Home page All episodes sorted by rank All episodes sorted alphabetically All episodes sorted by writer All episodes sorted by director All episodes sorted by season Episodes with the most polarized opinions Episodes largely forgotten by fans Best and worst streaks of episodes An analysis of what makes episodes great Buffy writers sorted by the quality of their episodes Buffy directors sorted by the quality of their episodes Seasons of Buffy sorted by the quality of their episodes Buffy characters sorted by their possible contribution to episode quality Predicted episode quality based on writer, director, characters, and when aired Episodes that are much better or much worse than predicted Tastes in episodes Episodes ranked by taste Seasons ranked by taste Characters ranked by taste Writers ranked by taste Directors ranked by taste How the results on this site were obtained Ranking important contributors Reviews and Essays Frequently Asked Questions The links page Go to the sitemap

I ROBOT... YOU JANE (ep 1.08)

(a.k.a. Willow's Got Mail)

Written by: Ashley Gable & Thomas A. Swyden
Directed by: Stephen Posey
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Robia LaMorte as Ms. Calendar
Chad Lindberg as Dave
Jamison Ryan as Fritz Siegel
Co-Starring: Pierrino Mascarino as Thelonius
Edith Fields as School Nurse
Damon Sharp as Male Student
Mark Deakins as Voice of Moloch

Plot Summary

Willow's online boyfriend turned out to be a demon that she inadvertently freed from a book.

Plot Details

The episode opened in a monastery in Cortona, Italy in the year 1418. A demon (Moloch) asked for the love of a monk. When the monk proclaimed his love, Moloch responded by breaking the monk's neck. In another part of what might be the same monastery, a monk named Thelonius (I hope that I do not need to explain the pun) gathered a circle of his colleagues to cast a spell. In what is a pretty good visual effect for the first season, Moloch broke into little bits of light that showered into a book. Thelonius expressed the wish that nobody ever read the book and let Moloch loose in the world. I give the audience one guess as to what will happen in this episode.

For some reason, a computer science teacher (Ms. Calendar) had Willow, Buffy, Xander, and two male students (Dave and Fritz) scan books into a computer. This led to a debate between Giles, who favored books over computers, and Ms. Calendar and Fritz, who favored computers over books. Fritz came across at a complete wacko and the two faculty members simply asserted their sides without making any good points.

Despite not having any clue how to use a scanner (she scanned vertically when she should have scanned horizontally), Willow continued her work well into the evening. The text disappeared from the book as she put it aside. One guess as to which book this is.

About a week later, Buffy quizzed Willow on the person she was talking to on the phone so much that Buffy could not get through. Willow appeared to be very smitten with a guy named Malcolm that she had yet to meet in person. Buffy was concerned about Willow's on-line relationship and wanted Willow to slow down. Willow did not seem to be buying this advice.

Meanwhile, a computer cam focused on Buffy. Fritz's computer started flipping through student files, presumably looking for Buffy's. It was a good thing that Buffy's was one of them. The computer showed Fritz this file and gave him the command "Watch her."

Later, Xander expressed concerns to Buffy. Buffy diagnosed jealousy. Both Xander and Buffy start imagining what Malcolm was like. They eventually concluded that he is an ax-murdering circus freak until Buffy realized that they might be overreacting.

Willow had started blowing off classes and was very hurt when Buffy expressed concern. Apparently, Malcolm had already warned Willow that Buffy would not understand. Buffy said that Malcolm was right.

Later, Buffy asked Dave to trace an e-mail message. It looked like he was looking forward to the challenge until Buffy mentioned Willow and Malcolm. He denied being Malcolm and refused to say any more.

Giles was not any more helpful. He just suggested tailing Dave, which Buffy did. Even though Dave was driving and Buffy was on foot, they still arrived at an office building at the same time. A security camera spotted her and sent a message to Fritz to kill Buffy. He seemed pleased.

Xander identified the building as a research lab that closed the previous year. Its reopening would have made the news, so Xander and Buffy assumed that something was wrong and agreed to break in that night.

In an online chat, Willow and Malcolm agreed to meet in the near future. Willow finally got a little suspicious when Malcolm let slip that he knew that Buffy was expelled from her old school.

Giles and Ms. Calendar had another argument on books vs. computers. Ms. Calendar found the Moloch book without any writing in it. This upset Giles, but he did not tell Ms. Calendar why.

Meanwhile, many people had computer errors, including one student whose essay was changed to praise Nazi Germany as the model of a well-ordered society and a nurse whose patient file no longer listed a patient as allergic to penicillin.

Dave found Buffy and told her that Willow was looking for her in a locker room. While Buffy went looking for Willow, she heard Fritz turn the shower on. When she saw nobody in the shower, she turned it off. Dave shouted a warning just as the water on the floor reached two live wires.

Dave started ranting to a computer saying that he cannot do "it." When Dave still refused after the computer's pleading, the computer wrote a suicide note while Fritz lurked in the background.

Xander wanted to kill Dave for setting Buffy up. Giles was simply grateful that Buffy was OK, and Buffy was just worried about her hair. Giles mentioned that Moloch's soul was trapped in the book until the pages were read aloud. He thought that Moloch had affected Dave. Buffy figured out that Moloch was scanned into the computer and now affected all computers with a modem connection.

Although even Giles thought it would be too late, Buffy tried to delete the Moloch file. Moloch's true face appeared on the screen and told Buffy to stay away from Willow in nearly the exact words that Dave used earlier. Buffy realized that the face was Moloch and that they needed to find Willow.

In the computer lab, Buffy found Dave's body hanging from the ceiling with his suicide note taped to his chest. She figured out that it was not a suicide. Buffy and Willow went to Willow's house while Giles worked on getting Moloch out of the Internet.

Willow arrived home to find mail on her computer. It was Malcolm saying that he needed to see her. When she tried to turn her monitor off, it turned on again with the computer telling her that she had mail. Willow then went to the front door where Fritz ambushed her, presumably with chloroform.

Ms. Calendar showed up in the library. She already knew that there was a demon on the Internet. Despite teaching a subject with "science" in the title (albeit a good clue that the subject is not scientific), she also dealt in the mystical. Together they worked on a way to perform the binding spell on Moloch using the computer.

Buffy and Xander arrived at Willow's house and saw Moloch's message. They figured out that Willow was probably at the research lab.

Willow woke up at the research lab and saw a robotic Moloch, who promptly killed Fritz. Buffy and Willow broke into the building only to find that the security system was computerized. The sprinkler system started spraying some sort of mist that was most likely neither water nor a fire retardant. Moloch was about to kill Willow when the spell distracted him. Buffy futilely tried to attack Moloch while Xander brought Willow out of the room.

The spell worked, sort of. Moloch was banished from the Internet, but he still remained in the robot. The Moloch Robot gave Xander a punch that would probably have killed a real human being but merely stunned him momentarily. Moloch was about to kill Buffy when Willow intervened with a fire extinguisher. Moloch tried once again to attack Buffy, but instead punched an electrical control box, electrocuting himself.

Giles went to Ms. Calendar's classroom to return what he thought was an earring. He confessed that recent events have done nothing to improve his opinion of computers. Willow, Buffy, and Xander commiserated over their love lives with a demon, vampire, and a praying mantis lady. Buffy realized that none of them will every have a good relationship. For a minute, they actually thought that that was funny.

The Good

There was a nice cut from the book's point of view of Thelonius closing the box to Buffy opening it.

The Bad

The fact that Fritz makes all computer users sound like wackos is only partially mollified by Ms. Calendar pointing that out. In fact, she does not come across much better.

Rank: 135

Action: 2

Buffy, Willow, and Xander battled the Moloch Robot.

Comedy: 1

Buffy and Xander imagined what Malcolm might really be like.

Drama: 3

Willow and Buffy clashed over Buffy's suspicions about Malcolm.

Willow had to face the truth that Buffy was correct.

Romance: 5

The episode revolved around an online romance that Willow had with Moloch. In the end, Buffy, Willow, and Xander discussed the fact that none of them will ever have a happy romance.

Character Development: 5

Willow—believes that it was very difficult for members of the opposite sex to find her attractive. If some male does not get smart and take her while he has a chance, she might just switch to women.

Xander—is very protective of Willow and/or likes being the main guy in her life even if he has no romantic feelings for her.

Importance: 0

Most Valuable Player: Giles

Moloch would take this award if he were not stupid enough to electrocute himself. This leaves either Xander or Buffy, who rescued Willow; and Giles and Ms. Calendar, who pulled Moloch off the Internet. As much as I love Willow, the latter was the bigger accomplishment. Ms. Calendar gets eliminated because it was her project that put Moloch on the Internet in the first place. Therefore, Giles gets the MVP.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Buffy

Both Xander and Buffy fought for this award by realizing that Malcolm was not who he seemed to be. Buffy won by figuring out that Moloch was scanned and resided in a computer.

Goat of the Week: Dave

Jim Hightower said that the only things in the middle of the road are yellow stripes and dead armadillos. Dave became the latter. (Well, not an armadillo.) If he never had anything to do with Moloch from the beginning, he would still be alive. If he remained loyal to Moloch no matter what, he still might have survived if he held on until after Moloch fried. Instead, he stayed in the middle and died.

Moloch was a candidate for stupidly electrocuting himself, but he did too much damage to warrant the goat. Willow was also a candidate for scanning Moloch into the computer and for not listening to Buffy, but she came through in the end by helping protect Buffy from the Moloch Robot.

Random Commentary

My first site, The Phi-Phenomenon, analyzes lists of the best films of all time. In the course of these analyses, I discovered three tastes in film: Mainstream, Popular, and Highbrow. People with Highbrow tastes like silent films and films in languages other than English more than other people do and like recent films and genre films less than other people do. I thought about naming this taste "Snob," except that people with Popular tastes who prefer recent films and genre films can be just as snobbish.

This is a very roundabout way of saying that people who accuse others of being snobs are often snobs themselves. In this case, Ms. Calendar is at least as snobbish as Giles. Giles, at times, has recognized that the computer has its use. He may have no desire to use the computer himself, but he has often been appreciative of the information that Willow found. Ms. Calendar, on the other hand, seems to have no use for books at all.


I do not want to pretend that I know what I am talking about, but I wonder why Thelonius spoke to the other monks in Italian rather than in Latin.

Is Willow capable of typing without sounding out the words?

Student Files

The files were never in focus, so much of the information below is just my best guess.

Name: T.C. Chappelow
Birthdate: 02-24-80
Status: Junior
G.P.A.: 3.0
Absences: 0
Athletics: Dodgeball

Name: Howard Fine
Birthdate: 11-11-79
Status: Senior
G.P.A.: 3.8
Absences: 8
Athletics: Wrestling

Name: Corey Meyer
Birthdate: 10-04-80
Status: Junior
G.P.A.: 3.4

Name: Martin Milligan
Birthdate: 02-24-79
Status: Senior
G.P.A.: 2.5
Absences: 4
Athletics: Cheerleader

Name: Buffy Summers
Birthdate: 10-24-80
Status: Senior
G.P.A.: 3.4
Absences: 1
Athletics: None

Name: Buffy Summers
Birthdate: 10-24-80
Status: Sophomore
G.P.A.: 2.8
Absences: 1
Athletics: None

Name: Jill [?]
Birthdate: 09-28-79
Status: Senior
G.P.A.: 3.6
Absences: 1
Athletics: Volleyball, Swimming

Memorable Quotes

"The printed page is obsolete. Information isn't bound up anymore. It's an entity. The only reality is virtual. If you're not jacked in, you're not alive." Fritz

"Does he go here? What's his name? Have you kissed him? What's he like?" Buffy
"No, Malcolm, no, and very nice." Willow

"This guy could be anybody. He could be weird, or crazy, or old, or he could be a circus freak. He's probably a circus freak." Buffy
"We read about it all the time. You know, people meet on the net, they talk, they get together, have dinner, a show, horrible ax murder." Xander
"Willow ax-murdered by a circus freak. OK, OK, what do we do? What are we doing?" Buffy

"I can't have information sometimes?" Xander
"It's just somewhat unprecedented." Giles

"You kids really dig the library, don't ya?" Ms. Calendar
"We're literary" Buffy
"To read makes our speaking English good." Xander

"Well, it's been so nice talking to you." Giles
"We were fighting." Ms. Calendar
"Must do it again sometime." Giles

"Tell me the truth. How's my hair?" Buffy
"It's great. It's your best hair ever." Xander

"He's in a computer. What can he do?" Xander
"You mean besides convince a perfectly nice kid to try and kill me? I don't know. How about mess up all the medical equipment in the world?" Buffy
"Randomize traffic signals?" Giles
"Access launch codes for our nuclear missiles?" Buffy
"Destroy the world's economy?" Giles
"I think I pretty much capped it with that nuclear missile thing." Buffy
"Right, yours was best." Giles

"Malcolm, remember me, your girlfriend? [Wham!] I think it's time we break up, [Wham!] but maybe we can still be friends." Willow

"Let's face it. None of us are ever going to have a happy, normal relationship." Buffy

Characters in Peril


Buffy and the Law

Spoiler Links

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on October 31, 2012