Beauty and the Beasts
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (November 2008)|
|"Beauty and the Beasts"|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||James Whitmore, Jr.|
|Written by||Marti Noxon|
|Original air date||October 20, 1998|
"Beauty and the Beasts" is the fourth episode of Season 3 of the horror-drama television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
When a boy is found mauled to death on the nights surrounding the full moon Oz is suspected. It is discovered however that one of Scott's (Buffy's boyfriend) friends was responsible after he took a potion which turned him into a 'macho man'. Buffy has to defeat him while dealing with the fact that Angel is back from Hell, broken and animalistic.
The night before a full moon, Willow reads from The Call of the Wild to an agitated Oz, who is in his werewolf form and has been locked up in the library cage. Xander shows up for the second shift—or rather, snoozing. Meanwhile, Faith and Buffy are making a sweep around Sunnydale. Faith displays a cynical view of males, while Buffy dodges her questions. They talk about Scott and how much Buffy likes him, but is still planning to take it slow on account of her previous history with men. A boy is attacked brutally in the woods.
The next day, Buffy talks to Scott and his friends, Debbie and Pete, who are a couple. Buffy reveals that she has to see Mr. Platt, the school psychologist. Debbie sees him, too, for "success issues". Buffy kisses Scott goodbye and leaves for her appointment.
Xander and Giles find out about the murder the night before. They discover that Xander slept through his watch and that the window in the pen is open. Everyone is horrified that Oz may have escaped and killed someone.
Buffy talks to Mr. Platt about her life as vaguely as she can. She finds in him an understanding figure—unlike Debbie's description—and begins to open up. She seems to be on her way to resolving her issues, but on patrol that night, Angel tackles her in the woods. Animalistic, he is no match for Buffy, who chains him up in the mansion. He growls at her like an animal and seems incapable of speech. She discovers the spot on the floor where she left his ring; it was scorched by Angel's body on his return.
At the same time, Willow, Xander and Cordy enter the morgue to inspect the mauled body. Willow seems the only one unfazed, but she faints after collecting hair samples.
With everyone else unavailable, Faith stays in the library with Oz. Buffy comes in and receives a hard punch for startling her. Buffy sends Faith away and spends the night searching for answers about Angel's return. The next morning, Giles finds her asleep around books about demon dimensions and Acathla. She tells him she had a vivid dream that Angel came back. Giles explains that time passes differently in Hell (as Buffy found out in "Anne"), so any being who manages to return would most likely become a monster, due to the extreme amount of torture suffered, if return is possible at all. It would take extraordinary character to retain any semblance of self. Willow arrives to inform them that her investigation was not conclusive. Buffy is anxious as she wonders if Angel was responsible.
In the cafeteria, Buffy sits with Scott, whose mother is insulted by Pete along with the school counselor. Buffy decides to leave for the mansion, where she finds Angel huddled in a ball. She tries to touch him, but he jumps at her. She rushes out, scared.
Pete and Debbie sneak into a room to make out. Pete discovers that one of his jars has been emptied and accuses Debbie of drinking its contents. Buffy returns to Mr. Platt's office and pours her heart out, then realizes that he has been mauled to death.
Pete yells at Debbie, then turns into a monster with very noticeable veins. He tells her that he needed the substance to turn into the monster, but now only needs to get mad. Acting in a manner similar to 'roid rage, he begins beating Debbie, then apologizes, turning back into his human face. She forgives him.
In the library, Oz and Angel (who Buffy has not informed the gang of) are cleared. The Scoobies must look for a murderer who kills during the day.
Oz meets up with Debbie and gives her his study notes as promised. He notices her black eye, but she lies to Oz, telling him she fell on a doorknob. He lets her know he will listen if she decides to talk, intuiting the true nature of events. Meanwhile, Pete is watching and seething.
The gang have discovered the killer, and they leave Oz in the library to look for Pete and Debbie. Buffy and Willow find Debbie in the locker room and try in vain to talk sense into her, but Debbie tries to defend Pete and his actions. Meanwhile, Angel breaks free from his shackles, and Pete finds Oz in the library. He turns into a monster and beats up Oz. Then the sun sets, and Oz becomes a werewolf. Buffy and the rest of the gang arrive to stop the fight, but when Buffy tries to tranquilize Oz, Debbie deliberately pushes her gun away and Buffy ends up shooting Giles. Buffy chases after Pete while Willow and Faith follow Oz.
After a struggle, Faith manages to hit and knock out Oz with a dart. Buffy follows Pete's blood trail, but he finds Debbie first and despite her pleas and her attempts to appease him, he kills her. Buffy finds Pete, but he knocks her to the ground and advances threateningly on her. Angel arrives in the nick of time and he and Pete begin fighting; after knocking Angel aside, Pete turns his attention back to Buffy, but Angel gets back up and, using the chains still binding his wrists, snaps Pete's neck, killing him. Afterwards, he notices Buffy, but instead of attacking her, he reverts to his human face and calls out her name before falling to his knees and embracing her in tears. More confused than ever, Buffy begins to cry as well, finally accepting that Angel is back.
The next day, it is revealed that Pete had concocted a chemical potion that turned him "super-más macho" when he became afraid of losing Debbie, but eventually he became monstrous himself. Buffy tries to console Scott, who has lost two of his best friends. Buffy visits the mansion, where Angel sleeps through an apparent nightmare unshackled. The episode ends with Buffy reading from "Call of the Wild".
This episode deals with abusive relationships, particularly the types that involve teenagers, and how they sometimes end. The episode clearly reflects Battered person syndrome, through cycles of violence, apologies, forgiveness, and repeated spirals of the behavior, leading to greater and greater physical harm.
Pete Clarner is a jealous, violent and insecure young man who feels threatened by anyone who talks to Debbie, for which he concocts a potion that mutates him, causing his veins and skin to thicken and his eyes to turn solid black. The potion also gives him talons and superhuman strength. At first, Pete needed the potion to transform, but now his own anger triggers the transformation.
Oz's werewolf form, last seen in "Phases", is radically changed. In "Phases", the werewolf is portrayed as a gray bipedal creature with a wolf-like head. Beginning in this episode, its fur is a darker brown, it moves largely on four legs, and it has a human-like, hairless face with no muzzle.
Giles explains that demon dimensions are places of brutal torment for those who have human souls, in which time moves extremely fast by earth's standards. Over the time between being sent to hell and brought back, Angel has experienced hundreds of years of torment. In the spin-off Angel, after one of Angel's enemies kidnaps his newborn son, Connor, to the hell dimension Quor'Toth, he returns approximately seventeen years older and mentally unstable. Angel himself later reveals that he was stranded in hell for about a hundred years.
- When Buffy talks to Debbie in the locker room, she is standing in front of a poster that reads "Most girls aren't attracted to dead guys".
- Buffy will keep Angel's return hidden from others as she struggles to understand it.
- The first attempt of Oz to control being a werewolf and his doubts of whether the wolf is a part of him or a separate being are first seen in this episode.
- Angel's return from Hell will also be part of the premise for his own show.
- Buffy now has had two teachers that were nice to her and tried to understand her predicament die tragically shortly afterwards.
- When talking about how time moves differently in hell Buffy says "I remember", a reference to her experiences with a hell dimension in the Season Three premiere episode "Anne".
- Oz notes that there could be another werewolf out there. This foreshadows how in the Season 4 episode "Wild at Heart" how Oz scenses that Veruca was a werewolf.
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