"Beauty and the Beasts"
Written by Marti Noxon; directed by James Whitmore, Jr.

Buffy reads from Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, her voice turning into Willow’s as the scene changes from the woods to the library, where Willow is reading to a wolfed-out, caged-in Oz. Xander arrives to take the night Oz-sitting shift and Willow warns him to skip the passages about rabbits. Instead of taking over Willow’s responsibilities, Xander decides to take a nap. Buffy and Faith patrol and Faith asks about Buffy and Scott’s relationship. Buffy says that she’s mostly happy that Scott doesn’t seem to be a monster. “All men are beasts, Buffy,” Faith tells her. She believes that men are only into relationships for the chase. In the woods, a boy is chased by a creature that eventually catches up to him and attacks him.

At school the next day, Willow tells Buffy and Oz that she thinks Faith is wrong about men only wanting a conquest. Scott stops to say hi, and the group is joined by Pete and Debbie, Scott’s friends. Buffy notes that Pete brought Debbie flowers, and Scott has to be reassured that his relationship with Buffy is “pre-posy.” Buffy mentions that she has to go see the school counselor, Mr. Platt (one of Snyder’s conditions connected to her return to school), and Debbie says that she’s had to see him because she’s doing badly in one of her classes. Oz offers her the use of his notes as the group splits up. Xander and Giles are discussing possible exits when Willow and Oz arrive. Giles tries to stay calm and tells them not to panic, but Oz has to break it to him, “Poker: not your game.” Giles tells them that a student named Jeff, whom Oz knew, was killed in the woods the night before. What’s worse, he was mauled, and Oz may have been the culprit, since one of the windows in the book cage is open. Xander admits that he wasn’t awake the entire night, and that Oz could have left the library and returned before he woke up.

Buffy goes to see Mr. Platt, who smokes in his office, and lets him know that she’s not exactly thrilled to be there. He tells her that she just needs someone to give her an honest opinion. He says that “everyone has demons,” but the demons can be fought and people can change. He tries to get Buffy to tell him why she ran away (see “Becoming, Part 2”), but she doesn’t want to talk about it. Platt presses her for information, so she tells him that she was dating someone and that the relationship didn’t end well. She confesses that he was her first love, and Platt notes that he “changed.” He tells her that everyone loses him- or herself in love, but she has to pull herself out of it. Otherwise, “love becomes your master, and you’re just its dog.” Buffy heads to the library, where the Scoobies tell her that someone was killed the night before and that Oz may have been involved. Giles sends Buffy out to patrol that night and tells the others to go to the morgue to examine the body of the dead student. He suggests asking Faith to watch Oz while everyone else is off doing other things. Upset that he may have done something serious, Oz starts to leave to be by himself, but Willow reminds him that the sun is going down and he has to lock himself up. He does so, telling her to stay away from the cage. That night, Buffy patrols in the woods and spots someone running past. Only after she’s tackled does she realize that it’s Angel.

Angel goes after Buffy, who fends him off, finally rendering him unconscious. Willow sneaks into the morgue (carrying her tools in a Scooby-Doo lunchbox), where she is surprised by Xander and Cordelia. Willow gathers some evidence from the body, then promptly passes out. Buffy goes to the mansion Spike, Angelus, and Drusilla lived in and grabs some chains to restrain Angel. She then goes to the library and relieves Faith of Oz-sitting duty. She spends some time looking through the card catalog and falls asleep reading about demon dimensions and Acathla (again, see “Becoming, Part 2”). Giles finds her in the morning and she lies that she had a dream about Angel coming back. She asks if he could ever come back, but Giles doesn’t think it’s possible. Even if he did, Giles says that he would have been through hundreds of years of torture in Hell and would probably return a monster. However, there are two kinds of monsters - one kind can be redeemed, but the other “is void of humanity, cannot respond to reason…or love.”

Willow arrives with donuts, having been unable to sleep the night before, and Oz emerges from his cage. She admits to the others that she couldn’t determine anything from her examination of Jeff’s body. Later, Buffy joins Scott, Debbie, and Pete for lunch in the cafeteria, and Scott chastises Buffy for only eating Jell-o. Buffy and Debbie discuss Platt, whom Buffy is starting to like a little. Buffy then leaves to avoid hearing any more of Scott’s compliments, and heads to the mansion. Angel seems calm until Buffy touches him, and she decides to leave. Back at school, Pete pulls Debbie into a supply room for a brief make-out session, where he notices that a jar of green fluid is almost empty. He asks if she drank what was in the jar and she says that she didn’t, but he wants to know what’s going on.

Buffy goes to see Platt again, talking to him before he turns around to face her. She tells him that she can’t talk to anyone else about what’s going on, even Willow and Giles, but she needs to tell someone. As she says that Angel has come back, she realizes that Platt is dead - he was mauled, as Jeff was. Debbie admits to Pete that she was trying to get rid of the fluid in the jar to help him, which doesn’t make him very happy. He tells her doesn’t need to drink the fluid anymore anyway, then breaks the other bottles and jars of fluids. Pete yells that all he needs to set him off is Debbie. He begins to turn into a monster, yelling that he created a “formula” to be the man that Debbie wanted, but now she doesn’t want him to be that man anymore. He accuses her of being interested in other guys, even though she denies it, and hits her as he says that he’s all she has, now that Platt won’t be listening to her anymore. He turns back into his human self and tells Debbie that she shouldn’t make him mad, because she knows what happens. She assures him that everything is all right.

In the library, Faith realizes that, because Platt was killed just before Buffy found him, he had to have been killed during the day; therefore, Oz couldn’t have killed him. (And, as Buffy silently notes, Angel couldn’t have, either.) Out in the quad, Oz runs into Debbie, who lies about the black eye Pete gave her as Pete eavesdrops from nearby. Oz heads to the library, where he’s relieved to learn that he’s not responsible for the recent killings. He notes that Jeff and Platt both knew Debbie and mentions that Debbie now has a black eye. The Scoobies wonder if she killed Platt and he fought back, but Buffy is more inclined to think that Pete is responsible. Oz locks himself up as the others split up to find Pete and Debbie. Buffy and Willow find Debbie in the bathroom and get her to tell them that Pete gets violent when he’s angry. At the mansion, Angel struggles against his chains, rips them out of the ceiling, and takes off.

Buffy demands to know where they can find Pete, but Debbie isn’t forthcoming with the information. Pete goes to the library to confront Oz, who’s anxiously awaiting the sunset. Pete accuses him of flirting with Debbie and threatens to kill him. Oz warns that when the sun sets, Pete will be in some trouble. Pete suddenly turns into a monster, ripping off the door of the book cage. In the bathroom, Debbie repeats over and over, “He does love me” as Buffy and Willow realize that they don’t have time to try to get information out of her. Pete and Oz fight until Oz turns into a werewolf, at which time he starts to get the better of Pete. The other Scoobies run towards the library, where Debbie pushes Buffy aside to protect Pete, and Buffy accidentally shoots Giles with a tranquilizer dart. Oz gets out of the library and Buffy sends Faith after him with the tranq gun. Buffy goes after Pete, who winds up back in the supply room with Debbie. He accuses her of telling Buffy what was going on with him and starts shoving her around. Buffy arrives later, finding Debbie dead and Pete gone.

Faith and Willow manage to get the better of Oz, tranquilizing him before he can hurt either of them. Pete and Buffy battle each other in the supply room and are soon joined by Angel, who takes over for Buffy. He kills Pete, then calms down, finally seeming to recognize Buffy. She seems to realize that he’s really back and they are both overcome by emotion. The next day, the Scoobies discuss the stories that are circulating about Pete, then fill Cordelia in on the truth - Pete did a “Jekyll/Hyde deal” to become strong so that Debbie wouldn’t leave him. Buffy goes to talk to Scott, who is sad about the loss of two of his friends and the fact that he didn’t know them as well as he thought he did. Buffy reads from The Call of the Wild again as we see her go back to the mansion and watch a sleeping Angel.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: The most likely suspects are in no way involved.

GRADE: C+ Pete is superfluous, Debbie is annoying, and the episode misses the point.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - “Call of the Wild. Aren’t we reading the Cliff Notes to this for English?” - Xander

Buffy: “We have a marching jazz band?”
Oz: “Yeah, but, you know, since the best jazz is improvisational, we’d be going off in all directions, banging into floats…. Scary.”
Willow: “He’s just being Oz.”
Oz: “Pretty much full-time.”

“We’re doing crime here. You don’t sneak up during crime.” - Xander to Cordelia

“Okay! Scarred for life!” - Cordelia, upon seeing Jeff’s body

“How come you’re the wakey girl? I mean, this time, it’s not your boyfriend who’s the cold-blooded….” (she sees Oz) “Jelly donut?” - Willow

Debbie: “Just don’t tell Mr. Platt you have insomnia. He’ll make you start a dream journal.”
Pete: “Oh, what’s that, like, a Barbie thing? ‘Dear Dream Journal, how come Ken hasn’t come around since he got that earring?’”

Buffy: (re: Platt) “Oh, he definitely…marches to the beat of his own drummer. A-actually, I think he makes his own drums.”
Scott: “Well, my mom says that therapy can be completely helpful.”
Pete: “Yeah, but your mom has the wattage of a Zippo lighter, Scott.”
Scott: (to Buffy) “I hope you realize I don’t actually know these people. I just…I thought you would like me better if I had friends, so I hired them.”

Giles: “Clearly, we’re looking for a depraved, sadistic animal.”
Oz: “Present. Hey, I may be a cold-blooded jelly donut, but my timing is impeccable.”

Cordelia: “Pete was a monster? Where have I been?”
Xander: “In your special place, Cor, which is why I adore you.”

“Great. Now I’m gonna be stuck with serious thoughts all day.” - Cordelia

Scott: “Stable. Okay. Topics to avoid: the little men that live in your teeth...your compulsion to paint circus clowns....”
Buffy: “But if God keeps telling me to kill, it just seems snotty not to, you know?” (from the original script)

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