Beauty and the Beasts

Lizbet's Summary | Perri's Review | Valerie's Review
Mary Beth's Review | Chris's Review | SunSpeak

Lizbet's Summary

Everyone suffered.

Perri's Review

Damn near as painful as 'Innocence' and 'Becoming', but it's a much more positive sort of pain. < groan > Ave Joss.... Oh, you know the routine.

It's a full moon, and we know what that means in Sunnydale -- Oz watch at the library. Willow tried reciting 'Call of the Wild' to the werewolf, locked in the library cage, until Xander shows up to relieve her around 2 a.m. After extracting multiple promises from Xander and leaving him the dart gun, she finally leaves to study for a test. Xander promptly breaks every promise by stretching out on the table using the book for a pillow and falling asleep. Meanwhile, Faith and Buffy are on patrol through the graveyard, discussing guys -- in particular, Scott, who Buffy has dated a few times. Faith likes Scott but has a low opinion of men in general. One of that gender is currently being chased through the woods, and falls victim to... something.

Buffy, Willow and Oz are discussing Faith's theories of men the next morning at school, when Scott and his friends Debbie and Pete, very much a couple, stop them. Both Debbie and Buffy are seeing the school counselor, Mr. Platt, who creeps Debbie. In the library, Xander and Giles are wigging, since someone was killed the night before; it turns out the someone is Jeff, whom Oz and Debbie both knew in jazz band. The body was mauled, pointing suspicion at Oz when the window on his cage is found open and Xander admits (under pressure) that he was asleep most of the night. It's Oz's turn to wig at the possibility that the werewolf might have committed a murder.

Buffy heads for her therapy session; Mr. Platt is a quite cool guy who cheerfully admits to being 'not-too-crazy', but seems sincere in his desire to help Buffy. He and Buffy discuss the very surface of her running away and her relationship with Angel. "Lots of people lose themselves in love," he says. "The hitch is you can't stay lost. Sooner or later you have to get back to yourself. "And if you can't?" Buffy asks. "If you can't? Then love becomes your master and you're just its dog."

The gang tells Buffy about the possible werewolf kill when she gets back to the library that evening. Everyone tries to be soothing, but Oz is still wigging, and he can't get away because it's almost sundown. He locks himself in the cage, depressed and scared and ready for the change. While Faith watches Oz and the rest of the Scooby gang heads to the morgue, Buffy patrols. Something rustles in the bushes and flashes past her. She finds herself face-to-face with a snarling, feral Angel. He attacks and Buffy has to work to take him down.

Meanwhile, Willow, Xander and Cordelia are at the morgue inspecting the dead body. Xander and Cordy freak, but Willow conducts a professional forensic exam. And then passes out. While Xander catches Willow's unconcious body, Buffy has to drag Angel's to the mansion, where she uses the chains Drusilla liked to play with to chain him to a light sconce. He fights the chains, and the floor where he reappeared is scorched around the outline of his body. Buffy returns to the library and sends Faith, on Werewolf Watch, out to patrol, so she can do some solitary research. Giles finds Oz asleep in the cage the next morning ("Get a cup of tea, let the werewolf out, wake up the Slayer..." -- Dianne), then finds Buffy asleep in a chair surrounded by books on demonology and Acathla. Buffy asks him (hypothetically) about what Angel would be like if he was able to return. A sympathetic Giles, painfully remembering Jenny, says he believes it would not be possible for him to return; if he did, Acathla's dimension is one of brutal torment, and time runs differently there. "It would take someone of extraordinary will and character to survive that retain any semblance of self. Most likely, he'd be a monster." But Giles tells her even some monsters can be saved, if they can respond to reason or love.

Willow breaks up to serious conversation with doughnuts and lack of sleep. Oz emerges as Willow tells them about the morgue trip and Buffy tries to figure out if the killer was Oz... or Angel. At lunch, still upset, Buffy winds up sitting with Scott, Debbie (still wigged by Mr. Blatt) and Pete; uncomfortable with Scott, Buffy retreats, leaving him hurt and confused. Buffy heads back to the mansion and Angel, who is awake and huddled in his chains. He doesn't respond to her presense or her voice until she touches him -- when he snarls and jumps away, growling. Buffy runs. At the end of her rope and desperate, Buffy goes to Mr. Platt ready to tell him the truth if he'll help her. But he's sitting in his chair, dead, his body mutilated.

Back at school, Pete drags Debbie into a small room, some kind of makeshift lab setup. The would-be makeout session is interrupted when Pete sees a mostly-empty jar of glowing green liquid, which Debbie denies drinking. When she tells Pete she tried to get rid of it because of what it was doing to him, he goes crazy. Then he goes monster, attacking Debbie first verbally, then, as he transforms into an ick, physically, telling her what he's become is her fault, and that he killed Mr. Platt for her. Debbie, bruised and bleeding, huddles on the floor; Pete tells her realizes what he's done and reverts to normal, crawling across the floor to Debbie, who comforts him.

The Slayerettes are relieved that Platt was killed during the day, leaving Oz (and Angel) in the clear. They can't tell Oz, though, since he's outside waiting for Debbie. She arrives to collect the science notes Oz is loaning her, and instantly lies about her brand new black eye. Oz doesn't buy it, and offers a shoulder, which she refuses, as Pete looks on from the distance. Oz makes it to the library and Willow jumps him; everyone duly informed, they start looking for links between the two victims, which Oz duly supplies -- Debbie. Buffy makes the next leap and fingers Pete as their psycho. Everyone goes to look for the couple, while Oz locks himself up again.

Willow and Buffy find Debbie trying to cover up her eye. Buffy tries to get Debbie to tell the truth about Pete's problem and his abuse, but Debbie covers for him saying he only does it because he loves her too much, it's not his fault -- the cry of abuse victims everywhere. Debbie struggles with the truth as Angel stuggles with his chains -- and the wall sconce holding them breaks. Buffy tries to pound into Debbie's brain at if Pete loved her, he wouldn't abuse her. Debbie falls apart, useless, as Pete heads for his next victim; he goes monster, accusing Oz of putting the moves on Debbie, rips the cage door off the hinges, and attacks, slamming Oz around the library.

The sounds of the fight bring everyone else on the run, but too late -- the sun has gone down and Pete finds himself facing a snarling werewolf. As Buffy prepares to dart gun Pete, Debbie interferes and Giles gets shots. As he passes out, the fight splits up, with Buffy going after Pete and Faith and WIllow trying to take on the wolf. Pete escapes through a window and Faith and the werewolf wind up rolling on the gun in the halls. Willow manages to lead the werewolf away long enough for Faith to shoot him.

Debbie catches up with Pete in his hidden lab; he blames her for Buffy and company discovering the truth and turns on her again. Buffy follows Pete and finds Debbie's body where he left it, jsut as Pete attacks her from behind. Made superstrong but his concoction, he's a match for the Slayer, who is geting thrashed. As she hits the floor, Pete is suddenly thrown of off her -- and Buffy looks up to see Angel standing over her, growling. Angel attacks pete and, after a short vicious fight, kills him. Panting, he stares at the Slayer and says his first word since his return -- "Buffy."

Repeating her name, Angel crosses to her and collapses at her feet, sobbing and burying his face in her stomach, as tears trickle down the paralyzed Slayer's face.

Study of Jeff's journals show that he pulled a Jeckyll and Hyde, mixing up the potion because he was afraid of losing Debbie. But, eventually, he started turning into a monster without the potion -- he essentially created himself a monster. Scott is devastated by the loss of his friends and Buffy retreats to the mansion, to watch over a still-confused and feral Angel.

Oz's wolfman impersonation is still going strong three nights a month, and the Slayerettes have apprently worked out a sort of routine to deal with it.

Angel is not only back physically, but starting to return to us mentally. He remembers Buffy, and that his primary responsibility used to be to protect her.

Xander and Cordy are growing less cute as Xander turns into more of a jerk. I've concluded Cordy is becoming too good for him.

Willow and Oz are deeply cute. She has every reason to run for the hills, but sticks it out, doing whatever she has to to clear Oz. They are so good for each other.

Buffy and Angel... No. Sorry. Not going there. Just not. It's discussed in depth further down, anyway.

Val covers them all in exhaustive detail that I couldn't possibly match without repaating 90% of it. I just want to add a few comments, mostly on the guys.

I'm definitely retaining my status as charter member of the "We Must Smack Xander Now" club. The boy is raising insensitivity to an art form previously realized only by Cordelia, and even she knows what she's doing half the time. Xander has just utterly stopping think ing before he opens his mouth -- or does much of anything at all. And the "he's only 17" is just not enough of an excuse; Oz and Scott aside, I went to high school with 17-year-olds who were far more mature, responsible and sensitive than Xander has devolved into -- my adopted brothers Britt Lee (a self-proclaimed redneck), Jamie and Marvin come immediately to mind. Joss is undoubtedly heading somewhere with this, and I'm dreading that it's going to be the GREAT BIG UGLY that's going to erupt when Xander finds out Angel is alive.

Am I the only one who is still unimpressed with Scott? He's very sweet, yes, reasonably charming (I think; it's hard to tell since he's trying so very hard) and apparently fairly intelligent, but... Damn, he's boring. Definitely not a prospective Slayerette (which Oz was almost from the beginning; even Cordy, with her nerve and 'tude, showed more promise) which means he and Buffy can have absolutely no chances at anything resembling a real relationship. He's like Owen -- but admittedly an improvement, without the morbid streak and with a better sense of humor.

Poor Oz. We ducked the werewolf issue in favor of the "Angel is a bad guy" issue for most of second season, but it's really hitting him hard now. Not only is he unable to help fight the latest threat to life and limb ravaging Sunnydale, the latest threat just might be him. Seeing his face every time he was locked up almost reduced me to tears every time. But he may also have gotten his first taste of satisfaction at going wolf, when doing so saved his butt from Pete's attack. t's been very easy to dismiss Oz as just "the unflappable, terminally laid-back" guy, but we got to see some depth of character -- and real potential for danger -- in him this time around. Very cool.

I liked Mr. Platt a lot -- a very grounded guy, with the knack for seeing others and himself clearly, and the sense of humor ("not too crazy"), that I usually require in friends, pastors and doctors. He dealt pretty well with Buffy, taking her seriously and listening to her -- forcing her to talk in a way that too many people haven't been doing lately. He might actually have listened and believed if Buffy told him about the vampires -- I'd give it a good 80 percent chance he'd have pulled an Oz ("Actually, it explains a lot") in reaction; he looked like that kind of person. Like someone on SunS said, I am damned tired of all the cool teachers at Sunnydale High dying while slimeballs like Snyder get to live. Buffy desperately needs an uninvolved third-party to talk to at this point, someone with no emotional investment. The only person I can think of at this point that she could possibly talk to (Giles would want to help, but would be horribly conflicted, as we saw; Willow just is too empathic and can't stay objective; we won't even discuss Xander, Cordy or Joyce) is Oz, and the two of them just don't have that kind of relationship now, and may never.

So much for just a few comments. :P

Best Moments:
Willow taking care of Oz -- from the feeding instructions to Xander to her oh-so-smug "Wouldn't you like to know?" All problems aside, Oz has really brought Willow into her own.

Willow's "He's just being Oz" and Oz's incredibly laid-back, unself-conscious "Pretty much full-time." I love this guy.

Giles' furious "Woke up!" at Xander. Not only was it what most of us were yelling at the screen at that point, it was also a wonderful delivery from Tony.

Oz dealing with knowing that the werewolf might have killed someone. Something that can wig Oz is always amazing and, in this case, quite painful to watch.

Mr. Platt, pretty much all the time he was onscreen. I like this guy more every time I rewatch that scene. Spraying the air freshener was classic!

Oz needing to escape just like WIllow does, freaked enough to forget about sundown. When he locks himself in the cage, and tells Willow to get away from him... Ow. Owowowow....

The Three Stooges in the morgue. Xander and Cordy scaring themselves to death and Willow being ruthlessly competant -- until she faints. Probably the only scene in which I've actually liked Xander since.... oh, since 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.'

Giles opening the cage door after the second night. He looks so sympathetic and gentle for a second there, it's so sweet. Followed immediately by waking Buffy -- definitely daddy-patrol -- he seems to have adopted Oz as thoroughly as he has Buffy, Willow and Xnder (although I bet he wishes he could unadopt Xander at this point).

Buffy's "what-if" scene with Giles. I'm with the others, there's no way in hell Giles was buying that lie. But watching him dance around it trying to respect Buffy's privacy... just lovely.

Buffy losing it to Mr. Platt's corpse. The desperation of "I need help" changing suddenly to the "ohmygod" was beautiful.

Pete and Debbie confronting each other in the storeroom. A harsh, far-too-realiztic (aside from the Jim Carrey-like transformation) scene.

Following scene with Oz, where Debbie's telling all the right lies, and Oz isn't buying a word of them.

Faith and Oz in the library. His reaction to her automatic "They were screwing?" is priceless!

Willow and Buffy confronting Debbie. The issue of abuse is really handled very well, with Willow and Buffy delivering the lines everyone ever confronted with this situation depserately wants to say, and Debbie responding true to form for an abuse victim. Textbook, and terrifying.

"Time's up. Rules change." I would never have suspected Seth could deliver this line in a way so uniquely Oz and still so downright threatening. Absolutely perfect, dead-on delivery -- even Oz can get pissed. I am in awe. My favorite moment in the ep, no contest.

Tag-team Slaying!

Willow pulling the werewolf's tail! ROTFL!

Angel collapsing at Buffy's feet. Oh, god. People, start your crying. From his first, anguished "Buffy?" to the fade out, with Buffy losing it and him already gone, I was sobbing my heart out. Awful, wonderful, horrible, rotten, outstanding scene.

Questions and Comments:
I adore that Buffy knew right where to find chains -- the same ones Drusilla used to lock Angel up in 'What's My Line'. And, for random continuity, Buffy's slip using of the phrase "The hills are alive" was very nice. I still don't think I'm ever going to get used to this kind of detailed continuity in a TV show that's not 'Babylon 5'.

So, what happened between the counselor meeting and Buffy going to the library and finding out about Oz? That's a long stretch of time there for Buffy not to know what was going on when it involves slayage-type stuff. There was actually quite a lot of time compression in the ep, since so much of it had to happen at sundown or later.

Where did Angel get pants? Much less get them on? For a more in-depth discussion of this, see SunSpeak.

Oz's wolf-costume is only slightly better than the, as Joss phrases it, 'Big Gay Possum' -- whoever called it a Monchichi outfit was dead-on. < G > But it is showing improvement.

That library cage is getting a real workout -- how strong was Pete that he could rip the door off, but it took a full pack of hyenas (presumably before Giles got the thing rebuilt and reinforced yet again after 'The Pack'), and WereOz couldn't do it at all? And how much more can Giles reinforce it? And since when has there been a window in there?

Someone on the production staff is getting far too fond of voiceovers at the beginning and end. I'm seriously expecting to here Nigel Bennet as The Nightcrawler come on with one of these soon...

Buffy makes an interesting leap from Debbie instantly to Jeff as suspect. No reason she shouldn't have, just no particular reason she should have dismissed Debbie as a suspect that quickly.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Great A-plot that almost equaled the amazing character development. A few quirks (Xander! and more cast members than anyone can really handle at the moment), but easily as high-quality as 'Innocence' and 'Becoming', and far easier to rewatch.

Valerie's Review

Look out, ladies and gents, I actually took notes to write a review this time! (Someday you may even get a synopsis out of me...but not before the Scottish Play closes...)

Normally I'd start with Buffy (and SMG *was* way impressive in this outing), but I can't get anywhere else without first saying how *floored* I am by David's continued growth.

I think it hit me most this time because I'm such a sucker for solid physical work, and "wild Angel" was right up there with anything I've seen from far more experienced performers. And this isn't just "I went home and watched my dog" stuff...unless Bertha Blue was a *severely* traumatized shelter adoption. Details like the ragged panic-breathing in the chained-up scene painted a much more complete picture than I'd ever expect from someone of such short, entirely-on-the-job experience (and makes me wonder if he's getting some coaching on his own time). I'm finding myself more and more sure he'll have the chops to anchor a series when the time comes. (Though I also still trust Joss & Co. to give him suitable support.) They've certainly been giving him a crash course in range expansion over the last couple seasons; and rather than lagging behind, he seems to be *more* up to each new challenge than he was with the last. They hired a hunk two years ago, and he's become an actor before our eyes.

And it sure ain't over yet! It'll be a *while* before Angel is anything resembling stable again (not that he was in stellar mental health when we first met him). One plot point (a clue that he's not responsible for the murder in question) that also illuminates where he is character-wise: Buffy knocked him out too easily, and he exhausted himself too quickly when she first chained him up, for that blood on his mouth to have been from a human kill. He was way stronger than that when he was living on the bagged stuff! And the fact that he strangled Pete rather than biting him gives further (rather grim) evidence of the depth of his aversion to feeding on humans. It's definitely "our Angel" in there...psychologically battered and bruised to a degree nearly impossible to imagine.

When he does finally break the chains, it's the strength of sheer desperation--and not attempted until his "keeper" is no longer there to punish him for it. (Mind you, I was also distracted by a mental image of Buffy coming back and finding him unconscious, having pulled the whole stone block down on his head...)

Attacking Buffy the first time...I wonder what would have happened if she hadn't been brandishing a stake? And here again, he made no attempt to bite her--I didn't get the feeling he would have killed her if he'd won the fight, more that he would have escaped once she was disabled.

There's no doubt in my mind that whatever he went through in the demon dimension involved abuse from someone/thing wearing Buffy's face. He's *cowering* from her in the chained-up scene. (Granted, she's very recently knocked him cold; and that nice wide shaft of sunlight she's letting in through the drapes isn't exactly helping matters. But I really think that reinforces, and has been confused with, what happened to him There.) And yet, his loyalty wins out and he runs to her "rescue" (I use quotes 'cause I think she would have been fine on her own if she hadn't been busy picking her jaw up from the floor at Angel's entrance), even when --judging from his confused, uncertain delivery of the first "Buffy?"--he's not sure (afraid to believe?) it's really her. Mystery of the Week: how did he find her?

And oh, poor nightmare-ridden baby! (I expected dreaming-puppy whimpers--everything else was there.) He's physically free, but he's going to be reliving whatever he's been through for a *long* time. ~meep~

Wow. *Real* recovery of "normal" Buffyness (as opposed to going thru the motions, as she was for so long) and devastating new shocks all at the same time. Much as Pete was a jerk, his "manic-depressive chick" observation isn't *that* far off the mark--but remains a marked improvement over the depressive-depressive pattern of recent months. The desperate, strained quality of her everyday behavior is almost always absent now, notably in her interaction with Scott. I think this relationship will be good for her even if it doesn't work out, and even through the complications that will ensue from Angel's return and from the inevitable necessity of telling him some measure of the truth about her Slayerhood if he sticks around much longer.

Y'know, I've come to the conclusion that the girl is just *never* going to be able to lie convincingly. Of *course* Giles saw right through her...he didn't even have to be in "observant/insightful Watcher mode" (even though he was). She might as well have said, as Jack put it, "I have this demon friend..." And the attempt to claim the books were Faith's was just laughable. It *might* have worked with Kendra the Study Demon. Maybe.

Buffy's apparently never dealt with a frightened/abused/cornered animal. Approaching chained-up Angel from behind *and* above?? Not that I think it would have helped much to come from the less-threatening angle, since he seems conditioned to expect her to hurt him; but it still wasn't the best move.

One of the biggest issues reopened by Angel's return: How much can she trust the others to honor her wishes regarding him? Xander isn't even listed among the possible confidants (big shock), but she also assumes Giles and Willow will "freak, and maybe do something..." This may be the first time she's *really* acknowledged how divisive the Angel situation has always of course fate has to engineer it that she confides it in a corpse. Raise your hand if ~whimper~!

The biggie: watching Angel kill Pete, and then the incredibly complex look on her face when he dropped to his knees and held her. The expression holds the shock and sorrow and some relief, as could be expected, and something more: she's uncomfortable with the situation (not least, I'm sure, because Angel is in a cowed, subservient position as much as a clinging-for-dear-life one, and holding her in a way that prevents her from bending to him or even putting her arms around him--she can't move without disturbing him, and maybe putting him on the panicky defensive again), and perhaps a bit guilty about being uncomfortable rather than unhesitatingly supportive. It's all there in that one astonishing wordless moment.

And yet, on the whole, she *does* maintain her equilibrium, and keep the vast majority of the ground she's gained in the last couple eps. This is the "real" Buffy, operating from a position of strength and surprising security with her *own* identity, to deal with the latest batch of trauma with a pretty darn healthy perspective. She doesn't know what to do about Angel, but she's worrying about it without letting it take her over entirely. And she feels essentially on top other things--she's the one to actually say "It's okay, we'll work it out" when it looks like Ozwolf has gone astray, and she knows how to do the "this is unacceptable because *you* matter" tough-love thing with Debbie. She's regaining her place at the center of the group in the way she's *suppose* to have it: as the position of strength.

Okay, what's up with the rabbit thing? First "Bunnies can take care of themselves. They're tougher than they look." Now Ozwolf gets "overexcited" at the mere mention of rabbits. Continuity *giggle*. I really love this show.

Oz dropped jazz band. Something had to go--between slayage participation, the need to *eventually* graduate, and wolfing issues. Glad to see he recognized that something had to go, sorry it had to be a music-related something. As we see quite clearly this time out, he's not *utterly* unflappable--a revelation that adds a bit more reality to his neglecting to mention the not-going-to-class-to-the-point-of-not-graduating thing. A certain amount of his cool demeanor is actual unflappability, but he's got a few not-dealing issues just like everyone else.

And this week we actually saw him flapped, in a way that would be low-key for anyone else, but is several orders of magnitude beyond the quiet observation that something is "fairly freaksome". The poor guy is *so* wigged by the idea that he may have killed someone--and someone he knew!--in wolf-out; his usual detachment broke down to a *serious* extent by Oz-standards. To the point where it affected his judgment--the "I have to bail...guy thing" without thinking about how close it is to sunset. And he was pissed off by *anyone's* standards when Pete was knocking him around; there was more grim satisfaction in "Time's up. Rules change." than I would have thought he had in him. And I don't think he would have had *that* level of anger toward Pete if it had just bee about the two of them fighting; it was probably *more* on Debbie's behalf. (Was impressed by his ability to take punishment prior to wolfing out--all that summer slayage has paid off in endurance!) As much as I love Oz unflappable, though, I think this temporary failure of that norm will only strengthen it.

More evidence that he possesses a world-class intellect at least equal to Willow's: her casual mention of his passing a final because he "showed up" (which also sheds a little light on his equally casual tendency to blow off school as a general concept; he's gotta be a *damn* hard kid to challenge/interest). And more importantly, he's people-smart beyond the norm for his age (which, let's face it, is Xander)--he picked up *instantly* on what was going on with Debbie, and even supplied the typical "fell down" excuse when she was floundering. It's possible he'd heard it from her before, but for some reason I didn't get that impression, though I wouldn't be surprised if he'd gotten a suspicious two from her behavior (constantly trying to please Pete) and put it together with the two of her black eye, to come up with a textbook kinda four.

Seth applause moment: Oz's total relief at the news that something else is doing the killing, crystal-clear in an *utter* minimum of overt expression.

I *adore* the "cold-hearted jelly donut" line--characters thinking like us again! :-)

Y'know, again I'm thinking he doesn't have as much to fear of being loose as Ozwolf as he think he does. He didn't make any proactive aggressive moves--he was fighting Pete, who had attacked him; and then he *ran* until he was cornered, at which point he went after Faith--who had a gun--without any apparent intent to bite or scratch her, only to get past her. And he didn't touch Willow at *all*. (Parallel to Angel and Buffy in the woods there.) The whimper when Faith shot him was a great "awww"-inspiring touch.

Love the Scooby lunchbox. :-) And gotta defend her on the fainting thing: we couldn't smell the place. Chances are it was an almost purely physical reaction, which hit her hard enough to cause her to black out when she ran out of details to concentrate on and couldn't ignore it any more. Jeff had been dead a good 24 hours. He was *not* pleasantly fragrant. And she had her face much closer to him, for much longer, than either of the others.

I don't have a lot of details to comment on...just general rocking in the usual Willow way. I do think she'll be hurt when she finds out Buffy is afraid of her rection to Angel's return.

Paranoid much about comments like "I can handle the Oz full monty" being taken wrong? Continuity from the Larry encounter. I love Marti. :-)

*Not*, however, loving some of the directing choices--and look, it's James Whitmore, Jr. again, who sent Buffy up the stairs the *front* of a fleeing group in DMP! There was no reason to have Xander *immediately* fall asleep. A later shot of him with his head on the *open* book, would have afforded an eqally amusing visual without crossing the line into *deliberate* dereliction of duty. Xander has looked like enough of a jerk lately without that. Especially in an ep where he leaves Cordy in the dust in the tactlessness-for-distance event. And realizing in mid-sentence that he's "not helping" doesn't cut it any more. :-( Not happy with Xander, which is fine; but not happy with certain aspects of how he's being presented, which is not.

I adore her for being in her "special place" too. Does that make me a bad person?

Oh, yeah, she's got issues. And protests way to much in the "I'm so blase about sex" department, methinks. Whatchawannabet she's (a) a virgin, or (b) a rape survivor who's taking the (less common but still textbook) "Okay, then I'll just go ahead and be a slut and tell everyone I like it" fork in the road? Before I thought she was just from a rowdier high-school crowd, but now she's seeming just a *hair* too casual with everything being about sex in a pointedly all-the-way context. Not to mention the "men are beasts" speech...sorry, sweetie, "cynical" is *exactly* the right word.

And, um, jumpy much? And a little too keen on proving herself as a Slayer? Oz's end may have been "Now they think I need a Slayer to watch me?"; but I knew immediately that Faith's end would be "All I'm good for is babysitting a caged wolf-boy?" Interesting that both "second Slayers" have had identities dependent entirely on their Slayerhood--Kendra because she'd never had any other life, Faith because I suspect she wants to forget it.

Still and all, I think the tag-team Slayer thing is good for both Buffy and Faith at this stage of the game--gives them both and unprecedented opportunity to deal with personal issues, knowing they have full backup if they need a little break.

Oh, boy, is his Xander-fuse getting frayed. The boy should at least have had the sense to *jump* at the tone of "Woke up?!?" I sure did.

Giles' freakage as a whole surrounding Oz' possible escape and "werewolf-play" was played very clearly and expressively...methinks there was more than a bit of guilt mixed in with that anger and worry, as he has more-or-less officially added Oz to his list of things for which he, as Watcher, is ultimately responsible. And the very routine feel of the way he opened the cage for Oz the second morning, coupled with his sympathetic quasi-parental expression, was *beautiful*.

He was *so* not fooled for a second by Buffy's "nonchalant" fishing for information. He wouldn't have been even if she had (by some miracle) been less transparent about it, I think. And it's to his credit that he clearly did *not* expect this development, but was able to keep his reaction to it so under wraps. As with Willow, Buffy has a lot to learn about his "freak out" threshold...he's not going to go after Angel with another burning baseball bat without *much* better cause. And he found a brilliant way to give Buffy advice without calling her on the deception, by implying that she may be able to reach Angel with reason...or (subtly stressed) love. Sometimes I think he has more faith in the power of Buffy and Angel's connection than they ever did... something to ponder, that.

Gets cooler all the time, in a delightfully non-perfect kinda way. Will be history any minute now. Really felt for him losing two friends that way, liked his very healthy "this sucks, can't ignore it, need to work past it" reaction to same.

Wow. Ow ow ow ow ow ow. Gut-wrenching ow, in a textbook-case way that would incline me to the escape valve of calling it cliche...except that people really do say and do *exactly* those things, right down to the post-battering contrition and neediness on Pete's part. The "he does love me" mantra broke my heart, and made me want very badly to break Pete's malfunctioning head. Very harsh and veryvery real.

There were so many little clues that something was wrong, some of which I have to admit I didn't recognize without second-viewing hindsight. Her claim that Mr. Platt "creeps me out" was one of some extent I'm sure she *didn't* like some of the things he said, but mostly I think it was an echo of Pete's contempt, as we saw in the lunchroom scene.

I'm puzzled as to why Debbie *deliberately* (to point of awkwardness) kept Pete in the storeroom so that he couldn't miss that his "formula" was gone. Was she hoping he'd be grateful for the help? Or semi-deliberately "screwing up" because she believed that was all she could do?

The permanent-mutation aspect of Pete's J&H syndrome was cool for a couple reasons: (a) it's an aspect of the original source that often gets overlooked, and (b) it blurred the line between what was chemically catalyzed and what was just a product of his own screwed-up psychology, and allowed the two elements to feed off each other and create a vicious cycle. (Interesting that Buffy once again needs to class him in a black-and-white category, and opts for holding him culpable, period.) As for his transformation...the actual makeup worked for me as a non-demonic body-gone-wacko thing (with the usual added boost from the Hellmouth atmosphere), but the process (punching-bag head) was just too cartoony.

And as awful as it was, the rumors about what had happened were *utterly* hilarious...along with Cordy buying the birth-control one...

He had me at "trained, not-too-crazy professional", and I even partly forgave him for smoking on the job when he did the spray thing. :-) I was slightly bothered by his finishing Buffy's thought about how Angel "changed"; I think he had Debbie on the brain, and was reading her situation into Buffy's case (though whatever he knew about Debbie I'm sure he had to deduce from very sketchy information). But he still shouldn't have been prompting her quite so much.

On the whole, though, he was *far* too cool and potentially effective to survive on the Sunnydale faculty. I accepted this immediately. Which in no way prevented disappointment that he only survived one scene!

There was one. Pretty complex one, in fact. Which didn't jump out at me...a good thing, since such jumping is generally in the form of big red flashy question marks. I like it when I *don't* find myself thinking about the story is happening. Virtual chockie chips to Marti Noxon...this may be her benchmark.

When Dru woke up wherever she and Spike went, was she pissed that her dollies were left behind?

They can't bothered to give us promos for new eps, but they'll do it for a RERUN???

Mary Beth's Review

Oh. My. God.

I've now watched it 3 times. I've watched some parts 5 or 6 more times. I'm in awe.... in shock.... it was brilliant.

When I heard what this episode was about, theme-wise, I was worried they'd end up preaching to me. I should have known better. Marti Noxon wove an intricate story of love, devotion, violence, and obsession. She dealt deftly with emotions, both human and not. I cried, I cowered, I sat in wide-eyed awe of what I was watching. The Call of the Wild passages as bookends was inspired... and mesmerizing.

We finally get to see Oz (and Willow) dealing with his werewolf issues. They've got it down to a routine by now, but the second that routine is thrown off, we see how uncomfortable they both are, how tense, with the situation. But still, Willow's devotion keeps the search for the truth alive. Willow was so much more Willow in this episode. Still, she's grown up -- the half monty comment was an eye-opener! And darn tootin' she's gonna stand by her man.

It's funny. Seeing the various couples in this episode.... Cordy and Xander sort of start to ring hollow to me? They're so normal though that... they just seem odd.

Same goes for Buffy and Scott as a couple. Scott is sweet and cute and devoted. But he's already getting on my nerves. They aren't up to flowers but they kiss? Okay. I'm trying to be big about this. I'd like to pretend it has nothing to do with Angel being back in the picture (in his own way), but I know that's part of it. Still... Scott is so earnest. So perfect. It's not that I don't trust him, though I like to joke about Scott = Evil, but I just can't decide what I really think of him until he's thrust into Buffy's reality. Let him experience slayage (not personally, well... maybe personally ) and then we'll talk.

The Pete/Debbie story was extremely well done. Very real, very true, very harsh. And nicely woven into the piece. But I did see it coming and even so, found myself fast forwarding through most of it once I'd seen it a couple of times. I got the message. It's applying it to the true story that's the toughie.

Angel and Buffy. Buffy and Angel. Their lives are entertwined. Two halves of a whole. A broken whole right now... maybe forever. Hopefully not. The pain, fear, guilt in Buffy's eyes once she realized what Angel had become was painful to watch. I could feel it right with her. SMG just amazes me more each week. And it was heartbreaking to watch Angel struggle against chains until he was exhausted.

The conversation with Giles was wonderfully done. She's afraid to tell him and the others... Why? Is she afraid for Angel and what the others will do... what they'll try to make her do? Giles knows. He showed his intuitive abilities when it comes to Buffy last week so there's no way he doesn't know. He sits in quiet shock, pondering, putting the pieces together long after Willow interrupts them. Wow. Giles and Buffy have easily impressed me most these past few weeks. They've quietly reclaimed the show from the sidekicks. It's been amazing to watch.

I can't help but think of the psychiatrist's (poor guy, he was too cool, too friendly, too supportive of Buffy to survive. Flutie, the teacher in Teacher's Pet, now him. He was doomed) words "love will become your master and you just its dog" when I think of Angel and Buffy now. Is she going to become his master for now.... helping him, guiding him as he heals his wounded psyche? She moved on... and I sensed some real heartbreak on her part because of this. She failed to hug him back as he clutched her in recognition. So is she only helping him out of guilt and the memory of love? Will he stick with her despite possible anger for what she ended up putting him through? Can they grow past it all and "get back to themselves"? Can they fall in love again?

Kudos to the cast and crew for another heartwrenching, fun, angsty, scary,

Some odds and ends:

Faith -- I like her, but why is she here? She proved her usefulness and all but .... what? I'm waiting to find out where this is going with her. But I'm seriously getting miffed at the lack of Xander screen time. He was much better in this episode... but also much gone for the 2nd half. Did find it interesting that once again he's seen as a let down in Giles' eyes. And did anyone else see trouble brewing as soon as Willow left him alone with Oz?

ForensicWillow -- is there anything she can't do?

Scooby Lunch box!!!! :)

The dolls! Miss Edith was there... I'm almost certain. Do I even want to know why Dru kept chains in her dollchest?

Much better werewolf costume. Still kinda.... funny looking. Loved the chase after him and the yelp and whine when he was shot. It adds the touch of humanity that reminds you it's Oz. :(

And on the promo for next week..... oh yeah. I've already SEEN next week's episode. Stupid WB. Grrrr...... two weeks!! It seems so long now! How did I survive 18 over the summer?!

Chris's Review

"Beauty & the Beasts" [or, Cupid and His Dog, Brutus. Woof!]

Okay. I liked this episode. However.

There were two serious problems, verging on three: the cast has now gotten so big that any time we have to devote a major part of the ep to guest stars, several people get short-changed. Xander and Cordelia usually suffer the worst. I happen to like them, and not just as comic relief, so I hate this. Second problem: weird pacing in the third act, due to stuffing all the Jekyll & Hyde plot exposition in fifteen minutes of the Debbie and Pete show. Third almost-problem; the violence in this ep, and the message of the week, were pretty darn blatant.

First Impressions:
I didn't used to think that the "Angel" spinoff would work well, but I'm beginning to believe Joss will _have_ to make this work, just so a third of the characters can leave. I like Faith, but she's doing half of what Cordy used to do and half of what Buffy always does, and it's taking time away from both of those two. I love Oz, and don't want to see less of him. But I miss seeing more of Xander, especially Xander and Willow, and while I can understand that the character's evolved to a place where Joss doesn't want to use him as much, I don't like the direction he's going in. Giles also gets short shrift (although not this week) when there's so much going on; and if you throw Snyder or Joyce in, you can pretty much guess how even-handed the appearances are *not* going to be.

What was there, worked. Specifically:

I'm agreeing with everyone who thinks Faith's been abused in the past; and I'm really, really hoping we get more detail than we have. She's now an established "voice" with her own style, and her own incredible cynicism. Her reaction in every instance ("They were screwing?" - first suggestion about Debbie and the departed Jeff, who weren't) is a shade darker than the other characters', at least when it comes to the Battle of the Sexes. I'd like some *reasons* to back this up, not just her attitude.

Oz, was, well, Oz. ("Pretty much full-time.") I am *so* glad they came back to him being a werewolf, and showed how awful it has to be for him in some ways. He's handling it wonderfully, but he still got a rotten deal, and the scenes with Willow just show it so well... as well as his relief at finding out he didn't kill anyone. And then he got to have that great, grimly triumphant reaction after Pete slams him around: "Sun's down. Rules change."

Willow was great, and I had no problem with her faint in the morgue; from their looks and the gagging that Xander and Cordy were doing, Jeff was pretty ripe, as well as icky. As soon as Will switched from Scully-mode back to concerned-girlfriend, she had to take a small reality break. Her instructions for the care and feeding of Oz were a hoot, too; just like a concerned mom to the babysitter. And her part in dealing with Debbie was perfectly on-key, concerned and sympathetic, but not as hard-line as Buffy.

Cordy & Xander, as I said, ended up comic relief this time out. Which was great in the morgue scene, with their incredibly similar reactions to the situation (yet again, it appears they were _made_ for each other, once you get past the social status inequities). But not so great in their lack of screen time and comments on Oz. If this were last season, it would have been Xander or Cordelia who shot Giles during the last chase sequence, and then followed up by shooting Oz. Now, Faith gets to do that. I don't have a problem with this if it's short-term, but if it goes on *all* season... it'll get old fast.

Platt was cool --- and they did a good job of introducing him in such a way that you wondered for a minute if he was another demon or psycho ---. He picked up on a lot from only one or two slips from Buffy (mentioning that she was dating someone new *before* she explained about the bad boyfriend, her pauses and avoidance when it came to explaining why they broke up) and seemed to genuinely want to help. But now I'm *REALLY* sick of all the sympathetic teachers going *spuh*. I swear, I'm going to yank out that body count at Sunnydale High again, and add up just how many faculty and staff members have died in the last two years. I'm sick of having my emotions jerked around by great performances and cool dialogue, only to have some new character bite it grotesquely ten minutes later.

Once is understandable (Dr. Gregory, "Teacher's Pet"). Twice, given the amount of build-up we got to Jenny's disappearance, is ... well, almost tolerable. But if you add in Platt and Flutie, it's obnoxious. Not to mention all the teachers who died in "School Hard" and "Go Fish!" and the one that died in IOHEFY. The question of Buffy's next therapist comes up too; are we going to see this, or can we let our imaginations roam into fanfic? How quickly will Snyder be able to replace the school counselor? They had a permanent substitute for Dr. Gregory pretty fast. And does *anyone* get any notification of the Sunnydale death rate before they hire on at the High? Grrr.

I'll get to Giles, Buffy, and Angel in a second.

Monster Plot:
The Jekyll & Hyde storyline was going *fine* until Act III. They came back from commercial, the audience thinking that maybe Debbie was the killer, only to then show the really obvious J&H Pete going off like a bottle rocket. I don't have any quarrel with how their relationship was portrayed --- but the nicely subtle stuff of him bringing her flowers earlier, and her defensive dislike of Platt, seemed to get completely lost in the next too-long confrontation. The scene was only two minutes long, and he only hit her twice on-screen, but it was still too much. Plus, the scene with Debbie in the locker room was just way. Too. Long. (Okay, I probably couldn't have written it better --- and everything Willow and Buffy said had to be said--- but it dragged. They could have cut *something*.) The final scene between her and Pete was... well, not *okay*, but it worked. Damn, did it work. Blatant, but not unbelievable; basically you just have to hang on and resign yourself to the PSA, while remembering that for some people in this world, this *isn't* all terribly old news. Unfortunately. I loved the rumors flying about Pete's meltdown; you can only dream of what they say about Buffy's escapades, based on this sample. But again, a reason to smack Xander: he wasn't anywhere around during the last half either, so twitting Cordy about her "special place", while very funny, wasn't particularly justiafiable. I'm becoming unreasonably irritable where Xander is concerned... someone on-list just compared him to the sophomore he used to be, and I remembered how much more likable he was a year and a half ago. I want the real Xander back, damnit. Not Soldier-boy. (Except in Halloween, next week. :>)

Emotional Arc Wrenching:
They *really* twisted those heartstrings this week, didn't they?

Angel's current condition is worrisome, painful to watch, wonderfully played by David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar, and deliberately left hanging in the air, just so you can torment yourself about it. The scriptwriters did a brilliant job in giving us clues in earlier episodes about what Angel might have been through, and for how long; but seeing the results is more disturbing than anyone could have expected. Especially Buffy.

I'd also like to comment on how *wonderful* that scene with Giles and Buffy was. The dialogue ("The hills are... alive." And then Giles took off his glasses... weep!), the slowly building logic and description of what Angel had probably been through, the look on SMG's face.... great, great stuff. I'm not sure how much Giles suspects, and how clearly he is again reading Buffy's mind; and I love that. ASH does such a great job that you can believe it will go either way, and since it doesn't get resolved in this ep, I have something *else* to worry about for two weeks.

About what Buffy thought the Slayerettes might have done to Angel, if she told them he was back.... I think only part of it was believing that they'd decide he had to be put down right away, although that had to be there, too. She's so super-conscious of how much pain she's caused people over the last five months. Telling Giles that Angel is back (directly, anyway) would mean deliberately bringing up all those memories of Jenny (and the torture from Angelus), and I just don't think she could do it to him yet, or ask him for help in deciding what to do. She's thinking of Angel as her problem, no one else's, the same way she took full blame for him turning into Angelus.

So she went to Platt, partly, I think, to get his professional opinion on how far gone Angel was. It really *was* too bad he was already dead when she got there. So now she has the responsibility of helping Angel regain his grip on reality, having to believe he can do it.... And if she's wrong? If he's still a danger to herself and others? We've got to get this girl to *share* info! (Has she *even* mentioned Whistler to anyone? If ever there was a time for that guy to show up, it would be now.)

Is she doing it out of love, or guilt, or relief that he's back? Probably a combination of all three. The look on SMG's face as Angel clasped Buffy's waist... ow! It doesn't get any more painful! Wonderful, wonderful stuff, everything we've been holding out for over the last three episodes. But the pain *still* isn't over. Do the people behind BtVS like to torture their characters (and the audience) or what? (Don't say it. I know. Big Bright Shiny Duh.)

Last Extraneous Thoughts:
I was wondering about Giles' lack-of-worry when Buffy fell asleep. Possibly he wasn't as upset about her dozing on the job as he was with Xander because he already knew there had been no murders the previous night, and thus nothing further to implicate Oz. Still, Xander's not doing too well in the Giles Opinion Polls this season, and I'd like to see that (as well as Giles's and other characters' dealings with Cordelia) start to improve.

Giles didn't look surprised when Buffy mentioned "remembering what it was like" in the demon dimension. Sometime between Dead Man's Party and B&tB, they must have discussed what happened in "Anne", and why she came back to Sunnydale when she did. Another conversation I'd love to have eavesdropped on.

How much of Surprise/Innocence Buffy has explained to her mom at this point? Does she know the whole curse-reversal thing? Has Joyce even connected the dots to get "vampire" where Angelus was concerned? I can't see her going anything less than ballistic when she finds out he's back.... which should be, well, watchable, at least.

No Trick, no Snyder, no Spike or Drusilla this week (except for Miss Edith and her tea party pals); so that means... they'll have had three weeks to think up stuff behind the scenes when we get a new episode. Eeep!

Rating: Four out of five, 8.5 on the Meter of Pain. Great arc development, some terrific comic moments, but a little too much violence, and a little too much cast crowding to be as great as it could be. But worth it, for the last scene with Angel and Buffy alone.


"We wanted to see more Oz -- we didn't want to see more Oz tortured!" -- Dianne

"Right off the bat, I'd like to ask who the pod person is that resembles Xander? I have never wanted someone to get their ass kicked quite so much as I do Xander at this point. Hey, Xander, did it ever occur to you to *try* and stay awake? The only time I saw a Xander I vaguely recognized was "Hey, we're doing crime here..."" -- Deb

"About snarl boy - um, well, I guess this episode being what it was I should specify." -- Deb

"Okay.... more comments later... in a hopefully coherent, thoughtful post that won't even begin to brush how cool this episode was."
"If I were capable of English, I would say, "Good luck." However, since my higher brain functions have run screaming for the hills (which are, of course, alive), I shan't." -- Mary Beth and Lizbet

"Angel. I refuse to speak at this time except to say that I found myself playing the worlds smallest violin just for him when he burst in and rescued Buffy. I'm tired of him bursting in rescuing. I was tired of it last season. Stop it already. "He's back" though I think that I should add a "sort of" qualifier. This is way bizarre. I await further developments." -- Sasha

"Oz is the master of cool. Utterly perfectly cool, the way always expected super smart people to be. It's without artifice He isn't trying to "act" cool. He is cool and that is where most people fail utterly in coolness (or class which is similar) it's not how you act, it's who you are. I loved his interaction with everyone. His not wanting to be the Big Bad Wolf, his hartred of hurting anyone, his calm acceptance and support of whatshername -the-twit contrasted with the cool knowing in his eyes when he watched the sun go down. Seth is a good actor and could make a great one." -- Sasha

"Raise your hand if your tired of Giles being shot by people who immediately scream "Sorry!"" -- Sasha

"Ladies and gentlemen, this year's Concise Award goes to.... Leslie-- for her summary of this week's BTVS:
< THUD >
*wild applause from the audience* Let's see someone top *that* one."
"When Leslie recovers, she'll be happy to accept her award. Until then, she's still performing her floor show." -- Elaine and Leslie

"As far as the abusive boyfriend thing, though, they did a kick-ass job with what time and background they had. Debbie was definitely right on with the reactions-- especially when she was obviously scared and trying to pacify Pete in that store room before it even became apparent (to us) that he was over-the-top mad. She knew damned well what was coming, and responded not by getting the hell out, but by trying desperately to stop it by changing her behavior. And the girl definitely had way too much experience in covering up a black eye. (Sweetie, do you know how much luck/coordination it would _take_ to actually fall against a door and hit your eye on the doorknob [without really hitting anything else]??? Think about it, for crying out loud. < sigh > It's a total cliche, but it's true. Any variation on "It's my own fault-- how? Uh, I, uh, fell..." is what comes out. They're desperate to cover, not very original about it.)" -- Dianne

"So I don't think it can be the killing that brought Angel to (some of) his senses, as he'd obviously killed _someone_ else earlier. I think it was the defending Buffy thing myself... he found her in danger, responded with a gut instinct of "don't touch _her_!"... which lead to remembering who "her" was-- at least to some extent. (And can I just say: Way to drag this out, Joss! Jeez, you generally expect the season opener to settle the cliffhangers of the last season ender, but here we are going for ep #5 and we _still_ haven't established a baseline.... At this rate we may make that Christmas ep before we've even touched all the basic leftover issues from last season. My Goddess, how very messy-- how very much like _life_. (Only with more monsterage.) Ave Joss, the bastard! :)-" -- Dianne

"Well, he did a bang up job of making a mess at the end of last season. At least he's doing it right and taking his time cleaning it up. Although... like any kid with toys he's really just making more of a mess. Isn't he?" -- Mary Beth

"I wonder what the explanation for _Pete's_ death was? Self-strangulation with a chain that disappeared from the scene? Attack by random psycho? I mean we can just assume the SunnyHell police automatically did their little "this is weird, let's cover it up" routine and it was spread about as a murder-suicide... but Buffy must have booked, or they'd be looking at her for Pete's death." -- Dianne

"Okay, here's an idea, and I'm reaching here: He goes running out of the warehouse, nekkid as a jaybird (oh, listen to all the pretty < thud >s!), and in his travels about town, he meets up with people and he sees _them_ wearing this stuff that his fevered little brain finally remembers as clothes. Memory thus stimulated, he decides to cover up a bit, and either takes someone else's pants, or goes back to the warehouse to find his own."
"...and the mass *thuddage* thus occuring on the streets of Sunnydale accounts for no one being coherent enough to report a stark naked madman running about growling and frothing blood at the mouth??? ;-)))" -- Maureen and Dianne

"And that is *bugging* me too, you know that? I mean, we all _know_ why he had pants. This is only TV-PG-14. But the naked shot from last week just won't go away, will it? So we're stuck with Angel the Clothes-Magnet, the only guy in the universe who can be possessed or out of his mind and just back from another dimension, but still be able to find a good pair of Tommy Hilfiger's within fifteen minutes of hitting town. This takes "fashion-sense" to whole new heights." -- Chris

"Y'know, I keep reading about how Giles will react to Angel's return in re Jenny's death. But no one's mentioned a more recent event: Angel's bone-crunching, reality-warping torture of Giles himself. < shudder > If I were Buffy, I wouldn't mention Angel's return to Giles anytime soon, either."
"I think we've already seen him beginning to react, because like a lot of folks have said, a) Buffy wasn't exactly Subtlety Girl in the "just *suppose* Angel came back" scene, and b) even if she had been, Giles is rather perceptive. I just rewatched that scene again and there is just a whole floodgate of emotion barely being kept in check there on Giles' part. If Giles didn't know, or at least wasn't pretty sure, that Buffy wasn't speaking in hypotheticals here, he would have been much more...paternal, I guess, or informative, or both. Watcher-guy. "I know you'd like to believe this, Buffy, but I've never heard of it happening, and even if it were, the odds would be..." He'd probably have *said* the same things, more or less, but in a *much* more different way. He was *shredded* in that scene--and I think it's because the awareness was dawning on him that ohmigod she's talking about something real. There's no way that sort of emotion would have resulted from what he thought was a purely speculative conversation. Kudos to Tony. Again. As if it even needs saying at this point." -- Betsy and Gina

"Was anyone else waiting for the big cement block to fall down, go boom on Angel's head when he pulled the supporting bracket down out of the wall?" - Kimberley

"I think Buffy's intentions in helping Angel are based solely on guilt and the memory of the love they had. She's not ready to respond to him in any way because she *moved on* ... and he's *not* the Angel she knew and loved. At this point, she's his master... his mother protector. She's there to help him regain his semblance of self. To heal. Just as I figured she would be. Whether she falls in love again with the new Angel remains to be seen. I think she will... it's a powerful bond they have. But it's going to be a very different love. It's the utter helplessness with which he grips her and the fact that she doesn't respond (to him) that breaks my heart. I won't even go into the curled on the floor having nightmares while she watches. Ow... ow ... ow.... ow...." -- Mary Beth

"Okay, yeah, so he couched it in classic monster movie images, but it was still a "and here are the horrors of abuse/girlfriend-beating" episode. There's *so* much more that can be done with the whole Jekyll/Hyde thing, of showing one face to the world but hiding a monster underneath, that I expected a more imaginative use of the archetype. Don't get me wrong, I actually liked and enjoyed the show (if crouching on the sofa smooshing my pillow can be deemed "enjoying"), I was just a little disappointed at the pat storyline. Although I have to give Joss credit - he didn't wimp out at the end. Far too often, the participants in a scenario like this end up dead, and Joss took us right there, no flinching. Ave Joss, the bastard. " -- Maureen

"And killing off Pete was convenient in another way, also, considering that Oz-wolf bit him. I mean, the combination of Jekyll/Hyde and werewolf _together_ would be a killer - literally! A dead Pete saves Oz from having to angst over creating another werewolf." -- Maureen

"And _much_ more importantly, _what_is_Buffy_thinking_? Is she still in love with him, does she want him back, or *has* she moved on, and wants to put their relationship behind her? I watched her face during those scenes, and I have to say I can't tell what she's thinking. Is it guilt because she was the cause of Angel's torment? Or guilt because Angel's back, and coming to her for comfort, and she just wants him to go away because she has a new boyfriend? Or is she thinking something else entirely that I haven't even thought of?" -- Maureen

"What's up with the pants? I mean, yeah, the camera angles necessary to have him be naked until at least that last sleeping scene (when Buffy could have [maybe] helped dress him a bit) would have been a serious pain in the butt-shot < g >, but... is there *any* way to explain this? I mean I see several possibilities:
a) He went back to his apartment for a change after arriving. [Is it still _there_? He was _campos mentis_ enough to remember the way?]
b) He took them off his first victim (apparently not the one we saw). [Handy fit there. And what happened to that body?]
c) He raided the clothesline of some well-dressed neighbor. [_Clothesline_? Who does clotheslines anymore?]
d) They're the original pants, they were kept for him in a little plastic bag while he was in Hell (like police taking your valuables before jailing you) and the delivery service is just slow enough that we cut away from the Naked Butt Shot[tm] in time to miss him getting clonked on the head by them as they were sent after him through the mystical gate.

All of these, however miss the essential point of not "Where did he get them?" but "Why on earth did he put them on?" After all, if he was animalistic and out-of-it enough to kill anyone he encountered (Slayer and ex-love or not) and not to wipe the blood off his mouth, and had apparently spent the last several hundred years naked in Hell, why would he have a sudden attack of modesty now? (maim, kill, destroy, maul, snarl, bark like a dog... but don't show anything below the waist??? ;-)))" -- Dianne

"Not that Joss couldn't take this in a direction that I haven't even conceived of, damn his soul to hell and back again! Ave, my ass!" -- Mo

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