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'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' recap: Kiss of death

Season 2 | Episode 4 | “Inca Mummy Girl” | Aired October 6, 1997 on The WB

Buffy bonds with a kindred spirit whose life as a normal teenage girl was abruptly cut short, and we finally get to meet one of the most important members of the Scooby Gang: Daniel “Oz” Osbourne.

Note: This is the only episode in seasons 2 or 3 without a single vampire. We won’t be without vamps again until season 4’s “Living Conditions.”

Sunnydale High School field trip! As they chat on their way to the history museum, Buffy is not thrilled that a foreign exchange student will be invading her space for two weeks. Xander’s enthusiasm for the idea fades when he finds out Buffy’s student is a guy.

The next stop on the tour is an Inca burial chamber. As the story goes, 500 years ago the Incans scarified a teenage princess to their gods, and she’s been stuck as a mummy ever since, protected by a cursed seal placed as a warning to anyone who would wake her.

btvs_2.4_mummyLater that night, stupid Rodney Munson (whom Willow had to convince to stop defacing an artifact earlier) sneaks back into the burial chamber to cause some mischief. He breaks the cursed seal while trying to steal it, allowing the mummy princess to come alive and choke him.

Giles finally agrees to let Buffy attend the big dance (really just an excuse to dress up and head to the Bronze), afraid she might break a rib if she continue to take out her frustration on him during training.

Xander offers to drive, thinking there’s safety in numbers: Without Buffy, there might be weirdness between him and Willow, whom he loves, but doesn’t want to kiss (and who hears all of this).

Willow breaks the uncomfortableness with bad news: Rodney is missing. He probably woke up the mummy and got himself killed, they joke … but since they live on the Hellmouth, that’s as likely a scenario as anything.

They head to the museum and find the broken seal. That’s when a very large man swings a very large sword at them. Xander fights him off and they start to run away until Willow realizes the mummy in the coffin is actually poor Rodney.

Giles speculates that it could take weeks to decipher the seal and solve the mystery, but Buffy interrupts: She’s late picking up Ampata, her exchange student. Wait a sec, they realize. He’s from South America. Maybe he can translate the seal! (Though it might be awkward to ask him about a cursed piece of pottery.)

Buffy’s student is indeed waiting at the bus stop, and the mummy attacks him, literally sucking the life from him. When Buffy arrives, the mummy, now a beautiful girl, introduces herself as Ampata, and Buffy unwittingly brings the imposter to the Summers’ house.

btvs_2.4_ampataNot-Ampata speaks decent English, even though she’s been dead for 500 years (it seems she was awake and listening as the exhibit traveled the country). There are so many clues and hints that no one picks up on for another 20 minutes. Buffy apologizes for the small size of the bedroom; Ampata replies, “My old room was much smaller.”

Ampata makes Buffy promise she’ll teach her everything about her life. She wants to fit in and live a normal life. Buffy relates, which is probably why she it takes a while to suspect something is up. Or notice the big guy from the museum lurking outside her window.

At school, Cordelia plans a date with a guy after the dance. He’s the lead singer in the band Dingoes Ate My Baby, and there it is: the first time we meet Oz, and he’s already slinging great one-liners and telling us that while he could have any girl he wants, he’s looking for someone with substance.

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.

Buffy introduces Ampata to Giles, and he abruptly and awkwardly asks her to translate the mysterious seal. She’s unnerved, but everyone else is so concerned with hiding their Scooby secrets, they don’t notice her sketchy behavior.

Willow is distracted by Xander and Ampata’s blossoming romance as she helps decode the seal. Buffy assures her it’s only temporary. “Yeah, and then Xander can find someone else who’s not me to obsess about,” Willow points out. (Thank God Oz is near Sunnydale and just about to sweep her off her feet!)

Giles takes a closer look the pictograms and realizes it might have been the mummy, not the bodyguard, who killed Rodney. How do they find the mummy and stop her?

Meanwhile, Xander shows Ampata around school, impressing her with his ability to stuff an entire Twinkie into his face. They giggle; she likes that he is strange.

But here comes the bodyguard again, demanding to get that darn seal back. Xander and Ampata escape to the library, where she urges Giles to destroy what’s left of the seal, warning that someone might die.

Willow gives Xander her blessing to ask Ampata to the dance.

She says yes, and he has to ask: “You’re not a praying mantis, are you?” She’s no Miss French (season 1), but when the bodyguard confronts Ampata again, this time in the bathroom, she sucks the life right out of him.

Buffy and Ampata bond over a shared story: being young and “chosen,” forced to give up a normal life.

At the Bronze, Cordelia berates her exchange student. And Oz, from the stage, catches his first glimpse of Willow, all alone in her elaborate Eskimo costume. “Who is that girl?” he’ll wonder for a few more episodes, already smitten.


Giles surprises Buffy at home: The bodyguard’s dead. That, and after decoding more of the pictographs, it sounds like the man wasn’t protecting the mummy, but rather keeping the mummy from escaping her curse. Did Ampata wrongly translate it on purpose? Buffy checks her luggage and finds men’s clothing … and the real Ampata, mummified and stuffed into a trunk. They hurry to the museum, hoping that if they put the plate back together, they’ll trap her.

As Ampata and Xandebtvs_2.4_willow-fashionr dance, she realizes she’s fading away, and ditches her date to find a fresh soul to suck: recurring damsel in distress and future bad guy Jonathan Levinson. Xander interrupts before she can mummify him too. They kiss, but she pulls away before she kills him, and he passes out.

Ampata finds Giles at the museum reassembling the seal, and she attacks him. She sees Willow and tries to kill her, but Xander stops her, offering up his life for Willow’s. The fight has left Ampata weak, though, and she soon shrivels up and breaks into pieces. Willow and Buffy comfort a heartbroken Xander.

Big Bad of the Week: Murderous teen mummy “Ampata”

Quote of the Week: “Present company excluded, I have the worst taste in women of anyone in the world, ever.” —Xander

Heinous ’90s Fashion of the Week: Willow’s bold patterned button-up, rainbow suspenders, and fuzzy bucket hat (left)

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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