Buffy 3×04: Beauty and the Beasts

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Marti Noxon | Director: James Whitmore, Jr. | Aired: 10/20/1998]

This is an episode that, on the surface, seems pretty boring and pointless. I didn’t care for it much when I wasn’t analyzing it. Now that I’m looking a bit deeper, though, I realize that there’s a bit more here. In some ways this is a sequel to “Phases” [2×15] but on a bigger scale. While that episode was focused on Willow and Oz, this one looks at a bigger sample. We see three different men (Oz, Angel, and Pete) and the unique ways their girlfriends react to their inner beast.

The discussion truly begins when Faith expresses her view that all men are beasts. Buffy obviously doesn’t agree, undoubtedly because of her romantic experience with a sensitive and ensouled Angel. Buffy knows that it isn’t that one-dimensional. The counselor, Pratt, explains to Buffy that “Lots of people get lost in love…if you let it control you, you’ll end up its dog.” This turns out to be really good advice for Buffy because she finds herself torn between her feelings for a newly returned Angel and Scott Hope. Everything’s up in the air again right when she thought she could move forward. There’s no question that Angel is Buffy’s soulmate, but that’s not the point here. I must point out, again, that I really wish that Angel hadn’t come back. I really wanted to see Buffy giving a normal relationship a try.

I really enjoyed all the misleads on who killed the first guy. We’re led to believe it could be Oz, then the focus switches heavily to Angel who is acting very savage-like. It’s good to see that neither of them were responsible. Pete chooses to let the beast within him run loose. His girlfriend accepts that loss of control and even makes excuses for him after he hurts her. This stupidity eventually causes her death.

Oz became a werewolf by accident and must live with the beast inside him. He also has no memory of what he’s doing when he changes and willingly locks himself up so he won’t hurt anyone. Willow understands this and does her best to help his situation. Unlike Pete, Oz doesn’t have a choice in the matter and does everything in his power to control the beast within.

The savage Angel is running wild in this episode, not too different from an animal. But even the shred of humanity he remembers is enough to protect the one he loves when she’s in danger. Angel kills Pete for Buffy’s protection and then, in a moving scene, hugs her tightly while on his knees. Buffy’s left in emotional confusion and cries. Buffy knows she has to help him get back up to full strength and will do her best to bring out Angel’s sensitive qualities again.

All of this leads to Giles’ interesting speech about monsters. He says that there are two types of monsters: one which seeks redemption, and the other which seeks chaos. I don’t believe it’s quite this black and white, as there can be a lot of gray on the road to either redempion or chaos. In particular, Spike’s journey comes to mind. In S5, fresh with his crush on Buffy, he isn’t seeking redemption or chaos, only a girl. It turns out that the love of that girl eventually changed him and put him on the path of redemption (before he even knew it, too).

The only problem I have with the episode is Pete’s part of the story. I didn’t like the makeup and special effects for him, and I didn’t care for what he was doing either. It’s just another typical “boy beats his girlfriend” plot. The only thing useful to come out of Pete is the contrast to the other men and what they’re going through. He ends up being a catalyst for thought about our more interesting characters.


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ The group taking turns to watch werewolf Oz.
+ Buffy kissing a normal guy is a very refreshing change.
+ The manner in which Buffy finds Angel.
+ As soon as she admits she needs some serious help she finds her confidant, Counselor Pratt, dead.
+ Werewolf Oz beating on veiny Pete.
+ Giles getting shot with the tranquilizer gun.
+ Scott’s speech about not knowing what’s really inside someone.


[Score]

80/100

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50 thoughts on “Buffy 3×04: Beauty and the Beasts”

  1. [Note: jun posted this comment on March 24, 2007.]

    Another bit I really liked is Xander’s reaction to Willow talking about getting used to Oz “half monty”. After she quips, “Wouldn’t you like to know?” he sort of loses focus on what she’s saying, looking over to the cage, and only recalled to attention when she puts the gun in his hands. This is a bit of foreshadowing for the next episode.

    And then note, he doesn’t even attempt to soothe Oz after that, just has a nice nap on the book. 🙂

    Like

  2. [Note: Austin posted this comment on September 24, 2007.]

    I was really mad that they killed Platt, He was someone Buffy felt safe talking to, He really could have helped Buffy open up, dang it

    Like

  3. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on October 21, 2007.]

    Another entertaining episode. I just love that Angel retains the memory of Buffy and just kneels before her. She´s in for some pain ahead.

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  4. [Note: Jaden posted this comment on July 18, 2008.]

    austin: i bet the main reason they even created pratt was so he COULD be killed off. the stuff he says to buffy was probably just filler for creating a multidimensional character.

    Like

  5. [Note: Paula posted this comment on December 6, 2008.]

    A few plausibility complaints here:

    #1 Who did the cops end up blaming Pete’s death on? It could hardly be passed off as a suicide.

    #2 How did Angel in his animal state come up with a pair of pants for himself?

    #3 How come Oz’s clothes just disappeared without a trace when he turned into a werewolf as he was fighting Pete?

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  6. [Note: Emily posted this comment on March 16, 2009.]

    Most boring??????????? *Shriek* This episode was jam-packed with action and really good dialogue. I would at least give it a B .

    Also, in terms of giving Buffy a chance to be with a normal guy, see Season 4 and 5. Look how well *that* turned out lol.

    Did Angel actually kill the beast? (I don’t even remember his name) If he actually was dead, how would his face have switched back to being human? I always thought that Angel just knocked him out.

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  7. [Note: Nix posted this comment on March 30, 2009.]

    Was I the only person who looked at Platt, started coughing, and wondered what sort of health and safety regs they had on Planet Hollywood? Smoking like a chimney in a room in which children spend large amounts of time, yuck.

    (Also, I hope asthmatics got a different teacher. One who smoked less, I mean, not just one who was less dead. The cig *did* allow for a nice sign-of-death scene though, which was obviously its entire raison d’etre. But still.)

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  8. [Note: Lucy posted this comment on August 10, 2009.]

    They should never have brought Angel back. Totally cheapened his sacrifice. I coukld have totally lived without ats. It was ok, but it was nowhere near as good as Buffy!

    Also, what did Buffy see in Scott Hope? What a goober! She would have been better off just being single for a few weeks!

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  9. [Note: Ursus posted this comment on August 23, 2009.]

    Lucy: Scott Hope is the “nice guy” that women tend to date temporarily as recovery from dating bad boys. Even Willow later alludes in the Season that he’d be a nice guy for Buffy to use to get over Angel. It’s only in Season 4 that Buffy finally admits to herself she need a bad boy to get turned on (which is why Riley is doomed).

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  10. [Note: Sunburn posted this comment on September 30, 2009.]

    “This stupidity eventually causes her death.”

    That’s kind of a harsh comment, Mike. Women don’t stay with men who beat them out of stupidity, they stay with them out of fear and lack of self-esteem.

    While the whole DV aspect was handled rather perfunctorily, it *was* accurate and I still think it would resonate with a lot of women – but, understandably I guess, it didn’t really mean a lot to you. To anyone who’s been around to observe DV first-hand, though, it’s quite satisfying to see at least one abuser get *his* head kicked in for a change. I would rather Debbie hadn’t been killed, but I suppose that also accurately reflects how many such relationships end, so fair enough.

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  11. [Note: Wulvaine posted this comment on November 8, 2009.]

    “They should never have brought Angel back. Totally cheapened his sacrifice.”

    I must beg to disagree. I’m probably biased because Angel is one of my very favorite characters in the Buffyverse though.

    But leaning away from that topic, I love Oz. I think Oz should have gotten his own spinoff too, haha. But then, I’m an obsessive fanboy, and if I had my way, Buffy and Angel would be airing their 13th and 10th seasons respectively right now. And Firefly would be airing its 8th. Sigh.

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  12. [Note: Max posted this comment on March 20, 2010.]

    I agree that they shouldn’t have brought Angel back so soon. I think he should have been absent for a whole season at least, but alas he came back.

    In a way I’m glad they did as it paved the way for Ats, which I marginally prefer over Btvs, although it’s a very tough call.

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  13. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on May 21, 2010.]

    Saying that Debbie’s death as basically her own fault for not leaving her abuser (whether it’s stupidity or another reason) plays into a dangerous myth. Yes, a lot of people don’t leave abusive relationships because they have low self-esteem, but often it’s the case that they do so to protect themselves — victims of domestic violence are most likely to be killed by their partner AFTER they’ve left them. If people are to safely leave abusive partners, they need a lot more support than is typically available to them, and Buffy and Willow certainly don’t offer that to Debbie in that highly disturbing bathroom scene. In fact, Pete eventually kills Debbie because he thinks she told Buffy everything, which is exactly what Buffy was trying to get Debbie to do! We see that Debbie does exactly what is least likely to get her killed (besides following Buffy around for protection all the time, but she doesn’t know Buffy has superpowers) — she is not stupid at all. But in the end there was no way to stop Pete, no matter what she did. This is too often the case.

    Also, there is a difference between Angel and Oz on one hand, and Pete on the other: the former two do have an “inner beast” whom they must control, and they do. Pete, on the other hand, actively worked to turn himself into a monster, presumably so he could better control Debbie (though that’s not how he characterizes it, of course). It is that choice that changes everything.

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  14. [Note: Adda posted this comment on August 1, 2010.]

    I partly agree with you on the Angel back from hell issue, I’m glad he came back both so he and buffy could could continue and eventually finish their relationship in a different way, and also because of AtS, but he should have been brought back MUCH later. Buffy is growing up, and in the first 4 and a half season on the show, she has a boyfriend. I just wish that she could have learned to be alone for a while at this point.

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  15. [Note: Andrea posted this comment on August 8, 2010.]

    I have to opine that Angel shouldn’t have been brought back. While it DOES make for some interesting issues during this episode and the next few where Buffy tries to deal with this fact (and the character of Angel does offer some good Funny throughout the season), to me it kind of reeks of plotting that was meant only to serve interests outside the universe of the show (i.e., to start the Angel spinoff). And it does cheapen Becoming.

    I wonder if they just decided between S2 and S3 that they wanted a spinoff… or else why would they kill Angel in such a huge, final way in the first place?? They could have changed the timing where Angelus changes back to Angel before the portal opens. (But of course that would have made Becoming way less perfect!!)

    I don’t really agree that his coming back cheapens *HIS* sacrifice… because he didn’t make a sacrifice! Buffy is the one who made the sacrifice in Becoming.

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  16. [Note: jarppu posted this comment on August 8, 2010.]

    Yeah, I agree Andrea that bringing back Angel didn’t really help BtVS at all. His time on season 3 didn’t really justify the writers bringing him back. But then again bringing back Angel gave us five seasons of ‘Angel’, so I’m okay with it.

    And I do think they decided to do a spinoff for Angel during the hiatus. Though I’m sure exactly when the final decision was made.

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  17. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on August 8, 2010.]

    I’m ambivalent about this question.

    I do agree it cheapens Becoming.

    However I think his return brought insightful developpment for the Buffy/Angel relationship. The show’s take on the Foreverlove thing is far more complete and interesting with what happens in season three, with the not so glamourous side of things, when the relationship takes roots and get caught in lime… I even think this was necessary to establish the counterpoint to the idealism and appearance themes of the relationship.

    And of course, like you said, five awesome seasons of Angel!

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  18. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on August 15, 2010.]

    The Good:

    Buffy and Faith talking about the “low down tickle.”

    Giles angry at Xander. “When you woke up!”

    Mr Platt (Hooch from “Scrubs”) is truthful. No one is 100% sane, probably 90% at most.

    The Oz v Pete library fight. “Time’s up. Rules change.”

    Giles gets shot by the tranq dart. “Oh. Bloody priceless.”

    The Bad:

    Debbie and Pete. It is hard to introduce characters in one episode that we should feel for.

    Foreshadowing: Debbie brings out the beast in Pete as Willow will bring out the wolf in Oz on his return in ‘New Moon Rising’.

    Like

  19. [Note: Susan posted this comment on August 19, 2010.]

    I too believe that bringing back Angel so soon after Becoming did raise a lot of questions and it does look as though it happened for reasons other than furthering Buffy’s story. It’s similar to what happened to Spike after he went out in such a blaze of glory, sacrificing himself to save the world, etc. in the last episode of the series, only to be immediately resurrected so that he could join the cast of Angel. And for that matter, similar to bringing back Buffy after she died at the end of season five. But each one of those events ultimately was used to add important themes to both of the series whether they were planned for that purpose or not.

    Like

  20. [Note: odigity posted this comment on January 17, 2011.]

    Gotta at least give it up for that epic multi-part action sequence:

    Werewolf vs The Incredible Hulk

    followed immediately by

    Vampire Slayer 1 vs The Incredible Hulk

    in parallel with

    Vampire Slayer 2 vs Werewolf

    followed immediately by

    Vampire vs The Incredible Hulk

    I’m not a comic book person, but I have to imagine that seen through the eyes of someone who’s into the superhero genre, that this part, at least, was an orgy of awesome.

    Like

  21. [Note: Leo posted this comment on February 21, 2011.]

    “… or else why would they kill Angel in such a huge, final way in the first place??”

    They did not. They did’nt kill him in a “final” way. They didn’t dust him. They just send him to hell. I think they were planing a comeback all along. Until then, Angelus was just a story, something they read in hystory books. Now they KNOW first hand what he is capable of. That makes a diference.

    Like

  22. [Note: CT posted this comment on May 26, 2011.]

    My favorite part of the episode:

    Oz is tackling Faith,

    Willow runs up and yells “Get off her,”

    –pulls his tail–

    and runs away.

    Classic Willow 🙂

    Like

  23. [Note: Liz posted this comment on July 11, 2011.]

    Fridge-Logic:

    During the scene when Oz and Willow walked in to find Giles and Xander arguing over Xander falling asleep during Oz-watch and it was pointed out that the window in the cage was open…did anyone else notice the size of the window and how high up it was?

    While Oz is a relatively small guy, even as a werewolf, I highly doubt he’d be able to fit through that window, or reach it. And I also doubt his wolf self has the logic to carefully climb up those filing cabinets and push open the window pane any further without the filing cabinet toppling over him from the uneven weight put on it. Ozwolf doesn’t seem too patient either. Rather spazztastic.

    Therefore, the possibility of Oz escaping from the cage is VERY slim and takes away a huge chunk of the suspense from the episode…even though we knew it was probably Pete who killed Jeff Orkin the moment They started giving Pete and Debbie more screen time…they were set up as disposable characters from the start.

    http://www.screencap-paradise.com/caps/displayimage.php?pid=23102&fullsize=1

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  24. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 23, 2011.]

    I too didn’t care much for this episode when i first saw it but on reflection and having watched two or three more times of late i see what you discuss Mike, this is sequel to Phases and also one of the few Oz centric episodes.

    The misdirection you spoke off regarding who our demon of the week is reminds me of season one and the set up of the episodes for instance The Puppet Show. I didn’t find the plot boring as the action and the pace of the episode was rather fast.

    The battered spouse story is a metaphor covered by a few episodes but i consider this to be one of the better examples for one or two reasons; the language used. Marti Noxon uses this as the mechanism to clarify and make palpable the way a partner protects their lover; blaming themselves repeatedly telling themselves that they love them and that their partner loves them. The scene of Debbie rocking herself back and forth in the bathroom.

    I wonder if anyone else picked up on the subtle themes the episode addressed? That drinking is bad or it causes a person to change, become violent? The scene of Pete drinking the ‘serum’ comes to mind, until drinking becomes irrelevant to change a person after a while. The other message i picked up on is that smoking kills, Platt didn’t even drop his cigarette scene.

    I too have been in two minds about Angel being back, his appearance was a little ‘WHAT!?’ After that lovely scene when Buffy places the ring on the floor, breathes in and out and says good bye last episode and now he’s back. His reappearance isn’t explained until Amends but even then it is more a general idea that The First brought him back or that it was The Power’s That Be.

    Mike, I agree with your review in many respects, but i liked Pete’s take in the episode, without him the misdirection may not have been as cohesive. His treatment of Debbie and the jealousy he had within him became so inherent that it led him to kill and lash out her, i feel this episode foreshadows what Spike says in Dead Things and what he does in Crush, ‘You always hurt the one you love’. It is similar to the point you made about Spike not being as easy to slot into either camp Giles defines about monsters. Love as you said Mike determined how he behaved.

    I also noted the foreshadowing of Faith’s view on men in this episode, Faith proclaims that all men have beast in them which pretty much sets up the theme for this episode but this is something she continues to believe, i flash forward to season 7 and DIrty Girls, her chat with Spike about men and if you can’t beat them join em as long she ends up on top.

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  25. [Note: nitramneek posted this comment on March 4, 2012.]

    I really feel for Buffy in this episode. Like in Teachers Pet, where Buffy finally finds a teacher, Dr. Gregory the biology instructor, that believes in her, Buffy finds Counselor Pratt in this episode, someone to confide in, Both wind up dead. Whats a poor girl to do? When counselor Pratt explains to Buffy that “Lots of people get lost in love…if you let it control you, you’ll end up its dog,” I immediately thought of Spike’s speech to Buffy and Angel in the episode Fool For Love, “…I may be loves bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it.” (I think Spike needs to see counselor Pratt more than Buffy does, you think?)

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  26. [Note: M posted this comment on August 20, 2012.]

    I really don’t like that bit about Debby’s death being caused by ‘her stupidity’.

    Being abused is not a sign of stupidity. It’s not the fault of the person being abused. The emotional and psychological manipulation going on in an abusive relationship… it’s not about rationality, of course rationally she should leave but the relationship’s gone so far beyond that. Saying she’s stupid is blaming her for her own death, and blaming and belittling actual victims of abuse. Especially when the abuse is emotional and not physical, (emotional abuse is always a part of physical abuse, but not necessarily vice versa) it can take years to leave an abuser, sometimes it never happens. That is NOT stupidity.

    Stop victim-blaming, please.

    Like

  27. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on August 20, 2012.]

    Although I can see how you interpreted what I wrote the way you did (and I will be touching up all of these older reviews not too long from now), I do still feel the need to say that being abused and being stupid are not mutually exclusive. With that said, let me clarify how I feel: in no way did Debby “deserve” to die here — the death is 100% on Pete’s hands. But — and maybe it was the way it was acted and/or written — this episode’s portrayal of Debby also shows her as overly dense and very one-dimensional, which certainly didn’t help her stay out of harm’s way or be an interesting character. Pete and Debby were one-shot characters that weren’t written with any subtlety, so it’s hard to see any convincing “psychological manipulation” going on. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, but we as viewers simply aren’t privy to it, which is what I was intending to get at.

    I do agree that my words were poorly chosen and far too ambiguous in the review. When I touch the review up that won’t be the case anymore. Thanks for the comment though!

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  28. [Note: Alex posted this comment on August 21, 2012.]

    I think fray-adjacent, #16, has addressed the ‘stupidity’ question very nicely. Leaving an abusive partner isn’t usually as simple as getting up and leaving. I agree with Fray that Debbie really needed help and support which just wasn’t available to her. I get what you’re saying about lack of subtlety and the one-dimensional characters, Mike, but ‘stupidity’? No way. I’m pleased to hear that you’re planning on rephrasing that soon.

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  29. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on August 21, 2012.]

    Sometimes I look back on these early reviews (written when I was around a teenager, ~19/20 years old [check out the posting date at the top]), and I’m surprised at how lazy my wording is from time to time. I think I’ve come a long way over the years in really evolving not only my writing quality, but also how I view the world. I’ve experienced a lot of stuff since then, and that’s a big part of why I feel I need to polish up all my reviews one final time before moving on (plus, I still love Buffy with a fiery passion even after all these years!). 🙂

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  30. [Note: ML posted this comment on January 14, 2014.]

    Some said that we don’t really see psychological abuse/manipulation: well, when Pete kills every single person who may help Debbie and, later, everyone contacts with Deb, doesn’t that qualify as manipulation? Debbie is scared: clearly, she is controlled partially by fear. I actually think she loves Pete and care about him, and that also plays a part in why she doesn’t leave him.
    And while, it’s usually not easy for a person to leave the abuser as there are dangers to this action, it doesn’t really seem like Deb wants out. The scene in the bathroom actually sort shows that as she keeps saying “He does love me” over and over again. And I get the Stockholm syndrome thing, but still… I think that’s what tricks people into thinking Deb was stupid and to be blamed for her dead. Even Buffy says “I think she was broken before this”, she clearly doesn’t get Debbie’s behavior.
    I do agree that Willow and Buffy didn’t give the necessary support to Deb take that step. Then again, they have no experience whatsoever in this area, so, of course, they don’t really know how to deal with this situation.

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  31. [Note: EdwardH posted this comment on January 19, 2014.]

    It might have been better to have Angel return from Hell and reappear in Los Angeles and be the opening episode of his own series.

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  32. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on January 19, 2014.]

    That’s exactly how I feel about it. And imagine how we’d be able to see him grapple with the problem of whether or not he should tell Buffy he’s still alive. That would’ve been great.

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  33. [Note: EdwardH posted this comment on January 25, 2014.]

    Yeah, Angel reappears in Los Angeles and Doyle finds him and takes him in, teaches him to be human again. Flashbacks to what happened in Sunnydale. It would have been an interesting way to start his own series.

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  34. [Note: NJ88 posted this comment on January 28, 2014.]

    I don’t mind Angel’s reappearance in Buffy Season 3 – later on he becomes a pivotal part of the series especially with the Faith/Buffy issues towards the end. I wasn’t sure about the manner he re-appeared though, and the manner Buffy found him. It could have been far more dramatic.

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  35. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on March 2, 2014.]

    This is hands down the worst episode of the season… I’m not sure why anyone would ever want to watch this episode a second time when “Phases” covers all the ideas of this episode, but with characters we’re actually invested in.

    And the Pete/Debbie subplot is just awful. Gee, I wonder what that serum is supposed to represent?? Pretty much the only thing this episode has over “Phases” is the guidance counselor, but he pretty much exists just to be killed.

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  36. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on March 3, 2014.]

    I … half-agree, although I do not believe it to be dreadful and think a 70-80 rating is appropriate. The material regarding Willow/Oz and Buffy/Angel is excellent, there is some good humour and I thought the production values weren’t too bad. Unfortunately, the main story is dross, but that’s the case quite often – I don’t think Whedon ever got plotting down to pat.

    Still, the accolade ‘worst of season three’ is not as bad as you might think – there aren’t any bad episodes this season, except possibly “Enemies.” Everything else I would consider to be 80-plus material.

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  37. [Note: wade1055 posted this comment on May 18, 2015.]

    I like to see the contrast when in the beginning Giles is very mad and harsh when Zander confesses he was asleep while watching Oz but the next morning he finds Buffy asleep he is so different, he is gentle and kind. This is another example where you see the care Giles gives Buffy. I sometimes think the others are jealous of Buffy and her relationship with Giles. They all notice that he treats her very differently then the rest. I think it is cool.

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  38. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on July 4, 2015.]

    “this stupidity causes her death”

    You might want to rephrase that a bit next time Mike. I mean as cliche as the domestic abuse in the episode is it’s still domestic abuse and it’s kinda harsh to claim a victim as “acting stupid” when they are clearly having some psychological trouble.

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  39. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on July 4, 2015.]

    Ah I see someone has addressed it. Sorry bout that. Though I do hope we can get the Season 3 redos out sometime in the future since it’s been almost a year since the last one.

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  40. [Note: thebuffster posted this comment on August 3, 2015.]

    Does anyone else notice that Buffy’s eyes are basically brown in this episodes and a couple others from early this season? What’s up with that?

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  41. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on August 5, 2015.]

    It’s kind of vague. Based on the show and the spinoff either The First, The Powers That Be, Wolfram & Hart or Jasmine could have resurrected him. Maybe they could have give a more definitive explanation though.

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  42. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on August 7, 2015.]

    Based on what happens in Angel, it can only have been the Powers that Be tweaking things to make sure they got their champion. Angel wasn’t even on W&H’s radar yet and I can’t see them deciding to bring him back to be a pain in their ass for four years. I did like that Whedon intentionally left this unexplained. It’s very like the Powers to do something helpful without explicitly taking credit for it (like Whistler and Doyle being ‘sent’ but only in the vague heroic sense).

    Personally I don’t think it could be Jasmine, as she would have needed to know way in advance that a spare life (Connor’s, won by Angel in the Trials) would come up. Just like the First taking advantage of Buffy’s resurrection to do its ‘I will walk the Earth’ plan, Jasmine takes advantage of Angel winning a spare life to cause her own birth. Skip’s muah-ha-ha claims that she’s been manipulating everything in their lives doesn’t hold water prior to a certain point, as none of those events (like Gunn losing his sister) make sense in the scheme of Jasmine’s plan. Jasmine’s actions when you look at them were only very subtle.

    It definitely wasn’t the First. Why would the First bring Angel back as it claimed, only to work so hard in ‘Amends’ to convince him to kill himself?

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  43. [Note: LBM posted this comment on March 11, 2017.]

    I’m thoroughly enjoying these reviews as I re-watch Buffy for the millionth time. I’m glad people have already mentioned the problem with the comment about Debbie’s stupidity resulting in her death. I want to add that because domestic violence is about power and control, I love that this episode really showed Pete creating (an excuse for) his own violence. Another commenter mentioned that alcohol/drinking ’causes’ violence, which isn’t true, as a rule- people drink and don’t get violent. When someone who also has domestic violence problems drinks, they feel they now have an excuse to be more violent, and they (and their victim, and outsiders who don’t know the ins and outs of what is going on) can blame their violence on alcohol. It’s easier for all of us to accept violence if we view it as outside the control of the violent person, so blaming alcohol (or green juice or your victim) lets the abuser escape culpability. Domestic abusers create their own ‘triggers’ so they have something to blame, and this was demonstrated beautifully with the green liquid and with Pete’s ‘jealousy’ which he uses to justify getting rid of anybody (particularly male) who might be supportive of Debbie.

    I also think there wasn’t a lot of time to develop Debbie as a character when we were given three couples dealing with violence, but we did see her taking steps to try to stay safe– continuing to see her counselor, pouring out Pete’s green juice. Additionally, not developing her very well might have been intentional; to others outside of the relationship, isolated women may seem a bit one-dimensional, not having the freedom to focus on themselves as people or to form relationships with others. When an abuser wants that control, the aim is usually to keep the survivor’s focus on them. ‘I am all you’ve got, Debbie!’ He wants her to only think about him, to only have room in her life for him – until he goes so far as to get rid of her own life because any attention to it was competing with her attention to him.

    Someone else brought up the counselor’s comments as filler, but I thought they were a great demonstration of what you can say as a friend or family member who is worried about a loved one who might be surviving abuse. No, the survivor isn’t crazy — their partner really has changed. And it’s normal for people to be confused when someone they love is abusing them, so confused that they still love the person doing this. If a survivor has someone to talk to who 1) believes them and 2) doesn’t judge them or look down on them for staying in the relationship, they might be able to take steps toward freedom.

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  44. [Note: LBM posted this comment on March 11, 2017.]

    Oh geez, I forgot to say that I also like that they specifically mentioned Pete felt he had to be “macho” – touching a teensy bit on toxic masculinity and its damaging effects on young men. Pete’s behavior was terrible, absolutely, but his storyline is far from trite, and the consequences are enormous IRL.

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