Season 2, Episode 11 - “Ted”
Original airdate: Dec. 8, 1997
Project 310 re-watch date: Jan. 12, 2009
This is a strange episode, and not just because the bad guy is a robot played by the late John Ritter. This is the rare “Buffy” episode that’s more about the little things than the big story.
Let’s just put aside the whole robot-seeking-a-bride plot (which is pretty lame). The main thing you should take from this episode, and file it away for Season 3, is Buffy’s reaction when she thinks she’s killed a human.
When Buffy accidentally “kills” Ted (and I put that in quotations because not only is he not dead, but he’s a robot, so he couldn’t really be “killed” in a human sense), she’s completely devastated. She’s slain before, but slaying isn’t killing. This is a huge theme of the show in coming seasons, and this is the first time it really shows up. In a way, Buffy is a Batman-like hero, in that she’ll do anything to save the day, short of taking another human life.
I don’t want to go too much into this before we get to the opposite reaction from Faith in Season 3, but this episode lays the groundwork for that whole Buffy vs Faith dynamic. In that, it’s an episode that’s hard to appreciate for what it is when you first see it, but really stands out when you re-watch it after having seen the entire series.
Another one of those storylines from this episode that makes more sense the second time around is the whole Giles-Jenny story. After the events of “The Dark Age”, Jenny is still reluctant to be close to Giles (understandably so). Of course, as soon as she decides to forgive and forget, she ends up right back in the path of a vampire. This destructive behavior ends up leading her to her untimely demise (well, that and the sucking at keeping Buffy and Angel apart, but that’s a couple episodes away...).
Well, we’ve got one more filler episode, “Bad Eggs”, before we get to the REALLY good stuff.