Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 2, Episode 12 Review – “Bad Eggs”

Written By: Marti Noxon
Directed By: David Greenwalt
Broadcast Date: January 12 1998

Summary:
Buffy and her friends encounter even more trouble than expected when the eggs they are given in health class turn out to be prehistoric parasites that take over their lives.

The Scooby Gang battle creepy parasitic spawn and a pair of Southern vampire brothers in a relatively successful episode with a much needed lighter tone.

This episode is unusual for the series so far in that it provides not just just a single threat for Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and the Scooby gang to go up against, but two. After a slight red herring involving a couple of vampires, the monster of the week is revealed to be the Bezoar, a legendary prehistoric parasite who would just their spawn to take over the minds of others. The spawn itself were very creepy, especially when they would attach themselves to the faces of the teenagers when they were sleeping. The writer was no doubt inspired by Ridley Scott’s Alien and the franchise’s ‘Facehuggers’ for the more PG version of their body horror with the spawn. The Mother Bezoar itself was more of a disappointment, barely registering on screen except for a puddle of organic sludge with an eye and some tendrils. It did manage to eat Buffy before she cut the Bezoar’s insides to shreds, though I was expecting something a bit more majestic. The possession of the students and teachers were a good element, though it has been done better in the series to date. If the Bezoar had the same impact as its spawn then it would have been a more successful monster.

The Mother Bezoar was overshadowed by her creepy spawn.

The Bezoar isn’t the only one causing problems for Buffy in Sunnydale; a pair of Southern vampire brothers also decide to hunt down the slayer. Lyle and Tector Gorch (eat your hearts out Stefan & Damon Salvatore) are not exactly the brightest vampires that Buffy has ever faced off against, but they are a fun addition to the guest cast. There is a charm in their slight stupidity and brotherly bickering, which also complimented the lighter tone that this episode was aiming for. Tector does ultimately fall foul to the Bezoar mother (that’s what happens when you guest star in an episode with a bigger threat) yet Lyle survives and runs for the hills after seeing Buffy emerge from the dead Bezoar mother covered in purple blood. I’m not sure Lyle deserves a second appearance as I can’t see them working well with the more devious Spike and Drusilla, yet they brought a comedic dimension to vampires that we haven’t seen yet and their scenes were quite funny.

As part of the Bezoar plan, the possessed Health teacher gives the student eggs, containing Bezoar spawn, to the students. This unleashes all kind of parental hormones in them that manifests in a lot of kissing scenes. Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) and Xander’s (Nicholas Brendon) making-out sessions in the closet is elevated to having the light kept on because they are starting to bare each other’s appearances, and Xander almost gives the game away to Buffy in a daze after being knocked out. Buffy herself is not immune to all of this; as a result poor Angel (David Boreanaz) isn’t seen for a second in this episode without Buffy’s lips on his. It was a fun theme that again suited the lighter tone of the episode, though I would like to see it repeated again with more focus on the consequences of teen humour, besides a one minute scene in health class highlighting the lack of awareness anyone besides Willow (Alyson Hannigan) has.

Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Xander (Nicholas Brendon) are on their own against the Bezoar.

This episode is also a major one in the relationship between Buffy and her mother Joyce (Kristine Sutherland). Being unaware that Buffy is the Slayer, she is exasperated at the lack of responsibility she is showing and the fact Buffy never listens to instructions she is given, to the point where she is not allowed out of her room at the end of the episode in order to learn to have “responsibility”. This is particularly absurd considering where this episode falls; it literally follows “Ted“, where Buffy and Joyce are held hostage in their own home by a psychopathic robot. This should cause some repercussions in Buffy’s behaviour if she was a normal teenager and it comes off very poorly on Joyce, who doesn’t seem like a character who lacks intelligent. Honestly, watching this episode makes me retrospectively feel that “Ted” was put in the wrong place in the season, but it ultimately means this episode comes off worse for it. It feels like the writers are overly delaying the reveal of Buffy’s new nature to Joyce and as a result this is the weakest element in the episode.

Verdict: “Bad Eggs” is refreshingly fun and light after a run of darker-toned episodes, with elements including teenage sex and a pair of hilarious Southern vampire brothers adding to the mix. The intended central monster of this episode is completely overshadowed by their creepy spawn and by the vampire brothers, though the biggest frustration is how this episode fits in with Buffy and her mother’s relationship, particularly after the events of the previous episode. It has some good elements but doesn’t feel as fun as it could have been.

Rating: 7/10

The next episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer sees the return of Spike (James Marsters) and a fully powered Drusilla (Juliet Landau), who surprise Buffy with something nasty on her 17th birthday. My review of Episode 13, “Surprise”, will be published in a week’s time.

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