Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S01E06 – The Pack

In the sixth episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a shaky premise gives way to one of the creepiest (and most brilliant) things I’ve seen on television. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.

I have an image in my head, and I am going to share it with you.

I’m in a field. It’s a field because it needs to be open and inviting, like a good hug from a close friend or someone you care about, but have not seen in many years. It’s full of California poppies, those brilliant and radiant flowers that seem to sparkle as the wind and light hit them from different directions. Across the field on this impossibly perfect spring day, Joss Whedon stands with a smile on his face. He’s standing next to a massive oak tree, and the shadow it casts falls gently over him. It’s inviting. It’s comforting. He’s wearing a light cardigan and it’s the color of an eggplant. He waves at me, and I can’t help but wave back.

I start walking across the field, taking time to run my hands through the swishing poppies as a breeze picks up. As I get closer to Whedon, I see that there’s a small folding table next to him. Is it possible? There’s a plate full of freshly-baked cookies, and somehow, impossibly, I know that he made them vegan so that I could eat them, even though he’s not a vegan himself. Is that a cold glass of almond milk sitting next to the plate? I can see condensation building on the side and slowly running down. He knew, I think. He knew I loved this. I race towards the oak tree, towards the blue horizon that meets with the green and orange earth, and I can’t wait to give him a hug, to enjoy the milk and cookies, to catch up, to talk about what’s going on in our respective lives.

I’m just feet away when I realize the table isn’t real. The cookies aren’t real. The glass and the condensation and the way the light reflects off of it aren’t real. This isn’t just any normal field, either, but before I can slow my body from the rush, I realize that I’m at the edge of a cliff, and that’s why the sky met the horizon in the way that it did. It’s the edge.

Whedon sees the fear on my face, and he merely smirks in response. In one motion, he grabs me forcefully and chucks me over the edge, and as he does so, he’s laughing. He’s laughing. I fall and it is not graceful or pretty or poetic. And all I can remember is that he was laughing at me.

This is a premature statement, of course, but I know from Firefly (and especially Serenity) that I should not expect things to be cute and adorable and safe when it comes to Joss Whedon. Unfortunately, I’ve made the very mistake of doing so; I assumed that season one wouldn’t go very far in terms of violence, the repercussions of living over some nexus of paranormal activity, and especially not with death. I like what I’ve seen so far, but Whedon is clearly setting things up before he knocks it all down. I don’t necessarily want to say that season on is safe, but it’s the first season of a show that was probably believed to be a failure. I’m sure he had certain concession he had to make to the network in order to keep his show on the air, and I get that.

And that’s why this episode basically destroyed me. Because it’s only the sixth episode of the premiere season and it is REALLY, REALLY, REALLY FUCKED UP. First, though, there are a few things I want to point out and discuss that are…well, not my favorite things in the world. I think the cold open to “The Pack” is abysmal. It’s awkward, poorly acted on most parts, and sets up a premise that is so bad it made me laugh out loud. (Which, incidentally, is also a strength of this episode, since it made me think the whole thing would be horrible.)  I can excuse the awkwardness and the bad acting; in fact, it’s kind of endearing to watch. I recently watched a ton of old The X-Files episodes from seasons one and two, and while I think that show started out a bit stronger than Buffy, I would be straight-up lying if I didn’t admit how cringe-worthy a lot of it is. But 90s television has this wonderful appeal to me, so I don’t want this to seem like I’m trying to be a snob because the show isn’t available in 1080p with modern references.

However, the idea that five people could be possessed by a hyena just by looking at it was just…too much? And look, there are few people in the world who are more willing to suspend disbelief in the name of a good story than me, and this was just silly. Again, I can excuse bad effects and the like, but I have to admit that I set the bar pretty low because of the cold open.

While I will talk about the brilliance of so much of the writing and the metaphor used throughout “The Pack,” I think I also need to state that some of the choices for the portrayal of high school life were just downright unrealistic. First of all: the zoo. THE ZOO. ARE YOU SERIOUS. Now, perhaps life in Southern California is drastically different than elsewhere, but we stopped getting sent to the zoo for field trips in maybe fifth grade. I get the sense that the show was trying to convey that this was for some science class (Lance seemed to be working on something???) and they were doing…research? LOOK I DON’T KNOW. And if that was the case, WHY WAS PRINCIPAL FLUTIE THERE. Principals never go on class field trips!

On that same note, what sort of gym class plays dodgeball in high school? We stopped that in junior high at the very least, and I was completely lost as to how that was included at all. To be fair, though, it did give us that beautiful line from Coach Herrold at the very end, so I’m quite forgiving of this little detail.

Aside from one thing at the end of this episode, though, “The Pack” is a brutal and vicious study on bullying in a high school setting, but it’s done in a way that’s both clever and unique. As bad as the cold open is, I was impressed that Buffy was showing that some people literally bully in packs. I had individual bullies while I was in school (naming one of them now: Curtis Tiegler, fuck you, I hope you were run over by a pack of puppies), but there’s nothing quite as disorienting and frightful as being bullied by a group. That manifested in different ways in junior high and high school. Sometimes, it was a group of kids in class, or it was a pack of them during gym who were all friends and seemingly got off on making my life miserable. But anyway it existed, it was powerful, and that’s what “The Pack” does so well that I was blown away by how well-informed the analogy was.

Is the metaphor for hyenas really obvious and heavy-handed? Sure! But I’d argue that it needs to be because it’s just so ruthlessly applicable to the situation. I really don’t want to get into specifics for my life, as I’ve written extensively about the bullying I was subject to growing up for….well, a lot of reviews. I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS, OKAY? But the narrative that Buffy puts forth in this episode is stunning in its accuracy. While there’s a whole lot of oppression that does go on within bullying (and I’d argue that the majority of bullying is done in an inherently oppressive manner), I also can’t deny that it’s an issue of people going after those they view as “weaker” than them.

The dodgeball scene is pretty terrible to watch, but the part where they turn on Lance is not only horrifically awkward. It’s the point where the writers do their best to spell this out for us: they are going after the person they perceive as the weaker of the two remaining. Buffy stood up to them and Lance did not, so they turn on him given the chance. And that’s a fascinating observation about bullies, especially since I think that’s generally true in the way they operate. It’s not even an issue of whether they objectively are weak or anything like that; it’s all based on perception. Who won’t fight back? Who is lower than them on the social ladder of high school hierarchies? Who is deserving of their scorn because they’re weird or odd or have a different color skin or come from a different culture?

I can already sense that one thing Buffy will get right is their depiction of what it’s like to go to high school, and they certainly get it right in “The Pack.” The society that crops up in a school is such an interesting thing to me, especially since it varies so wildly from school to school. My high school followed a pretty familiar model: the jocks on the football, baseball, and basketball teams were always the most sought after and the most popular; the cheerleaders were the pinnacle of high school beauty; the band geeks were reviled by most people, as were the drama kids, though even in those groups, there was a clear order and rank. I found that I would drift about, with most of my friends on the largely-ignored cross country and track teams, between the acquaintances their and in my AP classes, with a few of those people being friends, too. Though…oh lord, I was totally the teacher’s pet a lot of the time because I couldn’t deal with bullying or being ostracized and I knew (most) teachers wouldn’t do that kind shit with me.

That’s what I like about this episode in that sense; there’s a way for me to see this sort of attention to detail and to a specific culture in the writing. But honestly, that’s just one of a few things that this has going for it. First of all, there’s an entire sequence with the entire group of possessed students walking dramatically towards the camera as FAR plays and I HAD NO IDEA FAR WAS ON BUFFY. Jonah Matranga I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. Oh god, now I can’t wait to see what other bands are in the show’s soundtrack.

Let’s just get to the best part of “The Pack,” though. The episode is strange enough, but I didn’t get the sense that I should fear these five students possessed by the spirit of a hyena. They bullied other kids, and it also leads Xander to treat Willow like shit. Is it okay for me to assume that even though he was possessed, he was still acting out some subconscious thoughts of his own? We know he likes Buffy a whole lot, and we see how that manifests later. I don’t really care that much for Xander at this point, and I don’t think this episode helps a whole lot, either. I don’t think Willow and Buffy are going to let him forget this in the future.

Anyway, back to my point. I didn’t understand why I should feel anything for this episode beyond my interest in the bullying plot. What’s the danger in having possessed students who are just crude with everyone around them? Don’t get me wrong; it’s entirely shitty, but what’s the risk? Why should I care?

I think the writers anticipated this, because then the five students eat a pig raw. And what was kind of a silly but clever metaphor quickly turned into a fucked up, surreal nightmare. Did this show just have these characters eat raw meat to satiate some animal desire? I was impressed. The ante was upped. This was interesting to me, because it’s such an unexpected thing to happen. Yet after this, things only get worse. (Do they ever get better???) When Principal Flutie calls the four original students into his office, Xander goes to confront Buffy. We’re given these two contrasting events that show how these students are starting to go beyond being rude and cruel. In Buffy’s case, Xander’s desire for her manifests in a really, really gross attempt to essentially rape her. (And as a related note, I was completely shocked that minutes after it happened, it’s called an attempted sexual assault. IN THE SCRIPT. THE SHOW ACTIVELY CALLS IT WHAT IT IS. i mean….WHAT THE FUCK THAT NEVER HAPPENS.) Buffy beautifully takes him out with a desk and then everything with Principal Flutie is somehow more uncomfortable. I kept wondering, “Where is the show going with this? Are the students just going to keep intimidating him and acting like cats OH SHIT SHE SCRATCHED HIM. Wow, that was violent. What are they going to do nex–SWEET SUMMER CHILD WHAT ARE THEY DOING OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD THEY ARE EATING THE PRINCIPAL WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK DID THIS SHOW JUST BECOME.

Legit one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen on television, made all the more worse because it’s left up to our imagination and…well, I rather liked Principal Flutie. This show just killed off a re-occurring side character IN THE SIXTH EPISODE. That makes it possible for anyone who isn’t part of the main four characters to die off; it makes this episode REALLY GODDAMN CREEPY AND INTENSE.

And I do genuinely enjoy how this ends, though the reveal of the zookeeper’s true intentions had me frowning a bit. I’m not a fan of the use of some unnamed African culture just for entertainment purposes; it felt a bit too imperialist to me. That being said, I am going to exercise my own personal canon for the fate of the zookeeper and imagine that the show is saying that if white people try to appropriate the culture of other folks, they’ll be eaten alive by hyenas. This pleases me greatly.

In all seriousness, this is an incredibly solid episode of the show and gives me an idea of the capacity Buffy will have to entertain and intrigue me. For all the action and plotting that excited me, I almost feel like “The Pack” gave me more character development than anything else. Up until this point, Xander’s been playing the Woe-Is-Me Nice Guy here, acting as if it’s rude that Buffy won’t date him or give him that sort of attention. His possession brought out the worst in him, and I don’t think Buffy or Willow will never bring this up to him. They tease him at the end of the episode, but I imagine before the season is over, Willow and Xander will have to have a conversation about what he said to her in the hallway a few days after being possessed.

I guess the worst part about it is that the final reveal of “The Pack” is that Xander’s amnesia is a complete lie, one that Giles figures out. He knew what he did to both Buffy and Willow, and I found it really gross that he kept that to himself. (And I know I shouldn’t have to state this, but that’s not a criticism of the writing. This is remarkably in-character for Xander, who puts his romantic feelings above other things constantly.) I’m disappointed in Giles as well; that’s not a secret that I necessarily think deserves to be kept, even if Giles has the best of intentions in doing so.

I’m just six episodes into this thing, and everyone’s already in an interesting place. I don’t love this show yet, but “The Pack” just did a whole lot to make me enjoy it as a whole.


About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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541 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S01E06 – The Pack

  1. Just needed to say this, but at my (admittedly tiny and private) high school, we do go on field trips to the zoo and play dodge ball a whole lot.

    Anyways, back to lurking.

    • hpfish13 says:

      I went on a field trip to the zoo with Biology AP class in high school, but we went on a Saturday, and we had assignments to do while we were there, and a big ole project to do about it afterwards.

    • Laura says:

      We didn't go to the zoo (there was none nearby,) but our gym teacher had us play dodgeball all the time. Usually seniors versus freshman, so he could laugh at us.

      Come to think of it, my freshman gym teacher was kind of a jerk.

    • Melody says:

      I went to the zoo as a field trip in high school, too — and I went to a fairly large-ish public high school. Just saying.

  2. pancreas says:

    i get the feeling that a lot of the people here that are antagonizing Xander have never been blackout drunk. sure, the difference is that he remembers what he did, but he still didn’t have any control over it. and that’s the reason we have exceptions in our legal system for people who aren’t of sound mind.

    i like to think of myself as a pretty decent person, but when i get that drunk, i’m told that i turn into an asshole, so that’s the reason i’m sticking up for Xander on this one lol.

    • cait0716 says:

      Being drunk doesn't absolve you of your behavior. Especially when it's a pattern of behavior that you recognize. Whether you remember it or not, you did it. I agree that I'm more forgiving of my friends' actions when they're drunk – to a point. If it's a one-time thing, whatever. When it happens again and again you have to start taking responsibility.

      The real difference is that Xander didn't choose to get possessed by a hyena whereas a drunk person probably chose to drink that much alcohol.

    • kristinc says:

      People don't just out of nowhere do things that are ~completely out of character~ for them just because they're drunk. Someone tries to rape while they're drunk? Someone hits someone else while they're drunk? Someone says horrible racist/sexist/violent things while they're drunk (Michael Richards and Mel Gibson I am looking at YOU, sirs)? Yeah, the state of drunkenness did not create that. Drunkenness simply lowered the inhibitions on it.

      Naq tbvat onpx gb guvf cnegvphyne svpgvbany aneengvir, V guvax zbfg bs gur crbcyr orvat pevgvpny unir jngpurq gur jubyr frevrf naq xabj gung Knaqre'f orunivbe juvyr ur jnf haqre gur vasyhrapr bs gur Cnpx *vf* pbafvfgrag jvgu uvf bgure orunivbe. Vg vf na vaperqvoyl qnexre naq anfgvre fvqr bs gur rknpg fnzr orunivbe naq jnl bs guvaxvat gung hfhnyyl vf vauvovgrq gb fbzrguvat gung syvrf haqre gur enqne.

  3. Erin_Teacup says:

    Oh God, poor Principle Flutie. What a way to go.

    Personally I love Xander forever and ever with a love that is strong and true and which no man can rend asunder, but I totally understand why you wouldn't like him, especially at this early stage.
    I don't blame him at all for keeping his memories a secret. That kind of loss of control, knowing that you've behaved abominably towards people you love, and attempted cannibalism to boot, would be extremely traumatic.
    I'm not trying to undercut what you've said, because it's all perfectly valid, but I don't think you've really considered how this feels from Xander's point of view.

    • Smurphy says:

      And I think it really speaks to Buffy and Willow's character that they won't call him out on it.

      I mean for him seeing Willow is probably a constant reminder of what he did. I think Giles gets that.

      Naq V zrna riraghnyyl rirelbar ba guvf fubj jvyy unir bar bs gubfr zbzragf gung gurl qba'g jnag gb erzrzore… ohg Znex jvyy yrnea.

    • Bonnie says:

      I agree. As obnoxious as Xander can be sometimes, you have to really think about what he went through. If he had attempted to rape Buffy of his own free will and bullied Willow in his right mind it would be a different story. But I think he is probably horrified and traumatized by what the possession caused him to do. I don't think he is denying he did anything wrong by pretending he doesn't remember, he is a 16 year old who probably has no idea how to deal with what he experienced. And I don't think its putting his romantic feelings first, as selfish as Xander can be. If I did this, I would really just not ever want to think or talk about it, I'd be so disgusted with myself. And its a mark of Willow and Buffy's love and consideration for Xander's situation that they don't force him to confront it right away.

      • Exactly. I always find that possibly the entire bit of the Buffy cannon that disturbs me the most is that there are these four kids who remember eating their principle alive, and no-one will ever mention it.

      • Genny_ says:

        See, if the show had framed it like this, I think that'd be a really great thing to have brought up? Because that WOULD be horribly traumatic. But… the sense I get at the end is that it's a joke the writer threw in like, 'damn, let's just keep quiet!'. Which makes me feel weird about it.

        • kristinc says:

          Yes, this. It seems to be played like a joke. Oh, let's ~us men~ keep mum about this, because what the girls don't know won't hurt 'em. *wink* I mean, we all have those little secrets, amirite?

    • Mez says:


      And it's not something that Xander actually did, exactly. It's more a random spell that made nasty things happen through Xander. What he did isn't his fault.

      • @liliaeth says:

        Jryy vg'f yvxr jvgu inzcverf. Gur inzcver fgvyy unf gur rzbgvbaf, gur zrzbevrf naq gur crefbanyvgl bs gur crefba vg hfrq gb or, ohg vg'f qevira ol vafgvapgf naq ynpxf zbenyvgl. .

        • tanbarkie says:

          Uzz. L'xabj, V'ir nyjnlf sryg gung Knaqre fubhyqa'g or uryq erfcbafvoyr sbe jung ur qvq juvyr haqre gur guenyy bs gur ulranf, ohg lbhe inzcver pbzcnevfba vf fhecevfvatyl ncg… nyorvg abg va gur qverpgvba lbh cebonoyl vagraqrq vg gb or.

          Erzrzore gung n znwbe gurzr bs gur frevrf vf Natry'f vagrafr thvyg bire jung ur qvq nf n inzcver. Vs gur crefba n inzcver jnf pnaabg or erfcbafvoyr sbe gur inzcver'f npgvbaf, gura Natry fubhyq unir ab ernfba gb srry erfcbafvoyr sbe gur uhaqerqf bs qrnguf Natryhf pnhfrq. Ohg, boivbhfyl, ur qbrf.

          V'z abg nethvat gung Natry naq Knaqre ner arprffnevyl thvygl bs Natryhf'f naq Ulran!Knaqre'f pevzrf (ng yrnfg sebz n yrtny/ zbeny fgnaqcbvag). Ohg V arire ernyyl pbafvqrerq gur cnenyyry orgjrra gurve rkcrevraprf, naq vg qbrf znxr gur raqvat bs "Gur Cnpx" rira zber gentvp. Vg nyfb znxrf vg n ovg bs n funzr, va ergebfcrpg, gung gur riragf bs gur rcvfbqr qba'g frrz gb znxr n qrrcre vzcnpg ba Knaqre'f punenpgre, ohg gung'f pyrneyl n olcebqhpg bs gur rcvfbqvp angher bs gurfr rneyvre rcvfbqrf. Vs "Gur Cnpx" bppheerq va nal bgure frnfba bs Ohssl, lbh pna org jr'q or urnevat nobhg vgf enzvsvpngvbaf sbe lrnef.

          • @liliaeth says:

            V'z npghnyyl sne zber bs n Fcvxr sna, guna V nz na Natry sna. Fb V'ir nyjnlf sryg zber nybat gur jnl gung jr frr jvgu Fcvxr, gung gung pbaarpgvba orgjrra gur inzcver'f npgvbaf naq uvf sbezre uhzna frys vf sne fgebatre guna n ybg bs crbcyr yvxr gb gel gb oryvrir.

            Vg qbrfa'g zrna gung gurl ner ragveryl erfcbafvoyr sbe gur npgvbaf gurl qvq juvyr cbffrffrq/hafbhyrq. Ohg gung qbrfa'g zrna gung gurer jnfa'g n qrrcre cneg bs gurz gung pnhfrq gurz gb qb jung gurl qvq. Gurer vf qnexarff va rirelbar, naq hapurpxrq ol zbenyvgl, gung qnexarff pna yrnq gurz gb qbvat guvatf gurl jbhyqa'g abeznyyl qb.

            Yvxr ubj Fcvxr xvyyrq uvf zbgure juvyr gelvat gb fnir ure, be Natry xvyyvat uvf sngure naq snzvyl juvyr gelvat gb cebir uvzfrys gb uvf sngure, be va guvf rc, Knaqre gelvat gb encr Ohssl, juvyr gur zber zbeny irefvba bs uvz, whfg jnagf ure nggragvba naq gb trg ure gb qngr uvz.

          • ambyrglow says:

            Zber vagrerfgvat guna gur pbzcnevfba gb Natry, gb zr, vf gur pbzcnevfba gb Fcvxr, jubfr nggrzcgrq encr bs Ohssl jnf gerngrq zhpu zber frevbhfyl ol gur fubj guna Knaqre'f nggrzcgrq encr. Ohssl ubyqf uvz nppbhagnoyr. Snaf ubyq uvz nppbhagnoyr gb na rkgrag V qba'g frr unccravat jvgu Knaqre nf zhpu. Naq ur ubyqf uvzfrys nppbhagnoyr naq znxrf fbzr rssbeg ng nzraqf. Yvxr lbh fnl, gubhtu, guvf pbhyq unir nf zhpu gb qb jvgu gur ribyhgvba gur fubj nf na vagragvbany qvssrerapr va punenpgrevmngvba.

            • Aria says:

              Knaqre qbrfa'g rira ncbybtvmr gb Ohssl sbe "gelvat uvf unaq ng srybal frkhny nffnhyg" nsgre fur svaqf bhg gung ur qbrf va snpg erzrzore. Lrg jura Fcvxr nggnpxf Ohssl, Knaqre vf gur svefg crefba gb juvc bhg gur npphfngvbaf naq hfr gur nggnpx nf n ernfba sbe jul Fcvxr vf abg tbbq rabhtu sbe Ohssl. Fb gura, nppbeqvat gb uvf ernfbavat, ur vfa'g tbbq rabhtu sbe Ohssl rvgure, gubhtu gung qbrfa'g fgbc uvz sebz pbagvahvat gb chefhr ure nsgre guvf rcvfbqr. Uvf ulcbpevfl ernyyl cvffrf zr bss.

              • Bulgent says:

                Nterrq fb zhpu ba guvf cbvag. Jura V jngpu gur frnfba 7 rcvfbqr "Orarngu Lbh", jura Knaqre vf yrpghevat Ohssl (!!!) nobhg Fcvxr: "Bxnl, va gur ovttrfg jnl V nz abg ybivat guvf cyna. V’z abg ybivat Fcvxr. (fbggb) Ur gevrq gb encr lbh." V jnag fb uneq sbe Ohssl gb fnl, "Ur'f abg gur bayl bar va guvf ebbz." Knaqre Uneevf, gur ohyyfuvg lbh trg njnl jvgu. *tehzcf*

        • settlingforhistory says:

          Excactly and I think this is why i can never be angry with Xander for keeping his memories a secret.
          He not only remembers what he said and did but also what he feld, so he remembers wanting to rape Buffy. It's lucky that his crush was Buffy and not a more helpless girl. *shudder*

        • Karen says:

          V guvax vg'f vagrerfgvat gb guvax nobhg guvf rcvfbqr va gur pbagrkg bs "Frrvat Erq". V qb nterr gung gur ulran cbffrffvba naq gur inzcver cbffrffvba frrz gb shapgvba fvzvyneyl. Ohg jung'f ernyyl gryyvat sbe zr vf gur jnlf va juvpu Knaqre naq Fcvxr ernpg gb gurve npgvbaf. Knaqre qbrfa'g jnag gb qrny jvgu vg naq jnagf gb cergraq yvxr abguvat rire unccrarq jurernf nsgre Fcvxr gevrf gb encr Ohssl, ur'f ernyvmrq ur'f fgvyy n zbafgre naq srryf thvygl sbe uvf npgvbaf juvpu yrnqf uvz gb frrx bhg uvf fbhy.

          Abg gung V yvxr gur cybg qrivpr bs Fcvxr nggrzcgvat gb encr Ohssl va "Frrvat Erq". V svaq vg tebff gung gur vapvqrag orpbzrf nyy nobhg Fcvxr'f rkcrevraprf naq gur rirag nf n pngnylfg sbe uvf punenpgre naq gur rssrpg ba Ohssl vf cerggl zhpu arire qrnyg jvgu. V whfg guvax vg znxrf na vagrerfgvat cbvag bs pbzcnevfba.

          • tardis_stowaway says:

            Guvf vf na vagrerfgvat cbvag bs pbzcnevfba! V guvax nabgure vzcbegnag qvssrerapr gb xrrc va zvaq vf gung Knaqre jnf cbffrffrq jura ur gevrq gb encr Ohssl, ohg Fcvxr xarj gung gur zbafgre vf jung ur vf, shyy gvzr. V qba'g shyyl rkphfr Knaqre sbe npgvat yvxr abguvat rire unccrarq, orpnhfr (n) uvf uhzna gubhtugf naq qrfverf qvq unir fbzr fyvtug vasyhrapr bire ubj gur ulran znavsrfgrq, rira vs ur qvq guvatf gung abezny Knaqre jbhyq arire rire qb, naq (o) Ohssl erzrzoref, naq Knaqre cergraqvat nzarfvn sbeprf ure gb npg yvxr vg arire unccrarq gbb. Knaqre qvq nfx vs ur qvq nalguvat ryfr juvyr cbffrffrq, juvpu tnir Ohssl n jvaqbj gb oevat vg hc gung fur pubfr abg gb gnxr, ohg ure rkcrevrapr vf fgvyy rssrpgviryl renfrq.

            • tardis_stowaway says:

              Argh, there was supposed to be a second paragraph to that:

              Fcvxr, va pbagenfg, jnf shyyl phycnoyr jura ur nffnhygrq Ohssl. Fgvyy, bar bs gur znal ernfbaf V ybir gur punenpgre jnf gung ur ernyvmrq gung orvat va uvf evtug zvaq jnfa'g tbbq rabhtu naq fbhtug gb jva onpx uvf fbhy. Vg VF qrsvavgryl gbb onq gung Ohssl'f crefcrpgvir jnf chfurq gb gur fvqr, ohg V yvxr Fcvxr'f punenpgre wbhearl naljnl.

    • arctic_hare says:

      I don't care how Xander feels, and I'm grossed out by the idea that we should worry more about his feelings when BUFFY was the one who was nearly raped. No. Just no. Xander is being selfish and appalling, and should be asking Buffy if she's all right.

      • Genny_ says:

        I think it is actually quite telling on the writers' behalf that they constructed a story in which the entire discussion about an attempted sexual assault can be framed around a debate as to whether it's REALLY the aggressor's fault.

        Which is not to say it's incorrect to say it wasn't Xander's fault. Just to say that choosing to write a story where that becomes the emphasis is… interesting. It allows for a constant, justified defense of the aggressor being the focal point of any discussion of this episode.

        • ghaweyriao says:

          This is a really good point; I was sort of pondering this. Even outside of the more narrow question of whether Xander was right or wrong, the fact that the writers chose to frame the plot in this way and focus on the issues they did is pretty dodgy.

      • Karen says:


      • Erin_Teacup says:

        Yes, because we're only allowed to sympathise with one person in any given situation.

        • Genny_ says:

          But Xander not revealing his memories directly impacts Buffy- you can't really say, 'I feel for both people!'. If you think it's symapthetic and OK for Xander to keep his memories secret, you prioritise his feelings over Buffy's since Buffy getting any kind of closure on the matter relies upon him being honest. Sure, I feel sorry for Xander being possessed and all, but I cannot possibly bring myself to sympathise with him keeping it secret, because… well, it could directly hurt Buffy. It's not a matter of sympathising period, it's a matter of *prioritising* Xander.

          • Erin_Teacup says:

            Yeah, I've gotta agree with that.

          • threerings13 says:

            I don't think anyone is saying it's "OK" for Xander to keep his memories secret, but that it is understandable from his point of view. It's not the ideal way he should act, but he's most certainly NOT an ideal character. It is understandable to me that a 16 year old who's just been through an ordeal involving the loss of control over his own actions would have the immediate reaction of wanting to pretend it didn't happen and deny his memory of it.

            What people are saying is that it's an understandable reaction, not that it's the right thing to do.

            • Genny_ says:

              No, people are arguing that it's *sympathetic* from what I'm seeing, which I really cannot agree with. Understandable, I suppose- if it were framed as due to the fact that being possessed would be very terrible, which it wasn't really, rather it was a comedy stinger. But sympathetic implies something entirely different to me.

              More to the point, the entire discussion is about how we really ought to be considering *his* feelings on a matter where *hers* have been dismissed, and *that* is what I'm really taking issue with; because it's so very, very, very typical in such discussions to do so.

              • threerings13 says:

                More to the point, the entire discussion is about how we really ought to be considering *his* feelings on a matter where *hers* have been dismissed, and *that* is what I'm really taking issue with; because it's so very, very, very typical in such discussions to do so.

                I really disagree with your framing of the conversation. The question that is being addressed is whether Xander is right to keep his memories of the assault secret and if not, how wrong he is. So how we are to approach that question without<i/> considering his possible motivations I can't imagine.

                I'm also not sure how Buffy's feelings are dismissed. She protects herself from Xander's attempted assault easily, she doesn't blame him for it after he is back to normal. She has an opportunity to bring it up to him; she doesn't take it.

                It may be common for people to sympathize with the male actor in a sexual assault situation, and there are a million instances in which I would agree that the attacker's feelings don't matter at all after the event. But being possessed by mystical hyena spirits and being hit with a desk by a vampire slayer isn't one of them.

                • Genny_ says:

                  There is a very, very large gap between considering his motivations and saying that we ought to be *prioritising* his in discussions which typically go the route of prioritising male perspectives in general.

                  Her feelings are dismissed because if he is considered right to withhold that information from her, then *his* ability to cope by not having to talk about it takes direct precedence over *her* ability to cope by having full disclosure about her own assault. He lies to her about something which concerns her in order to help himself, which acts as though what she might need is somehow unimportant.

                  Also, saying 'she protects herself from it and she doesn't mind ANYWAY and if she wanted to bring it up she would' is, you know, textbook victim blaming? I have an inkling this conversation would be going very, very differently if Buffy weren't basically a superhero character. 'It's okay, she was never in any REAL danger' is not how assault works. 'If she cared, she'd say so'- not how assault works. 'She doesn't blame him' is not how it works either, and at any rate, even if WE as the audience know all of this Xander is not psychic and doesn't. He should at least be open to the possibility.

                  He's basically ensuring she reacts a specific way to her assault and what he did by withholding information about it, for *his own* gain. And people are sitting around saying that this is fine and that this is somehow justified because think about what *he* went through! In other words, the only way to have Xander justified in this situation is to have Buffy directly experience possible negative consequences as a result.

                  Which is to say, it's prioritising Xander's well being over Buffy's. Prioritising the male character over the female character. In a discussion about sexual assault. See the problem?

                  I mean… Xander chose to lie to Buffy about something concerning her own assault for his own well being, of his own free will. A man lying to a woman about her assault because it's better for him is Not Okay, and doesn't become okay just because he was a victim of something too. I don't see how this can even be an issue.

          • kristinc says:

            you can't really say, 'I feel for both people!'

            Exactly. It's like people who "don't take sides" when one half of a couple commits domestic violence. Seriously, you NEED to take sides, and to refuse to do it is to commit a further act of violence against the victim. Someone far more eloquent than me once said that to refuse to take sides is to side with the aggressor/oppressor.

        • arctic_hare says:

          What Genny said. He had no agency DURING the possession, but he had the choice AFTERWARDS to make things right with Buffy and check if she was okay, and he chose not to. I can't prioritize his feelings of being embarrassed or whatever over her feelings as the person on the receiving end of that aggression.

          • Karen says:

            It's just so ugh his guilt over the incident continues to make it about himself instead of about Buffy. Because whether or not he was in control of himself, it was still something that Buffy experienced and an apology would have been nice.

            • arctic_hare says:

              Yeah, whether or not he was in control of himself doesn't change what Buffy went through and he had a responsibility to make sure she was okay and apologize. Which he completely dodged, and the end of the episode seemed to play off for laughs, which has never ever sat right with me. "LOL LOOK XANDER IS SO MORTIFIED ABOUT TRYING TO RAPE SOMEONE AND IS PRETENDING HE DOESN'T REMEMBER, ISN'T THAT FUNNY?" Except no, it's not. It is not all about you, Xander.

              • MichelleZB says:

                Agreed so much. Where's the concern for the actual VICTIM here–the person he tried to rape? I mean, I know Buffy's not much of anyone's victim, but… seriously, 16 year old Xander, get it together and see if she's okay.

      • echinodermata says:

        I figure that if I were horribly disgusted at something I did, I'd fall over myself apologizing to who I hurt, and then try to forget it.

        I get why he would want to forget it, but I don't think that should override the fact that he hurt his best friends without ever apologizing for it.

        • Erin_Teacup says:

          I'm not disputing that. As I said, Mark's original comments about Xander's selfishness are perfectly apt. I'm only saying that Xander has a point of view here, and deserves some sympathy for what he's been though. That doesn't mean I'm discounting Buffy's traumatic experiences, only that I'm capable of sympathising with both parties here.

          • echinodermata says:

            I think if the ending were given more levity I'd be more sympathetic. Xander and Giles have this secret that they're keeping and it comes across to me like it's an embarrassing secret and not something all that serious.

            If you want, I can blame that as a failure of the show than Xander being unsympathetic in that specific scene, but either way it absolutely doesn't sit right with me.

            • notemily says:

              Yeah, it is kind of played like the "he ran around naked" level of embarrassing rather than the "tried to rape his crush and was horrible to his best friend" level. It's weird.

        • arctic_hare says:


      • etherealclarity says:

        Except… aren't we forgetting that Xander, too, is a victim here? He was possessed. That's a pretty huge violation. I'm not saying that Buffy isn't a victim. But it's like someone who was – against their will – given a drug that severely distorted their personality and removed all inhibition, and then that someone attempts to rape another person. It's not that the person who was almost raped isn't a victim, but the person who was drugged is ALSO a victim, and the real person at fault is the person who administered the drugs.

        • arctic_hare says:

          I get why he'd want to forget it, but like echinodermata said, those feelings DO NOT and should not override what he did to Buffy. He owes it to her to come clean and apologize and ask how she is.

          • etherealclarity says:

            How would admitting that he had remembered what happened change how Buffy felt about it at all? She made it clear throughout the episode, several times, that she did not consider Xander to be the one behind the wheel.

            And if Xander wasn't the one responsible for these things, how is this something that HE DID to Buffy? Isn't it really the zookeeper who is ultimately responsible for the attempted rape, not Xander?

      • Michael says:

        I feel the need to point out that, from a certain perspective, Xander was just as close to being raped as Buffy. I mean, if his body is put through sex when he has no control over what he's doing, he is just as helpless as her. He definitely could have handled the situation better afterwards, and talked to Buffy about it, but I'd imagine this situation is just as traumatic for him as it is for her.

        • settlingforhistory says:

          This! All I read is Xander is the evil guy here, but he didn't do anything. He is not even partially responsible or can you say that the other 4 always wanted to eat a person?
          He gets controled by a spirit and he is simply in denial here, he wants to forget it ever happened.
          I also think that it will take time to really dawn on him what he almost did.
          He asks if he did anything embarrasing and they could have called him out on it, but it seems that they want to forget it just as much as he does.

          • @liliaeth says:

            Actually, I don't see it as the four others wanting to eat someone, as that they wanted to take on the principal. And without a moral compass, they didn't hold back.

            Xander in the right state of mind wouldn't try to rape Buffy, but he does have a sexual interest in Buffy, and it's that desire, unrestrained by human morality that led him to the assault.

            • settlingforhistory says:

              I don't think it's just like loosing your moral compass, because I doubt there was any desire to get rid of Willow. The way I see it, all five where reduced to animal insticts of mating and eating.
              Yes, Xander finds her attractive, but it could also be that he simply looked for the best and strongest mate.

              • @liliaeth says:

                Depends how you see 'desire to get rid of Willow'.

                He may very well have had a desire to get rid of Willow's crush on him, because that's simply not how he sees her.

                • brandy says:

                  Rkprcg gurve "nssnve" va frnfba guerr cbvagf gb uvz orvat nggenpgrq gb ure qrrc qbja, ba gur yriry lbh'q rkcrpg gur ulran phefr gb erirny vs vg jrer whfg cheryl yrggvat uvf onfrfg vafgvapgf eha jvyq.

                  • @liliaeth says:

                    Abg ernyyl, V'q fnl gung uvf pehfu ba ure va f3 vf zber n qrfver abg gb ybfr uvf orfg sevraq. Gung naq jryy, gurl'er uvtu fpubby xvqf. Uvtu fpubby pehfurf pna pbzr naq tb va n znggre bs zbaguf, uryy rira qnlf.

        • etherealclarity says:

          THIS 100+ times!

        • Genny_ says:

          This is a really valid point, but I'm going to add what I said elsewhere- there is not real world equivalent for what Xander went through, whereas what Buffy went through is a real thing. I think that's where the imbalance comes in. There are no victims of hyena possession out there to be dismissed. There are people who have experienced assault, you know? So people are naturally going to be way more concerned about the dismissal of Buffy than they would be of Xander.

          • James says:

            I'm late, but I disagree with you here. Someone being put into a mental state by someone outside there control which makes them lose control and attempt to have sex (in this case with someone unwilling, which makes it even worse) in a way that they would normally never try and are guaranteed to regret? Seems awfully similiar to me.

            Is it as bad as what happened to Buffy? No, but for all intents and purposes he was almost made to have sex without his conscience consent, with a large amount of personal guilt on top of this as it was with someone who was his friend and not-consenting. It's fucked up.

            My real issue with this episode is in the lack of tackling both Buffy and Xander's trauma. But again, problem with the episode, not Xander as a character.

      • robin says:

        I think you raise a good point here. Too often in the media we see things that women experience reframed as male pain. I'm not saying that original poster was being sexist or that it's not interesting to examine how every character was impacted in an episode – how Xander was impacted is definitely relevant. Just… we all can be trained by the media and society to reframe events in terms of male suffering & responsibility and sometimes that means we need to take a conscious step back and reevaluate.

        It's important to keep in mind that when a woman is attacked verbally or physically what we don't want to do is immediately and primarily ask how it's affected her male friend, family member, or love interest. The primary concern should be how this is affecting the woman. I'm sure it was very hard for Xander to remember doing those things but Buffy is the person who deserves the most concern and compassion here, because she's the one whose safe space was violated by a friend she cares about and trusts. And Xander should be thinking about what he can do to make Buffy feel better and his need to feel better shouldn't be put over her possible need to discuss and come to terms with what happened between them in this episode.

        I will give Xander the benefit of the doubt here and assume that he's thinking it would be easier for Buffy if he pretended not to remember. But that's not his decision to make — he would be making the decision *for* Buffy and that's not ok. (Though it's in character for Xander and yes, a typical self-involved mistake for a 16 year old boy to make.)

        (I don't think discussing things like this should be any sort of insult towards the show or Joss Whedon, because as a self-proclaimed feminist these are ideas he would care about and be interested in examining. Though the show often tries to have a feminist bent there will be many things they get wrong and it's ok to talk about them.)

        • arctic_hare says:

          THANK YOU for this comment. It deserves all the upvotes. I am so sick of seeing women's experiences being reframed to be "what about how the MEN feel?"

        • Karen says:

          But that's not his decision to make — he would be making the decision *for* Buffy and that's not ok.

          Hasbeghangryl guvf vf qrcerffvatyl punenpgrevfgvp bs Knaqre. Erzrzore ubj ur qrpvqrf gb abg gryy Ohssl gung Jvyybj vf jbexvat ba er-rafbhyvat Natry orpnhfr… vqx, ur qvqa'g guvax Ohssl jbhyq or noyr gb unaqyr gung naq abg ybfr sbphf be fbzrguvat. Be gung gvzr ur gbyq Qnja nobhg Fcvxr'f nffnhyg bs Ohssl. WSP KNAQRE. Gung vf ABG lbhe erfcbafvovyvgl gb qvfpybfr.

          • notemily says:

            Va trareny Knaqre whfg guvaxf ur xabjf jung'f orfg sbe rirelbar. Naq gur fubj FHCCBEGF uvz zbfg bs gur gvzr, juvpu V ungr. Yvxr jura ur tvirf Ohssl gung fcrrpu nobhg ubj fur fubhyq ybir Evyrl orggre. Oynet.

            • ghaweyriao says:

              V ungrq gung fcrrpu gbb. V nyfb ungrq gur punenpgre nffnffvangvb bs Evyrl, ohg – tvira Evyrl'f npghny npgvbaf ba fperra, gurer jnf ab ernfba ng nyy Ohssl fubhyq unir orra punfvat nsgre uvz. Yrg gur qnza uryvpbcgre tb!

          • Avery says:

            fbzrgvzrf V ernq pbzzragf gung ner yrff unefu ba Knaqre naq guvax "jryy, znlor V'z orvat gbb uneq ba uvz. V zrna, ur'f bxnl va frnfba sbhe, naq ur tebjf hc n ybg va frnfba 7"

            naq gura V erzrzore uvz gryyvat Qnja

            naq frnfba fvk va trareny

            naq v whfg


      • tactless says:

        In a very real sense Xander was violated here. An outside force took away his right to decide what he did with his own body. Of course if a male is violated it doesn't matter as much right? It's a horrible thing that Willow was NEARLY hurt and Buffy was NEARLY raped. Xander was. But him feeling shame is just selfish and appalling…Rrriiiiggghhhhttttt.

        • Genny_ says:

          Actually, it wasn't 'in a very real sense' because Xander was possessed, an entirely fictional concept. It's not something that would happen IRL, and *that* is why people aren't taking it as seriously. Magical hyena possession is not a rape metaphor. It's magical hyena possession. There are not, to my knowledge, any real-world victims of that to have their issues dismissed.

          The scene is framed as Xander, while possessed, acting as an aggressor towards Buffy. The resolution is framed as Buffy having information about her own assault withheld from her because it's easier on him. In other words, a (not 'the', but 'a') victim having info withheld from them for the sake of the other person's feelings. Not okay! Even if that other person's feelings deal with their own trauma!

          (I should point out that if Buffy did the same to Xander in some way, I would be pissed at her for that, too. I think gender plays into this discussion, but not to the point it somehow erases any other point to be made.)

      • ladysugarquill says:

        Maybe it's because Buffy can knock Xander out or beat the shit out of him if she has to, but Xander couldn't defend himself from the thing that possessed him…

        • Genny_ says:

          Yeah, so for the record, that's one of the most textbook examples of victim blaming: 'the victim could have fought him off, so it's not a problem!'. It ignores a lot of things, like: could you beat the shit out of your best friend if it came down to it? Would you still be terrified at the thought they tried? Would you freeze up, however 'irrationally', and find yourself unable to do so? The concept Buffy is somehow 'less a victim' because she can kick people in the face is so, so gross.

  4. Mez says:

    Failure of Secret Identity Count:
    5 + 4 (Kyle, Rhonda, Tor, and Heidi… if they ever get out of therapy)
    = 9

  5. Smurphy says:

    Ugh… Another episode I don’t like.

    I don’t like hyenas. Mostly because my laugh tends to be compared to a hyena.

    “naq jura jr trg gbtrgure nyy ur jnagf gb qb vf gnyx nobhg inzcverf” YBYF.

    I don’t like mean kids. I don’t like this episode,

    “You just run along to class… while I wait for the feeling to return to my arms.” LOVE GILES FOREVER!


    This episode gets too weird and Xander gets too mean… and I don’t like this episode,

    Poor mascot…

    You know what all those middle scenes of them just walking and causing trouble with background music reminded me of… DON’T MURDER ME FOR SAYING IT… Twilight.

    “It’s devastating he has turned into a 16 year old boy.” LOVE GILES FOREVER!

    “Get my books… look stuff up.” LOVE GILES FOREVER!

    WHEN DOES PRINCIPAL FLUTIE DIE? IS THIS IT? I CAN’T REMEMBER! HAHA… YES! Am I a horrid person for that flow of consciousness?

    I really hate this episode.


    Ah… I forgot about this ending. Because they would let all that happen.

    Finding a new principal… lols.

    Cute ending… except Buffy’s clothes… Really 90s? Really?

    Also… has anyone watched an episode until the end and heard the infamous “Grrr… Arg” LOVE IT!

    In regards to your review…

    LOLS. You are so right about Joss and I love you for that little vision.

    “Curtis Tiegler, fuck you, I hope you were run over by a pack of puppies” – lols. When you google Curtis Tiegler you are the first three things that pop up…

    Eh… I still don’t like this episode.

  6. Imo says:

    Gotta say, I just love that Principal Flutie dies in episode 6!

    • Smurphy says:

      All season I was so excited for it!!! I couldn't remember exactly when… and then it happened and it was so unbelievably awesome!!!!

      I am a horrid person.

  7. Raenef says:

    I fall and it is not graceful or pretty or poetic. And all I can remember is that he was laughing at me.

    Shh, shh, only Joss now. He will take care of you… (…)

    • Raenef says:

      And now some rot13. Guvf rc vf gur fgneg bs bar bs gur ernfbaf jul V qba'g yvxr Knaqre'f punenpgre fb zhpu? Orpnhfr ur qbrfa'g trg gb snpr gur pbafrdhraprf bs uvf npgvbaf hcba uvf sevraqf, naq vafgrnq pubbfrf gb uvqr uvf thvyg. Ur UHEG Jvyybj naq jr'er fhccbfr gb npprcg gung uvz xabjvat vg jnf onq gb or rabhtu? V jbhyq unir rawblrq guvf n ybg zber vs ur ncbybtvmrq ng gur raq.

      • etherealclarity says:

        Ohg… ohg… vg jnfa'g ernyyl UVZ. Ur jnf cbffrffrq orpnhfr ur jnf gelvat gb uryc fbzrbar jub jnf orvat ohyyvrq, naq gura ur cerggl zhpu jnfa'g erfcbafvoyr sbe uvf npgvbaf. Fher ur srryf thvygl, ohg fubhyq jr ernyyl or ungvat uvz sbe abg ncbybtvmvat jura rira Jvyybj naq Ohssl npxabjyrqtr gung vg jnfa'g ernyyl Knaqre qbvat gubfr guvatf, gung vg jnf gur ulran?

        V guvax guvf ernyyl vf tbvat gb or vagrerfgvat jura jr fgneg gnyxvat nobhg Natry irefhf Natryhf (naq nyfb jura jr trg gb Fcvxr'f jubyr gnxr ba gur trggvat rafbhyrq guvat). Ubj zhpu erfcbafvovyvgl qb gurl npghnyyl orne sbe gur unez gurl vasyvpgrq? Jnf vg ernyyl gurz, be jnf vg gur qrzba vafvqr gurz?

        • Raenef says:

          "Ubj zhpu erfcbafvovyvgl qb gurl npghnyyl orne sbe gur unez gurl vasyvpgrq? Jnf vg ernyyl gurz, be jnf vg gur qrzba vafvqr gurz?" Naq lrg Knaqre jnfa'g flzcngurgvp gbjneqf Natry nsgre gur jubyr Natryhf ovg. Gubhtu, creuncf haqrefgnaqnoyl, xvyyvat Zf. Pnyraqne naq arneyl qbvat rirelbar va naq nyy.

          • etherealclarity says:

            Jryy, lrnu. V ybir Knaqre, ohg ur pna or zber guna n gnq ulcbpevgvpny naq whqtzragny ng gvzrf, naq V guvax gung vf bar bs gubfr gvzrf.

        • PheasantPlucker says:

          "Ohg… ohg… vg jnfa'g ernyyl UVZ… fubhyq jr ernyyl or ungvat uvz sbe abg ncbybtvmvat jura rira Jvyybj naq Ohssl npxabjyrqtr gung vg jnfa'g ernyyl Knaqre qbvat gubfr guvatf, gung vg jnf gur ulran?"

          Jnf vg gur ulran, be qvq gur ulran fcvevg punatr uvf vafgvapgf va gur fnzr jnl n inzcver punatrf? Gur crefbanyvgl, xabjyrqtr, jnagf naq qrfverq jrer nyy Knaqre. ur fvzcyl orpnzr zber cerqngbel. Natry ng yrnfg unf gur qrprapl gb or ubeevsvrq ol Natryhf, naq npxabjyrqtrf gung juvyr ur znl unir orra qrzba-cbffrffrq Natryhf' npgvbaf fgrz sebz Natry'f punenpgre synjf (be engure, Yvnz'f onqyl-nppragrq punenpgre synjf). Knaqre ohevrf uvf urnq va gur fnaq. Ur qbrfa'g yrnea sebz vg, naq ur pregnvayl qbrfa'g frrz gb gel gb punatr sbyybjvat gur rkcrevrapr.

          • tanbarkie says:

            V unira'g jngpurq "Gur Cnpx" va n srj lrnef, ohg VVEP Knaqre *vf* cerggl ubeevsvrq ol jung ur qvq – V erzrzore srryvat yvxr vg'f vzcyvrq gung bar bs gur ernfbaf ur'f hajvyyvat gb gnyx nobhg vg vf orpnhfr bs ubj ubeevslvat vg jnf. Fbeg bs n fhcreangheny CGFQ xvaq bs guvat.

            V pbhyq or zvferzrzorevat, gubhtu. Ertneqyrff, V ernyyl qba'g guvax vg'f vagraqrq gb or ernq nf Knaqre fuehttvat gur jubyr guvat bss.

            • PheasantPlucker says:

              V qhaab. Ur frrzf cerggl wbxrl nobhg vg. Rzoneenffrq, pregnvayl, ohg V'z univat gebhoyr frrvat nal qrrcre rssrpg guna gung. V qba'g guvax ur fuehtf vg bss, cre fnl, ohg ur pregnvayl gevrf gb vtaber vg. Tvira ubj ur tbrf ba gb gerng Natry bire Natryhf' npgvbaf, vgf ubeevsvpnyyl ulcbpevgvpny. Pna lbh vzntvar gur ernpgvba Natry unq tbggra vs ur'q cyrq vtabenapr nobhg zheqrevat Zvff Pnyraqre be gbeghevat Tvyrf?

              • hpfish13 says:

                V fbzrgvzrf srry yvxr Knaqre gevrf gb uvqr uvf erny srryvatf oruvaq uhzbe naq gung pbhyq or jung vf tbvat ba guvf zbzrag, ohg gur rcvfbqr vgfrys qvqa'g ernyyl znxr guvf pyrne, fb vg'f uneq gb xabj.

          • etherealclarity says:

            V guvax gur yriry gb juvpu Knaqre (naq uvf bja qrrc qbja qrfverf/crefbanyvgl rgp) jnf ng gur jurry irefhf gur ulran fcvevg vf hc sbe qrongr.

            Gurer'f n srj ernfbaf V guvax vg jnf zbfgyl gur ulran fcvevg naq abg Knaqre (cnegvphyneyl ol gur cbvag jurer gur nggrzcgrq encr bpphef).

            1) Jvyybj "grfgf" Knaqre jura ur'f ybpxrq hc naq ur snvyf zvfrenoyl. Gur ulran vf noyr gb hfr Knaqre'f zrzbevrf naq crefbanyvgl jura vg jnagf gb, ohg gur orunivbe vf fb sne erzbirq sebz jung vf erpbtavmnoyl Knaqre gung rira Jvyybj pnaabg or znavchyngrq ol vg.
            2) Nebhaq gur fnzr gvzr gung Knaqre vf nggrzcgvat gb encr Ohssl, gur bgure cbffrffrq fghqragf – NYY SBHE BS GURZ – ner rngvat Cevapvcny Syhgvr. Gurer'f ernyyl ab onfr hetr gurer gb chyy sebz orlbaq uhatre naq cbjre. Gurer ner irel srj fnar uhzna orvatf jub jbhyq rng gurve sryybj uhzna orvatf, zhpu yrff gubfr jub QRFVER gb qb fb jura gurl nera'g sbeprq ol fgneingvba be fbzr fhpu fvghngvba. Gur vqrn gung nyy sbhe ohyyvrf, nf zrna nf gurl jrer, unq fbzr yngrag qrfver gb rng gurve cevapvcny frrzf n ovg uneq gb fjnyybj.
            3) Fubegyl nsgre gung cbvag, gur cbffrffrq fghqragf cebterff gb gur cbvag jurer gurl ner cerggl zhpu orlbaq fcbxra ynathntr. Gurl ner fyrrcvat ba gur tebhaq naq rffragvnyyl orunivat yvxr jvyq navznyf. Gur fcryy vfa'g whfg znxvat gurz cerqngbel, vg vf dhvgr yvgrenyyl gheavat gurz vagb ulranf. Vg jbhyq or yvxr vs Natry fybjyl ghearq vagb Natryhf, naq gura pbagvahrq qbja gung ebnq gb orpbzr bar bs gur horeinzcf.

            Tvira gur rivqrapr, V guvax vg vf zbfg yvxryl gung gur ulran fcvevg jnf fybjyl ohg fheryl uvwnpxvat Knaqre, naq juvyr vg jnf noyr gb chyy sebz Knaqre'f crefbanyvgl naq juvyr vg vavgvnyyl qerj sebz fbzr bs uvf onfvp hetrf, gung Knaqre jnfa'g ernyyl ng gur jurry urer.

            V guvax jr graq gb sbetrg, gbb, gung Knaqre jnf xvaq bs n ivpgvz bs gur ulran fcvevg urer. Ur qrfreirf gb srry dhvgr ivbyngrq. V guvax zvk gung srryvat bs ivbyngvba jvgu jungrire (jurgure qrfreirq be abg) srryvatf bs thvyg ur znl or srryvat naq V nofbyhgryl haqrefgnaq jul ur qvqa'g jnag gb snpr fpehgval nsgrejneqf.

            • PheasantPlucker says:

              V nterr pbzcyrgryl gung Knaqre jnf n ivpgvz bs gur fcvevg naq gung ur jnf abg va pbageby bs uvf npgvbaf ba gur yriryf bs "Knaqre, nf ur abeznyyl vf". Ohg vfa'g gung jung n inzcver vf? N crefba gnxra bire ol n qrzba/fcvevg. V svaq vg irel uneq gb oryvrir gung Yvnz (orsber Qneyn tbg gb uvz) jbhyq'ir gbegherq naq rngra gubhfnaqf bs crbcyr, ohg gb Natryhf gung jnf n tbbq gvzr. Ohg jub Natryhf vf vf ragveryl vasbezrq ol jub Yvnz jnf, whfg nf Natry vf vasbezrq ol Natryhf. V pna'g vzntvar Knaqre nggrzcgvat encr nf uvf abezny frys, ohg gur hetr pnzr sebz uvf fhopbafpvbhf. Vgf uneq gb nethr gung gung'f npprcgnoyr ulran orunivbhe va nal pbagrkg. Vg'f abg uvf snhyg (nsgre nyy, ur jnf cbffrffrq), ohg gura vg vfa'g Natryf snhyg ur zheqrerq Zvff Pnyraqne, be gur Ebznav tvey, be gbegherq Tvyrf rgp rgp rgp. V nyjnlf gbbx guvf rcvfbqr nf n snveyl pyrne cnenyyry gb gur Natry/Natryhf nep bs frnfba gjb. Zl ovttrfg ceboyrz jvgu Knaqre va gur Cnpx vf gung ur qbrfa'g npxabjyrqtr gung nalguvat unccrarq, be gung jub ur vf vasbezrq UBJ gung unccrarq. Nsgre nyy, abar bs gur bgure 'ulranf' gevrq gb encr Ohssl.

              • etherealclarity says:

                Jryy, gung'f jul V fhccbfr V graq gb cersre Fcvxr'f nccebnpu gb orvat rafbhyrq engure guna Natry'f. Natry'f thvyg freirf gur checbfr bs uvz xrrcvat n fbhy orpnhfr bs gung jubyr "zbzrag bs cresrpg unccvarff" pynhfr. Ohg V'q engure gung vg vf npxabjyrqtrq gung inzcverf ner (zbfgyl) nyy sbezre ivpgvzf, naq vs n inzcver vf er-rafbhyrq gung gurl nera'g erfcbafvoyr sbe gur guvatf n qrzba qvq va gurve fxva. V'q engure gung gurl fgneg qbvat tbbq orpnhfr gur jbeyq arrqf tbbq crbcyr naq gur tbbq svtug vf jbegu qbvat guna gurz qbvat tbbq orpnhfr gurl srry thvygl. Be znlor orpnhfr nyy gur onq guvatf gurl qvq arrq fbzrbar gb onynapr gur fpnyrf va gur tbbq qverpgvba. Ohg guvf vf nyy irel gevpxl orpnhfr gurer ernyyl vfa'g nal fbeg bs erny-jbeyq pbzcnevfba, naq jr jvyy varivgnoyl gel gb chg fbzr xvaq bs erny-jbeyq nanybtl gb nyy bs guvf juvpu jvyy ernyyl zhqqyr vg nyy hc.

                • PheasantPlucker says:

                  Jryy, vg'f abg yvxr Natry arire qvq nal tbbq juvyr orvat oebbql 😉 V nterr gung va cneg uvf thvyg vf n cybg cbvag (fghcvq phefr…), ohg vg nyfb frrzf yvxr n snveyl ernyvfgvp ernpgvba sbe gur punenpgre. Nsgre nyy, ur qbrf erzrzore qbvat gubfr guvatf, naq fgvyy cbffrffrf gur vafgvapgf gung qebir uvz gb vg.

                  Ubarfgyl, V svaq gur punenpgrevfngvba bs Fcvxr va yngre Ohssl frnfbaf gb or uhtryl ceboyrzngvp, ohg gung'f zbfgyl va gur cer-fbhy crevbq. Cbfg fbhy, V nterr gung Fcvxrf crefcrpgvir vf urnyguvre guna Natry'f, ohg hayvxr Knaqre ur fgvyy npxabjyrqtrf gur praghel bs zheqre naq znlurz, rira vs ur qbrfa'g qjryy ba vg. V srry yvxr cneg bs gung vf gung Fcvxr jnf orggre rkcyberq ba Natry guna ba Ohssl, jurer gur jevgvat jnf ceboyrzngvp sbe zbfg punenpgref ba zbfg vffhrf. Tvira gung fbhyyrff Fcvxr vf irel (irel irel) fvzvyne gb rafbhyyrq Fcvxr, ur qbrfa'g frrz gb unir rire orra n cnegvphyneyl 'qnex' crefba (pbzcnerq gb Natry/Natryhf, Knaqre/Ulran Knaqre naq Jvyybj/Inzcver Jvyybj/Ovt Onq Jvgpu Jvyybj).

                  • V srry yvxr bar bar bs gur ernfbaf Natry srryf fb erfcbafvoyr sbe gur npgvbaf bs Natryhf vf orpnhfr vg'f uvf snhyg gung Natryhf rkvfgrq va gur svefg cynpr. Ur jrag nsgre Qneyn naq jnf ubcvat gb gnxr nqinagntr bs ure ohg raqrq hc trggvat inzcrq naq eryrnfvat ba bs gur anfgvrfg qrzbaf ba gur jbeyq. Vs ur unq whfg fgnlrq ubzr naq gevrq gb zraq uvf eryngvbafuvc jvgu uvf sngure nf ur xarj ur fubhyq unir, gurer arire jbhyq unir orra nal Natryhf.

                    Vg'f abg ernyyl snve gung Yvnz fubhyq or erfcbafvoyr sbe gubfr qenfgvp pbafrdhraprf, ohg nf Natry fnlf ng fbzr cbvag va NgF: fbzrgvzrf gur pbafrdhraprf ner abg pbzzvfrengr jvgu gur bssrafr. Ohg gurl fgvyy arrq gb or npprcgrq.

                    • PheasantPlucker says:

                      V'z abg fher uvggvat ba n jbzna whfgvsvrq orvat xvyyrq naq cbffrffrq ol n qrzba… Ol gung ybtvp, Fcvxr fubhyq srry zber erfcbafvoyr sbe uvf npgvbaf guna Natry, abg yrff, tvira gung ur pubfr gb or inzcrq ol Qeh. Ur jnf pbzcyvpvg (nygubhtu pyrneyl qvqa'g haqrefgnaq gur pbafrdhraprf), jurernf Yvnz jnf n ivpgvz. N fxrrml qehax ivpgvz, ohg n ivpgvz abar gur yrff. Natryhf jnf pregnvayl abg n sberfrrnoyr pbafrdhrapr bs n onq eryngvbafuvc jvgu na nohfvir sngure be qehaxra zvfbtlavfgvp orunivbhe. V pna nofbyhgryl frr gur punenpgre srryvat thvygl bire uvf eryngvbafuvc jvgu uvf sngure naq uvf orunivbhe ba gur avtug Qneyn tbg uvz, ohg gung'f irel qvssrerag gb univat npghny snhyg va gur jnl vg cynlrq bhg.

    • arctic_hare says:

      That gif is spoilery for a future episode, so I have to delete this.

  8. misterbernie says:

    I gotta admit I'm pretty meh on this episode and if I rewatch it at all, I tend to skip forward through half the things. It just seems so… weirdly paced? I'm not sure what it is, but… that's how it is /full of meaning here.

    Be znlor V'z whfg zru orpnhfr gbqnl vf whfg gur Cnpx, jura gbzbeebj vf NATRY! gädgöädgjkxäyögjöxäygjyäögmmx

    Bu, yby @ lbh guvaxvat gung frkhny nffnhyg unf pbafrdhraprf ba Ohssl. Uryyb gurer, Frnfba Frira!Fcvxr naq Jvyybj, ubj ner lbh gbqnl?

  9. etherealclarity says:

    I don't hear a lot of people saying that they love The Pack, but I really do.

    Mark, I think I get where your dislike of Xander is coming from, but I'm not sure I agree. I'm not sure that Xander is acting like he thinks that it is rude that Buffy won't date him. I do think he has a little bit of Nice Guy (TM) syndrome going on right now, but he's not treating her poorly (hyena possession aside) and he does seem to genuinely care about her aside from any romantic aspirations he may have.

    And while the hyena possession obviously pulled from Xander's own deep-down urges (towards sex with the person he finds most appealing), I think it's pretty clear that he would never, ever want to rape Buffy without the hyena's influence. He seems pretty ashamed of his behavior when Giles confronts him about it at the end of the episode.

    Anyway, that's my take on it.

    • laurel says:

      For me, one of the highlights of Season 1 of Buffy is this episode. It was a bit laughable in the beginning, but other than that, it was a fairly strong episode and ugh Willow I know some of those feels. As for disliking Xander, I will admit that he's a bit of a jackass and he has that Nice Guy Syndrome going, but I still have love for him.

      Ur qbrf trg orggre bire gur cebterffvba bs gur frevrf; ur fgvyy frrzf wrnybhf bs gur Ohssl/Natry qlanzvp rira jura ur'f jvgu Pbeqryvn, ohg ur nyfb fubjf pbaprea bire Jvyybj jura fur naq Bm fgneg fubjvat vagrerfg va bar nabgure. V guvax cneg bs vg vf trahvar sevraq!pbaprea sbe gur gjb bs gurz, naq, nf vg orpbzrf pyrnere ng gur raq bs frnfba 2 naq guebhtubhg frnfba 3, orpnhfr bs srryvatf sbe Jvyybj. V fuvc gurz hagvy gur raq bs gvzr. V fuvc Jvyybj jvgu whfg nobhg rirelbar, gubhtu.

      V srry yvxr ur gnxrf fgrcf onpx, ohg n ybg bs punenpgref qb gung ba guvf fubj. Orfvqrf, frnfba 5 jnf gur frnfba bs punenpgre nffnffvangvba, anzryl gung bs Evyrl. V ernyyl qba'g yvxr ubj ur jnf unaqyrq; V zrna, V'q trg gung ur jnf vafrpher nobhg Ohssl orvat fgebatre guna uvz vs ur unqa'g znqr vg cresrpgyl pyrne nobhg n zvyyvba gvzrf va frnfba 4 gung ur jnf cresrpgyl svar jvgu vg! V yvxrq Evyrl! Jr pbhyq unir unq vg nyy! Abg bayl gung, vg jnf gur urnyguvrfg, unccvrfg eryngvbafuvc Ohssl rire unq ohg nccneragyl gung'f whfg abg bxnl va Wbff' ivrj.

      Onpx gb Knaqre. Ur qbrf fubj cebterffvba naq tebjgu naq trgf yrff bs gung Avpr Thl Flaqebzr, ohg ur qrsvavgryl trgf onpx gb wnpxnff zbqr va Frnfba 6, rfcrpvnyyl jurer Naln vf pbaprearq.

      Also, it makes me incredibly happy I have a place to talk about my FEELS regarding Buffy. I grew up watching this (which explains so much about me, btw).

      • ghaweyriao says:

        Ununun, erzrzore jura Evyrl fgnegrq purngvat ba Ohssl jvgu inzcver sbe ab ernfba jungfbrire? V qb!

        • laurel says:

          V jnf whfg yvxr "jhg?" V qba'g ernyyl srry gung jnf cneg bs uvf punenpgrevmngvba ng nyy, ohg engure n onqyl-unaqyrq nggrzcg gb jevgr uvz bhg. Gung'f boivbhfyl whfg zl bcvavba, ohg V *qvq* yvxr uvz. N ybg bs snaqbz'f yvxr "ohg ur jnf fb obevat! Uvf eryngvbafuvc jvgu Ohssl jnf obevat!" naq V'z yvxr, "ohg gurl znqr rnpu bgure unccl jvgubhg univat gb jbeel nobhg raq-bs-gur-jbeyq pbafrdhraprf sbe fnvq unccvarff?" V srry yvxr V'z va gur zvabevgl urer, gubhtu V qvq yvxr Ohssl'f eryngvbafuvc jvgu Natry naq V yvxrq jurer Fcvxr naq Ohssl jnf tbvat ohg gura V tbg fdhvpxrq bhg ragveryl ol gurve frnfba 6 vagrenpgvba, rfcrpvnyyl jura Fcvxr nffnhygf ure. Fcvxr nf n punenpgre vf njrfbzr, ohg sbe zr gb yvxr uvz nf zhpu nf V qb, V xvaq bs unir gb sbetrg gung ur qvq gung? Naq rirelbar ohg Knaqre frrzf gb sbetrg/sbetvir fb vqx. Pbafrdhraprf sbe n unaqshy bs punenpgref jnfa'g nyjnlf unaqyrq jryy. Ohg gung'f whfg zr.

          • laurel says:

            Nyfb, gung'f abg gb fnl gung vg fubhyq or sbetbggra jung ur qvq, naq V'z pregnvayl abg unccl nobhg vg, ohg va uvf pnfr V srry yvxr ur fubhyq or uryq nppbhagnoyr. Nf Natry fubhyq, gbb, vzb. Gur zlgubybtl bs inzcverf vf gung gur qrzba yngpurf bagb gur crefba naq orpnhfr vg unf ab crefbanyvgl bs vgf bja, vg ergnvaf fbzr dhnyvgvrf bs gur crefba. Rira nsgre trggvat uvf fbhy, Fcvxr fubjrq irel yvggyr qrivngvba sebz uvf aba-fbhyrq cbegenlny, naq Natry pregnvayl unq qnexarff gung jnf nggevohgnoyr gb uvzfrys naq gb Natryhf. vqx V'z whfg enzoyvat abj yby

            • ghaweyriao says:

              "Fcvxr fubjrq irel yvggyr qrivngvba sebz uvf aba-fbhyrq cbegenlny"

              V'z fgvyy znq gung Fcvxr tbg n fbhy va gur svefg cynpr. V qba'g guvax uvf punenpgre qrfreirq gb or "erqrrzrq" naq V guvax gur jevgref sryy n yvggyr gbb va ybir jvgu Fcvxr sbe gurve bja tbbq.

              V'ir nyjnlf xrcg Natry naq Natryhf fgevpgyl qvivqrq va zl zvaq (nygubhtu, yvxr V fnvq, V unira'g ernyyl frra Natry naq V vzntvar gur vffhr vf qrnyg jvgu zhpu zber gubebhtuyl gurer). Natry naq Natryhf unir znal fvzvynevgvrf, ohg gurl nyjnlf qvq frrz yvxr gjb qvfgvapg crbcyr gb zr.

          • ghaweyriao says:

            V qba'g yvxr Evyrl, rknpgyl, ohg V qvqa'g ungr uvz yvxr n ybg bs crbcyr qvq, naq V qba'g haqrefgnaq jul gurl pbhyqa'g unir svtherq bhg n jnl sbe uvz naq Ohssl gb oernx hc gung jnfa'g pbzcyrgryl pbagevirq naq zrybqenzngvp. V ungr vg jura Jurqba oernxf hc eryngvbafuvcf va n ubeevoyr jnl *sbe gur fnxr bs vg*, engure orpnhfr vg pbagevohgrf gb gur cybg (v.r. gur Natry/Ohssl fntn).

            • laurel says:

              Bu, V pbzcyrgryl nterr. V xabj gung ertneqvat gur Bm naq Jvyybj oernx-hc, vg jnf zbfgyl orpnhfr Frgu Terra jnf yrnivat gur fubj naljnl (gubhtu V fgvyy ungrq vg ohg gung'f orpnhfr V ybirq Jvyybj naq Bm gbtrgure FNQSNPRF). Jr'yy whfg unir gb nterr gb qvfnterr Er: Evyrl; ur jnfa'g zl snibevgr, ohg ur fubhyq unir orra unaqyrq orggre. V rawbl Wbff' jbex, ohg ur hfrf ehvavat yvirf nf n pehgpu sne gbb zhpu. Ur qrsvavgryl yrnearq vg ba Ohssl jura ur ernyvmrq gung crbcyr jrer zber vagrerfgrq va gur fubj jura gur punenpgref jrer fhssrevat, ohg vg'f yvxr, bxnl, pna jr trg fbzrguvat arj sebz uvz abj? V yvxr gung ur qbrfa'g cynl vg fnsr, ohg V srry gung ng guvf cbvag, guvf vf uvf irefvba bs cynlvat vg fnsr vs gung znxrf nal frafr. V yvxr n ybg bs gur eryngvbafuvcf gung unccrarq ba Ohssl, ohg V qvqa'g arprffnevyl pner sbe ubj fbzr bs gurz jrer unaqyrq, rfcrpvnyyl jura vg pnzr gb raqvat vg. V'z nyfb pnhtug orgjrra ybivat gur Jvyybj naq Knaqre fzbbpuvrf bs frnfba 3 naq ernyyl qvfyvxvat gurz sbe vg orpnhfr jgs Pbeql naq Bm gubhtu. Htu. V pna'g jnvg sbe Znex gb trg gurer; ur'yy trg gung tebjgu-bs-Pbeqryvn ur'f orra nfxvat sbe, gubhtu gung rira fgnegf unccravat yngre guvf frnfba. Fcrnxvat bs Pbeql, V ERNYYL qvqa'g yvxr jung unccrarq jvgu ure va gur yngre frnfbaf bs Natry. Gnyx nobhg penc.

              • ghaweyriao says:

                "V rawbl Wbff' jbex, ohg ur hfrf ehvavat yvirf nf n pehgpu sne gbb zhpu. Ur qrsvavgryl yrnearq vg ba Ohssl jura ur ernyvmrq gung crbcyr jrer zber vagrerfgrq va gur fubj jura gur punenpgref jrer fhssrevat, ohg vg'f yvxr, bxnl, pna jr trg fbzrguvat arj sebz uvz abj? V yvxr gung ur qbrfa'g cynl vg fnsr, ohg V srry gung ng guvf cbvag, guvf vf uvf irefvba bs cynlvat vg fnsr vs gung znxrf nal frafr."

                Lrf! Guvf vf n ovt ernfba jul V qvfyvxrq gur yngre frnfbaf bs Ohssl.

                V whfg fgnegrq jngpuvat Natry, V xabj n ybg bs crbcyr jrer cvffrq nobhg jung unccrarq gb Pbeqryvn, fb V'z fgnegvat gb qernq gur yngre frnfbaf…nygubhtu V'z nyfb ybbxvat sbejneq gb Pbeqryvn npghnyyl orpbzvat n orggre crefba, orpnhfr juvyr fur qrsvavgryl qrirybcrq va Ohssl V qba'g guvax fur rire ernyyl birepnzr gur funyybjarff.

                • laurel says:

                  Jryy, V'yy whfg abg qvfphff jung unccrarq fb lbh pna svaq bhg sbe lbhefrys. Ol naq ynetr V rawblrq Natry, gubhtu fbzr bs vg jnf yvxr "jung frevbhfyl qvq V whfg jngpu gung?" Ohg gung pna or fnvq sbe zbfg fubjf. Jung frnfba ner lbh ba?

                  • ghaweyriao says:

                    Bu, V'z bayl gjb rcvfbqrf vagb frnfba bar (nf gung vf gur bayl frnfba ninvynoyr sbe serr ba uhyh!) V'z rawblvat vg fb sne, nygubhtu V pna'g ernyyl znxr nal whqtzragf. Cyrnfr gryy zr gurer jvyy or zber njxjneq nggrzcgf ba Natry'f cneg gb fbpvnyvmr jvgu uhznaf, orpnhfr gung vf zl snibevgr cneg fb sne. Nyfb, qbrf Jurqba whfg ernyyl ungr Y.N.? Orpnhfr gur fubj frrzf ernyyl vagrag ba trggvat zr gb ungr gur cynpr.

                    • laurel says:

                      Bu, ner gurer rire zber njxjneq nggrzcgf ba Natry'f cneg! Vs lbh sbyybj nal Ohssl be Natry sna ghzoyef, lbh'ir cebonoyl frra tvsf bs uvz qnapvat, nyorvg greevoyl. Lrnu. Gung'f bar. Nf sbe Jurqba'f ungerq bs Y.N., V unir ab pyhr, ohg vg jbhyqa'g fhecevfr zr. Nyfb, Uhyh arrqf gb trg vg gbtrgure; qbrfa'g vg xabj crbcyr jnaan jngpu fghss?

                    • tanbarkie says:

                      Gb or snve, fcrnxvat nf fbzrbar jub jnf obea gurer, Y.N. vf xvaq bs n fuvgubyr.

      • etherealclarity says:

        V crefbanyyl srry yvxr Evyrl jnf nyjnlf n YVGGYR vagvzvqngrq ol Ohssl'f fgeratgu, ohg gung uvf vffhrf va Frnfba 5 unq zber gb qb jvgu gur snpg gung fur jnagrq uvz ohg qvqa'g arrq uvz RZBGVBANYYL. Naq… V qba'g xabj jubfr snhyg gung ernyyl vf, ohg gur jnl ur unaqyrq vg jnf qrcybenoyr.

        Knaqre yrnivat Naln ng gur nygne vf gur guvat gung znxrf zr zbfg natel orpnhfr V guvax vg vf irel zhpu bhg bs punenpgre sbe uvz. Lrf, gurl obgu unq jbeevrf nobhg gur zneevntr guvat, ohg V gubhtug ur znqr n ernyyl nznmvat fgrc sbejneq jura ur cbvagrq bhg gb Naln gung gur fgerff nobhg gur jrqqvat unq abguvat gb qb jvgu gurve shgher zneevntr. V guvax gur jevgref qvq guvf gb cebterff Naln'f punenpgre sbejneq naq tvir ure fbzr xvaq bs nep orlbaq "Knaqre'f tveysevraq/svnaprr/jvsr", naq V guvax gung jnf hygvzngryl tbbq sbe ure punenpgre, ohg V guvax gur jnl gurl qvq guvf jnf abg oryvrinoyr tvira nyy jr xabj nobhg Knaqre'f punenpgre.

        Naljnl, gung'f zl enag 🙂

        • ghaweyriao says:

          Guvf tbrf onpx gb jung V jnf gnyxvat nobhg va zl bgure pbzzrag: V srry yvxr Knaqre/Naln unq n gentvp raqvat whfg gb unir n gentvp raqvat, engure guna sbe nal erny *ernfba* bs cybg be punenpgre qrirybczrag be jungrire. V unqa'g gubhtug bs gur vffhrf lbh oevat hc nobhg gnxvat Naln va n qvssrerag qverpgvba, ohg V nterr, vg pbhyq unir orra qbar va n zhpu orggre jnl.

          Nyfb, erzrzore jura Naln unq frk jvgu Fcvxr? Jung gur shpx jnf gung?

          • laurel says:

            Shpxvat evqvphybhf vf jung vg jnf. N ybg bs guvatf va frnfba 6 znqr zr tb JHU ohg V yvxrq cnegf bs vg naq V pregnvayl yvxrq gung vg jrag qnex. V qba'g arprffnevyl yvxr gur snpg gung gurer jrera'g znal ercrephffvbaf sbe Jvyybj nsgre gung, ohg jungrire. V'z abg ernyyl fher jung pbhyq unir unccrarq gb ure, lbh xabj? Naljnl >_>

            • ghaweyriao says:

              Lrnu, gurer ner guvatf nobhg frnfba fvk gung V pregnvayl nccerpvngr, ohg ol naq ynetr gurer jnf whfg gbb zhpu ohyyfuvg sbe zr gb ernyyl yvxr gur frnfba.

              Tbq, vg vf fb sehfgengvat univat gurfr pbairefngvbaf va ebg13! V xrrc univat gb qrpbqr zl cerivbhf pbzzragf gb erzrzore rknpgyl jung V fnvq va gur svefg cynpr.

        • laurel says:

          V nterr. Evyrl cebonoyl fgnegrq bhg frpher jvgu gur jubyr Ohssl'f fgeratgu guvat, ohg vg qrirybcrq vagb frnfba 5 fghss. Gur jnl ur jnf unaqyrq jnf greevoyr, ohg V xrrc fnlvat gung V arrq arj guvatf gb fnl YBY.

          V qb yvxr gung Naln tbg fb zhpu tebjgu, ohg V nterr; gur jrqqvat qronpyr jnf nabgure fuvavat rknzcyr bs qbvat guvatf gung qvqa'g ernyyl arrq gb or qbar va beqre sbe tebjgu. V srry yvxr vs gurl'q qbar n oernx-hc orgjrra Knaqre naq Naln gung jnf unaqyrq va n jnl zber va yvar jvgu Knaqre'f punenpgrevmngvba guhf sne, vg jbhyqa'g unir orra fb HTU ohg lrnu. V ybir Knaqre, V ybir Naln, V ybir gurz gbtrgure, naq V ybir gurz ncneg. Vg jnf n ovg sehfgengvat, gubhtu, orpnhfr vg'f yvxr, lbh'er fgvyy va ybir gubhtu fb jul jbhyq lbh rira qb gung? V srry yvxr uvf srnef nobhg gurve zneevntr jrer engure hasbhaqrq; vs ur xarj ur jbhyqa'g ghea vagb uvf sngure (onfvpnyyl) gura…vqx. V whfg ungr gur jnl fbzr guvatf jrer unaqyrq ba Ohssl, rfcrpvnyyl va gur yngre frnfbaf.

  10. quenstalof says:

    Thoughts on Buffy 1×06 The Pack
    -Where are all the POC's, this is supposed to be Southern California right? I mean we should have seen someone non white by episode 6…
    -That hyena story sounds like something one of my HS teachers told us. Only he was warning us about demons. (If you hear someone call your name and you can't identify their voice, or you think you're alone, don't turn around because it's probably DEMONS)
    -Oooh I was thinking this was going to be a werewolf episode, but the hyenas are a nice twist. I wonder if they'll get the alpha female pack structure right. (I'm going to say right now that I don't think they will)
    -Punch bag Giles is adorable!
    -Speaking of adorable, Piggy!
    -This is so weird to me. Fieldtrips, and dodgeball are two actives that are no longer common in American public high schools for the most part. Not to mention school buses. The district I live in doesn't bus middle schoolers, let alone high school students. Just time period differences I guess, or you know, a fictional version of high school.
    – 🙁 Poor Willow, I know Xander's under some kind of hyena witchcraft, but that was harsh.
    -They ate Piggy. D-:
    -Poor nerdy guy keeps finding himself in the middle of the pack.
    -Broody music.
    -"…are trying to Scully me." Teehee
    -Wait, didn't Xander open the cage? Why would they rip it apart like that?
    -Eeee That's a scary situation for Flutie. Also their casual indifference to authority is something that worries me for my future career as a teacher.
    -Is it bad that I'm sadder about the pig than the principal?
    -Yay asking for outside help.
    -Oh no offense Willow, but I think this is going to go badly, you watching over Xander all by your lonesome.
    -Uh oh! A baby. whew!
    -Ugh and this is where he manipulates you into letting him go, Willow.
    -Or not! Hurray!
    -He's so scary in that mask. He's going to do something to Giles isn't he? Mr. Zookeeper i mean.
    -I'm glad that Xander remembers what he did, but I think it's pretty awful that he's gonna just let Giles be his secretkeeper about it.

    -Also does anyone know anything more about hyena behavior? I feel like they were villainized in this ep and I wonder how much of their behavior they got right in this episode and how much they're handwaving away by calling them "a very rare species". For example, would 4 hyenas really eat up a live person? I want to know!

    • Meltha says:

      (If you hear someone call your name and you can't identify their voice, or you think you're alone, don't turn around because it's probably DEMONS)

      For what it's worth, I actually have heard that myth before. I believe it shows up in quite a few cultures, which is why a lot of stories (including Bilbo's interactions with Smaug in The Hobbit) include the idea that the hero never reveals his or her true name if it can be avoided.

    • ghaweyriao says:

      I don't really fault them for demonizing hyenas, because that's how they are often treated in mythology and I expect shows like Buffy to be based more on folktales than the actual scientific record.

      According to Wikipedia, the spotted and striped hyenas have been known to eat humans in modern times, although it's rare. Also, apparently some paleontologists think that human colonization of Alaska was delayed by competition between humans and cave hyenas in Siberia.

    • "Not to mention school buses. The district I live in doesn't bus middle schoolers, let alone high school students. Just time period differences I guess, or you know, a fictional version of high school. "

      Wow, really? I graduated High School just a few years ago and they had buses. I rode it almost every day both to and from school. Maybe it depends on the school/area? All the high schools I've seen still have them…..weird.

      • eruonna says:

        Yeah, I was in high school at the time this was on the air, though not in Southern California, and we had buses then. The physics classes even had an annual field trip to an amusement park, which would be roughly the same as the zoo trip in this episode. I don't know about dodgeball, though.

        • Reena says:

          I played dodgeball in high school 2000-2004. Not often, but it did happen.

        • OCTBernie says:

          We played dodgeball a lot in high school, actually. It wasn't always regular dodgeball (we played graveyard and that one version where you go behind the other team when you're hit) but we did play it often. It never even occurred to me that that would be weird!

        • Yeah. My high school played dodgeball ALL THE TIME. I hated it because there were some people who thought it was funny to throw as hard as they possibly could. Because the goal of high school is apparently to cause as much pain as you can.

        • See, while we did have buses, field trips were much more rare and usually involved going to the local theater to watch a play or something. Fun zoo field trips were for elementary school.
          We did have dodge ball though when it was rainy outside, like in this episode.

      • Quenstalof says:

        I depends on the district and what they can afford to spend money on. Our district can’t afford much is all.

    • calimie says:

      You were told that about demons in HS? I'm not sure if that's awesome or horrifying.

      You and I got the same feelings re: beings teachers dealing with teenagers. D:

      • Quenstalof says:

        I went to Catholic school so there were some… Ahem irregularities with my schooling

        • calimie says:

          Sometimes, it feels like my own Catholic school (in Spain) was weird because we were never told such things. Then again, we'd laugh in their face had they dared to.
          They were pretty normal, generally speaking. I was lucky.

    • notemily says:

      Also their casual indifference to authority is something that worries me for my future career as a teacher.

      If kids ever organized, teachers would be in trouble. I think most kids just don't realize how much shit they could actually cause if they ignored the threats adults were making.

      • That comment just awoke forgotten anger deep inside me and now I wish I could go back to high school and start an uprising against all of the crap we were subjected to by a lot of the teachers and administration.

    • robin says:

      We've seen a couple POCs in the background scenes by now. But yeah, they don't get to actually be CHARACTERS. sigh.

  11. natalia h (@mellafe) says:

    You are so right about Whedon. It took me too long to come to that conclusion myself. Oh, the tears!

    I don't remember this episode at all. Weird. 😛

  12. enigmaticagentscully says:

    -Oh shit ‘The Pack’? Werewolves, right?
    -Oh no that bully girl with the short hair is really really attractive…
    -I’m totally distracted by how hot she is.
    -If she’s a werewolf I may fall in love with her
    -That zookeeper guy has the best stories
    -Oh sweet, hyena werewolves! And Xander is one! I’M GONNA LOVE THIS EPISODE.
    -LOL werewolf asshole Xander is hilarious
    -Omg Herbert the pig is so fucking cute
    -He’s gonna be eaten isn’t he? I can just tell.
    -I really want a pig
    -Yep, that scene seems familiar
    -Oh my god they are such assholes why do I still find that one girl so attractive
    -Her hair is all sexy and messed up now oh my god someone kill me
    -There sure is a lot of slow-mo walking in this episode
    -Oh Willowwww
    -LOL Giles
    “I can’t believe you, of all people, are trying to Scully me.” OMGOMGOMG X FILES REFERENCE I LOVE THIS EPISODE
    -They ate Herbert. :’(
    -Oh no they’re going to eat Principal Flutie!
    -Ohhhhh…this Xander thing just achieved whole new levels of creepy…
    -Oh my god.
    -Principal Flutie.
    -I think I’m going to cry.
    -The zookeeper is making me suspicious…who drew that circle anyway?
    -Why does no-one ever seem to mention that Jesse guy? Wasn’t he their friend before Buffy came along as well? They’ve totally forgotten him!
    -Yeahhhhh it’s the zookeeper
    -Yay Xander to the rescue!
    -Nice karmic ending for the zookeeper
    -Wow nice hat Buffy. No really. I mean it. It’s a great look on you.
    -So Xander remembers it all? Wow that’s gotta be really uncomfortable.

    Ok, hands down best episode so far. I do love me some werewolves so that might have something to do with it. Only two quibbles really – firstly, what happened to the other kids? Were they tried for murder? Did they plead insanity? Did they get off, since they weren’t really responsible for their own actions? I’d like to know. Secondly, it bothers me a little that Xander was conveniently not there with the Principal Flutie thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he’s not a murderer, but it would have been a really risky and clever thing for the show to do: to have a main character be involved (however unwillingly) in an innocent’s death. I guess maybe it’s a little early in the show for that sort of thing. But overall I loved it. This show is still pretty cheesy, but it does seem to be increasing in quality pretty fast!

    • Jenny_M says:

      I think there was a throwaway line about the Flutie thing being blamed on wild dogs. Giles mentioned it when he came to tell Buffy and Willow what had happened. So I guess the kids weren't tied to the attack, somehow.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        I guess. But it just seems very irresponsible of Giles and co. to let it go like that.

        I mean, fair enough – the kids weren't at all responsible for their actions. But if they remember the whole thing like Xander does they're gonna have memories of eating a guy alive. That's pretty fucking traumatising! Plus, unlike Xander, they have no idea what even happened to them! It's not really important, but I would have just liked to know what happened to them in the end.

        • Jenny_M says:

          Oh yeah, I'm totally with you on the fact that they're pretty much never mentioned again in the episode! How do you even begin to explain that to a therapist?!

          • tanbarkie says:

            V vzntvar gung n gurencvfg va Fhaalqnyr jbhyq or hfrq gb vg ol abj.

            "Bxnl, jung'f ba gur qbpxrg sbe gbqnl? Bar jrerjbys, gjb crbcyr ghearq vaivfvoyr qhr gb ynpx bs nggragvba, n qrzba cbffrffvba, naq n oebbqvat rk-inzcver chccrg. Bbu, n YVTUG qnl!"

    • pica_scribit says:

      I have a theory about the Sunnydale police, and it's that they're so used to weird shit happening that they don't question anything very deeply anymore. "Wild dogs in the principal's office? Sounds entirely plausible! Moving on…."

    • ghaweyriao says:

      -Oh no that bully girl with the short hair is really really attractive…
      -I’m totally distracted by how hot she is.

      I'm glad it wasn't just me!

    • echinodermata says:

      Hah I loved that really attractive bully lady too! Gif-ed her and everything!

  13. dasmondschaf says:

    I had completely forgotten how downright dark this episode was. Sweet Christ, the things that kids get up to when they are in a group. And then the horror-movie extension to first poor little piglet and then… Principal Flutie D:

    Xander in the library cage is such an awkwardly terrible scene. NO WILLOW DON'T LISTEN TO HIM. OH NO WILLOW GET OUT OF THERE IT'S NOT SAFE WILLOW D:

    Also, regarding Xander's attempts to pretend that he has amnesia about the whole thing: I find that that's a really common thing that people who bullied other people do, once they get older and start to realize that that shit is NOT OKAY. I was never bullied, but I had friends who were, and now that we are all older they tell stories of… their bullies attempting to friend them on Facebook? What? I don't even. Just because things happened a long time ago doesn't mean they DIDN'T HAPPEN. Anyway, so looking at Xander's fake amnesia in that light just makes it even more distressing to me.

    • Smurphy says:

      Npx. Whfg erzvaqrq zr… V fnj gur yvoenel pntr naq gubhtug "Bu gur yvoenel pntr! Tbbq gvzrf!" Jung vf jebat jvgu zr?

    • etherealclarity says:

      Except that Xander wasn't acting of his own accord, so the analogy doesn't exactly apply.

      As for real life bullies friending their real life victims on facebook years later, what I've read is that often it's not so much that the bully has forgotten what they did, but that they never actually perceived themselves as bullies in the first place… that the person was a friend in their mind that they gave a lot of shit to. (This seems to be particularly prevalent with boys because friendships between boys seem to involve a lot of insults.) It's sometimes only when former victims speak up and say "do you realize how much you tormented me?" that bullies realize what they did.

      (Which, to me, I think, points to the fact that adults need to be more vigilant about pointing out to kids that what they are doing is bullying and not okay.)

      (But really, this is all getting very, very off topic.)

      • dasmondschaf says:

        Yeah, it's definitely not LITERALLY applicable to Xander here, but since the central metaphor of the episode is that "teenagers acting in a group get really out of control and do things they wouldn't as individuals" it just reminded me of it in a more general sense. I mean, heck, I personally would like to forget several times I have succumbed to peer pressure, so it kind of resonated.

    • pica_scribit says:

      There was a guy who bullied me all through sixth and seventh grade. I ran into him at work after highschool (he was delivering a pizza to the hotel I worked at) and I said "hi". He acted like he didn't even know who I was. It was sort of hilarious.

    • PhsntPlkr says:

      From my experience, my bullies simply grew up between bullying me and friending me on facebook. They are all perfectly nice people at this point. Kids can be pricks, and sometimes don't truly understand the impact of their actions at the time.

      That's not to say that that's everyone's experience, just that it has been mine. Some people (on the other hand) are pricks who spend their lives stepping on other people to get ahead or pump themselves up.

    • Pt_0 says:

      I don't really have any experience with bullies or any interesting viewpoints on the whole.

      So I'll just say that the whole bullies who grow up ignore having been bullies in the first place thing, really reminds me of the plot of the movie "You Again".
      I watched it recently, which is why it's on my mind.

  14. cait0716 says:

    I think this is the first episode I ever saw. It's the first one I have a memory of watching, anyway.

    The treatment of Xander (and the other bullies) is interesting. There's sort of a question of whether he's responsible for what he did while he was possessed. He did seem to be acting on feelings he actually had (especially concerning Buffy) but some of it seemed to be more the hyena (he was cruel to Willow in a way I can't believe non-possessed Xander would be). The distinction between victim and victimizer gets rather blurred here.

    Buffy and Willow seem willing to forgive him for what he did, though that might also be because they believe he forgot it. A lack of memory really supports this theory. How would Buffy have reacted if Xander didn't claim amnesia?

    Of course, Giles is also pretty willing to believe that Xander was completely under the control of the hyena. He allows him his lie because he doesn't think it's necessary to punish him for behavior beyond his control. Xander feels guilt, he knows what he did was wrong, and that seems to be enough for Giles.

    Guvf nyy orpbzrf zber vagrerfgvat va shgher rcvfbqrf. Tvyrf' sbetvirarff bs Knaqre vf pbzcyrgryl va punenpgre pbafvqrevat uvf bja rkcrevrapr jvgu Rltuba. Unq guvf unccrarq nsgre gung pnzr onpx gb ovgr Tvyrf, ur znl unir orra zber unefu ba Knaqre. Nyfb, Ohssl riraghnyyl yrneaf gung Knaqre jnf ylvat va Cunfrf, naq fur frrzf cerggl hcfrg nobhg vg. Fnqyl jr qba'g frr nal pbafrdhraprf ng gung whapgher. Vg'f qvfzvffrq nf dhvpxyl nf vg'f oebhtug hc, gunaxf gb gur ybbzvat jrerjbys guerng. Guvf unccraf ntnva jvgu gur pnyyonpx gb Knaqre'f "xvpx uvf nff" va gur friragu frnfba. Gur fubj oevatf gurfr guvatf hc, ohg qbrfa'g dhvgr frrz pbzzvggrq gb chavfuvat Knaqre gur jnl vg chavfurf Ohssl naq Jvyybj. V'z fher guvf jvyy trg qvfphffrq gb qrngu.

    Flutie's death was definitely a shock. It's quite the reminder that no one is safe. Who kills off a likeable, recurring character with as much potential as Flutie six episodes in?

    Expanding on the bully theme you discussed, Mark, it's interesting to see how it intersects with the adults. The gym teacher eggs them on. Giles initially dismisses their behavior as typical. Flutie is as powerless as the students because he's just as scared of the bullies as they are. This environment is what helps them thrive

    • Raenef says:

      "Gur fubj oevatf gurfr guvatf hc, ohg qbrfa'g dhvgr frrz pbzzvggrq gb chavfuvat Knaqre gur jnl vg chavfurf Ohssl naq Jvyybj."

      Lrfff guvf rknpgyl vf jung hcfrgf zr. V ybir gur fubj gb qrngu, rkprcg sbe guvf.

      • ghaweyriao says:

        V ernyyl jvfu gur fubj qrnyg zber rkcyvpvgyl jvgu gur dhrfgvba bs ubj zhpu erfcbafvovyvgl gb ubyq crbcyr gb sbe npgvbaf gnxra juvyr gurl jrer cbffrffrq/haqre n zntvp fcryy/jungrire.

    • Karen says:

      I think that the question of whether Xander is responsible for what he did while possessed is an especially interesting one especially in light of inzcver zlgubybtl ba gur fubj. Fvzvyne gb ubj Knaqre npgf va guvf rcvfbqr, inzcverf ner cbffrffrq ol n qrzba naq lrg gurl ergnva fbzr nfcrpgf bs gur uhzna gurl hfrq gb or. V'z abg fher jung pbapyhfvbaf V'z pbzvat gb lrg, ohg V whfg gubhtug V'q guebj gung bhg gurer.

      • cait0716 says:

        Lrnu, V guvax guvf erznvaf na bcra dhrfgvba sbe n ybg bs gur fubj. Vg pbzrf hc ntnva naq ntnva ba Ohssl, naq V jbhyq nyfb fnl gung vg'f gur znva gurzr bs Natry.

    • @liliaeth says:

      V jbhyq npghnyyl unir gb fnl gung gur bar crefba jub'f Arire orra chavfurq sbe nal bs ure npgvbaf, vf Jvyybj. Nyy fur unf gb qb vf onxr fbzr pbbxvrf, be tb ba n inpngvba gb Ratynaq, naq ab bar frrzf gb tvir n qnza.

      Juvyr Knaqre qbrf unir gb qrny jvgu gur ercrephffvbaf bs uvf npgvbaf.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      "Gur fubj oevatf gurfr guvatf hc, ohg qbrfa'g dhvgr frrz pbzzvggrq gb chavfuvat Knaqre gur jnl vg chavfurf Ohssl naq Jvyybj."

      Lbh ner evtug. Knaqref orunivbhe qbrfa'g unir gur fnzr pbafrdhraprf nf Ohssl'f naq Jvyybj'f zvfgnxrf gubhtu.
      V'z pbaivaprq gung Knaqre jbhyq unir gerngrq uvf npgvbaf va guvf rcvfbqr zber fvebhf naq ncbybtvfrq vs gur tveyf unq gerngrq vg gung jnl, ohg obgu bs gurz frrzrq svar naq rkpncgrq gung vg jnf abg Knaqre jub qvq nyy bs guvf.
      Fher, gur "xvpx-uvf-nff" pbzzrag jnf pehry, ohg jr pna'g xabj vs vg jbhyq unir punatrq nalguvat, vs ur unq gbyq Ohssl gur gehgu naq ol gung cbvag jura Ohssl svaqf bhg, gurl unir zber vzcbegnag vffhrf gb pbafvqre.

      • cait0716 says:

        Lrnu, va uvf bja vzzngher jnl ur tvirf gurz gur bcravat bs "V qvqa'g qb nalguvat ryfr, qvq V…?" Ur'f nyybjvat gurz gur bccbeghavgl gb fnl "Npghnyyl lbh jrer cerggl pehry naq nggrzcgrq gb encr zr." Ur'f abg zngher rabhtu gb oevat vg hc; ur'q engure qbqtr gung ohyyrg vs ur pna. Naq Ohssl naq Jvyybj yrg uvz. Gurl qba'g jnag gb qrny jvgu vg nal zber guna ur qbrf, cebonoyl orpnhfr vg jbhyq nssrpg gurve sevraqfuvc va n cbffvoyl veercnenoyr jnl. Nyy bs gurz whfg jnag gb sbetrg vg unccrarq.

        Gur cneg gung obguref zr vf jura ur fyvcf va Cunfrf, Ohssl xabjf ur erzrzoref nffnhygvat ure, naq fgvyy qbrf abguvat nobhg vg. Fur fubhyq unir pbasebagrq uvz gura naq V'z abg fher jul fur qvqa'g.

        • settlingforhistory says:

          V guvax ng gung cbvag gurl unq yvirq guebhtu zhpu jbefr guvatf naq V thrff fur unf tbggra bire vg (nf zhpu nf nalbar pna). Nyfb fur unf frra ubj Natry unf gb qrny jvgu guvatf ur grpuavpnyyl qvqa'g qb (nf Natryhf vf fhpu n qvssrerag punenpgre, npgnyyl n qvsssrerag crefba va zl bcvavba) fb fur pna cebonoyl sbetvir uvz orggre guna zbfg snaf urer pna.

  15. Maribeth says:

    The Pack is one of my favorite episodes and I'm so glad you liked it too! I thought we did 'play dodgeball' in High School on rainy days… I just remember the brutality of the 'game' (never more than a way for the strong to gang up on the weak).

    I loved that the writers brought Xander into the pack… that it wasn't just a bad thing that Buffy & her gang was trying to fix, but that a core member of her gang was now part of the enemy. And at least we know that Xander has to live with the memories of his cruelty.

  16. Maya says:



  17. kasiopeia says:

    I really like this episode. Not because it's perfect or anything like that. But back when I first watched the show this was the first episode that really grabbed me and when I knew I'd love it all 🙂 It has great character development inside a case-of-the-week story, which I think Joss is generally good at. Buffy is essentially a drama, but with added vampires, it's all about the characters and the story. And this episode is a great example of that 😀

  18. lawrence_s says:

    Gung znxrf vg cbffvoyr sbe nalbar jub vfa’g cneg bs gur znva sbhe punenpgref gb qvr bss;

    Jul yvzvg vg whfg gb gubfr jub nera'g?

    FB HACERCNERQ. Fb irel hacercnerq.

    Nyfb, V ubcr gbzbeebj'f cbfg tbrf hc ng yvxr … guerr va gur zbeavat.

    • misterbernie says:

      Jryy, gurl arire qvq unir gur thgf gb bss bar bs gur znva sbhe, fb Znex'f fcbg ba gurer.

      • lawrence_s says:

        Xvyy bss, ab, ohg Ohssl qbrf qvr gjvpr (gur frpbaq gvzr, tvivat gur npghny nccrnenapr gung fur'f tbar, ng yrnfg hagvy Onetnvavat Cneg VV), naq Jvyybj, Knaqre naq Tvyrf pregnvayl pbzr pybfr ba znal bppnfvbaf (V'q yvxr gb perngr n 'Knaqre naq Jvyybj qrngu pbhag', gbb, orpnhfr gurer ner n YBG bs gvzrf gurl trg uvg fb uneq ol fbzrguvat fhcreangheny, be yngre guvf jrrx, ebobgvp, gung ernyyl fubhyq unir xvyyrq gurz.)

        Naq jura gur tebhc rkcnaqf gb vapyhqr Natry, gurer'f gung jubyr ovg jurer ur gheaf rivy naq Ohssl fraqf uvz gb uryy…

        And in the comics (spoiler alert!), bar bs gur znva sbhe npghnyyl qbrf qvr engure creznaragyl.

        • misterbernie says:

          …vf vg jrveq gung V xrrc sbetrggvat gung Ohssl qvrf >_> ? V zrna, fur'f yvxr, qrngu grsyba!

          Nyfb, V'z whfg xvaqn ovggre orpnhfr V ernq n cbgragvny bhgyvar sbe aneengviryl fhcrevbe frnfbaf fvk/frira, anzryl, gung Knaqre fubhyq'ir qvrq naq Gnen yvirq gb or gur bar gb gnyx Jvyybj qbja naq rire fvapr V'ir orra xvaqn qb jnag jul qvqa'g jr trg guvf shpx lbh zntvpny penpxubhfr

          V unir n ybg bs srryvatf, gbb >_>

    • Smurphy says:

      Last line. Agreed. 110% agreed.

      • MandaCookie says:

        Mark must have a ton of self-restraint not to just marathon the whole thing. I know I'd be having trouble limiting myself to an episode a day.

  19. ghaweyriao says:

    Bu Tbq V nz fb rkpvgrq sbe Znex'f erivrj bs gur arkg rcvfbqr … VZB vg'f gur svefg ernyyl fgebat rcvfbqr bs gur fubj naq … Znex vf fb qrrcyl hacercnerq.

    I agree that high school is way too old for trips to the zoo, but we did play dodgeball in PE.

    I'm not sure how I feel about this episode as a whole. As Mark said, the premise is kind of laughable, and also on rewatching it I was bothered by the way African magic was handled; I like your head canon!

    The dodgeball scene was suprisingly well done, on rewatching.

    Poor Principal Flutie! We hardly knew ye. Fhaalqnyr unf gbhpurq naq sryg sbe vgf ynfg gvzr.

    The scene with Xander and Buffy is pretty disturbing. What bothers me about the end is not so much that Xander and Giles don't reveal that the amnesia was fake, but that they both (actually, all the characters) treat it as just an embarassing incident.

    • Karen says:

      What bothers me about the end is not so much that Xander and Giles don't reveal that the amnesia was fake, but that they both (actually, all the characters) treat it as just an embarassing incident.

      FOR SERIOUS. Ugh.

      Although this: high school is way too old for trips to the zoo isn't true in my experience. lol. My high school photography class went to the zoo for a field trip to take pictures of the animals.

    • MichelleZB says:

      Word about Xander and Giles. Xander's actions are treated lightly here. He and Giles act like: Xander was possessed, so whatever… the things he said to Willow and did to Buffy don't deserve some kind of apology or hashing out. He gets a free pass because he was under the influence of a spell, and he doesn't even have to say, "Gosh, I'm so ashamed I acted like that. Please know that it wasn't me, and I'll never act that way again."

      I could open up a serious rot13 can of worms here. Should I? Fcvxr nggrzcgf gb nffnhyg Ohssl yngre, haqre gur vasyhrapr bs… orvat n inzcver. Bapr ur fbhyf hc, ur'f abguvat ohg ernyyl pbagevgr–npghnyyl, ur'f cerggl pbagevgr orsber ur fbhyf hc, gbb–ohg Knaqre pna'g npprcg Fcvxr'f ncbybtvrf. Qbrf Knaqre unir erfvqhny thvyg sebz uvf npgvbaf va uvtu fpubby?

      • cait0716 says:

        Nofbyhgryl. Knaqre'f gerngzrag bs Natry vf nyfb cerggl gryyvat. Zber guna nalbar, ur ershfrf gb pbafvqre Natry naq Natryhf nf gjb frcnengr crbcyr jvgu frcnengr zbgvingvbaf, bayl bar bs juvpu unf n pbafpvbhf. V guvax cneg bs uvf ungerq bs obgu inzcverf fgrzf sebz erpbtavgvba bs genvgf gung ur xabjf ur funerf naq qbrfa'g yvxr.

    • tigerpetals says:

      'Bu Tbq V nz fb rkpvgrq sbe Znex'f erivrj bs gur arkg rcvfbqr … VZB vg'f gur svefg ernyyl fgebat rcvfbqr bs gur fubj naq … Znex vf fb qrrcyl hacercnerq."

      Zr gbb! Jr ner svanyyl trggvat gb gur frg hc bs zl snibevgr frnfba va gur fubj, naq abg gb zragvba bar bs vgf vzcbegnag gurzrf (sbphfrq ba zber va Natry, boivbhfyl): erqrzcgvba.

      Yeah. His lie is understandable (though still wrong, but I said why in my comment already), but it wouldn't be so bad if it the magnitude of what happened hadn't been dismissed by all(particularly because the rape attempt, the rhetoric during it, and the rejection of Willow is so gendered).

  20. Principal Flutie, eaten? Boy, this school really has GONE TO THE DOGS.

  21. etherealclarity says:

    Jnvg… jung? Jura qvq guvf unccra?

    • misterbernie says:

      Jryy, jura Jvyybj hfrf zntvp gb znxr Gnen sbetrg gurve svtug, fur'f gnxvat njnl ure novyvgl gb tvir vasbezrq pbafrag – rfcrpvnyyl qhevat gur zntvp sybngl frk va BZJS, juvpu gnxrf cynpr gur qnl nsgre gur bafperra svtug; nqq gur snpg gung Jvyybj unf n avpr fhccyl bs Yrgur'f Oenzoyr naq vg'f urnivyl vzcyvrq vg'f abg n bar-gvzr bpphenapr.

      • etherealclarity says:

        Gung vf n ernyyl snve cbvag naq V arire ernyyl gubhtug bs vg va dhvgr gung yraf orsber. Bs pbhefr, V gubhtug vg jnf ubeevsvp rabhtu gung Jvyybj zbqvsvrq Gnen'f zrzbel, pbzcyrgryl nfvqr sebz nal frkhny pbzcbarag.

        • misterbernie says:

          V tbggn nqzvg V qvqa'g shyyl ernyvfr gung zlfrys hagvy V unq vg cbvagrq bhg gb zr engure erpragyl, ohg lrnu, abj gung V frr vg yvxr gung vg znxrf zhpu bs gur ynfg frnfba zhpu zber hapbzsbegnoyr.

          • etherealclarity says:

            Vg qbrfa'g ernyyl punatr zl bhgybbx, crefbanyyl. Tvira gung Jvyybj znavchyngrq Gnen'f zrzbel va fhpu n qenfgvp naq gehfg-funggrevat jnl, Gnen gnxvat ure onpx vf n cerggl ovt yrnc bs snvgu va gur svefg cynpr. Gung fgvyy ubeevsvrf zr gur zbfg.

            Naq tvira gung Jvyybj gevrq gb qrfgebl gur jbeyq naq rirelbar va vg, gur gerngzrag bs ure tveysevraq (jub riraghnyyl sbetnir ure, sbe orggre be sbe jbefr) frrzf gb cnyr n ovg. Ohg V fhccbfr sbe znal crbcyr vg'f rnfvre gb sbetvir fbzrbar sbe gelvat gb qrfgebl gur jbeyq guna sbe gelvat gb qrfgebl bar crefba, orpnhfr gur jbeyq vf fb zhpu ovttre naq gurersber fb zhpu uneqre gb gehyl pbaprcghnyvmr.

            • misterbernie says:

              Jryy, ng gung cbvag va gur frevrf, V jnf cerggl zhpu "…jungrire, lbh tb tvey, qrfgebl gur jbeyq naq fcner hf n frnfba frira. Bhe fhssrevat unf gb raq."
              Gura yb, frnfba frira pnzr nebhaq naq… lrnu.

              Lrnu, V jvyy arire abg qvff frnfba frira. Ohg gung'f cebonoyl n qvfphffvba sbe … rneyl fhzzre 😉

  22. Nos says:

    Okay, I can see this already happening in the comments, so I am going to suggest something to Whedon Alums:

    Url Ohssl snaqbz! Ubj ner lbh gbqnl? V jnagrq gb fnl, jr fubhyq ernyyl, ernyyl xrrc gur fuvccre jnef bhg bs Znex'f oybt. Hf svtugvat yvxr pngf naq qbtf bire Fcvxr/Knaqre/Natry jbhyq ehva n ybg bs rawblzrag sbe Znex naq znlor pbybhe uvf bcvavba bs punenpgref. Guvf vf rfcrpvnyyl gehr sbe Fcvxr if Natry. V YBIR GURZ OBGU. FB PNA LBH. Fnj gur gjvaxyvatf bs vg va fbzr crbcyr'f qrsrafr bs Knaqre va guvf rcvfbqr, fb V svtherq V zvtug cbvag vg bhg, naq erzvaq rirelbar gb abg yrg vg trg bhg bs unaq. Guvf snaqbz pna rkcybqr jvgu gur fznyyrfg fcnex, ohg vg'f orra lrnef lnyy, yrgf ohel gur ungpurg naq rawbl Znex rawblvat.

    • etherealclarity says:

      V'z crefbanyyl qrsraqvat Knaqre orpnhfr, jryy, V guvax Znex vf ivrjvat uvz va na bireyl unefu yvtug. Naq gung vf nofbyhgryl whfg na bcvavba, gehr, ohg guvf vf n cynpr gb funer zl bcvavba, ab? (Sbe gur erpbeq, V qba'g ernyyl fuvc Knaqre jvgu nalbar, ohg V qba'g guvax gurer'f nalguvat jebat jvgu fuvccvat nf n ehyr.)

      Jul qba'g jr whfg nvz gb xrrc qvfphffvbaf sevraqyl rira jura jr qvfnterr? Orpnhfr qvfnterrzrag vf cerggl zhpu varivgnoyr, rira jvgubhg fuvccvat jnef.

      • Nos says:

        Bu lrnu, V fbegn srry gur arrq gb qrsraq Knaqre ng gvzrf gbb (V ybir uvz nf jryy, rira vs abg nf zhpu nf gur bgure gjb, pnhfr FREVBHFYL OBL, LBHE PUBVPRF) ohg V svtherq jr'q gnyx nobhg guvf rneyl orsber Fcvxr rira pbzrf bagb gur fprar, pnhfr gubfr jnef pna trg fpnel lb.

    • Noybusiness says:

      Znlor xrrc nyy gung fghss va ebg13 jura vg pbzrf nobhg?

    • V qba'g guvax fuvccvat jvyy trg GBB onq urer. Crbcyr urer graq gb unir n ovg zber pncnpvgl sbe erfcrpgshy qvfpbhefr guna ryfrjurer ba gur vagrearg. V qba'g xabj gung jr fubhyq abg qvfphff fuvccvat ng nyy, ohg V ng yrnfg cebonoyl jba'g gnyx nobhg vg gung zhpu. V'z abg ernyyl n fuvccl xvaq bs thl.

      V guvax gung eryngvbafuvcf znggre va svpgvba vafbsne nf gurl pnhfr punenpgre tebjgu. Nf nyy bs Ohssl'f eryngvbafuvcf va gur frevrf nyy pneel ure qrirybczrag sbejneq va vagrerfgvat jnlf, V unir n uneq gvzr fnlvat juvpu bar V 'fuvc.'

      • lula34 says:

        V'ir nyjnlf sbhaq guvf pbzzhavgl gb or sne zber erfcrpgshy bs bcvavbaf guna bgure pbzzhavgvrf ba gur arg fb V ubcr vg ubyqf gehr sbe gur OhsslIrefr. Gung fnvq, V qb erzrzore ubj fgebatyl gur Natry if. Fcvxr jnef jrer onpx va gur qnl.
        Ubcrshyyl jr'yy unir ab gebhoyrf, obgu va naq bhg bs Ebg13.

        Nf sbe zr, V arire fuvccrq Ohssl jvgu nalbar. V ybir Natry. Evyrl jnf phgr, zvyqyl naablvat, ohg V qht uvz juvyr vg ynfgrq. Naq Fcvxr jnf zl inzcver oblsevraq, fb V jnf gbb ohfl fuvccvat uvz jvgu zr gb or obgurerq jvgu fuvccvat uvz jvgu Ohssl. Juvpu vf jul "Tbar" vf zl snibevgr rcvfbqr. Jnvg, bss gbcvp…fbeel…

        • hpfish13 says:

          Naq Fcvxr jnf zl inzcver oblsevraq, fb V jnf gbb ohfl fuvccvat uvz jvgu zr gb or obgurerq jvgu fuvccvat uvz jvgu Ohssl. Juvpu vf jul "Tbar" vf zl snibevgr rcvfbqr. Jnvg, bss gbcvp…fbeel…

          UNUNUNUNUNUN!!! Guvf vf zr gbb! V qba'g ernyyl uneqpber fuvc Ohssl jvgu nalbar. Va snpg, V guvax guvf vf jul V yvxr gur svefg unys bs frnfba fvk orggre guna n ybg crbcyr. Nalguvat gung zrnaf Wnzrf Znefgref qvqa'g jrne n fuveg jnf svar ol zr!

          • lula34 says:

            Gurer jvyy or cyragl bs qvfphffvba–naq vg'f pbzcyrgryl jneenagrq–bs gur ghea Ohssl'f eryngvbafuvc jvgu Fcvxr gnxrf va frnfba 6, orpnhfr vg'f haurnygul, bs pbhefr. Ohg gur funyybj fvqr bs zr vf abg nfunzrq gb nqzvg gung V unir frra “Fznfurq,” “Jerpxrq,” naq “Tbar” zber gvzrf guna V pner gb nqzvg. Obgu sbe gur rlr pnaql gung vf Fcvxr naq sbe gur gbegher gung vf jngpuvat obgu Ohssl naq Jvyybj'f fybj qrfprag vagb frys-qrfgehpgvba.Jbj. Frnfba fvk vf tbaan or vagrerfgvat 'ebhaq urer.

        • Nos says:

          Fb znal njrfbzr ercyvrf, lbh nyy ebpx, naq zl srnef sbe guvf gheavat vagb GJbC pvepn 2002 frrz gb or hasbhaqrq. Lnl! Nf sbe fuvccvat, V yvxr Fcvxr, naq V yvxr Natry, fb V graq gb fuvc gurz jvgu jub GURL jnag. V fuvc Fchssl pnhfr Fcvxr qvq, naq Pbeqvryn/Natry (Pbetyr?) pnhfr ur qvq. Onfvpnyyl, V jnag gurz gb or UNCCL BZT. (Ohg abg gbb unccl va Natry'f pnfr, nzvevgr?)

          —nyfb fuvc gurz jvgu zr. Jub jbhyqa'g jnag gb or gur zrng va gung fnaqjvpu? Lhz.

    • Smurphy says:

      V jnf npghnyyl checbfryl gelvat gb xrrc guvf va zvaq juvyr jevgvat GBZBEEBJ'f erivrj… V srry yvxr V'z tbvat gb fyvc FB BSGRA naq V jba'g rira guvax nobhg naq gung'f nsgre NYJNLF erernqvat zl cbfgf gjvpr orsber cbfgvat gurz sbe Znex.

  23. One of my favorite sequences in this season is Xander threatening Buffy and his whole "You like your boys dangerous, right?" And Buffy's response being to HIT HIM WITH A DESK and drag his knocked-out ass somewhere safe. Because, yeah, while she might like a bit of danger and mystery to a boy SHE'S NOT INTO CREEPY RAW-PORK-EATING HYENAS, XANDER.

  24. pica_scribit says:

    I like this episode a lot, though you're right re: zoo field trips and dodgeball, Mark. We didn't do those beyond elementary school either. It's still a really strong first season monster-of-the-week episode. Brutal. And Nick Brendon flexes some acting chops. I thought the metaphor was really well-handled.

    Did anyone else think that Ynapr fubhyq unir orra Wbanguna? Bayl gurl qvqa'g unir Wbanguna lrg ng guvf cbvag. V qba'g guvax ur fubjf hc hagvy frnfba 2?

  25. Jenny_M says:

    Ugh, we played dodgeball in high school. They are some of my least favorite gym days in memory. As a rather heavy teen, it was always lovely to have the popular, athletic guy in class yell at me "I BET IF THAT BALL WAS A CHEESEBURGER YOU'D CATCH IT!" when I got hit instead of catching the ball.

    Fuck him, fuck dodgeball, and fuck high school hierarchies.

    (Fun note: I saw him again years later after I achieved a level of what is considered acceptable attractiveness to a lot of white, straight, cisgendered males and he hit on me. Because he didn't recognize me. Needless to say, he was informed of why he was a repugnant ass.)

    • tanbarkie says:

      Does it make me a bad person if I actually really liked dodgeball, even in high school? I was never strong enough to hurt anyone, even on those rare occasions where my atrocious aim actually let me hit someone with the ball. But I liked running around like a lunatic and usually getting knocked over by three balls at once.

      • Jenny_M says:

        I think if I'd been playing dodgeball with my friends who also hated competitive games, we would have been fine. My problem was the fact that the bullying was allowed to run rampant. The concept of the game itself isn't that bad.

      • notemily says:

        Please don't use "lunatic" on this site.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Seriously, what kind of a fucked up sport even was dodgeball?? Mind you, at least the balls are fairly soft. Hockey is worse because they hand out heavy sticks to people. I don't think my ankles have ever been the same since.
      Also, one girl hit a hockey ball at the back of my head and those motherfuckers HURT. Asshole she may have been, but she obviously had pretty good aim.

  26. Ryan Lohner says:

    This episode often gets mentioned as a highlight of season one, but I've never really cared for it. Like Doug Walker of Channel Awesome, I have a real distaste for completely flat bully characters who exist only to be a bully and eventually get their comeuppance, so getting a whole group of them wasn't good times.

    Though this is your first real look at the kind of risks Whedon is willing to take, as even in an otherwise standalone story you can get the death of a recurring character. So that's nice, at least.

    • Karen says:

      Wait. REALLY? People call this a highlight of season one? It's a low point for me.

      • MelvinTheBold says:

        Compared to 'Teachers' Pet'? I'd say its relatively high, though lacking in Whyvr Oram and Ebovn YnZbegr (and frankly, even with the latter, 'V Ebobg…' unf abg ntrq jryy).

        • ghaweyriao says:

          Unun, ab vg unf abg ntrq jryy ng nyy. Gur orfg/jbefg cneg, univat erjngpurq vg guvf jrrxraq, vf gur pbzchgre trrx rkcynvavat gb Ohssl jung n "cebsvyr" vf.

  27. atalantapendrag says:

    I'll say it, I love this episode. I watched it when it first aired and it kind of blew me away because I was COMPLETELY UNPREPARED. If I saw it for the first time now, I'd be more "Yep, that's Joss Whedon, all right."

    Knaqre'f nggrzcg gb encr Ohssl tnir zr frevbhf synfu-sbejneqf gb Frnfba 6 jura Fcvxr qbrf gur fnzr guvat. Wbff, lbh unir VFFHRF.

    • Jenny_M says:

      Gb or snve, Wbff jnfa'g ernyyl vaibyirq va gur fubj nf zhpu gura. V'q fnl gur Fcvxr-nggrzcg unq nf zhpu gb qb jvgu Znegv Abkba naq fbzr bs gur bgure cebzvarag jevgref ng gur gvzr nf nalguvat ryfr. V fgvyy qba'g xabj ubj gb srry nobhg gung jubyr guvat. V znl yvxr vg zber ba erjngpu orpnhfr gur svefg gvzr nebhaq V jnf gnvagrq ol Gryrivfvba Jvgubhg Cvgl'f zrffntr obneqf, naq gurl ungrq RIRELGUVAT nobhg Ohssl sebz frnfba svir bajneqf. Vg jnf n arireraqvat ungr srfg bire gurer, naq V'z ybbxvat sbejneq gb jngpuvat gur fubj jvgu n zber bowrpgvir rlr!

      • etherealclarity says:

        Sebz jung V haqrefgbbq, Fcvxr nggrzcgvat gb encr Ohssl jnf cneg bs na rssbeg ba gur jevgref' cnegf gb pheo gur Fchssl ybir. Gurl jrer gelvat gb erzvaq gur nhqvrapr naq gur fuvccref gung Fcvxr znl or nyy ubg naq yblny naq fjrrg gb Ohssl naq cebgrpgvir bs ure sevraqf, ohg gung ur fgvyy qbrfa'g unir n fbhy naq fgvyy vf, qrrc qbja, n zbafgre. Gung, naq cebivqr gur vzcrghbhf gb tb trg uvf fbhy, V fhccbfr.

        • ghaweyriao says:

          Gung'f jung V'ir urneq nf jryy, ohg pbafvqrevat gurl vafvfgrq ba erqrrzvat Fcvxr va gur arkg frnfba, vg raqrq hc npuvrivat gur rknpg bccbfvgr.

          Nf sne nf Gryrivfvba Jvgubhg Cvgl … V npghnyyl fcbvyrq gur uryy bhg bs zlfrys ol ernqvat zbfg bs gur erivrjf orsber V fgnegrq gur frevrf, fb V'z gelvat gb erjngpu abj jvgu n zber bowrpgvir rlr gbb, orpnhfr zl svefg rapbhagre jnf fb pbyberq ol gurve bcvavbaf. V unir gb nqzvg gubhtu, juvyr gurer'f fbzr guvatf nobhg frnfba fvk gung V pna nccerpvngr, V ungr frnfba frira. Orpnhfr ng yrnfg jvgu frnfba fvk, gur jevgref jrer gelvat gb gnxr evfxf naq npuvrir fbzrguvat, rira vs gung fbzrguvat ghearq bhg gb or greevoyr; nsgre n srj rcvfbqrf vagb frnfba frira V sryg yvxr gur jevgref whfg tnir hc.

        • tigerpetals says:

          V qvqa'g guvax ur jnf fjrrg naq yblny gb Ohssl va frnfba fvk sbe gur ragvergl bs gurve eryngvbafuvc va frnfba fvk fgnegvat sebz Gnohyn Enfn, naq gur nggrzcgrq encr frrzrq na rkgrafvba bs uvf cerivbhf punenpgrevmngvba.

          Naq lrf, vg frrzf yvxr n gevttre sbe uvf nep gb pbagvahr ol fbhyvat uvz hc.

          • etherealclarity says:

            Lrnu, bapr gurl npghnyyl xvffrq, Fcvxr frrzrq gb genafsbez sebz gur "tbbq thl" ur unq orpbzr gb ybir Ohssl sebz nsne naq orpnzr zber pbasvqrag naq zber ragvgyrq, juvpu, V guvax, srq onpx vagb uvf frys-rfgrrz naq nyybjrq uvz gb orpbzr zber bs gur anghenyyl rivy qrzba gung ur jnf.

            Ohg gur nhqvrapr, cnegvphyneyl gur Fchssl fuvccref gung unq orra jnvgvat sbe gur gjb bs gurz gb ERNYYL xvff sbe bire n frnfba, rkphfrq Fcvxr'f ragvgyrzrag orpnhfr gurl, gbb, jnagrq zber xvffntr (naq frkva).

            Fb gur nggrzcgrq encr ernyyl vf va punenpgre, ohg V guvax vg jnf n fubpx gb dhvgr n srj Fchssl fuvccref naljnl.

        • settlingforhistory says:

          Gung'f n ernyyl tbbq cbvag.
          V nyfb guvax vg vf gb fubj jung vg zrnaf abg gb unir n fbhy.
          Abg rirel fbhyrff perngher raqf hc yvxr Natryhf; Fcvxr naq Qehfvyyn qb unir srryvatf sbe rnpu bgure rira jvgubhg n fbhy (nf jr frr cebira ol gur Whqtr).
          Fb Fcvxr jbhyq qb nalguvat gb znxr Ohssl unccl naq gb znxr ure ybir uvz onpx, ohg ur unf ab zrnffher bs tbbq naq rivy, fb ur jvyy qb NALGUVAT.
          Jung V nyjnlf ybirq jnf uvf qvfgheorq ybbx nsgre Ohssl sraqf uvz bss ng uvz, ur yvgrenyyl qbrfa'g xabj jung ur qvq jebat.

          • Aria says:

            Ur qvq xabj ur qvq fbzrguvat jebat; gung vf jul ur ybbxrq qvfgheorq, naq yngre jrag gb trg uvf fbhy.

            • settlingforhistory says:

              Jung V zrnag jnf, gung va gung zbzrag ur jnf whfg fb pbashfrq, ur xarj ur unq uheg ure (fur jnf pelvat nsgre nyy, qrnq tvir-njnl) ohg V qba'g guvax ur ernyyl xarj jung jnf tbvat ba. V xabj vg'f n onq guvat gb flzcnguvfr jvgu gur crecrgengbe, ohg ur ybbxrq fb ybfg nsgrejneq, V nyjnlf srry onq sbe uvz.

      • SelphieFairy says:

        Lrnu, Wbff npghnyyl qrsraqrq Znegv, gubhtu. Ur unf cerggl fcrpvsvpnyyl fgngrq fur vfa'g fbyryl gb oynzr sbe rirelguvat snaf qvqa'g yvxr qhevat frnfba fvk. Gurl nccneragyl cynaarq rirelguvat gbtrgure orsberunaq. Ohg bs pbhefr, jub xabjf. V'z fher ur jvyy qrsraq uvf jevgref, naljnl, ertneqyrff.

  28. guest_age says:

    Oh, Mark. After the Reavers in Firefly, you being so surprised that a group of hyena-possessed students ate the principal is kind of…adorable, actually.

    Other than that, I have no comment on this episode both because I tend to forget it ever happened when I think back on the show, and also because I don't think I'll be able to comment on it without unintentionally spoiling later seasons.

    For the record, though, my high school had dodge ball. Granted we're in the Middle-of-Nowhere, West Virginia and there's only so many things gym teachers can be expected to think of that can be done inside and without costing very much. Meh.

    • Smurphy says:

      Oh god… reavers… I had almost forgotten…

      • tanbarkie says:

        *falls on floor*



      • Zoli says:

        I was showing Firefly to a friend, and I got to the big Reaver episode and went "….Hm. Well. Okay. This episode is about Reavers, and we don't need to watch it. MOVING ON." D: They're just too upsetting.

    • cait0716 says:

      My high school didn't have dodgeball, but my college did as an intramural sport. It was actually a ton of fun at that level because everyone was just joking around and having fun and not ganging up on people. The fact that it was completely voluntary probably helped a lot.

      • guest_age says:

        I can imagine it being fun if you knew everyone wasn't throwing the balls with the intent to draw blood (because that's "funny" or something what). I was never very good at it so I'd wait until I saw someone throw the ball somewhat gently and then jump in front of it so that I could be "out."

  29. Nomie says:

    The opening of the review had me giggling into my hand. That'll teach me to read this site at work. (BUT IT'S SO TRUUUUUUUUE)

  30. Alex says:

    I agree about the zoo field trip being a bit middle school-y but at my high school we definitely played dodgeball on occasion.

  31. Meltha says:

    I think this episode right here was the one where I mental went, "Yow. Okay, this is going to be a really bumpy ride."

  32. Karen says:

    Ah. “The Pack”. Also known as that episode where a possessed Xander tried to sexually assault Buffy (which I will admit he didn’t have control over), but then afterwards pretended like he didn’t remember the incident even though he obviously did. Seriously, Xander? Not even an apology or an “are you alright?”?

    This episode is really not good. Blegh. I don’t even know what to say about it. Mystical hyena possession is just not really a thrilling storyline. I get that the episode is trying to make some point about cliques or gangs and bullying behavior in teens and high schools, but all I took away from this episode is THESE KIDS ACTUALLY ATE THEIR PRINCIPAL. WTFFFF. Bye Principal Flutie! It was nice knowing you! You were a good guy who tried to do right by his students, so obviously you were not long for the world.

    This episode is just not my cup of tea. I am not Xander’s biggest fan, so an entire episode that revolves around him being possessed and thus acting like even more of a jackass than he normally does is just painful. UUUUUUUUUUGH. Not fun for me to watch Xander turn into an asshole of the highest degree while Willow cries. And Xander’s attempted assault of Buffy is incredibly upsetting to watch. But this is another one of those episodes that is firmly grounded in the high school setting. No vampires here, but there are field trips, high school mascots and dodgeball. It’s all about how high schoolers can be assholes and is taken to the extreme by making them possessed by other pack like creatures.

    • misterbernie says:

      …vf vg jebat gung V'z ernyyl ybbxvat sbejneq gb lbhe pbzzrag ba gur Mrccb >_> ?

    • Genny_ says:

      Dang, seriously, way to be an ass Xander. Sure, she might be really shaken by the fact (the thing posessing) you tried to assault her, but hey, why ask if she maybe needs some space or help? Jeez. I get that it's not his 'fault', but he could really handle it so much better. An apology to start with.

      …Vg'f shaal, V unq guvf vzntr gung va f1 V xvaqn yvxrq Knaqre naq ur tbg jbefr nf gvzr tbrf ba, ohg abcr, abj V'z ernyvfvat V arire ernyyl yvxrq uvz. Uhu.

      • Karen says:

        Sbe zr Knaqre vf ernyyl njshy va frnfbaf 1-3. Ur'f fyvtugyl orggre va frnfbaf 4 naq 5, V guvax ohg gura va frnfba 6 ur whfg cyhatrf uvzfrys vagb veerqrrznoyr nffubyr greevgbel.

        • Genny_ says:

          V'z zbfgyl nebhaq f3 evtug abj (V'ir unq cngpul rkcbfher gb fghss bire gur lrnef- zl snzvyl NAQ sevraqf ner nyy UHTR Ohssl snaf) naq… V nz gbea orgjrra 'jubb, znlor n pbhcyr bs frevrf jurer V pna orne uvz!' naq 'qnza, ur trgf *jbefr*?'

    • arctic_hare says:

      THANK YOU. Cannot upvote this enough. I'm never going to be okay with the fact that Xander cares more about his own mortification than about asking Buffy if she's all right or apologizing or anything. He wasn't in control of his actions during it, certainly, but at the end of the episode he had the choice of saying those things to her and chose not to. I don't care how ~embarrassed~ he was, that's just not cool. I never liked this episode either, for the exact same reasons you don't.

      • Karen says:

        Like whether or not Xander had control over himself (which I don't think he did) and whether or not he was actually responsible for his actions (which I don't really think he was). THIS WAS STILL SOMETHING THAT BUFFY EXPERIENCED AND THAT HE DID TO HER. Get over yourself, Xander.

      • Michael says:

        Not trying to start any more arguments here, but I keep seeing people say that they wish Xander would apologize–I agree he should ask if she's all right. That's what a friend should do. But why should he have to apologize for something he had no agency over? I've said before, I consider him a victim of this situation as much as her, and unless Buffy is expected to apologize for hitting him with a desk (she shouldn't be, by the way) that's shifting all the blame into his corner–something which (barring future lessons on the specifics of possession) I'm not comfortable with.

  33. NB2000 says:

    Mark you seem to have worked out how Joss Whedon works, namely by TAKING AWAY ALL JOY FOREVER.

    Poor Principal Flutie, he was so entertaining and endearing and his death is so UNBELIEVEABLY TERRIFYING. I know Jesse's death was supposed to be the one that showed that there's real danger in this story and the characters weren't necessarily safe but we spend so little time with him that it doesn't have as much impact. We've had time to connect with Flutie so his death hits harder. Naq yby ng vg fgnegvat gur geraq bs Fhaalqnyr Cevapvcnyf orvat rngra.

    I have to agree with Buffy, Herbert the Piglet is SO CUTE lookit him.

    Enaqbz gubhtug: vs guvf rcvfbqr unq orra qbar n frnfba yngre Ynapr jbhyq unir gbgnyyl orra ercynprq ol Wbanguna. Vg whfg frrzf yvxr fhpu n rneyl-Wbanguna-l ebyr va gur fgbel.

  34. karate0kat says:

    Nalbar jnag gb gnxr orgf ba jura Znex jvyy fgneg gb "ybir" gur fubj? Ur'f pehfuvat ba Natry rabhtu V guvax gbzbeebj'f erirny jvyy uryc uvz nybat, ohg V guvax Ohssl'f qrngu va gur frnfba 1 svanyr zvtug svanyyl qb gur gevpx.

    • Karen says:

      "Cebcurpl Tvey" jnf gur svefg gvzr V jnf yvxr "uz, V pbhyq frr zlfrys rawblvat guvf fubj". Ohg vg jnf "Unyybjrra" gung shyyl przragrq zl ybir.

    • ghaweyriao says:

      V qvqa'g ernyyl fgneg gb ybir gur fubj hagvy gur znva cybg bs frnfba gjb fgnegrq. Ohg lrnu, V nterr Natry naq Cebcurpl Tvey ner gur gjb orfg rcvfbqrf bs gur frnfba naq gur barf gung fgneg gb chfu gur fubj vagb fbzrguvat zber guna whfg n zbafgre-bs-gur-jrrx uvtu fpubby qenzn …

      • @liliaeth says:

        V guvax gung sbe zr, vg jnf Orpbzvat gung yrq zr sebz yvxvat gur fubj naq jngpuvat vg jura vg jnf ba, gb frnepuvat vg bhg.

        Gubhtu V qvqa'g sryy va ybir jvgu gur fubj hagvy f4, naq ol f5 vg orpnzr zl znva snaqbz.

  35. fakehepburn says:


  36. ladyknight27 says:

    I love this review for many reasons, but particularly for the description of Joss Whedon at the beginning. He’s like the American Steven Moffat.

    • tanbarkie says:

      IIRC, Moffat and the other recent Who writers were heavily influenced by Buffy. So it's more like Moffat is the British Joss Whedon. 😉

  37. Genny_ says:

    "That being said, I am going to exercise my own personal canon for the fate of the zookeeper and imagine that the show is saying that if white people try to appropriate the culture of other folks, they’ll be eaten alive by hyenas. This pleases me greatly." Okay, I laughed very hard at this. ALSO NEW HEADCANON FOR ME.

    This is an episode I really liked on first viewing (we'll get onto subsequent stuff in a sec), but it has this weird tonal shift which is disorienting. Which works! Because that's what it's supposed to do, really. But it unsettled me, definitely. I think it's the way it went from 'heavy handed supernatural metaphor for teen problem' to 'and also the metaphor is KIND OF VERY HORRIBLE AND FUCKED UP and oh christ are they eating him, what'. I know this story, I think! Wait, no, no I… don't…

    On the other hand, it really is a very heavy handed metaphor. Alas. It's weird to me, because at least in the schools I've had in the UK- there is far less this idea of *groups* at school. I have always wondered if the incredibly rigid set of groups in schools on US television is actually representative of real life? People tend to have friends groups, and the kids that aren't popular will obviously keep to themselves and vice versa, but you don't have this idea of 'okay, so XYZ group is ABC, and 123 group is 456…' as such. And beyond 'don't be friends with those guys, they're losers' you don't tend to purely *stick to* your groups. So: is this just as ridiculous to people in the US, or is it A Thing?

    While I think that it's totally IC for Xander to keep the truth back, the way it's framed as kinda… funny… is annoying to me. IDK, the framing bothers me somehow. Anyone else got any opinions on that?

    And now, the stuff that happened to me after I got further into the show: V guvax zl sberxabjyrqtr bs fbzr fghss gb pbzr va Ohssl vf xvaq bs gnvagvat zr urer! Orpnhfr xabjvat ubj hggreyl greevoyr guvf fubj (naq NgF) pna orpbzr er: gerngzrag bs frkhny nffnhyg ng gvzrf, rira vs vg vfa'g fb zhpu gung *guvf rcvfbqr* vf fcrpgnphyneyl greevoyr ba gung sebag (fvapr vg'f boivbhfyl N Onq Guvat naq vaibyirf rkgraghngvat pvephzfgnaprf naq vg'f pnyyrq bhg naq fb ba!), V trg nyy fxrrml guvaxvat nobhg gur jvqre pbagrkg vg svgf vagb.

    V pna'g dhvgr frcrengr vg sebz gur jubyr Ohssl Nf N Ivpgvz/ynpx bs npxabjyrqtrzrag yngre ba fghss. Fb vg'f xvaq bs sehfgengvat, orpnhfr V pna'g nccerpvngr guvf rcvfbqr sbe *jung vg vf* ba vgf bja nalzber. Qbrf nalbar ryfr unir gung vffhr?

    • Karen says:

      My high school experience was nothing like the experience you see in TV shows. I went to a private school that was small compared to the public high schools in my area (there were 150-200 people per grade at my school). It was a Christian school and even though it was a private school it wasn't full of rich kids. It was primarily middle class and upper middle class kids. And idk. We didn't have any mean cliques. I was definitely part of the "uncool" and nerdy group, but my best friend who was in the same group as me was also on ASB (Associated Student Body) with the popular kids and was on my school's homecoming court. So… idk. While I wasn't besties with the jocks and cheerleaders, they were never mean and always friendly if we ended up working together in class or something.

      And I agree with your rot13 thoughts, but I'll hold off on commenting on it more for now.

    • ghaweyriao says:

      While I think that it's totally IC for Xander to keep the truth back, the way it's framed as kinda… funny… is annoying to me. IDK, the framing bothers me somehow. Anyone else got any opinions on that?

      Yeah, I completely agree with you on this. I can deal with Xander and Giles keeping it a secret, and I don't think it's necessarily wrong for Xander not to deal with what he did right then and there, but Giles seems sort of … tolerantly amused? As if Xander just did something horribly embarrassing, rather than actually *wrong*.

      V svaq vg cerggl rnfl gb pbzcnegzragnyvmr gur frnfbaf, ubarfgyl. Rfcrpvnyyl jvgu fubjf yvxr Ohssl, gung unir ybat ehaf naq nera'g ernyyl raivfvbarq ng gur fgneg nf bar jubyr fgbelyvar, gur jnl, fnl, Ningne: gur Ynfg Nveoraqre jnf.

      • Genny_ says:

        I think I'd find it, if not sympathetic, *understandable* in a 'Xander isn't perfect' way if it was 'shit, that was so horrible, no way am I talking about it' deal. And likewise, Giles is an adult at the school he goes to, he might feel it wasn't wise to press him from that position of power. But it's- yes, tolerantly amused is the right word, and that's just kinda icky.

        Lrnu, rfcrpvnyyl jura lbh ybbx ng fghss yvxr, 'jr rkcrpgrq gb or pnapryyrq urer naq gura jrera'g!' be gurz yrnivat uvtu fpubby be jungrire. V xabj fbzr crbcyr qba'g pner nobhg nalguvat nsgre frevrf guerr, rira- gung'f jung, bire unys gur fubj vtaberq?

      • Jason says:

        Giles seems sort of … tolerantly amused? As if Xander just did something horribly embarrassing, rather than actually *wrong*.

        He doesn't know about the sexual assault, though. He was at the teachers' meeting when Buffy told Willow, and when he got back Willow said "Xander was with you, right Buffy?" and Buffy nods over to where he is in the cage. That's all Giles hears about it; as far as he knows, all Xander did while possessed was be mean to people and eat a pig.

        • ghaweyriao says:

          That's true! I'd always assumed Buffy and Willow told him off-screen, but that would explain his behavior at the end of the episode. I think the point still stands, though: Buffy and Willow standing there giggling about it when Xander asks if he did anything else just rings really false to me, and feels to me like the writers are making light of the situation and treating it with the same attitude as Xander eating the pig, which *is* kind of amusing and not at all on the same level.

        • Genny_ says:

          I kind of always assumed that he had enough common sense to realise that the odds of something bad happening between them (not necessarily sexual assault, mind you) were high enough that not addressing it would be A Bad Idea? IDK, s1 Giles is kind of weird in general to me.

          • ghaweyriao says:

            Jryy, erzrzore gur bayl vasbezngvba/rkcrevrapr Tvyrf unq nobhg ubj gb qrny jvgu gur Fynlre jnf sebz gur Jngpuref' Pbhapvy, naq jr nyy xabj ubj ybj n cevbevgl gurl chg ba gur Fynlre'f rzbgvbany jryy-orvat. Gung'f ubj V xvaq bs unaqjnir fbzr bs uvf onq qrpvfvbaf va gur rneyl frnfbaf, naljnl.

    • notemily says:

      The group thing is something I see on a lot of high school TV shows and movies, and in my experience the groups are nowhere near as well-defined as they are in, say, the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, where Michael describes to Cameron the Beautiful People, the Cowboys, the Coffee Kids, the White Rastas, and the Future MBAs. The book Speak has even more, including a group of girls called the Marthas who are into interior design. In actual high school the groups tend to be more nebulous and people can move between several groups. I think the US media just likes giving all the groups silly names.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, my high school experience was nothing like Buffy or what Mark describes (btw, I'm sorry your high school sucked, Mark.) While there were popular and unpopular kids, there was no animosity like you see in most American media. The kind of bullying in this episode was pretty much unheard of after middle school (which is THE WORST.) On top of that, we never went to the zoo or played dodge ball after elementary school. It's weird to me, too.

      Your last paragraph: yeah.

    • robin says:

      For the US school experience…. I suppose it must vary from school to school. My high school experience was definitely different from what we see on tv, though. I attended 2 very different high schools in the mid-90's (I was in high school while Buffy was in high school) and at neither one could I have ever told you who the "most popular" students were.

      There were the "regular kids" who were the majority. Everyone kind of looked at the band kids as poorly socialized dorks. And there were the rave/druggie kids that stuck to themselves and were seen as ~cool but unapproachable. And then the punk/goth kids that stuck to themselves. (Some of the regular kids saw them as ~cool and some saw them as freaks. Repulsion/fascination.)

      I think at most US high schools there's a general mass of students, each of whom has a personal group of friends that hangs out together. Instead of some extreme social hierarchy like you see on TV, there's just a mass of students with some unique outlaying groups who are brought together by their unique common interests like football players, band members, druggies, punk/music-obsessed, and cheerleaders. Unless you're in one of those schools that worships sports, most US students don't notice or care about homecoming king/queen, who is good at football, who's a cheerleader. In most US schools (outside that football-heavy region), they're not idolized or especially desired. And commonly the only people who care about school elections are the kids who are participating in them and are focused on using it for their college applications.

      This whole idea of a group who "rules the school" I think comes from the same fantasy place in movies/TV where we idealize royalty (visiting princes or princesses/finding out you're secretly royalty).

  38. knut_knut says:

    I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY ATE THE PRINCIPAL (whose name I’ve already forgotten…it’s been less than 24 hours since I’ve seen the episode and I’ve already forgotten his name) AND THE PIG!! HOW COULD THEY?!

    At first, I thought this episode was dragging a bit and actually started to fall asleep (I watched Buffy in lieu of a nap), BUT THEN EVERYTHING GOT REALLY INTENSE. I was NOT expecting shit to get that fucking weird- I actually thought I was watching the wrong thing O_O

    He’s wearing a light cardigan and it’s the color of an eggplant
    Totally read this as “He’s wearing an eggplant”

  39. ghaweyriao says:

    Knaqre'f sne sebz gur bayl znva punenpgre jubfr zbeny yncfrf trg rkphfrq, gubhtu. Ybbx ng Fcvxr be Jvyybj. V guvax gur ceboyrz vf yrff Knaqre-fcrpvsvp; gur punenpgref va trareny trg njnl jvgu n ybg jvgubhg ynfgvat pbafrdhraprf, naq gur rguvpny ceboyrzf bs ubyqvat crbcyr erfcbafvoyr sbe jung gurl qvq haqre cbffrffvba/n zntvp fcryy/jungrire vf arire qrnyg jvgu gubebhtuyl.

    • Avery says:

      V nterr gung gur fubj vfa'g pbafvfgrag jura vg pbzrf gb qbyvat bhg pbafrdhraprf, rfcrpvnyyl jura vg pbzrf gb zntvpnyyl-vasyhraprq orunivbe, naq gung gung'f nabgure vffhr gung nccyvrf oebnqyl gb nyy gur punenpgref. Ohg V qb guvax gurer'f na vffhr urer gung vf Knaqre-fcrpvsvp. Jung obguref zr vfa'g fb zhpu gung Knaqre'f orunivbe va guvf rcvfbqr tbg unaqjnirq, ohg gung gur fubj frrzrq zhpu zber yravrag gbjneqf uvz va trareny, cbffrffvba be ab cbffrffvba. Uvf synjf jrera'g nal zber rtertvbhf guna gur bgure punenpgref', ohg…gur fubj arire frrzrq gb gerng gurz nf synjf? Jvgu Fcvxr naq Jvyybj, lbh pbhyq nethr gung gurl tbg bss rnfl/gurl qvqa'g ngbar rabhtu/gur fubj shzoyrq gur pbafrdhraprf/rgp. sberire, ohg gur haqrefgnaqvat gung gurl unq qbar fbzrguvat jebat naq arrqrq sbetvirarff jnf hfhnyyl abg va dhrfgvba. Knaqre'f nggvghqr gbjneqf Naln naq Pbeqryvn naq uvf whqtzrag bs Ohssl, ba gur bgure unaq, jrag hapunyyratrq. Urer vg'f haqrefgbbq ur jnfa'g va pbageby bs uvf npgvbaf, fb guvf rcvfbqr vfa'g n tbbq rknzcyr. Ohg vg'f ernyyl sehfgengvat gb xabj gung guvf vf gur svefg bs znal bppnfvbaf jura ur gerngf fbzrbar greevoyl naq qbrfa'g unir gb qrny jvgu vg.

      • ghaweyriao says:

        Uzz, snve rabhtu. V qb nterr gung jung gur snaf frr nf synjf va Knaqre nera'g ernyyl gerngrq nf synjf ol gur jevgref. V'z erjngpuvat gur frevrf abj, V'yy unir gb guvax nobhg vg zber.

  40. lyvanna says:

    Any episode that finishes with the line 'mount me' is good, amirite?

    I do like this episode, though I'm sad for Flutie it is a really 'shit gets real' moment.

    And I agree that the things that Xander says are at least some reflection on his subconscious thought, but whether they're just the nasty little thoughts that you brush away or whether he's revealing his true feelings remains to be seen. I thought it was interesting that Xander seems to say that he knows Willow might have a crush on him (he says something like "until Willow stops kidding herself"), and Buffy now must definitely know that Xander has a thing for her – unless she thinks it was all hyena. Of course they're all teens and they're not exactly going to come out and say something about it afterwards but it leaves an interesting situation.

    Those four other kids are in for a lot of therapy. (OMG, every time I watch this episode I always forget Eion Bailey is in it!)

  41. Noybusiness says:

    "However, the idea that five people could be possessed by a hyena just by looking at it was just…too much?"

    But you realized later that they were possessed because they were standing in the symbol and a predatory act was performed, right?

    "Curtis Tiegler, fuck you, I hope you were run over by a pack of puppies"

    How about adding some bunnies? And those extinct carnivorous kangaroos.

    "I’m not a fan of the use of some unnamed African culture just for entertainment purposes; it felt a bit too imperialist to me. "

    I believe they said Masai specifically.

  42. tehrevel says:

    I don't think you can blame Xander for what happens in this episode. He gets possessed and unless the episode states otherwise he wasn't in control or responsible at all. I assume he was basically trapped in his own head watching himself do shitty things. You don't blame Ginny for all the terrible things that happened in Chamber of Secrets or wonder if a small part of her was acting out what she really wanted to do for example.

    • Genny_ says:

      I think the show actually could have made it clearer his possession involved him not being in control! I didn't get until like, 2/3 of the way through on my first viewing that it wasn't just 'lowers inhibitions' so much as 'actually possessed', I think? It's definitely a situation where it's whatever possesses him in control, I think. But because he fixates on Buffy, which is something *Xander* does, it isn't totally clear. It's a bit of a flaw in the writing of this episode IMO.

      • tehrevel says:

        Yeah it's true, my comparison isn't really fair. It's easier to believe Xander could have sexist pig parts that he keeps hidden than it is to believe Ginny secretly really hated mudbloods and liked killing chickens.

        • robin says:

          I think the writers definitely muddy the waters here on how much is Xander's inner ugly thoughts. Like, he knows what specifically will hurt Willow and what might lure her — Xander knows that, not the hyena. And the things he says to Buffy during the assault seem like ugly Xander things that he usually keeps locked away by his morality/superego/social constraints. The whole "you like dangerous guys" thing is obviously a deep dark simmering XANDER resentment.

          I think it's clear that Xander would never, ever do any of these things in his right mind. And he's not at fault. But unlike what was happening with Ginny, I do think that many of the things he did came from something in Xander specifically and hyena!possessed!Giles would have done & said different things.

          • notemily says:

            Gung'f n tbbq cbvag, naq bapr ntnva vg'f fvzvyne gb ubj guvf fubj qrnyf jvgu inzcver cbffrffvba. Natryhf unf Natry'f zrzbevrf, fb ur xabjf rknpgyl ubj gb uheg Ohssl gur zbfg va "Vaabprapr."

            Nyfb vg xvaq bs naablf zr gung Natry unfa'g rira fubja uvzfrys gb or qnatrebhf lrg, ohg Knaqre pnyyf uvz qnatrebhf NAQ zrna va guvf rcvfbqr. Fb sne ur'f whfg gbyq Ohssl nobhg fbzr fhcreangheny fghss, tvira ure n arpxynpr, naq tvira ure uvf wnpxrg. Jung'f zrna/qnatrebhf nobhg gung? V trg gung ur'f gur "onq obl" fgrerbglcr orpnhfr ur'f qnex naq zlfgrevbhf, ohg ur unfa'g npghnyyl QBAR nalguvat onq lrg.

        • kristinc says:

          Yeah, the thing for me is there really are a lot of guys in real life who excuse assaulting and abusing women, or just being jerks, by telling themselves women like bad boys/ "alpha males" (Google "negging" if you have a cast iron stomach). Whereas, not so much with the little girls who open secret chambers and serve gigantic snake-beings.

    • Karen says:

      No I don't think it's fair to blame Xander for his actions, exactly. But the fact that he'd rather pretend he didn't do anything and has forgotten everything instead of apologizing or making sure that Buffy was ok afterwards is just kind of cowardly and gross.

      • tanbarkie says:

        Cowardly and gross it may be, but hardly inexcusable for a scared 16 year old kid, I think.

      • echinodermata says:

        Deleted because ersrerapvat crefbanyvgl punatrf/punenpgre tebjgu va hcpbzvat frnfbaf naq sbe fnlvat/vzcylvat jr arire trg gb frr fhpu n fprar yngre ba.

        • tehrevel says:

          Woops, sorry. That was a very ill considered post. Yeah basically I think they could have dealt with the thing we are discussing alot better in this episode.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      YES, YES, YES! No Harry Potter fan says "Oh, Ginny was so horrible, she should have apologised to everyone, she is an a***." Xander has just as litte control as she does.
      I have the feeling he is disliked so much because he is a male doing this to a female.
      Snvgu trgf fb zhpu ybir sebz snaf, rira gubhtu fur cenpgvpnyyl encrq Knaqre naq gura gelrq gb xvyy uvz. Frf fur trgf orggre, ohg fur arire ncbybtvmrq sbe gung rvgure.
      I think non of the charcters ever makes a big deal out of this because Buffy doesn't feel like a victim here, even though he is strongh, she is still in control of the situation.

  43. tigerpetals says:

    Mark, your "I waved back" reminded me of Death in that early chapter of the Book Thief during the burial of Liesel's little brother. I loled.

    Principal Flutie's death was horrible to watch and I will miss him. RIP Principal Flutie.

    Obl, V jvfu Jvyybj naq Ohssl unq unq guvf pbairefngvba. V znl ybir Knaqre naq trarenyyl unir arire uryq Gur Cnpx ntnvafg uvz, ohg V guvax ur yvrq gb nibvq rire univat gb qrny jvgu vg, cynva naq fvzcyr. Ur'q arire or erzvaqrq naq pregnvayl arire uryq erfcbafvoyr – abg gung ur fubhyq or, ohg fgvyy. Jura guvf vf yngre nccyvrq gb Natry, gung jung ur qbrf juvyr vfa'g uvf snhyg, ur qbrfa'g trg gb cergraq vg arire unccrarq. Naq vg qbrf ehva uvf eryngvbafuvcf jvgu rirelbar. Ohssl naq Jvyybj, gehr gb jung unccrarq urer, qb sbetvir uvz, naq riraghnyyl Pbeqryvn ba uvf bja fubj, ohg ur unf gb qrny jvgu gur pbafrdhraprf. Bs pbhefr ur npghnyyl fhpprrqrq va xvyyvat naq rngvat crbcyr naq V qba'g oynzr crbcyr sbe abg jnagvat gb or sevraqf jvgu uvz, ohg ntnva, fgvyy. V jbhyqa'g unir oynzrq Ohssl be Jvyybj vs gurl unq qrpvqrq abg gb or sevraqf jvgu Knaqre be frr guebhtu uvf cbvag bs ivrj, rira vs V srry fbeel sbe Knaqre naq qba'g oynzr uvz.

    Basically I think it's nice of Willow and Buffy to act as if what he did had no effect on them whatsoever, but it's also too nice, considering that he seems to think he's entitled to that by lying to them to avoid being reminded of it (that doesn't factor into their decision but it's true), and they have the right to be somewhat open about the bad experiences they had without having to put his feelings first (which he isn't doing for them). Gbb onq gurer ner ab pbafrdhraprf sebz guvf rcvfbqr naq gurersber ab cebbs gung gubfr rkcrevraprf unq n onq rssrpg ba nal bs gurz.

    • ghaweyriao says:

      Guvf vf n ovt ceboyrz V unir jvgu n ybg bs gur rcvfbqrf gung qrnyg jvgu cbffrffvba, orjvgpuzragf, naq guvatf fvzvyne. Gurer'f arire ernyyl nal ynfgvat pbafrdhraprf be sbyybj hc. Naq univat gur punenpgref npgvat eryngviryl serdhragyl abg bs gurve bja jvyy znxrf vg qvssvphyg gb svaq n pyrne zbeny pbzcnff. Juvpu jbhyqa'g arprffnevyl or n onq guvat vs Ohssl jnf gelvat gb or n fhcre-zbenyyl nzovthbhf fubj, ohg vg'f abg. V'z abg fher vs V'z rknpgyl rkcerffvat jung V zrna gb fnl, ohg lrnu.

      • ghaweyriao says:

        I also agree that Willow and Buffy are a little *too* forgiving at the end of the episode for it to be entirely believable.

  44. Tat says:

    I was about two years older than the characters on the show so everything about being in high school at the time feels very authentic for me. I remember playing dodgeball often, especially when the gym teacher couldn't think of what else to do during the winter months. We also used to go on "cultural" field trips all the time that were loosely based on our studies: museums, films, the theater, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if some high schools did the zoo as well.

    In fact the only thing about Sunnydale that feels unlike my high school experience is the fact that people are allowed to go outside during school hours! I'm not sure if it's the same for everyone on the East Coast, but none of the schools in the area allowed much fresh air outside of gym class.

    • cait0716 says:

      Well their school is sort of structured around that courtyard. It acts more like a hallway than anything else and would still be considered school grounds. We saw in the first episode that the kids aren't allowed off campus.

      • Tat says:

        It's always feels weird because I have very distinct memories about how excited we would get (as 17 year-olds!) on that rare occasion when a teacher would take our class outside on a nice day to read Shakespeare or something. I wish we had a courtyard.

        Being outside for school in TV and films has always been a signifier for me that it must be a California high school. I was always jealous.

      • notemily says:

        There's a local high school near me that's like that. It has several buildings on "campus," so they can't really confine students to one building.

    • robin says:

      I was at a Southern California high school while S1 of Buffy was airing, and we were not only allowed outside but if you were 16 or older then you could leave campus during lunch to go wherever you wanted and just come back in time for your next class.

    • t09yavosaur says:

      My german class went to a christkindlmarkt for a field trip (basically shopping) just because it was an "authentic German experience".

      My school used to let seniors go off campus to eat lunch but before I got there they changed the policy. Except when you are supposed to be elsewhere or if you don't get caught though you can basically go anywhere on campus. The Wilderness Survival class were free to roam the woods some days.

      • Tat says:

        We once went to Niagara Falls (that was the third thing!) for a weekend. I don't remember why, but there was lots of shopping to be had.

        I feel like most field trips devolved into that once you realized how far you could wander.

  45. PheasantPlucker says:

    Tubfg cbffrffvba va "V Bayl Unir Rlrf sbe Lbh", nygubhtu gung'f zber bs gur 'gbgny gnxrbire' irefvba guna jung jr trg va guvf rcvfbqr.

    Knaqre arire snprf nal erny snyybhg sebz uvf qbhpuronttrel qbrf ur? Rkprcg va snaqbz, jurer ur vf fhvgnoyl erivyrq sbe orvat n wnpxnff. Ur fcraqf frira frnfbaf orunivat gur fnzr jnl, jvgu uvf fgnghf nf "orfg-sevraq naq urneg-bs-gur-tebhc" hapunatrq.

  46. ghaweyriao says:

    Does anyone else see the ad for Ann Coulter's book on the side of hte page, and find it hilarious?

  47. lula34 says:

    I'm just gonna be honest and admit that I didn't re-watch The Pack because of the whole attempted rape issue. I don't deal well with rape–implied, onscreen, in a book, attempted, whatever. Just…no. But the two things I did love about this episode: the X-Files reference and the pig. Will forever love references to the Truth (it's out there) and piggies. (Until they get eaten by a pack of teenage hyenas but whatever.)

  48. Francesca says:

    I love that you love Far/Jonah. I am seriously stoked, that makes me so happy.

  49. Amara says:

    This episode always serves as a reminder to me that Willow cryface will always reduce me to a blubbering pool of sadness.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      This! Alyson has such a talent for crying and she always makes me cry along with her.
      Fur nyfb unf rabhtu ernfba gb pel va Ohssl, cebonoyl gur bar jub pelf gur zbfg.
      Cbbe tvey, whfg yvxr Ohssl, fur pna arire unir nalguvat avpr.

      • sporkaganza93 says:

        Oh gosh, I know, right? I think this was the first emotional moment I had in the series. I can't remember if I actually cried, but I was definitely upset. Willow's sadface is just… heartbreaking.

  50. James says:

    I completely agree about the icky appropriation vibes, but I have to point out the culture/tribe is named a few times as the Maasai.

    I get Xander wanting to pretend he didn't remember. He's 16, he's pretty clearly ashamed of it, I can understand wanting to pretend it never happened. I wish things were addressed at the end, but he does give them a chance to bring it up if they want to when he asks if he did anything else embarrassing. If they had said "actually, you treated Willow like shit and tried to rape Buffy" he would've apologised for it, but they chose not to remind him. Which again, is understandable on a Watsonian level, it's just not great on a Doylian one,

    I find it interesting that he goes for Buffy like that. It makes sense on a purely animalistic level, as well as playing into his existing attraction to her. Xander's pretty clearly the alpha of the pack, he would be the one more inclined to mate. Buffy is an aggressive, strong female. They avoid her as prey for hunting, but she's a sexual target. He spends the episode sniffing her, y'know? I don't think it necessarily comes from his existing feelings, so much as his purely physical attraction. Either way, it's interesting. Horrible, but interesting.

    Poor Principle Flutie 🙁

    • ghaweyriao says:

      I tried looking up "Masai" and "animal possession" and most of the hits I got involved Buffy, go figure

      • James says:

        Oh, I'm not saying they're accurately portrayed in any way, just that they did get given a name!

        • ghaweyriao says:

          Oh, I know! I was just wondering if the writers randomly picked out the Masai or if they were basing the episode on existing legends.

  51. echinodermata says:

    I saw the name of the ep and went 'oh…this one.' It's a memorable episode, but not one I really enjoy.

    So, things:
    – I find the brunette woman in the "pack" really attractive. And I thought there was something sort of predatorish with her look so good casting choice.

    – Look Mark you were entirely right about Willow crushing on Xander!

    – Buffy and Giles training! Fun!
    <img src="; alt="Giles dressed up in padded gear while Buffy kicks and punches him">

    – A cute little piglet with a foam razorback! More fun!
    <img src="; alt="Buffy holding a piglet dressed up in a green foam razorback and a U.S. football helmet">

    – A wtf face!
    <img src="; alt="Buffy making a wtf face">

    – An annoyed face!
    <img src="; alt="Buffy and Willow sharing a look of displeasure">

    – Cheesy slo-mo of people walking!
    <img src="; alt="Brunette lady from the pack walking in slo-mo">
    (Hi attractive lady hi!)

    – But then oh goody a rape storyline. I don't like Xander so far, and while I don't hold this storyline against his character, it hardly endears me to him. Plus, since he remembers what happened, it would have been appreciated if he apologized. (Also, we never actually got to see him hit with a desk.)

    – Seriously? They ate the pincipal? Seriously?! (Aww Flutie you were pretty fun.)

    And that's about it. Basically, pretty much all the plot of this episode makes me uncomfortable and undesiring of continuing watching the episode. Don't like watching the bullies, don't like the meanness of Xander, don't like the sexual assault scene. And I get that it's all supposed to be uncomfortable, but it's way down on the 'want to rewatch' list because I find it so unpleasant to watch any scenes dealing with Xander and the pack.

    Also, needs more Cordelia.

  52. beckaboomer says:

    Ahh, The Pack. This episode brought back a lot of unpleasant memories for me – namely, middle school where I was tormented by a pack of Mean Girls. I think the show handles this issue pretty well, metaphorically speaking. I did often feel like I was facing off against a pack of very rabid, very mean dogs so.. hyenas are pretty close.

    I giggled when Buffy accused Giles of trying to "Scully" her. X-Files love!

    I think Xander is genuinely horrified and humiliated by what happened to him: hence, the feigned amnesia. It may not be the most courageous way for him to deal, but I don't think it's malicious on his part, nor do I think he would have ever been so cruel to his friends if it weren't for the possession. I get why people hate on Xander sometimes, but I can't join in. He reminds me way too much of my best friend, and a literary character I am quite attached to as well (if anyone can guess who, I will be impressed).

  53. hpfish13 says:

    So the episode guide book that came with my box set (The Chosen Collection) has a bit at the beginning where Joss lists top ten (actually its twelve) favorite episodes that he didn’t direct. The first episode he lists is this one, with this explanation.

    “My God, did we realize how dark we could go with this one. And it took us MONTHS to figure out that the episode wouldn’t work unless one of ours was infected as well—bar bs gur zbfg inyhnoyr yrffbaf sbe gur erfg bs gur fubj."

    The last bit I rot13’d for mild expectation spoilers.

    Anyway, I love this episode, it’s very daring for only the sixth episode of the show. They killed Principal Flutie!!! I will miss him, he was endearing in an awkward kind of way.

    Fb rkpvgrq sbe gbzbeebj'f rcvfbqr!

    • notemily says:

      Can you post what the other episodes are when we get to them? I'm curious!

      • hpfish13 says:

        That was my plan! It's kind of nice feeling like I have official information to contribute!

        He put together this list in particular because in Joss' words

        "I've often been asked to name my favorite ten episodes, a list that changes each time, but always seems to include a number (shock horror probe) of my own. So in recognition of the fact that the show was more than I alone could control (and conversely to brag about episodes I worked on less visibly), I include here a list of my ten favorite episodes that weren't shot by me. It is a one-of-a-kind top ten list–partially because it has twelve episodes on it.
        Sorry. I just kept remembering more…."

  54. ghaweyriao says:

    Qbrf nalobql ryfr fhfcrpg Znex npghnyyl qbrf xabj Natry vf n inzcver naq vf cergraqvat abg gb whfg gb gbl jvgu hf?

    V xabj, V xabj, V'z cnenabvq. Ohg lbh unir gb nqzvg, vg jbhyq or n oevyyvnag cyna.

    • PheasantPlucker says:

      V qba'g haqrefgnaq ubj ur pbhyq ABG xabj. RIRELOBQL xabjf. Rira crbcyr jub unir arire frra Ohssl.

      V ernyyl ernyyl ubcr ur gehyl qbrfa'g xabj, orpnhfr zl snibhevgr rkcrevrapr jvgu uvf oybt jnf frrvat uvz pbzr gb gur Fvevhf ernyvfngvba va Cevfbare bs Nmxnona sebz n pbzcyrgryl vtabenag crefcrpgvir. Vg jnf yvxr rkcrevrapvat gubfr obbxf sbe gur svefg gvzr nyy bire ntnva.

      • ghaweyriao says:

        Rfcrpvnyyl fvapr ur erivrjrq Gjvyvtug! V pna'g oryvrir ur jrag guebhtu nyy gubfr obbxf naq arire bapr pnzr npebff n pbzcnevfba bs Oryyn/Rqjneq jvgu Ohssl/Natry.

    • notemily says:

      V'z nyjnlf fhfcrpgvat Znex bs gebyyvat hf. Ba gur bgure unaq, fbzrgvzrf ur ernyyl VF pbzcyrgryl hacercnerq.

  55. rabbitape says:

    Wow, so many comments already. The Buffy fandom really is legion. And their opinions are … what's bigger than "legion"?

    I have the stomach flu, so I'm a little light on coherence today. And I definitely don't have the mental fortitude for all the rot13 floating around.

    I will say, it's a totally understandable reaction to defend Xander and his actions under possession, but what if his behavior hadn't stopped where it did? What if Buffy hadn't knocked him out with a desk, or he had participated in the eating of Flutie?

    I loved Xander when I first watched the show, and I was relieved not to be faced with those questions at the time. But now I think those are some pretty important issues. And I can't help feeling like there is a degree of culpability — not for what he did as a hyena, but for how he approached his actions afterward.

    Anyway, all this typing is making me dizzy, and I need to re-dose on all my delightful anti-sickness medications. Yay, flu!

  56. maisontv says:

    Mark, I laughed for five minutes straight at your opening for this post. That is pretty much exactly what it is like to be a Whedon fan. Might as well get used to it now.

    I forgot this episode was so early in the season. It's the first time things really get real as far as death in Sunnydale. The other episodes so far have killed off characters we've just been introduced to in that episode, but here they kill off someone we've had some time to get to know and possibly become attached to.

    • MandaCookie says:

      And you know, Joss is criticized by so many for it. Ubj ur xvyyf bss znal punenpgref, especially. What I don't think Whedon-haters realize is how much we love univat bhe urnegf evccrq bhg.

      Current Supernatural spoilers: V'z rfcrpvnyyl hcfrg jvgu gur pheerag frnfba, orpnhfr rkrp. ceb. Fren Tnzoyr vf gelvat gb erghea gb frnfba 1 sbez jvgu gur fubj. Xvyyvat bss Obool naq Pnfgvry gb unir Fnz naq Qrna ba gurve bja, naq ergheavat gb gur Zbafgre-bs-gur-Jrrx frg-hc. Gur ceboyrz vf, jr'er va frnfba 7 abj, naq jr'ir ybat-fvapr zbirq ba sebz gung. Gur fubj pna'g ubyq arj punenpgref, naq unf n erchgngvba sbe xvyyvat gurz bss, gbb. Ohg va n qvssrerag frafr orpnhfr gurl snvy gb ubyq vagrerfg be svaq gurve sbbgvat engure guna gb znxr hf srry gur vzcnpg bs vg. V'ir orra ernyyl qvfnccbvagrq jvgu guvf fubj bs yngr. Naq V guvax V'z haqrefgnaqvat gur jnl crbcyr srry nobhg Ohssl'f svany gjb frnfbaf (fvapr V jngpurq gurz shyyl ba QIQ gur svefg gvzr, znenguba'q). Gur gjb fubjf unir n ybg bs cnenyyryf, naq V svaq zlfrys pbzcnevat gurz n ybg.

      • maisontv says:

        Rknpgyl. Nz V hcfrg gung n punenpgre V ybir jnf xvyyrq bss be fbzrguvat greevoyr unccrarq? Lrf. Pna V nyfb erpbtavmr naq nccerpvngr gung Jurqba unf fgbel-eryngrq ernfbaf sbe znxvat zr srry guvf jnl? Lrf. V qb guvax ur'f fgnegrq gb bire-hfr gung fgbel-gryyvat qrivpr erpragyl, ohg birenyy V guvax ur'f qbar n tbbq wbo jvgu vg.

        re: Supernatural: V tnir hc ba Fhcreangheny ng gur raq bs ynfg frnfba (Tbq!Pnfgvry jnf gur svany fgenj sbe zr ohg Qrna renfvat uvzfrys sebz Yvfn naq Ora'f zrzbevrf jnf jurer V fgnegrq pbafvqrevat gung znlor V arrqrq gb qvibepr guvf fubj), ohg V'ir orra xrrcvat hc ba gur fcbvyref naq V'z tynq V yrsg. N erghea gb onfvpf vfa'g cbffvoyr nsgre rkcnaqvat bhg vagb gur zlgubybtl yvxr gurl qvq. Ner gurl sbetrggvat gung gur fubj qvqa'g ernyyl uvg vg'f fgevqr hagvy gurl fgnegrq qbvat zber vaibyirq zlgu-nepf?

        V pna'g oryvrir gurl xvyyrq Obool. Vs V jnfa'g nyernql tbar, gung jbhyq unir qbar vg.

        • MandaCookie says:

          More Supernatural, and I'm sorry. Argh, off-topic-ness.

          Gur rcvfbqr vgfrys, guvf ynfg bar, jnf npghnyyl irel tbbq. Vg zbirq zr, naq oebhtug zr gb gung zvfgl-rlrq-arff V trg orpnhfr V qba'g npghnyyl pel. Vg jnf n orggre rcvfbqr guna gur frnfba unf orra, naq frrzrq gb or zber n purnc oybj orpnhfr bs vg. V'z fgvpxvat jvgu vg orpnhfr Zvfun Pbyyvaf vf ergheavat (va JUNGRIRE sbez), naq V jnag gb frr ubj gurl unaqyr vg. Vg'q unir orra avpr vs gurl xrcg uvz uhzna yvxr ur jnf ng gur raq bs frnfba 5, abg xvyyrq uvz, naq xrcg uvz nf n erthyne naq trg npghny punenpgre qrirybczrag. Ohg Pnf vf nyfb bar bs gubfr ybir uvz/ungr uvz punenpgref nzbat snaqbz.

  57. Inseriousity. says:

    I loved dodgeball at school. Was the only sport where being a small skinny boy came in handy! -shudders at the thought of rugby- although we didnt play it like they did, it was just a free-for-all-hide-behind-tallest-person-you-can-find game.

    I think this is a fairly good ep. It does go to dark places. I love that you don't see the scene of him being eaten but it focuses on a picture on his desk that just makes you think of his family and how happy he must've been. Then again, Willow cries and my heart breaks 🙁

  58. Almost four years after I first watched this show and I still don't know how to feel about the ending of the episode. On one hand, I feel like even if he wasn't directly responsible for his behavior, the descent thing to do would be to at least apologize. On the other hand, I can definitely understand how becoming possessed, losing control, and almost raping one of his friends and then almost getting his best friend since childhood killed would be deeply traumatizing for him. Then my brain goes in a circle and says "Exactly! Those are awful terrible things and he should be on the ground groveling for forgiveness! Traumatizing for him?? What about Willow and Buffy?" But in the real world, there's no such thing as being possessed so it's hard to figure out what would be the best thing to do in such a situation. And honestly, as much as Xander annoys me sometimes I feel more than just a little bad for him. I think if I was in his shoes I wouldn't even be able to function after something like that and remembering all of it. Hell, you'd probably have to fight with me to get me to even leave the house ever again.


    But, as a kid who was bullied extensively in elementary, middle, and even early high school, it really, really creeps me out how well the pack analogies in this episode reflect reality. I remember literally being cornered in bathroom stalls by groups of kids and having them beat the shit out of me, and I always felt like some rabbit being stalked by a bunch of foxes or wolves or something. It's like you can see this predatory instinct in their faces, and you notice them watching every student carefully for any sign of being different or weak and then stalking after the poor kid once they find a target. It's really fucking creepy.
    Also, I feel really bad for the other "pack" kids even though they were assholes at the beginning, because holy shit they ate their principal alive and we know they can remember it. And worse they can't even seek therapy because how do you explain to a therapist that you were possessed by a hyena and murdered and cannibalized someone? If the school really did just explain it away that it was wild dogs, then no one is even going to approach them about it. I don't know, maybe/hopefully there's some secret therapy agency in Sunnydale to help people dealing with supernatural-related trauma (and it wouldn't surprise me if there was), and Giles can send them there or something.

  59. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    And I do genuinely enjoy how this ends, though the reveal of the zookeeper's true intentions had me frowning a bit. I'm not a fan of the use of some unnamed African culture just for entertainment purposes; it felt a bit too imperialist to me. That being said, I am going to exercise my own personal canon for the fate of the zookeeper and imagine that the show is saying that if white people try to appropriate the culture of other folks, they’ll be eaten alive by hyenas. This pleases me greatly.

    I'm also not a fan of the use of generic ethnic music and in this case it sounds like someone found the Lion King preset on their synth and just let it run for a bit.

    Actually, the African culture is named (it's the Maasai) but remains unrepresented on screen. So, in my version of the ending, the Maasai tribesman who has been tracking the idiot that stole some dangerous hyenas burst in and saves Willow, knocking said idiot into the hyena cage before making a righteous speech about having to clear up the mess made by westerners who don't understand how things work.

    I didn't comment much last week, while the new server was being sorted, but I wanted to say something about the mythical themes that Buffy is accessing and what baggage they bring with them. Thus far, I think only Witch has succeeded, really. The idea of an evil female witch is loaded with quite a lot of misogyny, but the actual story didn't portray her as inherently or inexplicably evil, even though she spent it doing terrible things. It preserved her humanity and you could see the pressures that led her down a terrible path, even while not agreeing with choices she made. Even without considering generic and sexist depictions of women, that's just more interesting.

    Teacher's Pet on the other hand just reads, to me, as the fear of female sexuality and loss of control writ large as fantastical horror. There's nothing really to relate to there, unless you buy into the idea that women are scary – and then I'd much rather that idea was challenged than reinforced.

    The Pack finds inspiration in the likes of The Cat Peoplebut doesn't really address the orientalist/exotic baggage that comes with it. So that's disappointing. But also by making the hyenas take full control of the students, it somewhat robs the bullying metaphor of its power. Sure you get the effects of extreme bullying, writ large, but no insight into the bullies or even any sense of moral agency or choice on their part. They just end up being victims of this exotic, unexplained, force.

    Also, in order for the script to allow the possessed students to do something really terrible, they have to contrive to have Xander elsewhere, attempting something almost as bad, but which he cannot succeed in (because Buffy is too strong for him). Now there is still a consequence – because Xander knows what he tried to do and cannot bring himself to acknowledge that, for Buffy's sake. Yes, she could deal with it, but it was still traumatic and he should have tried to make it right with her.

    On the other hand, though, we don't see the consequences for the remainder of the pack, who now have to live the memories of eating their principal. Except in my version, where the Maasai tribesman stays around to help them (and Xander) come to terms with what they were made to do. Which isn't perfect buy would at least show someone taking some responsibility and trying to make things better.

    All in all, I think they could have put a much more interesting spin on things than they did.

    Interestingly, they haven't actually done much with the vampire mythology so far. Or, rather, they've deflated it – as part of the inversion of pretty blonde victim, they've turned what's traditionally the single, powerful, mysterious and sexual figure into a mass of unattractive slayer-fodder. That's quite refreshing – trashing mythology is as viable an approach as reinventing it.

  60. Mary Sue says:

    In memoriam, Principal Flutie.
    We hardly knew ye, before you became…
    tasty? snack-y?

    Hm. Guess I won't quit my job to become a poet.

    And yes, we did a zoo trip in high school, and it was just this kind of zoo trip, complete with a worksheet to fill out to make the trip theoretically 'educational'. Which was even more freakin' funny because the zoo was also an amusement park, so there were 'physics' questions regarding roller coasters, too. I'm a year older than Buffy, beeteedub, so my trip would have been at about the same time.


  61. fantasylover120 says:

    No we sometimes played dodgeball in my high school PE class. I hated it then too (and that line by the coach is beautiful and accurate) I have no commentary on the zoo trip or Flutie being there. It was probably all just because it was convenient for those circumstances to be there.
    I still miss Flutie. He was good for some laughs.
    Show of hands, who couldn't eat bacon or sausage for awhile after this ep? ;raises hand;
    I sort of understand why Xander pretended to forget even if I don't agree with it. He's probably disturbed by what he did and is wrestling with the knowledge of these dark parts in him that he possibly didn't realize existed. Being a teenager he probably doesn't want to cope so instead he pushes it away and buries that knowledge. Not cool, I agree, but it makes sense for Xander's character to me.

  62. Aria says:

    Ab, vg vf abg, naq vg vfa'g ernyyl qrnyg jvgu va "Cunfrf" orlbaq:
    OHSSL: Lbh fnvq lbh qvqa'g erzrzore gung.
    KNAQRE: V fnvq V qvqa'g erzrzore gung.
    Fb, lbh xabj . . . abg qrnyg jvgu ng nyy.

  63. shyfully says:

    This was one of the few episodes where the metaphor to real high school stuff didn't work for me. Doing a story line about bullying and attempted rape would be good. Doing a story line where characters are possessed and forced to act on their darkest impulses without their free will would be good. But those two things together? Not so good for me. Maybe it could have been if the ending had treated Xander's and to a lesser extent, the other pack member's, experiences in a more complex light, looking at how doing those things would shake someone like Xander, who obviously thinks of himself as a good and moral person, so having him at the end kind of in a state of shock that he would have acted that way and had it come, at least a small bit, from his own impulses but without his tempering qualities able to be at play… that would have been interesting. Instead it was treated like an embarrassing joke. So, no points from me on that.

    I thought Buffy with the pig was really cute. That was a freaking adorable pig.

    Also, Flutie's death! That surprised me on first viewing immensely. Flutie was really not cut out to run a school filled with evil stuff happening, poor guy. RIP the Flutemeister.

    I found the music in this episode to be over the top with the all the CHANTING and the DRUMS and AFRICA DO YOU GET IT. Show, I got it. Shhhhh.

    I really, really loved that Willow started researching hyenas when they figured out what was up with Xander.

    Also, fun fact: I never went to high school, so I just assumed that everything in Buffy was pretty accurate in terms of class trips and dodgeball etc. Anyway, inaccurate or not, I did love the dodgeball scene. I was pretty lucky in my dodgeball experiences, I guess! At my junior high everyone just tried to hit their friends since who cared about all those other people or hide all the balls on one side to be annoying to that one group of guys who were trying to actually play the game. I thought all the acting was pretty good for season one of a nineties show standards in that scene! They expressed all this stuff without speaking! Gold stars all around, especially for Willow for the face she made when she got taken out.

    Anyway, not a favorite episode of mine, but I do like how it upped the stakes in terms of what the show is willing to do.

    • lyvanna says:

      "V sbhaq gur zhfvp va guvf rcvfbqr gb or bire gur gbc jvgu gur nyy gur PUNAGVAT naq gur QEHZF naq NSEVPN QB LBH TRG VG. Fubj, V tbg vg. Fuuuuu. "

      Bu ab, V'z whfg guvaxvat sbejneq gb Vapn Zhzzl Tvey abj…

    • Tat says:

      I actually felt for Xander a lot in this episode. Not because I ever would go so far as rape, but there's something that takes over when you're almost accepted that can be quite evil. I once was Xander (in this episode) and it wasn't until my best friend was in tears that I realized "criticism" isn't saying awful things you think are right to people. It's having a discussion where you hear opinions. If you don't have that you can become just a bully. It's why this episode is so good.

  64. Bill says:

    I'm surprised you don't like Xander, but only sorta. I get the dislike. Maybe if I watched season 1 again I would hate him too? I don't remember it that well.

  65. etherealclarity says:

    "…it's possession-free Xander that should act like a decent person and apologize and check on her emotional state, regardless of whether he was directly responsible or not."

    Well, yeah, probably. But I don't see how this is unforgivable given that he is also a victim of the zookeeper, that he himself might have some emotional trauma from the incident that he would prefer not to rehash at that time (and to me it seems like the episode implies this, nf jryy nf yngre jura gurl pnyy onpx gb vg va Cnatf). It's not the best thing for him to do, to pretend he doesn't remember, but it doesn't seem to justify the onslaught of hate that is coming his way in this comment thread.

    • arctic_hare says:

      It's not really played as him having emotional trauma, though, the end of the episode treats it like he's merely embarrassed at what happened. And there's no "probably", he DEFINITELY should ask her how she is, at the very least. He should be concerned with what she went through as the person who was nearly sexually assaulted, instead the episode reads as though he's more concerned with covering up a somewhat embarrassing incident akin to, as notemily put it, running around the school naked.

      Also, I'd appreciate it if you would not be dismissive towards people's legit opinions and concerns with terms like "onslaught of hate".

      • etherealclarity says:

        To me the situation seemed played as both embarrassment and shame, and to me it seems as though it hinted at a deeper sort of trauma he was dealing with, though I understand if it did not come across that way to other people. I am personally more apt to be forgiving of his lack of appropriately addressing the issue with Buffy because it seems like he is dealing with the trauma. I still do not understand why people do not seem to be acknowledging his victimhood here, however.

        My comment about an onslaught of hate was in no way meant to be dismissive, and I apologize if it came across that way. I am genuinely trying to understand what feels to me to be a reaction that seems out of proportion to the crime, not to criticize or dismiss those who are experiencing said reaction.

        • arctic_hare says:

          No one is denying that he wasn't himself during the assault. What we are taking issue with seems to be a few things:

          1) That he preferred to pretend he didn't know what happened instead of check on how his friend was holding up after what he did to her in that state.

          2) That the episode played all that off for laughs in the ending, rather than treating it as seriously as it should've been.

          I'm also heartily disturbed by Giles' part in covering up Xander's lie, that either way no one is talking about how Buffy feels, and that the writers wrote her and Willow as brushing the whole thing off. I don't think that's terribly realistic, they should show some effects afterwards, perhaps even be a bit uncomfortable around Xander for a while. Yes, logically and rationally, we all know he ultimately wasn't responsible for it. But emotional responses don't always tend to work that way, and I think it's incredibly emotionally dishonest to write them at the end of the episode as laughing and shrugging it off. It's not that different from how there's been criticism of the most recent series of DW for certain characters not seeming to show enough emotion about a traumatic experience.

          • etherealclarity says:

            I definitely agree with you that the situation wasn't treated with the kind of emotional weight in the show that it probably deserved.

            (Just a note: Some people here ARE saying that it was Xander during the assault, just Xander being more predatory.)

            I again have to question though – you keep saying that he should check up on her after "what he did to her in that state". Again you continue to come back to what "he did", when in fact he was not "at the wheel", so to speak.

            And yes, most normal human beings would feel some guilt about this regardless, but I still do not see you acknowledging that his body was hijacked by something outside of his control, and that this would logically lead to some trauma and feelings of shame and embarrassment that he didn't really deserve. Just as Buffy did not deserve to be attacked. If the show does not focus enough on Buffy and Willow having a normal emotional reaction – feeling violated in Buffy's case and feeling hurt in Willow's – to Xander-hyena's treatment of them, then it also does not focus enough on Xander having a normal emotional reaction from being violated the way he was. If we are scrutinizing the episode as if both of these reactions actually happened, why is Xander's violation ignored when examining his decision to pretend to not remember the incident? And if we are examining the episode as you saw it (hand-waving and all) and Xander only feels embarrassed and not violated, why are we criticizing him for not addressing the hurt and violation that neither Buffy nor Willow display (given that they both are adamant about believing that Xander was not responsible)?

            Instead, the show generally hand-waves both reactions away in favor of a more humorous ending, and I understand why this would cause a great deal of dislike for the episode.

            What I still do not understand is the lack of acknowledging Xander as a victim, not just as "not in control", but an actual genuine victim.

            • arctic_hare says:

              Oh FFS. I have repeatedly said that I don't deny that he wasn't in control of himself. How is that not clear to you? Moreover, how does that absolve him of the basic responsibility of seeing if she's all right afterwards? He had no choice during. But he had a choice afterwards and made what many of us feel is the wrong and insensitive one. It doesn't matter that Buffy and Willow aren't showing any hurt or violation, he still should be inquiring into their wellbeing, particularly Buffy's. His embarrassment DOES NOT TAKE PRIORITY OVER WHAT SHE MAY BE FEELING. And like it or not, the episode frames it as something that is merely embarrassing for Xander, not traumatic. No attention is given to how Buffy felt, and indeed, it's brushed off entirely. Which is another gross issue in itself.

              It also makes me uncomfortable that so many people are more concerned with examining the attempted rape of Buffy in terms of how it makes XANDER feel. IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT HIM. Yes, he was possessed, but he wasn't being directly controlled by anyone else and he remembers what he did while under that influence. It's dishonest and callous for him to not acknowledge that.

              • etherealclarity says:

                I understand that you are not saying Xander is in control. That is very clear to me, as I said in the last comment. I was simply pointing out that your language implies some kind of agency.

                As another commentor mentioned, if Xander was not in control, then the attempted rape was attempted rape for both of them, not just for Buffy. He did not consent to sex in that scenario, no matter how much he liked Buffy or how attracted to her he was.

                And as a concerned friend, Xander definitely should have admitted that he remembered the incident and asked after the well being of his friend. I am not denying this. I have never denied this. But in view of Xander's own experiences, I think he should get a pass on this one. Especially since, like it or not, the episode frames it as though Buffy brushes the whole thing off. Pregnvayl Knaqre qbrf znal guvatf va yngre rcvfbqrf gung qb abg qrfreir n cnff jungfbrire, naq V jbhyqa'g gel gb tvir uvz bar.

                "It also makes me uncomfortable that so many people are more concerned with examining the attempted rape of Buffy in terms of how it makes XANDER feel. IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT HIM."

                Agreed, it is not ALL about him. It seems as though you are saying it is not about him at ALL, though, which is what I disagree with. That we should be ignoring any potential trauma that Xander has for any potential trauma that Buffy has. Xander's feelings do not take precedence over Buffy's here, but neither should her potential feelings take precedence over his potential feelings.

                • arctic_hare says:

                  Xander has agency when he chooses to pretend to have forgotten what happened. I don't think he deserves a pass on that.

                  Thing is, it was brought up on the spoiler blog that there isn't really a real world equivalent to the possession. Rape and sexual assault, on the other hand? Distressingly common. So when the show brushes aside her trauma, it feels horribly similar to how real life survivors get their pain brushed aside. Combine that with the fact that you and others seem to be more concerned with examining a trauma that Xander doesn't show and uninterested in whatever pain she may be feeling and hiding, and yeah, I'm a bit annoyed. SHE was the one who got her personal space violated by someone she trusted, therefore I do think her feelings take priority.

                  • etherealclarity says:

                    I am not uninterested in her potential trauma. I am simply picking up on your uninterest in Xander's potential trauma – or even whether or not he has any – and reacting to that. If we are to examine her trauma, I think it is only fair that we examine whether or not he has any as well. Especially considering that, as I pointed out, he did not give consent either. Even if possession does not have a real-world equivalent, he still has that to contend with.

                    I repeat – I am NOT saying that Xander requires more attention than Buffy, or that giving him a pass means his feelings take precedence. I am simply saying that it seems unfair to declare that we should be examining Buffy's lack of visible reaction to the situation (ENTIRELY FAIR) but that we shouldn't examine or even care at all about Xander's (less fair).

                    What you are seeing in the thread is a lot of importance heaped on Xander's reaction and none on Buffy's. It seems like you are reacting very strongly to that, and I understand that. That said, I still do not think it is appropriate to state that Buffy's reaction is the ONLY reaction that matters here.

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      I'm just going to direct you to Genny_'s comments in this thread, specifically this one and this one, because they summed up perfectly how I feel on the matter.

                      I would also like to point out that when Xander chooses to lie about his memory or lack thereof about the incident, he is denying her the chance to have an honest conversation with him about it and to process her experience with all the facts in place. He is KNOWINGLY taking away her agency, much as agency was taken from him when he got possessed, and it is for HIS own good.

                    • James says:

                      He does give her an opportunity to bring it up and discuss it when he asks – knowing that the answer is 'yes' – if there was anything else he did that he should know about. It's not the best, most sensitive or eloquent way he could've done it, but he's sixteen. Buffy and Willow decide not to bring it up.

                      I don't think this is the best way for the show to have handled it, but he does give her a chance to talk about it and she chooses not to. Of course, if she knew he remembered, she may have responded differently to that question. The show frequently has the problem of being consistent from a Watsonian perspective but being really problematic when it comes to the Doylian.

              • etherealclarity says:

                To clarify my previous comment: I understand that you are reacting to the lack of examining Buffy's experiences. I really, really do, and I think that is entirely valid. But it feels like you have swung entirely in the opposite direction. You said in a previous comment that you do not care how Xander feels at all, that nothing excuses his decision to pretend not to remember, because Buffy is the one that experienced sexual assault. But this view seems to ignore that Xander too was a victim of sexual assault, because he didn't consent either.

                • Genny_ says:

                  While I get the reasoning behind that concept, something about it is triggering my alarm bells because it sounds suspiciously similar to arguments like, 'well sure he abused her, but he was abused as a kid'. Experiencing trauma yourself doesn't justify potentially hurting others in similar situations. Xander having gone through something horrible like that doesn't make it OK for him to risk Buffy not being able to deal with her own trauma, and while it's not an incomprehensible thing for him to want to do, it being understandable doesn't make it okay. Because that just basically says, 'Xander is more important than Buffy, and so is his trauma'. Or, 'Xander was a victim of the assault too, so what Xander needs should be taken into account *at the expense of Buffy*'.

                  If we say, 'they both went through trauma', then that does not make it any more acceptable, or less immoral, for Xander to lie and be dismissive about it in a way that might hurt Buffy. If we say it does, then we basically say that Xander's way of dealing with it is *more important* than whatever Buffy needs. And when we reach a point where a victim is getting, 'it's not as important as-' then I think that needs to be re-examined, tbh.

                  • etherealclarity says:

                    Failing to inquire upon your friend's mental state after being abused is hardly on the same scale of transgression as abusing someone yourself though, is it?

                    And I've never been trying to make the point that it was okay for Xander to feign ignorance, just that it is understandable under the circumstances. Not that his trauma is more important and that's why he gets a pass, but rather that the situation is understandable and he gets a pass because the transgression is slight.

                    I do get that not everyone would want to give him a pass on that. What I don't get is why people seem to be so vitrolic about hating Xander because of this one thing. Gurer ner pregnvayl cyragl bs gehyl yrtvg, varkphfnoyr ernfbaf gb or natel ng uvz yngre. V whfg guvax gurer'f orra fbzrguvat bs na bireernpgvba gb guvf cnegvphyne guvat.

                    • Genny_ says:

                      …No, but that doesn't change the fact that it's essentially a justification of something by saying, 'well they experienced trauma too!'. It may not be as bad, but the argument still essentially says, 'it's okay to hurt a trauma victim if you yourself were a victim'.

                      Also, the concept that he gets a 'pass' because withholding information from Buffy about her assault is slight is… ridiculous. a) nothing to do with sexual assault is 'slight' really and b) if he hurts her 'a little' he still *hurts her* and I don't see why anyone gets a pass on that shit. Understandable: nothing like a synonym for 'excusable'.

                      If you don't see why people might really hate a male character for being flippant about his female friend's attempted assault for his own gain in a culture like the one Buffy was written in, I seriously don't see much point in continuing this discussion.

                    • tactless says:

                      I don't disagree, but where was you righteous fury over the handwave at the end of "Teacher's Pet"

                    • Genny_ says:

                      I was actually very pissed off about that, though I wasn't around the comments as much. I hate that fucking episode.

          • arctic_hare says:

            We can guess all we like about what might have happened offscreen, but in the end, all we get is what happened onscreen, and so I am going by that.

          • Pt_0 says:

            Sorry for butting in on your conversation.

            I would just like to say that I had a great dislike for how Xander "blew off" what happened, but didn't quite figure out why.
            You managed to explain exactly why it bothered me so much in a more eloquent way than I would have been able to, so thanks for that. 🙂

  66. Gwen says:

    I skipped this episode when I watched Buffy (I skipped a lot of episodes when I watched it, to be honest), pretty much because I didn't want to deal with the attempted rape scene and its subsequent dismissal (unq dhvgr rabhtu bs gung jura jngpuvat Tb Svfu, gung rcvfbqr jnf yvxr gur bssvpvny Encr Rcvfbqr, jvgu obahf!qvfzvffvir!Tvyrf oehfuvat bss Ohssl sraqvat bss n frkhny nffnhyg, jung gur penc). So I don't have a lot to say about it that hasn't been said already, but:
    – They might be having a field trip to the zoo (chaperoned by Principal Flutie) because they're having difficulty replacing their biology teacher? I mean, I'm sure that high school has tons of problems with filling in faculty slots, but losing two biology teachers to death in half a week can really give a "Defense Against the Dark Arts" vibe to biology teaching in Sunnydale. In the mean time, school must go on–and what's more biological than a zoo field trip to watch zebras mating and stuff?
    – It might be that Willow and Buffy give Xander a free pass on the "I don't remember anything!" thing partly because they too want to pretend that what happened this episode never happened (and in particular that it was in no way influenced by Xander's desires). If Xander doesn't remember anything, then he must not have really been in the driver's seat, it was all the hyena spirit talking, and we don't have to talk about it or even acknowledge what happened at all. If he can forget and move on, so can we.

    • ghaweyriao says:

      I like your explanation about the biology teachers, but I fear that you have just put way more thought into this than the writers ever did.

      I really don't understand Buffy and Willow's reactions to the sexual assault in this episode.

      Jnvg, jung unccrarq va "Tb Svfu" ntnva? V whfg fxvccrq gung rcvfbqr gur svefg gvzr V jngpurq frnfba gjb orpnhfr V ernyyl jnagrq gb trg gb gur svanyr, naq V qba'g guvax V jnf ernyyl cnlvat nggragvba gur frpbaq gvzr.

      • ghaweyriao says:

        V'z ortvaavat gb abg yvxr Tvyrf nf zhpu, erjngpuvat gur frevrf. Abg gung V qba'g yvxr uvz n ybg, ohg gurer'f n ybg bs penccl fuvg ur qvq gung xvaq bs trgf tybffrq bire.

      • Gwen says:

        B.X., fb svefg, Ohssl'f va gur pne jvgu Pnzreba, sebz gur fjvz grnz. Ur'f nyy jnkvat cbrgvpnyyl nobhg gur bprna naq fghss, fur'f "fb pbzsl, [fur'f] abqqvat bss npghnyyl, juvpu vf jul… " jura ur fgnegf trggvat jrveqyl frkhnyyl ntterffvir: "Ner lbh jrnevat n oen? […] Pbzr ba. V zrna, gryy zr lbh unira'g orra guvaxvat nobhg guvf rire fvapr ynfg avtug." gb juvpu Ohssl ernfbanoyl erfcbaqf "Jung V'z guvaxvat nobhg vf gung V fubhyq cebonoyl trg bhg bs guvf pne…". Gura ur ybpxf ure va gb gur pne, fnlvat "Erynk. V'z abg tbaan uheg lbh.", fnlf fur "yvxr[f] vg ebhtu", naq ernpurf gb chg uvf nez nebhaq ure. Fur hfrf guvf nf yrirentr gb oernx uvf abfr ba uvf fgrrevat jurry. Arkg fprar unf ure gelvat gb rkcynva gung fur jnf orvat nggnpxrq, juvyr Falqre naq gur pbnpu bayl pner nobhg jurgure Pnzreba jvyy or noyr gb fjvz ng gur arkg zrrg, naq Falqre gryyf Ohssl gung fur arrqf gb "gel gb qerff zber nccebcevngryl sebz abj ba. Guvf vfa'g n qnapr pyho", fvapr Pnzreba pynvzrq gung Ohssl jnf "yrnq[vat] [uvz] ba." ("Pbzr ba. Ybbx ng gur jnl fur qerffrf.")

        Fb sne, whfg nabgure jrveqyl haqrecynlrq frkhny nffnhyg va gur Ohsslirefr. Hacyrnfnag, ohg snveyl ernyvfgvp, naq V jbhyqa'g unir n ceboyrz jvgu vg vs fur tbg fhccbeg sebz ure sevraqf. (Jvyybj tbg zber fhccbeg sbe Falqre gryyvat ure gb punatr Tntr'f tenqr va gur pbzchgre pynff fur'f orvat vyyrtnyyl znqr gb grnpu!) Vafgrnq, jr trg guvf jrveq fpraryrg (pbcvrq sebz gur genafpevcg urer:)

        "Phg gb gur yvoenel. Ohssl fgnaqf orgjrra gur pntr naq gur gnoyr naq gnyxf gbjneq gur gnoyr oruvaq gur pnzren.

        Ohssl: Fb V'z gerngrq yvxr gur onqqvr whfg orpnhfr ur unf n fcenvarq jevfg naq n oybbql abfr. (pbafvqref) Naq V qba'g unir n fpengpu ba zr, juvpu, tenagrq, uhegf zl pnfr n yvggyr ba gur fhesnpr, ohg zrnajuvyr ur trgf njnl jvgu vg orpnhfr ur'f ba gur 'nera'g jr gur zbfg' fjvz grnz…

        Gur pnzren phgf gb fubj Knaqre, Tvyrf naq Jvyybj fghqlvat n ahzore bs obbxf ng gur gnoyr. Gurl nyy ybbx hc ng ure.

        Ohssl: …jub, ol gur jnl, vs ab bar'f abgvprq, unir orra npgvat yvxr erny wrexf yngryl…

        Fur abgvprf gurve rkcerffvbaf bs vzcngvrapr naq gevrf gb svaq fbzr flzcngul gurer. Gurl unir abar gb tvir.

        Ohssl: Fb, (tvttyrf areibhfyl) nalguvat arj jvgu lbh thlf? (fvgf)

        Tvyrf: Gunax lbh sbe gnxvat na vagrerfg. Nccneragyl, fbzr erznvaf jrer sbhaq ba gur ornpu guvf zbeavat. Fbzr uhzna erznvaf."

        naq gurl nyy tb ba gb gnyx nobhg gur erznvaf naq gur rcvfbqr'f zlfgrel zbafgre fvghngvba. V zrna, frevbhfyl? "Gunax lbh sbe gnxvat na vagrerfg"? Tvyrf va Tb Svfu whfg tnir zr nyy xvaqf bs synfuonpxf gb Tvyrf va Urycyrff (V jngpurq gur fubj bhg bs beqre) naq abg, lbh xabj, va n tbbq jnl.

    • robin says:

      " It might be that Willow and Buffy give Xander a free pass on the "I don't remember anything!" thing partly because they too want to pretend that what happened this episode never happened (and in particular that it was in no way influenced by Xander's desires). "
      You make an interesting point here, because when you think about it… this little group is kind of dysfunctionally held together through mass denial (and evil fighting): Xander pretends he doesn't know Willow has romantic intentions towards him, Buffy pretends she doesn't know Xander has romantic intentions towards her, Willow pretends she doesn't bear any resentment about Xander's feelings towards Buffy, Willow & Xander pretend publicly that nothing has changed in their friendship and that they have no thwarted romantic feelings.

      • Gwen says:

        It's like the Scoobies have their own version of Sunnydale Denial Syndrome–they'll acknowledge the existence of vampires and witches and hyena possessing spirits, but they won't acknowledge any of the emotional effects of what happens to them or to other people. I mean, just so far: have they mentioned Jesse again, or talked about his death, or attended his funeral? Touched base with Amy, or Blaine, to check for long-term damage? Buffy seems to have forgotten her date (well, "date") with Owen, as discussed elsewhere. So the "let's pretend this never happened" technique is not unique to this episode at all.
        It's really dysfunctional, and it seems kind of weird to me that so far the show hasn't called them out on it. (This is one way wherein Cordelia's tactlessness can put her at odds with the group.)

  67. Meg H. says:

    When I was first watching this show with my friend, she pointed out how the hyena "pack" of bullies was like the Cullens. And at first I was like, "Pff, no, because these guys are actually SUPPOSED to be unpleasant," but from now on, every time I watch this episode, I CANNOT UNSEE IT. They're like the Cullens if they'd actually done what vampires are supposed to do and EAT THINGS. They already have the superiority complex and shiny hair, as well.

    okay going back to hide in shame forever please ignore this comment

  68. hamnoo says:

    I love Far in this episode too!
    I remember endlessly repeating that scene, over and over, because it was just so cool.

    And re: your take on Whedon: I actually enjoy the way he fucks with the viewer. Call me a masochist, but I love him for laughing while pushing one down the edge.
    And maybe it's because Buffy is my first love and will never leave my heart, but I think Joss Whedon also trumps Moore and Eick.

    Because he celebrates it. He laughs and expects you to join. He doesn't undermine the pain and the shock of the thing, but he also sees another angle.

  69. robin says:

    "Is it okay for me to assume that even though he was possessed, he was still acting out some subconscious thoughts of his own? " This is what I've generally assumed as well. I think this is one of those things where the viewer interprets the canon and there's no right answer. But I tend to agree with you in this case. I think of it like… Jesse as a vampire. Becoming a vampire gave him a "demon" that retained his personality and interests (from what we could see from that little bit of screen time anyway) but did not keep his empathy, morality, ingrained social constraints… And that's basically imo what happened to Xander here. So is he responsible for his actions? NO. But do they come from something in him, unfiltered by his learned behaviors/morality/compassion? YES.

    "That being said, I am going to exercise my own personal canon for the fate of the zookeeper and imagine that the show is saying that if white people try to appropriate the culture of other folks, they’ll be eaten alive by hyenas."
    I love you. And I dub hereby dub this personal canon.

    You're right that the open is very very weak, and in general there are some very weak elements to this episode. But what saves it is how far the writers were willing to go. RIP Principal Flutie. We hardly knew ye!

    I would say though that I think it was a mistake and a cop out to create a whole new bullying group to play the part here when we ALREADY have one that has been already set up through the season: Cordelia's group. I think the episode would have been 300% stronger for me if they'd made those girls and their boyfriends the ones infected by the hyenas. It would have been much improved because (a) these are pre-established characters and (b) the pre-established animosity with Cordelia would have made Xander joining them for an episode very interesting

    • James says:

      I get where you're coming from with wanting some established characters being the pack, but there's no way those kids aren't traumatised and drastically changed by what happened. You couldn't have Cordy be one of the possessed without changing her character and dealing with the events of this episode, which, while interesting, isn't the focus of the show.

  70. BradSmith5 says:

    What bothers me is that Buffy has a discussion with Willow about how long it's been since she's had a date. Did they forget all about Owen!? Could Buffy have been possessed by one of those spells that DOES alter memory!? And if so, by what animal? The pig? The chimp from the opening? A hypothetical question: if Buffy was possessed by such a chimp, and Xander possessed by a hyena––who would apologize? (No, I'm kidding. DO NOT TAKE THAT SERIOUSLY.)

    • cait0716 says:

      That bothered me, too. She was just on a date last week!

    • tehrevel says:

      Maybe she meant "a date that went well" without saying that.

      • ghaweyriao says:

        I always assumed those comments were just supposed to signify that a lot of time had passed between this episode and "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date."

        • robin says:

          I don't think it's spoilery to remark that the usual conceit in school-centered shows is that a season = 1 school year. see: Harry Potter. And with a shorter episode order for S1 that leads to large time gaps between some episodes.. and they have to signal this to us SOMEHOW. So yeah, you probably are right here — it's quite possible that this isn't supposed to be a continuity error but instead a signal that a lot of time has gone by since the last episode.

  71. notemily says:

    Ahahaha Mark you think you know what Joss Whedon is capable of. You have no idea.

    At my high school the popular kids weren't necessarily the meanest. There were some people who were popular at my school in the literal sense of the word–that is, they were well-liked by everyone, in part because they were genuinely nice people. But I did know my share of bullies, both the overt (that fucking kid on the bus who used to slam my head into the window in an attempt to make me cry) and the subtle (people making underhanded jokes about how uncool I was WHILE I was hanging out with them). (It's so weird when the people in the latter category try to friend me on Facebook.) Maybe it helped that we had no football team or cheerleaders.

    Eventually I learned to wear my social outcast-ness as a badge of pride, and the other outcasts were more interesting to hang out with anyway. (This led to a few awkward situations with dorky guys latching on to me as a crush because I was the only girl who was actually nice to them. I was… not good at dealing with that in a graceful way. Which is one reason why I have so much sympathy for the teens on this show acting like assholes sometimes, because I can remember when I was like that.)

    Anyway, thoughts while re-watching THE PACK:

    Hi, more people we've never met before. I do like the one girl's short dark hair, though. I had hair like that once upon a time.

    Everyone's eyes flash yellow when they see the hyenas. OMG THEY'RE ALL YELLOW CYLONS! Is it bad that I think Xander's Evil Smile is kind of hott? *hangs head in shame*

    Love Buffy's wavy season-one hair and the way it frames her face so adorably.

    Willow/Xander! I love her crush on him! It's adorable. Although seeing Xander be mean to her this episode is awful. It's okay though, we can blame it on Hyena mojo, not Xander's personal awfulness this time. I love at the end when the FIRST thing he does after the possession breaks is help Willow, and then later he's like "nobody messes with my Willow!" <3

    Xander acting weird at the Bronze after the field trip is hilarious. "You took a bath." "Kid's fat." Nick Brendon is killing me, I love it.

    Pig! The pig likes Buffy! Awww. It's so cute!

    The dodgeball scene is interesting because jesus christ, gym class really IS a place full of predators and horrible ritualistic activities. I love the coach at the end–"This game is brutal. I love it." 😀

    Noooo not the pig! Not the adorable pig!

    Grunge music of we just ate a pig! Slow-motion walking of we just ate a pig! God, this scene goes on FOREVER. WE GET IT, THEY JUST ATE A PIG.

    "Or maybe there's something wrong with me." Oh Willow, I just want to give you a big hug.

    "He's turned into a sixteen-year-old boy. *beat* Of course, you'll have to kill him."

    "You're trying to Scully me." X-files reference for Mark!

    I like how they conveniently remove Xander from the group before the pack resorts to cannibalism. Of course, then he gets to try to rape Buffy, so that's… better? Apparently? :/

    Poor Principal Flutie, we barely knew ye.

    Hey! Angel's not mean! Shut up, rapey Xander.

    Good thing Giles has a person-sized cage they can lock Xander in! I get that this is supposedly the book drop, but it's still ridiculously convenient.

    "Now I know." What a great Willow moment.

    Giles gets knocked out again in this episode! Isn't someone keeping count? That's three, I think.

    I don't know why Buffy is wearing a black skullcap, but it's kind of cute.

    It would be kind of nice if Xander APOLOGIZED for trying to rape Buffy instead of pretending he didn't remember. But I agree that it's in-character for him to pretend to forget and hope it never gets brought up again.

    • James says:

      Tbbq guvat Tvyrf unf n crefba-fvmrq pntr gurl pna ybpx Knaqre va!

      Unun, V whfg guvax vg'f n avpr cer-phefbe gb gur pntr'f riraghny hfr nf Bm'f zbaguyl jrerjbys cevfba!

    • Genny_ says:

      "(that fucking kid on the bus who used to slam my head into the window in an attempt to make me cry)"

      Just commenting to say: DID WE GO TO THE SAME SCHOOL OR SOMETHING. (Obviously, no. But I had someone do *the exact same thing*.)

      • notemily says:

        UGH, my sympathies. The worst part about this kid was he was a total suck-up and all the adults loved him, so I never felt like they would do anything if I told them about it.

    • Dee says:

      "Ahahaha Mark you think you know what Joss Whedon is capable of. You have no idea."


    • misterbernie says:

      Which is one reason why I have so much sympathy for the teens on this show acting like assholes sometimes, because I can remember when I was like that.
      Kinda this exactly. I'm much more ready to cut them some slack for teenage assholitude because I don't remember a single teenager from my days who wasn't the occasional bag of dicks.

    • hassibah says:

      "people making underhanded jokes about how uncool I was WHILE I was hanging out with them"

      Biggest pet peeve is this passive aggressive shit. It's even more awful when it's the dynamic in a group of friends. Like wtf guys, it'd be a lot kinder if you just wouldn't hang out with them instead of having them around and doing that.

  72. sporkaganza93 says:

    "Whedon sees the fear on my face, and he merely smirks in response. In one motion, he grabs me forcefully and chucks me over the edge, and as he does so, he’s laughing. He’s laughing. I fall and it is not graceful or pretty or poetic. And all I can remember is that he was laughing at me."

    "V'z abg bxnl. V xarj gubfr thlf. V'q tb gb gung ebbz rirel qnl. Naq jura V jnyxrq va gurer, vg jnfa'g bhe jbeyq nal zber. Gurl znqr vg gurvef. Naq gurl unq sha."

    I lol'd

  73. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    god buffy fandom

    can i just say how much i love you already

    we've only been together a week and it's so lovely

  74. Zoli says:

    That makes it possible for anyone who isn’t part of the main four characters to die off

    Mark, did you learn nothing from watching Serenity? Even being a main character on a Whedon show doesn't mean you're safe. Granted Joss Whedon is not quite as kill-happy as GRRM, where all kinds of characters die every book…. but it's still always an option. It seems like the #1 rule for Whedon's works is "no one is allowed to be happy," so a tragic death of someone important is always possible. D:

    (This is not meant to imply anything for Buffy; I've only seen 3 seasons myself. I'm just commenting based on the other Joss Whedon shows I've seen.)

  75. Hecubot says:

    Yikes, lots of Xander hate/dislike. Well, he’s supposed to be a confused mass of hormones and better impulses that he’s not very capable of negotiating. Knaqre ungref znl arire pbzr nebhaq ohg ur’f xvaq bs fubja ng uvf yrnfg-yvxrnoyr, zbfg ubea-qbttl rneyl va gur fubj.

    It’s interesting that people are focusing on him not apologizing or dealing with his possession. All of the characters on the show are quite flawed and human and placed in extraordinary circumstances, so please don’t be too quick to judge them all. But it is true that Xander is quite avoidy and many of his worst sins are sins of omission.

    Nyfb, V guvax guvf vf bar bs gur zbfg pyrna-phg pnfrf bs cbffrffvba va n fubj jurer inevngvbaf ba fcryyf naq cbffrffvba naq qrzbavp vasyhrapr ner evsr. Fb…znal zber qrongrf gb pbzr fvapr guvf vf n cynpr jurer Wbff yvxrf gb tb, naq ur’yy senzr gur nzovthvgl bs zbgvir naq npgvba znal znal gvzrf, naq zbfg bs gurz jvyy or sne zber tenl guna guvf.

    • Zoli says:

      Rkprcg… V’z 3 frnfbaf vagb guvf fubj naq V fgvyy qba’g yvxr Knaqre.

      (No spoilers, just opinions, but rot13’d to be safe): Ur vf whfg abg n greevoyl yvxrnoyr crefba, naq V’z univat n uneq gvzr guvaxvat bs nal erqrrzvat dhnyvgvrf ur unf. V thrff znlor ur’f….yblny… be fbzrguvat? Ohg gur zber rcvfbqrf V jngpu, gur zber V jbaqre jul rknpgyl ur’f va gur tebhc. Ur qbrfa’g qb nalguvat gb uryc jvgu gur Fynlvat, ur qbrfa’g ernyyl erfcrpg gur bgure punenpgref, V’z abg fher jul nal bs gurz pbafvqre uvz n sevraq. V trg gung ur jnf guebja va ng gur ortvaavat nf gur Qrfvtangrq Naablvat Pbzrqvp Eryvrs, ohg yngre ba? Lrnu, V unir ab vqrn jul ur vf fgvyy nebhaq, be jul ur vf nccneragyl fhpu n zhpu-yvxrq punenpgre.

      • Hecubot says:

        Lrnu, vg'f abg hahfhny gung fbzr crbcyr arire pbggba gb Knaqre. Pregnvayl n ybg bs snaqbz jvyy *arire* sbetvir uvz sbe abg gryyvat Ohssl nobhg Jvyybj'f fcryy jbexvat juvpu er-rafbhyrq Natry orsber gurve F2 svanyr pbasebagngvba. Ohg ur ernyyl qbrf cebir gb or dhvgr fgrnqsnfg qhevat gur pbhefr bs gur frevrf naq obgu Tvyrf (va "Urycyrff") naq Jvyybj hygvzngryl qb guvatf juvpu ner zhpu uneqre gb sbetvir guna nalguvat Knaqre qbrf. (Va zl bcvavba, naljnl.)

        V svaq uvz yvxrnoyr, ohg V nyfb rawbl punenpgref jub ner synjrq, naq V qba'g whqtr gurz nyy ba jurgure V'q jnag gurz nf sevraqf. Nf n punenpgre, Gnen vf zhpu avpre guna nalobql ryfr ba gur fubj. Ohg fur'f nyfb gur yrnfg shaal, naq va zl fnq uvrenepul (ng yrnfg nf n gi-ivrjre), gung'f jnlllll zber vzcbegnag. Naq Knaqre vf serdhragyl shaal.

        Ohg Knaqre qbrf unir n uhtr ceboyrz jvgu abg-bjavat-uvf-fuvg, naq sbe fbzr crbcyr gung'f whfg rkgerzryl bss-chggvat.

      • Genny_ says:

        rot13 to be sure: frevbhfyl, Knaqre trgf JBEFR, abg orggre sbe zr. Naq rirelguvat V urne nobhg yngre va gur frevrf znxrf zr jnag gb chapu uvz? Ur vf *gur* Avpr Thl, naq jbefr, ur frrzf gb or Wbff' Avpr Thl ningne. Naq gung nafjref lbhe dhrfgvba: ur'f gurer, V guvax, orpnhfr Wbff frrzf gb bire-eryngr n jrr ovg.

        • Hecubot says:

          V qba'g guvax Knaqre fhssref sebz Avpr Thl Ragvgyrzrag. V pregnvayl qba'g guvax ur'f Jurqba'f fgnaq-va. Gurer'f n ernfba jul Ohssl vf tvira gur fnzr FNG fpberf gung Wbff uvzfrys unq, naq Jvyybj naq Tvyrf nyfb ercerfrag bgure nfcrpgf bs Jurqba'f crefbanyvgl. V guvax vs nalguvat Knaqre orpbzrf n ercbfvgbel sbe n ybg bs Wbff' srryvatf nobhg snvyher – zbeny naq crefbany. Knaqre'f vf nyjnlf cerfragrq nf na beqvanel thl, ohg uvf synjf ner abg rkphfrq orpnhfr ur'f n "avpr thl." Knaqre vf bsgra fubja nf erfragshy, naq bppnfvbanyyl crggl. Gubfr ryrzragf ner abg tybffrq bire. Nf gur fgnxrf ba gur fubj evfr, ubjrire, ur qbrf irel oeniryl pbagevohgr gubhtu ur unf gur yrnfg pncnpvgl gb cebgrpg uvzfrys.

          Rfcrpvnyyl yngre va gur frevrf jura Jvyybj'f npgvbaf unir znqr ure yrff gehfgjbegul, naq Tvyrf unf znqr uvzfrys haninvynoyr, Knaqre vf fbzrobql gung Ohssl qrcraqf hcba rzbgvbanyyl gb tebhaq ure.

          Naljnl, V pna'g gnyx nalobql vagb yvxvat uvz. Zl rkcrevrapr jvgu gur fubj vf gung crbcyr jvyy sbetvir gur punenpgref gurl yvxr orfg naljnl. Gb ervgrengr, Tvyrf vf – va zl bcvavba – arire cebcreyl uryq nppbhagnoyr sbe uvf npgvbaf va "Urycyrff" juvpu ner n UHTR orgenlny. Crbcyr fgvyy ybir Tvyrf sbe uvf Tvyrf-arff. Sbyxf tvir n cnff gb gur punenpgref gurl zbfg vqragvsl jvgu. Ohg nyy gur punenpgref npg erterggnoyl ng inevbhf gvzrf.

          • dasmondschaf says:

            Gunaxf sbe znxvat guvf pbzzrag! V'ir orra fhecevfrq ba guvf erjngpu gung V'ir orra abgvpvat nyy bs Knaqre'f yvggyr snhygf, jura cerivbhfyl V'ir nyjnlf yvxrq gur thl (sbe bar, ur erzvaqf zr bs znal, znal thlf gung V jrag gb fpubby jvgu). N ybg bs vg vf gung sbyxf va gur pbzzragf cbvag bhg rirelguvat ur qbrf jebat (juvpu lrnu, vf N YBG bs fghss). Ohg V'z abg pregnva ur qbrf guvatf gung ner nal zber greevoyr guna znal bgure punenpgref, naq ur pregnva qbrfa'g qb guvatf gung frrz bhg bs punenpgre sbe n grrantr obl jvgu vffhrf nebhaq frys-jbegu.

            Gura ntnva, V'z gur xvaq bs crefba jub graqf gb svaq zbfg punenpgref jub nera'g bhgevtug rivy gb or yvxrnoyr va fbzr jnl. V guvax gur Ohssl punenpgref ner nyy irel jryy-jevggra, naq V pna rzcnguvmr jvgu nyy bs gurz naq gurve qrpvfvbaf va fbzr jnl be nabgure.

      • echinodermata says:

        Rot13'ed first sentence for expectation spoilers.

    • robin says:

      V fgebatyl qvfyvxr ryrzragf bs Knaqre'f punenpgre va gur "rneyl qnlf" ohg ur'f bar bs zl snibevgr punenpgref yngre ba. Va n jnl vg jbexf jryy sbe zr gung ur'f fb qrgrfgnoyr ng svefg, orpnhfr ur trgf fbzr terng punenpgre qrirybczrag naq lbh frr uvz tebj vagb n tbbq zna.

    • echinodermata says:

      Removed a couple words from the end of the first sentence and rot13 other parts of the comment for expectation spoilers.

  76. EmlianaDarling says:

    Mark, I’m on my phone, so a detailed review will have to come later tonight. Bt I just wanted to say that this season? Aired when I was seven. Everyone at my school was watching Buffy, and I wanted to be included. So my mum was like, okay!, and we tuned in to watch one together to see if it was any good/appropriate for my age.


    I swear, I have never seen my mum more freaked out by an episode of televison. This episode is the entire reason I never saw another episode of Buffy until I was a grown up. Holy shit, this episode is SO CREEPY.

  77. egao-gakari says:

    Wow… I'm impressed, Mark! You managed to find something to like about "The Pack!"

    I must confess, this is one of the ones I always skip on rewatches, and I was busy today and couldn't watch anyway. But I'm glad you liked it, even though I don't, because it only gets better from here, so I'm not worried anymore that you'll hate the show!!

  78. Shay_Guy says:

    I grew up in small private schools, and I didn't really have much firsthand exposure to bullying. But I do have some understanding that it happens in packs. In a group of six people, it's not really feasible for one to bully the other five. And a lot of talk I've seen about it on the Internet says that most traditional advice is useless or worse — which makes sense to me.

    I am curious about actual bullying strategies and tactics, along with possible counters for them. That is, what actually would work against your typical bully pack. Is there typically a "divide and conquer" element involved if they have a large number of victims?

  79. The_Consultant says:

    My random thoughts for this episode:

    – The Pack has never been a big favourite of mine. Possessed Xander is just so icky. I like my Xander as goofy comic relief/loyal friend.

    – I think I also didn't latch onto this episode when it first came out like I did with some of the others because it didn't have Angel in it (I had a bit of a one track mind back then) I appreciate it more on the re-watch now that I am better equipped to analyse the different themes it is exploring.

    – Random point: Does it bother anyone else the the video Willow is watching in the library seems to be on wild dogs and not hyenas? They are actually very different things.

    – I love Marks description of Joss Whedon – vf nalbar ryfr jbeevrq gung frnfba gjb vf tbvat gb oernx Znex? V pna'g jnvg sbe gbzbeebj'f erivrj jurer ur svaqf bhg Natry vf n inzcver (ubj qbrf ur abg xabj guvf!? V'z cerggl fher rira zl zbz xabjf guvf!). V'z vagrerfgrq gb frr vs Znex orpbzrf nggnpurq gb Natry orpnhfr vs ur qbrf Fhecevfr/Vaabprapr naq naq gur svanyr ner tbvat gb qrfgebl uvz. (V qvqa'g zrna gb fbhaq fb tyrrshy jura V fnvq gung, vg'f whfg… vs V unq gb srry gung cnva, gura fb fubhyq ur!)

    • IceBlueRose says:

      Bu tbfu, lbh naq zr obgu! V'ir orra qlvat sbe Znex gb svaq bhg gung Natry vf n inzcver naq V'z qlvat sbe uvz gb svavfu frnfba bar naq trg gb frnfba gjb nyernql. Gurer'f fb zhpu snagnfgvp va frnfba gjb, jvgu Fcvxr naq Qeh, gur Unyybjrra rcvfbqr ("Qrzba! Qrzba!" "Ohssl, gung'f n pne." "….jung qbrf vg jnag?") naq gura svaqvat bhg jub Wraal ernyyl vf naq Natryhf nccrnevat. V guvax Orpbzvat vf tbvat gb pnhfr uvz gb syvc bhg, rfcrpvnyyl fvapr vg'f gjb cnegf naq ur'f bayl jngpuvat bar n qnl. V pna'g jnvg!

      ….gung fbhaqrq n yvggyr gb tyrrshy, qvqa'g vg?

      • Lrf jr ner onq, onq crbcyr sbe tyrrshyyl nagvpvcngvat Znex'f urnq rkcybfvbaf. Ohg BZT frpbaq frnfba vf gur ORFG. Unyybjrra vf zl zbfg snibhevgr rcvfbqr rire! – 'gur tubfg bs jung rknpgyl..?' Ununun. Bbbb naq Bm! V ybir Bm!

        • IceBlueRose says:

          Lrf! V pna'g jnvg sbe gur vagebqhpgvba bs Bm naq gura jura jr svaq bhg gung ur'f n jrerjbys naq gur jnl ur'f fb ynvqonpx nobhg, jryy, rirelguvat, yby. Uvz nfxvat bhg Jvyybj vf bar bs gur phgrfg zbzragf. "V'z tbvat gb nfx lbh bhg. Vg'f n ovg areir-jenpxvat." "Vs vg urycf, V'z tbvat gb fnl lrf." "Vg qbrf npghnyyl."

      • misterbernie says:

        rfcrpvnyyl fvapr vg'f gjb cnegf naq ur'f bayl jngpuvat bar n qnl
        Nppbeqvat gb n pnyraqne fbzrbar znqr ba cntr 5, Fhecevfr jvyy snyy ba n Sevqnl, Vaabprapr ba n Zbaqnl.

        Zjn. Un. Un. Un.

    • James says:

      I'm so glad someone else noticed the video wasn't hyenas!

    • ghaweyriao says:

      I never noticed that about the video … in fact, I never understood why Willow was watching it all; it's just hyenas eating, how is that going to help them defeat the pack?

  80. MandaCookie says:

    Okay, yay, new blog. Happies! I didn't realize you didn't post on the weekends, and I had a sad. And I wanted to just share how much I love coming here every day and sharing the love. It fills me with warm fuzzies and I feel all kinds of empty when I leave… and then I went to my email, and I realized I have my account set to email me when someone replies to my comments. So I spent another hour or so reading and replying. It's such a great feeling. Being… more than an insignificant speck.

    I kept getting distracted reading through this one, because I read a lot of it out loud to my husband, and we discussed our high school experiences, especially those dealing with bullies. I haven't dealt with a bully pack. I've always dealt with individuals or pairs. I know I'm in the minority when I say I actually liked this episode. At least compared to first season as a whole, it's one of the better ones. And Mark covered the reasons why. Though I had a different bullying experience, I guess it was comforting to know this episode spoke to someone on a personal level.

    I -have- dealt with friends turning on me and tormenting me. It's not a fun experience. It's even worse when the person hurting you is your only friend, and you take the abuse full-front because the alternative means sitting alone in your room all day. I didn't even realize how miserable I was until after high school, when things got phenomenally better for me. Okay, yes, I'm super lonely in my current situation, but it's not a lack of friends. It's a lack of accessibility to them. So this place is becoming a sort of haven where I can express myself daily.

    Okay, sorry to be super depressing/clingy. Just wanted to share that.

  81. notemily says:

    Please read the Spoiler Policy before posting.

  82. MandaCookie says:

    V xabj, V guvax guvf vf gur rcvfbqr zbfg crbcyr unir orra nagvpvcngvat! V'z rkcrpgvat ybgf bs pncf naq JGS'vat va gbzbeebj'f oybt. Fhcre rkpvgrq.

  83. Elexus Calcearius says:

    Personally, I quite like that Xander kept the fact that he remembers every thing he did secret. Maybe its not the smartest move, but I suppose he's thinking "What're they going to gain if they know?" Still, it must not be easy to know that your darker feelings and desires were amplified and acted on, and that last shot of him pulling his hair really shows how distressed and….even traumatised he was.

    I wasn't that impressed by the cold open, either. Partly I was thinking "how many complete jerks exist in this school?" I mean, I was pretty heavily bullied, but on the whole, they were a more…subtle kind at my school. Less out-right insults and harassment. (Although, in my final year, some kids did beat up a new black kid because of his race WHICH WAS WONDERFUL. China really stills has a lot of racism going, unfortunately). In the end, I suppose the fact they were possesed by hyenas makes up for their behaviour, as well as the metaphor.

    ….although, I do wish that hyenas would stop getting such a bad rap. Ever since the Lion King (which I love, btw) they get pretty badly mocked, and they don't deserve it. Also, I agree with Mark, its always unforunate when a nameless culture is taken from, or even invented, simply to be weird and scary.

    Despite these minor qualms, I did really like the central idea of this: Buffy and Willow trying to help and protect their friend, and he gets possessed. I find it really sweet that Buffy immediately can tell that something's wrong, and I think it means that before long, these four people are going to be so paranoid.

    On that note…can someone please teach Willow and Xander how to handle a weapon? Or at least give them a gun or knife or something. I mean, I know these things aren't easy to kill, but the ability of defend themselve in some capacity would be better than NOTHING.

    • MandaCookie says:

      Hyenas and rats, in particular. I love Disney, but they have such a bad influence in that regard. Anyone who's worked with rats and mice will probably tell you that rats are generally passive and sweet, whereas mice are mean. I'm actually pretty afraid to touch mice, hamsters… bunnies. Especially bunnies. Those teeth scare the crap out of me. The Poke the Bunny game probably doesn't help me. Naq jung'f jvgu nyy gur pneebgf? Jung qb gurl arrq fhpu tbbq rlrfvtug sbe, naljnl?!

      • t09yavosaur says:

        I personally think hyenas are awesome but there bad rap is not really unwarented. It isn't fair to always make them (and rats) the bad guy but it does teach kids not to approach them. Wild rats especially can be dangerous as an American child may encounter one in real life. So while I don't like it I can't argue against it.

  84. notemily says:

    Now that I think of it, my own school had the gym as a separate building, so we did have to go outside pretty often.

  85. Kari18212 says:

    Ugh dodgeball. We played it up through high school and I distinctly remember having to play against upperclassmen boys who spent half their lives working out as a freshman. A freshman girl who hated pretty much any type of physical activity and also hated getting hit. Yeah, dodgeball was great…. My mission when gym teachers would force us to play was to try to be the second or third person out (the first one out always got crap from their teammates and i could not handle any more of that in gym). This may have included several times pretending I was hit when I actually wasn't… Gym class was not my friend lol.

    Also, since this is on page 4 it seems unlikely anyone will see it, but another moral dilemma to think about besides the icky sexual assault.

    Ohssl vf vaqverpgyl erfcbafvoyr sbe gur qrngu bs gur mbbxrrcre. Boivbhfyl, ur jnfa'g va nal jnl n tbbq thl, ohg pbafvqrevat ubj zhpu bs na vffhr vf znqr yngre nobhg ubj fynlvat qbrf abg tvir bar n yvprafr gb xvyy, V sbhaq gung n yvggyr jrveq. Abj, V qvqa'g frr nal bgure jnl bhg bs guvf fvghngvba sbe gurz, ohg V gubhtug vg jnf bqq gung vg jnfa'g rira zragvbarq. Gubhtugf? Pbhyq whfg or gung guvf vf frnfba 1 naq gurl qvqa'g xabj gurl jrer tbvat gb tb va gung qverpgvba, ohg V ungr pbagvahvgl snvyf fb V'q crefbanyyl ybir nabgure rkcynangvba 🙂

    • ghaweyriao says:

      V'ir nyjnlf gubhtug gur "arire xvyy n uhzna" ehyr jnf n yvggyr ceboyrzngvp. V haqrefgnaq jul gur fubj cebzbgrf vg, rfcrpvnyyl tvira jung zhfg or gur rabezbhf grzcgngvba sbe nohfr bs cbjre (p.s. Snvgu) ol gur Fynlre. Ohg jura vg pbzrf gb uhznaf qnooyvat va gur zntvpny negf jub jrer gelvat gb xvyy Ohssl naq pb, V qba'g guvax gur ehyr znxrf n ybg bs frafr. Fnl, va gur pnfr bs guvf rcvfbqr, V ernyyl pna'g frr ure pnhfvat gur qrngu bs gur mbbxrrcre nf jebat: vg jnf arprffnel sbe gur qrsrafr bs urefrys naq rirelbar ryfr naq, hygvzngryl, vg jnf gur mbbxrrcre'f snhyg sbe gelvat gb orpbzr cbffrffrq ol gur ulranf va gur svefg cynpr. N fbzrjung fvzvyne fvghngvba vf Nzl naq ure zbgure va Gur Jvgpu: juvyr gurl qvqa'g npghnyyl xvyy Nzl'f zbgure rvgure gurl frrzrq jvyyvat gb naq jura Knaqre jnagrq gb xvyy Nzl, Ohssl bowrpgrq ba gur tebhaqf gung Nzl jnfa'g ernyyl ng snhyg, abg gung vg jbhyq or jebat gb xvyy Nzl rira vs fur jrer erfcbafvoyr. V fhfcrpg vg whfg jnfa'g oebhtug hc, yvxr lbh fnvq, orpnhfr vg jnf frnfba bar. Vs V unq gb snajnax V'q fnl gung … npghnyyl, V qba'g xabj jung V'q fnl.

  86. Scarlett says:

    I don’t really have any problems with Xander wanting to pretend he can’t remember it. His body and mind were controlled by something other than his own will. I afford him some leeway here that if those memories are hard for him to confront then it seems logical that he’d want to retreat from them. Not everyone is up for dealing with those issues head on, especially so soon after a traumatic event.

    I don’t have a lot of love for Xander’s “Nice Guy” ™ behavior sometimes but in this regard, I think this situation is akin to having watched a video of yourself being forced to do things while drugged. You know it all happened but you had no power to cause or prevent it.

  87. Peter says:

    All these comments about Xander and the "amnesia". He consistently shows physical courage all the time, and moral courage almost never.

  88. MandaCookie says:

    Va zl rkcrevrapr, fuvccvat jnef ner fbzrguvat gung pna trg bhg bs pbageby ernyyl dhvpxyl, jvgubhg rira ernyvmvat vg. Fb V'z gbgnyyl sbe guvf vqrn. Cyhf, vg graqf gb biregnxr bgure pbairefngvbaf.

    Gung, naq V unir guvf graqrapl gb snyy ba gur zvabevgl raq bs gur nethzrag, chggvat zlfrys va n onq fvghngvba. V zrna, qrsraqvat Natry jura V ernyyl qba'g yvxr uvz, whfg orpnhfr V qba'g yvxr gur vqrn bs Onatry snaf orvat tnatrq hc ba.

  89. stefb4 says:

    I'm watching along with Mark, except the more I watch season 1, the more familiar a lot of these episodes seem. I was seven when Buffy came out so I was really young, but I probably watched with my brothers, and I am almost positive I've seen this particular episode before.

    Things I wrote down while watching 'The Pack':

    – "Of course, you'll have to kill him." I love Giles. BE SARCASTIC MORE OFTEN.

    – X-Files reference! I'm surprised you didn't catch it, Mark! It was something like "You of all people shouldn't try to Scully their way out of this" meaning explaining supernatural/paranormal things THAT YOU WITNESS EVERY DAY BUT STILL TRY TO EXPLAIN AWAY BY ~SCIENCE~

    – Ughh as soon as the poor pig was introduced I knew they were going to eat it. Poor Piglet 🙁
    (I will completely ignore the fact many of my favorite foods contain pork in some way)

    – I know why Xander annoys me more than he should. He reminds me of John Mayer. (and the whole thing that you mentioned in the review too, I guess).



    – Willow is so awesome and Alyson Hannigan is adorable

    – IT'S A TRAP!

    <img src="direct -">

    (I hope that worked this is my first time posting an image!)

  90. celestineangel1 says:

    So I just watched this on Hulu, and I have no deep thoughts. All I could think was how much Nicholas Brendan looks like Alfred Molina from certain angles. o.O

  91. firelizardkimi says:

    Fun fact! The guy who plays Lance? My first ever director. At summer camp. Age 11. He's a pretty cool guy.

  92. IceBlueRose says:

    I think, with the field trip to the zoo and dodgeball, it might depend on the size of the school or their budget or something? I know we still went to the zoo, the aquarium and botanical gardens, and the natural history museum. Also, the one amusement park that we have. And with Sunnydale being a smaller town, with a budget that’s probably really not that big, those two don’t seem too weird to me.

    Having dealt with friends who turned on me, I feel for Willow and Buffy here. Of course, with Buffy, it’s a sexual assault but with Willow, that’s her best friend that is suddenly just treating her like nothing. And I did end up forgiving them though we ended up drifting away from each other within the next year. I’ve recently reconnected with one of them and it’s actually been really good to talk and catch up with them. That’s off topic with what I was going to say though, sorry!

    V guvax gung Knaqre cergraqvat gung ur qbrfa’g erzrzore vf zber bs n ersyrpgvba bs jurer gur fubj jnf ng va frnfba bar. V qb guvax vg’q unir orra avpr gb trg n fprar jurer Knaqre qbrf gel gb ncbybtvmr naq Ohssl erzvaqrq uvz gung vg jnfa’g npghnyyl uvz orpnhfr gura jr’q unir frra fbzr fbeg bs pybfher. Naq vs vg unq unccrarq va n qvssrerag frnfba, V guvax jr zvtug unir. Nsgre nyy, ybbx ng jung unccraf va Orpbzvat. Vg gnxrf hagvy frnfba frira gb rira or erzbgryl npxabjyrqtrq gung Knaqre yvrq nobhg Jvyybj qbvat gur fcryy gb phefr Natry ntnva ohg gurl qvq npxabjyrqtr vg. Gurl qb gnyx nobhg Jvyybj tbvat rivy, rgp. Gurer znl abg or n ybg bs qvfphffvba naq punenpgref qba’g nyjnlf unir gb snpr gurve pbafrdhraprf ohg guvatf yvxr guvf qb npghnyyl trg npxabjyrqtrq. But just before Giles basically says “Hey, memory loss isn’t part of that.” when Xander is talking to Buffy and Willow, they treat everything that happened like a joke as well, the way Buffy and Willow exchange those knowing looks and kind of laugh before Buffy says “Nah.” in reply to Xander asking if he did anything else.

    That, to me, would’ve been the moment to tell him what an ass he’d been but I also see where they were probably just trying to spare Xander the embarrassment (which we know he’s already feeling by his last line) and it says a lot about Buffy and Willow, I think, that they don’t push that in his face. (I also fully acknowledge that they wouldn’t be sparing him that knowledge if Xander admitted that he remembered but I can’t think of many sixteen year old guys that would admit that in this type of situation.)

    Other than that, I have to say V’z fb rkpvgrq nobhg gbzbeebj’f rcvfbqr! V guvax Znex’f ernpgvba gb Natry orvat n inzcver vf tbvat gb or njrfbzr naq gura V Ebobg, Lbh Wnar jvgu bar bs zl snibevgr tebhc zbzragf (ng gur raq bs gur rcvfbqr jurer gurl onfvpnyyl ernyvmr gung gurl’er qbbzrq jura vg pbzrf gb eryngvbafuvcf) naq gur vagebqhpgvba bs Wraal.

    V’z nyfb ernyyl ybbxvat sbejneq gb frnfba gjb naq gur vagebqhpgvba bs Fcvxr naq Qeh naq gur Unyybjrra rcvfbqr naq gur ragver Natryhf fgbelyvar fubhyq or vagrerfgvat gb jngpu hasbyq guebhtu Znex’f rlrf.

    • echinodermata says:

      Rot13'd the first part of the 3rd paragraph you left in plaintext for expectation spoilers.

      • IceBlueRose says:

        Thanks – didn't even catch that when I was going back and making sure I'd coded everything spoilery. I'll make sure to double check again next time! 🙂

  93. kristinc says:

    I want to comment on the idea that Xander wasn't in full possession of himself, so it's realistic/understandable that Buffy and Willow are totes ready to forgive him.

    My spouse used to talk and walk in his sleep occasionally. He hasn't done it for several years now but the thing that characterized the episodes when they did happen was that he was a complete ass. It was as if every frustration and resentment he had came out when he wasn't fully awake, and since I was the one around him during sleeping hours, they were all channeled straight at me. Thank goodness he never physically endangered me, but a couple times he said some really cruel things and acted in a way that made me frightened he *might* physically endanger me.

    I'm here to tell you it was traumatic. I knew he wasn't awake and I knew he wasn't being rational or acting like the man I knew at all, and the next day he honestly wouldn't remember it. But it really hurt our relationship because I couldn't wake up in the morning and feel close or trusting to him. It didn't matter that he didn't consciously mean to hurt me or frighten me, it was still his body and his voice that did those things, and that doesn't just vanish.

    My spouse honestly didn't remember his sleepwalking and talking and was always legitimately horrified that he'd been a jerk to me, and he apologized all over the place when I would tell him in the morning. From the moment we figured out what was going on he was very clear that he wanted to know about it every time it happened and wanted to talk to me about it to make amends as much as he could.

    Which is why I have a hard time feeling sympathetic for Xander or excusing his behavior and I'm irritated about how the plot was written.

  94. Aslee says:

    Ugh. I just don't like Xander. He creeps me out, okay? And I totally don't count this as posession, because to me, that's having another soul/brain/whatever control YOUR body, and therefore your actions have no reflections of your own desires.

    This was turning him into an animal, and therefore he was degrading into his baser instincts. Not the same thing.

    So, I'm not calling him a bullying rapist, but I just really do not like him. At all. Something about it him makes me want to hide.

    Gur bayl cneg- fb sne -V'ir frra gung V yvxrq uvz va jnf n pyvc zl sevraq gbyq zr gb jngpu. Ur unq ybatre unve, naq ur xrcg gnyxvat nobhg fbzr thl anzrq Fcvxr naq Ohssl fnvq fbzrguvat yvxr: "V'z abg fyrrcvat jvgu uvz, ohg V'z ortvaavat gb guvax LBH ner."

    Naq fbzr oybaqr thl- V'z nffhzvat gung jnf Fcvxr? -whfg envfrf uvf rlroebj yvxr 'Url, arire fnl arire.'

    Naq gung jnf rira'g Knaqre'f uvynevgl, fb…

    Fgvyy qba'g yvxr uvz.

  95. Brian Fowler says:

    You have never been less prepared. NEVER.

    • ghaweyriao says:

      V njnvg zvq-qnl gbzbeebj zbeavat, jura jura jr trg gb or cevil gb Znex'f oenva rkcybqvat.

      V qba'g xabj ubj Znex jvyy ernpg gb GUR ARJF, ohg V ubcr ng yrnfg ur jvyy or unccl gung Ohssl'f ernpgvba gb Natry orpbzvat n inzcver, qrfcvgr ure irel erny srryvatf sbe uvz, vf gb gel gb xvyy uvz, nf bccbfrq gb, fnl, nabgure uhzna/inzcver pbhcyr va n frevrf ur znl unir erivrjrq orsber.

      • Brian Fowler says:

        Nzra. Nofbyhgryl. V nz nyy ohg pbhagvat qbja gur ubhef gb frrvat ubj Znex ernpgf gb guvf.

        V jba'g trg guvf rkpvgrq ntnva hagvy Fhecevfr/Vaabprapr. Juvpu ernyyl fubhyq or yviroybttrq, rkprcg ubj gb gryy uvz gb yviroybt gurz jvgubhg na rkcrpgngvba fcbvyre vf orlbaq zr.

        • cait0716 says:

          V guvax jr pbhyq gryy uvz vf jnf n gjb-cnegre va n inthr jnl. Onpx jura Ohssl jnf nvevat, gurl fjvgpurq vg sebz Zbaqnl avtug gb Ghrfqnl avtug jvgu gurfr rcvfbqrf naq ovyyrq vg nf n "gjb-avtug rirag". V guvax gung trgf npebff gur vzcbegnapr bs gur rcvfbqrf jvgubhg fcbvyvat nalguvat nobhg gurz

  96. t09yavosaur says:

    I love how Buffy was able to drag an unconscious Xander through the halls to the library during (I assume) the school day and no one stopped her. Mind the principal was being eaten, but still.

    I am very happy that Willow didn't get lured into giving Xander the cage keys, but that scene was pretty stressful for me cause I was expecting it. I wanted to tell her to stop watching the hyena video too.

    Now, one tiny itty bitty nitpick: While I have no trouble believing that Xander's personality could easily dominate the other four to become leader of the "pack", hyenas have a matriarchal social structure.

    Also, that was the most tame game of dodgeball I have ever seen, until the end of it. I don't know about anyone else Mark but dodgeball was always the go-to "I have nothing better planned for today" game in my high school. Usually on half days when there wasn't enough time for changing into gym clothes and still doing something. In addition I took a team sports gym class this past semester of college and I think we ended up playing dodgeball more times then any other sport.

  97. echinodermata says:

    Deleted because expectation spoilers.

  98. Fuchsia says:

    This was the first episode I ever saw, when it aired the first time (and somehow I didn't see the previous episodes until years later). I had been expecting vampires and more vampires (and honestly, how boring would that be?) and was pleasantly surprised to see that even the first episode I watched, it focused on some other ~mystical~ thing besides vampires.

    Xander is the ultimate Nice Guy(tm) and it really comes out in this episode and geez, no wonder i was always biased against him from the start.

  99. feminerdist says:

    I just screamed at my tv: "DID THEY SERIOUSLY JUST EAT THE PRINCIPAL?

    Not. Prepared. I was not expecting that.

  100. middlearth says:

    Mark, it’s perfectly fine if you don’t love the show so far. I certainly didn’t in the first season and I’m a diehard fan!

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