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'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' recap: Full-moon fever

Season 2 | Episode 15 | “Phases” | Aired Jan. 27, 1998 on The WB

How do you top a two-parter in which Buffy and Angel, the great love of her young life, consummate their relationship, only for him to lose his soul and turn into a killer? Maybe something light yet satisfying, much like the episode “Ted“?

Not a chance. This is the Hellmouth, after all.

In “Phases,” Willow and Oz awkwardly try to put sentences together, recapping their movie date. They go their separate ways: Larry and some other guys taunt Oz about hitting that, while Willow tells Buffy she’s jonesing for a big old smooch. She doesn’t want to be the only girl in school without a boyfr—whoops.

Buffy is making progress, though. She only thinks about Angel/Angelus every few minutes. (Relationship grief must bring out the best in Buffy, because she looks fantastic—all fresh blond highlights and midwinter tan.)

What would make her feel better is a group hang with the gang, but Willow is still dealing with Xander and Cordelia’s relationship.

And Cordelia is struggling with Xander always talking about Willow and Buffy when they’re supposed to be making out in her dad’s car in the middle of nowhere. But their face-sucking is interrupted when a big, hairy werewolf paw slices through the car roof. They shake the beast and speed off.

Buffy examines the damage the next day at school. Giles finds reports of other animal mischief around town. Since the attack happened the night before the full moon, they’ll need to be on guard again tonight.

In gym class, they learn about self-defense. Disappointed she has to hide her Slayer strength, Buffy cheats just a little when Larry gets handsy.

Giles has more info on werewolves. They’re a representation of our animal side: aggressive, predatory, and without conscience, drawn out by the moon. The wolf could be anyone, but it’s still a human, so no silver bullets. It must be taken alive.

Buffy and Giles don’t have much luck on patrol until they split up, and Buffy winds up tangled in a net, caught by a fellow hunter named Cain. He has a hard time believing a librarian and a petite teenage girl could catch a werewolf. (So much rampant chauvinism in this episode!)

Cain hunts werewolves for cash and doesn’t care that werewolves are human the rest of the month. He tips them off that wolves are attracted to hormones, so Buffy and Giles head to where all the Sunnydale teens are bumping and grinding these days—the Bronze.

Willow and Cordelia commiserate about their guy troubles like best friends, the first time the two have ever had a regular conversation.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - A werewolf is loose in SunnydaleThen the werewolf drops in and ruins their bonding moment. The crowd scatters and the wolf escapes before Buffy can capture it. Cain joins them, mocking her for not killing it when she had the chance. If someone gets hurt, he warns, it’s on her.

Angelus, on the prowl and out to make Buffy’s life miserable, abducts and kills one of her classmates. But the police call it an animal attack, so Buffy wonders if she should off the wolf after all.

Daylight comes, and the werewolf reverts to its human form … a Daniel “Oz” Osbourn human form, to be more exact (gasp!). And he’s a little confused why he slept naked in the woods.

He calls his aunt, who confirms the baby cousin who bit Oz’s finger is, in fact, a werewolf. Oz is pretty overwhelmed, especially when he finds out a girl was killed, and there’s one more night of wolfiness ahead.

But the gang, not realizing Oz is their guy, suspects Larry, the aggressive senior who was bitten by a dog recently.

Oz bails, and Willow takes it personally.

Xander hurries off to confront Larry in the locker room. Larry does have a secret, but not what Xander thinks. He’s gay, and feels good saying so, especially since, thanks to miscommunication, he thinks Xander is gay too.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Oz transitions into a werewolf during the full moonBuffy reviews the evidence and wonders whether the girl really was killed by a werewolf. A visit to the morgue proves it was a vampire when the girl rises from the dead and relays a message from her maker before Xander stakes her: “Angel sends his love.”


On Buffy’s suggestion to take charge, Willow visits Oz just as he’s trying to shackle himself up. She clumsily demands answers about their relationship status and won’t leave without them, even though he implores her to scram.

Before he can explain, he turns into a werewolf right there on the living room floor and goes after her.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Willow tells Buffy and Giles Oz is the werewolfWillow, the smartest girl in school, stupidly flees through the woods. She trips and falls, but Oz-Wolf smells something and distractedly runs the other way.

Willow gets back to school in time to let Giles and Buffy know it’s Oz they’re hunting.

Cain lures Oz-Wolf toward him, but Buffy knocks Cain out and steals his gun. She wrestles with Oz-Wolf, and Willow gets a clean shot with the tranquilizer gun, saving them all. He’ll be sore in the morning, Giles says, but still Oz. He’ll just have to lock himself up for a few days every month.

What does this mean for their blossoming romance? Willow apologizes for shooting Oz, he apologizes for not knowing how to tell her. He’s surprised that she’s not wigged and that she kisses him. It’s a brave new Willow. And he’s a werewolf in love.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Willow and Oz share their first kiss

Big Bad of the Week: Oz discovers he’s a werewolf, but he’s just a big teddy bear compared with vengeful Angelus, and the hunter, Cain.

Quote of the Week: Oz: “I’m going through some changes.” Willow: “Well, welcome to the world!”

Heinous ’90s Fashion of the Week: Willow’s lime green overalls and striped, cable-knit sweater with beaded choker.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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