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PHASES (ep #2.15)

(a.k.a. People for the Ethical Treatment of Werewolves)

Written by: Rob Des Hotel & Dean Batali
Directed by: Bruce Seth Green
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Seth Green as Oz
Camila Griggs as the Gym Teacher
Jack Conley as Kane
Co-Starring: Larry Bagby III as Larry
Megahn Perry as Theresa
Keith Campbell as Werewolf

Plot Summary

Willow's new boyfriend, Oz, turned out to be a werewolf.

Plot Details

The show opened with Sunnydale's resident Neanderthal, Larry, trying to engage Oz in some locker room talk about how far Oz had gotten with Willow. Meanwhile, Willow expressed her disappointment about how far they have not gone. This provided a grateful Buffy with something to think about other than Angel.

That night, Cordelia and Xander were making out in her car, at least when he was not babbling about Buffy or acting concerned about whether Oz was good for Willow. Xander heard a sound outside and expressed concern. Cordelia forgot that she was in a horror show and denied that anything was going on. Of course, a beast then stuck its arm through the convertible top of Cordelia's car. They quickly left the scene.

The next day, Xander expressed certainty that it was a werewolf even though he did not see anything more than an arm. Giles was intrigued by the whole thing, especially by the fact that the previous night was the night before the full moon.

Gym class included Buffy, Willow, Xander, Cordelia, Oz, and Larry. Before the self-defense exercise, Larry and Oz discussed their recent bite wounds. Larry required 39 stitches from a dog bite and Oz's cousin, Jordy, bit him on the finger. Buffy was looking forward to demonstrating her strength on Larry and discounted Willow's warnings to hide her strength. He hit the mat with a very satisfying thump.

In the exposition scene, Giles announced that werewolves take on wolf form for three consecutive nights. Furthermore, the being is a human for most of the time and may not even know about being a werewolf. Therefore, it needed to be brought back alive.

That night, Giles and Buffy had little luck looking for the werewolf at the same place where Xander and Cordelia encountered it. Buffy was more interested in who was making out with whom, and Giles actually believed that the couples were paying attention to something other than each other. Buffy then blundered into a trap. Kane, the trapper, was amused by the idea of Buffy and Giles as a couple, and even more so at them being werewolf hunters. Kane did let on that werewolves were attracted to horny teens.

One of Buffy's classmates, Theresa, was walking home at night when she thought she heard something scary. Unfortunately, she then ran into someone who was actually scary, Angel. He offered to walk her home.

At the Bronze, Cordelia and Willow discussed their frustrations with Xander and Oz. A werewolf interrupted them and scared everyone out of the Bronze. Buffy and Giles arrived just at the Bronze emptied. She tried to capture it by wrapping a chain around its neck, but it got away.

The next morning, a sleeping werewolf turned back into its human form, which looked a lot like Oz. He called his aunt and appeared to have received confirmation that his cousin is a werewolf.

Oz entered the library and learned that the werewolf might have killed Theresa. Xander, with his hyena experience, thought that he might be able to figure out who was the werewolf. Oz looked worried until Xander named Larry as prime suspect.

Xander confronted Larry in a locker room. Xander dropped hints of knowing from personal experience what Larry was going through. This finally led Larry to confess... that he is gay. Unfortunately, for Xander, Larry assumed that Xander was gay as well.

Buffy and Xander went to Theresa's viewing. Buffy was not relieved to find that Theresa was killed by a vampire instead of a werewolf. Xander was trying to comfort her when Theresa rose as a vampire. Buffy was about to stake her when Theresa said that Angel sends his love. This distracted Buffy enough for Theresa to gain the advantage, until Xander staked her. Buffy gave him a hug that made him think that his life was going to get even more complicated.

That night, Oz was trying to lock himself in manacles when Willow stopped by his house to confront him. She went through a rant before noticing his manacles. Unfortunately, he was about to change into a wolf.

Willow fled to the same spot where Oz first attacked Xander and Cordelia. Oz was about to attack her when he found a more interesting scent. Willow went to tell Buffy and Giles that Oz was the werewolf. The three of them went back to where Xander and Cordelia first met the werewolf just as Kane was about to kill Oz. Buffy stopped him, and Willow managed to take him down with a tranquilizer rifle.

The next day, Willow and Oz had a talk. Apparently, Oz will be OK but will have to lock himself for three nights a month. Despite Oz's concerns, Willow said that she would still like to see him, and even kissed him.

The Good

I like the way that this episode turned Larry from a stereotype into a more fully-rounded character.

The Bad

The last couple of episodes (and the next couple) make this episode look bad in comparison.

The werewolf costume. Need I say more?

Overall Rank: 92

Action: 6

A werewolf attacked Cordelia's car early in the first act.

Buffy tried to capture the werewolf in the Bronze, but it escaped.

Oz, as a werewolf, menaced Willow, but she escaped.

Kane was about to shoot Oz when Buffy beat him unconscious. She then tangled with the werewolf until Willow managed to shoot it with at tranquilizer.

Comedy: 0

Drama: 6

Most of the drama came from Willow's anxiety over her relationship with Oz. Some also came from Buffy's guilt over Angel.

Romance: 8

Buffy is still hurting from the events in the previous episode.

Willow and Oz's relationship has been advancing too slowly for Willow's tastes. It looks like things might be changing. Meanwhile, Xander is a little suspicious of Oz and a little too protective of Willow.

Cordelia is still attracted to Xander and is frustrated that he is often distracted when they are together.

Character Development: 9

Oz is a werewolf. Like the other characters, he failed to disclose this important information when he should have done so. However, it is understandable why he did not. He appears to be genuinely attracted to Willow (as if there was anything difficult about that), but does not have an easy time showing it.

Willow is ready for the physical side of a relationship, or at least smoochies. She is frustrated when Oz does not seem to be as affectionate with her as she wishes.

Larry has been acting overly aggressive in order to hide the fact that he is gay, perhaps even from himself. Finally admitting his secret to Xander appears to have changed him as a person. He now feels free to be a nicer human being.

Importance: 5

The main importance of this episode was in establishing Oz as a werewolf.

Most Valuable Player: Willow

Willow gets the MVP for divulging necessary information as soon as she knew it and for being the one to bring down the Oz wolf. Xander gets a little credit for staking Theresa.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Giles

Giles's research paid off in receiving this award.

Goat of the Week: Oz

I am sure that Kane probably believes that he deserves this award for being defeated by a librarian and a girl, but he is spared because he was defeated by a superior foe. Instead, Oz gets the award for not disclosing important information when he should have.

Random Commentary

I could tell that Giles really enjoyed his research on werewolves. He actually seemed to enjoy Xander's crack about moon pies.


Xander has never seen a werewolf before and did not get a good look at the creature that stuck its arm through the roof of Cordelia's car. Why was he certain that it was a werewolf?

Tranquilizers do not work nearly as fast as they did in this episode. Normally, it would take a significant amount of time to work. By this time, the werewolf would have tore Kane, Buffy, Giles, and Willow to shreads.

Memorable Dialogue

"That's great, Larry. You've really mastered the single entendre." Oz

"Let me guess. That little innocent schoolgirl thing is just and act, right?" Larry
"She's actually an evil mastermind. It's fun" Oz

"We have a lot of fun, but I want smoochies." Willow
"Have you dropped any hints?" Buffh
"I've dropped anvils." Willow
"He'll come around. What guy could resist your wily Willow charms?" Buffy
"At last count, all of them, maybe more." Willow
"None of them know a thing. They all get an F in Willow." Buffy
"But I want Oz to get an A and 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." Willow
"Meow!" Buffy
"Thanks, I've never gotten a 'meow' before." Willow

"They might not look it, but bunnies can take care of themselves." Oz

"Werewolves, it's one of the classics. I'm sure my books and I are in for a fascinating afternoon." Giles

"You won't believe what I saw. Brittany Podelle was making out with Owen Stadeal, but he goes out with Bara Williams. If she ever found out... No, no sign of the werewolf." Buffy

"You know, sis, if that thing out there harms anyone, it's going to be on your pretty little head. I hope you can live with that." Kane
"I live with that every day." Buffy
"First they tell me I can't hunt an elephant for its ivory. Now, I've gotta deal with People for the Ethical Treatment of Werewolves." Kane

"I want to ask you something. Is Jordy a werewolf? Uh-huh, and how long has that been going on?" Oz

"Anybody besides Larry fit our werewolf profile?" Buffy
"There is one name that keeps getting spit out: aggressive behavior, run-ins with authorities, about a screenful of violent incidents." Willow
"OK, most of those were not my fault." Buffy

"Buffy, you can't blame yourself for every death that happens in Sunnydale. If it weren't for you, people'd be lined up five deep waiting to get themselves buried. Willow would be Robbie the Robot's love slave, I wouldn't have a head, and... Theresa's a vampire." Xander

"What am I supposed to think. First, you buy me popcorn, and then you're all glad that I didn't get bit, and you put the tag back in my shirt, but I guess none of that means anything because instead of looking up names with me, here your are, all alone in your house, doing nothing, by yourself." Willow

"How about you let the door hit you in the ass on the way out of town." Buffy

"That was weird." Buffy
"What, it's not OK 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." Xander
"All I meant was that he didn't try to look up my skirt." Buffy

"What relationship? What life could they possibly have together? We're talking obedience school, paper training. Oz is always in the back, burying her things, and that breed can turn on its owner." Xander

"I like you. You're nice and you're funny, and you don't smoke. Yeah, OK, werewolf, but that's not all the time. I mean, three days out of the month, I'm not that much fun to be around either." Willow

Characters in Peril


Evil Escaped

Police and Guns

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Unusual Pairings

Spoiler Questions

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on November 7, 2012