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23 October 2014 @ 01:54 pm
Buffy Reviewed: "Beauty and the Beasts"  
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 3, Episode 4

Beauty and the Beasts

Written by: Marti Noxon
DIR: James Whitmore, Jr.

Blurb: Buffy’s fear that Oz could have killed a student during a full moon is compounded when she runs into Angel, violent and feral, during her nightly patrol.


Scene 01: We open on a giant full moon over Sunnydale. We have POV-cam rushing through the underbrush.

Over this, Buffy recites a passage from “The Call of the Wild”, which will be a motif for this episode…


Scene 02: … as we see, when we join Willow who takes over recitation as she paces by the Variable-Strength Book Cage in the SHS library. She’s startled by a wolfed-out Oz leaping at the cage door.

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[Isn’t this the first episode with the new werewolf look for Oz?]

She’s soon joined by Xander, who has offered to take a watch on the third shift over Oz-wolf. Wills goes through some simple instructions, including pointing out the tranq-rifle in case Oz gets too rambunctious.

As soon as she leaves, Xan lies out on a table and falls asleep.


Commentary: So, our first thing to discuss is the new werewolf costuming. Alas for Buffy, were-wolfing on a tv budget isn’t easy and the first attempt had a good, tall, humanoid body that was intimidating but screwed up with an inflexible rubber mask that looked way too masky to scare.

Now, apparently they’ve decided to focus on the face makeup, which looks relatively good I suppose -- but instead of keeping the bipedal werewolf, Oz is now on all fours -- like a giant dog … uh, wolf.

I can’t really call this an improvement myself. The bipedal wolf towering over its soon to be slain victim [like The Howling] has always been my preferred werewolf for my chills over the bipedal look [American Werewolf in London]. But, I do like the eyes of the new wolf look and the face is obviously more expressive now so ultimately I’d call it all a wash.

Let’s just say that werewolves work better on a movie budget… and even better in the comic medium.

Now - let’s also mention Xander: Sometimes the desire to make Xan the butt monkey gets carried into some really illogical places and this is one of them that bugs me. How in the hell does somebody fall asleep a few feet from a werewolf?? Especially a werewolf trapped in a Variable Strength Book Cage whose lock has failed before?

It’s just a bit too much to swallow and is only so that we can suspect Oz of escaping and causing mayhem later.



Scene 03: Elsewhere, Faith and Buffy are patrolling side by side and not arguing… or at least, the argument is mild and good-natured. They speak of Buffy’s new not-quite-boyfriend-yet Scott Hope who they both agree is a “muffin”. But when Buffy tells Faith that the best thing about Scott so far is that he hasn’t displayed any Hellbeast tendencies, Faith warns her that all men are beasts at their core.


Commentary: In retrospect, these small scenes with Buffy and Faith actually getting on together become much more special simply because of where they end up with one another [which we’ll see isn’t so great even into the Season 10 comics]. But what I really want to mention here is how well Eliza and SMG click with one another. When Faith showed up it just didn’t seem like a second Slayer was necessary and I was left kinda “hmmm….” but the actresses really made me want to see more of these two Slayers interacting - and of course it’s leading to one heck of a season. So, kudos to both Eliza as Faith and Sarah as Buffy in quickly forging this fantastic working chemistry.


Scene 04: Elsewhere in the middle of those famous Sunnydale Woods, a young man is running for his life… [which means that he must trip, naturally].

He screams as he’s dragged away by … Oz? [Yeah, sure… let’s say it’s Oz as wild murderer and Buffy will have to behead him later.]


Scene 05: The following day at school, Willow is telling Buffy that she doesn’t believe Faith’s theory that all guys are only in it for the chase. Oz is there, but doesn’t comment because we know of how few words he generally is… a voice off-screen yells to Buffy, which turns out to be Scott.

They’re joined by Debbie and her beau, Pete [you can just go ahead and call him ‘asshole’ if you’d like]. Buffy mentions Mr. Platt, the school councilor which she now must see as part of Snyder’s hoops to jump through to remain in school.

Debbie has also seen Mr. Platt, due to failing a course and being amateur-diagnosed as having ‘success issues’ by her bio teacher. Oz is a genius at bio and offers his notes, to give the illusion that our gang actually has contacts outside of each other in school [as you can guess right now, we’ll never hear of Debbie and Pete again after this episode -- only partially justified].


Scene 06: In the library, Xan is looking at Giles with worry as Rupert insists they must check for any possible exit points from the library. Xander tells him there isn’t anything to worry about, as he was keeping watch all night.

Willow and Oz strolls in and Giles opens with “no need to panic” belying that there is nothing to panic about, which Oz jokes over in his deadpan way.

Rupert breaks the news about a mauling of Jeff-student which could maybe-kinda be a wolf-attack. Xander continues to insist that it wasn’t Oz-wolf, as except for resting his eyes for short periods, he was keeping watch all night and Oz didn’t go anywhere.

This is undercut when the window out of the Variable Strength Book Cage is found open. And things are even less comfortable a moment later when Xander has to admit that his short eyes-resting might’ve been more like ‘fell asleep’ [if you want, you can just call him ‘asshole-2’].

Willow and Oz are left to deal with their fear that Oz-wolf killed Oz’ schoolmate the night before.


Scene 07: Meanwhile, Buffy is reporting in to Mr. Platt for her session. He’ SMOKING!

Buffy starts off by telling Mr. Platt she doesn’t want to talk about anything while also assuring him that she’ll cooperate, since she’s being forced to be there. She offers that she doesn’t want to be friends, or anything.

That’s good, because as he tells her, they’re not going to be friends. He tells her that she has friends who tell her what she wants to hear - what she needs right now, is someone who will tell her the truth, even if she doesn’t want to hear it. He instructs her to take a seat.

Mr. Platt goes on a meta-tastic speech about how everyone has demons but they can be fought, which naturally speaks to Buffy’s experiences. He leads Buffy to discussing the reasons she left Sunnydale [obvs only in the most general of terms, without the Angel-was-a-vampire part].


Commentary: And okay, he seems like he’s an okay guy who will help Buffy resolve her Angel/Angelus issues but HE’S A SMOKER! Run, Buffy!

Oh, and it’s going to be hard to put Angel-debacle behind her when we’ve already seen that he’s returned from Hell and is out there, somewhere… possibly even sadistically killing again.



Scene 08: Buffy comes into the library in thought, only to find the gang - now including Cordelia - sitting around in a dour funk. She’s brought up to speed on what Oz-wolf may or may not have done overnight.

Giles hands out assignments to research the attack and to look more into if there is anything that can help Oz be less wolf. The question of what to do about Oz in the meantime comes up and Rupert suggests Faith as werewolf-sitter.


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Oz takes this… not well, unusually for him. He goes to storm out to think, but Wills has to point out that evening is quickly approaching. She’s embarrassed to have to get in his power-walk way and he’s frustrated at having to report to the Variable Strength Book Cage again.

Nobody is happy.


Scene 09: That night, Buffy is out in the woods hoping no doubt to find something else with claws that likes to maul high school students. We get a flash of pasty white skin rushing through the woods before Buffy goes off in pursuit.

She gets barreled down, and rolls over to find… ANGEL… looking ferocious and snarling at her [though for some reason, not in vamp-face].


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Buffy gets shock-face as we skip to black.


Commentary: Okay, so -- I must object to Angel not instinctively being in vamp-face. I kind of understand why they did it -- this is going to be focused on Buffy’s emotional turmoil over seeing him back and in the state he’s in and naturally it’d be harder to sympathize with her if Angel was running around in Angelus-face. I get it.

I still don’t like it. It’s just not sensible to me, especially with that blood on his mouth showing he’s just recently fed on something. In this case, I think it would’ve been a harsher and therefore more interesting ride for the audience if he was in vampire-mode and Buffy still took the same actions we’ll see. The show hasn’t been afraid to show any of the Scoobies in a negative light for a greater storytelling purpose, and I wish they’d gone ahead and put us against Buffy [perhaps -- depends on how lost in the tragic romance you’ve gotten] full stop here.



Scene 10: We return from fade-out to find Angel’s snarly mug still humanly growling at us.

He attacks Buffy some more and they have a short, but brutal throwdown. Buffy gets the upper hand, and Angel is soon rendered unconscious and twitching on the ground.

She’s left with “oh, my god”, “WTF”, and “NO- not again” face all at once.


Scene 11: Meanwhile, across town Cordy, Xander and Willow are on break-into-the-morgue duty. For some reason, bodies are left on tables instead of being shut in drawers or placed in the cooler for later examination.

Xan comes up behind Wills and freaks out at the damage done to Jeff’s face. Cordy then scares the beejezus out of Xander by coming up behind him, where she is also scarred by seeing what’s left of Jeff’s face. Meanwhile, Willow is all business and starts scraping evidence from under the corpse’s fingernails.

[And I notice that not one of them is stake-armed, when you’d think a vamp waking up in a morgue would be upper most in everyone’s mind… not to mention, just having one on you at all times just because Sunnydale at night… it’s kinda-annoying.]

After Willow finishes sample gathering, she falls into a dead faint, leaving Xan and Cordy to discuss how not-good the body is looking for Oz-wolf. Cordy opines that the guy was ripped apart by a big, wild animal.


Scene 12: Speaking of which, Buffy has dragged crazy-Angel back to the mansion where they had their last big showdown. She’s found chains and manacles in a footlocker covered by Dru’s dolls [because, yes - she really would… Dru & Spike fun]. She quickly chains him up before he can come around.

His first reaction on coming to is to try to launch himself at her, as he continues to wordlessly growl and snarl… pretty much like a big, wild animal!

Buffy slips around him and stares at the black outline mark on the floor where we saw Angel land with a thud from mid-air.


Scene 13: In the library, Faith is bebopping to her headphones while Oz watches safely tucked in his book cage [well, as safely as a Variable Strength Cage can be].

Buffy taps her on the shoulder, receiving an instinctive backhand. She tells Faith that she couldn’t sleep and spins a tale about cramming for a French test, releasing Faith to go staking while Buffy takes over the Oz-watch.

She goes straight into the card catalogue, speaking volumes about just how shook she is by Angel’s sudden appearance.


Scene 14: We fade into the next morning. Oz is lying naked [alas, chest shot only of Seth] on the tile floor, serene. Giles comes in with his cuppa, takes a glance at non-wolf Oz and opens up the cage for him.

He’s then surprised to see Buffy dozing in a chair with a book in her lap. Buffy tries to play off a book on Acathla she’s left lying out as Faith’s wacky interests but Rupert naturally isn’t buying that story.

Buffy presents seeing Angel again as something from one of her dreams. Giles is sympathetic and understanding, relating how after Jenny was killed, he’d often dreamed that she was alive and that he’d saved her. She gets uncomfortable look, but goes on to tell Giles how vivid the experience was - suggesting Slayer dream in order to probe how he could be back and where he might’ve been.


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Giles tells her that he’s never heard of any circumstances of somebody returning from a demon dimension after the gate used to travel there has been closed and can’t imagine how it could be done. But the entire time, his face is saying that Buffy’s “vision/dream” has scared the crap out of him that she’s getting a prophecy. Buffy doesn’t really notice, as she’s wrapped up in what Angel would be like and whether he’d be able to “be saved” if he had returned from Acathla’s dimension. Giles holds out a small glimmer of hope that Angel could find his humanity again, if he really wanted to be saved - but the greater probability is that he’d lose any trace of humanity after hundreds of Hell-years being tortured.


Commentary: I LOVE ASH’s acting throughout this scene and the quiet dialog between he and Sarah. Both of their performances are wonderful, but Anthony’s reaction-acting as you see Rupert considering that Buffy may be describing a Slayer-dream is just great.

I also love the way that this is setting up Buffy hiding something so big and utterly urgent from her support group because it sets up things that we’ll see play out in future episodes… even whole seasons later.

I will have swerving loyalties when it comes to Buffy not immediately telling the gang what is happening with Angel’s return, but right now, I can forgive Buffy for holding Angel away from her family and not telling anyone. It’s the wrong thing to do, but I think it’s pretty human.



Scene 15: Willow comes into the library with donuts. Buffy’s mind is on the inspection of the body, as Wills is trying to avoid the subject because Oz is standing there. Buffy asks a little too strongly whether it was a wolf or a vampire and Willow is obviously distressed to report the results of her exam are inconclusive. Buffy’s patience with that answer is obviously strained, but she apologizes for snapping at her best friend over it. Giles gazes at Buffy thoughtfully.


Scene 16: Later at lunch, Scott calls over to Buffy to join him with Pete and Deb. She’s only grabbed Jello for lunch and Scott natters at her lack of nutrition. She mentions not sleeping well, and Debbie warns her not to tell Platt about insomnia, or she’ll have to start keeping a dream journal. Pete makes fun of that, joking about ‘earring Ken’ that Mattel had recently released at the time. Debbie calls Platt a quack, but Buffy says he’s kind of nice. Debbie offers that he’s kind of funny, but she sometimes doesn’t like the things he says to her. Pete side-eyes Debbie.

Scott compliments Buffy and gets a little too boyfriendy-datey so she bails on him. Pete makes fun of him for liking the manic-depressive chick, while Scott is left with WTH face watching her walk away.


Scene 17: Buffy’s leaving is because she has to check on her real love.

At the mansion, Angel is still hunched over in his chains. At first he doesn’t respond to her presence, even when she speaks to him. She slooowwly reaches out and touches his shoulder, and this gets a violent reaction as he first growl and snarls and then hunches even further away from her.


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She freaks out and runs.


Scene 18: At school, Pete drags Debbie to a groundkeeper’s storage room for some make out time. Somebody watches from a pillar.

As we pan and the couple make out, we see a jar nearly empty with glowing green schtuff. Pete notices the nearly empty jar and panics a bit, asking if Debbie had drunk any of it. She laughs that of course she didn’t. Pete asks her what is going on with her in concern-voice.


Commentary: This is a really weird directing choice, because we never, ever get anything about what this pillar-POV is about. No one spies on Debbie or Pete in the storage room, nor is there any follow up about somebody having suspected Pete of creating a formula or… anything! There is zero reason for this POV shot here. It’s not even a red-herring since it comes out of nowhere and we see who our villain is in a minute, and he/she definitely couldn’t have POV’d from here.


Scene 19: In the meantime, Buffy has run to Mr. Platt’s office for her 2pm appointment. Buffy tells Mr. Platt not to turn around or say anything, as she needs to offload Angel-angst and she won’t be able to do it if he interrupts.

We notice something weird, though. For one, Mr. Platt’s cigarette has a full length of ash hanging from it. For another, he didn’t even react to her coming in.

She starts tearing up as she admits to Platt that she can’t talk to her friends about what has been happening and she badly needs some help. She admits to how scared she is, and just starts to get into the Angel-mess when she notices that cigarette.

Mr. Platt’s face has been mauled and he’s sitting dead in his chair.


Commentary: Yeeaaah. Let’s just enjoy the visuals and not think too deeply about Mr. Platt being violently attacked without losing his cigarette… or maybe his attacker lit one up and put it between his fingers… um… because.


Scene 20: As we fade out wondering if this is somehow Angel’s work - though how it could be is confusing, and it certainly can’t be Oz-wolf, we fade in on Pete.

He and Deb are still in the groundskeeper’s storage room. Pete snatches up the jar of mysteriously glowy, nearly empty schtuff. It quickly becomes clear that Pete has been cooking up and drinking a Jeckyll/Hyde formula. Debbie admits to Pete that she tried to dump out the contents because of how he gets when he drinks it, but he’s really pissed. He also tells her that the formula does nothing to him, she’s the one that gets him so angry… besides, he doesn’t need the formula any more to grow powerful.

He grabs her by the shoulders, insulting her as he gets more angry. Pete undergoes a metamorphosis into a red-skinned, muscled goon with anger-management issues [in a not-very-well-hidden steroids metaphor, not to mention the in-your-face abusive boyfriend lesson].

Pete accuses Debbie of making him create the formula in the first place in order to be the kind of man she wanted, and now she’s repaid him by betrayal. And whoring around with other guys. Debbie yells that she doesn’t even look, but we’ve seen Pete side-eyeing Deb whenever she so much as utters a word toward/about any other guy so this doesn’t help her. Debbie gets punched  around. Pete rants a bit and all but admits that he’s the one to have ravaged Platt in his office.

Debbie is left crying in terror and bleeding, at which point Pete suddenly… deflates… and goes into wild-apology mode, while also making sure to let her know that she’s the one at fault for making him like this. Worse, Debbie accepts him into her arms and strokes his hair.


Commentary: What can we say about this? It’s a bit too real-life, despite the fantasy-formula and the Pete/Debbie situation really doesn’t fit comfortably beside the Oz-wolf and Crazy-Angel “beasts” story because of this. It’s lifted right out of a Lifetime Channel movie.

The actor and actress, John Patrick White and Danielle Weeks handle the roles well and this particular scene is both painful and harrowing, but it’s too much so for this episode when we’re dealing with werewolves and vampires. It’s clear that Pete had problems way before he actually started transforming into a rage monster and Debbie’s obviously has problems of her own in actually accepting this treatment, instead of seeking help. But the attempt to place this into a fantasy story by adding the formula and making him a literal monster doesn’t really work because we can tell that it isn’t about the formula transforming a nice guy into a monster. Pete comes off as always having been insecure and possessive. But what really makes this uncomfortable in the narrative, is just how ugly it is to watch. It’s a sudden swerve into real life domestic violence that isn’t nearly divorced enough from its origins - despite the attempt with the formula - for it to fit into the rest of the episode.

I mean how can we enjoy the Willow/Oz cute-worry thing or the Buffy/Angel romantic-angst with his sudden, mysterious return when we have a real abuse victim accepting that her boyfriend is beating her because she does things wrong and makes him angry? It’s just too divorced from the fantasy proceedings surrounding it.



Scene 21: In the library, Rupert has received the preliminary on Platt’s murder which has confirmed that Oz-wolf couldn’t have possibly been involved. Everyone is relieved that Oz is off the hook [though how exactly that means he didn’t kill Jeff when the results weren’t conclusive is, I guess, a comforting assumption they choose to make]. Giles mentions that Oz is going to turn that evening and sundown is approaching, wondering where he’s at.


Scene 22: Oz is in the courtyard, waiting for Debbie to pass on those biology notes. He notices her black eye, which she goes with the ol’ “doorknob to the eye” excuse for. Oz places a hand on her shoulder, offering her an ear if she wants to talk about what happened. She smiles but just thanks him for the notes and runs off. He doesn’t have time to pursue this right now, since he’s about to have his own violent troubles.

In the meantime, we see Pete watching Debbie and Oz’s moment….


Scene 23: In the library, the gang is considering what they may be facing when Oz walks in. Willow is thrilled to tell him that they’re dealing with a daytime killer, relieving him of his guilt and fear that he’d killed Jeff.

Discussion reveals that Platt and Jeff had Debbie in common, which leads Oz to tell the others about Debbie’s black eye. Pete as suspect is a short step away. Rupert sends everyone to search for both Deb and Pete, while Oz gets to the Variable Strength Book Cage.


Scene 24: After the gang splits up, Buffy and Willow find Debbie in the girls locker room applying [a bit uselessly] foundation around her eye. Buffy confronts Debbie about Pete being “not like other guys” and demands answers from her, even though Deb insists that Pete only gets violent because he loves her too much.


Commentary: The only thing I don’t like about this scene, really, is Sarah in it. Buffy just comes on way too strong right in the door and it feels really unsympathetic before Debbie even starts to stonewall them. This should’ve been played a bit more softly to start and then have Buffy lose her patience when Debbie refuses to help because it’s “all my fault, I make him crazy”.


Scene 25: Meanwhile at the mansion, with the sun setting, Angel has gotten rambunctious. He starts yanking at the chains keeping him imprisoned. It doesn’t take long for the sconce that the chains have been hooked over to break off the wall, freeing him to dash off into the night.


Scene 26: Back in the locker room, Buffy is demanding Pete’s location. Debbie can’t stand the idea that she may cause Pete to be taken and locked up somewhere. Buffy points out two people are dead and asks her who is going to be next.


Scene 27: Cue Oz pacing in the cage, waiting for his change [but still dressed -- that doesn’t seem right]. He’s confronted by the angered Pete for touching Debbie. Oz tries to warn him away, but Pete of course has a full head of anger and is all too ready to murder Oz for his perceived attempts to steal his girlfriend from him.

And he has the transformation and enhanced strength to back it up.


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Commentary: I liked the veiny, red skin for Pete-Hyde but the high-speed, head-shake to show the transformation was just goofy-as-hell. That was a really bad choice and left Pete looking a bit cartoony -- which would’ve worked as a pathetic-bad-guy if that was the intention, but can’t work right because of that harrowing scene of his beating Debbie earlier.

It leaves Pete-as-monster&Pete-as-changed-monster straddling two tones that aren’t compatible with one another. If we were going to go with Pete-as-possessive-abuser, we really shouldn’t have played with the Hyde formula at all -- just have Buffy dealing with a real person who does evil. But, if we’re dealing with a Mr. Hyde, then they shouldn’t have had the scene of Pete beating on Debbie, rather it should’ve stayed implied and we shouldn’t have realized that Pete was always the bad guy before the formula hijinks, finding out only when Debbie has her breakdown in the locker room.

Everything comes back to that domestic violence scene and the way that it was filmed that now throws off the entire tone of the episode and leaves the usual Buffy fantasy elements feeling silly next to this real-life violence.



Scene 28: When we fade in from another not-commercial break, Pete is still at the cage. He rips the doors off the Variable Strength Book Cage Door Hinges. Oz is sent thrown to the floor.


Scene 29: In the locker room, Deb is stuck hugging herself and repeating in mantra that Pete does love her. Buffy tells Wills she doesn’t have time for this and has to go find Pete. Willow tries to help Deb, but isn’t getting through. She worries that they broke her, but Buffy tells Wills that she thinks Debbie was broken already.


Scene 30: In the library, Pete is throwing Oz through tables and flipping him painfully onto stairs while accusing Deb of being a whore. Oz kicks Pete away, then notices the sundown out of the library window.

“Time’s up. Rules change,” he tells Pete. Pete then gets a look of confusion as a close up on Oz’s eye shows him transforming into Oz-wolf.

The wolf ain’t got no time to be impressed by Pete and launches itself at Hyde-boy.


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Commentary: Which would’ve been a much cooler moment if we didn’t have so many costume problems going on. Oz-wolf’s costuming just bugs me because he doesn’t scare me, he just looks like a carpet with bad skin. Poor Pete-Hyde has to watch everything he does with his hands, because his oversized press-on claws are in danger of falling off at any moment.

It makes these two’s wrestling match for domination look a tad ridiculous, rather than savage alas.



Scene 31: As Oz-wolf bites into Pete-Hyde’s arm, Buffy, Willow and Deb are in the hallway. They hear Pete’s yell of pain and rush for the library.

Giles intercepts them and they all run in to see our monsters having a mutual beatdown.

Buffy grabs the dart rifle from behind the checkout desk, but when she goes to fire it, Debbie “saves” Pete by knocking off her aim. Instead of Oz or Pete getting an instant tranq, Giles gets it instead. He makes a comical utterance before collapsing.

With the disturbance, Oz takes off into the hallway. Buffy tosses the rifle to Faith to go after him, while she focuses on stopping Pete-Hyde. Willow rushes on Faith’s heels, while Debbie also retreats.


Scene 32: Meanwhile, Buffy kicks Pete in the face and he topples a bookcase on her.

He rushes out as well, with Buffy behind. Pete is able to acrobatic up to a high window and slip out of the school.


Scene 33: Meanwhile, Oz is… loping?… on all fours through Sunnydale’s hall with Faith and Willow chasing.


Scene 34: Pete retreats to the groundskeeper’s storage room, where Debbie has already also retreated as “their place”. She rushes into his uncaring arms, grateful that Buffy wasn’t able to shoot him because she “saved” him. Poor Debbie. Poor, poor Debbie.

Pete isn’t grateful to her in the least, rather he’s focused on how Buffy knew about his Hydening in the first place, concluding it was because Debbie has a big mouth. We leave the room with Debbie looking like she’s helped her abusive boyfriend for the last time.


Scene 35: In the hallway, Buffy spots the blood left on the wall above her head to guess how Pete got away from her - she follows.


Scene 36: Elsewhere, Faith and Willow unwisely get too close to Oz-wolf, allowing the werewolf to tackle Faith and threaten her with an infectious werewolf bite [like the already monstrous Pete, btw].


Scene 37: Outside Sunnydale High, Buffy looks for signs of where Pete may have run off to. She runs into the storage room, to find Debbie dead on the floor. Pete-Hyde grabs her by the shoulders from behind and starts tossing her around.


Scene 38: In the meantime, Faith is rolling on the floor under Oz-wolf trying to keep from being bitten while the tranq gun gets kicked around.

Willow yanks on Oz-wolf’s tail and then runs down the hallway, leading the wolf into chasing after her. This allows Faith to scoop up the tranq and give Oz a well-deserved rest after his eventful evening.


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Commentary: I like how the stunt person developed his four legged lope, but it only works for me in short doses. It’s too awkward for a human to move gracefully this way, and it makes the werewolf less threatening than when he was a biped. I just don’t like the changes at all.


Scene 39: In the meantime, Pete-Hyde is slapping Buffy around and shouting at her that they’re all the same. [Oh, shut up Pete]

Buffy and Pete-Hyde’s fight is interrupted suddenly by the wandering, animalistic Angel. He ignores the girl on the floor and launches an attack at poor Monster-Pete [who really picked the wrong town to try to be the big monster on campus].

Pete loses another fight, but this time he can’t retreat… not with a chain-crushed throat.

Buffy is left standing in shock before Angel as he stares at her. [She’s more than likely shocked at what Hell has done to his hair.]


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Angel slowly approaches her, demorphing. He tearfully gazes at her and finally utters her name. Falling to his knees he wraps himself around her waist, leaving her to weep in confusion and wonder at his being Angel and there, while he goes on saying her name tearfully and holding tightly to her.


Commentary: Oh, shut up! It’s soooo romantic. And “Close Your Eyes” has a snippet played again to make it all angst-tastic. I love it. I’m a little ashamed at being so easily manipulated but I cannot tell a lie in these reviews… I ate it up and begged for more.


Scene 40: The following day, the entire story of Pete and Deb has made the rounds at school with theories ranging from too much coffee to Pete overdosing on his mother’s estrogen pills [WHA??]. Cordy apparently had bought the estrogen pill theory and is surprised to hear from the gang that Pete was actually a monster [she metas “where have I been” as we’ve barely seen Cordy this episode].

The gang discuss how Pete had become a monster in form, but was already one inside - which is more disturbing than any Hellmouth shenanigans. Buffy spots Scott sitting alone and forlorn and excuses herself.


Commentary: Nicki -- no more purple Tees.


Scene 41: Buffy tries to comfort Scott, but he’s dealing with knowing Deb and Pete their whole lives and having no clue what they were really dealing with. He tells Buffy that you think you can know somebody you care about, but you never really know what is happening inside their minds.


Scene 42: That night, we have forest-running POV, but fade onto Angel lying on the mansion floor - twitching in dreams or nightmares under Buffy’s watch. She continues with the beginning quoting of “Call of the Wild”.


The Good: I really liked seeing Faith and Buffy smiling and bantering together.

I liked how our three prongs of the story [Hyde, Oz-wolf and Angel] are wound about one another, especially before the scene in the groundskeeper's storage room where Pete beats his girlfriend.

I absolutely adored the acting by SMG and ASH in the library when Buffy is discussing Angel's return "in her dream".

Despite their characters' lack of redeeming qualities, I liked what John P. White and Danielle Weeks brought to Pete and Deb as far as acting.

I really liked the short scene of Debbie repeatedly repeating to herself that Pete does love her, despite the abuse. It's the only scene in which I actually felt something sympathetic for Deb and her situation.

I also liked the Pete/Oz scene before Oz-wolf shows up.

Yeah, yeah, I'm a sap. I really loved Angel recognizing Buffy and falling to his knees at her feet.


The Bad: I hate Xander, once again, doing something impossibly dumb and looking like an oblivious idiot.

I didn't like the way that Debbie being abused was handled, because it threw off the tone of the episode from fantasy [Hydes, werewolves and vampires] into true-life violence and abuse that was really uncomfortable witnessing.


Other Thoughts: I do like the facial makeup for the new wolf, though not the quadpedle thing.

I also liked the makeup used for Pete-Hyde, but it's undercut by those horrible press-on claws that he can't actually use because they'll easily snap off.

I really wanted Angel to be in vampire-face in the beginning so that when he morphs back to Angel at the end, it would really be impactful. His spending so much time snarling in human face undercut the moment when Buffy watches Angel staring at her as he morphs from fang-mode to human face.

I also don't like how what Angel's been doing for blood is completely not brought up by Buffy at all. Even with blood around his mouth, she doesn't seem to wonder if he's been out killing and for how long before she managed to run into him. It's all just glided over without comment.

I liked the Faith/Willow/Oz scenes and the Buffy/Pete/Angel scenes, but the pacing was thrown off for me by the continual jump-cutting between the two. I wish they'd done less switching back and forth in this instance.


The Score: I like many of the elements of the story but found them undercut by other things that bugged me. Ultimately, the episode was a bit of a wash between the good and the stuff undermining them.


3.00 out of 5 stars


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