"The Puppet Show"
Written by Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel; directed by Ellen Pressman

While participants in Sunnydale Highís talent show prepare for rehearsal a demonic voice declares that it ďwill be whole.Ē Cordelia sings "The Greatest Love of All" (badly) for Giles, who has been assigned to direct the show. Buffy, Willow, and Xander tease Giles until the new principal, Snyder (Armin Shimerman), orders them to create an act for the show. A boy named Morgan performs a ventriloquist act with his dummy Sid, who seems almost lifelike. After rehearsal a dancer named Emily is killed by the demon who wants to be made whole.

The Scoobies try to come up with an act while other students, such as a magician named Marc, practice their talents. Snyder warns Giles to keep an eye on the troublemakers, including the Scoobies. After Emilyís body is found, Giles informs Buffy that her heart was removed. Because she was killed with a knife, Giles suspects that the killer was a human. The Scoobies speak with various talent show participants but are unable to determine who might have killed Emily. While Buffy speaks with Morgan, Sid interrupts and Buffy is confused by Morganís behavior. The Scoobies decide that Morgan is the most likely murder suspect.

Buffy breaks into Morganís locker but is caught by Snyder. Elsewhere, Sid tells Morgan that "sheís the one." That night Buffy believes she sees Sid in her room. The Scoobies are less than supportive of her theory. Giles finds information about a brotherhood of demons who harvest human organs so that they can revert to their original forms. Xander nabs Sid so that Buffy can speak to Morgan alone; he has fun playing with the dummy. Giles and Willow research and discover that Sid may be the one whoís really a demon. Xander freaks out when he realizes that the supposedly inanimate dummy has disappeared. Buffy discovers Morganís body and sees that the harvesting demon has taken his brain. She is trapped under a fallen chandelier and attacked by a knife-wielding Sid. The Slayer and the dummy each believe the other to be the harvesting demon, but Buffy and the Scoobies soon learn that the dummy was a demon hunter cursed to live in a dummyís body. He announces that heís killed six of the seven harvesting demons and believes that the seventh is a talent show participant.

Giles runs off to determine who isnít at the show while Sid and Buffy wait to battle the seventh demon. Sid tells her that when the demon is killed, he will be freed - but freedom means death. No one is missing from the show, but Buffy discovers that Morganís brain is still hanging around backstage. The Scoobies find out that Morgan had brain cancer and the demon has rejected his brain - which means heís still searching for one. They suspect that Willow will be the demonís target, but itís actually Giles, who has been enlisted by Marc to participate in his magic act. The trick involves a guillotine and Gilesí skull. The Scoobies rush backstage and save Giles while Buffy subdues Marc the demon. Sid stabs him in the heart and is freed. As the battle ends the curtain goes up and Snyder is duly confused by the scene. Over the credits Buffy, Willow, and Xander perform a stilted performance of a scene from Oedipus Rex. Xander forgets his lines and Willow panics and runs offstage.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Beware magicians.

GRADE: B+ The final scene is worthy of an extra half letter grade.

WELCOME TO THE HELLMOUTH: Snyder

MEMORABLE QUOTES - "There are things I will not tolerate: students loitering on campus after school. Horrible murders with hearts being removed. And also smoking." - Snyder

"I donít get it. What is it? Avant-garde?" - Snyder, upon seeing the stage after the battle


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