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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Pangs
November 23, 1999
4ABB08

 
Credits

Writer:
Jane Espenson


Director:
Michael Lange


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
James Marsters as Spike
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
David Boreanaz as Angel
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
Mercedes McNab as Harmony Kendall
Leonard Roberts as Forrest
Bailey Chase as Graham
Tod Thawley Hus, the Chumash spirit
Cast:
Margaret Easley as Curator/Anthropology Professor
William Vogt as Jamie, the vamp at the beginning
Mark Ankeny as Dean Guerrero

 
Synopsis

At the groundbreaking ceremony for a new cultural center, Xander accidentally releases Hus, a Native American vengeance spirit, looking to payback the "white settlers" who took his people's land. Meanwhile, Buffy just wants to have Thanksgiving with the people she loves, but she must figure out who Hus is going after next. She also must deal with a "helpless" Spike, who arrives at Giles' apartment seeking help. When Angel — who has secretly arrived in Sunnydale to help Buffy — tells Buffy's friends that Hus is going after Buffy, they rush back into a war between Buffy and a band of Native American spirits. When the battle is over, everyone (including a tied up Spike) sits down and enjoys a nice meal — until Xander lets it slip that Angel was in Sunnydale. — Short synopsis by Anthony C. Blade.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Body Count

Anonymous Vampire
Staked by Buffy at UC Sunnydale.
Anthropology Professor
Throat slit by Hus at UC Sunnydale.
Anonymous Person
Bitten by anonymous vampires in an abandoned warehouse(?).
Father Gabriel
Hanged by Hus at the church.
Hus
Stabbed by Buffy at Giles' house.
Total: Five
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Dialogue to Die For

Buffy: " ... pretty darn scary. It was more like a riot than a Ralphs. I thought I was going to have to use Slayer moves on this one woman who was completely hoarding the pumpkin pie filling."

Willow: "You know, I don't think you want to help! You just want to slay the demon and go 'la, la, la.'"

Giles: "That's why I think we should all keep a level head at this."
Willow: "And I happen to think that mine is the level head and yours is the one things would roll off of."

Spike (on his implant): "I'm saying that Spike had a little trip to the vet, and now he doesn't chase the other puppies anymore."

Spike: "A bear! You made a bear!"
Buffy: "I didn't mean to!"
Spike: "Undo it! Undo it!

    James' delivery of this is hilarious.

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Spike: "A bear! You made a bear!"
Buffy: "I didn't mean to!"
Spike: "Undo it! Undo it!

    The written line itself is just silly.

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References

  • Buffy: "Very manly. Not at all Village People."
  • Village PeopleThe Village People are a band, formed in the 1970s, in which each member dressed as an American icon (a cowboy, an Indian, a cop, a soldier, a biker, and a construction worker). They're probably most famous for their songs "Macho Man" and "Y.M.C.A." (which they spelled out with their arms in performances, causing millions of Americans to still be unable to hear the song without being compelled to do the same).

  • Anya: "So much sexier than the outfit from his last job."
    Willow: "Oh, I miss the free hot dogs on sticks."
  • OK, so they don't say it straight out, but the obvious joke here is Hot Dog on a Stick, a fast food joint that sells pretty much just corn dogs, french fries, and lemonade. They're notorious for their ridiculous uniforms and hats.

  • Willow (regarding the absence of the dead Anthropology professor's ear): "What if it was self-inflicted, like Van Gogh."
  • Starry NightVincent Van Gogh (1853-90) is an incredibly famous postimpressionist, notorious for having cut off his own left earlobe in an attack of dementia. Van Gogh had a history of physical and mental problems, and eventually shot himself. The print shown at right is "Starry Night," probably his most famous painting.

  • Buffy: "It was more like a riot than a Ralphs."
  • Ralphs is a supermarket chain in California, founded by George Ralphs over a hundred years ago. Incidentally, Jamie and Jeremy usually shop at Ralphs. In case you care. ;-)

  • Buffy: "Straight up, black hat, tied to the train tracks, soon my electro-ray will destroy Metropolis bad."
  • "Black hats" is a term for bad guys. The train tracks thing refers to the bad guys in old black and white films, who would tie the female lead character to the train tracks (and of course, the good guy would save her just in time). The Metropolis thing refers to Lex Luthor from the Superman media phenomena, who was always trying to destroy Superman (Metropolis is the fictional city in which Superman lives).

  • Riley: "What's the line? 'Home's the place that, when you have to go there..."
    Buffy: "They have to take you in."
  • To be exact, it's: "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." It's a line from Robert Frost's "The Death of the Hired Man." You can read the whole poem here.

  • Riley: "...and I know what you're thinking, it's like I grew up in a Grant Wood painting."
  • Arbor DayGrant Wood (1891-1942) is an American artist (from Iowa, actually, just like Riley), who painted mainly regionalistic landscapes and portraits. Though he's most famous for "American Gothic" (you know, the long-faced farmer couple, dressed in black, pitchfork between them, farmhouse behind them), "Arbor Day," the image on your right, is more like what Riley's talking about.

  • Spike (on conquering other nations): "That's what Caesar did, and he's not going around saying, 'I came, I conquered, I felt really bad about it."
  • Julius Caesar was a Roman general and quite the conqueror. The Latin quotation "Veni, vidi, vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered) is often attributed to him.

  • Buffy (trying to console the Chumash spirit): "You can have casinos now!"
  • Buffy is referring to the fact that in many states (California included), casinos are legal on tribal reservations. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 makes tribal gaming legal if gaming is permitted outside the reservation for any other purpose (such as state lotteries).

  • Xander (distracting the bear): "Hey, Gentle Ben, over here!"
  • Gentle BenGentle Ben was the title character (if you can call a bear a character) of the 1960s TV show of the same name, about a boy and his tame bear. It starred Clint Howard (you know, Ron Howard's brother).

  • Willow: "Two seconds of conflict with an indigenous person, and I turn into General Custer."
  • Willow is referring to General George Armstrong Custer (1839-76). He fought many winning battles against the Indians until his death at Little Bighorn, where he and every soldier under his personal command were killed by the Sioux.


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Continuity

  • Choices

    Buffy says that Joyce is going to Aunt Arlene's for Thanksgiving. Aunt Arlene was mentioned before in "Choices," when we learned that she lives in Illinois.

  • Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest

    Willow mentions "the church the Master was in," referring to the church that became the Master's lair in 1937, when an earthquake ruined his attempt to open the Hellmouth and buried the church.

  • The Initiative

    Both Riley and Spike refer to Spike's having been neutered, a euphemism for his having had an implant put in him which left him unable to hurt others. This (along with his escape from the Initiative, as Riley mentions) took place in last week's episode.

  • The Wish

    Anya refers to her time as a vengeance demon, which she was (she granted wishes of women to gain revenge on men) when she was first introduced in "The Wish." Her escapades in that episode resulted in her being trapped in the human body of a teenage girl.

  • Helpless

    When Angel pointedly states that it's not Giles' job to keep Buffy safe (after Giles first says that it's not Angel's job), he's referring to the fact that Giles was fired from his job as Buffy's watcher when the Council decided Giles felt too fatherly toward her.

  • Innocence

    All the talk about Angel being evil refers back to when he became evil in "Innocence." He spent the rest of season torturing Buffy and her friends, until he was again cursed with a soul at the end of "Becoming, Part Two." Of course, then he was sent to hell, but that's another story.

  • The Harsh Light of Day

    Harmony refers to when Spike staked her in "The Harsh Light of Day." Unbeknownst to him, she was wearing the Gem of Amarra at the time, which made her invulnerable.

  • Angel: Bachelor Party

    Angel mentions that his friend had a vision in which Buffy was in trouble, referring to Doyle's vision at the end of "Bachelor Party."

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • During part of the Anthropology professor's speech, a car alarm begins going off. It then suddenly stops, exactly at a cut to a different shot. We can't prove that it's a goof, but it seems very suspicious.

  • Anya acts as if she's never seen Angel before ("So this is Angel? He's large and glowery, isn't he?"), but she and Angel were both present when the group sent Vamp Willow back to the alternate reality. While they may not have had deep conversation, she should have already known that he was large and glowery.

  • When the Chumash spirits disappear, Spike is lying on the floor, with the arrows still in him. Three of the four arrows he was shot with should definitely have been visible in the shot, but one is missing.

  • At dinner, Spike's shirt has no holes or tears in it from the arrows. Did someone do a little sewing job after they pulled the arrows out?

  • Spike complains that throughout "an entire siege... you'd think one of [the gang] would bleed a little." OK, maybe he was too stressed out to smell it, but Buffy bled twice (she was shot with an arrow and cut with a knife).
          Spotted by Mathew.

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Notes

  • Xander apparently spent a very short time, presumably between last week's episode and this one, working at Hot Dog on a Stick, a hot dog joint common in malls.

  • Joyce spends Thanksgiving in Illinois with Aunt Arlene.

  • There was a big earthquake in 1812 which buried the Sunnydale mission.

  • Riley is from a farm outside of Huxley, Iowa.

  • The dean of UC Sunnydale is Matthew Guerrero.

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Comments

Jeremy:
I'm not entirely sure what to think about this episode. It had Spike and that always makes my day, but I'm really not sure what to make of the social commentary that was trying to be made with this episode. I guess I should say something about Angel's appearance: I believe it was completely unnecessary. It led to some funny dialogue about his past evilness, but that could have been replaced by some more Spiky goodness. This was a great episode to bring the Scooby Gang back to full force (minus Oz but plus Anya, a welcome addition in my book). One thing I'm starting to worry about, however, is that it seems like the writers are going to be having Xander be working at whatever job happens to work out best for the episode in question. I think I'm starting to sound unreasonably harsh, because I really did enjoy this episode. I had my doubts when I first read the TV Guide description, but TPTB (The Powers That Be, i.e. Joss and co.) surprised me once again. (8/10)
Jamie Marie:
I was fully expecting not to like this episode (or the crossover episode of Angel), but it actually was pretty fun. Definitely a Buffy twist on the Thanksgiving episode, although it didn't quite mesh with the crossover episode of Angel that followed. One was good light-hearted fun, and the other was tearjerking sadness. I like both, but one right after the other is a little weird — as if I was watching a movie that suddenly switched from comedy to drama/romance. But I'm reviewing Buffy, not Angel. So... this episode has some good ingredients, including Anya and Harmony, but for me, this was the Spike show (which explains why I liked the second half better than the first half). Gosh he's fun! The whole commentary on the wrongs of massacring Indians and the difficulties of multiculturalism was a bit too close to going overboard, but by using humor (again, Spike), they managed to keep it under control. Loved the arguments between the group members, Angel's jealousy of Riley (I would have loved to see Willow's reaction to his "Who's that guy?"), and Buffy's slap of Spike (she doesn't even care enough to actually hurt him). All in all, I don't predict that it'll be one of my most memorable episodes, but it really wasn't a bad entry for a holiday episode. (8/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
November 23, 1999 4.2 80 of 125
March 28, 2000 2.2 103 of 139
July 25, 2000 1.4 113 of 143 (tie)

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