"Phases"
Written by Rob Des Hotel & Dean Batali; directed by Bruce Seth Green

Oz is in a hallway at Sunnydale High, studying Amy’s mother’s cheerleading trophy (see “The Witch”). Willow arrives and he notes that the eyes of the trophy follow you when you move. They discuss their date the previous night and, after some awkwardness, Willow heads over to talk to Buffy. Larry (last seen in “Halloween”) and some other jocks approach Oz and Larry knocks a girl’s books onto the floor so that he can check her out when she bends over to get them. He then tactlessly asks Oz how far he’s gone with Willow. Outside, Willow complains to Buffy that her relationship with Oz isn’t going anywhere. She says that she doesn’t want to be the only girl in school without a real boyfriend, then realizes that Buffy doesn’t have a boyfriend anymore, either (see “Innocence”). Buffy suggests that she, Willow, and Xander do something together, and Willow makes a comment about Xander dating Cordelia, wondering what she sees in him. That night, Xander is wondering the same thing about Willow and Oz. Cordelia’s not too thrilled with his train of thought, since they’re supposed to be making out at the popular making out spot. Not only are they interrupted by Xander’s constant talking, but also by a werewolf, which tries to attack them.

The next morning, the Scoobies discuss the attack, and Giles reveals that some animal attacks were reported in the area the previous night, but no humans were injured. He says that the werewolf will return at the next full moon, but Willow points out that the previous night was the night before the full moon, disproving the theory that werewolves only appear one night a month. The Scoobies head to gym class, where they’re about to learn some self-defense maneuvers. Oz tucks the tag of Willow’s T-shirt back in and Xander chastises him for getting touchy-feely in public. On the way to their assigned groups, Xander sees a bandage on Larry’s arm. Larry explains that he was bitten by a dog the week before. Oz says that he knows how he feels - his baby cousin recently bit him. Larry is excited to see that he’s in the same group as Buffy and a girl named Theresa. Willow pulls Buffy aside and reminds her that she’s supposed to be a “meek little girly-girl” rather than a Slayer. The students practice maneuvers, and Buffy pretends to be unable to flip Larry over her shoulder onto his back. That is, until he grabs her butt, and she retaliates by slamming him to the floor.

Giles gives Buffy, Willow, and Xander a demonstration of the phases of the moon in the library, using globes. He says that the werewolf isn’t necessarily male, despite Buffy’s assumptions. Xander wonders if they’ll be using silver bullets to bring the werewolf down, but Giles says that the wolf is human and shouldn’t be killed. He adds that the wolf may not even know about his or her condition. That night, Buffy and Giles head to lover’s lane, where Buffy gets some juicy gossip but doesn’t see the werewolf. They split up, and as Buffy walks through a clearing, she’s suddenly pulled up in a net trap. A guy with a rifle triumphantly approaches, but is surprised to see that he’s caught a human. Giles runs over and the rifle guy introduces himself as Cain. He lets Buffy out of the net and assumes that Giles and Buffy are a couple there to make out. Buffy explains that they’re hunting werewolves, which Cain doesn’t think they’re capable of doing. He himself has torn a tooth out of every werewolf he’s killed, and if he catches the one in Sunnydale, he’ll have twelve teeth. Giles is shocked that Cain hunts werewolves for sport and doesn’t care that they’re really humans. He tells them that werewolves seek out sexual heat, and Buffy lies that she doesn’t know where he might be able to find any.

Theresa walks home alone, growing nervous when she hears someone behind her. She runs into Angelus, who asks if she knows Buffy, then offers to walk her home. At the Bronze, Cordelia complains that Xander always talks about Buffy and Willow. As she leans back, we see that she’s lamenting to Willow. They bond over their problems with Xander and guys in general, and are interrupted when the werewolf makes an appearance. Buffy and Giles arrive at the Bronze to see everyone running out, and Buffy heads inside to find the werewolf. When she finds it, she wraps a chain around its neck, but isn’t strong enough to get the better of it. Later, Cain arrives and berates her for letting the werewolf get away. He tells her that if the werewolf hurts anyone, she’ll be to blame. “I live with that every day,” she replies. The werewolf is down near the docks when it sees Theresa’s body fall to the ground, obviously having been killed by a vampire. Angelus faces off with the werewolf and eventually leaves. Buffy and Giles head back to lover’s lane, where they hear a radio report that Theresa is dead. As the sun rises the next morning, the werewolf retakes its human form in the woods - it’s Oz. “Huh,” he says.

Back at home, Oz calls his aunt and asks if his cousin is a werewolf. “Uh huh. And how long has that been going on?” he says. At school, he walks through the halls feeling awkward, and is horrified to hear from the Scoobies that someone was killed the previous night. Xander declares himself an expert on the subject of werewolves, since he was one possessed by the spirit of a hyena (see “The Pack”). Buffy points out that he claimed not to remember anything from that experience. Xander tries to put himself in the shoes (paws?) of the werewolf and ends up determining that it must be Larry. Xander heads off to talk to him and Willow asks Oz if he’s okay, since he knew Theresa. She asks if he wants to help her research so that they can feel useful, but he tells her that he has to go.

Xander tracks Larry down in the locker room and says that he knows his secret. Larry asks if he wants hush money, but Xander replies that he wants to help. He says that he knows what Larry’s going through because he’s been there. Larry is afraid that his reputation will be damaged when the truth comes out, and asks how people will look at him when they find out that he’s gay. As Xander slowly becomes more horrified that Larry now has the wrong idea about him, Larry celebrates his official emergence from the closet. He promises not to tell anyone Xander’s secret. Willow does some research on other Sunnydale students, but doesn’t find any that might be werewolves. She teases Buffy about her record and Buffy tries to make excuses for the trouble she’s been in. She notes that Oz didn’t stick around to help Willow, who laments that she can never figure him out. Buffy encourages her to make the first move.

Willow heads off to help Cordelia with her homework, and Xander notes that they’ve been spending a lot of time together. Buffy asks if he found out anything from Larry, but a nervous Xander tells her to stop pushing. She beats herself up for not being able to protect Theresa, then realizes that there were no reports of her being mauled. They head to the funeral home, where Buffy sees fang marks in Theresa’s neck and declares that she was killed by a vampire, not a werewolf. She laments that Theresa’s dead no matter what killed her, and Xander tries to give her a pep talk, reminding her that she’s still saved a lot of people. Suddenly, he sees Theresa, now a vampire, getting out of her coffin. Buffy fights with her and Theresa says, “Angel sends his love.” Xander stakes her with an easel leg. Buffy leans on Xander, telling him that Angelus will keep coming after her, and he tells her that he’s not the same guy he used to be. After she leaves, he sighs, “Oh, no, my life’s not too complicated.”

In the woods, Cain makes himself some silver bullets. The moon rises as Oz starts to shackle himself in his house. Willow arrives, anxiously trying to figure out their relationship as Oz tries to get her to leave. He tells her that he’s “going through some changes,” but she says that doesn’t make him unique. She spots his shackles and chains and asks what’s going on. He tries to get her to leave, the collapses behind the couch, changing into a werewolf. As she approaches, he jumps out at her and she screams. Willow runs through the house and Oz chases her through the streets. Cain sees him and pulls his van over to go after him on foot. Buffy returns to the library and tells Giles that Angelus killed Theresa. Giles prepares a tranquilizer gun for the werewolf hunt. Oz-wolf gives up his pursuit of Willow and she makes it the library, where she tells Buffy and Giles that Oz is the werewolf. Buffy promises her that they won’t hurt him and they head off to find him.

Cain uses meat to summon Oz-wolf into the woods, where he prepares to kill him. Buffy stops him and fights the werewolf and the werewolf hunter at the same time. Willow winds up shooting Oz with a tranquilizer dart to save herself, Buffy, and Giles. Buffy bends Cain’s gun with her hands and tells him to get out of Sunnydale. The next day, Xander asks Buffy how they’re supposed to act around “him,” and, assuming he’s talking about Oz, she says that he’s still a human. Xander was actually talking about Larry, and quickly pretends he wasn’t. One of Larry’s jock friends knocks books out of a girl’s hands, but this time Larry helps her pick them up. He thanks Xander for his help, but Xander would rather never speak of what happened again. They discuss Willow and Oz’s relationship, which Xander doesn’t think is destined to work out well, and starts to say that if it were up to him, they wouldn’t be together. Buffy points out that it’s not up to him.

Willow and Oz meet up in a courtyard and he tells her that Giles explained his condition (using a globe) and said that he’ll need to lock himself up around the time of the full moon. She apologizes for shooting him and he apologizes for almost eating her. She says that she thought he might have told her that he was a werewolf, and he replies that it’s something weird to have to deal with - “it may take a couple days getting used to.” Oz says that things might be better if they took a break from their budding relationship, but Willow tells him that she doesn’t want that. They agree to keep pursuing their relationship and to a “no biting” rule. Willow heads off, then returns to seal the deal with a kiss. “A werewolf in love,” Oz says to himself happily after she leaves again.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: If someone bites you, panic.

GRADE: A- Oz is officially in the fold, and the show is better for it.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Larry: “Oz, I would love to get me some of that Buffy and Willow action, if you know what I mean.”
Oz: “That’s great, Larry. You’ve really mastered the single entendre.”

Larry: “Uh, let me guess. That little innocent schoolgirl thing is just, uh, just an act, right?”
Oz: “Yeah. Yeah, she’s actually an evil mastermind. It’s fun.”

Buffy: “What guy could resist your wily Willow charms?”
Willow: “At last count, all of them. Maybe more.”
Buffy: “Well, none of them know a thing. They all get an F in Willow.”
Willow: “But I want Oz to get an A, and, oh, one of those gold stars.”

Willow: “I’ll give Xander a call. What’s his number? Oh, yeah, 1-800-I’m-Dating-a-Skanky-Ho.”
Buffy: “Meow!”
Willow: “Really? Thanks. I’ve never gotten a ‘meow’ before.”

“Look around. We’re in my daddy’s car, it’s just the two of us, there is a beautiful, big full moon outside tonight. It doesn’t get more romantic than this. So shut up!” - Cordelia to Xander

“I think you splashed on just a little too much ‘Obsession For Dorks.’” - Cordelia to Xander

Giles: “And it, uh, acts on - on pure instinct. No conscience, uh, uh, predatory and, and aggressive.”
Buffy: “In other words, your typical male.”
Xander: “On behalf of my gender, hey.”
Giles: “Yes, let’s not jump to any conclusions.”
Buffy: “I didn’t jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.”

Cordelia: (re: Oz) “What’s he waiting for? What’s his problem? Oh, that’s right, he’s a guy.”
Willow: “Yeah, him and Xander. Guys.”
Cordelia: “Who do they think they are?”
Willow: “A couple of guys.”

Willow: “There is one name that keeps getting spit out. Aggressive behavior, run-ins with authorities, about a screenful of violent incidents.”
Buffy: “Okay, most of those were not my fault. Somebody else started ‘em. I was just standing up for myself.”
Willow: “They say it’s a good idea to count to ten when you’re angry.”
Buffy: “One…two…three….”

Buffy: (re: Larry) “That was weird.”
Xander: “What, it’s not okay for one guy to like another guy just because he happened to be in the locker room with him when absolutely nothing happened and I thought I told you not to push.”
Buffy: “All I meant is that he didn’t try to look up my skirt.”
Xander: “Oh, oh, yeah, that’s, that’s the weirdness.”

“Yeah, okay, werewolf, but that’s not all the time. I mean, three days out of the month, I’m not much fun to be around either.” - Willow to Oz

Xander: (to Cordelia) “Be gentle with me.”
Cordelia: (to Willow) “You first. I wouldn’t want to be accused of taking your place in line.”
Willow: “Oh, I think you pushed your way to the front long before this.”
Cordelia: “Hey, I can’t help it if I get the spotlight just because some people blend into the background.”
Willow: “Well, maybe some people could see better if you weren’t standing on the auction block, shaking your wares.”
Cordelia: “Sorry, we haven’t all perfected that phony ‘girl next door’ bit.”
Willow: “You could be the girl next door, too. If Xander lived next to a brothel!” (from the original script)


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