"Beauty and the Beasts" is the fourth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the thirty-eighth episode in the series. Written by Marti Noxon and directed by James Whitmore Jr., it was originally broadcast on October 20, 1998 on The WB.
ALL MEN ARE BEASTS — When a Sunnydale High student is found savagely mauled in the woods, Willow fears that Oz in werewolf mode might somehow be responsible for the violent murder. Meanwhile, Buffy secretly discovers that Angel has returned after 100 years of hellish torture, and she suspects that he is the murderous culprit.
The night before a full moon, Willow reads from The Call of the Wild to an agitated Oz locked up in the library cage. Xander shows up for the second shift — or rather, snoozing. Meanwhile, Faith and Buffy are making a sweep around Sunnydale. Faith displays a cynical view of males, while Buffy dodges her questions. They talk about Scott and how much Buffy likes him, but is still planning to take it slow on account of her previous history with men. A boy, Jeffrey Walken, is attacked brutally in the woods.
The next day, Buffy talks to Scott and his friends, Debbie and Pete, who are also a couple. Buffy reveals that she has to go and see Mr. Platt, the school psychologist. Debbie sees him, too, because she has "success issues". Buffy gives Scott a quick kiss goodbye and leaves for her appointment.
Xander and Giles find out about the murder the night before. They discover that Xander slept through his watch and that the window in the pen is open. Everyone is horrified that Oz may have escaped and killed somebody.
Buffy talks to Mr. Platt about her life as vaguely as she possibly can. She finds in him an understanding figure — unlike Debbie's description — and begins to open up to him more and more. She seems to be on her way to resolving her issues, but on patrol that night, Angel tackles her in the woods. Animalistic, he is no match for Buffy, who chains him up in the Crawford Street mansion. He growls at her like an animal. She discovers the spot on the floor where she left his Claddagh ring; it was scorched by Angel's body on his return.
At the same time, Willow, Xander and Cordy enter the morgue to inspect the mauled body. Willow seems the only one unfazed, but she faints as soon as she is done collecting her samples.
With everyone else unavailable, Faith stays in the library with Oz. Buffy comes in and receives a hard punch for startling her. Buffy sends Faith away and spends the night searching for answers about the return of Angel. The next morning, Giles finds her asleep around books about demon dimensions and Acathla. She tells him she had a really vivid dream that Angel came back. Giles doubts it could happen, there being no record of such an event. He goes on to explain that with time passing differently in Hell anybody who returned would have endured seemingly endless torture. Only with extraordinary character would one be able to have retained any semblance of ones self. Most likely they would've become a monster. Willow arrives to inform them that her investigation was not conclusive. Buffy is anxious as she wonders if Angel was responsible.
In the cafeteria, Buffy sits with Scott, whose mother is insulted by Pete along with the school counselor. Buffy decides to leave for the mansion, where she finds Angel huddled in a ball. She tries to touch him, but he jumps at her. She rushes out, scared.
Pete and Debbie sneak into a room to make out. Pete discovers that one of his jars has been emptied and wants confirmation that Debbie didn't drink from it. Buffy returns to Mr. Platt's office and pours her heart out, then realizes that he is dead, he was mauled too.
Pete yells at Debbie, then turns into a monster with very noticeable veins running across his face. He tells her that he needed the substance before to turn into the monster, but now her grating voice is already enough for him to transform. He begins beating Debbie, then apologizes, turning back into his human self. She forgives him.
In the library, the gang discuss the recent murder. As it happened during the day, Oz is exonerated, to everyone's relief. Buffy is relieved that this also excludes Angel. The Scoobies must look for a murderer who kills during the day.
Oz meets up with Debbie and gives her his study notes as promised. He notices her black eye, but she lies to Oz, telling him she fell on a doorknob. He lets her know he will listen if she decides to talk. Meanwhile, Pete is watching and seething.
The gang have discovered the killer, and they leave Oz in the library to look for Pete and Debbie. Buffy and Willow find Debbie in the locker room and try to talk sense into her, but Debbie tries to defend Pete and his actions. Meanwhile, Angel breaks free from his shackles, and Pete finds Oz in the library. He turns into a monster and beats up Oz. As the sun sets, Oz becomes a werewolf, thus leveling the playing field. Buffy and the rest of the gang arrive to stop the fight, but when Buffy tries to tranquilize Oz, Debbie deliberately pushes her tranquilizer gun away and Buffy ends up shooting Giles. Buffy chases after Pete while Willow and Faith follow Oz.
After a struggle, Faith manages to hit and knock out Oz with a dart. Buffy follows Pete's blood trail, but he finds Debbie first. Despite her pleas and her attempts to appease him, he kills her. Buffy finds Pete, but he knocks her to the ground and advances threateningly on her. Angel arrives on cue and he and Pete begin fighting; after knocking Angel aside, Pete turns his attention back to Buffy. Angel gets back up and, using the chains still binding his wrists, snaps Pete's neck, killing him. Afterward, he turns his attention to Buffy and reverts to his human face, calling out her name before collapsing to his knees and embracing her in tears. Buffy begins to cry as well.
The next day, it is revealed that Pete had concocted a chemical potion that turned him into "Lance Macho" when he became afraid of losing Debbie, but eventually he became monstrous himself. Buffy tries to console Scott, who has lost two of his best friends. Buffy visits the mansion, where Angel sleeps through an apparent nightmare unshackled. Buffy reads from The Call of the Wild.
- Buffy now has had two teachers that were nice to her and tried to understand her predicament before being killed by the monster-of-the-week: Mr. Platt in this episode and Dr. Gregory in "Teacher's Pet". Ironically, the first name of both teachers was "Stephen". He is the 7th member of Sunnydale High staff to die.7
- Buffy will keep Angel's return hidden from others as she struggles to understand it, until the events of "Revelations" exposes his survival.
- Acathla (Only mentioned)
- Cordelia Chase
- Peter Clarner
- Debbie Foley
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Scott Hope
- Faith Lehane
- Daniel Osbourne
- Stephen Platt
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Jeffrey Walken
Organizations and titles
Weapons and objects
- Angel's tattoo
- Exploring Demon Dimensions
- Miss Edith
- Mystery of Acathla
- Pete's formula
- Tranquilizer gun
- Jeffrey Walken, killed by Pete Clarner.
- Stephen Platt, killed by Pete Clarner.
- Debbie Foley, killed by Pete Clarner.
- Pete Clarner, neck snapped by Angel.
Behind the scenes
- Oz's werewolf form, last seen in "Phases", is radically changed. In "Phases", the werewolf is portrayed as a gray bipedal creature with a wolf-like head. Beginning in this episode, his fur is a darker brown, he moves largely on four legs, and he has a human-like, hairless face with no muzzle. Amongst the production staff the new makeup was referred to as the 'Gay Possum'.
- In some DVD extras, it is claimed Mr. Platt's death was an allusion to smoking being bad.
- Scott advising Buffy before she visits Mr. Platt was cut:
- Scott: "Stable. Okay. Topics to avoid. The little men that live in your teeth...your compulsion to paint circus clowns..."
- Buffy: "But if God keeps telling me to kill — it just seems snotty not to, you know?"
Pop culture references
- Willow and Buffy read from the novel The Call of the Wild (1903).
- Faith references the TV show Manimal (1983) and the book The English Patient (1992).
- Willow uses a Scooby-Doo lunch box to hold her "forensics" kit.
- Pete mentions the fashion dolls Barbie and Ken.
- Buffy mentions Grimms' Fairy Tales (1812), the collection of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm.
- Willow compares Pete with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, from the novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886).
- Armenian: "Գեղեցկուհին և հրեշը" (Beauty and Beast)
- Czech: "Kráska a zvířata" (Beauty and Beasts)
- Finnish: "Kaunotar ja hirviöt" (Beauty and Beasts)
- French: "Les Belles et les Bêtes" (The Beauties and the Beasts)
- German: "Dr. Jekyll und Mr. Hyde" (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
- Hungarian: "Szépség és a szörnyeteg" (Beauty and the Beast)
- Italian: "La bella e le bestie" (The Beauty and the Beasts)
- Japanese: "美女と野獣" (Beauty and Beast)
- Polish: "Piękna i bestie" (Beauty and Beasts)
- Portuguese: "A Beleza e as Bestas" (The Beauty and the Beasts)
- Romanian: "Frumoasa și bestiile" (Beauty and Beasts)
- Russian: "Красавица и чудовища" (Beauty and Beasts)
- Spanish (Latin America and Spain): "La bella y las bestias" (The Beauty and the Beasts)
- The episode script was included in The Script Book: Season Three, Volume 1.
- Thematically, this episode deals with intimate partner violence. It includes language victims (usually women) often use to defend the actions of their attackers, as well as that used by the attackers themselves to justify the violence. The episode alludes to other symptoms of jealousy, namely paranoia and misinterpreting friendly relationships as infidelity. Finally, there is a veiled hint at alcoholism, as it is "drinking" a serum that brings on violent behavior, until eventually, the drink is unnecessary to bring about the anger.
- If Pete had not been killed in this episode, he would have become a werewolf. It has been explained that anyone who was bitten by a werewolf will turn into one, and Oz was shown to have bitten Pete while in wolf form. However, Pete was not alive long enough after he was bitten for this to be acknowledged.
Behind the scenes
|Xander - "We're doing crime! You don't sneak up during crime!"|
|Giles - "It's good to see you. Um, no need to panic."|
|Oz - "Just a thought: poker: not your game."|
|Mr. Platt - "Look, Buffy, any person — shrink, pope — any person who claims to be totally sane is either lying or not very bright. I mean, everyone has problems. Everybody has demons, right?"|
|Buffy - "Gotta say I'm with you on that."|
|Buffy - "We have a marching jazz band?"|
|Oz - "Yeah, but, you know, since the best jazz is improvisational, we'd be going off in all directions, banging into floats... scary."|
|Xander - "I can handle the Oz full monty. I mean, not handle handle, like, uh, hands-to-flesh, handle."|
|Willow - "Okay, well, it's not for you. It's for me. Um, 'cause I'm still getting used to half a monty."|
|Xander - "Oh, good. Half? You and Oz? Which half?"|
|Willow - "Wouldn't you like to know."|