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Xander in The Pack

Buffy Summers

Yataro
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Sineya
#1
Does being possessed by a hyena spirit in The Pack make Xander what he wishes he could be? Not dorky, part of a group, picking on kids instead of being the one that gets picked on? With cooler friends than Willow?
 

Fool for Buffy

I'm just being a big nerd again
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Sineya
#3
I think it was what he thought he wanted, and afterward, with a full memory, he probably had a lot of perspective, realized being cool wasn't that cool, and was more grateful for Willow than ever before.
 

Spanky

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Black Thorn
#4
with a full memory, he probably had a lot of perspective, realized being cool wasn't that cool,
I think the opposite. I think he liked being the popular, aggressive version of himself which is why he never said that he retained the memories. He never thought he could be that person, let alone be that person again. And he liked that person.
 
Fool for Buffy
Fool for Buffy
That would make a lot of sense too. I'm controversial on this for sure

HoppyHippy

My arse is not pansy!
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Sineya
#5
Xander seemed to enjoy being dorky. I think the pack was 17 year old sex fantasy Xander, who we see a couple of times in the show (restless, The Zeppo) but he seemed to feel embarrassment after being that person. Its not true to who he is.
 

Spanky

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Black Thorn
#6
Xander seemed to enjoy being dorky.
I disagree. I don't think he liked it at all. I just don't think he thought he could be anything else and resigned himself to that. That's why he was aghast to learn that the cool replacement was actually him. Because in his eyes, other than being infected with the spirit of a hyena, whenever he tried to be "cool" he failed.
 

HoppyHippy

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Sineya
#7
I just don't think he thought he could be anything else and resigned himself to that.
That could be true. I think he wanted to be confident, but didnt know how without imitating those who appeared solid. The "cool" vibe didn't sit well, he was a dork at heart. By s5 he had found the confidence without the cruel cool, The Replacement may have helped this. He was more confident when he was acting 'cool' but could never sustain it, there were parts of it that did upset him, fake it til ya make it?
 

Spanky

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Black Thorn
#8
I think he wanted to be confident, but didnt know how
Especially when his only taste of it brought the pack mentality along with it. But to say he disliked his time in the pack, I think that's incorrect. His disliked some of his actions, but I don't think he disliked it. And that is what he did not think his friends could not understand, so he feigned memory loss.
 
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#9
Given his amount of shame, and how fast he jumped to Willow's defense as soon as the hyena spirit was out of him rather than spending a single second mourning his lost power, I'm gonna have to say no.
 

white avenger

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#11
Does being possessed by a hyena spirit in The Pack make Xander what he wishes he could be? Not dorky, part of a group, picking on kids instead of being the one that gets picked on? With cooler friends than Willow?
I think that this was just about as close as they could get to making Xander a soulless monster (like a vampire) without killing him. He reacted pretty much like a newly risen vampire, with still the same attitudes as the human host, but without the natural inhibitions that the soul pretty much equates to in the Buffyverse. If it feels good, do it. If you want it, take it. Hyena Xander was only different from normal Xander in that he no longer cared what was right or wrong, only what he wanted at any particular time.

(I've always wondered if that personal experience was a major factor in his attitude toward Spike during the time that Buffy was dead. He had been there, he had done that. He couldn't accept the fact that Spike, a soulless being, could have acted in a more "human" manner than he, himself had when his own soul was not a factor)
 

brinkster130

Riley's BFF
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Sineya
#12
On the surface yes, that's what Xander wanted, just like lots of high schoolers would want. But deep down, if Xander really thought about it, I don't think he'd truly want to be a part of the cool crowd.
 
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#13
I agree that it might be what Xander thought he wanted - to be cool, confident, and smooth but I think when all is said and done the kind of cruelty that he showed in the Pack ( the cruelty the whole hyena gang displayed ) is not who Xander is - he's sarcastic and snarky at times ( mostly as a cover for his insecurities ) but he's not inherently cruel...
 
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#14
I think Xander did not have control over anything whilst he was possessed by the hyena. The hyena might've felt his lust for Buffy but Xander teaming up with the bullies was because they too were possessed so they were a pack. Xander got possessed because he was trying to stop them from harming Lance. He wasn't looking for a "pack" because Buffy and Willow were his pack. If anything, hyena Xander is what Xander thinks Buffy likes her men as "dangerous".
 

DeepBlueJoy

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#15
Possession (or having a demon that takes your soul) seems throughout the series to be an opportunity to look at the character's actual internal issues.

In the Pack, Xander is shown to be confident and assertive, but also to have no inhibition of the demonic forces that lead to the darker behaviors, such as pig eating and attempting to assault Buffy, being cruel to Willow, and letting his inner predator/bully loose.

Some of what he wants in life is reflected in his actions - without any filters or controls.

Xander wants Buffy. He has no interest in Willow as a mate. Most of us have a little bit of predatory instinct. It's part of our survival instinct. The possession acts a lot like a drug in that it brings out/or gives an excuse for behavior Xander wouldn't otherwise act on. It makes the bullies infinitely more dangerous.

They were already predators. Xander got possessed too b/c he had a sufficiently strong impulse to assert himself on behalf of the boy being bullied. His initial instinct was more protective than purely predatory. He couldn't have gotten the spirit otherwise. So we learn something about him, something we'll see again in Prophecy Girl and at other times in the series: Xander has a lot of courage, though he is insecure. When it is necessary, he stands up to truly scary people and situations, including standing up to Angel and Angelus.

Does he want to remain the person he was during the possession? I don't see any evidence for it. I think he hides his memory of it, because he's ashamed of what he did. I understand that impulse. I am torn by Giles' impulse to cover it over, because I think his behavior traumatized Buffy and hurt Willow. Even if he hadn't admitted to remembering, he should have been encouraged to apologize.

It will take nearly five more years, and being divided by Toth, for Xander to come into his own, and integrate his courage and assertiveness into himself more consciously.
 
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#16
Does he want to remain the person he was during the possession? I don't see any evidence for it. I think he hides his memory of it, because he's ashamed of what he did. I understand that impulse. I am torn by Giles' impulse to cover it over, because I think his behavior traumatized Buffy and hurt Willow. Even if he hadn't admitted to remembering, he should have been encouraged to apologize.
I have to disagree with this part because the person who was traumatized in the episode was Xander (and I'm assuming the other four possessed kids who ate their principal). Xander was clearly upset about what happened that he had to fake amnesia.

Having your body being violated by something and losing the ability to control your actions is very traumatic, especially if your actions involved hurting your best friends. (No one demanded Jenny Calendar to apologize to Giles for jumping his bones while possessed in Dark Age. In fact, she was treated as the victim of the episode. Why not Xander?)

I support Giles' decision to respect Xander's wish to pretend he doesn't remember what happened. It was one of the very rare moments where Giles was there for Xander.

As for Buffy and Willow, I'd say Willow was far more hurt by Xander's treatment of her than Buffy was by the AR. Willow was visibly upset, and it had to do with her insecurity and romantic feelings for Xander. Buffy, on the other hand, didn't show any sign of being traumatized because:

1) She knew it wasn't Xander.
2) She was physically stronger than him.
3) She didn't have a complicated sexual relationship with Xander, nor romantic feelings for him.

Eventually both girls knew that Xander in his right mind - no possession - would never do that to them. So, when Xander asked them if he'd done anything embarrassing other than eating an alive pig, Buffy and Willow smiled and said no. It was nothing but unnecessary tension that all parties involved didn't want anything to do with.
 
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