In keeping with Buffy creator Joss Whedon's directive to deal with a wide array of monsters -- not just vampires -- episode four finds Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) bug hunting. After imparting some much-needed encouragement to Buffy, biology teacher Dr. Gregory (William Monaghan) is found the next day -- minus his head! Jumping to obvious conclusions, Buffy assumes that the gruesome murder fits the m.o. of "Claw" (Jean Speegle Howard), a real Captain Hook of a vampire, whose hand has been supplanted with various sharp objects. But, when Claw flees at the sight of Dr. Gregory's substitute, a sultry woman named Natalie French (Musetta Vander), Buffy begins to focus on her. French gives lectures on her love of praying mantises and quickly has all the boys at Sunnydale High "hot for teacher." Bugged by the monstrous possibilities of who or what the killer could be, Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) seeks the help of his friend Dr. Carlyle Ferris, an entomology/mythology expert, who has recently gone mad after hunting a "She-Mantis" at Oxford. As it turns out, French is the She-Mantis in question, and has meanwhile imprisoned Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and another student in hopes of mating with them and then killing them, in classic She-Mantis style. Buffy fortunately comes to the rescue in time to save the boys from decapitation. This episode marks the first in a long series of running jokes directed toward Xander about falling for a She-Mantis. Other equally heartfelt ribbings pop up throughout the series.
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