Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Ted   Rewatch 
April 1, 2015 11:36 PM - Season 2, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Buffy has a weird feeling about her mother's seemingly wonderful new boyfriend Ted. Is she just having difficulty adjusting to changes, or is something really off with the guy?
posted by yellowbinder (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is a terrific episode. The new father figure who is subtly wrong somehow is a really good story idea for Buffy, and also allows us to remember that Joyce is a human being with her own life as well. Ted does come across as quite creepy from early on, but he's kind and sweet enough externally that you can see why Joyce might fall for him (and then he, you know, drugs her). As Ted get's more abusive we have this really disturbing domestic abuse metaphor, where Buffy's friends and even her mother simply don't believe her when she tells them that Ted has been threatening her.

I read a review which suggested that Ted should actually have been human, but I don't think the episode could have carried the weight of that: the series would have had to have been about Buffy killing a mortal and that would have been to much to deal with really. That said, Buffy's reaction to having killed someone is really good, and reflective of her behaviour in Season 6 when she thinks she has done it again. The show does let her off, but for quite a while she really has to deal with the consequences of her actions. While the show never directly references this episode (well, until robo-girlfriend in Season 4 (5?)) I feel like her experiences here directly inform her interactions with Faith in Season 3.

We also continue in the background the quiet progression of Buffy and Angel's relationship, and Xander and Cordelia. Not only that, but Jenny and Giles have a vampire slaying date where Jenny accidentally shoots him! I've mentioned it before, but this Season has been really good at progressing plots for all its characters.

-A quick mention that the Order of Takara contract is off. Unstoppable, that order.
-"I'm Linda... Belinda."
-Buffy wanting vampires to slay "Vampires, here vampires."
-Willow displays her super chemistry skills for the first time. Is there anything she can't do? "Science" characters in Whedon shows are always polymaths: see FitzSimmons on Agents of Shield.
-Ted manages a super knock out attack to both Buffy and Joyce
-They sort of skip over the legal difficulties of Ted dying to be honest.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:32 AM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

I never liked this one. This time I appreciated more of the small things: Joyce looks really hot in that dress, well, apart from the 90s mom hair. Buffy bandaging Angel's hand. The painful awkwardness between Giles and Jenny. Xander and Cordy heading for the closet. The actual tears in Buffy's eyes when she tries to talk to her mum who won't, can't.

But I can't like it. Ted gives me the creep, and the scenes where he verbally and physically abuses them... Yeah. I know, reasons, and I can admire what it does and how beautifully it foreshadows Faith and the Buffybot, but it's just too much like SVU took over the plot at some point and yeah, give me all the plot holes and vampires not leaving clothes when they get dusted and all that stuff, because I'll take that any day. I like the not-realness of Buffy and I promise never to nitpick again.

I wonder what Giles told them at the hospital to explain his crossbow wound. Which tweed totally would not have stopped...
posted by Athanassiel at 5:07 AM on April 2, 2015

Yeah a really good, surprisingly dark episode. I didn't like it as a teen but it's one of the ones that grows on me more every time I see it. I don't have personal experience with new parental love interests, but this one really keys me into the confusion and stress and fear kids can have surrounding that, especially when the new partner isn't as decent as they appear. Again with the creepy dudes preying on women.

Is this the first appearance of Buffy's horrible overalls of extreme pain? I know they reappear in Helpless, are there any others?

I'm not sure what Joyce thinks happened at the end there. Ted knocks her out and then he's just gone? She's afraid he'll come back but takes Buffy's word? That he's dead again? Run off? She doesn't know the robot bit, she does know the dead wives bit? Are the police still going to be investigating Buffy? Eh.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:07 AM on April 2, 2015

Agreed on all points, yellowbinder. The semi-real darkness of this episode (up until the RoboTed reveal) is so disturbing it's great. I think the speed with which Joyce and the police drop the whole thing is just another fun effect of the Hellmouth's built-in reality distortion field, which allows Sunny D's residents to carry on with their lives even though the death/murder/unexplained disappearance rate is through the roof. Under normal circumstances, people would be fleeing in droves, but not in Sunnydale. As has been noted before, life seems to be fairly cheap on the Hellmouth, except where dramatically appropriate (see "The Body").

I also appreciate the breathlessly-delivered Ted origin story that Xander gives at the end. The metaphor of a 1950s patriarchal/misogynist android just feels so perfect for this show, in spite of the fact that that any attempt to explain it in terms of the normal week-to-week mythos would have fallen flat, and the line they ride between logic and absurdity is fine indeed.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:53 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is one of those episodes (the other ones that spring to mind are "The Body" and "Normal Again") that I identify as really good but which are hard enough to watch that I always skip them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:05 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like it! Ted is super creepy. I'd completely forgotten the plot point where he was drugging his cookies so I spent a while all why can nobody see this guy is a creep?

The scene with Angel and Buffy skeezed me out a little bit though, because she's acting like a bratty teenager (even if, as it turns out, she is totally right in the end) and he's being mature and realistic about things and them I was all, well of course because he's hundreds of years older than her. Weird. I'm usually content to ignore the "whoo, problematic" implications of the Buffy/Angel relationship but this really got me for some reason.
posted by Dext at 5:36 PM on April 5, 2015

@Cannon Fodder: “Chemistry's easy. It's a lot like witchcraft, only, less newt.”

The detective seemed understanding, waiting to see Buffy's bruises before discussing charges. Even though a homicide is a homicide, I think finding the dead wives was enough to get him off Buffy's case. As for looking for Ted, those marriage records, his apparent age, and waking up after a day at the morgue point to something less than natural, which would trigger Sunnydale forgetitis. I'm sure the detective strongly suspects there's more, and is smart enough not to voice it or look too seriously. He'd risk looking like a loon or becoming one (as in Kate Lockley in the LAPD).

The more serious police investigation and discussion of whether the slayer gets to play by her own rules when nothing mystical is going on is postponed until the 100% natural homicide next season. And now we know where Buffy stands, since she turned herself in before the reveal.

As for Joyce, she asks just enough questions to get Buffy uneasy, but doesn't press the point. Then they go watch Thelma and Louise, which is admission enough.
posted by Tobu at 6:38 PM on April 6, 2015

I love this episode outside of where I want S2 to be, which is with the broader arc. Where it's placed bugs me. Ritter is fantastic and plays both the silly and legitimately disturbing in exactly the right mix.

I also just want this episode to be a law school hypothetical. Yes, he's a robot, and god yes, he was threatening for a while and hit Buffy first, but we know (because she more or less says so while it's happening) that this was a bit premeditated on Buffy's part. As in, she was trying on some level to get into the position where she could fight back. Excessive force? For most of that righteous ass-kicking he was doing nothing in return, and she very much leads it to the stairs.

And even with him being a robot, is it attempted murder? Factual impossibility is no defense to attempt crimes, though legal impossibility is, and this is a tricky case.

These are the things I think about.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:48 PM on October 5, 2015

Back after 7 years to say that I still really like this episode, but noticed a few things this time around:

1. John Ritter really is an outlier in terms of casting for this show, isn't he? I know that they were talking with Brittney Spears about playing the robo-girlfriend in "I Was Made To Love You" but really, they don't do almost any big-name guest stars in this show. Ritter is fucking perfect here, though.

2. Gingerbread aside (and there's magicks at work there) Joyce has always been one of the greatest moms in TV history, which is why it kills me here when Buffy tells her about Ted threatening her and Joyce refuses to believe her. It makes Joyce more human, and makes sense to a degree with how desperate for companionship she is (and Sutherland's performance goes a long way) but still, it's a big black mark on Joyce, who doesn't have very many to her name.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:40 AM on September 15, 2022

« Older Arrow: Public Enemy...   |  Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Bad ... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments