Previously: Buffy went on a date, but unfortunately, slaying and dating don’t mix well. Something tells me this will be a reoccurring theme.
Lorraine: We open the episode at the Sunnydale Zoo. I’m not entirely sure why, but I find this hilarious. Sunnydale has a zoo. LOL.
Kirsti: It’s never mentioned again. I like to think that it’s a zoo that can disappear at will. Because that’s the kind of shit that would totally happen in Sunnydale.
Lor: Buffy is walking around alone in some sort of trench coat/jungle scarf ensemble. A group of douchey looking kids approach and tease her for being unpopular and for having been kicked out of her old school. Kirsti tells me these mentions of being kicked out will eventually go away, but I’ll enjoy them while I got them. Did you know that Buffy was kicked out of her old school? DIDYA DIDYA?
One Douchey Heckler says, “careful. She might beat you up,” as he walks away, but no, she won’t. What’s the point of having Buffy Brawn if you can’t whip it out in case of douche. Sucks. Buffy thinks so too because she has her “sad face forever” on.
K: I bet in her head, she’s all “FUCKING SECRET IDENTITY…”
Lor: Willow and Xander run up to Buffy and say disturbing things about zebras mating. (K: “It’s like the Heimlich with stripes!” Uh,If I’m ever choking to death on a piece of food, keep Willow away from me, ‘kay??) Then, Xander schools B in the truths of field trips. “This isn’t just about looking at a bunch of animals. This is about not being in class.” Buffy understands. “Suddenly the animals look shiny and new.”
After picking on a unsuspecting nerd and almost being busted by principal Flutie, the Douche Pack decides they want to visit the hyena house, which is off limits. These kids are zoo rebels without a cause. Buffy, Willow and Xander see the Douches walk into the forbidden area. Buffy decides to go check it out, but Xander volunteers to go instead. Willow and Buffy know that they mustn’t actually leave him alone, and go to follow him, but they are busted by… zoo security? A zoologist? A zoo official.
Wait, I take it back: a zoo creepster. Zoo Creepster tells us that the hyenas are off limits because of a quarantine. He also decides this would be a grand time to tell the girls that these particular hyenas learn people’s names, call out to them and then eat them.
We meet these name calling hyenas and they look like this:
Clearly I was going to make fun of this terrible looking thing, but when I close my eyes and think “hyena” all I see is this:
Thus, I cannot comment on realistic looking hyenas.
K: Oh, Lor. When has ANYTHING in the Buffy ‘verse looked realistic to date?? It was the 90s. CGI was expensive. Just wait until…well, SPOILERS.
Lor: I mean, I don’t expect it to look realistic. I can still point and laugh, though, amIrite?
Anyways, as the Douche Pack is pushing Unsuspecting Nerd around, Xander comes in to save the day. The hyena chooses that moment to flash his eyes and – I dunno – brainwash everyone nearby. They turn around and start laughing (’cause that whole hyena thing) and in a very dramatic fashion, Xander also turns around, his eyes flash, and we know he’s in trouble.
K: DRAMATIC ZOOM IS DRAMATIC.
Lor: Later, at the Bronze, Willow and Buffy are talking boys. This is the first time (I believe) that we get a full on confession from Willow that for some inexplicable reason, Xander makes her heart swell. Buffy says she would say the same for Angel, except that whole “mysterious, brooding and only around to warn me” thing.
Xander enters in and is like… eye-sexing everyone in his wake. WTF. This includes the leader of the Douche Pack. I’m very uncomfortable. B and Willow immediately can tell that he isn’t being himself.
K: I’m pretty sure that he gave it away when he sniffed Buffy and was all “Huh. You took a bath.” a) CREEPY, b) Edward Cullen convention much?, c) CREEEEEEEPY!!!
Lor: Later on, regular gym classes that day have been cancelled because of rain. Instead of just telling us that, we also get to see some really fake peals of lightening. I’m running out of ways to ask what the heck is happening in this episode.
So, rainy day gym = dodge ball. The purpose of dodge ball here is to further establish that Xander is a Douche when he pegs Willow. Buffy tries to comfort Willow with a guess that this is all more supernatural and less mean that it appears. Buffy takes her theory to Giles and the Wiggens Library, and we get this nice little exchange:
Giles: Xander’s taken to teasing the less fortunate?
Giles: And, there’s been a noticeable change in both clothing and demeanor?
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.
It’s funny because it’s funny but also because Giles is being skeptical. In a town where substitutes are giant bugs and vampires have gardening tools for hands. Ha. Thankfully, though, the Douche Pack eats the new school mascot (K: Poor Herbert the piglet…), and suddenly this is less like normal 16 year old boy behavior.
Principal Flutie busts the Pack for eating his pig and brings them into his office. They get all crazy-like and attack Flutie.
Meanwhile, Giles informs Buffy that his research suggests this whole thing is like animal… spirit… possession. I wasn’t paying too much attention, but I do know that things could get ugly if Xander doesn’t stop being a hyena.
Buffy goes to look for him in the room where Herbert Piggie once lived. Xander attacks her, and says a whole bunch of insecure crap about now being mean and dangerous like Angel (K: Because nothing says “Please date me” like sniffing a girl and then getting sexual assault-y…). This all gets pretty annoying, but thankfully we cut to Buffy dragging an unconscious Xander into the Wiggens Library, which conveniently has some sort of jail. They lock him up.
K: That’s the library cage where Giles keeps the rare books. And the weapons. And also beasties. It’s a regular cast member over the next three seasons, so you should probably get used to it.
Lor: Noted. Giles enters shortly thereafter to inform us that the Douche Pack ATE THE PRINCIPAL. THEY EAT MR. FLUTIE YOU GUYS. Shenanigans.
K: For clarification purposes, while the Douche Pack were eating the principal, Xander was getting molesty and being hit in the head with a desk by Buffy. So he ate the pig. But not the principal. Which I guess means he’ll get trichinosis but not kuru??
Lor: I’m glad this is an acceptable conversation to be having. Thanks Sunnydale!
The gang has no idea what to do so they decide that Willow will watch Xander while Giles and Buffy go talk to Zoo Creepster, because he seemed to know a lot about these hyenas. The Zoo Creepster says that they need to bring all the hyena-people back to the zoo. He says they only need to lead one back, because the others will surely follow. B pieces together that Willow is in danger, as the Douche Pack will be searching for Xander.
The other hyenas break Xander out of make-shift jail and they almost attack Willow before Buffy comes and Brawns them. Willow and Giles run ahead to the zoo, and Buffy leads the pack there. We soon discover, however, that the Zoo Creepster is nefarious. Apparently he wants to be possessed by a hyena.
SERIOUSLY EPISODE. WHAT THE HELL.
When the Douche Pack show up, the Zoo Creepster says some magic words and gets the spirit o’ hyena transferred into him. When Xander comes to, he realizes that Zoo Creepster is about to hurt Willow and runs to protect her. He’s not very effective. Thankfully, it doesn’t take very much effort from Buffy to Brawn the zoo official over the railing into the real!hyena pit. Goodbye Zoo Creepster.
At school the next day, Buffy is wearing a scully and Barbie on her t-shirt?
K: Wait. Wait wait wait. Americans call that a SCULLY?? But…Scully is a ginger woman who makes snarky comments and investigates paranormal nonsense and has #secretsexytimes with Mulder… My brain just exploded a little bit. (What Buffy’s wearing is called a beanie in my world. And I also have no explanation for why she’s wearing it.)
Lor: To go back and correct my typo would mean that I would have to delete K’s tirade, which is too awesome. So instead I will just amend:
In less important news, Xander asks the girls if he did anything embarrassing and they both kindly don’t mention basically everything. As they walk away, Giles comes around to inform us that hyena possession doesn’t actually result in amnesia, as anyone who is anyone knows. Xander admits he’s faking and asks Giles not to rat him out. He’s super embarrassed. So embarrassed, in fact, that he says “shoot me, stuff me, mount me,” with a totally straight face.
That will be our this week’s entry into “Things Teachers and Students Shouldn’t Say to Each Other.”
And thusly we conclude the episode.
K: But not the whole “one time I was a hyena” thing. Because THAT? Comes back a bunch…
Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Meet Angel. Like, for real this time on S01 E07 – Angel.