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17 August 2016 @ 01:27 am
Wild at Heart: if I had to wear that wolf suit I might quit too.  
It's going to be a Spike episode! Look, he's back!


Nope. Spike's bad at heart, Big Bad, and Buffy needs to watch out. But the weird soldier-types have tasers, and his enhanced vampire senses missed them until too late. He was too busy watching Buffy dust a boring vamp, but, really, what sort of excuse is that?

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And that Contractual Appearance by James Marsters out of the way, we can get on with the show.

Our guys are at the Bronze, because it's friendly and familiar, like a big comfy blanky. So Willow, thinks - You know, with all the shock of the new, it's nice to have one place that you can come back to where everything's predictable. Like Spike, she really hasn't read the List Of Things Not To Say If You Don't Want To Tempt Fate. It's not just Giles appearing to prove he's down with the new music, it's Veruca, singer with a band and the object of way too much fascination for Oz.

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We cut from unconvincing discussion of how dull the act is to sweetness itself - Oz and Willow wake up, all entwined and contented. It's that time of the month for Oz, and Willow is going to check out a wicca group, so he's going to have to lock himself up.

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Buffy's doing so well in class she's going to have to lead a discussion. Willow is jealous, but only a little bit. And that means Buffy has to go talk to a TA - guess which one? And Willow joins Oz at a picnic table, where he's talking musician stuff with Veruca. See how much he has in common with her? All the things Willow doesn't.

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Willow is jealous of something else now, and Buffy's not reassuring enough.

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Oz has a new lockup, since the library went boom. This one has some shoddy barsmanship.

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Not entirely surprising that Wolfy!Oz escapes. He very nearly does us all a favour by mauling Maggie Walsh.

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However, he's distracted in the nick of time. OR IS IT? (Duh, duh, DUHN)

When he wakes up he is not alone.

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There is philosophising discussion. Should you accept yourself for what you are or strive to be better? Should power be controlled or exploited? How does Veruca find a bra that fits well so quickly?

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Worse, Willow is worried Oz is going off her and would like smoochies or more. Oz pleads tiredness.

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Buffy hears "wild dogs" are on the loose. Cue Giles, who is using his downtime to watch and argue with TV quiz shows.



And Willow seeks advice from another holder of a Y chromosome.



It's actually sensible advice - talk about her worries. But Oz is not sharing. He tries to make his prison more secure. (Dude can weld. Who knew?)



Buffy visits Oz. Even by his standards he's taciturn. Then Veruca turns up, wearing very slightly more.



Seems she quite likes the idea of being locked up overnight with him. And he's less standoffish than he might be.



Willow arrives the next morning, early. She sees what she didn't want to see.





(Very tasteful arrangement of bars there.)

Willow is distressed. Veruca really isn't.





Sad Willow nearly walks into a car. Riley saves her. Obligatory contractual appearance as heroic type.



Willow confides in Buffy, who offers chocolate and consolation, but Willow wants action. And Veruca has gone missing.





Buffy's a bit harsh to Oz; it's almost exactly a year since he caught Willow and Xander together. But Willow's not exactly chilled about it either - she's busy casting a vengeance spell in a conveniently unlocked laboratory.



Veruca was planning to nobble her rival, though, which Buffy and Oz realise almost too late. When they get there, Oz transforms, as does she. Wolfy fighting ensues and it's bye-bye Veruca.





Willow is distraught.



When she goes to see Oz to talk it over, he is packing. He can't trust himself around people, especially Willow, any more.



A youching kiss,



And he's gone.



*******


An episode about nature versus nurture, in a way. How far is it good to accept one's nature? Are there excuses for bad behaviour? It's interesting that Willow's reaction to betrayal is a very long way from Oz's, the previous year. Her first instinct is to use her own power, and not benevolently. I conjure thee by barabbas, by satanas, and the devil. As thou art burning, Let Oz and Veruca's deceitful hearts be broken. This way. I conjure thee by the saracen queen And the name of hell. Let them find no love or solace. Let them find no peace as well. Let this image seal his fate, not to love, only hate. OK, so she can't quite bring herself to finish the spell, which may be just as well considering her success track record so far, but she has gone to considerable trouble to get to that point.

There is also arguably a racial critique here - is "like to like" a tenable argument? Oz doesn't think so - until he succumbs. And the idea that once you have become [insert label here] you can only stay that way is interesting, shown in Spike, but also in Giles, oddly - note how very similar the clothes he and Xander wear when they are visited for advice.

*******


So, your thoughts? Is this an appropriate way for Oz to leave, given that Seth Green was adamant? Do the cheesy were-costumes make it impossible to take the climax seriously? Some folks really hate this episode, others are happy to overlook the cheese. Is Veruca a cliché? Many relationships do break up in the early weeks of university, even when both partners are at the same institution; is this a way of exploring the way letting go of schooldays sometimes means letting go of people too?

This episode is full of duologues - lots of very lengthy talking-head scenes, with limited action. Does that work for you, or make it annoyingly slow?

Your comments, as always, are much desired and sought-after.

Images, as before, are courtesy of Screencapped.net.




 
 
 
Dannachasingdemons on August 17th, 2016 02:42 am (UTC)
I really can't figure out why they couldn't have done a little better with the werewolf costumes. Same thing with the giant snake in S5 and the wigs worn by Angel and Spike in flashbacks. But in a way, it makes me love the show more.

Here are some suggestions I might have made to Oz:
1. Don't lock yourself up in a cage that is falling apart
2. Don't solve the Veruca problem by spending the night with her. You could have asked Buffy for help.
3. Don't wait until you've fucked everything up to be honest.
4. Don't think when a problem arises, the only solution is to run away.

But I guess if everyone acted rationally, there wouldn't be drama. And seeing that Seth had to leave, I thought this was a really good storyline. It gave an opportunity for both Alison and Seth to show what they can do as actors.

The only other way I can think of to get Seth out fast would be for Oz to die. But that would have left Willow in an even bigger hole - and we needed to move on to Tara.

No, it was definitely not annoyingly slow. I LOVE the dialogue. In spite of some cheesy costumes and questionable decisions I was all in on this episode. I cried as much as the first time I watched it.
gillogillo on August 17th, 2016 11:30 pm (UTC)
They do seem to have been remarkably sloppy with continuity and costumes on occasion - FFL annoys me a lot that way. And, yes, Oz is uncharacteristically dim in this ep.
readerjane on August 17th, 2016 03:21 am (UTC)
This one wasn't a favorite for me. I shipped Oz and Willow, so hated Veruca, especially her cruelty to both of them. I wanted to see Oz repudiate her.

And oh, the wolf suit: so cheesy.

But if Seth needed to leave, at least this approach left it open for us to see him again later, even though that later was is own kind of heartbreak.
gillogillo on August 17th, 2016 11:18 pm (UTC)
Yes, Seth was adamant about leaving - I gather he felt he had no real function other than as a sidekick's sidekick. I wish they'd just shot it without so much cheesy wolf-suit.
Double Dutchess: Spike in the Initiativedouble_dutchess on August 17th, 2016 10:41 pm (UTC)
I'm not a fan of this episode, mainly because I dislike Veruca and hate that Oz fell for her. The awful-looking werewolf costumes didn't help.
gillogillo on August 17th, 2016 11:16 pm (UTC)
The costumes are terrible. If that was the best they could do we should have had a lot more partial close-ups.

I suppose Veruca represents his essential self, which he has to conquer. It's clunky, though.
Trepkostrepkos on August 17th, 2016 10:54 pm (UTC)
I'm firmly in the disliking Veruca camp, and annoyed with Oz for falling into her trap. I thought better of him. I thought there was enough of action though. Willow casting the spell nicely parallel's Cordelia's burning of Xander's picture, at the end of "Lovers Walk."
gillogillo on August 17th, 2016 11:14 pm (UTC)
True. I don't understand the name, BTW? Why would one name anyone after a contagious foot wart?
Trepkostrepkos on August 18th, 2016 07:07 am (UTC)
I know ... I think someone must have just heard it on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and not realised it was a joke name.
Shapinglight: Buffy and Willowshapinglight on August 18th, 2016 06:11 am (UTC)
I'm not fond of this episode, as you know. Never really been sure why, as usually I'm up for Marti Noxon's brand of angst. It could well be that I just hate Ms Nasty Foot Complaint so much that I can't stand to see her win (which she did, even though she died).

Or it could just be that I've never been much of an Oz fan, or a werewolf fan, and thus was never going to much enjoy an episode so focused on those things. If Seth Green wanted to leave because he felt his character had no real function, I agree, though I do think the story works quite well in the way you said - ie. as the not untypical breakdown of highschool relationships in college story.