“The Puppet Show”
I was kind of hesitant to rewatch this episode. At first I thought I must have been bored with it the first time around, but when it started I remembered – this episode creeped me out. Part of it was that I agree with Buffy:
Willow: I think dummies are cute. You don’t?
Buffy: Uh-uh. They give me the wig. Ever since I was little.
Willow: What happened?
Buffy: I saw a dummy. It gave me the wig. There really wasn’t a story there.
This episode also introduces Principal Snyder (who doesn’t connect with Buffy, and therefore sticks around for two years), providing a possible suspect for this episode and an annoying despot for many others.
Snyder: There are things I will not tolerate: students loitering on campus after school, horrible murders with hearts being removed. And also smoking.
Another line while the “core four” are discussing the fact that the murderer could be human one line has an eerie foreshadowing edge:
Willow: The creep factor is also heightened. It could be anyone. It could be me! (gets looks from them all) It’s not, though.
And even though the dummy turned out to be on the good side, he still was creepy. But the epilogue at the end (during the credits) is hilarious.
This episode got jumbled with a few other nightmarish ones in my head, so it was good to watch it again and straighten things out. I love the slow progression of story as the nightmares get more and more outlandish and sinister.
It’s interesting that a few of the nightmares do come true later on in the series – one of Giles’ and one of Buffy’s, both involving a certain grave. And yesterday I mentioned in my post about Bones that Xander and Booth had some similarities; this episode brings out another – they both hate clowns.
I do think Billy and Collin shouldn’t have looked so similar, unless the intent was to confuse viewers initially.
The season six episode “Once More, With Feeling” references this episode in one of the songs. Willow sings, “I’ve got a theory, some kid is dreaming, and we’re all stuck inside his wacky Broadway nightmare.” But “Nightmares” also has a hint at that future episode:
Giles: Dreams? That would be a musical comedy version of this.
The Master gets a lot of screen time in an episode that has little to do with him, but that’s understandable as the season finale is coming up. It’s kind of interesting that Angel has been absent for three episodes in a row, and not even mentioned for two (I guess I remembered him having a larger role than he actually did in season one). Did the nightmare world affect vampires too? It would have been interesting to see what they had nightmares about – 24-hour sunlight? Drowning in holy water? The Slayer?