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Discussion of 1.06 "The Pack" - Aired 4/7/1997 (WB-US)

Mr Trick

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See, I can understand how others would like this episode and I don't necessarily disagree with much of your points, but I just don't like to watch the episode. I'd say that "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" also tackles bullying – in a different way, of course – so it could be interesting to compare and contrast the two when the time comes.

Fair. Out of Mind, is one episode that gets a bad rap IMO.
 
Jam
Jam
Agreed!
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thrasherpix

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I saw this yesterday. I not only loved how Willow played Hyena Xander, but Nicholas Brendon put on a good performance where right after he's going berserk and shouting, "LET ME OUT!"

I also loved the moment that Giles realized the symbol had to have already been present when the kids got possessed.

I find this one creepier than many other season 1 episodes, though it is hard for me to see Willow so torn up. I'm glad she realizes that Xander "is not yourself" (as she tells him), and that Xander saves her from the zoo guy.
 

Mr Trick

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This is the darkest episode so far. It also links nicely to the season theme of bullying. Some solid acting from the supporting cast too. Brandon does a great job playing against type. I like how this first season sets the ground rules that no one's safe. Fluttie is someone you'd expect to be around awhile. Think Jesse in the pilot too. It has weak parts too. But I'd say a strong mid-range S1 episode.
 

RDHWesley

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This has always been my least favourite of Season 1, mainly because the plot is a bit too stupid. Teenagers get possessed by hyenas and they become nastier? Four of them were nasty to begin with, now they're nasty and homicidal. Xander's transformation is a pretty interesting thing to watch if nothing else and this episode always seemed less about bullying to me and more about the pain you feel when a close friend joins another crowd and turns against you, so as far as subject matter goes, it's not a bad idea. It's a shame it was handled this way. This is OK but far from good.
 

Ethan Reigns

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Sineya
In my reimagining of this episode, Herbert not only escapes, he does what a lot of people think is impossible:


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spikenbuffy

"Hi honey, I'm home"
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My favorite episode from S1.

My favorite part of this episode is Xander walking with his pack with Jobs eyes music playing at the same time. So good!!!
 
Puppet
Puppet
My least favorite episode from S1 :D

DeadlyDuo

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Shouldn't Xander and the others have gotten food poisoning from eating Herbert given that it's raw meat?

We see one try a hotdog but then spit it out again because it was cooked (which is something no actual animal would do. Food is food, it wasn't rancid or rotten). However, despite being possessed by hyenas, they're still human bodies and meat is cooked so that it's safe for human consumption.

Unless the hyena possession made physiological changes to Xander's and the other students' bodies, then they should've all been writhing in pain from food poisoning from eating raw meat that their bodies couldn't cope with.
 
one eyed chicklet
one eyed chicklet
Here’s the weird thing: you can actually eat raw pork, you just risk some very nasty parasites.
T
thrasherpix
They had animal senses which suggests physiological changes. They were also stronger. So I'm willing to believe their bodies could, magically if need be, eat like that. Otherwise I doubt even their teeth would be up to it.

katmobile

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When telling them the truth doesn't do anybody any good. Xander was the victim of possession and he felt more comfortable to draw a line under it and move on. Buffy was already fine around him and could draw a clear distinction between possessed and normal Xander. So why make things awkward for everyone?
I do wonder if Buffy's understanding of souled Vs unsouled grew out of this - that she saw who different Xander was with an overpowering demon in him.
 

FaithLehane16

"Tact is not saying true stuff. I'll pass."
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This episode is proof that Xander never had an attraction for Willow even though they almost kissed in When She Was Bad, which then proves that she is his last resort. His senses were heightened by the hyena possession, so he knew that Willow had an attraction for him, so he was using that to take his frustrations out on her(being an ass). Another piece of proof is the fact that he drools over Buffy more by the possession. All of this just goes to prove that the Xander/Willow storyline in Season 3 was out of the ozone.
 

thetopher

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Sineya
One important point; Xander asks Willow and Buffy 'so, did I do anything else whilst I was, y'know, Hyena-guy' and they plead ignorance.

It's not as simple as 'Xander lied and covered it up', yes, he faked amnesia but then left it up to his friends to tell him what they had issues with- that's why he asked. So basically Xander, Willow and Buffy ALL decide to forget and move on, as friends.

Like so many other times all the onus/blame is put on Xander for 'hiding the truth' when its not quite that simple.
 
T
thrasherpix
Don't forget that the female characters are entitled to their secrets and cover ups, even when it threatens, at least as a possibility, danger to others. But not Xander. As the everyday man he must be held to higher moral standards.
Stake fodder
Stake fodder
Excellent point, which I had never thought of.

katmobile

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But its pretty clear that it was the Hyena side of him which resorted to attempted rape, because there's no way Xander would do that.
Watch the What the Pop review of The Pack and you'll learn that female hyenas can't be raped - it's very similar to vampires it's through a glass darkly deal - the AR didn't come from the hyena but a dark suppressed part of the man goaded and encouraged by the hyena who removes his inhibitions. It's not really Xander because Xander is more than his dark impulses but Xander doesn't bother to unpack that - perhaps understandably because it scares him and says bad things about Jessie as a man too. If he had he might have gained some insight and grown.
 
Mr Trick
Mr Trick
Fair enough. That is interesting.

Cheese Slices

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Buffy and Willow don't say anything because they cut him a break, but let's ask ourselves why he asks the question in the first place : he knows what he did. He didn't drink too much and black out or lost his memories in any way. He is asking precisely so that he'll know whether he can get away with not addressing it. I don't think there is a double standard here as @thrasherpix suggests : Xander didn't do something that might put others in danger ; he actually did commit sexual assault on one of his friends. The damage is done, and in a direct way. It would be a double standard if say, Buffy had pretended she didn't remember trying to kill her friends in Normal Again. But nothing of the sort ever happened, as far as I remember.
I am not trying to paint him as a villain here, but he is definitely being a coward at best. He'd rather not go through the embarrassment and no think about how his actions are manifestations of his darker impulses as @katmobile suggest, than actually make sure that his friend is not traumatized by his sexual assault on her.
 

Ninjagirl2008

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I like the idea of drawing on folklore from a lot of cultures to come up with different kinds of bad guys or supernatural trouble. It's not just European vampire mythology, and that's nice. I don't think this story is based on any specific mythology. I tried to find out more about African mythology related to animal possession, and I couldn't find anything that seemed like this episode. I kind of think it would have been nice to find a common piece of folklore or myth from a particular region and write a story based on that. Otherwise it feels a bit like, well, we want hyenas and that's in Africa, so let's say this tribe believes in animal possession. If I'm wrong about this, and there is something specific this is based on, I'd love to find out.
 
N
Nearwild
I'm sure I've heard of 'werehyenas' in Africa before, particularly the name calling bit, but can't recall where. I think Sangomas can practise animal possession. A lot of the mythology isn't written down though.
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