Basemantis. The She-Mantis plays eeny-meeny-miney-moe to choose which boy to mate with first, and lands on Xander.
Back from the break, she beckons Xander out of the cage. He hitches slowly forward to give his Hush Puppies a product placement, then slugs the She-Mantis and tries to run, but he doesn't get far up the stairs before a pincer hauls him back down. He lands at the bottom of the stairs in a heap.
Outside Mrs. Howard's, Willow asks what they should do now. "Abject prayer and supplication would spring to mind," Giles grunts, but Buffy's sure the She-Mantis lives in the same neighborhood; it's where Buffy saw her before. Willow's going to start knocking on doors, claiming they have to do something, but Buffy stops her: "We will." Cut to Buffy going down the same manhole Fork Guy used earlier and assuring the other two, "I won't be long." I've just noticed that Willow is wearing a stripey blue and white sweater and a brown paisley-patterned skirt with black tights. I know she's not all that fashionable, but you can dress kind of down-market and still, you know, match. I've never really gotten that about Willow's wardrobe. Nothing about it is bad on its own; it's that she wears that weird stuff together. Nowadays, she's all matching, but it's all fugly. Anyway, she peers into the manhole as Giles calls after Buffy.
Basemantis. Xander is chained up, and the She-Mantis sniffs him and gurgles as Blayne makes jokes about eggs sunny-side up. Cram it, Blayne. "Eggs! She's gonna lay some!" Xander bellows, like, thanks, WE KNOW, and THEN he flashes back to Miss French talking about the California mantis in class, like, OH! KAY! GOD! How long did this ep run in the original cut, eight minutes? Move it ALONG!
"Come on, Buffy!" Willow whines down the manhole. Yeah, that'll help.
Buffy emerges from Fork Guy's foliage lair, kicking him along ahead of her; she's bound his wrists up. "You!" he sneers. "Me," she sneers back.
Cut to the sidewalk, with Buffy shoving Fork Guy along and asking him which house the She-Mantis lives in; Giles and Willow trail along behind. Buffy taunts him for fearing the She-Mantis and repeats "come on" and "this is it, isn't it" over and over again, and SMG's acting here is really flat, probably because the segment is far longer than necessary. The scene is supposed to feel urgent and rushed, but it goes on twice as long as it should. Then again, everything in this episode does that. They get to the right house, but Fork Guy works free of his bindings and attacks Buffy. When she tumbles to the ground, she snaps off a piece of picket fence and stakes him.