February 19, 2022

Buffy 2.15, Phases: People for the Ethical Treatment of Werewolves

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 12:59 pm by Jenn

Find yourself a guy who tucks in your shirt tag

Summary: Oz is studying a cheerleading trophy at school, and when Willow joins him, he says he feels like its eyes follow him wherever he goes. (He likes it.) The two of them saw a movie together the night before, and they awkwardly agree that they enjoyed their time together. She runs off to join Buffy when she appears. Aww, poor, nerdy Willow.

Larry approaches Oz and says he’d love to get some action with Buffy and Willow, if Oz knows what he means. “That’s great, Larry, you’ve really mastered the single entendre,” Oz replies. Larry knocks the books out of a girl’s arms and ogles her when she bends down to pick them up. He asks if Oz is dating a junior because he likes her “innocent schoolgirl thing.” Oz quips that Willow is “actually an evil mastermind. It’s fun.” Larry says they must be having sex, because what’s the point, otherwise? What are they going to do, talk? He pushes Oz to spill how far they’ve gotten.

Elsewhere on campus, Willow tells Buffy that they’ve gotten nowhere. Oz said he would wait until she’s ready to go to the next level of dating (which in their case is just kissing), but Willow’s ready now. Buffy likes that Oz isn’t “just being an animal.” Willow says she’s dropped huge hints, but Oz hasn’t gotten them yet. Buffy knows he’ll come around soon, since Willow has charms no guy can resist. Well, except the many guys who have already resisted them. Buffy declares that “they all get an F in Willow.”

Willow hopes Oz hurries to get with the program. She doesn’t want to be the only girl in school without a boyfriend. Then she realizes she’s talking to a girl who just broke up with her boyfriend because he went evil and wants to kill her and her friends. (Not that she says that. That’s me talking.) Buffy says she’s handling things okay, but she’d like a fun night with Willow and Xander to take her mind off of Angelus. Willow says she’ll call Xander: “What’s his number? Oh, yeah: 1-800-I’m-dating-a-skanky-ho.” Buffy gives her a “meow” for that, which Willow appreciates. She wonders what Xander sees in Cordelia.

That night, Xander and Cordelia make out in her dad’s car, but he’s distracted by thoughts of what Willow sees in Oz. Yeah, he’s a senior and he’s attractive (not that Xander thinks he is), but he’s in a band, and those guys attract bad elements. Cordelia asks if Xander actually wants to be there with her, since all he talks about nowadays is Willow and Buffy. They should be appreciating the scenery and their privacy. Well, not complete privacy, since some big, hairy creature is watching them.

Xander interrupts the makeout session again when he thinks he hears something. “Is Willow sending out some sort of distress signal that only you can hear?” Cordelia asks. They start to kiss again, but Xander hears another noise. Cordelia decides they should call it a night, but before they can head out, the creature growls and reaches through the sunroof, trying to grab them. Cordelia backs up the car, and when she slams on the brakes, the creature falls off. Xander says he told her he heard something.

The next day, the Scoobies examine the car as Xander tells them about the creature, which he thinks was a wolf. Cordelia cares less about the possible new monster than she does about the car. I guess that’s fair. I mean, how is she supposed to explain this to her father? Giles reports that animals have recently been found mutilated, which upsets Willow, especially if any of them were bunnies. Oz assures her that despite their appearances, bunnies can take care of themselves.

Giles says no people have been injured, which is new for Sunnydale. He guesses the wolf is a werewolf and will be back at next month’s full moon. Willow points out that the full moon is that night. Looks like the legend about werewolves only coming out during a full moon is wrong. Giles is excited to do more research.

The Scoobies all have gym class together, and their teacher has wisely decided to teach them self-defense today. Oz tucks the tag of Willow’s shirt inside her collar, which makes Xander complain about him touching her in public. “I think you splashed on just a little too much Obsession for Dorks,” Cordelia tells him. The class splits into groups, and Xander notices a bandage on Larry’s arm. He says he was bitten by a dog. Oz sympathizes – his cousin Jordy demonstrated how much he hate being tickled by biting Oz.

Larry’s happy to see that a girl named Theresa is in his group. Buffy’s also with them, and Willow reminds her to hide the fighting skills she’s learned as a Slayer. The class starts with moves to use if someone attacks from behind. Larry “attacks” Buffy, who pretends she’s not strong enough to flip him over her shoulder. When he grabs her butt, she slams him onto his back.

After school, Giles talks to the Scoobies about the moon. There’s no scientific proof that the moon affects people’s psyches, but it seems the moon’s phases do have some psychological influence. The full moon brings out people’s darkest qualities. Werewolves are extreme representations of people’s animalistic traits. They’re active for three nights, during the full moon and on the nights immediately before and after it. They act on pure instinct, aggressive and predatory without a conscience.

Buffy says that sounds like every guy. Xander objects, and Giles tells Buffy not to jump to conclusions. “I didn’t jump. I took a tiny step and there conclusions where,” she replies. Giles clarifies that the werewolf could be a man or a woman, anyone who was bitten by a werewolf. They can’t bring it down with silver bullets. It’s still a human, and that human might not even know they’re a werewolf. On tonight’s patrol, there will be no slaying.

Giles and Buffy go out together that night, but all they find is a classmate cheating on his girlfriend. They’re at a popular parking/makeout spot for Sunnydale High students, and Giles considers knocking on car windows to ask if anyone’s seen anything. Buffy’s like, “Trust me, they’re not looking at their surroundings.”

They split up to keep looking for the werewolf, and Buffy ends up caught in a big net. A guy with a gun is happy to have captured her. She calls for Giles, who comes running. The guy, Cain, lets Buffy out of the net and makes a gross comment implying that he thinks Giles and Buffy are out there because they’re dating. They tell him they’re actually hunting werewolves. Cain laughs at them since he doesn’t think they’re qualified. Giles “looks like he’s auditioning to be a librarian,” and Buffy is a girl.

Giles assures Cain that Buffy is very capable of taking on a werewolf. Cain calls her “sweetheart” and asks how many she’s killed. He’s wearing a necklace made of teeth he’s pulled from the mouth of every werewolf he’s killed. The next one will be his 12th. Giles and Buffy are unhappy that Cain seems to hunt werewolves for sport. He says he’s actually in it for the money – their pelts go for a high price. He doesn’t care that they’re humans for most of the month.

He asks where else teens in Sunnydale hang out, since that’s where the werewolf will go. They like places with lots of sexual heat. Buffy won’t give him any information, and Cain thinks it’s because she doesn’t know anything. After he leaves, Buffy tells Giles that she has an idea, but they’ll need to beat “mein furrier” there.

Theresa’s walking home alone when she hears growling nearby. She starts running and bumps into Angelus. Oh, dear. He recognizes her as one of Buffy’s classmates, and since he knows someone she knows, Theresa feels comfortable letting him walk her home. Meanwhile, Cordelia’s at the Bronze, complaining about how Xander only cares about Buffy and Willow. It turns out she’s complaining to Willow. Willow has her own complaints about how Xander should appreciate that he’s with Cordelia. Cordelia agrees with Willow that Oz needs to move things along with her.

Suddenly the werewolf drops in (literally) and everyone runs out of the club screaming. Giles and Buffy are just arriving, and Willow tells Buffy that the werewolf is inside. Buffy goes in alone and tries to capture the wolf with a chain. The wolf gets away and runs off into the night. Sometime later, Cain arrives and complains that Buffy “let” the wolf get away. He’s also unhappy that she was just going to lock it up. He says this is what happens when a woman tries to do a man’s job.

Giles points out that Buffy risked her life trying to capture the werewolf Cain hasn’t even seen yet. “Daddy’s doing a great job carrying her bag of milk bones,” Cain snots. He tells Buffy that if the werewolf hurts anyone, it’ll be her fault. He hopes she can live with that. “I live with that every day,” she replies. Cain leaves, complaining that first he had to stop hunting elephants for their ivory; now he’s dealing with “People for the Ethical Treatment of Werewolves.” Giles calls him a pillock, which is a great word.

The werewolf follows a trail of blood to Theresa’s body. Angelus is still there with his fresh kill, and the two supernatural beings growl at each other. Angelus is the first to back off. Buffy and Giles go back on patrol, but it’s so quiet that Giles falls asleep in the car. They hear a news report on the radio that Theresa has been found dead, probably the victim of the animal that’s already attacked people.

Giles says they should go home, since the werewolf will become human again when the sun comes up. The werewolf gets some sleep in the woods, then turns back into its human form…Oz. His response to finding himself naked in the woods: “Huh.”

He goes home and calls his aunt to ask straight out if Jordy is a werewolf. We don’t hear the other end of the conversation, but the answer must be yes, because Oz asks how long that’s been going on. No, he doesn’t have a reason to ask. He goes to school, trying to wrap his head around what he’s just discovered about himself.

In the library, Buffy tells Willow, Xander, and Giles that she should have killed the werewolf when she had the chance. Oz arrives in time to learn that there was another attack. He’s happy that no one was bitten or scratched, so no one else will become a werewolf, but he’s sad to hear that Theresa’s dead. He’s also distressed to be reminded that there will be another night of this.

Xander thinks the werewolf is out there laughing about the incompetent Scoobies. Oz notes that there’s no way to tell who it is. Xander thinks Giles can figure it out. Plus, Xander considers himself an expert on human/animal hybrids because of his time as a hyena. He knows what it’s like to be taken over by your urge to kill. Buffy reminds him that he said he didn’t remember anything about that. Xander changes the subject.

He thinks he can get into the werewolf’s head, so he does a little role-playing. He suddenly says the answer is right in front of them. Oz, who’s literally right in front of Xander, gets worried, but Xander thinks the werewolf is Larry. After all, he’s aggressive and hairy, and he was recently bitten by what he says was a dog.

Xander goes off to talk to Larry while Giles tells Willow to look into other possible were-students. Buffy says she’s looking forward to fighting whoever it is. Willow asks if Oz is okay, since he knew Theresa. She invites him to help the Scoobies by doing research with her. Oz, of course, can’t be there that night, at least not without killing Willow, so he says he’s busy, then runs off. Buffy sees how sad Willow is about that and feels sad herself.

Xander finds Larry in the boys’ locker room and asks if there’s anything he’s hiding. He says he knows Larry’s secret about what he’s been doing at night. Larry threatens him with violence, but Xander says that won’t help – people will still find out. Larry offers him hush money, which Xander declines since he just wants to help.

Larry asks if he thinks he has a cure. Xander says he knows what Larry’s going through because he’s been there. He urges Larry to talk about it. Larry says that’s easy for Xander to say. He’s a nobody, but Larry has a reputation. His secret can’t get out. He’ll get kicked off the football team and run out of town. “How are people going to look at me when they find out I’m gay?” he says.

Xander’s confused, but Larry feels surprisingly good. Xander is the first person he’s ever told. Larry thinks Xander brought the truth out of him because it was easy to come out to someone who’s been there. Maybe Larry always wanted to beat up Xander because he recognized something in Xander that he couldn’t admit about himself. Xander tries to deny that he’s gay, and Larry promises not to out him.

Back in the library, Willow tells Buffy that the only person who fits the profile for an aggressive, violent, authority-dodging Sunnydale student is Buffy herself. Willow teases that she should count to 10 when she’s angry. Buffy starts counting right then. She brings up Oz, sorry that he’s sending Willow such mixed signals. Buffy can relate, since she’s familiar with guys not telling girls what they want. She suggests that Willow do something daring and make the first move.

As they leave the library, Willow complains that it used to be much easier to tell if a boy liked you: He would punch you on the arm and then run back to his friends. Xander joins them and punches Buffy on the arm. Willow heads off to help Cordelia with her homework, and Xander notes that it might not be good that the two of them are spending so much time together. Buffy asks how things went with Larry, and Xander tries not to freak out. He insists that Larry isn’t the werewolf, and there are no more questions to ask.

Buffy’s disappointed that their #1 suspect is no longer a suspect. Then she realizes that there’s something they haven’t considered: Theresa died the same night a werewolf was out and about, but she wasn’t mauled. Maybe she wasn’t killed by the werewolf. A trip to the funeral home where Theresa’s body is ready for her service confirms that she was killed by a vampire. Xander thinks that’s good, but it just means Buffy failed to protect a classmate from two different threats.

Xander gently tells Buffy that she can’t blame herself for every death in Sunnydale. Without her, plenty more people would be dead, including him and Willow. Just then, he sees Theresa sitting up in her casket. Looks like Angelus turned her instead of killing her. Buffy faces off with Theresa, who does more psychological damage than physical damage when she says, “Angel sends his love.” Xander stakes Theresa, then comforts Buffy when she realizes Angelus is going to keep targeting her. He tells her not to let Angelus get to her – he’s not the same guy anymore. They share a meaningful look, and Xander laments how complicated his life has become.

That night, Cain makes some silver bullets in his van. Oz starts chaining himself up at home, but he’s interrupted when Willow shows up. She wants to talk about how he seems to care about her, but then backs off. He tries to get her to leave, but Willow doesn’t want to put off the conversation. Oz tells her the problem is him, not her – he’s going through changes. She says she’s going through a lot, too. Oz says it’s not the same.

Willow sees the chains as Oz starts to transform into a wolf. She runs out screaming, and the Oz-wolf chases her down the street. She fights him off with a garbage can. Cain hears a howl as he drives through Sunnydale and follows it. In the library, Buffy tells Giles that Theresa turned into a vampire, thanks to Angelus. She wants to focus on getting the werewolf. Giles has a tranq gun all ready for that.

Oz chases Willow for a while, then gets interested in something that smells better. She races to the library and tells Buffy and Giles that Oz is the werewolf. They promise not to hurt him, just sedate him. Oz comes across Cain, who’s set up bait in the form of raw meat. Just as Cain is about to shoot him, Buffy attacks Cain. Then Oz joins the fight, so Giles has a hard time getting a good shot.

Willow ends up being the one to knock out her love interest. She’s upset about it, but it was necessary to save Giles and Buffy. Cain taunts that no one in Sunnydale is man enough to kill the monsters that keep showing up. Buffy bends his gun in half and kicks him out of town. Giles assures Willow that Oz will be fine in the morning, and back to himself.

At school the next day, Xander wonders how to act around someone he’s just learned such shocking details about. Buffy says Oz is still human, most of the time, and the same person they’ve always known. Xander was actually thinking about Larry but doesn’t want to tell her that. As some jerk knocks the books out of a girl’s hands, Larry approaches and picks them up for her. He thanks Xander for his help. Again, Xander doesn’t want to go into detail around Buffy.

Buffy comments that their encounter was weird, not because Larry was nice but because he didn’t try to look up her skirt. She thinks the moon really is messing with people. It’s definitely going to affect Oz and Willow’s relationship. Xander doesn’t think they can have one, since he’ll need obedience school and might turn on his “owner.” Buffy thinks Willow will still want to be with him. She tells Xander he doesn’t get a say in this.

Willow meets up with Oz outside, and he tells her that Giles said he’ll be fine but will need to lock himself up around the full moon. Willow apologizes for shooting him, but Oz thinks it’s fair, since he almost ate her. Willow wishes he’d told her he’s a werewolf. He’s still getting used to it and says he didn’t know how to tell her.

Oz suggests that he give Willow some space for a while, but she’s totally okay with dating a werewolf. He has lots of good qualities, and he’ll only be a wolf three days a month. “I mean, three days out of the month, I’m not much fun to be around, either,” she notes. Oz says she’s “quite the human” and agrees to keep dating her. (No biting.) Willow heads off to class, then comes back and kisses him before leaving again. “A werewolf in love,” Oz says to himself happily.

Thoughts: Is there a law that requires all vampire movies, TV shows, and book series to include werewolves?

Oz gets all the best lines. He’s just so quotable.

Theresa, girl, why would you walk home alone at night in freaking Sunnydale? You must be new.

I love the moment when Oz finds out there was another werewolf sighting and gets so worried that someone was bitten or scratched, which means they’ll become a werewolf, too. He’s struggling to grasp what it means that he’s the werewolf, but right then, he doesn’t care about himself, just innocent people – not just people he might attack but people who might wind up like him. It says so much about his character.

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