Friday, July 8, 2011

Buffy Blogthrough: 1.6 "The Pack"

Most mornings, to warm up my brain I write & edit 150 words — a TV episode, movie, news item, or whatever. Now that I've got Lady Hotspur watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I've decided to post these exercises so you & she can enjoy them too!

1.6 "The Pack"
broadcast: April 7, 1997
writers: Matt Klein & Joe Reinkemeyer
director: Bruce Seth Green

Xander gets a second chance to take center stage in another episode based on high school “issues”. On a zoo trip, he and a gang of bullies get zapped with an animal-possession spell. Their violently feral actions culminate in the gang devouring the principal! As juicy and hardcore as that twist is, the hyena behavior and its use as a metaphor for cliques are both a bit silly (especially the stoner giggles). It only really works when Xander is the focus. His transformation into an asshole is stronger as a real teen concern than simple cliquish bullying — and one that the show will return to. It also takes good advantage of the Buffy-Xander-Willow triangle, especially since it finally gives Willow a substantial role and emotional stakes. And the outcome — that Xander is ashamed at acting on his more caddish impulses, even inadvertently — feels as authentically true to life as anything on Buffy so far.

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