Fed up with Giles constantly pressuring her to train and Angel's refusal to go on a date with her, Buffy defies both going to a fraternity party with Cordelia. However, things turn out badly for the two when the Delta Zeta Kappa fraternity brothers turn out to be a cult that sacrifices young women to a demon in exchange for wealth and power.
A girl jumps out of a second-floor window of a frat house and is chased into a cemetery, where she is caught. Meanwhile, Buffy and gang are happy with the apparent lack of activity at the Hellmouth. Giles presses her to train harder, but she just wants to be a teenager. Meanwhile, Cordelia tries to look and sound sophisticated, because she has started dating a college guy, part of her plan to become rich and elite. She demonstrates her efforts by laughing uproariously at anything that such a guy might say to her.
The next day at school, Cordelia's boyfriend comes by the school, and a friend of his becomes interested in Buffy. Cordelia introduces Buffy to the two guys, and Richard's friend invites her to the party. She turns him down, claiming she is involved with someone. When Buffy goes on patrol, she meets Angel, who smells blood on a bracelet Buffy finds on the ground. Angel tells Buffy that their age difference is a problem and that she does not know what she wants in life. She runs off.
Upset at being rebuffed by Angel, Buffy decides to go to the frat party with Cordelia. She chooses not to tell Giles or Angel about her plans. Later that night, Giles and Willow discover that the bracelet is from Kent Preparatory School, just outside of Sunnydale. Several girls are missing from the school, which is located near where Buffy is partying. Angel appears and asks about Buffy. Willow tells the two men where Buffy is and why Buffy lied to them. They then rush off to save Buffy and Cordelia.
At the party, Buffy notices immature behavior by drunken frat guys. Xander has sneaked in to protect Buffy, but other party-goers recognize him for a crasher. They force him into another room where he must put on some women's clothing, wear makeup and a wig, act "feminine," and dance. Meanwhile, Buffy decides to accept a drink after Tom calls her "too mature." The drink is drugged, and she stumbles her way up to a bedroom to lie down. Richard comes in and starts touching her, until Tom pulls him off, saying that the girls are not for him, but for he who they serve. Cordelia, meanwhile, is lying unconscious in the same room. When the girls wake up, they find themselves chained in a basement as an offering for a reptile god named Machida, along with one of the other missing girls, Callie. Cordelia is chosen to be the first victim, but Buffy distracts the demon and breaks out of her chains just in time.
Willow, Angel and Giles head to the frat party and meet up with Xander. They enter the house and beat up the frat guys. Willow realizes the girls are in the basement, and they enter as Tom and Buffy fight. Buffy kills the demon, and the frat guys are arrested. Though Giles is still not entirely happy that Buffy lied to him, he nonetheless realizes that he pushes Buffy too hard, and promises to take it easy on her from now on.
Afterward, everyone gathers at the Bronze, where Cordelia, because of her experiences at the party, has changed her standards and is now advocating dating younger men. Holding a newspaper, Xander reveals that the Delta Zeta Kappas have been sentenced to consecutive life sentences, and that the bodies of past victims dating back fifty years have been found. Additionally, many corporations founded by former Delta Zetas have suffered because of the fraternity's inability to feed Machida. At that moment, Angel appears and asks if Buffy would like to get coffee with him sometime. Playing it cool this time, Buffy happily agrees.
This episode has Cordelia reiterate her belief that older boys are the ones she wants to date. This was first mentioned in "The Harvest."
Buffy and Cordelia will once again find themselves targeted together by demons in "Homecoming."
Giles asks Buffy how many people her age can say that they have a purpose, a commitment in life. Although she answers "none," a few years later in season 7 episode "Potential," she says a similar thing to the potentials – that although most people have no idea why they exist, the potentials do: they have "a mission, a reason for being here."
When Willow, Xander, Giles, and Angel storm the fraternity, Angel goes into the household without being invited, despite being a vampire. This is because the fraternity brothers are only temporary residents. However, later, Angel needs an invitation to enter Buffy's dorm room, despite the fact that she could also be considered only a temporary resident. When Xander convinces one of the brothers to let him in, the latter says "Come in," and perhaps that open invitation was enough for Angel to go inside.
At the end of the episode, Buffy agrees to have coffee with Angel, which marks the beginning of their formal dating relationship.
This episode also marks the first incident of a group of men using magic to better their situation in life. A similar situation is seen in the season 7 episode "Help."
When Willow found out that Buffy was going to the frat party with Cordelia, she asked Xander if she sounded jealous. While it's probably not the intention, it can be considered foreshadowing to her future relationship with Tara and Kennedy. It is more likely that her jealousy is over Buffy hanging out with Cordelia instead of her.
In his DVD commentary for this episode, writer/director David Greenwalt says that when he wrote the episode he thought that he had invented a great demon name, Machida. He later realized that "Makita" was the brand of some of the equipment used on the show. Machida is also the name of a city in Japan.
This episode is one of the few times someone other than Joss Whedon both wrote and directed the episode.
In "A Buffy Bestiary," a special features video packaged with the Season Two DVD set, Marti Noxon acknowledged the "phallic imagery" in this episode and confessed, "Yes, it's a metaphor."
"Reptile Boy" had an audience of 3.5 million households.
Pop Culture References
Buffy says "There's a kind of hush all over Sunnydale," paraphrasing the song "There's A Kind Of Hush" by Herman's Hermits in 1967, and The Carpenters in 1976.
Xander's line "Okay, boots, start-a walkin'." paraphrases the song "These Boots Are Made For Walking" by Nancy Sinatra in 1966.
Cordelia teases Xander by saying, "You could belong to a fraternity of rich and powerful men. In the Bizarro world." This is a reference to DC Comics' fictional home planet of the Superman enemy Bizarro; also, in "The Wish," Cordelia refers to the Wishverse as "Bizarro World."
Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors
Even though the frat boys were just caught, Xander reads in the paper that "they've all been sentenced to consecutive life sentences."
Louie Says - "She" (Plays when Buffy and Tom have their slow dance at the party and later on at The Bronze when Angel asks Buffy out for a cup of coffee.)
Act of Faith - "Bring Me On" (Plays when the frat brothers force Xander to dance as punishment of him crashing the party.)
Shawn Clement & Sean Murray - "If I Can't Have You"
Shawn Clement & Sean Murray - "Wolves"
Shawn Clement & Sean Murray - "Secrets"
Finnish: Liskomies (Lizardman)
French: Dévotion (Devotion)
German: Der Geheimbund (The Secret Society)
Portuguese (Brazil): Garoto Réptil (Reptile Boy)
Spanish (Latin America): El demonio serpiente (The snake demon)
Spanish (Spain): El réptil (The reptile)
Greg Vaughan, the actor who played Richard Anderson, was also in the short-lived series Malibu Shores with Charisma Carpenter. He was also a regular on Charmed as Dan Gordon, the series in which Charisma would later have a recurring role as Kyra the Seer.
This episode deals with allegories of date-rape, spiked drinks, and not judging people by their appearances. This is yet another Hellmouth metaphor.
The attempted sacrifice in this episode takes place on October 10 (the 10th day of the 10th month, as stated by Tom Warner).
Since 1897, offerings were given to Machida in a cavern beneath Sunnydale, in exchange for wealth and power.
It's quite interesting that Indian movies were a motif in this episode, because half-human, half-snake serpent people called nagas are prominent in Indian mythology. Like Machida, the nagas were believed to live underground, and in fact some, especially in southern India, still worship the nagas as bringers of fertility.
Buffy - "I-I was... just thinking, wouldn't it be funny some time to see each other when it wasn't a blood thing. Not funny ha, ha."
Angel - "What are you sayin', you wanna have a date?"
Buffy - "No."
Angel - "You don't wanna have a date?"
Buffy - "Who said 'date'? I-I-I never said 'date'."
Angel - "Right. You just wanna have coffee or somethin'."
Buffy - "Coffee?"
Angel - "I knew this was gonna happen."
Buffy - "What? What do you think is happening?"
Angel - "You're sixteen years old. I'm two hundred and forty-one."
Buffy - "I've done the math."
Angel - "This isn't some fairytale. When I kiss you, you don't wake up from a deep sleep and live happily ever after."
Buffy - "No, when you kiss me I wanna die."
Willow - "Buffy!"
Giles - "W-w-we don't know that it's concrete. Uh, let's not disturb her until..."
Willow - "Is there! With Cordelia. They went to a party at the Zeta Kappa house."
Giles - "She lied to me?"
Willow - "Well..."
Angel - "Did...she have a date?"
Willow - "Well... Well, why do you think she went to that party? Because you gave her the brush-off! And you [Giles] never let her do anything except work and patrol! And I know she's the Chosen One, but you're killing her with the pressure! I mean, she's sixteen going on forty! And you [Angel]! I mean, you're gonna live forever! You don't have time for a cup of coffee?! Okay, I don't feel better now, and we've gotta help Buffy."
Xander - "One day I'll have money. Prestige. Power. And on that day they'll still have more."
Xander - "Says here that they've all been sentenced to consecutive life sentences. Investigators found the bones of missing girls in a huge cavern beneath the frat house. And older bones dating back fifty years. A surprising number of corporations whose chairmen and founders are former Delta Zeta Kappas are suffering from falling profits, IRS raids... Ooo, and suicides in the boardroom. Hmm. Starve a snake, lose a fortune. Boy, the rich really are different, huh?"
Willow - (after checking the basement) "Some guy's attacking Buffy with a sword! Also there's a really big snake!"
Giles - "Yes, and you were very nearly devoured by a giant demon snake. The words ‘let that be a lesson’ are a tad redundant at this juncture."
Buffy - "I’m sorry." (She looks at him for forgiveness)
Giles - "So am I. I... I drive you too hard because I-I know what you have to face. From now on no, no more pushing, no more prodding. Just, uh, an inordinate amount of nudging." (Buffy smiles up at him and then starts up the stairs; Giles takes her arm and goes up with her.)
Cordelia - (after Xander, Giles, Angel and Willow rescue them) "You did it! You saved us!" (grabs Angel in a tight hug) "I've never been so happy to see anyone in my whole..." (lets go) You guys." (cries) "I just... hate you guys! The weirdest things always happen when you're around!" (Angel brings Tom over. Cordelia grabs him by the shirt) "And you! You're going to jail for fifteen thousand years!"
Xander - "Angel, Angel, Angel. Does every conversation we have have to come around to that freak?" (notices Angel) "Hey, man, how you doin'?"