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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Inca Mummy Girl
October 06, 1997
5V04

 
Credits

Writers:
Matt Kiene
Joe Reinkemeyer


Director:
Ellen S. Pressman


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel — Not in this episode
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Seth Green as Oz
Cast:
Ara Celi as Ampata
Jason Hall as Devon
Henrik Rosvall as Sven
Joey Crawford as Rodney
Danny Strong as Jonathan
Kristen Winnicki as Gwen
Gil Birmingham as Peru Guy
Samuel Jacobs as Peruvian boy

 
Synopsis

It's foreign exchange time in Sunnydale High, and Buffy is looking forward to meeting her exotic South American male exchange partner. Xander isn't so keen until it turns out there's a side order of "fe" with that "male." Ampata is her name, and Xander is very much the enchantee. His goofy charms win Ampata's affections in short order. Meanwhile, Willow catches the eye of the tactiturn axeman of Dingoes Ate My Baby. Since we're in Sunnydale, things are not all hunky dory. Unless dories are secretly much more dangerous than we've been told. There's an Inca Mummy loose, sucking the very life force out of people all over town. The Gang soon find out that the mummy is none other than Ampata, and she's going to make Willow her next victim. Xander offers himself instead of her, but Ampata won't kill him, and so dies from old age and crumbles to dust in seconds. — Short synopsis by Bruce.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Monstervision

In this instance, Kiene and Reinkemeyer have obviously been reading National Geographic: "In 1995 the body of a young girl who had served her Inca community as a human sacrifice was found on Mount Ampato in the Andes. Her high-altitude resting place had kept her remains frozen in an unprecedented state of preservation, with hair and skin intact." (From the National Geographic Explorer film "Mystery of the Inca Mummy".) Even the name is a dead giveaway, with "Ampata" and "Ampato" too close to be a coincidence.

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Dialogue to Die For

Giles: "You have responsibilities that other girls do not."
Buffy: "Oh! I know this one! Slaying entails certain sacrifices, blah blah biddy blah, I'm so stuffy, give me a scone."

Buffy: "One day I'm gonna live in a town where evil curses are just generally ruled out without even saying it."

Devon: "What does a girl have to do to impress you?"
Oz: "Well, it involves a feather boa and the theme to A Summer Place. I can't discuss it here."

Xander on Twinkies: "And the exciting part is that they have no ingredients that a human can pronounce, so it doesn't leave you with that heavy 'food' feeling in your stomach."

Willow: "Well, you know, I have a choice. I can spend my life waiting for Xander to go out with every other girl in the world until he notices me, or I can just get on with my life."
Buffy: "Good for you."
Willow: "Well, I didn't choose yet."

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Xander, after Willow tells him he should take Ampata to the dance alone: "You know what, Willow? You're my best friend."
    Clueless is one thing, but in this case it sounds almost like he's deliberately trying to hurt Willow.
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References

  • "Well, it involves a feather boa and a theme to A Summer Place."  A Summer Place was a hugely popular 1959 movie, made in Scandinavia, which starred Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee. Its theme song (written by Max Steiner) was a number one hit the year of the movie's release, and has since become the stereotypical example of "muzak."

    Clint Eastwood

  • "I'm from the country of Leone. It's in Italy pretending to be Montana."  In the mid to late 1960's, Italian director Sergio Leone made a number of gritty Westerns, including A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966), all of which starred Clint Eastwood as the mysterious Man With No Name. They were filmed abroad (in Spain, not Italy) for much less than it would have cost to make in the U.S., and were so wildly successful that they spawned a slew of other Italian-made westerns, which became known as "spaghetti westerns."
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Goofs and Gaffes

  • In Oz's close-up during the song "Shadows," just before Xander and Ampata walk in, Oz's fret-hand is rather obviously not doing what the guitar in the song is doing. The same is true when Oz asks Devon who Willow is during "Fate."
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Notes

  • This was the first episode since "Nightmares" without Angel in it.

  • Xander drives, when he can get his mother's car.

  • Willow has a stuffed frog, which is interesting considering her admission in "What's My Line, Part 1" that she has "frog fear."

  • When Ampata agrees to go to the dance with Xander, he asks her if she's a praying mantis, a reference to the events of "Teacher's Pet."

  • In addition to introducing the recurring character of Oz, this episode also marks the first appearance of the hapless, perennially victimized Jonathan, played by Danny Strong.
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Music

  • Four Star Mary - "Shadows" and "Fate" (Both From Four Star Mary EP, Four Star Mary Music, 1997)
      The music of Oz's band, Dingoes Ate My Baby, is provided by the band Four Star Mary. On stage at the Bronze at the Cultural Exchange Dance, Dingoes/FSM play "Shadows" first and then, as Xander asks Ampata to Dance, "Fate."
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Comments

Brian:
A solid episode with all the right elements in place, and a definite improvement over "The Pack," the last episode penned by the team of Kiene and Reinkemeyer. I liked it. But there is a glaring problem that I must take issue with — the absence of Willow. By all rights, an episode as Xander-centric as "Inca Mummy Girl" should have a hefty Willow factor, and I'm not accusing the writers of being ignorant of that. But I think they tried to approach it with a subtlety that got out of hand — instead of a nicely understated subplot, they wound up with some holes where Willow should have been. Total up her time in this episode, and what we're left with is severely lacking: a nice speech in the library ("I can spend my life waiting for Xander to go out with every other girl in the world until he notices me, or I can just get on with my life.") is the highlight. The rest goes from disappointing (she's totally missing from the last scene) to slightly degrading (the Eskimo costume crossed the line from cute to ridiculous, IMHO). Now, admittedly, we are teased with the introduction of Oz as a clear potential love interest for our adorable little redhead, but even that element seemed somewhat half-hearted, as if it were an afterthought. I don't think we needed a lot more, it was just that there were a few spots where I felt Willow should have been more of a consideration story-wise than she was. It created something of a lack of balance that took something away from an otherwise excellent episode. (7/10)
Will:
Finally, Xander gets some... well, not quite. First he falls in love with a human-sized preying mantis, and now he falls in love with a 500-year-old mummy that sucks the life out of others to keep herself alive. I found this to be an interesting storyline and it was interesting to see a female who genuinely seemed to like Xander. My only problem with this episode was that Willow (who was sweet, innocent, and obsessing over Xander as usual) was getting emotionally stabbed throughout the entirety of it. The look on her face as Buffy and Xander discussed how he likes Willow as a friend just pained me. Xander fell in love at Willow's expense. The one saving grace is that Oz (guitar player in the band in this episode) seems to have an interest in dear Willow. Seeing that Willow knows Xander's true feelings she will probably take Oz up on a date (hasn't happened yet, but I am making my prediction). The one priceless scene in this episode was the comical and cute verbal exchange on the bleachers between Xander and his mummy girlfriend Ampata. They both had mouths full of Twinkie. It was wonderfully fun. I am hard pressed to give this episode full marks only because it wasn't quite as good as last week's episode. It did not contain any flaws but it didn't put me on the edge of my seat or cause me to laugh uncontrollably as many other episodes have. Overall I enjoyed it and it contained all the qualities that make the show great. (8/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
October 06, 1997 3.2 92 of 105 (tie)
January 5, 1998 3.1 99 of 115 (tie)
June 30, 1998 2.2 96 of 114 (tie)

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