Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Buffy: Inca Mummy Girl (2.4)

The season five episode I Was Made to Love You features a robot girl who encounters most of the Scoobies. Part of what made that episode so funny was that everybody immediately assumed that she was a robot. They're not morons, she was clearly weird and oddly perfect, like she had been programmed. That all equals robot. I bring this up because Inca Mummy Girl seriously makes you want to bash the characters around the head repeatedly until they get a clue. So much of the hour consists of Buffy, Giles and the gang attempting to work out who's responsible for the mummy murders and how the mystical seal got broken, when it's so blindingly obvious that the mummy is the mysterious foreigner with knowledge of Incan relics who has recently come into their lives. Gah!

While a lot of the episode drags (and the guardian of the seal is almost Charmed-like in how embarrassing he is), it isn't the complete abortion I remembered it being. There are some well-executed attempts to make Ampata a little ambiguous, casting her in a morally gray light instead of easily dismissing her as a villain. The metaphor is a little clunky, but like Buffy she was also cursed to protect others, and just wants to lead an ordinary life as a teenage girl and not be burdened by her destiny. I guess it is true that she sometimes needs to suck the life out of people but, come on, she's so darn cute!

Eh. At the same time, there are some great character moments. Willow's increasing realization that Xander is totally, absolutely, 100% just not that into her are sweet. Likewise that ridiculously adorable Eskimo costume. And there's Oz! Played with immediate laconic mellowness by Seth Green. And we have Cordelia's frustration with that poor Swedish exchange student she's dragging around with her. Aww.

Inca Mummy Girl is decent in spots, but the central mystery element is hilariously awful. There's a lot of sleep-inducing hoodoo with people crawling around looking for clues while the easily-discovered truth flies right over their heads, and all of that just taints the whole hour. C-

Guest stars Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers); Ara Celi (Ampata); Seth Green (Oz)
Writers Matt Kiene, Joe Reinkemeyer Director Ellen S. Pressman

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