OMG, first let me say how very happy it makes me that this has turned into a “let’s educate B about high school” blog. I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED THIS. Let me also say how happy I am to have had things finally calm down enough that I can be back to this wonderful blog. It’s a weird amount of work but I’ve totally missed it.
Now onto The Pack. I sometimes have this issue with first season Buffy episodes in particular where I’ve seen them so many times that it’s actually hard for me to determine anymore whether I like them or not. I know them all by heart and there are things that make me go “awww” or whatever but I don’t like or dislike them, they’re just like… almost part of me. Now that I have been so pathetic that it hurts, I will move on.
I get that probably no one does go on field trip the zoos but dude, why is Buffy so down on it? The zoo is great. I’ve often gone to the zoo well more than once a year. It is always fascinating and fun and why is Buffy such a downer? I wish I had ever seen zebras mating! Now I have never been bullied really, in my life. Not going to school or whatever, it just never came up for me. I had a couple kids who didn’t like me at church or whatever and would say mean shit to me but I was a bizarrely not self conscious kid until like late jr high and they mostly seemed to get bored when I just laughed and wandered away. I guess I just didn’t run into hardy enough bullies, I don’t know. I don’t have a lot of understanding of these sorts of situations but I think it’s fun to watch just for the stereotype. Regardless of that, why would Xander think it was a great idea to go after the group of kids? Why would they let him go? I mean, no matter who they are, you’re basically going into an enclosed space way outnumbered and it’s hard to say how they’ll respond and no one would be there to see what they did… I’M JUST SAYING IT SEEMS LIKE A TERRIBLE IDEA. Also, I think it’s hilarious that they want to go and explore the closed hyena house. My many trips to the zoo have taught me that, almost without fail, at least in our zoos, a building closed doesn’t mean quarantined animals. It means construction and it means that there’s no animals in there.
So, silly little possession scene in which we get to see hyena puppets. Creepy zookeeper who was “talking to a Masai tribesman” because that’s not at all odd. Followed by the adorable Buffy/Willow discussion like Joelle said. I sometimes wish we got more of those. They don’t have a lot of downtime type of moments and it’s fun to see them just do boy talk and be teenagers and such, even if it is followed by “the weird behavior award” Xander.
Pig. Pig, pig, pig. Why in the world is everyone running away from the ADORABLE PIG? Like this is not a frightening animal. Also, love this scene with Flutie. He’s such a dorky guy but in his own way, he seems to like his job and like these kids and is just baffled by this generation. He probably remained baffled right up through his last horrible breath. Poor guy.
Then there was dodgeball. Okay, much as the comments on Joelle’s post would indicate, I’ve heard differing stories. I definitely have a few friends who played it in school, several who never did. But here’s the first thing I always want to know. Why is Buffy the only person there wearing a tiny tank top? I mean, seriously. EVERYONE ELSE is wearing t-shirts and long sleeved shirts. It’s just weirdly obvious to me every time. I agree that the whole attacking Lance thing at the end is weirdly chilling. I think the sadistic coach is just kind-of stupid though. One step too far.
Out of all of the truly brutal conversations there are and will be in Buffy and other Joss shows, I honestly think this is one of the ones that stings me the most. Xander using what he knows about Willow (and incidentally the fact that he does know it and totally ignores it in his non-possessed state actually bothers me more than the thing that bothers Joelle) to mock and crush her in public is really just… so incredibly painful to watch. Particularly from a high school perspective, I think this is a worst nightmare of high school sort of scenario. So humiliating and cruel.
I TOTALLY had not noticed that was the same guy from the computer lab but that’s so great! I thought this scene was a little interesting because it’s honestly one of the only times I can think of where anyone outside the Scoobies takes any notice of him that’s not to mock him. Not only that, but this guy asks him what he thinks of a specific band and such, indicating that Xander might have some knowledge of these things. It might have been nice to see a little more of that sort of thing. Of course, since this is the only time it happened and it was followed by Xander being insane and stealing their food, maybe people just quit after that. 😛 Also, I feel that killing a pig would be a super messy affair. I feel like even if they washed their faces and hands or whatever, their clothes should have been covered in blood. Poor piggy. 😦 Willow sobbing IS pretty heartbreaking. She looks all shaky and stuff.
I too like that Buffy senses that something is absolutely actually wrong. She’s a little less certain here than she will be in future. She knows something is wrong but she’s not able to articulate why she knows it as well. Giles hasn’t yet learned to trust her on these things but I think this is one of those steps. I also agree that the leap to “oh, possessed by a hyena” is kind of a huge one to make. Also, Giles definitely should have known there was precedent for it. That’s not even a big leap for someone who doesn’t know anything about magic, I feel. But okay. Let’s talk about the picture. This picture tells me NOTHING. They say, “What happens?” If it goes unchecked… what?? They tear other people’s limbs off? They tear their own limbs off? They end up in some classical version of hell? They eat each other? What does this picture mean?
I think Xander does some quite good acting in this scene. I mean, it’s a horrifying scene and the sexual assault issue is a very real and frightening one but I think he pulls it off. I think there are interesting things in this whole scene, really. I mean, take out the demon possession aspect and you just have a scene I’ve certainly watched in other movies. Boy tells girl she really wants it, boy pushes girl, blames girl, etc. The fact that she’s able to defend herself is almost more a wish fulfillment aspect of the story to me. On a side note, is there a school anywhere that has a book cage? Just curious.
As the pack begins to act more pack like and hangs out in a park, sleeping in the park, there comes the moment of potential danger. However the most important question to me in this scene is why in the world is this woman walking home in the dark with a baby on her back in Sunnydale?? I’m just saying. Incredibly stupid decision on her part.
Let’s go talk to the zookeeper! Why is absolutely no one suspicious about the fact that he knows all about ancient tribesman rituals? I mean, come on now. I don’t think that’s actually typical base of knowledge for a zookeeper. Why do they never wonder HOW Xander got possessed by the hyenas? I’m just saying that I feel like there are a whole lot of questions that should have logically been asked here and instead we got dubious information about hyenas (I can’t find anything on Google about them tracking the missing member of their pack but I am open to having my incredibly lazy research proven wrong) and a plan that is, at best, a bit ridiculous and which I think should have warranted Buffy changing into something resembling reasonable shoes. I also see absolutely no way that their heads could have been at the window the one second and then their feet kicking in from above through the window the next. And who explains all this damage to the library consistently anyway? OH WELL! Really, I love these questions, they just amuse me. You know what else I love that I sadly couldn’t find a good screenshot of? The boy after they broke Xander out of the cage who is like petting and pawing at him. Awesome. We are told they’ll be after someone weak and I also find it mildly amusing that their idea of someone weak would be a family of people who are IN a car. Like are there no night time joggers in Sunnydale? Given the woman with the baby earlier, I’ve got to assume she wasn’t the only stupid person there.
Buffy puns and then takes off down the street. Angry hyenas! Then Giles will get the first (I think? Did I miss one?) of what will honestly be a whole lot of head injuries throughout the course of this show. No one gets knocked unconscious as much as Giles. I’m going to count that as his punishment for not bothering to figure out how in the world a bunch of teenagers could accidentally trans possess themselves with hyenas. But apparently the mad zookeeper just wants the amazing hyena power. So, my next question. Why? I mean, really. What can he do with this power? The idea behind the primordials or whatever they were called was that the animal state was holy. There’s no indication that they were in any way in control of what happened to them, certainly no indication that Xander or the other kids were. You aren’t controlling power at that point, you’re just inviting power to come control you until (apparently) limbs will somehow be removed in the carnage. What is the end game here? As far as suicide methods go, this is a poor one. As far as gaining power methods go, it’s a worse one.
Either way, the zookeeper dies, all limbs are spared (except his, we presume) the other kids who we now know remember eating a principle I assume go off to suicides and hard drugs to try to forget what they’ve done and Xander goes into a pretend amnesiac state. Yes, there are a lot of issues with that and yes, Giles probably should have pushed him to tell or told Buffy himself. I get why you might not but they should have. However, like so many other things in first season, it’s really never ever followed up on.