"I Robot, You Jane" is the eighth episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the eighth episode in the series. Written by Ashley Gable and Thomas A. Swyden, and directed by Stephen Posey, it originally broadcast on April 28, 1997 on The WB network.
INTO THE GREAT WIDE OPEN — Buffy and Giles face a demon spirit who has been trapped since the Dark Ages and is unleashed into cyberspace. Meanwhile, Willow has fallen for a cyber-beau whom she met online and Xander and Buffy are wary of who this anonymous wooer may turn out to be.
In a castle in Cortona, Italy, in 1418, Carlo looks at Moloch, 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.
In 1997, Buffy opens 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 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".
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 a few mischief demons, as she is a technopagan. 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, Willow is feeling miserable that Malcolm turned out to be a demon. Buffy tries to cheer her up by reminding her that the guy she had a crush on turned out to be a vampire (Angel), while Xander also had the hots for a giant praying mantis (the She-Mantis). They reason that the Hellmouth is screwing with their love lives and joke about how none of them will ever find true happiness, although the three's laughter quickly gives way to worry at the thought.
- 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 (as revealed in episode "Angel"), and Xander had a crush on a giant praying mantis ("Teacher's Pet"). This foreshadows the relationship issues that will plague the main characters during the seven seasons.
- The Scooby Gang has their first contact with Jenny Calendar.
- 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 television series. 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.
- Buffy claims that Angel is "the one boy [she's] had the hots for" since moving to Sunnydale. She also demonstrated brief interest on Owen Thurman in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date".
- At the end, Buffy 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), as well with Satsu (Slayer).
- Willow dates Oz (werewolf), Tara (witch), Kennedy (Slayer), Aura (human), and Aluwyn (demon).
- Xander gets involved with the She-Mantis (demon), Ampata (mummy), dates Cordelia (human; eventually part demon), has a one-night stand with Faith (Slayer), a long-term relationship with Anya (ex-demon), goes out with Lissa (demon), has a brief relationship with Renee (Slayer), and then gets involved with Dawn (magically-created human).
- Angel (Only mentioned)
- Jennifer Calendar
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Rory Harris (Only mentioned)
- David Kirby
- Moloch the Corruptor
- Fritz Siegel
- She-Mantis (Only mentioned)
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Unidentified student
- Unidentified school nurse
Organizations and titles
- Cortona, Italy (Only in flashbacks)
- Moloch's castle (Only in flashbacks)
- Thelonius' church (Only in flashbacks)
- Sunnydale, USA
Weapons and objects
Rituals and spells
- Carlo, neck snapped in 1418 by Moloch in Italy (only in flashback).
- David Kirby, killed by Fritz Siegel under Moloch's influence.
- Fritz, neck snapped by Moloch.
- Moloch, electrocuted in his robotic body, mislead into punching an electric power line by Buffy Summers.
Behind the scenes
- The title of this episode is a pun on "Me Tarzan, You Jane", a phrase in reference to fictional character Tarzan, combined with I, Robot, the title of a collection of science fiction stories by Isaac Asimov.
- "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".
- In the library, Giles is listening to a radio report about computer problems at the Vatican. The announcer on the radio is Joss Whedon.
- The name 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.
- Despite credited in the title sequence, Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia) does not appear in this episode.
- This is the third episode of the series that features no vampires. ("Witch" and "The Pack" being the first two).
- David and Fritz's last names are probable references to Jerry Siegel (co-creator of Superman) and Jack Kirby (co-creator of Captain America, Thor, X-Men etc.). Their first names may also be references to 2001: A Space Odyssey's main character and the director of Metropolis, respectively, both highly influential films featuring robots.
- The episode reached a Nielsen rating of 2.3 on its original airing.
Pop culture references
- Xander quotes "With A Little Help From My Friends", in reference to the 1967 song by The Beatles.
- Buffy tells Giles "My spider sense is tingling," Spider-Man’s catchphrase.
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" ("Doomed"), her birthday must be between January 17 and 20 (with Buffy's birthday episodes accordingly airing in January). 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.
- Walter Murphy — original score
- Armenian: "Եսէ Ռոբոտ, դուէ Ջեյն" (I Am Robot, You Are Jane)
- Czech: "Já robot, Ty Jane" (I Robot, You Jane)
- Finnish: "Sinulle on Postia" (You've Got Mail)
- French: "Moloch"
- German: "Computerdämon" (Computerdemon)
- Hungarian: "A Hálózat" (The Network)
- Italian: "Il Male Nella Rete" (The Evil in the Net)
- Japanese: "私はロボット、あなたはジェーン" (I Am Robot, You Are Jane)
- Polish: "Ja, Robot… Ty, Jane" (I, Robot… You, Jane)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "Eu Robô, Você Jane" (I Robot, You Jane)
- Romanian: "Eu, Robot... Tu, Jane" (I, Robot… You, Jane)
- Russian: "Я — робот, ты — Джейн" (I — Robot, You — Jane)
- Spanish (Latin America and Spain): "Yo, Robot. Tu, Jane" (I, Robot. You, Jane)
- This episode's script is collected in The Script Book: Season One, Volume 2.
- The anthology The Willow Files, Volume 1 as well as the English language teaching reader I Robot, You Jane include novelizations of this episode.
Behind the scenes
|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 - "To read 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."|