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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Phases

Willow: "I mean, three days of the month I'm not much fun to be around, either."

Werewolves usually represent uncontrolled sexuality. But I couldn't help but notice that there was a lot of opposite-sex bashing in this episode.

We have Cordelia and Willow at the Bronze commiserating about guy-related idiocy ("they grow body hair and they lose all ability to say what they really want"); and we have "mein furrier" insulting women right and left and saying how Buffy can't catch a werewolf because she's a girl. And we have gender-role bashing, too: gay Larry pretending to be a wolf (the other kind of wolf) and functioning as a perfect werewolf decoy, and Buffy throwing him in gym class, even though she's supposed to be pretending that she's a girly-girl.

And we have Oz. I like Oz; he's a cool character, he has the good sense to appreciate Willow, and of course being a werewolf gives him another character dimension. I thought the scene where he woke up naked in the woods, looked around, and said "hunh" was very Oz-like. Good casting, good acting; Seth Green is wonderful here. Funny and cool.

Giles has a lot of fun researching werewolves. He and Buffy searching for werewolves in Lovers Lane has its comical aspects, especially when Cain makes fun of them both, and Giles jumps to Buffy's defense, not his own.

Bits and pieces:

— Xander wins twice in the "good move" department: by (1) keeping Larry's secret, and (2) by saving Buffy from Theresa.

— When you think about it, since werewolves are people, Cain is a serial killer.

— Angel has a small but disturbing part, as he picks up, kills, and vamps one of Buffy's schoolmates.

— Xander goes to pummel a confession out of Larry, and that's just what he gets: Larry comes out to Xander. And it's certainly a change for the better as far as Larry's behavior is concerned.

— I enjoyed the way they worked the cheerleading trophy from season one's "Witch" in there. There was also a reference to "The Pack," when Xander referred to his being possessed by a hyena.

— Buffy again counsels Willow to take a chance and seize the day with Oz, and again, Willow almost gets killed.

— There are definitely some romantic vibes between Buffy and Xander after he saves her life by staking Theresa.

— The medieval manacles that many of the cast end up in at one time or another finally show up here, although Oz doesn't manage to get them on himself in time.

— Just for future reference, Jack Conley, who played Cain, also had a hilarious continuing role as the demon Sahjhan in the spinoff series Angel.

— Obligatory dog reference: There are several dog references, not surprising in an episode about werewolves. We're back with the "wild dogs" again. Larry was bitten by a wild, stray dog. Kane calls the werewolf a "doggie" at least twice.


Larry: "I would love to get me some of that Buffy and Willow action, if you know what I mean."
Oz: "That's great, Larry. You've really mastered the single entendre."

Buffy: "Have you dropped any hints?"
Willow: "I've dropped anvils."
Buffy: "Ah, he'll come around. What guy could resist your wily Willow charms?"
Willow: "At last count, all of them. Maybe more."

Xander: "I thought I heard something."
Cordelia: "Is Willow sending out some sort of distress signal that only you can hear?"

Buffy: "Welcome to the mystery that is men. I think it goes something like, they grow body hair, they lose all ability to tell you what they really want."
Willow: "It doesn't seem like a fair trade."

Giles: "It acts on pure instinct. No conscience. Predatory and aggressive."
Buffy: "In other words, your typical male."
Xander: "On behalf of my gender, hey."
Giles: "Yes, let's not jump to any conclusions."
Buffy: "I didn't jump. I took a tiny step and there conclusions were."

Oz: "I spoke to Giles. He said I'll be okay. I just have to lock myself up around the full moon. Only he used more words than that. And a globe."

I'd go with three out of four stakes here. Maybe three and a half,

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


  1. About Larry being a junior, it's not impossible that he simply failed school and had to redo a year, thus graduated late!

    Sure, it's probably just the scriptwriters not thinking ahead, but hey :)

  2. I really like how they handle the werewolf as a metaphor for major teenage hormone boilage. Especially in someone as laconic as Oz. I'm pretty stoic myself, so I can relate.

    It's funny that nobody (that I know of) has used the werewolf to (mysoginisticly) represent the "three days of the month" Willow refers to. I'd be so easy, and our culture is pretty sexist.

    Maybe it's because most writers/producers/directors are men, great part of them are chauvinistic pigs, and men usually don't like to talk about periods.

  3. Oh, I also loved Giles's giggling with the moonpie joke. So stupid, yet he was having so much fun, he liked it.

    This episode is a 4/4 stakes for me.

  4. Werewolf Oz (version 1.0) looks a lot like werewolf George. Did Toby Whithouse get the leftoever werewolf costume in a Mutant Enemy clearance sale or something?

  5. After the unbearable sadness of the previous episode, I had to jump ahead on the re-watch.

    I love this episode, because I love OZ. I also loved Giles's quote--something like, "My books and I are going to have a fascinating evening." (I've screwed it up, but that's close.)

  6. Josie, you're such a cheater! I didn't cheat. I'm definitely not up to "Becoming." cough cough nonchalantly walk away.

  7. I always forget how much I like this episode until I sit down and watch it. One of the best things about BtVS is the funny that ensues when the mundane is combined with the supernatural. Buffy talks about who's making out with whom (that's right, bitches, whom) while hunting a werewolf and that's just awesome. I love the self defense class bit. Particularly Willow's face throughout. Alyson Hannigan is so freaking adorable. I wonder if one of her parents was a cartoon.

  8. So many delightful scenes in this episode. I loved to see the normally cool as a cucumber squirm in the library as the gang was trying to suss out who's the werewolf. The scene where Xander tried to get a confession out of Larry could've been cringe worthy, but end up being funny for the right reason. Willow is as cute as ever, from her comment of wanting Oz to get an A and a gold star in Willow Studies, to 3 day out of the month comment at the end.

    Angel's one scene is effectively chilling in an otherwise lighthearted episode. It's good continuity in a way. The first time I watched this episode I didn't pick up that Theresa was the girl Buffy "saved" from wolf-Larry in self defense class. I really doubt her attempt at faking being a "girly-girl" is very effective at all. It's been a year and a half since "Welcome to the Hellmouth." You'd think people would notice ;-)

    I really noticed Buffy's hair and clothing in the scene toward the end with Buffy, Xander, and Larry. She's particularly glowing.

    Every time I see Giles' car I wonder how he managed to get it. Did he ship it from England?

  9. Although I do love a good passionate romance, I am a complete sucker for the gentle, romantic moments as well. The final scene with Oz and Willow is one of the latter, and I simply love it. I love the fact that she finds the courage to talk to him and I love how he responds to her. When she comes back at the end and kisses him, it just puts a smile on my face that won't quit.

    Like sunbunny, this is one of those episodes I forget how much I like between viewings. It was a nice surprise this morning.

  10. "He put the tag back in!!!" Willow and z are adorable :) :)

    Billie,like you, every time i see the scene where oz in the morning says 'Huh' I immediately shriek 'Thats so Oz'

    Xander is getting jealous now... Finally 'smelling the hottie'

  11. When the Werewolf hunter says to Buffy: 'If that thing out there harms someone it's going to be on your head, I hope you can live with that' (I can't remember the exact quote)

    Buffy responds - 'I live with that every day'

    I'm not sure if she's referring to her day to day here but I like that this parallels with Buffy being unable to kill Angelus in Innocence, settling for a kick in the groin, and consequently he is able to murder and turn one of her peers. Has Buffy essentially made a value judgement that led to a young girls death? that's quite a consequence for her to live with.

    Other comments -

    Oz and Willow are my favourite couple of the entire series.

    Very amusing when Xander drops himself in it about the Hyena mishap.

    I'm Glastonbury bound on wednesday, so will miss the next couple of episodes, look forward to catching up and reading the comments when I return.

  12. Annie -- I am so jealous. Glastonbury was always my favorite weekend of the year. Have a wonderful time and spare a thought for those of us who are with you in spirit!

  13. Thanks ChrisB! This'll be my 11th festival, I'll definitely spare a thought for you and my glasto friends from years gone by who can't make it this year.

  14. Newbie report (stream of consciousness style):

    Willow has a Happy Face backpack! Buffy needs to touch up her roots. At least there were no skin-tight garishly weird pants. Buffy's wardrobe is so strange. Maybe she needs a conversation with Cordelia? But she always has spiffy boots. Of course you go monster hunting in your best footwear.

    I loved the girl-talk between Willow and Cordelia. Now that Cordelia's Xander secret is out, she's nicer to everyone. I wonder if her mean-girl shtick is similar to Larry's girl chasing? Just for appearances? Out Larry and you get a decent guy. Out Cordy and you get ... sincerity?

    Speaking of outing Larry, I think this is the best scene of the series for me. Surely I'm not the only one who, after the reveal, had to stop and rewind to hear the whole conversation again? That was a hoot!

    Xander poofed a vampire. Willow shot a werewolf. Buffy fought some monsters, but didn't vanquish anything. Yay, Scoobies! You win this episode!

    The poacher says he can get lots of money for a werewolf pelt. But, ewwww! I've got bathmats with better fur. They had absolutely no budget at all for this show, did they? You know, I bet they could have gone in the furry room at ComiCon and done lots better.

    Oh, yeah. The werewolf reveal for Oz was the best. Naked Oz sits up, looks down. Huh. Then he calls his aunt. "Hey is Geordie a werewolf? And how long has this been going on?" (And Geordie just got his grownup teeth in? So he's like 8 or something?) Also, I'm assuming Geordie wasn't transformed at the time, I mean Oz would have noticed, right? So a bite from an out-of-season werewolf can change people, too?

    Okay, character roundup. I'm loving Willow and Oz. Xander is great. I like Cordelia and Giles. Angelus and Drusilla are terrific. Spike and Angel are okay. Guess who is left. Buffy reminds me of Elena Gilbert for some reason. The story is always more interesting when she's offscreen.

    Oh, and I'm not seeing the spark between Xander and Buffy that others are seeing. I'm just seeing Xander becoming a really caring human being. He cares about Buffy and Willow, too, but I'm not seeing sparks for either one.

    Nobody of note died (sorry, Theresa), so that's it for today from me.

  15. This wasn't my favorite, but still a fun episode.

    I'm really starting to love Willow more and more. She's so sweet and funny. But most of all she's brave - emotionally and physically.

    Annie - Thanks for your comment about Buffy's guilt over not killing Angelus. I had taken her statement to be just a general one about being a slayer, but now that you've said it it seems obvious it was more specific.

  16. I didn't enjoy this one very much until the Oz reveal--and then it became a totally different episode for me. The beginning had some great moments, like the cheerleading trophy, Buffy flipping Larry, and Xander opening his big mouth and admitting that he remembered being a part of the hyena pack. But the werewolf costume was so cheesy and I was frustrated that they made it so "obvious" who the werewolf was--I mean Larry was a jerk and had that big bandage on his arm...I was even irritated that they had to do the slow werewolf change because, d'uh it's Larry! Nice fake out!

    As others have said, Oz's reaction to waking up naked was perfect but my favorite moment was the conversation with his aunt. That was pitch perfect acting and writing! Seth Green perfectly inhabits this character. Although I love episodes with Spike/Dru I can appreciate why they aren't going to appear in every episode. Until this one, Oz was only ever in the episodes they were in, so I'm glad he's moved into being a more permanent fixture. I love Oz and Willow! Love, love, love!

    Was Angelus afraid of the werewolf? Is that part of the BtVS mythology too? Did the werewolf even do anything to Theresa? Speaking of Angelus, I appreciated that they brought back his "growl" from last episode into this one but connected it with the fear of the werewolf. Leaving Theresa as a gift for Buffy was perfectly cruel--and lowered her ability to fight momentarily. Xander to the rescue!

    Also, ever since the Angelus transformation, I get nervous every time Buffy is at home--did she uninvite him into her house? Can he just sneak in? Is there some official ceremony for this?

    Did anyone else notice Giles vanishing glasses? I don't always catch editing quirks like that but in the scene where they are getting the tranquilizer gun ready, Giles goes back and forth between having glasses and not having glasses depending on the angle of the shot. Once I noticed, it was hard not to notice and it really was hilarious, like some strange flip book.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this episode (cheesy werewolf hunter and all) and I bet I would appreciate it even more if I watched it again--but I'll save that for another time. There are too many new episodes to watch...

  17. Beautiful comments on the usual sexist remarks and stereotypes. Girls can kick ass. Just look at Buffy bending the gun's barrel and Willow getting her first kiss. You go girls ! The damsel in distress is so passé. And so are the darn bullies.

    Indeed, loved the shout out to the first season's "Witch" as Oz was looking at the trophy. Nice touch.

    "Don't worry, bunnies can really take care of themselves." "He needs to get a pet !" Loved also the continuity errors with Cain's teeth collar during the first exchange in the woods. Ah, the imperfect world of editing (and fans taking notice of these little details...) (why do I notice these ?).

    And vampires jumping out of caskets. Formaldehyde do not work on them. Good to know. Willow screams very well. " I shot Oz !" "You saved us !"

    Willow and Oz are even since they each have their "3 days". Love this one more for the character than of the werewolf story itself. Once again, character growth : happy camper here. Good stuff.

  18. a.m.

    You notice the glasses; I notice the teeth collar. Oh heck.


  19. I don't have too much more to add about this episode except to say that adore Oz and agree with everything already aside here. I am so glad Willow stuck by him!

    One aspect of this episode that I have noticed often when watching this show is the very special friendship Willow and Buffy have. Some of my favorite moments in the series are the times when one or the other of them is there emotionally for the other. I love the little moments of concern that are shown, like in this episode where Buffy looks very concerned about Willow's feelings when it seems that Oz was brushing her off. There friendship is awesome and seems very true to life.

  20. celticmarc, it is funny what we notice. Maybe it stood out to me because I'd be lost without my glasses and Giles, the character, seems like that too. I didn't even notice the teeth on the necklace but now might watch he scene again to catch it :)

  21. a.m.

    go ahead, it's hilarious. (another classic is shirt tucked in, outside, etc.)

    OH ! Warehouse-13 these days ! Giles is a guest star, playing Paracelsus !

  22. I don't have as much to say about this one. I like Oz, but I don't know him well enough to care that much if he's a werewolf. At first, I thought they were going to kill him, and they had introduced him several episodes ago as a way to make us care, and if that were the case, I would have said they failed. But since he is still alive and has a thing going on with Willow, I'm hoping the werewolf thing makes him more interesting.
    I, like many others here, enjoyed the references to "Witch" and "The Pack" (even though I didn't like "Witch" very much and I hated "The Pack"). I like it when shows remember the events of previous episodes, but I think that's because when I was a child, most shows were so episodic, they couldn't do that. Even though I see serial shows a lot more nowadays, it still always tends to make me smile when I see a character reference a past event. I'm a sucker for continuity.
    You're right when you said you saw romantic vibes between Buffy and Xander. I felt that, too, even though I don't see that as any more realistic than Xander with Cordelia (which I can't imagine would ever really happen). In real life, a girl like Cordelia wouldn't get close enough to step on Xander if his face were on fire. And a girl like Buffy would say she "sees him like a brother". Gag. I think part of why I like Jenny so much is because she, too, would never give a real life Giles the time of day, but in Television-land, fantasy can be fun. So I've come to enjoy the couplings of Giles and Jenny / Xander and Cordelia, just for the sake of living in a fantasy world.


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