Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Phases   Rewatch 
April 15, 2015 10:33 PM - Season 2, Episode 15 - Subscribe

As Willow questions the lack of progress in her relationship with Oz, Buffy is out hunting a werewolf. Turns out Oz is the newly turned werewolf, and the gang must track him down before a werewolf bounty hunter finds him first.
posted by yellowbinder (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is a decent episode with some stuff that doesn't work terribly well. With a main theme of men changing and being unreliable, it features Xander at his most awful (this episode he is jealous of Willow and in the next he is in love with Cordelia. Grief). It also has Cain, who is a one note misogynist character who comes across as ridiculous (apparently he hunts werwolves for the money. He has killed eleven so far. I guess they sell reaaaaallly well). Finally the werewolf effects are really, really bad, something I don't really understand at all, which undermines how scary the werewolf is meant to be.

But there are fun parts: Oz is consistently good throughout, and Cordelia and Willow complaining about men is a lot of fun. We also have this nice idea of Buffy being responsible for the death of a fellow student: initially she thinks its the werewolf, but later she realises it's Angel, which makes her just as responsible (because she had an opportunity to kill him before).

-The second appearance of Larry, and his outing as gay. He and Oz are seniors here, but Larry will be present at graduation... Also Larry is in gym class with Buffy?
-Make outs in the forest seem like a super bad idea in Sunnydale
-Giles is a lot of fun, being excited about werewolves, laughing at Xander's moon pie joke
-There's some serious filler here. Did we really need a scene of Cain making silver bullets? We already know he's planning to kill Oz.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:56 PM on April 15, 2015

Yeah, Xander is awful again. He almost redeems himself by giving Buffy a hug after the whole Teresa thing, and then you see the look on his face and his comment about his life not being complicated enough. It's not all about you, Xander! And he confesses that he does remember what happened when he was a hyena, which makes Buffy justifiably look askance at him. So you remember eating the principal and almost raping me? Awesome!

Anyhow. It's pretty clear by this point that the show is big on forgiveness of monstrous deeds committed while in a literally monstrous state, as long as the person is a main character and suitably contrite afterwards. Jenny, who hasn't done anything as wrong as Xander or Angel, gets ostracised because she's not really one of the gang. Maybe because she didn't immediately forgive Giles when he was responsible for her becoming monstrous. Much like life, I suppose, it's neither consistent nor logical.

Willow and Oz continue to be adorably cute together, especially with their shared awkward language, and I also love the mutual complaint session with Cordelia and Willow at the Bronze. Giles getting excited by his books and a satisfying evening of research is also cute, and perfectly understandable. I have nits I could pick about lycanthropy running in Oz's family, the moulding of silver bullets and the bipedalism of werewolves but I might leave it there.
posted by Athanassiel at 4:28 AM on April 16, 2015

It's not so much running in the family as Oz getting bit by a baby cousin... How THAT baby is a werewolf I have no idea, and maybe that's what you meant, but I always thought it was a cute bit.

Yes to loving the Cordelia/Willow scene, those two never got much time together. Whenever I think of them I think of the phone call in Disharmony, and that's its own fun!

My favourite bit here has to be Giles suggesting they knock on car windows in makeout woods asking after the werewolf. So clueless and adorable.
posted by yellowbinder at 3:58 PM on April 16, 2015

Oz's cousin might not be a baby. Oz says: "My cousin Jordy just got his grownup teeth in? Does not like to be tickled." If "got his grownup teeth in" means losing his baby teeth, he could be 5-6 years old. Still probably doesn't make a lot of sense, but I won't complain because it leads to one of my favorite deadpan Oz bits ever:

"Aunt Maureen. Hey, it's me. Um, what? Oh! It's, uh... actually it's healing okay. That's pretty much the reason I called. Um, I wanted to ask you something. Is Jordy a werewolf? Uh-huh. And how long has that been going on? Uh-huh. What? No, no reason. Um... Thanks. Yeah, love to Uncle Ken."
posted by creepygirl at 6:42 PM on April 16, 2015 [7 favorites]

Really, my favorite thing from this entire episode is Oz noticing the creepy eyes on the cheerleading trophy (actually Amy's mom from "Witch") in the display case. I see it as a nod to an early freak-of-the-week in an episode where we see the Scoobys gain their first supernatural/monster member. (I don't count Angel as a Scooby, for reasons of my own.) It's only after Oz joins up that Willow starts on her path as a witch, with more spooky folk to follow.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:38 PM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

My wife commented as we watched this episode (at the point where Buffy and Giles are prowling the makeout woods together) that an earlier (much earlier, like Bronte) version of the Giles/Buffy relationship would have them end up getting married.

"Well, at least he's a lot younger than her other boyfriend!"
posted by Mogur at 10:16 AM on April 17, 2015

Heh. I calculated the age differences for all of the relationships that Buffy, Willow and Xander were in (had to guess some ages, which I couldn't find with a cursory googling.) Got the vampire ages from the Buffy wiki, but the ages of the humans were harder to find.

Buffy/Angel 254 years
Buffy/Riley 7 years (wild guess based on Riley being a grad student)
Buffy/Spike 128 years
Willow/Oz 1 year
Willow/Tara 1 year (Tara's tombstone lists her birth year as 1980, and assuming Willow was born in 1981 like Buffy)
Willow/Kennedy 3 years (assuming Willow is 22, like Buffy, and Kennedy is 19 per the shooting script for Bring on the Night)
Xander/Cordelia 0 years (assuming they're both the same age since they're in the same grade at school)
Xander/Anya 1102 (Anya says she's 1120 years old in Dopplegangland, and assuming Xander is Buffy's age)

Average age difference is 187 years, with Willow's relationships doing a lot to keep that average down. Anya's the biggest cradle robber by far.
posted by creepygirl at 5:48 PM on April 17, 2015 [5 favorites]

"So you remember eating the principal . . ."
I don't think Xander was present for that event, just the other four hyenas.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:41 AM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Point, Xander only participated in (in fact suggested) eating the piggie. The other four ate Flutie off their own bat, Xander was locked up by then.
posted by Athanassiel at 7:08 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

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