January 22, 2022

Buffy 2.11, Ted: Not in My House

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

Summary: Buffy, Xander, and Willow are walking home from somewhere, and Xander and Willow are arguing over who was in charge, the Captain or Tennille. Buffy isn’t listening – she’s just enjoying the fact that things have been quiet in Sunnydale in the wake of the big fight with Spike and Drusilla. Also, Angel has some sources who have reported that the Order of Taraka’s hit on Buffy has been called off.

The Scoobies get to Buffy’s house, and she’s concerned when she finds the front door slightly open. She leaves Xander and Willow outside and goes in to make sure everything’s okay. She hears a glass breaking in the kitchen and runs in, but Joyce isn’t in danger. She’s just making out with a guy named Ted. Buffy doesn’t have to protect her mother from anything right now, but that doesn’t mean she feels comfortable.

She addresses the fact that Joyce hasn’t mentioned that she’s been seeing someone. She and Ted met when he redid the computer system at her art gallery. Willow has already buddied up with him, and he makes her even happier when he offers her free demos of some software. Xander also likes him, since he’s made some great mini-pizzas. Buffy, however, is hesitant to bond with her mom’s new boyfriend. He tells her he regrets that they met like this. He knows Buffy’s the most important person in Joyce’s life. Buffy says she’s okay with the relationship, but she’s obviously lying.

She takes out her annoyance on a vampire later that night, fighting him much longer than necessary instead of just staking him. Giles asks if she’s okay, and she says she is. She wonders why vampires are hanging out in the park. He thinks it’s because Spike’s gone; they’re scattered without a leader, and they’re just going back to the easiest place to find victims.

Buffy complains that vampires are creeps. People are doing great, and then a vampire comes along and upends everything with his stupid mini-pizzas. “I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming, uh…text,” Giles says. Buffy doesn’t want to share her feelings, though. She just wants to keep fighting vampires.

At school the next day, Buffy tells Xander to shut up about the mini-pizzas already. She doesn’t think that being a good cook means Ted is a good person. Admittedly, she doesn’t know much about him, but having a good job and seeming nice and making Joyce happy mean nothing. Xander and Willow think this is a Freudian thing; Buffy’s worried about someone taking her mother away from her. “You’re having parental issues,” Xander sing-songs. He claims Freud would have said the same thing, but maybe without his little dance.

Buffy admits that she’s not completely comfortable with the situation, but she thinks she’s justified. Ted seems too perfect, which means something must be wrong. He shows up just then, since he’s been hired to upgrade the software in the guidance office. He invites the Scoobies to play mini-golf with him and Joyce that weekend. There will be mini-pizzas and cookies. Buffy tries to come up with an excuse not to go, and Willow backs her up, but Xander the traitor wants mini-pizzas, and he overrules them.

Giles cautiously approaches Jenny, whom he hasn’t talked to since that whole demon-possession thing. She’s doing fine, though she’s still having trouble sleeping. She would appreciate if Giles would continue keeping his distance, though. She doesn’t like how he keeps giving her looks of pity. “You make me feel bad that I don’t feel better,” she tells him. He apologizes and leaves, which makes her feel bad some more.

Angel’s still recovering from the ritual with Drusilla, so Buffy’s been nursing him back to health. That means she has a captive audience to listen to her ranting about Ted. Angel gently says that while Buffy doesn’t see the need for a new guy in her life, Joyce might. Buffy wishes it were someone other than Ted. Maybe her dad. She finally agrees to give Ted a chance, though she can’t promise she’ll like him.

That weekend, Ted tries to make small talk with Buffy while the group is mini-golfing. He says guys must be eager to go out with her. Willow says they are, but she’s only interested in…studying. Hmm, sounds like Joyce doesn’t know about Angel. Ted is glad to hear that Buffy’s been studying more; hopefully her grades will improve. She’s not happy that Joyce has talked to him about her grades. Joyce says Ted wants to know everything about her so he can be more involved.

Buffy hits a bad shot, and Joyce says they won’t count it in her score. Ted objects – rules are rules, and they need to teach Buffy good lessons now so she’ll take them with her into the outside world. Not that Ted wants to overstep his bounds. He just thinks “right is right.” Buffy goes to the other side of the hole, where she’s blocked from view by a castle, and lies that she hit her ball in already and got a 2. Ted catches her and lectures again that right is right and wrong is wrong.

Buffy reminds him that it’s just a game, but Ted says he’s not wired that way. He hits his golf club against his leg as he says it’s not a game, it counts, and he doesn’t want this kind of “malarkey” in his house. Buffy replies that it’s a good thing they’re not in his house. He threatens to slap her, but when the others join them, he immediately puts on a cheerful face and offers everyone cookies. Now Buffy knows for sure that something is off. And no, Ted, I don’t think she wants a cookie.

On Monday morning, Buffy again rejects food Ted made, and Joyce calls her on her attitude. She doesn’t like how rude Buffy’s been to Ted when he’s gone out of his way to be nice to her. She doesn’t expect Buffy to love Ted like Joyce does, but she needs to be polite. Buffy seizes on the word “love,” and though Joyce hasn’t really thought about it, she guesses she does love him. She just wants Buffy to see that Ted cares about her.

Buffy tells her that Ted threatened to slap her, but Joyce says that didn’t happen. He told her that he caught Buffy cheating, and Joyce thinks it was nice of him not to rat her out to her friends. Ted said they’ll have to wait for Buffy to come around on him. He’s going to try again that night, with dinner. I think Buffy is going to RSVP no.

At school, Buffy asks Willow to look into Ted so they can find any dirt he might be hiding. “Can you say ‘overreaction’?” Xander comments. “Can you say ‘sucking chest wound’?” Buffy replies. Willow thinks she wants Ted to be a bad guy. She and Xander are eating Ted’s cookies throughout the scene. Buffy says that responding the way Ted did to a cheating incident in mini-golf is a red flag. Xander tells her Ted is just uptight, which “isn’t a slaying offense.” He’s on Buffy’s side, but she needs to accept some things in her life.

Cordelia walks by and Xander compliments her outfit. She thinks he’s being sarcastic. Buffy and Willow are confused. Xander goes off with Cordelia, who’s worried that if he’s nice to her in front of his friends, they’ll somehow figure out that they kissed. Xander promises not to tell anyone. Then he asks her to go make out in a utility closet. Cordelia complains that that’s all he thinks about. She’s not saying no, though.

Buffy tells Willow she really thinks something is wrong. Ted acts like she’s in the way, and Joyce has been a little too perfect. Willow agrees to investigate him, starting with where he works. Once she has that location, Buffy goes to Ted’s office, where he sells software over the phone. He’s by far the best salesperson in his division.

After Ted leaves for lunch, Buffy chats with a co-worker who calls Ted “the machine.” He’s a genius who knows everything about computers and never loses a client. He also has a very bare cubicle, only decorated with a picture of Joyce. The co-worker is jealous of Ted’s success and is glad he’s taking off time for his wedding, which is in two months. Buffy checks out the picture on Ted’s desk, which is actually half of a picture of her and Joyce. Buffy’s half has been hidden.

At dinner that night, Ted prays for God to bless the people in the Summerses’ house so they’re more productive and more honest. He asks if Buffy learned anything today. “Quite a bit,” she says coolly. She asks if Ted and Joyce are engaged. Joyce says no, but Ted says things are going great and he might propose someday soon. He asks how Buffy would feel about that, inviting her to feel her feelings and express them out loud. Buffy says she would feel like killing herself.

Ted advises her to get used to him because he’s not going anywhere. Buffy asks to leave the table, and Joyce sends her to her room. She’s embarrassed by her daughter’s behavior, but Ted isn’t going to back down just because Buffy’s upset. He’s salesman of the year; he doesn’t let rejections get to him. He’s sure that Buffy will come around.

Buffy goes to a park to both mope and wait for vampires to show themselves. When she gets back home, Ted is waiting for her in her bedroom. He’s been snooping through her stuff, which he thinks is fair since he knows Buffy was at his office earlier. He’s also read her journal and knows she’s a Slayer. She tells him that’s not his business. “Beg to differ, little lady,” Ted replies. “Everything you do is nothing but my business from now on.”

Buffy orders him to leave her room, and he asks if she’ll slay him if he doesn’t. He’s real, not a delusion she made up in her journal. Buffy will do what he says from now on, or he’ll show her journal to her mother. Okay, and she can just say she’s an aspiring writer and it’s fiction. What else you got? Ted vows to be happy with Joyce and not let Buffy stand in her way.

Ted starts to leave, but she won’t let him go without giving back her journal. He slaps her hard enough to make her hit the wall. She’s happy to have a reason to hit back, and the two of them fight even as Joyce comes in and tells them to stop. They end up in the hallway, and Buffy kicks Ted hard enough to send him falling down the stairs. Joyce checks his pulse and realizes he’s dead. Buffy is shell-shocked.

As Ted’s body is taken away, a detective asks Joyce what happened. Instead of branding her daughter as a killer, Joyce just says that Ted fell down the stairs. Buffy admits that she hit him. They’re taken to the police station, where Buffy tells the detective almost the whole truth, only leaving out the contents of her journal. The problem is that Buffy’s Slayer super-powers include quick healing, so she doesn’t have much proof that Ted threw the first punch. The detective believes that things got out of hand, though, and he tells Joyce he’s not charging Buffy with anything right now. Mother and daughter have a silent ride home.

At school the next day, Buffy looks paranoid, like she thinks everyone’s talking about her. (They probably are.) She tells Willow and Xander that she couldn’t stay home, with Joyce ignoring her. The two of them already know what happened, and they tell Buffy that the newspaper is reporting that Ted just fell. Xander asks what he was. He must have been something supernatural, if Buffy killed him. Buffy’s lack of response tells him that’s not true.

Willow thinks Buffy should cling to the fact that Ted started the fight. Buffy says that doesn’t make much of a difference when you’re not a kid. She might still face legal charges. “He was a person…and I killed him,” she says. She knows it’s what everyone’s already saying. As the Slayer, Buffy had no right to hit Ted the way she did. Xander says that he knows Buffy well, and he knows she would never intentionally hurt a human, unless… Buffy finishes: “Unless they were dating my mother?”

She runs into Giles, who tells her to ask if there’s anything she needs. The police are there, asking some questions about Buffy’s behavior. That can’t be good. Later, Xander tells Willow and Cordelia that he wishes he could get his hands on Ted. Cordelia says she thought Xander liked Ted. “I sometimes like things that are not good for me,” Xander replies pointedly. He doesn’t think Buffy would have fought someone innocent. “Nice Uncle Ted” must have been a bad guy.

Willow’s looking into Ted but hasn’t found anything yet. Xander’s delighted to find some leftover cookies in Willow’s backpack. Cordelia thinks that since Buffy’s the Slayer, she should have a special set of rules for who she can fight. Willow sarcastically says that would work in a fascist society. “Right! Why can’t we have one of those?” Cordelia asks.

Willow firmly says it wouldn’t be fair for Buffy to be punished for killing Ted. Giles tells the group that Buffy’s punishing herself more than the legal system ever could. Cordelia says Giles would know, since he “helped raise that demon that killed that guy that time.” Giles says yes: “Let’s bring that up as often as possible.”

He’ll be patrolling that night, to give Buffy a break. Willow’s worried about him going out without the Slayer, but Giles says there is no Slayer until Buffy recovers from this. Cordelia, amazingly, offers her help, but Giles thinks the Scoobies can help the most by continuing looking into Ted. They do, but Willow can’t find anything negative about Ted. It’s like he’s citizen of the year. Xander tells her not to worry; they’ll work it out. Willow starts to suspect that there’s something up with cookies they’ve been eating.

At home that night, Joyce sadly packs up all of Ted’s cooking supplies. Buffy says she didn’t mean to hurt him, but Joyce isn’t ready to talk about Ted yet. Back at school, Willow finds a tranquilizer in the cookies that keeps people compliant and also has an effect like Ecstasy. Xander raves over her work, though some of that praise might be the cookies talking. Cordelia has found some of Ted’s records, including his address, so the three of them head out to continue investigating.

Jenny surprises Giles by joining him in the park to apologize for being distant earlier. Unfortunately, her association with Giles is putting her in danger again, because there’s a vampire approaching them. Buffy gets sick of sitting in her room and decides to go out, but her window has been nailed shut. She doesn’t think the day can get any worse. “Beg to differ,” says Ted as he appears in her room.

He confirms that Buffy killed him and invites her to apologize. She asks what he is, but he just says he’s a salesman – a salesman who always bounces back, no matter what. He throws Buffy across the room. Back in the park, the vampire tackles Giles, who yells for Jenny to get a crossbow from his bag. She’ll just have to wait for a chance to take a shot without hurting Giles.

Ted puts his hand around Buffy’s neck and tells her he had to “shut down” for a while to get away from her. The intern who saw him get off the table at the morgue was pretty surprised. Now Ted’s ready to get to business. So is Jenny, who fires a stake at the vampire but accidentally gets Giles instead. Fortunately, he’s able to pull it out of his back and stake the vampire.

Buffy grabs a nail file from her dresser and uses it to cut a big gash in Ted’s arm. It reveals wires, and Ted starts glitching. He’s a robot! He goes back and forth between being super-nice and threatening Buffy again. When he hears Joyce coming, he kicks Buffy in the head and knocks her out. He assures Buffy that he and Joyce will be very happy.

The other Scoobies break into the place listed as Ted’s address, some kind of shop. His records show four marriage certificates and no divorces. Willow sees that one of those marriages happened in 1957, when Ted was way too young to get married. The place looks abandoned, and Cordelia comments that a rug on the floor doesn’t match the rest of the décor. That’s because it’s hiding a trapdoor.

Ted reveals himself to Joyce, who’s understandably confused. He tells her he was briefly dead but is okay now. It’s a miracle. Joyce promises that Buffy never meant to hurt Ted. He says Joyce doesn’t have to worry about Buffy or anything else: “Daddy’s here.” Joyce, run. Anyone who says that unironically is someone you don’t want to be associated with.

At the shop, the Scoobies go through the trapdoor and find a home setup straight out of the ’50s. In the closet Xander finds all the evidence he says they’ll need to prove that Ted is crazy. He won’t show the girls, which is good, because he’s found the bodies of Ted’s first four wives. In a closet? For decades? Don’t wanna know. Don’t wanna ask any more questions.

Back at the Summerses’, Ted tells Joyce he couldn’t die because he had to come back to her. She wants to talk to Buffy before she sees Ted, but Ted snaps that he’s the one they should be thinking about, since he died. Joyce apologizes, saying she doesn’t know what to do. Ted reminds her that he always tells her what to do. He glitches as he says they’ll go someplace where no one will ever bother them. Joyce suggests that he get some rest, but he says he doesn’t take orders from women – he’s “not wired that way.”

Thanks to Giles’ layers of tweed, the stake Jenny shot him with didn’t cause too much damage. She laughs about how they’ve spent their night, and it sounds like she’s ready to rekindle things. Meanwhile, Buffy regains consciousness as Joyce tries to talk Ted into having a celebratory drink. He tells her they need to get to the house he’s decorated just for her. He’s already packed her things, including clothes that he knows are her size because they always are. “You left me once, but I keep bringing you back,” he says. “Husband and wife is forever.”

Buffy’s door has been locked from the outside, but she just kicks a hole in it and the doorknob comes off. Joyce doesn’t appreciate Ted trying to rush her away, and he doesn’t appreciate her not listening to him, so he knocks her out and decides to carry her to their new home. He leaves her in the hallway when he hears creaking elsewhere in the house. Buffy ambushes him in the kitchen, hitting him with a frying pan. This takes off some of his skin, revealing his robot frame underneath. She hits him again, and his wires short out and he finally shuts down.

Sometime later, Buffy and Joyce hang out, making plans for a movie night. Joyce doesn’t want anything with romance or horror. She’s still edgy about Ted’s creepiness, but Buffy assures her that Ted is “on the scrap heap…of life.” At school, Xander sums it all up: There was originally a human Ted. His wife left him while he was dying, so he built a better Ted. Then he kidnapped his wife and held her hostage until she died. After that, he just replaced her over and over with other women.

Willow says that Ted was actually a genius with really advanced design ideas. Buffy guesses that she kept some parts. “You’re supposed to use your powers for good,” she admonishes. The Scoobies agree to stop talking about the weird robot serial killer and go back to their normal lives. As they’re about to enter the library, Buffy spots something through the window and complains that she can’t walk into a room with adults nowadays. The Scoobies walk away, leaving Giles and Jenny to make out in the library in peace.

Thoughts: Ted is played by the late John Ritter.

Do you think that, along with strength and fast healing abilities, one of the powers possessed by Slayers is having perfectly neat hair after a long fight with a vampire? That’s really the only explanation for it.

I’m surprised Giles is okay making out in the library. That’s like his church. It’s like Rory telling Lane not to talk about sex in front of books.

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