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Next — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Beauty and the Beasts
October 20, 1998


Marti Noxon

James Whitmore, Jr.

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
Seth Green as Oz
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Eliza Dushku as Faith
Fab Filippo as Scott Hope
John Patrick White as Pete
Danielle Weeks as Debbie
Phill Lewis as Mr. Platt


There's been a brutal killing in the Sunnydale woods, and Oz-wolf is the prime suspect. Buffy, however, has just learned that her lover, Angel, is back from Hell in an animalistic state — making Buffy fear that he's the killer. Both are in the clear when the gang figures out that the bad guy is a classmate's abusive boyfriend Pete. The gang and an escaped Oz-wolf head after Pete, who kills his girlfriend before anyone can find them. He then tries to kill Buffy, but a slightly more human Angel saves her by choking Pete to death. — Short synopsis by Anthony C. Blade.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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The most obvious inspiration here (and when we say obvious, we mean blatantly obvious) is Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It's theme of the division between man's rational side and his bestial side (what Freud would call the ego and the id) is not only given a rather up-front treatment in this episode, but is also closely related to the themes of werewolf mythology. The fast-head visuals of Pete's transformation from good guy to bad guy are straight out of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead movies.

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Body Count

Jeff Walken
Mauled in the woods by Pete.
Mr. Platt
Mauled in his office by Pete.
Beaten to death by Pete in the high school boiler room.
Neck broken by Angel in the high school boiler room.
Total: Four
Compiled by Eric B.

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Dialogue to Die For

Buffy: "We having a marching jazz band?"
Oz: "Yeah, but, y'know, since the best jazz is improvisational, we'd be goin' off in all directions, bumpin' into floats... scary."
Willow: "He's just being Oz."
Oz: "Pretty much full time."

Mr. Platt: "Look, Buffy, any person—grown-up, shrink... Pope—any person who claims to be totally sane is either lying or not very bright."

Xander, after being spooked by Cordelia: "We're doin' crime here! You don't sneak up during crime!"

Giles: "Clearly, we're looking for a depraved, sadistic animal."
Oz: "Present. I may be a cold-blooded jelly doughnut, but my timing is impeccable."

Cordelia, after finding out the whole story about Pete: "Great. Now I'm gonna be stuck with serious thoughts all day."

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Buffy: "Wait! Don't turn around, okay? And don't say anything. Just listen."
    That has always been one of the lamest, most forced plot contrivances around.
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  • The episode is bracketed by quotes from The Call of the Wild, the famous 1903 novel by Jack London (1876-1916).

    William Congreve

  • "It seems to soothe his savage beastie."  Willow has become the latest to misquote the famous line, "Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast," from the first scene of the play The Mourning Bride by William Congreve (1670-1729).

  • "No worries, I can handle the Oz Full Monty."  The term "the full Monty" is British slang for "going all the way." But thanks to the popular 1997 British comedy film The Full Monty, which told the story of a group of unemployed British steelworkers who concoct a plan to earn money by stripping, it is now irrevocably associated in the minds of the world with full frontal male nudity.

  • "Every guy, from Manimal down to Mr. I-Love-The-English-Patient, has beast in him."  Manimal was a short-lived 1983 television series created by pop sci-fi king Glen Larson (Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Knight Rider) about a man (played by Simon MacCorkindale) with the mystical ability to turn himself into just about any animal. The English Patient is the female-friendly Anthony Minghella film which won the 1996 Academy Award® for Best Picture.

  • At the morgue, Willow has a Scooby-Doo lunchbox, which is not only a reference to the classic mystery cartoon series, but very likely also a reference to the scene in "What's My Line, Part 1" in which Xander referred to the Slayer and her friends as "the Scooby gang."

  • "Three-dimensional, Sensurround, the hills are alive..."  A reference to The Sound of Music. See Notes.

  • "So while you two live out your grim fairy tale, two people are dead."  This is a pun referring to the Brothers Grimm. In 1815, Jakob Ludwig Karl Grimm (1785-1863) and his younger brother Wilhelm Karl Grimm (1786-1859) published a collection of famous German folk tales called Grimm's Fairy Tales, many of which (like "Cinderella", "Rumpelstiltskin", "Rapunzel" and "Hansel and Gretel") are among the most famous fairy tales ever. (For more on Hansel and Gretel see "Gingerbread".)

  • "Mr. Science was doing a Jekyll/Hyde deal."  A reference to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel. See Monstervision.

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • During his fight with Pete, Oz just shifts into werewolf form. What happened to the throes that Oz went through in the process of turning into a werewolf in "Phases"? Does changing into a werewolf become easier or less painful with practice?

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  • Mr. Platt's smoking reinforces the show's clear bias against smoking, as every character in the show who has smoked has been either evil (Spike and the evil Angel), doomed (Laura in "Nightmares" and the woman who was Angel's first kill after re-losing his soul) or both (Sheila in "School Hard").

  • Two more of Giles books are named here: Exploring Demon Dimensions and Mystery of Acathla.

  • Buffy starts to quote the famous line from The Sound of Music, but her voice trails off. The obvious implication is that she remembers that Ms. Calendar once said that to Giles ("The Dark Age") and the reminder would be too painful. But that conclusion is not definite, especially since we don't think Buffy actually heard Ms. Calendar say that to Giles.

  • When Giles remarks that time moves differently in the demon dimension, Buffy says, "I remember." That may imply that the netherworld into which she and Lily fell in "Anne" is the same demon dimension into which Angel was sucked in "Becoming, Part 2", or at least that they have the "time moves differently" thing in common.

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A tad heavy-handed in the Serious Message department (abusive relationships bad), but good performances and some great dramatic intensity made this episode work for me. It was terrific to see Oz getting a chance to do more than just be Laid-Back Cryptic Boy (but boo-hiss for the new "hairy footy-pajamas" costume), and the morgue scene proved that Willow, Xander and Cordelia work beautifully as a comic threesome. I hope to see more of that good stuff in the future. Yeah, the plot was forced to jump through a few awkward hoops here and there (the "Don't turn around, don't say anything" scene leaps to mind, and I'm really wondering what part of Angel's feral, animalistic mind made him find pants), and that coupled with the aforementioned Message made this episode seem a bit contrived at times, by which I mean that for the first time I can remember I felt like these characters and their world were being used to beat me over the head with a moral. So demerits for that. On the other hand, Buffy's embryonic relationship with Scott Hope is sweet and enjoyable, and with the re-introduction of Angel that storyline has the potential to score big time. As for Angel's return, well... I can't really say much about it at this point. SMG had some terrific facial visuals going there, and I'm not yet disappointed with anything in this storyline. But Angel's sudden re-humanization at the end had better come with a damn good explanation, or I'm gonna feel kinda cheated. We wouldn't want that, now would we? (8/10)
Oh my... we have monsters aplenty. I was wondering when we would be getting another Oz episode. I'm not sure which werewolf costume I like better, but the episode was very cool. Pete made a rather interesting creature, even though he reminded me of Freddy Krueger without the knives. The fight scenes were very cool, and everyone seemed to be their witty selves. Faith was present in the episode, which was neat but not completely necessary (yeah, I know, she's a Slayer so she's going to be around for a while). On the big topic of the evening: Angel. Initially I really liked the animal-like, WCW Wrestling, gee-I-can't-talk Angel... and then he spoke. I don't buy it. It seems like he has a Jekyll and Hyde thing going on (in keeping with the theme of the episode), but I find it to be a bit ridiculous. Giles described two ways Angel could be if he came back, and we saw two different Angels in this episode. I don't find the contrast in his behaviors to be completely believable. I know that we will eventually get answers, but I would have liked to see Animal Angel for a few episodes before he regained his ability to speak. I did like the episode a lot, but writers are being rather elusive with the Angel theme, and I find it a bit irritating. In my opinion, this episode was a step up from the previous offerings, and I can't wait to see what happens next. (8/10)
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Air Date Rating Ranking
October 20, 1998 4.3 94 of 131
March 9, 1999 3.3 95 of 130
July 6, 1999 2.3 99 of 129

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