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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode Guide

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 1, Episode 6: The Pack

by Helen

            Buffy is walking around a zoo during a field trip. A group of four mean kids from Sunnydale High approach her and mock her, leaving her downcast. A few moments later she runs into Xander and Willow and they are able to cheer he up by reminding her that she could be in class instead. Suddenly Buffy finds that all the animals look “shiny and new.”

            Another Sunnydale student is also enjoying the zoo. Geeky-boy Lance is at the monkey pen, sketching the animals. Then the mean kids steal his notebook and start playing keep-away with it. Mr. Flutie comes up and yells at them. He knows that these kids are trouble. He asks Lance what they were doing, but Lance lies to keep them out of trouble. The mean kids are impressed that Lance didn’t tattle and invite him to explore the closed-off hyena house with them.

            Buffy, Willow and Xander see Lance going into the hyena house with the mean kids and realize this is not going to end well. Xander goes off to help Lance. The girls agree that it would be a good idea for Xander to have some backup, so they start to go into the hyena house after him. Just as they’ve ducked under the caution tape, a zookeeper catches them and makes them get out. He tells them that anyone who is dumb enough to ignore all the signs and go in there is in big trouble. Hyenas prey on the weak. They should stay away from then pen, even if the hyenas call their name. In response to the girls’ incredulous looks, he relates a Masai belief that hyenas can understand human speech and will often call human’s names at night to pull them away from camp. Once they are alone, the hyenas devour them.

            As soon as the mean kids have gotten Lance into the hyena pen, all their friendliness disappears. They start trying to push Lance over the fence into the hyenas’ feeding pit. Xander runs in and pulls Lance out of their hands. He is confronted by Kyle, leader of the mean kids, but before a fight can develop, the whole group (besides Lance who is cowering at the back of the room) turns and looks at one of the hyenas. The hyena’s eyes flash green and the group’s eyes flash green in response. Suddenly they begin giggling. They now all have a high-pitched, abnormal laugh. An aerial shot shows that the mean kids and Xander are standing in a large red circle painted on the floor. Within the circle are several strange symbols and a giant picture of a hyena’s head. The group turns to look at Lance and one glance from them causes him to run from the pen.

            That night at the Bronze, Willow is commenting to Buffy about how strange Xander seemed on the bus ride home, which leads into a discussion of crushes. Willow is of course smitten with Xander and Buffy is having some warm fuzzy feelings for Angel. Xander shows up and he is indeed acting strangely. He is more aggressive and he sniffs Buffy. Suddenly the mean kids walk in and they and Xander stare at each other as though enamored of one another. When the mean kids mock a guy for being fat, Xander laughs along with them.

            The next day at school Buffy is being especially energetic during her training, so much so that Giles has to cut the session short so the feeling can return to his arms. Buffy’s release comes at a fortunate time for something is running through the halls of Sunnydale High, causing every student who sees it to flee. When it reaches Buffy she stops and picks it up, much to the relief of Mr. Flutie, who has been chasing it. The fearsome beast is Sunnydale’s new mascot- Herbert, a small pig that has been dressed up like a razorback. Mr. Flutie has Buffy carry him back to his cage. Out in the courtyard, Willow is trying to help Xander with his math homework, but he is being especially pissy about it. He ends up throwing his textbook in the garbage and leaving. As Buffy and Mr. Flutie walk, they chat and actually get along. Buffy realizes Mr. Flutie is in fact a pretty nice guy. Just then Xander stomps in from the courtyard, passing right by Buffy and the pig. The moment he comes near, the pig freaks out in Buffy’s arm, desperately trying to escape.

            That afternoon it is storming, so the gym classes stay inside and play dodgeball. Xander and the mean kids end up on the opposite team from Buffy and Willow. They are extremely adept at the game and play it aggressively. Xander pegs Willow especially hard to get her out. Soon Buffy finds herself the only person remaining on her team, facing all four mean kids, Xander, and Lance. But instead of going after Buffy, the mean kids and Xander all turn on Lance and begin pelting him with balls close up, knocking him to ground. Buffy runs to help him and the game ends.

            After class, Willow confronts Xander, who is walking with his new gang. He pulls her aside and begins explaining his behavior to her. Buffy walks up behind them and overhears Xander telling Willow that after all these years of friendship his feelings towards her have changed. He is dropping Geometry which means he’ll never have to look at her pasty face again. He and all his new friends begin giggling loudly. Willow runs off upset and Buffy walks up to Xander. She asks if he has anything to say to her but Xander and friends just giggle some more and walk off. They go outside to the courtyard where students are eating lunch. Xander sniffs the air and then leads them to a table where a bunch of guys are eating hot dogs. The group steals the hot dog but decides they are too well done. Xander sniffs again and leads the group back into the building. The pack of them head into the room where Herbert the pig lives and circle his cage the way predators circle prey. Herbert is not happy. After they’ve eaten, the pack roams the school looking at the other students like food. They pass Lance but after a prolonged stare leave him alone. Xander stops even longer to look up at the balcony where Willow and Buffy are talking.

            Willow is very upset. She tells Buffy that she has known Xander her entire life. They haven’t always been close, but they have always been friendly. Buffy thinks something strange is going on, but Willow has a different theory. She thinks Xander considers her a thirds wheel and wants her out of way. After all, he hasn’t been picking on Buffy. Buffy still thinks something supernatural is afoot so she goes to Giles. He thinks all of Xander’s symptoms, other than scaring the pig, point to one thing- he is turning into a normal teenage boy. Teenage boys are mean, “they tease, they prey on the weak.” The phrase “they prey on the weak” rings a bell for Buffy and she starts connecting the dots. Suddenly she realizes why the pack’s giggles sound so strange. They’ve been laughing like hyenas. She believes that Xander and the means kids have been possessed by the hyenas at the zoo. Giles is still not convinced, but when Willow bursts in and reveals that someone has eaten Herbert he decides that maybe a little research is in order.

            Mr. Flutie is irate. Several witness saw the pack outside Herbert’s room so he goes to confront them. He finds the group, minus Xander, out in the courtyard. He takes them to his office. Giles, Willow and Buffy research hyenas. Giles reads up on Masai beliefs about animal possession and discovers a group called the Primals. They purposefully become possessed by the spirit of predatory animals. If this possession goes on unchecked, they die. Buffy goes off to find Xander before he can succumb to this fate. She starts out by looking in Herbert’s room and Xander is indeed there. She tackles him and they end up on the floor with Buffy on top. Suddenly Xander’s attitude turns sexual. Back in his office, Mr. Flutie is lecturing the mean kids. They begin circling him, much in the same way as they circled Herbert. Xander too is being extremely aggressive. He has supernatural strength and is able to flip himself and Buffy over, so he is on top of her. She tries to tell him he is possessed, but he ignores her. He pins her to the ground and tells that he knows she likes her men dangerous and mean, just like Angel. “Well,” he spits out “guess who just got mean.” Mr. Flutie, meanwhile, is getting nervous. The pack is getting more hostile. Xander is also becoming worse. Reveling that he wants Buffy and is convinced she wants him too, he beings to stroke her. She throws him off and gets up but this doesn’t deter him. He makes it known that he is aware of Willow’s feelings for him and doesn’t care before he pins Buffy to a vending machine and starts aggressively kissing her neck. Mr. Flutie tries to leave his office and the hyena kids attack him with renewed ferocity. They jump on him and begin to eat.

            Back in the library Willow is watching a video about hyenas when Buffy drags Xander’s unconscious body in. She and Willow lock him in the book cage and Buffy tells Willow that Xander tried to sexually assault her, so she hit him with a desk. Just then Giles returns from a staff meeting where he found out what the pack did to Mr. Flutie. Giles and Willow haven’t made much progress figuring out how to move the hyena’s spirit; all they know is that it requires a predatory act, so Buffy and Giles go to talk to the zookeeper. Willow stays behind to watch Xander.

            A young woman is taking a walk though Sunnydale that night with her baby on her back. She comes upon the pack sleeping in the woods. They wake up and begin growling and drooling at her. She runs and luckily for her, they are too full to follow. Xander also wakes up and starts talking to Willow. He tries to turn her against Buffy by playing on her feelings for him. He asks her why Buffy would leave her alone with him if he was so dangerous. Willow says she wanted to be alone with him because she knows him better than Buffy does and she wanted to see if he was still himself. She seems to be giving into him and comes closer to the cage. He reaches through the book slot and tries to grab the key out of her pocket. Willow backs up triumphantly. “Now, I know.”

            The zookeeper not only believes Buffy and Giles’ story, he knows quite a bit about the Primals himself, but he is surprised that the students where able to accidentally perform the ritual. When Giles tells him it involved a predatory act, the zookeeper is intrigued and asks where Giles got his information. Buffy is more interested in dealing with the problem at hand. The zookeeper tells them to get the pack to the zoo, but Buffy reveals they only know where one of them is. The zookeeper tells them not to worry. Once the pack has fed and rested they will look for any missing member of their group. Giles and Buffy realize that that means they’re coming straight for Willow.

            Willow continues watching her video about hyenas. Xander calls out her name but she ignores him. Suddenly the faces of the pack appear in the library windows, and Kyle starts calling out. “Willow.” Willow tells Xander to shut up but then realizes that the voice isn’t coming from him. She looks up and sees the pack just as they break through the windows. Willow runs. The pack stops to rip open Xander’s cage, giving Willow a chance to find a hiding place under the teacher’s desk in an empty classroom. It is dark by now and the school is abandoned, so the pack searches for her uninhibited. Xander and one of the girls go into the room Willow is in but they don’t search very hard and Willow hears the door click shut. She comes up from under the desk only to find Xander staring straight at her. Willow manages to get out of the classroom but finds the girl Xander was with waiting for her on the other side of the door. All of the sudden Buffy clobbers hyena-girl over the head with a fire extinguisher. Xander runs out of the classroom but Buffy takes him out too. The noise attracts the rest of the pack and Buffy, Giles and Willow are forced to run back into the classroom, where Buffy holds the door shut. Eventually the pack gives up and goes to look for somebody weak. Buffy tells Giles and Willow to go to the zoo, while she sets off to find the pack. 

            A bickering family is setting off for an evening out. The mother lectures her child as he eats a snack. “Joey, you have to chew.” Once everyone gets in the car, the dad realizes the keys aren’t there. Suddenly the family hears. “Joey, Joey,” being called out. They look around and see the pack pouncing on their car. Xander breaks a window and tries to pull Joey out of the car. Suddenly Buffy appears. She confronts Xander, and when she can tell he still desires her, taunts him. “Come on, you know what you want.” Then she runs. The pack follows, leaving a frightened but unharmed family behind.

            Willow and Giles make it to the zoo. Giles heads into the hyena house to meet the zookeeper, leaving Willow at the front to look out for Buffy and the pack. Buffy meanwhile is running for her life with the pack close behind. Giles finds the zookeeper in Masai ceremonial garb with the sacred circle drawn on the ground of the hyena pen. He knows that this circle is needed for animal possession to take place and then realizes that it must have been there when the kids where possessed. Now it’s Giles’ turn to connect the dots. The zookeeper is a wannabe Primal who couldn’t figure out how to complete the ceremony. When Giles told him about the predatory act, he gave him the last piece of the ritual. The zookeeper realizes that Giles has caught on to him so he beats Giles and drags him out of the way. Buffy continues running and the noises of the pack as they chase her reach Willow. She realizes they must be drawing close. She runs into the hyena pen and tells the zookeeper that they’re coming. He tells her he needs her for the ceremony and begins binding her wrists. Buffy runs into the hyena house and shouts that the pack is right behind her. The zookeeper hears and puts a knife to Willow’s throat. Buffy runs into the pen and Willow shouts that it is a trap. Suddenly the pack pounces on Buffy and the zookeeper yells the ritual words that transfer the hyena spirit from them to him. Now a hyena himself, he has no need for knives. He drops the weapon and goes to bite Willow to make the transfer complete. Xander sees what is going on and dives on the zookeeper. The zookeeper quickly knocks him out but Buffy has recovered by then. She grabs the zookeeper and throws him. He flies over the fence and into the hyena feeding pit, where he is quickly devoured. The mean kids are horrified and run.

            The next day at school Xander tells the girls that he doesn’t remember anything that happened while he was a hyena. The girls decide not to reveal any of his meaner exploits during the past two days and head off to class. Giles, who has been watching from a little ways off, walks up to Xander. He tells him that in all his research on animal possession he didn’t find anything about memory loss afterwards. He research is correct. Xander remembers everything.


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Updated 7/25/07  

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