Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Pack

Oh boy.  This episode is going to be about bullies.  Maybe I had a more than usually idyllic childhood, but I feel like these bully characters are cartoonish in the extreme.  They're pretty much what would happen if Johnny and the rest of the gang from the Cobra Kai Dojo got possessed by evil hyenas.

No high school experience is complete without a field trip to the local zoo, and Sunnydale High is no exception.  Where they differ, however, is that when they go to the zoo and sneak into the hyena exhibit, they accidentally get possessed by hyenas.  Whoops.  And unfortunately for Xander, he's caught up in the whole affair.

So Xander and the Bullies (should be a rock band) start acting all predatory and aggressive.  More than usual that is.  Somewhere along the line, they eat the Razorback mascot and the high school principal.  Also, Xander tries to rape Buffy.  Ummmm...can the Master please come and eat all of the hyena people?

Things I Like:

Principal Flutie's death scene.  I can't believe they went there, but I'm so glad that they took a risk and raised the stakes.  It takes this episode from mediocre to memorable and unsettling.

Also, I think there's something to be said for the fact that this is the sixth episode of this show, and they're willing to risk making one of their lead characters (Xander) totally unlikeable.  Yeah, it's the result of an animal possession and strictly speaking not really his fault, but they're taking chances with a character that most likely hasn't totally won the audience's allegiance yet.  It paid off for them, but I could have easily seen people getting turned off by seeing Xander being such an ass so early on in the show before they developed a loyalty to him.

Things I Didn't Like:

I am broken hearted that they ate that poor piggy alive.

Not a huge fan of the casual rapiness and how Xander chooses to pretend that he doesn't remember anything so that he doesn't have to deal with the consequences of ANYTHING.

I'm also not crazy about the fact that the writers apparently subscribe to the Scooby Doo school of writing, where the villain is the only other new character in the episode.

Random Musings:

OK if I have to listen to obnoxious hyena laughter the entire episode I am not going to be a very happy camper.

Oh dodgeball.  The high school version of Darwinism.  When I was in school and the gym was set up for dodgeball, we had the option to sit out because the boys had a tendency to take out all of their aggression and break some noses.

"It's devastating.  He's turned into a sixteen year old boy.  Of course, you'll have to kill him."  Oh Giles, what would I do without your dry wit?

Verdict: 5 Stakes Out of 10

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