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.
In the basemantis, the She-Mantis is asking Xander to kiss her. Does she even have lips? As she leans in, Xander blurts, "Can I say one thing?" and then howls, "Heeeeeeeelp! HEEEEEEELP!" Hee. Help arrives seconds later as Buffy crashes through the basemantis window and squawks, "Let him go!" Another weird, unnecessary line delivered really flatly. The She-Mantis, not happy, backs off, which gives Buffy time to grab two giant cans of bug spray as Willow dashes down the steps behind her. While Buffy's Raiding the She-Mantis, Giles creeps in, and Buffy tells him to "get them out of here," which -- see above. While Blayne squawks for help, Buffy busts out a giant cutlass, followed by yet another oddly paced speech about Dr. Gregory and how he taught Buffy that if you do your homework, "you learn stuff," like the effects of bat sonar on a mantis's nervous system. But of course, the tape isn't cued up correctly; the She-Mantis knocks it out of Buffy's hand, and Giles has to retrieve it. Buffy and the She-Mantis go head-to-head, and when Xander jumps in to help with a can of bug spray, Buffy shoves him to safety, only to get knocked down by the She-Mantis. The choreography is choppy and bad, as you might expect when one stunt double is fighting in a Mothra suit, but Buffy lands a few kicks, buying herself time until Giles finally hits "play" on the bat sonar tape. My captioning reads, "Tape: (Zweeee)." Heh. Best laugh of the ep. The She-Mantis writhes in pain. Buffy repeats the bat sonar factoid AGAIN, sniding that it makes the She-Mantis's nervous system go to hell and adding, "You can go there with it." Clunk. At long last, she starts hacking at the big bug, and we see most of that sequence shadowed against the basemantis wall; SMG's double's wig is huge and very stiff. Xander looks on in horror, whether because he's scared or because the episode is now entering its seventh day, I don't know.