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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Phases
January 27, 1998
5V15

 
Credits

Writers:
Rob Des Hotel
Dean Batali


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
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Star:
Seth Green as Oz
Cast:
Camilla Griggs as Gym teacher
Jack Conley as Cain
Larry Bagby III as Larry
Megahn Perry as Theresa Klusmeyer
Keith Campbell as Werewolf

 
Synopsis

Willow is worried because Oz hasn't tried to make a move on her yet. Xander and Cordy are making big with the smoochies in her car, when they suffer a case of lupus interuptus. There's a werewolf in town, and tracking it is Gib Cain, an unreconstructed great white hunter. That night, Buffy and Giles track the wolf, but run into Cain instead. He tells them the werewolf is attracted to sexual tension, so Buffy goes to the Bronze to try and capture it. There, she sees the beast, but it escapes. It goes to the woods to sleep, and awakens the next morning as a bemused Oz. Larry complains of being bitten by a huge dog the previous week, which makes the gang think that he is the wolf, so Xander confronts him, but finds out instead that Larry is gay. Willow is still concerned that Oz doesn't like her, so she goes to his house that night. He wolfs out and chases her, but Buffy arrives with a tranquilizer gun, which Willow shoots him with. Willow and Oz (later, as a human) finally kiss. — Short synopsis by Bruce.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Monstervision

The Wolf Man Giles says it best. "Werewolves... it's one of the classics." Werewolf legends are second only to vampire legends in the annals of folklore monsters. Any modern werewolf tale is indebted to The Wolf Man, the 1941 Universal Studios classic starring Lon Chaney, Jr. The visual aspects of the werewolf in this episode seem to be influenced mostly by the 1981 horror-comedy An American Werewolf in London, and we should probably mention the campy 1957 flick I Was A Teenage Werewolf, starring Michael Landon, just 'cause... well, 'cause this episode was about a teenage werewolf.


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Body Count

Theresa
Vamped by Angel in an alley.
Theresa
Staked by Xander in the funeral parlor.
Total: One, twice.
Compiled by Eric B.

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Dialogue to Die For

Larry: "That little innocent schoolgirl thing is just an act, right?"
Oz: "Yeah. Yeah, she's actually an evil mastermind. It's fun."

Buffy: "What guy could resist your wily Willow charms?"
Willow: "At last count? All of them. Maybe more."
Buffy: "Well, none of them know a thing. They all get an 'F' in Willow."
Willow: "But I want Oz to get an 'A'! And, oh, one of those gold stars."

Buffy: "In other words, your typical male."
Xander: "On behalf of my gender, hey!"
Giles: "Yes, let's not jump to any conclusions."
Buffy: "I didn't jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were."

Oz's reaction to waking up naked in the woods: "Huh."

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."

More quotes from this episode...

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • That werewolf costume. 'Nuff said.

  • In the scene in which Willow tells Giles and Buffy that Oz is the werewolf, watch Giles. When he is standing facing the right, he is wearing no glasses, but when he turns around and faces the left, he has his glasses on.
          Spotted by Rob and Gra (From the UK).

  • After the climactic fight, there is a goof with the weather. In the shots of Giles in the forest, it's raining, but in the shots with Willow and Buffy it's not.
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Notes

  • At the beginning of the episode, Oz is looking at the cheerleading statue in which Catherine Madison was trapped in "The Witch." This is foreshadowing in preparation for the return of Amy Madison in the next episode, "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered."

  • Although we still don't know Oz's real name, we do now know that he has an Uncle Ken, an Aunt Maureen, and a cousin Jordy.

  • According to The Watcher's Guide, Cain's first name is Gib.

  • Xander brings up the time he spent possessed by a hyena ("The Pack"), but when the girls remind him that he said he didn't remember anything about his possession, he shuts up pretty quickly.

  • Xander also refers to the events of "I, Robot — You Jane" and "Teacher's Pet" in reassuring Buffy in the funeral home.
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Music

  • Lotion - "Blind for Now" (From Nobody's Cool, spinArt/Revolution Records, 1996)
      Lotion is playing this song on stage in the Bronze when Oz the werewolf drops in and breaks up the party.
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Comments

Brian:
All together now... "Awwwwwww." Any episode focusing this heavily on Willow and Oz, the cutest couple in television history, can't help but be completely enjoyable, and boy howdy was it! Cain was an appropriately sickening one-shot villain, and I really enjoyed the way this episode presented the dilemma of how to stop a werewolf without killing it. Thanks to my heavy involvement with the spoiler-laden Internet, I've known about Oz's lycanthropic nature for weeks, but that didn't make the revelation any less enjoyable. The dialogue was wonderful, and Alyson Hannigan took this opportunity to shine for all it was worth. "Phases" proves that Buffy is an "Enjoy-The-Ride" kind of show — it's not where the episode is going, but the way it gets there that is the fun! (9/10)
Will:
This week's offering was a bit of a let-down after last week's masterpiece. I actually really liked this episode. It lacked Spike and Drusilla, but it was still very entertaining. I have been waiting patiently for a Willow/Oz-centered episode. I finally got it and they were great. Willow was so cute and adorable and she is in love. It seems that Oz will be a regular on the show (maybe to replace Jenny and Angel as good guys). He is a fun, witty and fantastic addition to the show. Sure, he's a werewolf, but I won't hold that against him and neither will Willow. I am just so glad Willow finally got some "smoochies." This was a solid effort by all involved. (8/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
January 27, 1998 4.9 85 of 109 (tie)
May 26, 1998 2.7 98 of 114 (tie)
April 6, 1999 2.5 102 of 133 (tie)

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