A post for the Best of and the Worst of the characters we love in...
'The Pack', where Xan is possessed and his new friends eat a Principal.
Our Characters act like fine, upstanding heroes:
Buffy: Once again, I'm going with Buffy's brains/instinct over her physical powers. Like before, she's the first to suspect a supernatural connection with Xander's behavior, while everyone else is busy thinking it's normal (Giles) or busy with their own self-loathing issues (Willow). She's the one to put one (Xan's weird behavior) plus one (the weird zookeeper's tale) plus one (Xan's being in the Hyena pen) to come up with three.
Willow: Again, Will gets a bit of a short shrift, but I do like her not only NOT falling for Hyena!Xan's mind tricks, but using them to confirm her suspicions and Buffy's reports that he is, in fact, possessed.
Xander: Well, Xan did try to play the hero to protect a fellow high school student who wasn't even part of his 'click'. His rushing off to save Lance had ulterior motives... he wanted to impress both Willow and Buffy... but it was still a noble act. Lance means nothing to him, after all (Lance is another character we've never heard from before and won't see again ala Owen and the later Chris Epps), but he goes after him on principal to stand up against his harassment.
Giles: Giles doesn't get many fine character moments... after all, he doubts his Slayer, believes that one of her best friends in the know could so easily turn on her and Willow and gets knocked unconscious with appalling ease... again! Still, he does put two and two together to realize that the Zookeeper is the bad guy, and what he's trying to do. His insight and knowledge leads to a nice character moment, and the best for him, but understand this is damning with faint praise.
Cordelia: Ms. Chase is entirely absent from this episode, so she gets no character moments at all.
Our Characters act stupid or like douches:
Buffy: Buffy doesn't do too poorly here. If there's anything I'm ready to criticize her for, and therefore include here, it is her being so undermined by the second tier cool kids. With Cordy's group... maybe I'll accept she feels a little down about not being included in then (at least in 1st Season), but Kyle and his friends?! Oh, Buffy. Really? How sad of you.
Willow: Willow's lame moment is also of the personal... the fact that she blames herself so completely for Xander's sudden emotional abuse is just sad.
Xander: Well, not counting possessed!Xander, I don't see anything Xan does as being a bad character moment. I'll let him skip by.
Giles: Oh, Giles. How can you still completely discount anything your Slayer tell you? But, your weakest character moment is being knocked unconscious by a regular, and not very muscular, guy. Seriously, how did the Zookeeper knock you out? Didn't the Watchers Council teach you anything about self defense?!
Cordelia: No showy, no weak character.