Buffy 2×04: Inca Mummy Girl

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Matt Kiene and Joe Reinkemeyer | Director: Ellen S. Pressmen | Aired: 10/06/1997]

“Inca Mummy Girl” is generally considered one of the weaker episodes in the entire series, a description that is fair but maybe a tad harsh. It’s a generally lightweight stand-alone episode that does have thematic relevance, but tosses most of it away by being redundant and heavy-handed. Sacrifice is the big topic at play, particularly sacrificing a chance at love for a duty to others. Xander also gets involved in the action in a way that makes us at first frustrated, then a little sad, and finally proud.

Let’s, in fact, begin with Xander, who starts “Inca Mummy Girl” being incredibly patronizing to Buffy by going off about the male exchange student that is to be staying at Buffy’s house for a little while. For one, Buffy already turned down Xander’s advances the previous year. Secondly, this really shows a sad lack of faith in Buffy’s ability to make competent relationship decisions when Xander has neither the evidence nor maturity to be making such assumptions. Now, from his perspective, I get it: he’s still got a thing for her and doesn’t want some random guy getting in her pants.

It’s interesting how Xander idolizes her beauty and strength while being constantly judgmental of her. Xander’s jokey tone makes it easy to cast off his comments as harmless, but it still goes to showcase an underlying disregard for his friend and jealousy of her companions. He’s also a bit of a hypocrite considering his own recurring pattern of demon dates! These are all flaws he’s going to have to work hard to overcome, even more so when he’s proven “right” later in the season in his suspicion of Angel.

Buffy, on the other hand, has too many of her own struggles to deal with to even notice Xander’s constant offhand remarks. “Inca Mummy Girl” is, if anything, a warning for Buffy of how her brutal life can transform her into something dangerous and unrecognizable. This is because Ampata is essentially Buffy from another time — a girl who was chosen to sacrifice her life for her people. Ampata even has her own Watcher called a Guardian (who, interestingly, shares a title with the proto-Watcher Guardian of “End of Days” [7×21]). Let’s just say that it’s no surprise that Xander is attracted to Ampata! “You’re always thinking of others before yourself,” Ampata tells Buffy. Then, unfortunately, she has to add on — transforming subtext into text — “You remind me of someone from very long ago: the Inca Princess.”

Putting aside the weak writing for a moment, look at what that princess has become: a desperate being looking to suck the life-force out of others to save herself! The circumstances of her demise may have been unjust and brutal — which, again, directly parallels Buffy being called to a harsh, short life — but that’s clearly no excuse for all the innocent people she’s killing now. Ampata serves as an example to Buffy that if she allows her growing desire for intimacy to trump her prudence and calling, unintended consequences will arise. Ampata tells Buffy she had to give up so much for others, even at the expense of love. But we can see that the alternative is much worse: love at the expense of life! Everything Ampata represents metaphorically plays into the build-up towards the big moment in “Surprise” [2×13], after which Buffy will come to see her choices as not so different from what Ampata is doing now.

I appreciate how, in an episode about sacrifice and being chosen, “Inca Mummy Girl” seems to go out of its way to showcase just how self-involved all the kids are. It’s not surprising of course, but it’s still fun to see how much maturing they have to do. Buffy is only half-listening to Willow’s frustrations over Xander, Willow is oblivious to Buffy’s struggles as the Slayer, and Xander only cares about getting something going with a pretty girl.

This is the type of moment where I remember why I love the show so much: these characters truly grow and mature not just in their physical appearance, but in who they are as people. Despite their shortcomings, we also see flashes of what they can (and will) become. In the case of “Inca Mummy Girl”, we see their self-centeredness contrasted when Buffy gives up going to the dance for slayer duties, Willow lets her crush on Xander go, and Xander offers up his own life to Ampata to spare Willow. These kids have their hearts in the right place, which is one of the things I love so much about them.

If there is one scene in “Inca Mummy Girl” that really sticks with me, it’s when Ampata decides to try to suck Xander’s life from him. Despite my lack of investment in Ampata and the overall stakes, the scene still manages to elicit some real tension and is actually very well staged. I particularly love the S2-style intimate lighting and Christophe Beck’s gripping score.

The coda to the episode is quite nice as well. While Buffy can sympathize with Ampata’s motives, Xander correctly points out that Buffy is far more selfless than her. Buffy sacrificing her life in “Prophecy Girl” [1×12] is nicely brought up by Xander, and then gets the favor returned when she throws back that he was there to bring her back. Buffy may make her own mistakes in life, and there are some interesting connections regarding her guilt over them (e.g. “I Only Have Eyes for You” [2×19]), but she will never resort to killing others to stay alive (e.g. Dawn in “The Gift” [5×22]). Smiles all around!

I can’t bring myself to truly dislike “Inca Mummy Girl”, but I can’t exactly call it a memorable episode either. It’s notable for warning Buffy about the consequences of steering away from her path to adulthood, sticking Willow in an adorable Eskimo costume, and subtly bringing Oz and Jonathan into the show. Unfortunately, it’s so obvious in its intentions that there are moments which don’t respect the intelligence of the viewer. The theme, pertinent though it may be, is also somewhat redundant of the ground covered by the Season 1 efforts “Never Kill a Boy on the First Date” [1×05] and “Angel” [1×07]. Overall it’s a mixed bag at best, but at least it makes an effort and is generally enjoyable.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Xander explaining to Buffy that he only sees Willow as a friend. As harsh as this was for Willow to overhear, it’s probably good it happened because it will help allow her to let go of him and be open to Oz, who just so happens to be introduced in this episode.
+ I love the way the Scoobies all quickly come to the realization that the mummy rising from its tomb is the most obvious answer to the question of the missing student. It starts out as a joke before they soon remember the world they live in. Very funny.
+ Cordelia saying she won’t be a prop-up doll for Devon even as she admits that’s exactly where she will be sums up Cordelia so well. She’s got depth, but she plays the social game anyway.
+ Xander explaining how to eat a Twinkie is him at his most charming.
+ Xander reminding Willow how much of a friend she is to him.
+ Xander asking Ampata if she’s a praying mantis. Haha.
+ The first appearance of Oz’s band: Dingos!
+ Willow’s Eskimo costume is awesome! I can totally see why it would pique Oz’s interest.
+ The subtle introduction of Oz to the show. Spike shows one way to introduce a new major character, but the subtle approach works wonders too!
+ Poor Jonathan is Ampata’s first target at the dance. Jonathan’s first words to her (“you’re hands are so… rough”) are reminiscent of Xander’s words to the praying mantis in “Teacher’s Pet” [1×04], which was brought up by Xander earlier. Love the references.

– Rodney growling is a little much.
– Xander talking to Ampata like she’s a child is annoying, but certainly not out of character.
– The actor playing the bodyguard is, charitably stated, not good.


Foreshadowing

* Buffy is shown as feeling increasingly frustrated by all the restrictions being placed on her. This finally reaches a boiling point in the next episode, “Reptile Boy” [2×05], in which Buffy decides to act impulsively in defiance of the authority figures in her life. It doesn’t end well.


[Score]

63/100

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43 thoughts on “Buffy 2×04: Inca Mummy Girl”

  1. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on October 9, 2007.]

    I like this episode a lot, we can see the characters have fun with it and we have great dialogue and character interaction. And I like the mummy story. The story allows the characters to develop, like the talk about the Chosen One relating to both Buffy and Ampata. And of course, we meet Oz. Great character.

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  2. [Note: Nix posted this comment on December 10, 2007.]

    One thing’s always bugged me: how does Ampata know English? How does she fit in so well? She fits in much better than I would, and I’m from Giles’s native culture. (For that matter she fits in better than Giles does.)

    (I guess she must be extracting knowledge from the people she kisses or something.)

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  3. [Note: Nix posted this comment on May 24, 2008.]

    I just noticed something. They actually take the mickey out of the corny plot *in the episode*. So the writers *knew* the plot was corny… and went ahead with it anyway.

    With an attitude like that, I think I’m rather glad this was their last ep.

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  4. [Note: Paula posted this comment on November 8, 2008.]

    Okay, my big big BIG problem with this episode (and I have similar complaints with a lot of BtVS episodes, but never quite so bad as here):

    What did who tell Joyce after “Ampata” just disappeared? (At this point, the truth obviously wasn’t an option. One season later in the show it would have been.)

    And what in the world did who tell the real Ampata’s family?! (“Sorry, tell others over there not to send their kids over to Sunnydale since innocent kids just randomly disappear here, and no, we never even found his body?”)

    Other than that, the introduction of both Jonathan and Oz in this one episode was obviously pretty cool.

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  5. [Note: Emily posted this comment on February 15, 2009.]

    Nix, I think Ampata knows English because she’s been sitting and rotting in that museum for so long. It’s possible her soul or something was still around- that she wasn’t necessarily dead- and she heard everyone speaking around her. Or maybe you’re right and she was extracting info from people she kissed.

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  6. [Note: Nix posted this comment on February 26, 2009.]

    Paula, the attitude to people killed by supernatural forces (but not *natural* forces) in _Buffy_ was well-expressed by the late great Douglas Adams, years before Buffy was thought of. He said in _The Original Hitchhiker Radio Scripts_ (actually copied off Slashdot but this quote is accurate: I’m just a lazy sod):

    “Ah yes, the whale. Well, this came about as a result of watching an episode of a dangerously insane TV detective show called _Cannon_, in which people got shot the whole time for incredibly little reason. They would just happen to be walking across the street, and they would simply get killed, regardless of what their own plans for the rest of the day might have been.

    “I began to find the sheer arbitrariness of this rather upsetting, not just because characters were getting killed, but because nobody ever seemed to care about it one way or another. Anybody who might have cared about any of these people — family, friends, even the postman — was kept firmly offstage. There was never any, ‘Good night sweet Prince’, or, ‘She should have died hereafter’, or even, ‘Look you bastard, I was meant to be playing squash with this guy tonight’, just bang, clear them out of the way, on to the next. They were merely, excuse me, Cannonfodder.

    “I thought I’d have a go at this. I’d write in a character whose sole function was to be killed for the sake of a small detail in the plot, and then damn well make the audience care about it, even if none of the other characters in the story did. I suppose I must have succeeded because I received quite a number of letters saying how cruel and callous this section was — letters I certainly would not have received if I had simply mentioned the whale’s fate incidentally and passed on. I probably wouldn’t have received them if it had been a human either.”

    — Douglas Adams

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  7. [Note: Nix posted this comment on February 28, 2009.]

    OK, I think I’ve found an example of mummy-knowledge that cannot be explained by my sucking-knowledge theory or by Emily’s rather nice ‘just listening in’ theory.

    The mummy *calls Ampata’s name* at the bus station. Unless it was a mind-reader (for which there is no other evidence and which seems rather unlikely) there’s no *way* it could know that: Buffy doesn’t so much as speak his name there, and nobody else knows it. So this must be a plot hole.

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  8. [Note: Nix posted this comment on February 28, 2009.]

    Emily: we have textual proof of your hypothesis. She says: ‘I have toured… I was taken to Atlanta, Boston, New York… I did not see so much.’

    These are all younger than 500 years (plus transcontinental travel sucked half a millennium ago). Thus this is a reference to her coffin being taken there (and all she saw was the insides of museums).

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  9. [Note: Devilfish posted this comment on August 5, 2009.]

    Between the obviously cheesy plot, the introduction of the worst guarded museum ever, the assumption by generally intelligent people that every latino speaks and reads the Inca language (Giles should really know better) and another batch of kids disappearing without much worry or consequence, my suspension of disbelief was thouroughly shattered.

    At least the evryone-speaks-English trope is subverted here: Ampata seemingly remembers ‘touring’ the US as a museum piece, so she probably picked up English that way. One assumes.

    Seeing this episode for the first time (late to the party much?), for me it really ranks as badly as the one with the cheesy praying mantis storyline. Just… bad.

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  10. [Note: Michelle posted this comment on September 25, 2009.]

    Eh. This is typical MOTW stuff. What irritates me is that Giles, a guy who speaks, I believe, six languages, hasn’t mastered Spanish? Really?

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  11. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on September 25, 2009.]

    @Michelle: I believe he pretty much is only learned in dead/ancient languages, as that’s what is most relevant to his line of work.

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  12. [Note: Max posted this comment on April 9, 2010.]

    After watching season 7 I was just wondering whether anyone else thinks the mummy was a potential slayer when alive?

    Probably no proof to suggest otherwise, but it is nice to speculate…

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  13. [Note: lokialex posted this comment on June 16, 2010.]

    Just wondering, isn’t this the first time we get to see Jonathan, who is a very important character in numerous episodes.

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  14. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on July 23, 2010.]

    The first appearance of Oz. I like how he sees Willow at the Bronze for the first time and is instantly attracted to her, even though she is covered head to toe. Just by her face and eyes he can tell he likes her. That’s why they were the perfect couple of all Willows partners.

    Max: I like the would be-could be- a Slayer. She does know a thing or two about fighting. She did kill the bodyguard, choke Giles and use Buffy’s fighting technique to knock her into the coffin. Although, many people on this show know defence fighting even when they shouldn’t.

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  15. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on September 15, 2010.]

    This is my least favorite episode so far. Praying Mantis was dumb but it was the first Xander-lusting-after-hidden-demon dumb episode. This is the second Xander-lusting-after-hidden-demon dumb episode. Plus the teacher turning into a bug is actually a fresher concept than the mummy coming alive. My Mom knew all about the mummy coming alive, long before any of us were born.

    My son tells me Buffy is a stupid show. He hasn’t ever seen it, mind you, it just sounds stupid to him. I wouldn’t dare let him see this episode, I’d never hear the end of it.

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  16. [Note: G1000 posted this comment on September 15, 2010.]

    John, this episode is awful, but just power through until you reach “Surprise” and “Innocence”. From then on, it becomes a totally different (and much better) show, although there are still a few stupid episodes to come.

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  17. [Note: Jason posted this comment on September 15, 2010.]

    I think a fascinating (and not very talked-about) aspect of Buffy is its inconsistency. Has any other show achieved so much, and consistently had such bad episodes?

    You might posit that a fundamental aspect of truly great television is taking risks, and some of the risks (by definition) won’t pay off. And therefore there will be bad among the great. But I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. The bad Buffy episodes don’t seem like almost-great risky drama that just didn’t work– instead they seem lazy and cliched. It’s a very interesting phenomenon to me.

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  18. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on September 16, 2010.]

    I’m not sure how different Buffy is that other shows in that regard. Star Trek alternated truly good episodes with ambitious-but-flawed episodes with throwaway episodes that never could have been good. The weekly schedules and budgets were a bitch, so sometimes Roddenberry and company would throw in a cheapie filler episode to catch a breather.

    “Let’s do Xander has a demon girlfriend” feels to me like something that was assembled while Whedon throught through what to do with Spike, Angel, and Buffy.

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  19. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on February 13, 2011.]

    This is a middle of the road episode for me. I love the introductions of Jonathon and Oz. The way they bring both of these characters into the show is, indeed, quite ingenius. Strength of the show.

    Also, I like how Willow lets go of Xander here (although her feelings do surface again after Xander starts dating Cordelia).

    The rest of the episode is meh. Not much really to say about it.

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  20. [Note: deadlego posted this comment on April 25, 2011.]

    @nix- while at the museum standing over the mummy buffy and xander and willow discuss how buffy is going to meet Ampata at the bus station. We know that the mummy can hear even in mummy form as she mentions that she listened a lot whilst ‘touring’.

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  21. [Note: smallprint84 posted this comment on September 19, 2011.]

    I also liked to mension how the kiss-scene between Xander and Ampata was shot, with the atmospheric score and the yellow lighting (see screencap).

    Very nice.

    Like

  22. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 9, 2011.]

    I like this episode, it allowed the Buffy, WIllow and Xander to grow and mature. They moved towards healthy relationships. Both Xander and WIllow moved on in some way from their original crushes. WIllow seemed more amenable to Xander and Ampata, having heard Xander voice is true feelings about which will allow her to start a healthy happy relationship with Oz. Buffy having looked introspectively about Ampata’s situation and finally thanks Xander properly for saving her life, knowing that if she hadn’t she would have shared Ampata’s fate to the extent of being a sacrifice. Xander and Buffy’s friendship moves forward without the weight of his attraction for her getting in the way.

    Ampata’s situation was portrayed in a nice way, her being a real person and not liking the choices she has to make to stay as a living girl, the fact that she doesn’t smile when she kisses/kills her victims shows this isn’t a decision she takes lightly. What happened to her wasn’t her fault in a way i see a kinship between herself and Buffy. The conversation they have in Buffy’s room shows a nice insight into this and i think is conducive to Buffy finally accepting her fate – for the time being at least which lead to her thanking Xander.

    This episode true to form had an influx of humour with the gang deriding the actual plot of the episode! Poking fun at what may have and ultimately did happen to Rodney. Best dialogue of this episode came from Xander and WIllow at the Bronze with Willow being in her eskimo costume. Willow: ‘I shrugged’ Xander: ‘Maybe you should have said Shrug’. WIllow: ‘SIgh’ 😀

    Although perception into sacrifice was made it wasn’t a major theme nor a subplot in this episode. I liked that there was a little interaction on this topic because it served as reflection for Buffy but there were differences in the reasons behind each girls lets say demise. Buffy volunteered to save humanity but Ampata was told that her life would be cut short, no fuss no nothing. The writers stayed away from delving to deeply into whether Ampata was being sacrificed to something real or whether it was superstition.

    Also the body guard was a little of the unknown for me, were we expected to believe that this Incan cult/ civilisation had survived for all these years?

    Bottom line: I did like this episode, there was a nice look back at season one episode 4 and it sets up Xander’s destiny with demon dates!

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  23. [Note: sigmuphi posted this comment on March 28, 2012.]

    Even though Xander’s rejecting Willow romantically, she’s still the most important relationship in the world to him. He’s ready to give up his life to save her, and that doesn’t change for the whole series.

    Not filmed in a way that has real emotional pull, but still nice to see.

    Oh, and “Impata” (we never do learn her real name) may have overheard enough to learn English and pick up on Buffy’s bus station plans, but she clearly didn’t pick up dancing skills. She’s portrayed as being completely unsure of herself on the dancefloor, only knowing how to stare into Xander’s eyes (which she does *very* well).

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  24. [Note: Summer posted this comment on December 14, 2012.]

    I was scared to look at the review for this one but now I’m pleasantly surprised. I liked this episode. Mainly because it stars Xander, hello. His love life really sucks… almost literally in this case. I thought the kiss scene was really nice. Yes, the theme is sacrifice and if there’s one thing we learn if the chosen one doesn’t do her job properly then people die. I liked Buffy’s assessment of Ampata in the end. She wasn’t a bad person she was just pout in an impossible situation. Nice growth for Willow plus Xander and Buffy’s friendship growing with a personal deep conversation. Also, I loved seeing Johnathan! I think the adolescent sexuality theme comes up here, too. A 16 year old’s deadly kiss… there are things to explore. Plus, Cordelia and Sven are hilarious.

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  25. [Note: Waverley posted this comment on April 20, 2013.]

    I’m a bit surprised by all the ‘How on Earth does Umpata speak English?’ debate here, since it’s addressed directly by the characters: after they bring her to Buffy’s house from the bus station Umpata mentions having toured the States and when Xander says how good her English is she says ‘I have listened a lot’. So the obvious conclusion to be drawn is that decades of listening to English being spoken around her have given her the ability to speak it. As someone with a background in languages, I’m willing to buy that. Also, as someone mentioned above, the mummy knows the real Umpata’s name, and where to find him, because Buffy, Xander and Willow discussed it all right above the mummy.

    I think this is a pretty decent ep overall. At this stage I think the writers were still messing with some of the old horror classics, as that was the entire idea behind the inception of Buffy in the first place (girl behind chased by bad man trips and falls, only this time she gets up and kicks his ass). I didn’t like the clunky discussion where they both made fun of the mummy idea and found out what was going on but I think it’s enough to show that the episode was more of a conscious attempt at postmodernisty retelling than a hokey rehashing of an old plot.

    My own minor pros for this ep would be:

    – Alyson Hannigan’s acting each time Willow is crushed by Xander’s rejaction of her. She’s so cute and you really feel for her.

    – Willow’s eskimo costume and her ‘Sigh’ line.

    – Buffy looks amazing here. I usually have the fraternal feelings for the character so I’m not usually one to lust after her but, yowza, she looks good.

    – The Dingoes playing the Bronze. The music is great.

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  26. [Note: ralph posted this comment on May 7, 2013.]

    So unlike some people, I’ve got no beef with the very early episodes or with MOTW episodes in general, but there’s no denying that this is pretty weak.

    Some thoughts

    Pros

    -The acting really keeps this one afloat. It’s so impressive how quickly all of the main actors hit their stride with this series – even at this still fairly early point in the game there is never a sense that one is watching actors acting, in spite of a hackneyed plot, a few cheesy lines, and some clunky exposition. Ara Celi as “Ampata” was also quite good – her part could easily have come across as trite and unconvincing, but I totally bought her character.

    -Although the actual plot itself leaves a lot to be desired, there are some nice character beats for Willow, Xander, and Giles.

    -The strongest part of the episode (as others have observed) would be the effective parallels between Buffy and Ampata’s respective destinies. I particularly liked the scene where they were both moving around Buffy’s bedroom each trying to conceal their own dirty little secrets (with Ampata’s being decidedly dirtier).

    -As a previous poster mentioned, the Xander-Ampata kiss scene is really well lit, photographed, and scored.

    -The Buffy-Xander scene at the end is also a good one, very sweet and it nicely underscores that in spite of the parallels between Buffy and Ampata, Buffy is ultimately different, in that she is completely willing to give up everything, including her own life (on more than one occasion) – a true hero. Love her last line to Xander.

    -Introductions of Oz and Jonathan are nicely done, especially the “Who’s that girl?” fake out when Oz first notices Willow. Side note: I find it REALLY interesting that both of Willow’s major loves were deeply infatuated with her long before she really even began to take notice of them. So much speculation could be done about what that says about the two of them, about Willow, and about their respective relationships with her.

    Cons

    -Clearly the biggest problem here is the plot. Cliches just pile up one after another and it soon becomes frustrating to watch. To begin with, the mummy’s plan doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. So she knew where to go to meet Ampata and steal his identity, but why? First of all, she would have had to have wandered all the way to the Sunnydale bus station looking like a hideous shriveled up old mess. Even in Sunnydale, that’s gonna raise some eyebrows. How is this a preferential plan to just sucking the life out of a few museum workers and then starting a new life in Cancun? Clearly you’re going to get caught out pretty quickly if you try to steal some known exchange student’s identity, especially if you start leaving a trail of dead bodies in your wake. Why and how did the suitcase with the corpse get mailed to Buffy’s house? Why was Ampata not more concerned about hiding/destroying the seal or getting rid of the luggage once it arrived at Buffy’s house? Why would all of the shards from the seal still just be laying around the museum? How did the gang get in and out of the museum so easily? How did the bodyguard know that Ampata was going to use the girl’s bathroom? Why would Giles, of all people (as someone mentioned above), assume that someone from modern-day Peru would be able to translate an ancient Peruvian seal from thousands of years ago? And as for Buffy, who the hell just offers to unpack someone else’s suitcase – someone they don’t even know? I wasn’t even going into this planning to nitpick – it’s just disappointing when the plot holes jump right off of the screen at you. The writers were clearly just happy enough moving things along from point A to point B without making sure that anything was remotely plausible.

    -Probably the biggest problem after this is that the episode isn’t very funny. Weaker episodes can generally be redeemed by some great comedy – Some Assembly Required and Reptile Boy for example had some killer Cordelia lines. Here there’s not really anything laugh out loud, although her “Near faux pas. I almost wore the same thing” is deliciously bitchy. Second favourite line is probably, “What kind of a girl travels with a mummified corpse, but doesn’t remember to bring lipstick?” On the other hand, I really don’t like Buffy’s “I’ll say one thing about you Inca Mummies. You don’t kiss and tell.” Definitely one of her lamer quips.

    -Also Joyce’s appearance was awkward and her lines were unconvincing.

    -All of the appearances of the bodyguard are beyond stupid. At these points we might as well have been watching “Are you Afraid of the Dark?”

    I still enjoy it, I’d probably give it a 60 just because I love all of the characters so much and there are some nice moments. It’s funny how much great acting and characters can elevate mediocre writing – does it work when it’s the other way around?

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  27. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on July 20, 2013.]

    ADMIN NOTE: This episode review has been completely rewritten. In light of this, references to the old review have been edited out of the the above comments.

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  28. [Note: Waverley posted this comment on July 21, 2013.]

    Glad you removed my comments re the original review. Otherwise I would have looked quite stupid, even moreso than I did in the first place 😉

    Great to see these revised reviews. Can’t wait till you get to the meat of season 2!

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  29. [Note: Sarah M posted this comment on September 4, 2013.]

    Oz! And Jonathan. I had completely forgotten this was their introductory ep. Random. It’s otherwise entirely forgettable, and Xander in the poncho makes me cringe watching it now.

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  30. [Note: danny posted this comment on December 15, 2013.]

    I Totally understand why this episode gets so much hate, and while i find this episode far from great, I don’t think its nearly as bad as some of the shows other stinkers like Beer Bad, Where the Wild Things Are and Reptile Boy.

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  31. [Note: Cyberia posted this comment on January 28, 2014.]

    There were a couple of confusing things about this episode. First was the bodyguard: I mean, was he a person? Ampata sucked the life out of him, so I’m assuming he was living and human, but how does he just “appear” out of thin air? That makes no sense. Also, she’s been dead for millenia – so has the guy been alive for that long too? Or is he like the great-great-great-great… grandson of whoever was the first bodyguard?

    I also find it funny that it would NEVER occur to them (the sacrificers) that backup plan for the seal being destroyed would backfire because the mummy would be able to kill the bodyguard (despite him having knives and weapons).

    I’m in total disbelief in terms of Ampata’s combat abilities. How was she able to dodge Buffy’s kicks and then subdue her and throw her into the coffin? Buffy’s been training but did Ampata also learn martial arts just from listening to people talk near her coffin?

    Like

  32. [Note: Luvtennis posted this comment on February 10, 2014.]

    I find it difficult to grade Buffy episodes. Are some more compelling than others? Yes, undeniably so. Are some better executed than others? Of course, it would be unreasonable to expect every pis ode to be perfect given the constraints of series television. But the thing about every Buffy episode is that each one contains something of importance, resonance, significance.

    In Inca Mummy, not only is a significant character introduced, but there is thematic resonance abounding. Ampata represents the dark side of being special. She foreshadows Faith in so many ways. And of course, her story raises a question about sacrifice for the greater good -is it fair? How fair can it be to ask a 16 year old to die for the greater good? The series as a whole answers that question.

    Then there is Zander’s attraction to strong and/or dangerous women. Surely, his decision to leave Anya has its roots in this early episode. I also sets up the failure of his relationship with Cordelia. Unlike many fans, I think Cordelia and Zander were absolutely meant to be and the failure of that relationship has huge consequences in the scheme of the show and is exemplary of Whedon’s thesis that romantic love is often an impediment to achieving one’s true place in the world.

    And so on. Anyway love the site!

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  33. [Note: Firewalkwithme posted this comment on March 23, 2014.]

    I think another nice little thematic detail is that Ampata turns to stone in the end and simply breaks apart. Later in the show (season 5, right?) Buffy mentions that she´s afraid that having to act as the slayer will sooner or later turn her into stone. Too far-fetched? 😀

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  34. [Note: research-kills-demons posted this comment on August 7, 2014.]

    Hands down, the best part of this episode is when Willow knocks over the cheese tower in her Eskimo costume. Oh, Willow

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  35. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on November 11, 2014.]

    I think this episode is generally underrated. First, there are some complaints about holes to the plot. Well, every Buffy episode has holes in it, because they all rely on supernatural/MOTW. And yes, there is a high body count with less-than-the-appropriate amount of shock to it. The characters in Buffy pause to show concern for these deaths, but they can’t show the real shock (Whedon saves this for The Body) because there is not time. Also, it may be surprising that the mummy would come to stay with Buffy – but if she did not, we would not have an episode of Buffy, but the mummy would have to wander into some other show with some other characters.

    Other than that, I think it does a great job of moving the characters along their journeys. Willow realizes that Xander will choose anyone but her; Xander finally has a bit of action; Buffy develops a bit of sympathy for the demon that she kills.

    Ampata is fascinating in that she represents both Buffy and the vampires. Ampata was also forced to sacrifice everything for her people – in fact her sacrifice was in some respect greater than Buffy’s. Buffy gets to fight for her life; Ampata did not. Now, to survive, Ampata has to suck people dry – as do vampires. Here again, vampires seem to have more of a choice than Ampata does – they can get pig blood at the butcher shop – but it is essentially the same. Yet even she cannot when it means destroying Xander.

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  36. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on December 9, 2014.]

    Can I just say how amazing it is to read your new reviews combined with the rewatching? Reading the reviews is great but complementing that with the episode watching and have the episode fresh in your mind while reading the review is just as Spike says, “neat”.

    Like

  37. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on December 10, 2014.]

    About Xander, you´re right. He is always judging her and every chance he gets, he just says something bad, to make her feel bad and guilty.

    Like in “Amends”. Buffy was telling them how Giles was still awkward about Angel coming back. Xander states something like:

    “Yeah, it must be the whole “murdered my girlfriend” kind of thing. Giles is petty that way”.

    Whenever he says such things, it just makes wanna punch him in the face. Not only is he being a bit rude but he´s always hurting Buffy.

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  38. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on February 20, 2015.]

    It’s a highly redundant and relatively uninteresting episode. There’s no reason to reiterate that Xander is sexually and romantically attracted to danger (demons, slayers, secret relationships/affairs, ex-demons). It’s the exact same concept as the praying mantis episode, only with a slight amount of insight into Buffy which we’ll get enough of in the coming episodes. Needless to say, I also skip this episode when I rewatch the series. There are no long term consequences that arise from it and I just feel its not worth more then a single watch.

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  39. [Note: woodstea posted this comment on April 20, 2016.]

    And what in the world did who tell the real Ampata’s family?! (“Sorry, tell others over there not to send their kids over to Sunnydale since innocent kids just randomly disappear here, and no, we never even found his body?”)

    This reminds me of a skit I once saw about the end of a disaster movie of the Godzilla type. The main characters are celebrating after their victory, when one of them says, “of course, a lot of people died, but it’s okay because we didn’t know them very well!”

    The same problem comes up elsewhere. At the end of “The Harvest”, for instance, all the students have conveniently forgotten the events at the Bronze, and there’s an explanation for that. There were at least a couple of deaths, however. What happened with Jesse’s family, for instance? It’s one thing to repress a bad memory, another to have a son disappear.

    None of this bothers me too much. I don’t expect the show to be plausible in real life, obviously.

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