October 22, 2022

Buffy 4.6, Wild at Heart: The Animal Inside

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:12 pm by Jenn

Get out of here, annoying chick

Summary: Buffy’s running across campus, being chased by a vampire, in an effort to get him away from any other students who might see them. She taunts him for trying to grab an easy meal and accidentally targeting the Slayer. She makes a quip about a late meal and heartburn before staking him, disappointed that he didn’t appreciate it. Well, to be fair, she didn’t give him a chance to respond. Spike watches from nearby, eager to become her worst enemy again. But before he can do a real villain monologue, he’s tazed and captured by commandos.

The next night, the Scoobies hang out at the Bronze, wanting a little familiarity now that their lives have changed. Giles pops up, making Buffy think he’s come to report some trouble. No, he just wanted to join the fun. He claims he’s “down with the new music.” Veruca’s band is performing again, and just like last time, she and Oz lock eyes while she’s singing. Buffy senses Willow’s discomfort and tries to distract Oz, but it doesn’t work. They downplay how talented Veruca is, but Giles doesn’t take the hint.

Willow spends the night at Oz’s and he wakes up to her talking in her sleep (something about a sandblaster, then “all Geminis to the raspberry hats,” though that’s just her teasing him). She has to get to class, so they can’t lounge around. She tries to make plans for that night, but it’s the first of three full moon nights, so Oz will be a little busy. Willow decides to check out a campus Wicca group instead.

Buffy got an A on a paper for Walsh’s class, and Walsh is so impressed that she asks her to lead a class discussion on the topic she wrote about. Willow’s proud of her, but also jealous since her grade wasn’t as good. That just makes Willow even prouder. Buffy wishes Walsh’s reward system was better than assigning her more work.

Oz runs into Veruca on campus and they talk about music. Willow spots them together and manages to play it cool, though her version of cool is still awkward. Oz has to leave, which just makes things even more awkward. Fortunately, Veruca leaves as well, and Buffy joins Willow, who’s all self-conscious now. Buffy doesn’t think it’s a big deal if Oz is checking out someone else – he loves Willow. Willow doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it, either. She just feels guilty when she checks out other guys, so maybe Oz should do the same. Buffy is sure that he’ll get past this soon.

Oz no longer has access to the book cage at the school (since the school no longer has a book cage…or a library…or anything else), so he locks himself up in an underground crypt where he’s installed a cage door. But it isn’t very strong and he easily breaks through it. He goes after Walsh on campus, and though she’s able to get away from him, she runs into…another werewolf. She jumps out of the way and the two wolves attack each other instead of her. Soon their fighting turns to something a bit friendlier. When the sun comes up in the morning, Oz wakes up next to his new werewolf buddy: Veruca.

He doesn’t remember what happened, which she says is normal; he’ll start remembering things soon. She jokes that she’s a “werewolf groupie,” then confirms that she’s actually a werewolf. She thinks Oz figured it out the moment he first saw her. They raid a dorm laundry room for clothes as he wonders how he got out of his cage. Veruca is a free-range werewolf, and she thinks Oz cages himself because he wants to deny who he is.

He says he’s only a wolf three nights a month. Veruca corrects that he’s a wolf all the time, and his human form is just a disguise. Oz leaves to check the newspaper and see if they did any damage. “Oh, we did, but only to each other,” she replies. “I know some part of you remembers that.” She suggests that they go for another round of sex. Oz tells her last night was it and this ends now.

Veruca wants to help him accept that he’s a powerful creature. She feels sorry for humans, who don’t get what it’s like to feel as alive and free as they do. Oz doesn’t want that freedom if it leads to killing. She’s sure that he’ll eventually understand and agree that they belong together. “I know where I belong,” he tells her. But she thinks they’ll see each other again that night.

Walsh tells Riley about her near-attack the night before, then warns Buffy to be careful on campus, since there appear to be huge wild dogs around. Willow goes to Oz’s dressed in a Veruca-type outfit and apologizes for any weirdness she exhibited the day before around him and Veruca. Oz is too distracted to even think about that. She wants sex, but Oz is scraped up from his night with Veruca and also definitely not in the mood. She leaves, disappointed.

Buffy goes to Giles’ to tell him about the “wild dogs” Walsh saw. He says he’ll look for any news reports about attacks while Buffy talks to Oz. Willow visits Xander, who’s on a rent strike since his mom won’t let him put a lock on his door. Apparently she’s afraid he’ll start having sex down in the basement. (Oh, Mrs. Harris, he already has.) Willow confides in him about Oz and his disinterest in sex, and asks if that’s a bad sign. Xander thinks he’s just preoccupied, but she thinks it has to do with Veruca. Xander advises her to talk to him about it.

Oz does some soldering on his cage door in hopes that he won’t get out again that night. Buffy comes by and assures him that there haven’t been any reported attacks. She mentions Walsh’s encounter with two werewolves and he lies that he doesn’t know anything about a second one. Buffy says that if she finds one on patrol tonight, Oz will have some company in his cage. She notes that he’s “more monosyllabic than usual,” but he claims he’s fine.

While Veruca’s band practices, Oz frets by himself and Willow has trouble concentrating on the discussion at the Wicca group. When the sun starts setting, Veruca shows up at Oz’s “Habitrail” – he called here there because he wants her in a cage tonight. He warns that people will be out hunting for her. He’s willing to be in close proximity with her all night if it means they and the innocent people of Sunnydale are safe. Veruca talks about the shift to werewolf form like it’s sex. She’s wanted Oz since before she ever saw him. She asks if he sensed her like she sensed him. Unable to fight his instincts, Oz grabs her and they make out.

The next morning, Willow comes by with breakfast and finds Oz and Veruca asleep together, naked. Oz tries to explain why they’re both in the cage, but it’s no excuse for what they did. Willow notes that he could have told someone instead of just locking himself up with Veruca. Veruca says she has a point, like, hon, this is not the time to get involved. Oz barks at her to leave, the loudest he’s ever been in three seasons on the show.

Willow cries and says she knew something was going on. She’s upset that Oz told her everything was fine. “I know how it feels. I remember,” he replies. Ooooh, wrong thing to say! Willow doesn’t think there’s any comparison here, considering what she and Oz had. Oz admits that he’s not sure what he and Veruca did. When he changes, it’s like he disappears and the wolf part of him takes over.

Willow points out that something was going on between him and Veruca before the full moon. It’s like he wanted her “in an animal way.” Maybe more than he wanted Willow. Oz doesn’t respond, which is enough of an answer for her. She runs off and goes for a walk downtown. She’s so distracted that she walks into traffic. Buffy’s nearby and spots her, calling out her name. But it’s Riley who comes to Willow’s rescue, pulling her to safety.

Buffy takes Willow to their room, and after hearing what happened, she announces that she needs to find Veruca before the sun goes down. She’s reluctant to leave Willow alone, and she encourages Willow to blame the responsible parties here, not hurt herself. Willow says she’s fine, then raids Buffy’s weapons chest.

Buffy goes to Oz’s and asks where Veruca is. Oz hasn’t had any luck tracking her down but offers to take Buffy to the places she might go. He tries to explain himself to Buffy, who tells him this would be a good time for his “trademark stoicism.” Back on campus, Willow does a spell to end Oz and Veruca’s feelings for each other. Her beakers and book start levitating.

Oz tracks Veruca’s scent, but only to the clothes Buffy thinks she’s discarded to fool him. Oz quickly guesses that Veruca is going after Willow. He and Buffy race back to the dorm, but on the way, Buffy runs into a commando. Willow can’t bring herself to finish her spell. When Veruca finds her, she says she actually believed for a minute that Willow might “play rough.” She locks the door to the lab they’re in and says sometimes you have to fight dirty “to keep what’s yours.” Sometimes you even have to kill. She notes that the sun is almost down.

Buffy and the commando tussle for a moment, then go their separate ways. Veruca taunts that Willow couldn’t do her spell because she doesn’t have the teeth for it. She gets under Willow’s skin by saying she has Oz’s scent on her. Oz shows up as Veruca’s about to attack and tells her to hurt him instead. Veruca thinks Willow’s the reason Oz has domesticated himself. When she’s gone, he’ll be able to admit who he is.

“You don’t want to find out what I am,” he replies as he starts to shift. “You’re an animal. Animals kill,” Veruca says. “You’re right. We kill,” he agrees before attacking her. The two fight as they continue changing into their wolf forms. It’s vicious, and it ends with Oz biting Veruca’s throat. He turns on Willow, but Buffy arrives in time to pull him away from her and tranq him. She rushes to Willow, who starts sobbing.

The next day, Buffy fills Giles in on the commando and the ones she saw on Halloween. Because of the one she saw last night, she almost didn’t catch up with Oz in time to save Willow. Giles thinks she should focus on her rescue instead of the fact that she couldn’t stop Oz from killing Veruca. Buffy says that Willow wishes she hadn’t been saved. She’s devastated. Giles knows that Buffy got through her own pain when Angel died, but Buffy notes that that involved running away and going to Hell first. She hopes Willow doesn’t try that. She doesn’t know how the Scoobies will deal with this.

Well, Oz is dealing the same way Buffy did after Angel’s death: He’s leaving town. Willow would like a vote on his decision, but he needs to find a way to separate himself from the wolf inside him. Until he does, he shouldn’t be around her or anyone else. He doesn’t know how long he’ll be gone. “Oz, don’t you love me?” Willow asks emotionally. “My whole life, I’ve never loved anything else,” he replies. They embrace and he kisses her forehead, then leaves. He pauses before he drives off, as if he’s changed his mind, but he remembers why he’s doing this and keeps going.

Thoughts: It’s fitting that this episode’s initials are WAH because it makes me go, “WAAAAAAH!”

Willow: “How come you didn’t tell me I look like a crazy birthday cake in this shirt?” Buffy: “I thought that was the point.” Heh. Also, don’t open a can of worms about your wardrobe, Willow. (That said, I really like the shirt she wears when she finds Oz and Veruca together.)

The Oz/Veruca tease was originally intended to go on longer, but Seth Green decided to leave the show. In that way, it’s good that he did because any more than a couple episodes of that would have been torture.

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