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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Wild at Heart
November 09, 1999
4ABB06

 
Credits

Writer:
Marti Noxon


Director:
David Grossman


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Seth Green as Oz
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Marc Blucas as Riley
Paige Moss as Veruca
James Marsters as Spike
Lindsay Crouse as Professor Maggie Walsh

 
Synopsis

Oz escapes from his cage while in wolf mode, runs across another werewolf (Veruca), and wakes up next to her naked in the wilderness the next morning. Veruca scoffs at his cage-living habits, and tells him that the wolf is part of him; he should just run free and kill people. Oz blows her off, but doesn't want her running free the night of the full moon, so he fixes up his cage, invites her over, and locks her in with him. The two start getting hot and heavy before the wolfiness even takes over, and Willow comes to the cage the next morning to find them naked together. She cries, they argue, Veruca tries to kill Willow, Oz-wolf kills Veruca, and Buffy stops him from attacking Willow. Oz realizes that Veruca had some good points — he doesn't have control over the wolf, and the wolf is part of him. He decides he needs to leave town and go be a hermit while he figures things out. He and Willow share a heartbreaking goodbye, and Oz drives away. Also, Spike gets zapped by the mysterious Commando guys.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Body Count

Random Vampire
Buffy stakes him in a deserted area of the UCS campus.
Veruca (while in wolf form)
Oz-wolf bites / mauls her to death in a UCS laboratory.
Total: Two
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Dialogue to Die For

Buffy (to random vamp she's fighting): "You know very well, you eat this late... (Stakes him.)... you're gonna get heartburn. Get it? Heartburn? (He turns to dust.) That's it? That's all I get? One lame-ass vamp with no appreciation for my painstakingly thought out puns. I don't think the forces of darkness are even trying.""

Willow: "I have wrong feelings about other guys sometimes. But I feel guilty and I flog and punish."
Buffy: "Exactly. I'm sure Oz is flogging and punishing himself... this is sounding wrong before I even finish."

Oz: "Veruca was right about something. The wolf is inside me all the time, and I don't know where that line is anymore between me and it. And until I figure what that means, I shouldn't be around you, or anybody."
Willow: "Well, that could be a problem, 'cause people... kind of a planetary epidemic."

More quotes from this episode...

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References

  • Spike: "You should know better than to tempt the Fates that way."
  • The Fates (or Moerae), in Greek mythology, were goddesses who controlled the destiny of everyone from the time they were born to the time they died. They included Clotho, who spun the thread of a person’s life; Lachesis, who decided how much time was to be allowed each person; and Atropos, who cut the thread when that time was up. Roman mythology has a similar trio: Morta (Goddess of Death), Decima (Goddess of Childbirth), and Nona (Goddess of Pregnancy). Norse mythology also has a similar trio, in this case represented as three sisters: Urd ("fate"), Verdandi ("necessity") and Skuld ("being").

  • Buffy (teasing Giles): "Yes, but it's your cutting edge eight-tracks that keep you ahead of the scene."
  • "Eight-tracks" were the preeminent portable and car audio format of the 1970s. Invented by William Powell Lear, they were cartridges containing magnetic tape (like that in cassette tapes) which stored music or sound. The eight-track was replaced in popularity by cassette tapes in the 80s and compact discs in the 90s.

  • Buffy: "If the Stones can still keep rolling, why can't Giles?"
  • The Rolling Stones, led by Mick Jagger, is a band of British rockers who first hit it big in the mid-1960s. They've been extremely popular and influential ever since, and they continue to perform and record music currently, though they are all over 50 years old (far past the "average" age of a rock star).

  • Buffy (about Veruca): "Yeah, she's quelle Fiona. Color me bored."
  • Buffy is presumably making a comparison to Fiona Apple, a young singer with a (seemingly) bad attitude. Buffy may be on to something here — Veruca obviously likes to prance around in her underwear, and Fiona pranced around in hers in the video for her hit "Criminal," from the album Tidal.

  • Oz (regarding his wolfiness): "... unless the extreme Jerry Garcia look turns you on."
  • Jerry GarciaJerry Garcia (1942-1995) was the lead singer and guitarist of the Grateful Dead, a psychedelic band known for its cult-like following ("Dead Heads") and drug use.

  • Willow (confused by Oz's mention of Hound Dog amplifiers): "That's a great song. I mean, Elvis, what a guy!"
  • Elvis Presley (1935-1977), known as the King of Rock n' Roll, was an insanely popular singer beginning in the late 1950s. He was especially popular with young girls, who oohed and aahed over his gyrating dance moves. His cover of "Hound Dog" (1957) was one of his many hits.

  • Giles: "Can I get you anything? Tea? I made a very interesting moussaka last night."
  • Moussaka is a Greek dish. Recipes vary, but all seem to include eggplant, onion, garlic, egg, olive oil, and often lamb.

  • Willow: "I need a translator from the 'Y' side of things."
  • You all should have learned this sometime in your life, but here's a very brief lesson: chromosomes carry genetic information (DNA). Everyone has two sex chromosomes (called X and Y); men have an X and a Y, while women have two Xs.

  • Xander: "Wild monkey love, or tender Sarah McLachlan love?"
  • Sarah McLachlan is a popular singer known for her soft, "easy listening" songs. You may remember her song "Full of Grace" (from the album Surfacing), which played at the end of "Becoming, Part Two."

  • Veruca: "So this is why you called me here? To see your Habitrail?"
  • Habitrail is a maker of "environments" for small pets (usually hamsters or gerbils), consisting of plastic, tubes, and toys. (This was also a reference in "Graduation Day Part One.")

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Continuity

  • The Harsh Light of Day

    Oz refers to having seen Giles' record collection, which he did in "The Harsh Light of Day." The TV Giles watches in this episode was first discovered in the same scene.

  • Lovers Walk

    Oz says he knows how Willow feels, referring to when he caught her kissing Xander in "Lovers Walk" (the two had actually been kissing on occasion since "Homecoming").

  • Fear, Itself

    Buffy mentions running into the commando guys on Halloween, which she did while walking with the gang to a party (they thought it was a group Halloween costume).

  • Becoming, Part Two and Anne

    Buffy reminds Giles that she ran away and went to hell before she got over "killing" Angel, referring to when she ran away after doing so in Part Two of "Becoming," and when she went to hell (a.k.a. a demon dimension) to stop a bad guy in "Anne." (Afterwards, she returned home and began healing.)

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • When Professor Walsh hands Buffy her paper, Buffy accepts it in her left hand, but a quick camera cut shows it in both hands.

  • When Oz approaches Veruca in the cafe, she's holding her cup as if she's about to take a sip, but as the camera switches away and back again quickly, she's just picking it up again. Technically possible, but odd.
          Spotted by Mathew.

  • OK, this one may be even more picky than usual, but during the Willow/Xander scene, Xander's hands seem to change positions in a strange manner a few times.
          Spotted by Mathew.

  • In the scene in which Oz tells Willow he's leaving, when they're hugging, her hair is behind her ears in the shots from behind her, but in shots from behind Oz (including when he pushes her hair back to kiss her forehead), it's falling in her face.

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Notes

  • Though it is rare, this isn't the first time Giles has been to the Bronze. We saw him there in "Welcome to the Hellmouth," looking for Buffy, and in "Surprise," at Buffy's surprise party.

  • There's a Wicca group on campus which Willow looks into joining in this episode. We don't really learn anything about them, or even know if she joins, until "Hush."

  • The amps Oz mentions are all real, in case you wondered.

  • According to Veruca, a werewolf eventually does begin to have memories of its time spent in wolf form, though Oz hasn't reached that phase yet.

  • Oz has a Cibo Matto poster in his room (a band which performed on Buffy in "When She Was Bad"), as well as a Widespread Panic poster (a band whose stickers have appeared in numerous episodes).

  • Giles likes Jeopardy — or at least, he likes a show which is very similar to Jeopardy (the show he was watching on TV).

  • Oz's cage is in an underground crypt in one of the local cemeteries.

  • Willow's spell:
    I conjure thee, by Borabis, by Satanis, and the Devil. As thou art burning, let Oz and Veruca's deceitful hearts be broken. I conjure thee, by the Saracen Queen, in the name of hell. Let them find no love or solace, Let them find no peace as well. Let this image seal this fate, Not to love, only hate
  • We haven't yet been able to verify this, but a few people have reported that the building used for exterior shots of Giles' apartment is the same one (with the same address — 4616) that was used in exterior shots of the Melrose Place apartments on Melrose Place. The same exterior is used in multiple episodes this season, but reports indicate that it was first shown in this one.
          First reported by David Satz.

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Music

  • 8Stops7 - "Good Enough" (From In Moderation, Reprise, 1999)
      This song plays in the background in the opening scene at the Bronze.

  • THC - "Dip" (From Adagio, Brain Surgery Music, 1999)
      THC is the real band playing the music of Shy; this is the song Shy plays on stage in the first scene at the Bronze.

  • THC - "Need to Destroy" (From Adagio, Brain Surgery Music, 1999)
      This is the song Shy is rehearsing at the Bronze while Oz contemplates in his room.
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Comments

Jeremy:
Definitely the best episode of the season so far. It's too bad Seth Green is leaving us for a while, because this episode really let him show off his acting abilities. It could probably go without saying that this was the best acting that Aly has ever given us. Seeing Paige Moss on “Hercules” a couple of weeks ago, I thought she was going to be great on “Buffy,” but I think I was mistaken. I don't know if I should put this blame on Paige or the director. This is my only drawback to this episode. Sure I wish that Buffy, Giles, and Xander had more time in this episode, but I also wish that each episode of “Buffy” was like three hours long. But argh, why do they have too keep teasing us with brief glimpses of the commando guys (a.k.a. The Initiative?)and Spike? These next few episodes are going to be strange with a core cast of only four, but it may be better that way (sorry Oz, Angel, and Cordelia). I think the gang's group dynamic will be able to be shown off much better now, as it was in the first season. All in all, this episode ranks up there with "Becoming," "Passion," or "Innocence." (9.5/10)
Jamie Marie:
I am one of those people who, in a strange way, enjoys crying at movies and such. I have been known to cry watching "Friends," and I have been known to cry watching commercials. I'm not kidding. So, it probably is no surprise that I cried a lot during this episode. But, like I said, I kind of enjoy that, so that just means I liked it. A lot. Some say that this episode lacked comic relief, which may be true, but too much comic relief takes away from the drama, and this was drama at its finest. This episode wasn't intended to make us laugh, it was intended to make us feel, and feel I did. I felt hatred for Veruca (not to mention surprise that Paige Moss is confident enough to appear on television in a bra and underwear — she's not fat, by any means, but she's certainly not up to the typical Hollywood standard of thin). I felt extreme anger toward Oz. Not all of his crimes could be blamed on his wolfiness, in my opinion. Come on, he had all day to think about what to do, and he honestly thought the only thing he could do was to lock Veruca in the cage with him? Please. And it didn't occur to him that Willow was fairly likely to come check on him in the morning? And I felt pity for Willow. Poor, poor Willow. Yes, Oz is probably doing the right thing (as was Angel), but that doesn't make it hurt any less (just ask Buffy). And that Alyson can act with the best of 'em! I want to see both her and SMG receive Emmys next year, gosh darn it! My main complaint is Paige Moss's generic and almost ridiculous acting in certain scenes. Perhaps it can be partially attributed to directing, but someone seems to have told her that if she rolls her head around a lot and looks up at people with her head tilted downward, she'll look sexy and dangerous. By the time she wolfed out, I was ready to scream if she did that one more time. And my minor complaint is the fact that the Giles at the Bronze scene felt a little forced — funny, yes, but they're obviously struggling to find ways to work him in. I hope they work around that soon. I really try to reserve my 10s for episodes which I have no complaints about, so... (9.5/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
November 09, 1999 4.1 91 of 139
March 7, 2000 2.6 96 of 137 (tie)
June 27, 2000 1.9 100 of 140 (tie)

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