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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
The Pack
April 07, 1997
4V06

 
Credits

Writers:
Matt Kiene
Joe Reinkemeyer


Director:
Bruce Seth Green


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Ken Lerner as Principal Flutie
Eion Bailey as Kyle
Brian Gross as Tor
Jennifer Sky as Heidi
Cast:
Michael McRaine as Rhonda
Jeff Maynard as Lance
James Stephens as Zookeeper
David Brisbin as Mr. Anderson
Barbara K. Whinnery as Mrs. Anderson
Gregory White as Coach Herrold
Justin Jon Ross as Joe
Jeffrey Steven Smith as Adam
Patrese Borem as Young Woman

 
Synopsis

Buffy and the gang are on a school trip to the zoo when Xander sneaks into the quarantined Hyena cage to help a boy that is being picked on, but he and four others are infected by something and begin to act strangely. Buffy suspects something is wrong when Xander starts being mean to Willow and hitting on her a little too strongly, but Giles shrugs it off as teenage angst. He is forced to change his mind however when the school mascot, a piglet, is eaten, followed by Principal Flutie. Buffy, Giles and Willow lure them back to the Hyena cage and after a run in with the keeper manage to restore the Xander and the others back to normal. — Short synopsis by angel_star.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Monstervision

The Masai of the Serengeti really do exist — they are a nomadic East African tribe, located mostly in Kenya and Tanzania, who have a culture that is indeed highly centered around animals. But the offshoot known as "Primals," who are referred to in this episode as living a lifestyle of animal transpossession, are fictional.

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Dialogue to Die For

Xander: "We just saw the zebras mating. Thank you, very exciting!"
Willow: "It was like the Heimlich... with stripes!"

Giles: "Testosterone is a great equalizer. It turns all men into morons."

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Giles: "Uhh... did I miss anything?"
    All that's missing is a big ol' "Waah waah waah waaaaaaah."

While not strictly dialogue per se, every sniff, grunt, whine, snarl, and giggle that came from "the pack" made us want to hurl our big black Doc Martens at the TV screen.

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References

  • "Oh great, it's the winged monkeys."  Winged monkeys were the servants of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.

    Yanni

  • "I can't believe you, of all people, are trying to Scully me."  Dana Scully is the skeptical doubter who consistently tries to poke holes in the wild supernatural theories of her partner Fox Mulder on The X-Files.

  • "It's safe to say that in his animal state, his idea of wooing doesn't involve a Yanni CD and a bottle of Chianti."  Yanni is a monumentally successful Greek New Age keyboardist and composer who both Will and Brian find more frightening than many of the monsters Buffy has faced in this series.

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Notes

  • Other than Kyle, the individual members of "the pack" are never named in the episode. However, TV Guide credited Brian Gross as "Tor" and Jennifer Sky as "Heidi". And in the scene with the Anderson family, the closed captioning for the episode reads "Rhonda singing softly".

  • Jeffrey Steven Smith, who plays the guy who asks Xander about the lead guitarist of a band called Wretched Refuse, appeared in "The Harvest" as the guy in the computer class who eagerly listens to Cordelia badmouth Buffy. It may or may not be the same character.
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Music

  • Dashboard Prophets - "All I Want" (From Burning Out the Inside, No Name Recordings, 1996)
      Plays at the Bronze as Xander begins to manifest signs of his hyena possession.

  • Sprung Monkey - "Reluctant Man" (From Swirl, Surfdog Records, 1996)
      Plays as Kyle and his friends enter the Bronze.

  • Far - "Job's Eyes" (From Tin Cans With Strings to You, Epic Records, 1996)
      Plays while Xander and the Pack roam the school grounds in slow motion.
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Comments

Brian:
Nicholas Brendan turns in a star performance here, and the regulars are all strong as well — Alyson Hannigan is in especially fine form as poor Willow frets over the possessed Xander. But the four kids who along with Xander made up the Pack of the title were all such bad actors that their screentime became somewhat cringeworthy, even with Nicholas shining through it all. The twist at the end was nice, however, and ends an otherwise relatively poor episode on an up note. (4/10)
Will:
In this episode we have the privilege of seeing the darker side of Xander. Xander's performance as a bully is very good. The experience is quite traumatic to Buffy, Giles, and especially Willow, who states her wish that Xander had been "possessed by a puppy, or some ducks." This episode made me realize that someone dies in just about every episode, and it is not always a "bad guy." The death of Principal Flutie was surprising, but done in a somewhat humorous way. This is not one of the better episodes — I couldn't quite put my finger on why, it just seemed that something essential was missing from the story — but it does have its share of positive points. (5/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
April 07, 1997 2.4 110 of 118 (tie)
July 7, 1997 NA NA
August 18, 1997 2.2 95 of 114
June 29, 1998 2.3 95 of 114

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