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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Beauty and the Beasts

Faith: "All men are beasts, Buffy."

Buffy's complex (to say the least) relationship with Angel takes another turn as they move involuntarily into B and D.

We had three (count 'em) three monster boyfriends in this episode, and three strung out and worried girlfriends. Someone's monster boyfriend is killing people — but which one? It certainly did appear to be Oz, and then it certainly did appear to be Angel. Of course, it was neither one.

Buffy tends to do social issues in a way I particularly like. Here we have a fairly typical abusive relationship: the abuser, Pete, blaming the abused, Debbie, for his behavior ("You know you shouldn't make me mad, you know what happens"), Debbie making excuses for Pete ("It's me — I make him crazy") but then we have that extra added touch, because Pete has been drinking something fluorescent that has made him Mr. Hyde. Or at least that's how he started, because we learn that now he can become a monster anytime he likes. Like some people we know who don't need fluorescence in jars to be monsters.

Lots of particularly good scenes in this one. I loved Giles getting Oz's dart in the ass; Buffy sneaking up on Faith and inadvertently scaring her; Buffy's scenes with her new but literally short-lived shrink ("Buffy Summers, reporting for sanity"); Xander babysitting Oz; and the totally romantic Buffy/Angel ending.

Bits and pieces:

— As mentioned in "Anne," time moved at a different pace in Angel's hell dimension, and he suffered hundreds of years of torture. Bleah.

— Obligatory dog reference: Mr. Platt: "Sooner or later you have to get back to yourself... If you can't, love becomes your master, and you're just its dog." Plus, there was a lot about Call of the Wild. And Willow's Scooby-Doo lunchbox.

— Giles said that no one returns from a demon dimension. But Buffy and Lily did in "Anne," and they brought a bunch of people back with them.

— Angel magically acquired pants so that the show would continue to be PG instead of NC17. At the same time, Oz managed to completely lose his clothing when he wolfed out.

— If Pete could pull the gate off the library cage, why couldn't Oz?


Oz: "Oh, can't take the pressure. It's not the music that's hard, it's the marching."
Buffy: "We have a marching jazz band?"
Oz: "Yeah, but, you know, since the best jazz is improvisational, we'd be going off in all directions, banging into floats... Scary."

Giles: "It's good to see you. Um, no need to panic."
Oz: "Just a thought. Poker? Not your game."

Buffy: "Oh, he definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer. Actually, I think he makes his own drums."

Oz: "Debbie. Well, victim number one, Jeff. He was in jazz band with us. They used to horse around."
Faith: "They were screwing?"
Oz: "I don't think so, but he hid her music comp book once."

Willow: "It's all over school, what happened with Debbie and Pete. Except for the Pete-was-a-monster part."
Oz: "Yeah. A freshman told me that Pete had eight iced cafe mochas and just lost it."
Buffy: "That's better than the estrogen theory. I heard he took all of his mother's birth control pills."

Three out of four stakes. This was another good episode.

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.


  1. Its very rare that Oz gets angry so when he does it makes an impact. ('You are having a slayer watch me. Good we are not over reacting'). I love his rant when he tries to walk out and willow stops him..

    "You know that thing where you bail in the middle of an upsetting conversation? I have to do that. Its kinda dramatic, I know but sometimes its a necessary guy thing"

  2. I liked this episode a lot. I've only seen season 3 once many years ago so I had no idea who was doing the killings. I honestly believed it was going to be Angel. And for a monster of the weak I particularity liked this plot line. It had a very sinister and dark feel to it, and I thought it was very reminiscent of how an actual abusive (emotionally and physically) relationship is.

    Poor Buffy. This season has not been easy for her so far. Killing Angel, running away, coming back to resentful friends and family, then last episode dealing with a little jealousy at the new slayer in town that everyone seems to adore. And now just as she's beginning to move forward with her life Angel pops back up into the picture as a primitive savage. Sarah Michelle Gellar does such a good job in this episode showing us the emotional ringer Buffy is going through. Conveyed with no dialogue, I completely understood her shock, confusion and overwhelm at having Angel return into the picture. I also understood her hesitancy to tell any of her friends about it. Who could she talk to about it? Certainly not Xander, he has always hated Angel. Giles had someone killed he loved killed by him. I think Willow would probably be the most understanding, but she has her hands full with Oz. Oh Buffy and Angel, what a tragic, tormented love. I do love this show.

  3. First of all, Willow's Scooby lunchbox medical examiner kit! I love her so much.

    I thought this was a really interesting examination of abusive relationships. Such interesting viewpoints from all sides on human and animal/monster nature. This is what draws me into this show. Avoiding cliches by handling serious issues with wit and of course lots of supernatural shenanigans.

    Some random things threw me off. Was Angel on some primitive level looking for (hunting?) Buffy and when he found her being beaten by Pete his humanity and love for her surfaced? Also, doesn't that big old house of his have any beds? I get that him sleeping restlessly on the floor at the end tells us his animal nature is still dominant, but my dogs love to sleep on the bed anyway.

    Finally, I really like the use of "Call of the Wild" for the beginning and ending narration. As I remember it has a fairly non judgmental look at the "wild" as a part of us all. Plus it is such a typical school assigned book - so bonus points for high school reality.

  4. This episode was very deep! Lots of relationship issues going on for everyone. There seemed to be a lot of parallels between all of the "monster boyfriends" even though not all of them are in abusive relationships. Their monster natures definitely put their girlfriends in awkward positions. Plus, sense this show was aimed at teens, I hope that it was able to help a few people when it first aired who might have been in a similar situation.

    I really liked the school psychiatrist and thought how that could be an interesting relationship for Buffy so I was sort of bummed after he was slaughtered. Also, after Mr. Trick pointed out the whiteness of Sunnydale, I thought that was a great way to add some diversity. Alas, it wasn't meant to be...

    Willow had some seriously brave AND cute moments in this episode--pulling Oz's tail, pulling out her Scooby medical kit and then fainting, trying to comfort Oz as he dealt with the possibility of having harmed someone. I just love her!

    I didn't love Oz's new werewolf look but I didn't love the old one either, so...I'll live with it.

    Jane, you cracked me up about the dogs and beds comment! It is so true! You'd think they'd have some sort of comfortable place after Dru and Spike and Angel lived there for so long...of course just thinking that makes me miss Dru and Spike!

  5. Great episode and I loved your review Billie even if it is retro. You picked out some things I missed (Scooby lunch pail - how did I miss that?!). I agree with much that has been said about dealing with the abuse issues and I'm glad that this show deals with heavy material. I'm not really a fan of the beauty and the beast kind of stuff - I don't like the idea that women should be responsible for "taming" men but I don't think that is the idea here Both Angel (with his soul) and Oz are ready to take responsibility for the things they do even when they are "out of control". Only this show could manage some wit and humour while dealing with abuse issues!

  6. Classic Buffy. Even though this ep has a much more serious tone, it uses the same format as last season's "Go Fish." Classic movie monster motif + social commentary.

    We also get another stellar example of the sometimes impenetrable book cage.

    Also, does it bug anyone that Giles is furious with Xander when he falls asleep on duty but doesn't seem to care later when Buffy does the same?

  7. I like the way the social commentary is portrayed and, for a show originally aimed at teens, I thought it was handled really well.

    But, the scene that always gets me is the one with Buffy and Angel. Although I am not a huge fan of them as a couple, I do find myself very moved by SMG's face at that point.

  8. Newbie report:

    A nice filler episode. It addresses the issue of domestic abuse. A topic that I, as a survivor, am well familiar with. The line "You know you shouldn't make me mad, you know what happens" was especially on track. Mine used to say "You know how bad it makes me feel when I have to hit you?" Also, the hiding the bruises and the sticking around, even though she knows it isn't right. Anyway, it was good.

    Buffy is also behaving as an abused spouse. She is hiding her relationship from everyone and she doesn't say anything about it to anyone. A characteristic of an abused spouse is isolation. She believes that her partner has done horrible things, but covers up for him. These are all actions of an abused spouse.

    Well, her partner is apparently not a monster, so we can forget all that and move on. That is not typical of this type of relationship. More often, they turn out like the other pairing.

    And that's all I have to say about that.

  9. I'm so with you, pucklady. I grew up in a household where, to be unspecific, a lot of terrible stuff happened. My mother and sister got the worst of it, but it certainly had a lasting effect on me and on every relationship I've ever had.

  10. I always find this episode uncomfortable to watch because the abuse is so spot on, its very well done.

  11. Jane - Your dogs sleep on your bed? How very strange. http://sunbunny254-personal.tumblr.com/post/55813474248

  12. sunbunny - hee, and of course they always head for the pillows!

    a.m. - I'm missing Dru & Spike too. Of course they wouldn't fit in to this episode because, against all expectation, their relationship doesn't seem particularly abusive.

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  14. I must have replayed Giles getting that tranquilizing shot ten times already, and I laughed out loud every single time. Bloody priceless, indeed. Solid episode, I didn’t remember most of it, so it was like watching for the first time.

  15. So did Pete kill Debbie? We didn't get any confirmation one way or another.

  16. One thing for sure, Pete's "Hyde" was very strong, he held his own against Oz in werewolf form, Buffy and even animalistic Angel before being choked out. Definitely one of the tougher "Monsters" that the Scoobies had to deal with.


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