Previously: Buffy liked a mysterious, poetry-book-carrying brooding guy. No, not Angel/David Borenasal. Owen. It was Owen. Remember? They went on a date. RIP, Owen! We’ll never forget y-oh wait. He didn’t die. Also, Buffy and the gang totes thought they stopped the Anointed One from rising but they DID NOT. Dummies.
And guys. GUYS. This is one of my favourite episodes. Xander, you saucy, intense, sexy beast, you. I am so excited to do you. WAIT. I meant, excited to do this recap. Heh.
School field trip to the Sunnydale Zoo! Apparently Sunnydale has a ZOO, you guys. A zoo. They have one coffee shop, two hundred graveyards, an enormous power station (hahaah episode one), no mall, and a zoo. Ahahahahahaha! A zooooo… *wipes tears*
Ok, ok, back to the recap.
Buffy’s walking and oh my god that outfit. I am literally ten seconds into this episode and I’m already in a world of fashion wtfuckery. Ten seconds in, costume people. Ten. Get it together.
So ANYWAYS, Buffy is at the zoo (hahahahaha) and she gets harassed by four jerks from her school. They all look at least 24 years old but I’ll ignore that. They mock her for being alone without any friends, for not being popular, for being kicked out of her old school and for having a reputation for beating people up. They do not, however, mock her outfit. Missed opportunities, bully crew. I can only assume they decided it was too easy to do that. “Like shooting fish in a barrel,” I imagine them saying, nose in the air. “We take pride in our hurtful remarks.”
Buffy tries to stay nonchalant but the kicked out of school and violence barb hurts. She gets all sad face as they walk away, laughing at their clever taunts. Aw.
Xander and Willow run up to her, excited about seeing the zebras mating. Wow, those two really need to kiss someone. Willow’s outfit is a mess of colours and patterns and childishness and I just can’t do this, people.
Xander cheers Buffy up by pointing out they aren’t having to be in school. Buffy gets the happies and they go off to see more animals.
The bully crew harass another kid but Principal Flutie breaks it up. He’s sick of their bad attitudes. The kid they were picking on covers for him so Flutie leaves. The group is pleased with the nerdy kid, Lance, and invite him to join them as they explore the Hyena House. Lance points out that it’s off limits but these rebels care not for societies rules! They lift the caution tape and go inside.
The gang sees them go in. When Buffy is about to follow them to break it up, Xander stops her. Since this job doesn’t require slaying he can handle it. Buffy isn’t really on board with that idea but Willow assures her that the gang is just all talk. Mostly. They both change their minds and start to follow Xander. They step under the tape as well but are stopped by an employee zookeeper. Those hyenas are dangerous! They prey on the weak! They’re quarantined and have just arrived from Africa! They’re rumoured to understand humans and sometimes call people by their names! THEN THEY EAT THEM ZOMG. Buffy and Willow are all big eyes.
Inside the Hyena House, the bullying immediately begins. The gang picks Lance up and start dangling him near the fence. Lance is not enjoying this. Xander runs in and breaks it up. The leader gets in Xander’s face but suddenly they all get distracted by the hyenas. And by distracted I mean possessed. Xander stares at a hyena. The hyena’s eyes grow green and all the bullies glow as well. A large hyena symbol is on the floor, right where they’re all standing. This should end well.
Lance isn’t feeling great about this and turns to flee. He immediately trips and falls and the gang turns to watch him. They hyena-laugh evilly as they watch him scramble up and run out. Xander’s the last to turn. He gives me his sexiest stare I MEAN he turns and looks over his shoulder in a sexy manner I MEAN he’s sexy. EVIL. I meant evil. He’s gone evil.
The Bronze. Willow is asking Buffy if Xander seemed angry to her on the bus ride back from the zoo. Buffy shrugs it off and teases Willow for having love feels for Xander.
“He makes my head go tingly,” Willow says in the most adorable Willow way possible. I swear her eyes glowed in a non-hyena-spirit-possessed way and hearts floated and popped like bubbles around her head. Alison Hannigan is just that good.
Willow asks if Buffy knows what she means and Buffy says no. Willow turns the teasing tables on Buffy and brings up Angel/David Borsalmic Vinegar up, pointing out that Buffy is wearing his jacket. “Goes with the shoes!” Buffy claims. Ha! Busted.
Buffy keeps trying to deny her Angel feels when Xander shows up. He gives a couple of girls a sexy staredown as he walks by them and they’re totally into it. Honestly, this alone should’ve been Buffy and Willow’s wake-up call that something wrong with Alexander Lavelle Harris.
Xander walks up to them and, in a bored tone, lets them know he’s late because he totally forgot they were supposed to meet up. He helps himself to a bite of Buffy’s buttery croissant, declares it crap, and proceeds to confuse the girls with his twitchy behavior. Willow asks if she did something wrong and Xander acts a little more like himself, telling her that’s crazy talk.
Willow suggests going to the ice cream bar but Xander wants to stay at The Bronze. Poor Willow, she’ll never get to go to the ice cream bar with a boy.
Xander leans over and sniffs Buffy. She’s like, the hell? He informs her that she had a bath. Thanks, Xander. She knows that. She’s in the middle of a patented Buffy witty moment about how she often bathes but for once Xander doesn’t give an eff about what she’s saying and suddenly looks across the room. The mean kids have arrived.
They all stare at each other as the bullies approach. No one says anything, just stare, stare, stare. There’s so many stares. Omg Xander is so hot.
The mean kids stop in front of Xander. He gives them more stares *fans self* and they silently turn and leave to go harass some chubby guy, saying he should be hovering over the football stadium with ‘Good Year’ written on him. The mean kids all laugh and, to the surprise of Buffy and Willow, so does Xander. He turns to their shocked faces and says, “Kid’s fat.” Whut?
The next day, Buffy’s training with Giles in the library. She looks adorable and very, very strong. Giles is getting quite beat up, despite wearing some sort of protective boxing gear. Buffy kickboxes the living daylights out him until he declares, “That’s enough training for one day!” Buffy wants to train some more but Giles sends her off to class so he can go huddle in a corner and weep over his pains.
A little pig is loose in a hall. He runs around until Buffy grabs him. The poor pig has been forced to wear a helmet and a spiny thing on his back. I bet he’s miserable. Principal Flutie introduces him to the crowd as their new mascot. Everyone claps politely.
Willow is tutoring Xander on a bench outside and judging from the angle of the sun it’s about 7:30 pm. Long day of shooting, I guess. Xander’s angry and frustrated and having trouble remembering stuff he already knew last week. He has a headache and Willow rubs his head soothingly but he jerks away and tosses the schoolbook in the trash, then storms off.
Buffy helps Principal Flutie out by carrying the pig to his office. They’ve taken the embarrassing outfit off him, thank god. The piggy starts wiggling and squealing in a panic as Xander walks by. Buffy frowns at this. Buffy, don’t worry. The pig just can’t believe how hot Xander has suddenly become.
Gym class. It’s raining so they’re forced to stay inside and play dodgeball. Willow and Buffy give each other a look. They hate dodgeball. I actually liked it in school, but it really did make the weaker kids feel even worse about their lives. Nice going, gym teachers everywhere.
The game starts. People are slowly eliminated and sit down. Xander wails a hard shot on Willow and knocks her out. She gives him a look of utter betrayal. Xander doesn’t care and keeps playing.
Eventually it’s only Buffy left on one side and the mean kids, Xander, and Lance from the beginning of the episode on the other side. Everyone stops and stares at Buffy. It’s not looking good for her. Instead of knocking her out of the game they all turn and look at Lance. He looks back, nervously. His own team starts hitting him with the balls, hard. Like, really hard. Lance falls to the ground and covers as Xander and another girl both wail on him with their hits.
Buffy runs over and gives Lance a hand up. She pushes him behind her protectively, then turns and looks at Xander. Stares. So much staring. Without a word Xander and the pack turn and leave the gym. Shiiiiiiiit.
Later, Willow walks up to Xander and asks him what’s wrong with him. He takes her a few steps away from his pack of jerks and tells her that his feelings for her have changed. He leads her on, making it sound like he’s about to confess that he loves her but instead he tells her he’s dropping geometry, and therefore also her and her pasty face. Xander and the pack laugh in their mean, hyena way and Willow takes off.
Buffy has seen this from her locker and she walks over. She’s angry and tough, asking Xander if he’s going to say something to her now. Xander just starts laughing again with his buddies and they walk outside to do more bad things.
The pack is on the hunt for something to eat. They help themselves to some kids’ hotdogs but spit them out. They’re too well-done for their liking. Xander sniffs the air and finds just what they need. The piggy mascot in Principal Flutie’s office! RIP Herbert! We’ll never forget y-
Slow motion walking! The pack, all full of raw pork, stalk through the schoolyard, intimidating the weaker kids. They look menacing and really cool. I am a sucker for slow motion walking.
Xander turns and listens to Buffy and Willow, who are far up on the second level walkway. He can hear every word they say. This is one of the show’s most memorable shots and I love it so.
Willow is crying her adorable tears. Xander has broken her spirit. She thinks it’s her and not Xander. After all, he’s only picking on Willow, not Buffy. He just sniffs Buffy a lot.
Buffy disagrees. She insists there’s something wrong and goes to talk to Giles. Giles will know what’s wrong!
Giles is no help at all:
Giles: Xander’s taken to teasing the less fortunate?
Giles: And, there’s been a noticeable change in both clothing and demeanour?
Giles: And, well, otherwise all his spare time is spent lounging about with imbeciles.
Buffy: It’s bad, isn’t it.
Giles: It’s devastating. He’s turned into a sixteen-year-old boy. Course, you’ll have to kill him.
Thanks for the help, Giles. When will this group learn that Buffy is always right? Answer: NEVER. They never learn this.
Buffy insists that he looks stuff up in his stupid books. Giles tells her that boys can be cruel and prey on the weak. This sets a lightbulb on over Buffy’s head. Prey on the weak…prey on the weak…the hyena cage!
Buffy asks if Xander could’ve gotten possessed by a hyena. Giles is skeptical…until Willow bursts in with the bad news about Herbert. Giles turns to get his books.
Principal Flutie is livid. He knows the pack killed Herbert. He finds the four of them without Xander and marches them off to the office. They go, cackling all the way.
Back in the library of research, Buffy, Willow and Giles find out about hyena possession. Judging from the picture they show of humans with their limbs torn off, things don’t go well if the possessed person is left unchecked.
Buffy takes off to find Xander before something really dangerous happens. She looks in the faculty office and finds Herbert’s mangled cage. Xander sneaks up behind her, startling her when she turns around. He doesn’t say a word but still manages to look incredibly menacing as he stares. Buffy darts to the right and he blocks her. She sighs and turns her back on him, saying they have to talk, tricking him into relaxing for a moment. She whirls around and pushes him down onto his back, sitting on his chest. He likes this. He likes this a lot. “I’ve been waiting for you to jump my bones.” Ew, Xander. Not cool.
Principal Flutie is in his office, ranting at the pack. They are not intimidated. They slowly creep forward.
Xander flips Buffy over and gets on top. He holds her down, telling her she loves her men dangerous and mean. Like Angel. Wait, what? Angel’s barely been on the show and last week Buffy was totally blowing him off for Owen, going so far as to plant a kiss on Owen in front of Angel. Ugh. Whatever.
Who’s gone completely inappropriate and zoomed right into sexual assault-y? Our boy Xander, that’s who. He loves it that Buffy’s a little scared of him; it makes her smell even better. The two struggle and Buffy makes her Buffy grunt noise a lot. I never noticed how much she does it before.
Back in the office, the pack is getting really aggressive. The acting here is just ridiculous but I will ignore it. Just ignore it…Anyways, they eat him alive. Good riddance, Principal Flutie, I never really liked you anyway.
Willow is sitting and watching video footage of hyenas eating an animal when Buffy drags an unconscious Xander into the library. Willow is concerned for Xander and asks what happened. Buffy informs her she knocked him out with a desk when he got kinda rapey. Awkward. Xander gets locked in the book return cage. I love that the library has the huge cage…for books…
Giles comes in with the bad news about Principal Flutie. RIP Flutie, we’ll talk about you occasionally!
Giles still doesn’t know how to un-possess someone and Buffy comes up with the smart idea of talking to the zookeeper that told them not to go into the hyena cave. They take off, leaving Willow to watch Xander. This should end well.
That night, a young girl is taking a shortcut through some brush and manages to stroll right into the middle of the sleeping, sated pack. The pack stirs sleepily and looks at her. They’re creepy enough that the girl is immediate terrified. She starts to slowly back away, turning to reveal that she has a tender, delicious baby strapped to her back. They’re all, Baby! The other, other white meat!
Luckily for her, the pack is still too full of yummy principal to do anything more then snuggle back up for more naptime as she runs for it. What a bunch of underachievers.
Willow is still watching hyenas devour prey, which is apparently ‘research’. Xander wakes up and tries to sweet-talk her into letting him out of the cage. He keeps bad-mouthing Buffy but Willow defends her. Willow’s skin looks flawless and her eyes shine in this shot. Great work, lighting team!
Xander makes a grab for the keys in Willow’s pocket and she backs away. Ha! She knew it!
Giles and Buffy talk to the hyena zookeeper about the crazy possessions. He’s immediately all, hmmm, I thought those extra-vicious hyenas were strange…He’s on board to help them and says they need all the kids together. Well, that’s going to be tough since Buffy has no idea where the rest of the pack is. No problem, the zookeeper tells them, cause after hyenas eat they track down the missing pack member. Buffy and Giles are mortified. Willow!!!!
Willow’s still watching that stupid hyena video. Geeze, give it a rest, would ya? What else is there to see besides them eating a gazelle? Xander calls her name, annoying her, She’s not listening! She doesn’t notice that the pack is staring through the library windows at her. One of them calls out, “Willlllow…” and she snaps at Xander to shut up. The pack member croons her name again, making Willow realize the sound isn’t coming from the book cage. She looks up just as the pack bursts through the windows. They’re making all sorts of zoo-y sounds, not to be confused with Zooey sounds. Willow runs for it as the pack breaks Xander free and sniffs him all over, just like I would if I had a Xander.
Willow isn’t really so smart cause instead of, say, running out of the building, she hides in a classroom. Xander easily finds her. He chases her out of the room and right into the arms of the blonde female pack member. It’s looking dire for Willow! Dire, until the blonde pack girl gets hit in the head with a fire extinguisher. Buffy saves the day!
Giles, Buffy and Willow lock themselves into the classroom. I guess Willow wasn’t able to manage the tricky lock mechanism. I mean, it wasn’t a computer now was it?
The pack angrily bangs on the door for about one second before giving up and leaving. What? Ok. Apparently they’re getting ‘stupider’. Buffy decides the pack is hungry and looking for someone weak. She’s going to go lead them to the zoo and meet the gang there.
Some lame family is walking into their family SUV. The wife is nagging the husband about looking at another woman, because that’s what women do, amirite? F you, Joss. The wife is also wearing the most god-awful vest and blouse because that’s what moms wear, right? UGH. They deserve to get eaten. However, Buffy shows up just as the pack is attacking the vehicle and taunts them till they start chasing her.
Willow and Giles are waiting outside the hyena cave. Giles tells her to wait here and let them know when Buffy and the others are approaching, and runs inside to get the zookeeper.
Inside, said zookeeper is dressed all crazy-ritualistic with his face painted. That’s odd. Giles seems a little nervous but obviously has no Spidey sense at all because he doesn’t get a tingly feeling when he totally should cause the zookeeper is really scary. The zookeeper’s face is painted like he’s a huge fan of the Masai hockey team and it’s the playoffs. Giles notices they’re standing on a large painted hyena symbol. He thinks really slowly.
Giles finally figures it all out and gets all sexy-cold with the zookeeper, mocking him for not being able to accomplish what a bunch of dumb school kids managed to do. The zookeeper agrees that it’s frustrating, however, he’ll get THE POWER. He twirls his staff and once again, Giles gets knocked out.
Outside, Willow hears the pack coming. She runs inside the cave, calling for Giles. The zookeeper assures her that everything is in place and Willow believes him even though she doesn’t see Giles OR the hyenas that they need for the trans-possession. She’s so trusting, in fact, that she passively lets him pick up her wrists and bind them together. Oh Willow. At least she doesn’t think the zookeeper is taking her to the ice cream bar.
Buffy races towards the cave, screaming that the pack is right behind her!
The zookeeper pulls out a knife and holds it to Willow’s throat. Willow’s still not 100% sure that this guy isn’t a horrible, killing liar and asks him, “You’ll pretend to slash my throat and, and put the evil in the hyenas?”
“Something like that,” he answers menacingly. Finally Willow figures out this isn’t right. She’s almost as quick as Giles.
Buffy runs in to see Willow being held by the zookeeper. Willow shouts, rather unnecessarily, “Buffy! It’s a trap!” Thanks, Willow. Buffy can figure that out because Buffy’s smart. And Willow’s the one being touted as the genius on this show. Pfffft.
The pack run in and Buffy is knocked to the ground. They’re about to devour her like a gazelle when the zookeeper shouts out some magic words. Immediately, the power is transferred out of them and into him. He drops his knife and growls, ready to rip Willow’s throat out.
Xander yells for Willow and rushes them, knocking her to safety and giving Buffy a chance to punch and eventually throw the zookeeper into the hyena pit. That’s the end of him!
Giles walks in, asking if he missed anything.
The next day, Buffy and Willow are recapping everything that happened to Xander because he can’t remember anything since the field trip to the zoo. Willow’s thrilled that Xander saved her life and they hug sweetly. Awwww.
Xander asks Buffy is he did anything embarrassing. They look at him for a moment and then shake their heads. Nahhhhh. (Unless you think attempted sexual assault is embarrassing. Then yes. Yes you did. But they don’t say that!)
The girls walk away. Giles pops up to mention how he’s been reading up on this animal possession and it doesn’t mention memory loss. Xander is mortified but his secret is safe with Giles.