Episode Reviews (22)
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Oz and Willow!
As a werewolf plagues the town of Sunnydale, the Scooby gang attempts to find it before Cain, a professional werewolf hunter. Unbeknownst to any of them, the werewolf just so happens to be Oz!!
I love this episode! It's so funny, and has great character development. I really love the early episodes with the initial Willow and Oz relationship.
This is a relatively lightweight Oz episode that makes him even more part of the group and manages to also further his relationship with Willow. We find out that Oz is a werewolf, amusingly bit by his cousin. I have really mixed feelings on this revelation. I'm not too happy that another one of the group is a supernatural being. Buffy's a Slayer, Angel's a vampire, Willow's soon going to be dabbling in witchcraft, and now Oz is a werewolf. While the writers do a great job of using the supernatural as a metaphor for life, I actually liked the mix of regular humans to supernatural beings. Now things are beginning to get weighted in the supernatural and I suppose I'd have preferred otherwise.
The episode begins with a series of light and entertaining scenes. Oz is looking at the same cheerleading trophy that Amy's mom got stuck in back in "The Witch" (1x03), which is beyond cool. This is a subtle reference to something that only the viewers even know about and is further proof that the writers of this show have respect for its viewers. I also love the P.E. scene where Oz says he got bit by his little cousin and Buffy 'acts' all weak with Willow cutely nodding approvingly. Larry then grabs Buffy's ass, and she flips him over her shoulder in response. I guess I've got a soft spot for seeing Buffy flex her supernatural muscles in front of the "regular people" from time to time. This is why I also loved Buffy bending the hunter's rifle with her bare hands towards the end.
The werewolf turning out to be Oz is actually pretty unexpected. I love his comment after waking up in the forest naked: "huh." Reminded me exactly of Mal's 'huh' in Firefly's "Serenity." Oz discovers part of him is now a monster and that he is a danger to those around him. We know from "Wild at Heart" (4x06) that the instincts of the beast are within him even when he's not in werewolf form.
There's also a lot of anti-men dialog in this episodes with Buffy basically saying that the typical male has no conscience, is preditory, and is aggressive. All these comments seem to fall flat when they discover Oz, one of the most gentle guys around, happens to be the savage beast they've been hunting. Perhaps what's being said here is that all men have a beast within them, but what's important is how they use those instincts. If used in a positive way, such as to create a sense of self-confidence and motivation, then having some 'beast' within them becomes an asset. But if not kept in balance all you'll see is the beast, which in turn will create a predatory and aggressive individual. Oz becomes the counterpoint to Buffy's opinion of the typical male here and essentially proves her wrong.
On the smaller side of themes, I found it amusing to see Buffy's name appear at the top of the list on Willow's search for school offenders. I also found it very intriguing to consider the possibilities of the reason behind Buffy giving Xander a close hug after he kills a vamped Teresa who had her pinned down. Buffy hugs on tight, then right after she lets go she looks up at him for a second like she's considering saying something important to him, but instead storms out of the room. Xander's reply perfectly reflects his confusion, "Oh, no, my life's not too complicated." Xander is still is very attracted to Buffy and wants to date her quite badly (I can't say I blame him either). Us viewers can tell Buffy didn't mean anything romantic by her glance or her hug, it was meant as comfort with a friend. But to Xander, who is still sexually attraction to her, it means a lot more and now has him thinking about possibilities again. This confusion is directly dealt with in the next episode.
Willow also got some good development here. She complains about Oz showing so much affection for her one moment and then going quiet and cold on her the next. At this point in the show, Oz is still a very new member of the Scooby Gang, so it is understable that he isn't immediately able to confide in them when he finds out he's the werewolf. In defiance of this lack of communication, Willow goes over to his house and unleashes Willow-fury (even an angry Willow is cute, in the first three seasons at least) on him right as he's changing into the werewolf. Willow's gradual confidence boosts gained over the course of the season, which prominently began back in "Halloween" (2x06), is finally put to full use here. It's great to see Willow be so up front with her feelings.
At the end Willow goes to talk with Oz about everything that happened. Oz is gentle and offers to give her some space after what happened. The new and improved Willow, though, decides to say "screw it" with needing time and tells Oz she very much wants to actually begin dating him and that she doesn't care that he's a werewolf. This series has the most subtle and wonderful character development I've ever seen. Willow's slow growth of confidence over the season is simply one more thing added to a long list of character growth for proof.
So while there were a lot of strong and intriguing themes running through the episode, some stuff didn't make it through so well. The werewolf suit looked preposterous and only worked when it was in the dark so I couldn't see it. In addition to the werewolf, the werewolf hunter was also dumb and came across completely one-dimensional. That's never good. I also didn't appreciate Buffy's semi-light attitude considering what she had just went through. She seems almost content with the way things are until Angelus reminds her with a dead student that he's bad now. Overall, though, the strengths overpowered the weaknesses in this solid episode.moreless
Why we love Oz
Wonderful opening scene, Oz's reaction to the news he's a werewolf, the burgeoning Oz and Willow/Xander and Cordy relationships, the mislead with Larry is hilarious and a nice subplot with Theresa as Angelus and co are not forgotten.
Very little, excellent ep
Willow; "Three days a month I'm not much fun to be around either"
Is just beaten by;
Giles "Let's not jump to conclusions"
Buffy "I didn't jump, I took a tiny step and there conclusions were"
Questions and observations;
Willow and Cordy seem to be bonding despite Will's reference to CC as a 'skanky ho', their disparaging of men smacks mightily of subtext. That said Willow says she 'Wants smoochies' and seems less alarmed by Oz's possessing chains than intrigued. He doesn't wear them however unlike Buffy who finds herself helpless once more, caught in Cain's net. Cain's suspicion of Buffy and Giles in a May-to-December romance seems incredible but what else would the pair be doing in lover's lane at mignight? Buffy's comments on the male nature of the werewolf are positively misandrist (and later we'll see the female werewolf is deadlier than the male). Cordy refers to the things she can't tell her father about because he still thinks she's a good girl? It's pretty clear Xander doesn't have sex until The Zeppo so how far do they go?
The scene where Angelus offers to walk Theresa home is just chilling. I think what makes it so effective is that he seems so plausible, the devil with the Angel's face.
Much better werewolf than we'll see later, note they switched back to the more traditional image for Nina on Angel. Oz is shot for the second time and knocked out for the first whilst Xander kills his second vamp. It had to be pointed out to me at the time but now it seems hard to miss the 2 guys pushing Giles' car as it arrives at the Bronze.
So presumably Oz's cousin bit him whilst human? So a werewolf can infect someone even in human form? Willow better not let Oz give her any lovebites. And did Oz's cousin get bitten or does being a werewolf run in famillies, Teenwolf style? How come Oz wakes up the second night naked and wondering what happened but not the first? Probably the best ever example of Slayer strength, Buffy bending the barrel of Cain's rifle in her bare hands, totally impossible for any human to do.
I always thought the Owen who Buffy spots cheating on his girlfriend in Lovers Lane was the same Owen from Never Kill A Boy on a First Date but it's not (nice to see that despite her own heartache Buffy still likes romantic gossip). Nice reference to The Witch too with Oz examining the cheerleader trophy. Larry and Xander is a wonderful scene, one of my favourite of the entire series. Surely even the most fervent of Tara's kittens can't fail to be charmed by the Willow/Oz romance?
The series just hitting a series of straight sixes right past the boundary every time, 10/10
Pha, Pha, Pha, Phases.... was a Perfect episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. This episode is definitely a Classic of the series, though the series is in whole. This episode was great in intorducing new twists in a few different characters. Buffy and Angel are no more as he is evil now, however Zander is with Cordelia, Willow is with Oz, and it makes Buffy feel like the odd one out. I really enjoyed watching Oz's story line increase and be really cool. Seth Green was great in this role. I didn't know when to bring this up, but this episode seems good enough, considering the kiss between Oz and Willow, it is interesting that they both appeared in My Stepmother Is An Alien and kind of went on a date, and here they are again dating. I really think that the series is getting better with each episode, though they are all instant Classics in their own right, at least in my opinion.moreless
Season 2, Episode 15.
Buffy and Giles hunt for werewolves. Not a bad episode, I guess. I absolutely loved the scene in gym class where the slightly-sexy jock grabbed Buffy's butt and she flipped him over. Sarah Michelle Gellar is a beautiful actress. I thought Angel would only hurt Theresa, but I didn't know he was going to kill her. How can Oz just ask his aunt if his little cousin is a werewolf? That's psychotic. But Oz is a werewolf! Willow's dating a werewolf! I liked the season 1 references in this episode, like the cheerleader's statue from 1.03, and how Xander finally got caught for lying after he became a hyena in 1.06. Awesome episode. :)moreless
Oz becomes a werewolf.
I love Seth Green as Oz, he is such a great character and he is finally shown more in this episode. The real reason I love this episode is the subtlety of the episode and just the quiet greatness that occurs. The Xander and Larry conversations are hilarious and it is so funny to see Xander's reaction to Larry being gay and it is nice to see how some of the recurring characters are given more important roles. And then Oz and Willow are the sweetest couple and I just love to see them together and they are so cute in this episode with the tag and then when she comes to confront him and he has his chains and then he changes. I also really like when the hunter thinks that Giles and Buffy are having an affair. An overall great episode.moreless
The Hazard of Oz
Phases-Buffy and the gang track down a suspected werewolf roaming in the woods and also try to stay out of the way of a bloodthirsty hunter who is after the same beast. Meanwhile, Willow worries when Oz doesn't appear anxious to take their relationship to a physical level. Even if it's another "classic horror movie monster" episode, it works well by developing the recent new member of the Scooby Gang, Oz and his relationship with Willow. Seth Green is great throughout as Oz realizes his going through some serious changes and is a werewolf. Also, Alyson Hannigan is at her cutest as Willow when trying to get closer to Oz even when he pushes her away slightly to protect her. There are also some real hilarious scenes like when Oz finds out his a werewofl and tries to act cool around everyone. I love how he gets so nervous when Xander comes to the conclusion of who the werewolf is. Then there's Xander's interrogation of Larry that leads to Larry coming out the closet and thinking Xander is gay too. I just love how Xander is so tense around Buffy when Larry comes up in the conversation.
But there are some weak points of the episode. First there's the sexist werewolf hunter, Cain, played by Jack Conley. The character comes of as annoying and arogant and you just want him to leave desperately! Ironically, Jack goes on to play the demon Sahjhan in the second series of the Buffyverse, Angel, in it's 3rd season. Also, the werewolf itself look very fake as you can tell it's a guy in a suit. Luckily, for Season 3 onward the designers came up with a more modern, surreal looking werewolf costume that looked much better. I love how at the end of the episode, Oz and Willow finally became a couple. Also, keeping Oz as a werewolf was a great idea as it not only makes the couple closer but also creates great conflict and storylines for the future. All and All, despite some minor flaws, "Phases" is a great episode full of good metaphors, cool hunting scenes, hilarious moments, and great performances from Seth Green and Alyson Hannigan.moreless
Good use of a transitional episode to develop the new member of the gang, but some errors in the story keep it from being something really good.
With Oz’s status in the group cemented in the previous two-parter, they wisely decide to spend this episode developing his character further. Also, with the inclusion of Frankenstein, mummies and vampires (obviously) as story fodder, it’s fitting they would get to werewolves. This episode tackles both. That introduces the interesting contrast of Oz: he’s the most laid back of the main characters, yet he has a dangerous other side. Oz’s demeanor is so collected that even traumatic events like finding out he is a werewolf or waking up the first morning after in the woods naked don’t shake him as expected. With his animalistic other side, how can the gang deal with it?
His cool demeanor was a big draw for Willow, like Willow’s unique quirks were for Oz. The discovery of his bad side three nights a month shakes up what could’ve been a quiet joining. Unlike Angelus, this side is much easier to control, and isn’t persistently with him. Willow compares his “phases” to her time of the month. However, perhaps this was made to avoid another “my boyfriend is a monster” storyline that they were already handling; they could show how far the beast in Oz could go later.
While Oz’s appeal to Willow in “Innocence” is sweet and endearing, it contradicts the common teenage guy mindset (“Looking at linoleum makes me want to have sex”). Cynically, it could be determined that there was something else that made Oz want to keep Willow from getting too close. Like some people who are known for being in control, they don’t want it revealed that they are human and can lose their cool like anyone else, and the werewolf analogy is a good fit. This episode is about Willow discovering that and the beginning of Oz learning to accept it.
Before the Oz reveal, the obvious choice for the werewolf’s identity was Larry, the jerk who harassed every woman in sight (except Cordelia for some reason). This subplot, where Xander, through several vague questions, gets Larry to come out, serves as comic relief. While some may criticize Xander’s reaction to the allusion of his own sexuality as homophobic, it’s not hard to believe an insecure teenage guy acting that way. Considering where the show would go, you can hardly claim “Buffy” or her friends were anti-gay. Larry’s coming out changed his character for the better. The intention of these moments in relation to Xander was Joss Whedon’s wish that one of the central cast members be gay and this would be foreshadowing if they wanted to make Xander gay.
The biggest mistake of this episode besides the werewolf costume was the decision to show that Angelus, not Oz, killed Teresa before the gang discovered it. The scenes with Angelus weren’t necessary altogether. Having the audience know that the easy out is the case isn’t better than using it and revealing it later. As Oz realizes that he is a werewolf, we’re not subjected to the lingering doubt he has over his believed actions, which could’ve added to the episode, considering Buffy’s guilt. Plus it would’ve established the notion of Angelus being a present danger for Buffy even when they aren’t together.
This episode develops the concept of Buffy’s guilt over not being able to save someone from a menace she could’ve killed or incapacitated. This topic was going to be addressed eventually, as Buffy is only one person and she can’t kill every one of her adversaries as soon as they come at her. Not killing a demon, especially a vampire, will lead to further lives lost. When looking at future events, Buffy’s guilt over Teresa was more setting up future episodes, when her lack of action would prove costly to those close to her.
After Xander’s dusted the newly minted Theresa, he shares a near kiss with Buffy. Considering how poorly things have progressed and fallen apart with Angel, Buffy is likely wondering how things would’ve played out had she chosen him in “Prophecy Girl”. They are obviously close, and considering their genders, it makes sense that they might consider what it’d be like to have them get together.
Following Buffy’s recent heartbreak, it makes sense that Giles, who is still clueless in the way of teenage minds (bringing a flashlight and supplies to Lover’s Lane!) would be protective when Buffy confronts the condescending Kane (the actor would later play Sahjhan on “Angel”). Considering his own guilt over possible failures as a Watcher, he is putting Buffy’s best interests at heart.
Kane’s attitude is a toned down version of Angelus’: a guy who continually underwrites her achievements because of her gender. Such a character is a popular adversary for Buffy, and it’s fitting to bring one up shortly after Buffy’s been hurt so badly by another man. By standing up to him, it’s like a stepping stone for her to eventually confront Angelus. His other contribution to the episode is placing Oz in danger, since the monster of the week isn’t the main villain and Buffy can’t kill a human, even a werewolf.
“Phases” can be compared to the earlier “Surprise”/”Innocence” combo, in that they both show how two of the leading women deal with the reveal of a monstrous side of their respective boyfriends and how their understanding either brings them together or tears them apart. Unlike Buffy, Willow’s beau is easier to maintain: the werewolf is only there a few nights a month. While that may not be as exciting as Angelus going on a killing spree, there are hints of problems we’ll see later (besides that cheese ball line “A werewolf in love…”)
While previous episodes in between major stepping stones in the season have been filler, this episode takes some advantage by developing a new character, setting forth his motivations for the future. It also briefly touches upon the difficult concept for Buffy that she can’t save everyone, a fact that would explode in coming episodes.moreless
Yes! A werewolf storyline, with Oz as the werewolf!
Wow! Great episode! I loved that they didn't kill Oz, so, hopefully, we'll get to see life of a werewolf from the point-of-view of the monster himself. I look forward to seeing his and Willow's relationship develop, and how they will work through the "evil creature" snag. There were perfect intense, suspensful, and "Oh my gosh, is he going to kill Willow?!" moments, which kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time, waiting to see what happens next. Mixed in was the perfect amount of humour (like seeing Larry come out to Xander, with him all uncomfortable).
I really loved how they threw out references to past episodes (not having a head, being love-slave to Robby the Robot), especially Oz's remark about the cheerleading trophy whose eyes follow you. All in all, a wonderful piece of work. Just another reason to love this show!moreless
Werewolves in Sunnydale
Okay I loved this one because I believe in werewolves because we all know people act extra weird and creepy during the full moon.
I liked that Oz was the werewolf and that they didn't want to kill him. It was great to see Oz try and cope with his new found wolf side. I loved the development of Willow's relationship with Oz too. I loved how she just wanted him to kiss her already. They were so cute together.
Larry and Xander were great too. I loved how Xander believed that Larry was the werewolf and in trying to get him to confess Larry admitted to being Gay I loved how Larry thought that Xander was gay it was just too funny. I loved that before Larry admitted to Xander that he was gay he was trying so hard to check out the girls, it was a dead giveaway that he was gay I loved how Larry came to talk to Xander at the end. Seeing Xander so on edge was very comical.
Angel seemed to be forced into this episode. He wasn't in there that much but it seemed like he was just pushed in there to be there. I liked that Angel was trying to send Buffy a message by killing someone she knew and turning them. It was good to see that Buffy was going to have to deal with Angel.
This was an amazing episode of Buffy. I loved all of the werewolf stuff and of course Willow and Oz. And let's not forget how funny it was to hear Willow tell Buffy that she thought of Cordelia as a skanky ho!moreless