hyena time The Pack

Season 1, Episode 6

This episode marks the first time that Xander seems to be aware of Willow's interest in him. It also marks the death of Principal Flutie.


Scene opens at the Sunnydale Zoo -- the gang's on a class trip. While there, Buffy encounters 4 mean kids, aka The Pack. She's able to put them off, but a fellow student by the name of Lance isn't as lucky. They tease Lance mercilessly until Principal Flutie shows up. This is the first time we see how he feels about these delinquents. But Lance covers for The Pack, and they head over to the Hyena House, which is off-limits. Buffy, Xander, and Willow notice this, and Xander goes in after them. Buffy and Willow are ready to follow, but they're stopped by The Zookeeper, who tells them that the Hyena House is under quarantine. Apparently, the hyenas have a rare disease and no one should be in contact with them. The Zookeeper imparts some "folklore" to Buffy and Willow; he tells them that if they hear a hyena call their name, they shouldn't answer. He mentions that hyenas walk around by day, following and mimicking their prey before pouncing. Meanwhile, inside the Hyena House, Xander sees that The Pack's torturing Lance -- they look like they're ready to toss him into the hyena pit. As Xander tries to stop this, we see and hear hyenas growl. Their eyes flash green, as do the eyes of the Pack. Xander's eyes flash, too.

Later at The Bronze, Buffy and Willow are talking when Xander arrives. He's acting odd, sniffing Buffy, laughing at mean jokes, exchanging long looks with the other members of The Pack. He's also dressed differently, in more dark colors than he usually wears. Basically, Xander starts associating more and more with The Pack, they do weird things like eat pigs, play dodge ball very aggressively, and turn on their teammate Lance, even though Buffy is left standing alone on the other team. When Willow tries to help Xander with math, he gets impatient and tosses the math book into the garbage. Later when she asks Xander what's wrong with him, Xander tells Willow that he's dropping math so he won't have to look at her pasty face again. Then he and the Pack start laughing. Buffy witnesses this and challenges Xander to say something to her, but he just laughs in her face.

More evil stuff happens in this episode, such as the principal gets devoured -- fortunately Xander is elsewhere at the time of the principal's death -- and Xander tries to force himself on Buffy. Buffy throws a desk at him and carts him off to the library where they lock him up in the large bookcage. (The bookcage is also used in Season 2's The Dark Age and Go Fish, as well as throughout Season 3 for Oz. Also in Doppelgangland, to name a few.)

Buffy and Giles leave Willow to guard Xander while they go to the zoo to get some info. The Zookeeper informs Giles & Buffy about the tribal belief in and reverence of animal spirits in relation to transpossession. He informs them that they need to do another transpossession in order to restore the human spirit before it's too late. When Buffy says that they only have Xander, the Zookeeper says not to worry, the Pack always tracks down the missing member of the pack, and they prey on the weak. The transpossession can only occur if there's an act of sacrificing the weak; this is when we realize that the possession took place as a result of The Pack's behavior towards Lance when they were in the Hyena House.

So Buffy and Giles head back to the school, and Buffy leads the Pack on a chase to the zoo, where Giles and Willow will be waiting with the Zookeeper. As it turns out, the Zookeeper was looking to get possessed in the first place, so he subdues Giles when Giles comes to that conclusion, and is about to offer Willow up as the sacrifice. When the transpossession takes place, Willow's thisclose to getting her throat slashed, but Xander saves her, and then Buffy tosses the Zookeeper into the hyena pit. At the end of the 'sode, Xander tells Buffy and Willow he's grossed out by the stuff that they say he did while he was a hyena. He also tells them he can't remember any of it. Giles comes up and tells Xander that memory loss doesn't usually occur, and Xander asks Giles not to let the chicks know about that. Xander's hyena experience will be referred to again in Season 2's Phases, and also in The Prom.


What Got the Job Done:

1. Buffy used a desk to subdue Xander so they could lock him in a cage.
2. Buffy led The Pack to the Hyena House where the transpossession took place.

What We Learn in This Episode:

1. That Xander quite possibly knows how Willow feels about him.
2. Xander claims not to recall any of what transpired while he was possessed.
3. Hyenas are the schmoes of the Animal Kingdom. -- Buffy to Willow
4. Giles isn't as quick to believe that everything that occurs is a direct result of living on the Hellmouth. (when Buffy tries to tell him about Xander's atypical behavior.)
5. Math is important because otherwise you end up being the guy who sweeps up the pizza place and asks, "Hey, kids, where's all the cool parties this weekend?" -- Willow to Xander, on why math is important.

An Amusing Quote:

"I can't believe you of all people are trying to Scully me!" -- Buffy to Giles at his shrugging off Xander's behavior as being typical of male teenagers.

Another Amusing Quote:

"I've been waiting for you to jump my bones." -- Xander to Buffy when she attacks him.

Settings Seen:

1. Sunnydale Zoo
2. Sunnydale High School
3. The Bronze

Characters Seen:

1. Buffy
2. Willow
3. Xander
4. Giles
5. Lance
6. Principal Flutie
7. The Pack
8. The Zookeeper
9. Herbert

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This page last updated on May 17, 1998.

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