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I Robot, You Jane

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 1, Episode 8
Irobot
Air date April 28, 1997 (USA)
Written by Ashley Gable
Thomas A. Swyden
Directed by Stephen Posey
Episode Guide
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"Angel"
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Cast
Starring
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
Robia LaMorte Jenny Calendar
Chad Lindberg Dave
Jamison Ryan Fritz
Co Starring
Pierrino Mascarino Thelonius
Edith Fields School Nurse
Damon Sharpe Male Student
Mark Deakins Voice of Moloch
Uncredited
Joss Whedon Radio Announcer

"I Robot, You Jane" is the eighth episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is the eighth episode overall. It was directed by Stephen Posey and written by Ashley Gable and Thomas A. Swyden. It was originally broadcast on April 28, 1997.

Willow accidentally releases the demon Moloch the Corruptor into the internet.

Synopsis

In a castle in Cortona, Italy, in 1418, Carlo, a young Italian man, looked at Moloch, a lizard-looking demon, his master. Moloch promises Carlo everything if he gives Moloch his love, and as Carlo promises his love, Moloch kills him. In a church, a few priests form the sacred Circle of Kayless to trap Moloch in a book. The book is sealed in a box, with the head priest expressing his hope that the book will not be read, or the demon Moloch will once again walk the world. The scene cuts to Buffy opening the box in which the book is kept, and is told by Giles to put it in a pile. Ms. Calendar and Giles trade jibes about the need for modern technology. As the class leaves, Willow tries to convince Xander to help her scan. As he leaves, she scans in the book Moloch is trapped in. As Willow leaves, the text "Where am I?" is displayed on the computer screen.

A week later, at school, Buffy questions Willow about her missing a few classes. Willow confides she has an online relationship with a boy named Malcolm. As Buffy tries to warn Willow about the dangers of rushing into a relationship with someone she has not seen, Fritz (a computer geek) is instructed by Moloch, via the computer he is working on, to keep watch on Buffy. Ms. Calendar questions Fritz about the unusual amount of time he and Dave are spending on the computer and receives an ambiguous answer. Later, when Xander asks Willow if she will accompany him to the Bronze, she passes, wanting to talk to Malcolm.

Buffy accuses Xander of jealousy, and Xander denies vehemently, claiming he is just worried about Willow because they have no idea if Malcolm is who he says he is. The scene cuts to Fritz mumbling "I'm jacked in" and he slices his arm in the form of the letter "M". As Willow is late on the next day, Buffy finds that she blew off classes to talk to "Malcolm". When Buffy asks for Dave for help finding out Malcolm's real identity, his angry response causes her to think that he is Malcolm. When Buffy asks Giles for help, he confesses he cannot help her much as he finds technology to be intimidating. His only idea is for Buffy to follow Dave. As Buffy follows him to the CRD building, a security camera points at her, and a message appears on a computer screen Fritz is looking at: "kill her".

Moloch

Researching Moloch.

When Buffy goes back to Giles and Xander, Xander unexpectedly knows that CRD is Calax Research and Development, a hi-tech company which shut down. When Xander assures Buffy that it is suspicious since he would know if CRD re-opened, they decide to break in. When Ms. Calendar interrupts them, Xander and Buffy leave. Willow becomes suspicious of Malcolm after she learns that he knows Buffy was kicked out of her old school, and logs off the conversation. Back at the library, Giles's and Ms. Calendar's verbal sparring leads them to discover that Moloch's book is empty.

Outside of school, Dave tells Buffy that Willow wants to talk to her in the girl's locker room, as a plot to electrocute Buffy. Dave changes his mind at the last minute, and his warning combined with Buffy's slayer reflexes save her. When Moloch hears of it, he begins writing Dave's suicide note on the computer, and Fritz kills Dave. Buffy, Xander, and Giles reconvene in the library, where Giles gives the exposition on how books were used to imprison demons, but if the books were read, the demons were set free. Together, they realize that Moloch has gotten into the Internet - the scanning of his book being close enough to "reading" it to set him free - and is wreaking havoc from there. When Buffy tries to delete the "Moloch" file, his face appears and tell her to stay away from Willow, and Buffy realizes Malcolm is Moloch.

Buffy and Giles explain that there is no limit to the amount of damage a demon on the Internet can do. After they find Dave's body, Xander and Buffy go to Willow's house, and Buffy tells Giles to ask Ms. Calendar for help, hoping that between his knowledge of demons and her knowledge of computers, they can re-imprison Moloch. Willow is kidnapped by Fritz. At the library, Giles is surprised that Ms. Calendar understands and even names some demons, as she is a "techno-pagan". Buffy and Xander, guessing that Moloch had Willow kidnapped, rush off to CRD. Buffy calls Giles, and they co-ordinate plans. Inside CRD, Moloch's robotic body is prepared, and he is happy to see Willow. Moloch kills Fritz as a demonstration of his power. Buffy and Xander break into CRD as Giles and Ms. Calendar start preparing the binding spell. The binding spell does not complete but casts Moloch out of the Internet and traps him inside his robotic body. Moloch crashes through a wall and backhands Xander, but Willow hits Moloch with a fire extinguisher. As Moloch tries to kill Buffy, he punches an electrical power line and dies.

The next day, Buffy, Willow, and Xander joke about how the Hellmouth is screwing with their love lives, laughing about how none of them will ever find true happiness, then looking decidedly unenthusiastic at the thought.

Continuity

  • The Scooby Gang encounters the interactions between technology and the supernatural, a recurring theme, especially in the fourth season.
  • Buffy and Xander try to cheer up Willow by mentioning that Buffy likes a vampire, in reference to Angel,[1] and Xander had a crush on a giant praying mantis.[2] This foreshadows the relationship issues that will plague the main characters during the seven seasons.
  • The Scooby Gang has their first experience with Jenny Calendar.
  • At the end, Buffy Summers says how none of them will ever have a normal relationship which turns out to be prophetic. Buffy dates Angel (vampire), has a one-night stand with Parker (human), dates Riley (military demon hunter), gets into a sexual relationship with Spike (vampire) and has a one-night stand with Satsu (Slayer). Willow dates Oz (werewolf), Tara (witch), Kennedy (Slayer), Aura (human) and Aluwyn (demon). Xander gets involved with the impostor teacher Natalie French (giant she-mantis), Ampata (mummy), several girls, (including Joyce, Buffy, Willow Rosenberg, Harmony, Jenny and more) but it was because of a wrong spell invoked by Amy, dates Cordelia (human; ironically, becoming a demon after she left Sunnydale), has a one-night stand with Faith (Slayer), a long-term relationship with Anya (ex-demon), goes out with Lissa (demon), a brief one with Renee (Slayer), and then gets involved with Dawn (magically-created human).
  • This is the first time we see the inside of Willow's house and her bedroom.
  • This is the first episode where someone is killed by neck snapping and also includes the first flashback scene. 
  • Xander mentions his uncle Rory for the first time. 
  • This is the first time a flashback sequence is used in the Buffyverse in order to make sense of the story, a prominent plot device in both Buffy and Angel. While in "The Harvest" a flashback of the previous episode is used, this is the first time we see a flashback of a past event that did not occur in any previous episodes but filmed specifically for this episode.
  • This episode marks the first time Buffy slays a demon rather than a vampire.
  • Buffy and Xander are concerned about Malcolm potentially being an axe murderer; in the episode "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", it was Willow who was potentially committing axe murders.

Appearances

Individuals

Organizations and Titles

Species

Event

  • Moloch's Imprisonment, 1418

Locations

Weapons and Objects

  • Tome of Moloch
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Short circuit network
  • Internet
  • Spells

Body Count

  • Carlo, neck snapped in 1418 by Moloch in Italy
  • David Kirby, killed by Fritz Siegel under Moloch's influence
  • Fritz, neck snapped by Moloch
  • Moloch, electrocuted when, trapped in his robotic body, he punched an electric power line

Behind the Scenes

Production

  • "I Robot, You Jane" features the first appearance of Jenny Calendar. Although her first name was not mentioned, the script called her Nicki. However, the name was then changed to avoid confusion on the set, where the cast and crew all call Nicholas Brendon by his nickname, "Nicky".[3]
  • Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase) is credited in this episode as a series regular, but absent in the episode.
  • In the library, Giles is listening to a radio report about computer problems at the Vatican. The announcer on the radio is Joss Whedon.
  • This is the third episode of the series that features no vampires. ("Witch" and "The Pack" being the first two).

Broadcast

  • The episode reached a Nielsen rating of 2.3 on its original airing.[4]

Pop Culture References

  • The title of this episode is a pun on the phrase "Me Tarzan, You Jane", created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, as well as a reference to "I, Robot", a collection of science fiction short stories by Isaac Asimov.
  • Xander: "With a little help from my friends?"
    "With A Little Help From My Friends" is the name of a song from the Beatles' 1967 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Joe Cocker recorded a popular cover of the song in 1968 which was later used as theme song to the television show The Wonder Years.
  • Buffy tells Giles "My spider sense is tingling." This is Spider-Man's catchphrase.
  • David and Fritz's last names are probably references to Jerry Siegel (co-creator of Superman) and Jack Kirby (co-creator of Captain America, Thor, X-Men etc.).

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • In consecutive scenes, Buffy's birth date is shown on computer screens presumably showing school records. Neither date—5/6/79 or 10/24/80—is correct. Buffy was born in 1981 and, as a "Capricorn on the cusp of Aquarius" (cf. "Doomed"), her birthday must be between January 17 and 20. However, these false dates might have been the work of Moloch. Joss Whedon eventually decreed that her birthday was January 19.
  • It is incorrectly listed on the menu of some VHS and DVD releases as "I, Robot... you, Jane".
  • In the scene where Buffy's birth date is shown incorrectly twice, just in between those two screens (approximately 8 minutes 37 seconds into the episode) you can see the computer desktop where there is a file labeled "Buffy... I, Robot".
  • When Ms. Calendar opens the Moloch book a title page is clearly visible despite it being empty.

Music

International Titles

  • French: Moloch
  • Portuguese: Eu Robô, Você Jane (I Robot, you Jane)
  • Finnish: Sinulle on postia (You've got mail)
  • German: Computerdämon (Computerdemon)

Other

  • The name of the demon, Moloch (a traditional Hebrew name for demons), was picked as an easter egg reference to computer programmers. In C-based languages, there is a function named malloc (short for 'Memory Allocate'). Since the episode makes many references to computers and the internet, the name is a fitting call-out.
  • This episode is Willow-centric.

Quotes

Jenny - "I know our ways are strange to you but soon you will join us in the twentieth century. With three whole years to spare!"
Giles - "I'll be back in the Middle Ages."
Jenny - "Did you ever leave?"
Xander - "Reading makes our speaking English good."
Moloch - "Right now a man in Beijing is transferring money to a Swiss bank account for a contract on his mother's life. Good for him."

References

  1. "Angel"
  2. "Teacher's Pet"
  3. Golden, Christopher, and Nancy Holder. The Watcher's Guide, Vol. 1. New York: Pocket Books, 1998.
  4. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's First Season."

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