AOQ Review 2-15: "Phases"

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Arbitrar Of Quality

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Feb 20, 2006, 10:04:54 AM2/20/06
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A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
threads.


BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Season Two, Episode 15: "Phases"
(or "Be vewwy vewwy qwiet. We'we hunting wewewolves.")
Writers: Rob Des Hostel and Dean Batali
Director: Bruce Seth Green

Ah, the long awaited meeting of the Greens Seth and Bruce Seth.

"Phases" is a werewolf story, as it reveals early on. Yet another
monster movie homage, but really, doesn't this kind of show more or
less have to do werewolves at some point? At times "Phases" also
seems like an homage to BTVS's younger days, as references to early
Season One episodes litter the show (including the opening gag).

The werewolf tries to get on my good side by interrupting a
Xander/Cordelia scene. Well, I'm a proponent of aborting X/C scenes,
but I'm not so easily manipulated, wolf. Why this one, which was
almost tolerable? Where were you during The Scene That Should Not Be,
and "Bad Eggs?" And don't give me that tired "phases of the
moon" story, or that "inside a building" story. I'm on to you.

Also, it gets on my bad side for a more important reason: owning one of
the most ridiculous-looking costumes I've seen thus far on the show.
Seriously, couldn't the effects wizards have come up with anything
better than that stupid bear thing? It looks like the love child of
Yoda and Fozzy. Especially given that, given the way the episode turns
out, this doesn't look like a one-off monster that we'll never see
again...

And then there's a bunch of school stuff, mostly focusing on
conversations between Buffy and Willow. Seeing Willow in the mood to
vent is a rare treat (maybe she should give Xander a call about it...),
but otherwise most of it's pretty nondescript. I don't really get
why Willow is so adamant about Buffy acting "girly" at school. Not
all chicks are weaklings. All that'll happen is that she'll lose
her temper sooner or later and end up doing more damage than if she
hadn't disguised her strength; Larry was pretty lucky. (The later
"count to ten" moment, on the other hand, is priceless.)

Another scene that falls flat is the exchange in The Bronze between
Willow and Cordelia. The idea that the two might put aside their
differences for a second to commiserate about guy problems is fine, but
the execution is weak. Too much of the boring "hmmph, boys"
dialogue we've seen since dialogue existed.

I could say that I thought the werewolf-hunting was pretty exciting,
but then I'd be Lying To You, and I only got to do that for one
special episode. It plods, particularly given what seems like the
totally superfluous presence of Cain the werewolf hunter. I'm not
sure why he's there - is it to provide the token pro-killing voice?
He's too unlikable to work that way. Or is he supposed to make us
fear for Oz? Whatever. Giles almost taking a swing at him after the
"fresh fruit" comment is one nice moment. I don't get why Buffy
casually mentions the werewolves to Cain. Maybe he's giving off
invisible I'm-in-the-know vibes that Slayers can smell.

Then the episode is saved when the were-bear-thing reverts to its human
form, and it's Oz. He gives us the classic Mal Reynolds "huh"
upon waking up. In retrospect I don't know if I "should have"
known that Larry was too obviously a red herring; what's nice is that
the series goes the obvious route just often enough to keep things
fresh when it doesn't. And then Xander focuses on Larry, which
besides giving the cute "right in front of us" joke, is a nice
moment because at the same time we're yelling at him that he's
wrong, we realize that we (or at least I) had the same suspicions as he
did two minutes earlier.

Not so wild about Oz's behavior here. Once he suspected he was a
wolf, it was his responsibility to seek help to make sure no one else
died because of it. Yeah, I know he tried to take care of it himself,
but look how well it didn't work out. I think they let that slide
too easily at the end of the episode. If Willow doesn't want to be
upset, that's her choice, but _someone_ should have been.

>From there, the final-act sequences also hit a few wrong notes. Willow
should be quicker on the uptake than she is when he's transforming.
And then there's the part where he has a chance to kill her and
doesn't. Either you're a crazed animal that cares nothing for
human concerns or you're not - pick one and stick with it, show.

Getting back to Xander confidently strolling off to confront his
suspected lupine, I wondered whether he was just asking to get beat up.
But sometimes Xander can be fearless with cause, as he shows here when
he's certain he has something to blackmail Larry with. Anyone know
whether the writers already knew that Larry was gay and
overcompensating back when they first created him? Just goes to show
that sometimes the background characters on this show just random
assholes, but sometimes they'll surprise you. The aftermath scenes
with Xander getting "comically" defensive for no reason when Buffy
mentions the talk don't do it for me - I generally like my humor
less broad, particularly in the context of this series.

Without a doubt, the best scene of the episode comes when Buffy and
Xander are attacked by vampire-Theresa. In just a few minutes, we get
Buffy's reasonable-but-totally-misplaced guilt, and Xander's
accurate rebuttal. Buffy showing us that she's still a little off
her game where Angel is concerned, and Xand (stupid nickname) getting
to be the hero. And finally the quiet moment afterward at which point
it hit me that somewhere along the line, despite all the uncomfortable
crushing and such, there's real closeness and trust that's
developed between these two. Good stuff, and the punchline ("oh, no,
my life's not too complicated") is perfect.

Note that Oz is back to being something of a man of mystery now. Until
"Phases," I don't think there was any real indication that he had
supernatural awareness prior to meeting the Slaypack (the line in
"Surprise" could've just been written to be funny). But his
phone scene in this episode suggests that there's more to it. Wish
we could've heard the other end of the conversation...

Giles acts really weird during much of the episode, as if he has
something to hide. But that's never really addressed. Odd.

Remember the fifteen minutes of BTVS that I'd seen prior to starting
this project? Ten of those minutes were from "When She Was Bad" as
discussed. The other five happened when I was flipping past a rerun,
and it was a scene featuring a werewolf... I'll mention it again when
we get there. I'd just assumed it was a later episode, but now I'm
thinking it's coming up pretty soon given that what looked like the
library cage was involved.


So...

One-sentence summary: Does its job, and no more.

AOQ rating: Decent

[Season Two so far:
1) "When She Was Bad" - Good
2) "Some Assembly Required" - Weak
3) "School Hard" - Decent
4) "Inca Mummy Girl" - Good
5) "Reptile Boy" - Decent
6) "Halloween" - Good
7) "Lie To Me" - Good
8) "The Dark Age" - Good
9) "What's My Line (Part One)" - Good
10) "What's My Line (Part Two)" - Good
11) "Ted" - Excellent
12) "Bad Eggs" - Bad
13) "Surprise" - Decent
14) "Innocence" - Excellent
15) "Phases" - Decent]

Espen Schjønberg

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Feb 20, 2006, 10:36:15 AM2/20/06
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On 20.02.2006 16:04, Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
> threads.
>
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 15: "Phases"

>

> One-sentence summary: Does its job, and no more.
>
> AOQ rating: Decent

You are, again, harsh on an episode I hold as Good Buffy.

This is another one of those who wil grow on you.

Of cours Buff must be careful about showing strength. She is supposed to
be a trap - for the monsters. Then it should be a secret identity - and
she should, as a rule, work hard on staying in role as a weak girl.
Also, this is her disguise if she ever atttacks a human by accident (and
as such we can assume it did work in Ted. It wouldn't be good to have
been beating up everybody then, would it?)

I am with you on the "stupid costume" though. But, well, it is
low-budget and all. And the more expensive movies tend to use all-CGI
werewolfs - that should show how _hard_ they are to make good.

Oz' lack of talking about what happened bothered me to. But he is
genuinly afraid of being killed by Buff as The Slayer. I think that is
the point of showing Cain.

--
Espen

kenm47

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Feb 20, 2006, 11:03:56 AM2/20/06
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I would have gone with Good, but it's probably obvious I like this
season overall more than AOQ does.

Things I think worthy of note not covered by AOQ:

1. I thought it a big deal for a MALE "macho" h.s. character, pretty
much any male character, in 1998 (yes we've moved on what with Buffy's
birthday in January) to come out of the closet, and, more importantly
reflect upon that and feel a certain contentment acknowledging and
accepting it. Yes, Xander does the I don't want anyone to think I'm gay
bit, but the throwaway with Larry was, to me, groundbreaking. The kind
of thing Buffyy did when others weren't, and which now in hindsight
looks like not a big deal but really was then.

2. Not only do we get a moment of evil Angelus posing as a good guy,
and was the "scariest" moment of the show, we get Buffy's guilt over
NOT having dusted Angelus.

"Cain: You know, sis, if that thing out there harms anyone, it's going

to be on your pretty little head. I hope you can live with that.
Buffy: (stares him down) I live with that every day."

3. Except for some recent errors, IMO, like American Werewolf in Paris,
werewplf stories do not have happy endings. Joss is a traditionalist at
times. A big cue that Oz's story is not done (but I think the scene you
may have caught flipping, well, I would forget about it for now if I
were you). We definitely did need a werewolf; the hyenas were NOT
enough.

4. Willow in danger still works, no matter if contrived. And at least
she was the one that got to shoot him.

5. Vampire confronted by werewolf? Wonderful homage right there to all
the "House of ...." movies.

6. Oz is a very lucky werewolf in love.

7. Yes, the scene with Buffy, Xander and Theresa was terrific, but also
for the ability of Angelus to use lesser vamps on suicide errands :
"Angel sends his love."

8. Xander has to learn that not every hug from a pretty girl is
sexually intended - granted a tough lesson to deal with for a 17 y.o.
hetero with an unrequited crush.

9. I never saw the Giles acts like he has something to hide. Not sure
where that's coming from.

Done for now.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Espen Schjønberg

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Feb 20, 2006, 11:11:14 AM2/20/06
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On 20.02.2006 17:03, kenm47 wrote:

>
> 7. Yes, the scene with Buffy, Xander and Theresa was terrific, but also
> for the ability of Angelus to use lesser vamps on suicide errands :
> "Angel sends his love."

Buffster mistake: not closing the lid after dusting Theresa. She should
of course have closed the coffin, and then banged a bit on the hinges,
[can I say this? Not anyone thinking dirty here?] so the coffin was
impossible to open...

--
Espen


Noe er Feil[tm]

kenm47

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Feb 20, 2006, 11:47:49 AM2/20/06
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PS: One more thing right there in the opening:

"Oz: (points) This cheerleading trophy. (moves and watches) It's like
its eyes follow you wherever you go. I like it."

A great comment on Witch and Amy's mom still trapped in the trophy.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Carlos Moreno

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Feb 20, 2006, 11:59:57 AM2/20/06
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Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

> One-sentence summary: Does its job, and no more.
>
> AOQ rating: Decent

I'm more or less in sync with you there -- didn't particularly
like it, didn't particularly dislike it.

I agree with your remark of the best scene of the episode; you'll
soon notice that it makes it to the intro/credits (not sure if
right after, still during S2, or if it is by the time of S3, but
still)

I'm still puzzled by the inconsistency between ratings that were
the same for different episodes (quoted below).

For instance, I think Phases is infinitely better (or infinitely
less bad, if you will) than Reptile Boy, and particularly less
good than School Hard -- yet, they all get the same "Decent"
rating -- I guess I'm simply saying that I would rate School
Hard with a "Good" (at least) and Reptile Boy with a "Very bad"
(was there something below that?).

At this point, after you've seen that Spike and Drusilla have
come to play an important role in the season (maybe during the
rest of the series??? I'm not saying a word!! ;-)), if that
could possibly make you change your impression about School
Hard, the episode where they're introduced -- I think the
episode is good by itself, and the fact that S&D are introduced
is just consistent with that, and give a little added value to
it.

> [Season Two so far:
> 1) "When She Was Bad" - Good
> 2) "Some Assembly Required" - Weak
> 3) "School Hard" - Decent
> 4) "Inca Mummy Girl" - Good
> 5) "Reptile Boy" - Decent
> 6) "Halloween" - Good
> 7) "Lie To Me" - Good
> 8) "The Dark Age" - Good
> 9) "What's My Line (Part One)" - Good
> 10) "What's My Line (Part Two)" - Good
> 11) "Ted" - Excellent
> 12) "Bad Eggs" - Bad
> 13) "Surprise" - Decent
> 14) "Innocence" - Excellent
> 15) "Phases" - Decent]


Carlos
--

EGK

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Feb 20, 2006, 12:12:06 PM2/20/06
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Will need to start adding best lines for each episode. My choice is this:

Oz: Well, you know, like, stayed out of your way for awhile.

Willow: I don't know. I'm kind of okay with you being *in* my way.

Oz: (stops and faces her) You mean, you'd still...

Willow: Well, I like you. You're nice and you're funny. And you don't
smoke. Yeah, okay, werewolf, but that's not all the time. I mean, three
days out of the month I'm not much fun to be around either.

Oz: You are quite the human.
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

"There would be a lot more civility in this world if people
didn't take that as an invitation to walk all over you"
(Calvin and Hobbes)

Scythe Matters

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Feb 20, 2006, 12:21:57 PM2/20/06
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Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

> Ah, the long awaited meeting of the Greens Seth and Bruce Seth.

By who? ;-)

> Also, it gets on my bad side for a more important reason: owning one of
> the most ridiculous-looking costumes I've seen thus far on the show.

It's not the best, no. It helps to remember that this show was on a
pretty limited budget considering their effects needs.

> I don't really get
> why Willow is so adamant about Buffy acting "girly" at school. Not
> all chicks are weaklings.

Jenny: "She's so little."

Unless Buffy has mastered some martial arts discipline -- which there is
no outside-the-gang indication that she's done -- she's not going to be
able to toss the head cheerleader across the gym and body slam Larry
with quite such force. These are incidents that breed suspicion, which
is reason number one why she has to act "girly." Reason number two fits
in to a concern you've had before: another violent incident in school
(maybe ending with Larry getting hurt), and who's the happiest principal
in all of California? That's right: Snyder, who's still looking for a
reason to expel his troublemaking student. It's all subtext, but it's
definitely there and it's great continuity.

> Another scene that falls flat is the exchange in The Bronze between
> Willow and Cordelia. The idea that the two might put aside their
> differences for a second to commiserate about guy problems is fine, but
> the execution is weak. Too much of the boring "hmmph, boys"
> dialogue we've seen since dialogue existed.

I liked the scene more than you did, but I thought the acting didn't
work...and in this case, I actually blame Hannigan, who didn't do her
best work here.

> I could say that I thought the werewolf-hunting was pretty exciting,
> but then I'd be Lying To You, and I only got to do that for one
> special episode. It plods, particularly given what seems like the
> totally superfluous presence of Cain the werewolf hunter. I'm not
> sure why he's there - is it to provide the token pro-killing voice?

Testosterone gone wild. Personification thereof. Buffy gets to "break"
his metaphorical phallus in Cain's final scene. Now, why would Buffy
have any reason to be bitter about men right now? Anything come to mind,
maybe?

I think it might also help to consider the werewolf metaphor on a deeper
level. What are we told here? Uncontrolled physicality...unusual
attraction to sexual congress...and it's physically cyclical (the
writers even make this explicit when Willow associates it with her
period), and there are a half-dozen other references as well. The
werewolf is, in the conception we're shown here, the worst aspects of
maleness without any civilizing influence. And to stop it, it literally
has to be caged (in the library) or tranquilized by chemicals (for which
one could possibly read a hormonal analogy). Two "the primitive male is
bad" metaphors for the price of one! It's likely not an accident that
they're both here, and both so soon after Buffy has been really, really
brutalized by her boyfriend. (This is also why the Cordelia/Willow
bitterness towards Xander fits into the theme.)

Here's another thing to consider: Oz is the mildest-mannered character
on the show. But it appears that all his overt maleness -- the bad
aspects thereof exhibited so clearly by pre-outing Larry -- is confined
within his werewolf persona. That's interesting.

> Or is he supposed to make us fear for Oz?

Yes, but that's secondary to the larger metaphor.

All of this is somewhat mitigated, however, because you're not wrong in
thinking that this episode is not the most deftly-constructed.

> what's nice is that
> the series goes the obvious route just often enough to keep things
> fresh when it doesn't.

Yes, yes...and yes again.

> Not so wild about Oz's behavior here. Once he suspected he was a
> wolf, it was his responsibility to seek help to make sure no one else
> died because of it.

As with Buffy not staking Angel in the previous episode, you seem to
expect a lot from our confused teenagers. They may occasionally act like
adults, and certainly they have better dialogue than most adults, but
they are _not_ adults...and here, Oz is freshly aware of a particularly
horrible aspect of himself. It shouldn't be a surprise that his gut
reaction isn't necessarily the most logical one. Fear, embarassment,
avoidance, a cover-up...all natural, no matter how potentially dangerous.

Oz: I didn't know what to say. I mean, it's not everyday you find out
you're a werewolf. That's fairly freaksome. It may take a couple days
getting used to.

> I think they let that slide
> too easily at the end of the episode. If Willow doesn't want to be
> upset, that's her choice, but _someone_ should have been.

It's probably true that someone should have wagged a finger. On the
other hand, we've got a bit of a history already of giving our core
characters a get out of jail free card; note that there were no real
repercussions to Xander's foray into hyenadom, for example. And we
forgave Giles fairly quickly. (Outside the core, matters are
different...as Jenny is finding out.) It's a consistent
characterization, at least thus far, even if it's not necessarily the
wisest course of action.

> And then there's the part where he has a chance to kill her and
> doesn't. Either you're a crazed animal that cares nothing for
> human concerns or you're not - pick one and stick with it, show.

He was more attracted to the Cain-bait. A more interesting target than
Willow.

> Without a doubt, the best scene of the episode comes when Buffy and
> Xander are attacked by vampire-Theresa. In just a few minutes, we get
> Buffy's reasonable-but-totally-misplaced guilt, and Xander's
> accurate rebuttal. Buffy showing us that she's still a little off
> her game where Angel is concerned, and Xand (stupid nickname) getting
> to be the hero. And finally the quiet moment afterward at which point
> it hit me that somewhere along the line, despite all the uncomfortable
> crushing and such, there's real closeness and trust that's
> developed between these two. Good stuff, and the punchline ("oh, no,
> my life's not too complicated") is perfect.

It's a little beyond "closeness and trust." I think Buffy's look at
Xander is clearly supposed to indicate the possibility of romantic
interest; at the very least, that's how Xander interprets it. Plus, it's
the first -- possibly only -- time Xander has ever expressed comfort and
understanding about Angel.

> Note that Oz is back to being something of a man of mystery now. Until
> "Phases," I don't think there was any real indication that he had
> supernatural awareness prior to meeting the Slaypack (the line in
> "Surprise" could've just been written to be funny). But his
> phone scene in this episode suggests that there's more to it. Wish
> we could've heard the other end of the conversation...

I think you missed the order of events...or more likely, missed a line
in the gymnasium.

1) Oz gets his finger bitten by his cousin:

Larry: Oh, last week some huge dog jumped out of the bushes and bit me.
Thirty-nine stitches. They oughta shoot those strays.

Oz: (next to Larry) I've been there, man. (holds up his finger) My
cousin Jordy just got his grownup teeth in? Does not like to be tickled.

2) Oz finds out that there's a werewolf (scene around Cordelia's damaged
car).

3) Oz realizes *he's* a werewolf:

Oz wakes up, opens his eyes and looks around confused. He sits up and
stares around at the forest. He looks down at himself and realizes he's
naked.

Oz: (confused) Huh.

4) Oz draws the connection between the two:

Oz: Aunt Maureen. Hey, it's me. Um, what? Oh! It's, uh... actually it's
healing okay. That's pretty much the reason I called. Um, I wanted to
ask you something. Is Jordy a werewolf? Uh-huh. And how long has that
been going on? Uh-huh. What? No, no reason. Um... Thanks. Yeah, love to
Uncle Ken.


Some other notes:

- Xander's "gross emotional problems" are even more in evidence here.
He's with Cordelia (both in the car and in the bleachers), and what's he
obsessing about? Oz and Willow. Clearly, he has a problem with them
being together. What right does he have to question? It fits in with his
inability to accept anyone dating Buffy, even if he can't have her.
Perhaps more importantly, what does it mean that Xander is exhibiting
this particular emotion towards both Buffy *and* Willow?

- Giles finally laughs at one of Xander's jokes. And not a funny one,
either.

- How can you not love the great pun:

Buffy (referencing Cain): I think I know where to look. We just have to
make it there before mein furrier.

- Great moment of continuity re: Oz and the cheerleader statue.

> AOQ rating: Decent

No disagreement.

Don Sample

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Feb 20, 2006, 3:15:50 PM2/20/06
to
In article <1140447894.1...@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,

"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

> A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
> threads.
>
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 15: "Phases"
> (or "Be vewwy vewwy qwiet. We'we hunting wewewolves.")
> Writers: Rob Des Hostel and Dean Batali
> Director: Bruce Seth Green
>

> Also, it gets on my bad side for a more important reason: owning one of
> the most ridiculous-looking costumes I've seen thus far on the show.
> Seriously, couldn't the effects wizards have come up with anything
> better than that stupid bear thing? It looks like the love child of
> Yoda and Fozzy. Especially given that, given the way the episode turns
> out, this doesn't look like a one-off monster that we'll never see
> again...

Ah yes, the infamous Giant Gay Opossum costume. Everyone hated it, and
I don't think that it's too spoilery to say that they do a major rework
on it for future appearances of the Ozwolf.


> I could say that I thought the werewolf-hunting was pretty exciting,
> but then I'd be Lying To You, and I only got to do that for one
> special episode. It plods, particularly given what seems like the
> totally superfluous presence of Cain the werewolf hunter. I'm not
> sure why he's there - is it to provide the token pro-killing voice?
> He's too unlikable to work that way. Or is he supposed to make us
> fear for Oz? Whatever. Giles almost taking a swing at him after the
> "fresh fruit" comment is one nice moment. I don't get why Buffy
> casually mentions the werewolves to Cain. Maybe he's giving off
> invisible I'm-in-the-know vibes that Slayers can smell.

I think that Buffy was going for one of those "Lie by telling the truth
that sounds like a lie" things, like when she told her mother that she
was saving the world from vampires in 'Bad Eggs.' It didn't work
because Cain knew about the werewolf.


> Not so wild about Oz's behavior here. Once he suspected he was a
> wolf, it was his responsibility to seek help to make sure no one else
> died because of it. Yeah, I know he tried to take care of it himself,
> but look how well it didn't work out. I think they let that slide
> too easily at the end of the episode. If Willow doesn't want to be
> upset, that's her choice, but _someone_ should have been.

I really think that Oz entered the library intending to tell them, but
then as he opens the door he hears Buffy saying "I should've killed it
when I had the chance," and changes his mind.


>
> >From there, the final-act sequences also hit a few wrong notes. Willow
> should be quicker on the uptake than she is when he's transforming.
> And then there's the part where he has a chance to kill her and
> doesn't. Either you're a crazed animal that cares nothing for
> human concerns or you're not - pick one and stick with it, show.

Crazed animal with a choice between going after someone alive and
kicking and liable to hurt you, vs. nice fresh meat that can't fight
back. A lot of them will go for the meat. Crazed doesn't always equal
stupid.

--
Quando omni flunkus moritati
Visit the Buffy Body Count at <http://homepage.mac.com/dsample/>

Don Sample

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Feb 20, 2006, 3:20:52 PM2/20/06
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In article <dtcnib$6ak$1...@readme.uio.no>,
Espen Schjønberg <ess...@excite.com> wrote:

> On 20.02.2006 16:04, Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> > A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
> > threads.
> >
> >
> > BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> > Season Two, Episode 15: "Phases"
>

> I am with you on the "stupid costume" though. But, well, it is

> low-budget and all. And the more expensive movies tend to use all-CGI
> werewolfs - that should show how _hard_ they are to make good.

I often wish that they'd gone the route of having the werewolf turn
completely in to a wolf during the full moon, and hired a big dog.
(There really wasn't much that they ever did with Oz in wolf form that a
well trained dog, and a couple of animatronic heads and paws couldn't
have done.)

Don Sample

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Feb 20, 2006, 3:25:04 PM2/20/06
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In article <dtcpju$769$1...@readme.uio.no>,
Espen Schjønberg <ess...@excite.com> wrote:

This was a Sunnydale funeral home. "Oh damn, another one got up and
walked away. Well, go get some sandbags Joe."

Jeff Jacoby

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Feb 20, 2006, 3:28:12 PM2/20/06
to
On Mon, 20 Feb 2006 12:21:57 -0500, Scythe <sp...@spam.spam> wrote:
> Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

[snip]

>> Note that Oz is back to being something of a man of mystery now. Until
>> "Phases," I don't think there was any real indication that he had
>> supernatural awareness prior to meeting the Slaypack (the line in
>> "Surprise" could've just been written to be funny). But his
>> phone scene in this episode suggests that there's more to it. Wish
>> we could've heard the other end of the conversation...
>
> I think you missed the order of events...or more likely, missed a line
> in the gymnasium.
>
> 1) Oz gets his finger bitten by his cousin:
>
> Larry: Oh, last week some huge dog jumped out of the bushes and bit me.
> Thirty-nine stitches. They oughta shoot those strays.
>
> Oz: (next to Larry) I've been there, man. (holds up his finger) My
> cousin Jordy just got his grownup teeth in? Does not like to be tickled.
>
> 2) Oz finds out that there's a werewolf (scene around Cordelia's damaged
> car).
>
> 3) Oz realizes *he's* a werewolf:
>
> Oz wakes up, opens his eyes and looks around confused. He sits up and
> stares around at the forest. He looks down at himself and realizes he's
> naked.
>
> Oz: (confused) Huh.


Does anyone else think there's a plot hole here? The confused
"huh" comment comes after his *second* night as a werewolf. What
was he thinking after the first night (when he also likely woke
up somewhere in the woods, naked)?


Jeff

Scythe Matters

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 3:33:40 PM2/20/06
to
Jeff Jacoby wrote:

> Does anyone else think there's a plot hole here? The confused
> "huh" comment comes after his *second* night as a werewolf. What
> was he thinking after the first night (when he also likely woke
> up somewhere in the woods, naked)?

Maybe the "werewolf juice" takes a day to gestate? ;-)

Don Sample

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 3:35:55 PM2/20/06
to
In article <DJSdnewbTej...@comcast.com>,
Jeff Jacoby <jjaco...@yahoo.com> wrote:

"Wow! That must have been some party!"

Don Sample

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 3:44:40 PM2/20/06
to
In article <GoOdnQmWA_s...@rcn.net>,
Scythe Matters <sp...@spam.spam> wrote:

No, he was a wolf the night before, when he attacked Xander and Cordy in
the car (unless there's *another* wolf running around the neighbourhood.)

kenm47

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 3:45:12 PM2/20/06
to
"Does anyone else think there's a plot hole here? "

Nice catch. I've seen the episode at least 4 times, and that "first"
night naked never occurred to me.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Scythe Matters

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 4:53:54 PM2/20/06
to
Don Sample wrote:

> No, he was a wolf the night before, when he attacked Xander and Cordy in
> the car (unless there's *another* wolf running around the neighbourhood.)

Oh, don't be silly. Two werewolves? That would never happen.

vague disclaimer

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 5:27:44 PM2/20/06
to
In article <dsample-3EA0FB...@news.giganews.com>,
Don Sample <dsa...@synapse.net> wrote:

> > Not so wild about Oz's behavior here. Once he suspected he was a
> > wolf, it was his responsibility to seek help to make sure no one else
> > died because of it. Yeah, I know he tried to take care of it himself,
> > but look how well it didn't work out. I think they let that slide
> > too easily at the end of the episode. If Willow doesn't want to be
> > upset, that's her choice, but _someone_ should have been.
>
> I really think that Oz entered the library intending to tell them, but
> then as he opens the door he hears Buffy saying "I should've killed it
> when I had the chance," and changes his mind.

I actually thought that was kinda obvious.
--
A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend

hopelessly devoted

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 6:00:34 PM2/20/06
to

Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

Again, I will try to comment, even though the bulk of my S2 tapings
are in storage.

> "Phases" is a werewolf story, as it reveals early on. Yet another
> monster movie homage, but really, doesn't this kind of show more or
> less have to do werewolves at some point?

My exact thoughts, although AWIP it would never come close to.

> The werewolf tries to get on my good side by interrupting a
> Xander/Cordelia scene.

You're not getting past the X/C thing any time soon, are you? OK.

> Also, it gets on my bad side for a more important reason: owning one of
> the most ridiculous-looking costumes I've seen thus far on the show.

I don't know. Teacher's Pet will always have my vote for worst *.* of
the series.

> In retrospect I don't know if I "should have"
> known that Larry was too obviously a red herring; what's nice is that
> the series goes the obvious route just often enough to keep things
> fresh when it doesn't.

Or, as I've come to understand, the show was great at hiding things in
plain sight. More later.......

> Anyone know
> whether the writers already knew that Larry was gay and
> overcompensating back when they first created him? Just goes to show
> that sometimes the background characters on this show just random
> assholes, but sometimes they'll surprise you.

Great Observation, but further comment would only spoil future
surprises.

> It plods, particularly given what seems like the
> totally superfluous presence of Cain the werewolf hunter. I'm not
> sure why he's there - is it to provide the token pro-killing voice?

> >From there, the final-act sequences also hit a few wrong notes. Willow


> should be quicker on the uptake than she is when he's transforming.

> Without a doubt, the best scene of the episode comes when Buffy and


> Xander are attacked by vampire-Theresa. In just a few minutes, we get
> Buffy's reasonable-but-totally-misplaced guilt, and Xander's
> accurate rebuttal.

> Note that Oz is back to being something of a man of mystery now.

The last three eps, Surprise, Innocense and Phases all have one thing
in common that I think have been overlooked. Or maybe just me. It is
the one thing that became a turning point for the show, and locked a
lot of viewers in where other shows seemed to plod along in the common
soil or regular television.

That One Thing: The Grey Area.

Up until Surprise, everything was pretty much black and white. As
someone else put it, "vampire, slayer, dead vampire." Easy, right?
Except..........

What happens when the solution becomes complicated with emotions,
friendships, the heart. The grey area here is pretty well breached.

While you mentioned that killing Angel at the end of innocense was a
mistake, I always felt right away that decision took BTVS out of the
world of black and white, right and wrong, ordinary tv, and put it into
an area that, IMO, has only been held by two other shows, Soap and
TNG. That area being the grey area and far more interesting.

Just a thought.

3

> 1) "When She Was Bad" - Good - Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel

hopelessly devoted

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 6:25:10 PM2/20/06
to
or gray.

Damn, I will never get that word right the first time.

John Briggs

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 6:32:53 PM2/20/06
to
hopelessly devoted wrote:
> or gray.
>
> Damn, I will never get that word right the first time.

I can't see anything wrong with "grey".
--
John Briggs


Bill Reid

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Feb 20, 2006, 7:29:56 PM2/20/06
to

John Briggs <john.b...@ntlworld.com> wrote in message
news:FksKf.3437$58....@newsfe3-win.ntli.net...
> hopelessly devoted wrote:

> > or gray.
> >
> > Damn, I will never get that word right the first time.
>
> I can't see anything wrong with "grey".

Well, you wouldn't. You don't know how to spell colors correctly.

---
William Ernest Reid

Bill Reid

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Feb 20, 2006, 7:30:04 PM2/20/06
to

Scythe Matters <sp...@spam.spam> wrote in message
news:5KydnXRpE5D...@rcn.net...

Now you just shuddup...

---
William Ernest Reid

Bill Reid

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 7:30:08 PM2/20/06
to

Don Sample <dsa...@synapse.net> wrote in message
news:dsample-3EA0FB...@news.giganews.com...

> In article <1140447894.1...@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
> "Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:
>
> > A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
> > threads.
> >
> > BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> > Season Two, Episode 15: "Phases"
> >
> > Also, it gets on my bad side for a more important reason: owning one of
> > the most ridiculous-looking costumes I've seen thus far on the show.
> > Seriously, couldn't the effects wizards have come up with anything
> > better than that stupid bear thing? It looks like the love child of
> > Yoda and Fozzy. Especially given that, given the way the episode turns
> > out, this doesn't look like a one-off monster that we'll never see
> > again...
>
> Ah yes, the infamous Giant Gay Opossum costume. Everyone hated it, and
> I don't think that it's too spoilery to say that they do a major rework
> on it for future appearances of the Ozwolf.
>
Well, it IS a spoiler. Would it also be a spoiler to say it didn't get THAT
much better?

Look, all this talk abou YA crappy monster costume and when, where
and how Oz would have realized he was a werewolf is really missing the
point. The important thing for nitpickers is: THE HORRIBLE
CONTINUITY OF WILLOW'S YELLOW OVERALLS.

When she's being pursued by the werewolf, she does the standard
running girl fall down in the mud thing, and clearly fudges her huggies.
Then, IN THE VERY NEXT SHOT SECONDS LATER RUNNING
INTO THE LIBRARY, THERE'S NOT ONE SPECK OF MUD
ON HER CLOTHES. Then, later, THEY'RE DIRTY AGAIN, BUT
IN NEW AREAS!!!

My AOC ("Arbitraitor Of Continuity") rating is DECENT...the
continuity could have been much, much worse, as it was in many,
many other episodes...

---
William Ernest Reid

Carlos Moreno

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 7:03:05 PM2/20/06
to
John Briggs wrote:
> hopelessly devoted wrote:
>
>>or gray.
>>
>>Damn, I will never get that word right the first time.

The above is a non-statement -- I mean, you already did not
get it right the first time; there will be no more first
times in the future, so it makes no sense to phrase it the
way it is phrased above... right? ;-)

> I can't see anything wrong with "grey".

I'm sure Giles wouldn't have any trouble with that spelling
either ... Most kids today will probably have trouble with
either spelling :-(

Carlos
--

John Briggs

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 7:40:18 PM2/20/06
to

"colours"
:-)
--
John Briggs


Don Sample

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 7:45:00 PM2/20/06
to
In article <FksKf.3437$58....@newsfe3-win.ntli.net>,
"John Briggs" <john.b...@ntlworld.com> wrote:

> hopelessly devoted wrote:
> > or gray.
> >
> > Damn, I will never get that word right the first time.
>
> I can't see anything wrong with "grey".

"Grey" is one of those words that Americans always misspell.

Don Sample

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 7:51:35 PM2/20/06
to
In article <katKf.45888$id5....@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>,
"Bill Reid" <horme...@happyhealthy.net> wrote:

> Look, all this talk abou YA crappy monster costume and when, where
> and how Oz would have realized he was a werewolf is really missing the
> point. The important thing for nitpickers is: THE HORRIBLE
> CONTINUITY OF WILLOW'S YELLOW OVERALLS.
>
> When she's being pursued by the werewolf, she does the standard
> running girl fall down in the mud thing, and clearly fudges her huggies.
> Then, IN THE VERY NEXT SHOT SECONDS LATER RUNNING
> INTO THE LIBRARY, THERE'S NOT ONE SPECK OF MUD
> ON HER CLOTHES. Then, later, THEY'RE DIRTY AGAIN, BUT
> IN NEW AREAS!!!
>
> My AOC ("Arbitraitor Of Continuity") rating is DECENT...the
> continuity could have been much, much worse, as it was in many,
> many other episodes...

What about Giles' glasses when she comes running into the library?
They're on, they're off, they're on, they're off...

hopelessly devoted

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 8:09:37 PM2/20/06
to

Carlos Moreno wrote:

> The above is a non-statement -- I mean, you already did not
> get it right the first time; there will be no more first
> times in the future, so it makes no sense to phrase it the
> way it is phrased above... right? ;-)

Unfortunately, I believe I'll get an opportunity to mispell it in the
future. "First time" being a relative phase. As my college Dean would
say whenever I asked "How are you?", he'd reply "Compared to what?"
without fail.

> > I can't see anything wrong with "grey".
>
> I'm sure Giles wouldn't have any trouble with that spelling
> either ... Most kids today will probably have trouble with
> either spelling :-(

Agreed, but I've always had a interesting relationship with words and
that one has always seemed to piss me off. LOL. Even though both are
"accepted" spellings of the same term, I believe gray to be the
original and "older" of the two. Sorry, my personal obsession.

hopelessly devoted

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 8:12:07 PM2/20/06
to

hopelessly devoted wrote:
> Carlos Moreno wrote:
>
> > The above is a non-statement -- I mean, you already did not
> > get it right the first time; there will be no more first
> > times in the future, so it makes no sense to phrase it the
> > way it is phrased above... right? ;-)
>
> Unfortunately, I believe I'll get an opportunity to mispell it in the
> future. "First time" being a relative phase. As my college Dean would
> say whenever I asked "How are you?", he'd reply "Compared to what?"
> without fail.
>
> > > I can't see anything wrong with "grey".
> >
> > I'm sure Giles wouldn't have any trouble with that spelling
> > either ... Most kids today will probably have trouble with
> > either spelling :-(
>

Yes, my favorite is Willow. How'd you guess.

Rowan Hawthorn

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 8:22:58 PM2/20/06
to

Personally, I just have trouble making up my mind which one I want to use...

--
Rowan Hawthorn

"Occasionally, I'm callous and strange." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the
Vampire Slayer"

Rowan Hawthorn

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 8:23:17 PM2/20/06
to

That, either... :-)

Mike Zeares

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 8:51:44 PM2/20/06
to

Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
> threads.
>
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 15: "Phases"
> (or "Be vewwy vewwy qwiet. We'we hunting wewewolves.")
> Writers: Rob Des Hostel and Dean Batali
> Director: Bruce Seth Green
>
> Ah, the long awaited meeting of the Greens Seth and Bruce Seth.

Just in time, too -- this was BSG's last Buffy episode.

> Also, it gets on my bad side for a more important reason: owning one of
> the most ridiculous-looking costumes I've seen thus far on the show.

Popularly known as the "gay possum." I believe that was Joss's term
for it.

> Another scene that falls flat is the exchange in The Bronze between
> Willow and Cordelia. The idea that the two might put aside their
> differences for a second to commiserate about guy problems is fine, but
> the execution is weak. Too much of the boring "hmmph, boys"
> dialogue we've seen since dialogue existed.

The scene seems a bit jarring. Why are these two suddenly friendly?
Well, what we didn't see was part of the gym scene that was cut, where
Wil and Cordy have a snark-off and work it out by smacking Xander
around. If they had to cut for time, they could have left that scene
in and left out the one of Cain making silver bullets, in my opinion.
Anyway, in the final version their sudden girl-bonding just comes out
of nowhere. I'm ok with it, though. I think Cordy looked good with
her hair pulled back like that.

> I could say that I thought the werewolf-hunting was pretty exciting,
> but then I'd be Lying To You, and I only got to do that for one

> special episode. It plods, particularly given what seems like the


> totally superfluous presence of Cain the werewolf hunter.

Cain really didn't work at all. The aforementioned scene of him making
silver bullets is the single most useless scene in the entire run of
the series, IMHO. I've fast-forwarded through it every single time
I've rewatched this episode, except for once when I was playing it for
someone else. And she thought it was useless too.

> The aftermath scenes
> with Xander getting "comically" defensive for no reason when Buffy
> mentions the talk don't do it for me - I generally like my humor
> less broad, particularly in the context of this series.

Yeah, I thought that was overdone too.

> And finally the quiet moment afterward at which point
> it hit me that somewhere along the line, despite all the uncomfortable
> crushing and such, there's real closeness and trust that's
> developed between these two. Good stuff, and the punchline ("oh, no,
> my life's not too complicated") is perfect.

That scene led to *a lot* of B/X fanfic.

> Giles acts really weird during much of the episode, as if he has
> something to hide. But that's never really addressed. Odd.

Well, he did get some odd looks from the gang, so they noticed it too.

>
> So...
>
> One-sentence summary: Does its job, and no more.
>
> AOQ rating: Decent

I was going to quibble with this, since your review seemed to be
leading up to a "Good." Although I know you've said not to get hung up
on the ratings. But then I remember Cain. I usually don't rate an
episode "good" if there are large chunks that bore me enough to ff
through. And this ep has some. I think it's the best of the classic
movie monster homages that the show has done so far, mainly because Oz
is an established character that we're interested in, instead of some
random person that we've never seen before. It's a stand-alone
episode, but it also fits into the overall seasonal storylines, unlike
SAR and IMG. It just could have been better.

-- Mike Zeares

vague disclaimer

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 8:55:21 PM2/20/06
to
In article <8atKf.45885$id5....@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>,
"Bill Reid" <horme...@happyhealthy.net> wrote:

Red, green, blue, yellow, cyan, magenta.

Which do you spell differently?*


* You spelt colours wrong. Just a typo, I'm sure.

Arbitrar Of Quality

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 9:43:24 PM2/20/06
to

Don Sample wrote:

>>. I don't get why Buffy
> > casually mentions the werewolves to Cain. Maybe he's giving off
> > invisible I'm-in-the-know vibes that Slayers can smell.
>
> I think that Buffy was going for one of those "Lie by telling the truth
> that sounds like a lie" things, like when she told her mother that she
> was saving the world from vampires in 'Bad Eggs.' It didn't work
> because Cain knew about the werewolf.

Ah, you're probably right.

-AOQ

Arbitrar Of Quality

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 10:01:50 PM2/20/06
to
Scythe Matters wrote:
> Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
>
> > Ah, the long awaited meeting of the Greens Seth and Bruce Seth.
>
> By who? ;-)

Me, of course.

> Unless Buffy has mastered some martial arts discipline -- which there is
> no outside-the-gang indication that she's done -- she's not going to be
> able to toss the head cheerleader across the gym and body slam Larry
> with quite such force. These are incidents that breed suspicion, which
> is reason number one why she has to act "girly." Reason number two fits
> in to a concern you've had before: another violent incident in school
> (maybe ending with Larry getting hurt), and who's the happiest principal
> in all of California? That's right: Snyder, who's still looking for a
> reason to expel his troublemaking student. It's all subtext, but it's
> definitely there and it's great continuity.

I'm just saying that given that Buffy is known to be impulsive and
short-tempered, trying to disguise her willingess to kick ass until she
gets angry enough will lead to more damage, not less.

> I think it might also help to consider the werewolf metaphor on a deeper
> level. [snipped]

Maybe. I'm just going to nod and accept that explanation because I
don't care enough about "Phases" to think about it too hard.

> > Not so wild about Oz's behavior here. Once he suspected he was a
> > wolf, it was his responsibility to seek help to make sure no one else
> > died because of it.
>

> As with Buffy not staking Angel in the previous episode, you seem to
> expect a lot from our confused teenagers. They may occasionally act like
> adults, and certainly they have better dialogue than most adults, but
> they are _not_ adults...and here, Oz is freshly aware of a particularly
> horrible aspect of himself. It shouldn't be a surprise that his gut
> reaction isn't necessarily the most logical one. Fear, embarassment,
> avoidance, a cover-up...all natural, no matter how potentially dangerous.

To me this is different than the previous episode. Buffy not killing
Angel may be a strategic mistake, but it's entirely understandable not
only because of her emotional state, but because killing a "human" is a
difficult task to ask anyone to do, and you can see how some could feel
that it's wrong, or at least morally ambiguous. Oz, on the other hand,
has a clear obligation to let someone (I'd go with Giles, in private)
know that he's dangerous.

> It's a little beyond "closeness and trust." I think Buffy's look at
> Xander is clearly supposed to indicate the possibility of romantic
> interest; at the very least, that's how Xander interprets it.

_That's how Xander interprets it_. That's the whole point. We have no
indication whatsoever in this episode that it's anything other than
comfort/trust, from Buffy's persepctive. It's just that when you're a
seventeen-year-old guy, a girl so much as smiling at you (particualrly
a hot one you already have a thing for) can make you start thinking
about the possibility of a romantic interest. I've been there.

> > Note that Oz is back to being something of a man of mystery now. Until
> > "Phases," I don't think there was any real indication that he had
> > supernatural awareness prior to meeting the Slaypack (the line in
> > "Surprise" could've just been written to be funny). But his
> > phone scene in this episode suggests that there's more to it. Wish
> > we could've heard the other end of the conversation...
>
> I think you missed the order of events...or more likely, missed a line

> in the gymnasium [snip]

The way he brings up the question to his aunt so matter-of-factly, with
a minimum of nervous laughter, and how qucikly he gets a response... we
can't say with certainty because we only heard Oz's end of the
conversation, but I took it to imply that his family has some
experience with The Dark Arts, and that he may have known about it.

-AOQ

Arbitrar Of Quality

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 11:01:32 PM2/20/06
to
Mike Zeares wrote:
>
> The scene seems a bit jarring. Why are these two suddenly friendly?
> Well, what we didn't see was part of the gym scene that was cut, where
> Wil and Cordy have a snark-off and work it out by smacking Xander
> around. If they had to cut for time, they could have left that scene
> in and left out the one of Cain making silver bullets, in my opinion.
> Anyway, in the final version their sudden girl-bonding just comes out
> of nowhere. I'm ok with it, though. I think Cordy looked good with
> her hair pulled back like that.

That didn't really bother me. We've seen them tolerate each other
before when it was mutually beneficial.

-AOQ

Arbitrar Of Quality

unread,
Feb 20, 2006, 11:01:35 PM2/20/06
to
Carlos Moreno wrote:
> I'm still puzzled by the inconsistency between ratings that were
> the same for different episodes (quoted below).
>
> For instance, I think Phases is infinitely better (or infinitely
> less bad, if you will) than Reptile Boy, and particularly less
> good than School Hard -- yet, they all get the same "Decent"
> rating -- I guess I'm simply saying that I would rate School
> Hard with a "Good" (at least) and Reptile Boy with a "Very bad"
> (was there something below that?).

I think the confusion comes from the fact that you're thinking too much
about how you feel about the episodes, rather than how I feel.

"School Hard" - Uneven episode with some tedium (some weak humor, the
endless poor-man's-_Die Hard_ sequences) and a few highlight moments
(Buffy and Joyce, Angel and Spike, the first vamp scene...)
"Reptile Boy" - Uneven episode with some tedium (repetition of old
plots, stupid snake demons) with a few highlight moments (Buffy and
Angel, Buffy and Giles, Tom was an intriguing character...)
"Phases" - Uneven episode with some tedium and a few highlight moments
(see the review that started the thread).

They seem pretty "decent" to me. The reviews pretty much explain the
fine points of what I did and didn't like.

And regarding Spike and Drusilla, my philosophy is that if a mildy
interesting character is introduced in one episode and then abruptly
becomes much more interesting later, it's the later episode that
deserves most of the credit.

-AOQ

Don Sample

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 2:31:56 AM2/21/06
to
In article <1140494492.3...@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,

"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

We've seen Cordy and Willow getting along before. The whole trip to the
AV room in 'Prophecy Girl' for example.

Bill Reid

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Feb 21, 2006, 3:16:30 AM2/21/06
to

Rowan Hawthorn <rowan_h...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:NNtKf.3445$pz7....@fe13.lga...

> Carlos Moreno wrote:
> > John Briggs wrote:
> >> hopelessly devoted wrote:
> >>
> >>> or gray.
> >>>
> >>> Damn, I will never get that word right the first time.
> >
> >> I can't see anything wrong with "grey".
> >
> Personally, I just have trouble making up my mind which one I want to
use...
>
OK class, I guess I'll have set everybody here straight on when
to use "grey" and when to use "gray".

If the color you are describing has a kind of bluish tint, you spell
it "grey". If, on the other hand, it has any kind of warm earth tones,
a little touch of sepia for example, you spell it "gray".

I trust I will never see the word spelled incorrectly in this group again...

---
William Ernest Reid

Bill Reid

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Feb 21, 2006, 3:16:34 AM2/21/06
to

Don Sample <dsa...@synapse.net> wrote in message
news:dsample-3491CD...@news.giganews.com...
Oh, I can "wank" that. As long as there is even the slightest moment
when we do not see Giles, we can assume that he took his glasses off
to clean them. The dude cleaned his glasses so often that he probably
wore them down to a whole new prescription by the end of the series...

---
William Ernest Reid

Apteryx

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 3:48:11 AM2/21/06
to
"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote in message
news:1140447894.1...@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

>A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
> threads.
>
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 15: "Phases"
> (or "Be vewwy vewwy qwiet. We'we hunting wewewolves.")
>
> Not so wild about Oz's behavior here. Once he suspected he was a
> wolf, it was his responsibility to seek help to make sure no one else
> died because of it.

True

> Note that Oz is back to being something of a man of mystery now. Until
> "Phases," I don't think there was any real indication that he had
> supernatural awareness prior to meeting the Slaypack (the line in
> "Surprise" could've just been written to be funny). But his
> phone scene in this episode suggests that there's more to it. Wish
> we could've heard the other end of the conversation...

Serioulsy? Best one sided phone conversation ever.

>
> So...
>
> One-sentence summary: Does its job, and no more.
>
> AOQ rating: Decent

Not so far from my rating of it. I think I'd call it a smidgeon into "Good"
territory. But only the 73rd best BtVS episode as far as I'm concerned, 14th
best in Season 2.


--
Apteryx


John Briggs

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 6:06:51 AM2/21/06
to
hopelessly devoted wrote:
>
> Agreed, but I've always had a interesting relationship with words and
> that one has always seemed to piss me off. LOL. Even though both are
> "accepted" spellings of the same term, I believe gray to be the
> original and "older" of the two. Sorry, my personal obsession.

The 'original' spelling is "graeg".
--
John Briggs


Espen Schjønberg

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 7:35:24 AM2/21/06
to
On 20.02.2006 21:45, kenm47 wrote:
> "Does anyone else think there's a plot hole here? "
>
> Nice catch. I've seen the episode at least 4 times, and that "first"
> night naked never occurred to me.

It has occured to me. But he hid it, to himself and others.
Sunnydale-forgetty-it, last attempt from him- even if he at this instant
was getting cured from it, and knew thing was happening. Here, it
happened to _him_ . "This did _not_ happen. I sneak home."

--
Espen

Espen Schjønberg

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 7:51:35 AM2/21/06
to
On 21.02.2006 00:32, John Briggs wrote:
> hopelessly devoted wrote:
>
>>or gray.
>>
>>Damn, I will never get that word right the first time.
>
>
> I can't see anything wrong with "grey".

My cheat for translation here is http://www.tritrans.net/ . This also
gives the spanish translation, which of course is fun. If you write
"grey", and translate it, and copy-paste the translation and translate
back, it says both "grey" and "gray". (btw, the norwegian letter "å" is
to be read like you read the "au" sound, like "pål" is read like "paul".
You guys have to few vowels.)

--
Espen

kenm47

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 8:02:03 AM2/21/06
to
"And regarding Spike and Drusilla, my philosophy is that if a mildy
interesting character is introduced in one episode and then abruptly
becomes much more interesting later, it's the later episode that
deserves most of the credit."

And I think it is difficult for us when we have seen the characters
much longer than you have to rewatch an early episode and not have our
perceptions affected by what we know happens later.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Arbitrar Of Quality

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 9:35:28 AM2/21/06
to
It seems like in all the discussion about the proper spelling of
gray/grey, this post kinda got lost.

hopelessly devoted wrote:

> > The werewolf tries to get on my good side by interrupting a
> > Xander/Cordelia scene.
>
> You're not getting past the X/C thing any time soon, are you? OK.

Unlikely. Although since their scenes together in "Innocence" and
"Phases" didn't make me want to kill anyone, I'm hoping they'll
eventually reach watchability before [they break up/the series ends,
whichever comes first].

> The last three eps, Surprise, Innocense and Phases all have one thing
> in common that I think have been overlooked. Or maybe just me. It is
> the one thing that became a turning point for the show, and locked a
> lot of viewers in where other shows seemed to plod along in the common
> soil or regular television.
>
> That One Thing: The Grey Area.
>
> Up until Surprise, everything was pretty much black and white. As
> someone else put it, "vampire, slayer, dead vampire." Easy, right?
> Except..........
>
> What happens when the solution becomes complicated with emotions,
> friendships, the heart. The grey area here is pretty well breached.

I'm not sure if I'd really say that this is the exact point where it
happens. 'Phases" is actually a pretty straightforward show on an
emotional level. There's definately an effort to move the show beyond
the basic monster-killing that Season One did so well, but I'd argue
that it's been going on for awhile. With varying degrees of success,
we saw attempts to complicate the issues and introduce shades of gray
in earlier episodes this season, such as "Inca Mummy Girl," "Lie To
Me," and "Ted."

> While you mentioned that killing Angel at the end of innocense was a
> mistake, I always felt right away that decision took BTVS out of the
> world of black and white, right and wrong, ordinary tv, and put it into
> an area that, IMO, has only been held by two other shows, Soap and
> TNG. That area being the grey area and far more interesting.

Speaking of TNG, have I ever mentioned a certain Trek spinoff that I
was big fan of? Well, it was all about the gray areas.

-AOQ

Scythe Matters

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 11:00:58 AM2/21/06
to
Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

> I'm just saying that given that Buffy is known to be impulsive and
> short-tempered, trying to disguise her willingess to kick ass until she
> gets angry enough will lead to more damage, not less.

But the point remains: Buffy can't go around beating the crap out of
fellow students. That *will* get her expelled. Also, it's a Not Good
thing for our heroine to be doing. A Slayer, as we've learned in "Ted,"
can't just go around acting on her impulses all the time. It'll lead to
trouble.

> Maybe. I'm just going to nod and accept that explanation because I
> don't care enough about "Phases" to think about it too hard.

Fair enough, but the metaphor nearly overwhelmed the show, in my
opinion. Re-reading the script, it's brought up *so* many times that
it's kinda hard to ignore. In addition to all the other valid criticisms
of the episode, I prefer subtext a little more sub.

> To me this is different than the previous episode. Buffy not killing
> Angel may be a strategic mistake, but it's entirely understandable not
> only because of her emotional state, but because killing a "human" is a
> difficult task to ask anyone to do, and you can see how some could feel
> that it's wrong, or at least morally ambiguous. Oz, on the other hand,
> has a clear obligation to let someone (I'd go with Giles, in private)
> know that he's dangerous.

What I wrote doesn't disagree with "obligation." The question is: for
someone at his maturity level, is it the *obvious* or *likely* course of
action? I think that's considerably less clear. (And, in any case, you
see that most people believe he *was* going to say something, until he
heard Buffy's opening salvo.

For a parallel to that scene, think -- I have no idea if this is a
spoiler for you or not -- of the Gollum/Sam relationship in _The Lord of
the Rings_ (book, not movie). Gollum is having a real moment of
redemption on the border of Mordor, when Sam wakes up, sees him "pawing"
Frodo, and accuses him of all sorts of nasty stuff. Right there, in that
moment (and this is not my interpretation, it's Tolkien's), the
redemption moment is lost and the narrative careens towards its
inevitable conclusion. But one angry and woken-from-sleep line was all
it took to change Gollum's entire future.

For Oz, hearing Buffy say that -- despite what they've discussed -- she
should have killed *him*, must be a shock. A big shock to someone who,
just one day before, probably believed he was as eternal and
indestructable as the next teenager.

> _That's how Xander interprets it_. That's the whole point. We have no
> indication whatsoever in this episode that it's anything other than
> comfort/trust, from Buffy's persepctive.

That's a debatable point, and if you rewatch the scene (which I know you
won't, hence the description that follows) you'll see the look that
Buffy is giving him and how it could be interpreted multiple ways by
more than just Xander. I doubt that this look was an error in judgement
on Gellar's part; you will, much later, hear tales about how certain
actors were told to play certain subtexts to scenes that (sometimes)
directly contradicted the dialogue, and this one was momentous enough
that it was most likely not an accident. And it *was* the first time
that Xander has been anything other than snarky and bitter about Angel.

The following is speculation: with Xander clearly settling into some
sort of comfort zone with Cordelia, and Buffy inexplicably even *less*
available now than when she and Angel were happy, we're losing the
motivation for Xander's oft-expressed inability to see her with anyone
other than him. And in fact, in "Phases" we see him transferring some of
that irritating character flaw to Willow/Oz. But the funeral home scene
re-energizes the (mostly one-sided) tension between Xander and Buffy.
It's almost as if the writers wanted to reinforce that relationship for
a reason.

> The way he brings up the question to his aunt so matter-of-factly, with
> a minimum of nervous laughter, and how qucikly he gets a response... we
> can't say with certainty because we only heard Oz's end of the
> conversation, but I took it to imply that his family has some
> experience with The Dark Arts, and that he may have known about it.

The simpler explanation is how I described it: he gets his finger
bitten, he finds out about werewolves, he finds out _he's_ a werewolf,
and he draws the connection and asks his aunt about it.
"Matter-of-factly" isn't pre-knowledge, it's Oz being Oz.

Scythe Matters

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 11:13:48 AM2/21/06
to
Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

> I'm not sure if I'd really say that this is the exact point where it
> happens. 'Phases"

Actually, the argument was that the "point" was "Surprise/Innocence" and
"Phases," not just the latter episode. Myself, I'd extend it back a bit
and say that "Lie to Me," "The Dark Age," "Ted," "S/I" and "Phases" are
a big midseason arc that drives this point home...sometimes with
delicate taps, sometimes with a giant sledgehammer.

> is actually a pretty straightforward show on an
> emotional level. There's definately an effort to move the show beyond
> the basic monster-killing that Season One did so well, but I'd argue
> that it's been going on for awhile. With varying degrees of success,
> we saw attempts to complicate the issues and introduce shades of gray
> in earlier episodes this season, such as "Inca Mummy Girl," "Lie To
> Me," and "Ted."

In terms of this arc, I think the essential point from "Phases" is that
here we have an unquestioned monster and yet Buffy *can't* kill it. At
the time she "killed" Ted she didn't know he was a robot. She was
*unable* to kill Angel, but as we've discussed that's different from
"can't." But now we've got something that everyone agrees is a bad guy,
and yet she can't slay it, because it's human most of the time. And,
also, because it's Oz. Even were it acceptable to kill Oz, it would
devastate Willow were she to do so (and put Buffy in a position of
hypocrisy: she could kill Willow's boyfriend when he turned bad, but not
her own). Thus, she has to find a different way to handle the problem.
And this has been the parallel arc over this period: exploring solutions
that don't necessarily conclude with raw violence. This is a lesson
Buffy needs to learn as part of her maturation; things aren't always
black and white, sometimes the necessary path is the more difficult one,
and slaying doesn't necessarily solve one's problems. She needs to be
strong, yes, but she also needs to think and feel her way out of situations.

And just maybe this is a lesson she hopes she can apply to the Angel
problem.

> Speaking of TNG, have I ever mentioned a certain Trek spinoff that I
> was big fan of? Well, it was all about the gray areas.

For the first few seasons, at least. (No, I'm not letting *this* go
anytime soon. ;-) )

Steve Schaffner

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 11:48:45 AM2/21/06
to
"John Briggs" <john.b...@ntlworld.com> writes:

"Graeg" and "grei" were both dialectal variants in Old English.

--
Steve Schaffner s...@broad.mit.edu
Immediate assurance is an excellent sign of probable lack of
insight into the topic. Josiah Royce

kenm47

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 12:02:31 PM2/21/06
to
"In terms of this arc, I think the essential point from "Phases" is
that
here we have an unquestioned monster and yet Buffy *can't* kill it. At
the time she "killed" Ted she didn't know he was a robot. She was
*unable* to kill Angel, but as we've discussed that's different from
"can't." But now we've got something that everyone agrees is a bad guy,

and yet she can't slay it, because it's human most of the time. And,
also, because it's Oz. Even were it acceptable to kill Oz, it would
devastate Willow were she to do so (and put Buffy in a position of
hypocrisy: she could kill Willow's boyfriend when he turned bad, but
not
her own). Thus, she has to find a different way to handle the problem.
And this has been the parallel arc over this period: exploring
solutions
that don't necessarily conclude with raw violence. This is a lesson
Buffy needs to learn as part of her maturation; things aren't always
black and white, sometimes the necessary path is the more difficult
one,
and slaying doesn't necessarily solve one's problems. She needs to be
strong, yes, but she also needs to think and feel her way out of
situations."

Very interesting. Thanks.

BUT we have seen the thinking Buffy before Angel turned back intro
Angelus, as in Witch, OOM, OOS and Nightmares coming to mind real fast
where Buffy does not Slay the bad guy. Even Reptile Boy where she
slayed the "god" she did not slay the followers. So, I'm not sure this
theory holds up all that well.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Scythe Matters

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 12:33:14 PM2/21/06
to
kenm47 wrote:

> BUT we have seen the thinking Buffy before Angel turned back intro
> Angelus, as in Witch, OOM, OOS and Nightmares coming to mind real fast
> where Buffy does not Slay the bad guy.

I'm not just equating "slay" or "raw violence" (the two phrases I used)
with "kill," but rather "the excercising of her superior Slayer powers
to defeat the foe." I should have written "act as the Slayer" or
something along those lines. I'm sure that wasn't clear, which is why
I'm having to explain it now. ;-)

In "The Witch," she indeed uses her special gifts to defeat the bad
girl. Ditto "OOM,OOS" (don't forget the listening scene). And one might
argue that in "Nightmares," there *was* no bad guy (until the final
scene with the coach...but the cause of the realized nightmares was not
him but the boy), and that Buffy didn't in fact actually *do* anything,
but sorta survived the badness until the necessary information and
conclusions laid themselves in her lap.

I'm not saying she hasn't ever thought about something before. I'm
saying that it's been a decidedly lesser weapon in her arsenal. What
she's now learning (and here especially reference "Ted") is that,
sometimes, it has to be the *first* weapon she tries, because the
problems aren't necessarily something that can be overcome with Slayer
abilities.

For example, if the Buffy of the first half of "Ted" encounters Ozwolf,
Oz is dead and we pick up the pieces later. Now, she *wants* to kill the
wolf, yet she can't (or won't) kill Oz, and the ultimate solution
requires that she both uses her powers carefully and lives with the
potential monthly danger that Oz represents to everyone...but most
especially to her friends. Boivbhfyl, nf lbh xabj, guvf vf abg gur ynfg
gvzr gur fubj jvyy rknzvar guvf vffhr, fb vg zhfg or vzcbegnag gb gur
jevgref.

I hope that's clearer.

William George Ferguson

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 12:31:59 PM2/21/06
to
On 20 Feb 2006 20:01:35 -0800, "Arbitrar Of Quality"
<tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

[snip]

>And regarding Spike and Drusilla, my philosophy is that if a mildy
>interesting character is introduced in one episode and then abruptly
>becomes much more interesting later, it's the later episode that
>deserves most of the credit.
>
>-AOQ

So, you would give Phases points over Halloween (recognizing that other
factors will also affect your rating) because Larry got a lot more
interesting, right? :)


--
HERBERT
1996 - 1997
Beloved Mascot
Delightful Meal
He fed the Pack
A little

William George Ferguson

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 12:51:32 PM2/21/06
to

Isn't the original spelling

\/ |> |\\ |\/|
/\ |\ | | |

(as close as one can do in ASCII)?

kenm47

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 1:30:07 PM2/21/06
to
"For example, if the Buffy of the first half of "Ted" encounters
Ozwolf,
Oz is dead and we pick up the pieces later. Now, she *wants* to kill
the
wolf, yet she can't (or won't) kill Oz, and the ultimate solution
requires that she both uses her powers carefully and lives with the
potential monthly danger that Oz represents to everyone...but most
especially to her friends."

I'm not so sure. Seems to me it was Giles pointing out the werewolf's
particular plight, later that she learns it is Oz, that has her
exercise restraint. If the wolf had come upon her on patrol in the
graveyard earlier, I think she would have gone with deadly physical
force.

I like your thought. I do think Ted caused her concern about dealing
with others than vamps and obvious demons, but I don't see it here
without in particular Giles' guidance and reminder that the wolf is a
person the rest of the month who may not even know it's a werewolf.

V nterr jvgu lbhe EBG 13 pbzzrag. "Rnefubg" pbzrf gb zvaq. Ohg ntnva
gung'f Ohssl qrnyvat jvgu n uhzna guerng. Ohg gung'f abg na nyjnlf
rvgure. Qrnqyl culfvpny ivbyrapr vf jung fur raqf hc hfvat rira ba
uhzna Snvgu (abg trggvat gur wbo qbar) naq gur Znlbe sbe rknzcyr

Ken (Brooklyn)

hopelessly devoted

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 2:10:41 PM2/21/06
to
> Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

>> With varying degrees of success,
>> we saw attempts to complicate the issues and introduce shades of gray
>> in earlier episodes this season, such as "Inca Mummy Girl," "Lie To
>> Me," and "Ted."

I can see it...........sort of. But, IMO, the "real" emotional
connection came after the actual death and did not alter the ultimate
decision. However in Innocense, Surprise and Phases, the emotion is
what stands in the way of making the "right" choice.


Scythe Matters wrote:


Very well said. I would love to add a few things but,
I must
resist
the urge
to
spoil


kenm47 wrote:

>> ohg V qba'g frr vg urer
>> jvgubhg va cnegvphyne Tvyrf' thvqnapr naq erzvaqre gung gur jbys vf n
>> crefba gur erfg bs gur zbagu jub znl abg rira xabj vg'f n jrerjbys.

Hygvzngryl V guvax gung "Qbp" jbhyq unir gb cbvag bhg gung orvat haqre
pbageby qbrf abg erzbir gur guerng. Na Vaabprag? Znlor. Ohg Ohssl vf
gur Fynlre. Gur Ureb. Fur'f abg yvxr hf.

>> V nterr jvgu lbhe EBG 13 pbzzrag. "Rnefubg" pbzrf gb zvaq. Ohg ntnva
>> gung'f Ohssl qrnyvat jvgu n uhzna guerng. Ohg gung'f abg na nyjnlf
>> rvgure. Qrnqyl culfvpny ivbyrapr vf jung fur raqf hc hfvat rira ba
>> uhzna Snvgu (abg trggvat gur wbo qbar) naq gur Znlbe sbe rknzcyr

Ubjrire jvgu uhzna Snvgu, Ohssl gevrq naq gevrq naq gevrq rnpu naq
rirel bcgvba gb fnir ure svefg, hfvat fbzrguvat bgure guna gur fynl
svefg, nfx dhrfgvbaf yngre cngu gung fur pbhyq unir pubfra, naq bayl
qrpvqrq gb hfr qrnqyl culfvpny ivbyrapr jura fur orpnzr n erny naq
creznarag rzbgvbany guerng.

I would also like to say thank you to,
Bill Reid wrote:
William Ernest Reid
John Briggs
Espen Schjønberg
William George Ferguson
(did I miss anyone)
for taking the time to help me with that particular area that will,
from this day forward, be known as "that area between black and white,
beginning with the letter g and that will now be represented by that
squiggly symbol that once described the Artist Formally Known as
Prince".

The earth is definately doomed!

Stephen Tempest

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 2:15:44 PM2/21/06
to
"Bill Reid" <horme...@happyhealthy.net> writes:

>If the color you are describing has a kind of bluish tint, you spell
>it "grey". If, on the other hand, it has any kind of warm earth tones,
>a little touch of sepia for example, you spell it "gray".

On the other hand, if the _colour_ you are describing has a kind of


bluish tint, you spell it "grey". If, on the other hand, it has any
kind of warm earth tones, a little touch of sepia for example, you

still spell it "grey".

Stephen

hopelessly devoted

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 2:22:09 PM2/21/06
to

"that area between black and white,

vague disclaimer

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 2:54:03 PM2/21/06
to
In article <vjpmv1550bba7p1im...@4ax.com>,
Stephen Tempest <steph...@stempest.demon.co.uk> wrote:

On the other other hand if the colour you are describing has a blueish
tint, you call it "blueish".

Scythe Matters

unread,
Feb 21, 2006, 3:41:19 PM2/21/06
to
kenm47 wrote:

> I'm not so sure. Seems to me it was Giles pointing out the werewolf's
> particular plight, later that she learns it is Oz, that has her