Buffy the Vampire Slayer S01 E06 – Mufasa! Say it again.

Previously: Buffy went on a date, but unfortunately, slaying and dating don’t mix well. Something tells me this will be a reoccurring theme.

The Pack

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.


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?
Buffy: Uh-huh.
Giles: And, there’s been a noticeable change in both clothing and demeanor?
Buffy: Yes.
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.


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…

Lor: Brilliant.


Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Meet Angel. Like, for real this time on S01 E07 – Angel.


Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

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  • The hyena episode – I didn’t care for it much if I remember correctly. Somehow it’s always Xander who gets into trouble. There will be more things he can reference to in later years like “One time I was a [SPOILER]”

    It started so early in the series…the whole eating principals thing? I don’t remember which one is next to become head of Sunnydale High but whatever.

    Willows attraction for Xander is…weird…to say the least. I dunno. That’s probably why I like the later seasons when we’re beyond all this. It’s kinda hard writing about Buffy trying to not write spoilers…

    • OMG the principal keeps getting eaten?! That is kind of amazing. I am a fan.

      Don’t worry about spoilers. I realize I’m just a little bit late to this party. I mean, don’t spoil me on purpose either…

      • “Well, the last two principals were eaten. Who’d even apply for that job?” ~Xander Harris

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Snyder is next! Which leads to far more entertainment value than Principal Flutie. And yes, it really is hard to write about without spoilers. I’m rapidly turning into River Song!!

      • Oh right, Snyder, he is way more entertaining. And Lorraine, well the principal doesn’t always get eaten but they go through a whole bunch of them in all seasons so it’s a thing and it’s good 🙂

  • Ley

    Every time I rave about the awesome of Buffy to my friends who haven’t seen it, they watch season one on Netflix. It’s usually after THIS episode that they stop watching the show and start giving me the side-eye “You think WHAT is awesome??” look. Also they stop trusting my taste in anything.

    Sigh. Season one of Buffy. So horribly campy, but if you can get past it you will be a fan for the rest of your life. Not that my friends believe me.

    • Thankfully for me, this series will either turn out to be horrible (and I can make fun of it) or it’ll turn out to be awesome!! (and I can make fun of it.) Wins all around.

      And like with all SS material except for maybe FSoG, I see the redeeming qualities in the series. but yes, the camp factor. Woah.

      I believe you, dear.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      I think a good part of the reason I love it as much as I do is that I didn’t start with season 1. The first episode I saw was The Gift. And if a show you’ve never seen before can make you cry, it must be pretty special. Then I watched season 6, and then borrowed seasons 1-5 from a friend. But yeah, if I’d started with season 1? I probably would have quit.

      • Ley

        I started with season one because I watched it as they aired as new episodes. Good grief, I just made myself feel intolerably old. The first two seasons it scared my face off because I was in elementary school and a total wuss, but I had to keep watching it because no one else at school admitted to it being scary. I could be a wuss in private, but not on the playground. By season three, I wanted to be Faith and I wanted Buffy to be my best friend and it was part of me. Thinking about it now, this is probably why I am so ridiculously campy…hmm.

        • Ellie

          I think we all wanted to be Faith and have a Buffy bff. Now thinking back on it, I’m kind of glad I watched the rest of the series and figured out Faith was a psycho bitch before I shared my plans with people who had already watched the show.

    • Judith

      Totally agree with you Ley. I was introduced to Buffy by friends who promised non-stop awesomeness, and Season One was a bit dire, but they urged me to stick with it. Once Spike comes in gets a whole lot better.
      Okay, confession time. I actually liked this episode. The whole episode kinda campy but I liked edgy Xander – the guy is basically the clown sidekick – it was nice seeing him be a bit of a bad boy (even if he did eat that cute little piggy). I wish they would have let him develop that edge.

  • Ellie

    You best be careful when you snark on Snyder, Lor. That little gremlin will fuck your shit up.
    LOLZ JAYKAY, but he will make you take children trick-or-treating.


      I mean, okay, I’m a little scared of the trick-or-treating thing.

      • Ellie

        I’m glad you know to be scared of seemingly harmless things when it comes to Buffy! But really, I do think you’ll like the Halloween episode in season 2. It was my favorite when I was watching Buffy as a kid.

  • Not gonna lie; I watch all seven seasons of Buffy once a year. I’m in deep. 🙂

    BUT this is definitely one of the worst episodes of them all. In fact, I always skip it when I re-watch. And I have no idea why it never occurred to me until now, to question why a small town like Sunnydale has a zoo! Magic of television and all that, I guess. Hahaha.

    • Glad to know I’m not the only one who was iffy about this episode. I really can’t wait to get to the better stuff…

  • 3hours

    Ah yes, the episode that all anti-Xander fans like to bring up x87369836 in fanfic as evidence that Xander is Evil.

    I’m still on the hurry-up-and-get-to-season-2 train. Though I’m excited to hear what Lorraine makes of the season finale!

    • We’re trying to post these a little faster than we have been because, yeah, basically hurry up and get to season 2. That’s the plan.

      I don’t think I’m anti-Xander per se, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget him being a hyena… “/

      • I Pray for Revolution

        Yes, Xander and Kyle were totally eye-sexing each other. Yes, “Shoot me, stuff me, mount me” launched many a Giles/Xander fic.

        Personally, I think this episode is awesome. The focus on B/W/X is so tight (no Angel, no Cordy, even Giles is a bit peripheral) and all three actors do an outstanding job. Nick even swaps out his regular smile for a hyena grin (wider, the mouth points more), which is just great detail work.

        Sad that there was no love for the X/W scene with Xander in the cage. His attempt to pull one over on her is pretty good, topped only by her “now I know” fakeout in pretending to be fooled. (Surprised you didn’t feel her crush was explicit before, Lor; I would have thought Witch/Teacher’s Pet made it pretty plain. Oh, well.)

        I also don’t really understand why people can’t avoid giving spoilers. Granted, I’m cheating because I know the recaps are done, but even then I’m trying not to mention anything that hasn’t already been mentioned, just in case some newbie comes and reads my comments. Like, I’m wondering if Lor knew in advance about the plot twist in the next episode, which I haven’t seen mentioned yet…

        Tidbits: Xander knows American Sign Language (after hugging Willow in the tag, he signs “I love you” to her…awww), and for the Buffy/Willow ‘shippers in the crowd (which may only be me, I admit), the girls walk off to class holding hands 🙂

        • I Pray for Revolution

          Okay, ONE spoiler: Kirsti is wrong; the zoo comes back. 😉

        • It’s sort of hard to remember what I was thinking about at this point so I can’t speak to my not picking up the crush before, but I’m sure it was just a thing I missed.

          And that goes to show just how truly unspoiled I was when it came to this show. Before starting to watch, I think I knew 1 big thing about Willow and that Michelle Trachtenberg would eventually show up. So I’m almost confident I didn’t know anything about whatever tidbit you are referencing. 🙂

          Things got a little different way late in the game because sometimes commenters say things that they don’t think are spoiler-y, but do sort of guide my thinking. I don’t blame them! I think everyone who comments here is FANTASTIC for keeping the comments as spoiler free as can be. (We use rot13 for any spoilers of future episodes. It helps a lot.)

          Anyway. These comments are fun.

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  • Alanna

    Canadians call it a toque. Yay words!

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  • The Doctor

    I’m surprised nobody noticed the aforementioned shirt Buffy wears at the end if this episode. It’s actually the movie cover picture of Kristy Swanson from the Buffy movie…

    • HOLY MOLY! Yeah, we definitely didn’t catch that, but that makes the shirt/scully outfit even better. Thanks for the trivia! 🙂

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  • TayciBear

    I’m surprised no one mentioned how Hyenas are a matriarchal society so the boys would either be super low on the totem or not even possessed.

    I’m anti-Xander because he’s a textbook “Nice Guy” and sexually assaulted someone and pretended it didn’t happen.

    • MacrameTrumpToupee

      I remember liking Xander when I was first watching the show when it was on TV, but rewatching as a 30-something? Ugh, he is horrible for the first three seasons. Apart from the “LOL, let’s keep my sexual assault just between us guys” thing, his “witty banter” is comprised of calling calling women sluts, streetwalkers or a prostitutes, he’s a complete creep with Buffy and he’s horribly insensitive to Willow who he knows likes him. He definitely improves later, but the amount the show wants us to sympathise with him at first really makes me side-eye the whole feminist cred Whedon is constantly showered with.

      • Xander was the worst in the first three seasons. I said this a lot, but for me it was also that I just could not buy Nicholas Brendan as a high school boy, so it was just a grown ass man acting like an entitled, misogynistic child.

        RE: Whedon’s feminism, I have complicated feelings on the topic. I think that Buffy was, for its time, a noteworthy and important step forward. I also think that a lot of it doesn’t hold up when looking at it now.

        And so my feeling is that Whedon is neither some sort of feminist savior, nor do I think he is some sort of misogynistic wolf in feminist sheep’s clothing. I think he is a white dude who carries a lot of the cultural baggage that comes with that and sometimes he gets it right and often he fucks it up and I’m not super interested in discussing his feminism in broad strokes.

        But also, I say all of that with the comfort of distance, now that it’s been a couple years since we finished this project. If you keep reading these recaps, spoiler alert: season 6 gets really, really rough. Like, there were times where this blog was affecting my mental/emotional state in my actual, offline daily life. Which is my disclaimer way of saying that the recaps will be a lot less even-handed than this response.

        BUT ALSO ALSO: please keep reading and chiming in on these conversations because I secretly miss talking about this show all the time…

        ETA: I just realized this episode was before I joined the Buffy party. WILD.