Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 1, Episode 6

The Pack (7 Apr. 1997)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Fantasy
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,443 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 1 critic

Xander and several other students are possessed by the spirit of a demonic breed of hyenas that wreak havoc at the high school

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Title: The Pack (07 Apr 1997)

The Pack (07 Apr 1997) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Cordelia Chase (credit only)
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Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
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Kyle DuFours
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Rhonda Kelley (as Michael McRaine)
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Tor Hauer
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Jeff Maynard ...
Lance
James Stephens ...
Dr. Weirick
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Mr. Anderson
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Mrs. Anderson (as Barbara K. Whinnery)
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Coach Herrold
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Storyline

On a school field trip to the zoo, Kyle DuFours's gang of bullies taunt good boy Lance, till Xander stops them balancing the nerd over the fence of still quarantined hyena's- suddenly they are all eerily effected by the evil beasts' magical stare. Willow is completely smitten with Xander, but he chucks in her maths tutoring when the hyena spell progresses, as sensed by the piglet Herbert principal Bob Flutie introduces as mascot for the Sunnydale Highschool's 'Razorbacks' football team. Next Xander dumps Wilow, fully joining Kyle's 'hyena pack' of bullies. When the four known bullies are called in Flutie's office for devouring mascot Herbert, they eat him too. Luckily Xander was enforcing himself upon Buffy, so she knocked him down and locked him up. Giles, who first thought Xander was just suffering from pubertal hormones, now realizes it's a Massai 'primary' cult soul transfer, and Buffy tells him about what zoo keeper Dr. Weirick told them about the nasty hyenas, so they go talk to... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hyena | bully | zoo | piglet | dodgeball | See All (14) »


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TV-PG | See all certifications »

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7 April 1997 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joss Whedon listed this as one of his favorite episodes. See more »

Goofs

The Hyena exhibit is a very dangerous design. There is no guardrail or similar barrier to keep visitors at a safe distance. Anyone can walk up to the bars and get mauled, as the bars are wide enough for people to stick their arms or legs through. In fact, the bars are so wide apart that not only could skinny people or children squeeze completely through, but the hyenas could simply walk out of their exhibit. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Giles: I've been reading up on my, uh, animal possession, and I cannot find anything anywhere about memory loss afterwards.
Xander: Did you tell them that?
Giles: Your secret dies with me.
Xander: Shoot me, stuff me, mount me.
[Giles grins while Xander walks away and claps his hands over his lowered head]
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Connections

Referenced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Phases (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Reluctant Man
Performed by Sprung Monkey
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User Reviews

 
On the fence
31 May 2009 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I'm on the fence on this one- I'm having trouble deciding whether The Pack was a good episode. I've read that people think Buffy's first season was weak and The Pack is a highlight. But I actually don't think season 1 as a whole was bad. This one, though, was not great.

The plot? Buffy and her class go to the zoo on a field trip and Xander and a group of teenage bullies are possessed by vicious hyenas... Okay, let's stop right there. I don't usually think of hyenas when I imagine a supernatural threat. It seems kind of silly. Later, it's explained that animal possession is something practiced by a group called the Primals. Maybe the episode would have been easier to swallow if we knew about them from the beginning, if we had started with a flashback to them doing their thing. Instead, we jump right to the possession scene, complete with fake-looking hyenas. The possession is indicated by the hyenas' and the teens' eyes flashing green, a poor effect and not very subtle. For extra measure, the zoo keeper tells Buffy and Willow that hyenas can understand English and will call people by name to lure them into their traps. This is an actual belief, and while admittedly I thought it was a little creepy, on second thought I realized it was ridiculous.

Anyway, Buffy and Willow notice Xander acting strangely and he hangs out with the bullies. He insults Willow, calling her pasty-looking in a cutting joke, with Alyson Hannigan looking effectively hurt. A concerned Buffy tells this to Giles but Giles dismisses this as typical teenage behaviour. This leads to a cute joke about Buffy having to kill Xander because he's becoming a 16-year-old. However, Giles is convinced something is going on when the kids eat a live pig. Then, with the exception of Xander, they eat the principal.

Wait. They eat the principal? All right, maybe this was a little freaky, and maybe he deserved it a little- he wasn't the greatest actor- but is eating a live man even possible for a group of humans? I've talked to some people who've said it's not because we couldn't digest the meat like a predator would. Granted, Hannibal Lecter bit live people and probably swallowed, but I doubt he ever had a full meal that way. This development isn't developed much afterwards- Giles merely says the "official theory" is that wild dogs did it, implying some secretly think people might be responsible. In a later episode, the new principal says the last principal was eaten because his methods were too lenient. Why would he think the last principal's methods had anything to do with his demise unless it was suspected students were responsible? But that leads to some messy questions the writers probably preferred not to deal with, such as, if it was suspected students were responsible, was there a police investigation? What did they find out?

But, I digress. Eventually the possessed teens come after Willow, calling out her name like the zoo keeper said they would, which I admit, was kind of creepy. After some fighting, the possession is reversed, and while Xander fakes amnesia, Giles knows Xander can actually remember what happened. Which means the other teens will have to live with the knowledge that they ate the principal alive.

Obviously, not a pleasant episode, and not a perfect episode either. But, as I said, it could be creepy or freaky in places. So, you can decide for yourself whether this is a worthy episode.


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