen S. Pressman
Airdate: October 6, 1997

1. Dangerous Smoochies
Xander: Well, yeah, I'm gonna take Willow, but I'm not gonna *take* Willow. In the sense of "take me. See, with you we're three and everybody's safe. Without you, we're two.
Buffy: Ah, and we enter dateville. Romance, flowers...
Xander: Lips.

There's definitely the sense in this episode that romantic relationships and the physical contact that come along with them introduce dangers. What sorts of dangers might be included in the warnings about going from three to two, in introducing romance, flowers, and lips, and in entering dateville? Does this merely illuminate dynamics that already exist among the characters? Or does it make concrete dynamics that have been a bit free-form up until now? Can we relate this to other relationships in the episode? In the course of the season?

2. Meet the Band
Devon: Let me guess: not your type? What does a girl have to do to impress you?
Oz: Well, it involves a feathered boa and a theme to "A Summer Place". I can't discuss it here.

What kind of possibilities does the introduction of not just Oz but also Devon represent for the character groupings? For the storyline? For other types of appeal for the show? How effective or interesting is the segue to meeting Devon and Oz (Cordy's brief relationship with Devon)? In what ways to Devon and Oz's interactions together give us some key themes for the women of season 2? How much does Oz's original characterization remain as he continues to appear on the show?

3. Xander's Relationships with Women
Xander: Okay, I have something to tell you. And it's kind of a secret, and it's, um, a little bit scary. I like you. A lot. And I want you to go to with me the dance.
Ampata: Why was that so scary?
Xander: Well, because you never know if a girl's gonna say "yes", or if... she's going to laugh in your face and pull out your still beating heart and crush it into the ground with her heel.

What kind of material does this episode provide regarding Xander's relationships with women? Are there new developments with Xander's connection to Willow? Buffy? If Buffy wants to be a normal girl, in what ways does Xander want to be a normal guy? How do the different female characters contribute to the building up of (or breaking down of) Xander's confidence? Do the events impact the way that he interacts with girls that he likes in future episodes in this season?

4. Sympathetic Monsters
Ampata: Thank you. You are always thinking of others before yourself. You remind me of someone from very long ago: the Inca Princess.
Buffy: Cool! A princess.
Ampata: They told her that she was the only one. That only she could defend her people from the nether world. Out of all the girls in her generation... ...she was the only one...
Buffy: ...chosen.
Ampata: Do you know the story?
Buffy: It's fairly familiar.

What do we think of Ampata's version of the Inca Princess's story? How effective are the parallels between the Princess and Buffy? In what ways does the episode create sympathy for the princess by comparing her to Buffy? Or in what ways does it create sympathy for Buffy by comparing her to the princess? Taking this from another direction, how about the dangers that Ampata presents? Are there dangers that we see Buffy present as well? Could we draw parallels to the way that Buffy & Ampata are forced into circumstances, and also imagine some not so pleasant potential outcomes of that?

Other Potential Topics: Xander's enthusiasm for Twinkies; the introduction of Jonathan; adding more and more sites to Sunnydale; the mummy storyline and horror cliches; the use of music in episodes
your royal pie-ness: dork!XAnder (singingllama)entrenous88 on June 6th, 2006 03:44 pm (UTC)
I've always thought of this episode as a stand-alone in many ways, but it really does highlight some interesting themes that become crucial to the overall arc of the season. It's funny, but the latter part of the season's emphasis on "sex is dangerous, sex changes people" really begins to build from earlier episodes, and in this one in particular.

Of course here it's not sex per se, but the precursor to more serious physical interaction, kissing. From Xander's avoidance of Willow's lips, to the number of moments when Xander almost kisses Ampata, to the obvious way that Ampata kills by draining life-force via kisses, that simple contact becomes fraught and problematic. But even in the deadly kissing Ampata gives, at least until her body deteriorates and becomes obviously dessicated (ew to her arms coming off), there's an eroticism that gives us a nice link between sex and death and a basis for starting to be wary of what happens when the characters come together physically.