Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 2, Episode 15

Phases (27 Jan. 1998)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Fantasy
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Reviews: 2 user | 2 critic

Buffy and her friends discover secrets about themselves as they battle a werewolf, its hunter, and their own emotions.



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Episode cast overview:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Camila Griggs ...
Gym Teacher
Larry Blaisdell (as Larry Bagby III)
Theresa Klusmeyer


While Xander and Cordelia make out in the woods in her dad's car, they are attacked by a giant werewolf, who also killed various animals, on the night before the full moon. Giles insists no silver bullets, as a werewolf remains an innocent human except for three nights per lunar month, an ethical consideration wasted on former ivory poacher Kane, who wants his twelfth werewolf kill for the fur. Xander suspects and confronts school bully Lary, but finds out his secret is in fact queerly innocent and worth keeping. When they check the corps of Theresa, the only human fatal victim, Xander saves Buffy staking her: she's a vampire, attacking courtesy of her sire Angelus... After Oz wakes up naked in the wood, his aunt confirms Jordy is a werewolf too, but Willow is trough waiting for him to make the first move... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

27 January 1998 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) was one of the first TV series to cause quite a stir on the Internet with numerous fan sites and message boards springing up. This is acknowledged in this episode when Buffy stops in front of a noticeboard. There's a small note on the board thanking all of the Buffy fans at the official website. See more »


Werewolf hunter Kane states he kills werewolves to obtain their teeth and pelts. However, in all other Buffyverse lore it's established that werewolves revert to human form upon death. See more »


Giles: You hunt werewolves f-for sport?
Cain: No, no, I'm in it purely for the money.
See more »


References Buffy the Vampire Slayer: I, Robot... You, Jane (1997) See more »


Blind For Now
Performed by Lotion
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User Reviews

Werewolf of Sunnydale
27 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I really love Willow and Oz together. They are probably the sweetest couple ever featured on BTVS. And this is the episode that really jump starts their relationship. See, it turns out that Oz is more than just a bad guitar player... He's also a werewolf and he truly loves Willow. You really can't skip this episode if you're watching the show on DVD. Oz's werewolf-ness and how it effects his relationship with Willow will be a major story line for the next couple years. "Phases" is actually a lot of fun, with some interesting twists and character development. All in all, a great episode.

Basically, "Phases" centers around a werewolf attacking Sunnydale. In the Buffyverse, werewolves are afflicted on the three nights surrounding the full moon and this episode spans them. On the first night, animals turn up dead and Cordy's car roof is nearly torn off. Giles gleefully begins researching this new creature, eager for a non-vampire related monster to hunt. The Scoobies don't want to hurt the werewolf, who is just a regular person most of the month. They just want to lock it up while it's in wolf-mode and make sure that it can't attack anyone. Unfortunately, Cain, a professional werewolf hunter arrives, with much less peaceful plans for the beast. He wants to sell its skin for profit and he's not about to let Buffy and Giles stand in his way. As the Scoobies hunt, Oz is beginning to realize that he is the werewolf. After the second night, he wakes up naked in the forest, with no clue how he got there. When Theresa, a Sunnydale student, is found dead, he begins to fear that the Scoobies will turn against him. Or, perhaps even worse, that he might harm Willow. Xander and Buffy investigate the murder and realize that a werewolf didn't kill Theresa, though. Angelus did. Meanwhile, Willow is hurt that Oz seems to be ignoring her. She goes to his house on the third night, just as he begins to change...

There's a lot to like about this episode. Cain, the werewolf hunter, is great. (The actor will also appear over on "Angel" as Shajhan.) You have to like his baffled annoyance at Giles and Buffy. They want to save the werewolf and he's just as determined to kill it. His crack about now having to deal with people for the "ethical treatment of werewolves" is hilarious. And I love all the references to earlier episodes that pop up in "Phases". ("The Pack," "The Witch," "I Robot... You Jane," "Teacher's Pet," etc...) It's so great that the show builds off of it's history. Larry and Xander's scene is also wonderful. Larry will be back in several other episodes, but I think this is his best. I like his realization that he's gay and how he thanks Xander for helping his see the truth. Xander's panic over Larry's assumption that he's gay, too is really funny part, though. "That's probably why I beat up on you all those times," Larry muses, thoughtfully. "I saw something in you that I didn't want to admit about myself." Xander's face is priceless. Part worry that someone else might might hear, part desperation to leave and part "Oh God, what if Larry's right?!?" They should have brought Larry up again in season four, when Willow starts dating Tara.

I do have some complaints. Angel went evil just one episode back. Yet, aside from a few sighs and half-hearted laments, Buffy seems to be in remarkably good spirits. You'd think that she'd be desperately trying to bring him back to his old soul-having self. Also, I don't see how Cain could kill werewolves and THEN skin them. When werewolves die, they revert to human form, right? (At least, that's the rule over on "Angel.") He'd have to skin them alive. And I'm not sure why they reintroduced the Buffy/Xander unrequited love thing at Theresa's funeral. It undermines his relationship with Cordy. I can only assume it's to add tension between Xander and Angelus in the episodes to come. But, it seems out of place.

My favorite part of the episode: Oz's conversation with his aunt where he tries to determine if his little cousin biting his finger is the cause of his problems. "Say, is Jordy a werewolf? Really. So, how long has that been going' on." The best explanation EVER.

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