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"New Moon Rising" is the nineteenth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the seventy-fifth episode in the series. Written by Marti Noxon and directed by James A. Contner, it originally broadcast on May 2, 2000, on The WB network.


OZ COMES HOME TO WILLOW — Willow and her friends are stunned when Oz returns to Sunnydale claiming he still loves Willow and has his full moon frolics under control. Meanwhile, Willow tries to sort out her feelings for Oz and finally tells Buffy about her new relationship with Tara. But when the moon sets, a transformed Oz is captured by The Initiative and an unlikely source breaks his alliance to come to the rescue.[1]


Willow and Tara talk about Tara getting a cat as a pet. At the Scooby Gang meeting, Buffy explains that there is little going on, but as usual, Giles knows that means trouble. When Anya comments, in her usual too-direct way, on what a waste of time the meeting was, Giles finally takes issue with her snide remarks and an argument begins to brew, only for everyone to be shocked into silence when Oz appears in the doorway. Oz arranges to talk with Willow later, and, after Oz leaves, Tara makes an excuse saying she has to go too, clearly in distress.

That night, at the cemetery, Buffy and Riley immobilize a demon and call for the Initiative to catch it. He asks about the uncomfortable situation earlier, and Buffy tells him how bad Willow and Oz's break-up really was, mentioning that Oz is a werewolf. Surprised, Riley says that Willow seems smarter than to date a dangerous guy, and Buffy explains defensively that love isn't rational, and calls him a bigot. Riley assures Buffy he isn't talking about her, but she cuts him changing the subject.

Meanwhile, Oz takes Willow for a walk outside during a full moon, showing her that he doesn't transform despite it. While in Tibet, with the help of herbs, charms, chanting, and meditation, he's learned to control the wolf inside. Oz wants to get back together with Willow, but she is reluctant. Graham Miller patrols with a team and they are all attacked by a four-legged demon, closely resembling a werewolf. Willow and Oz talk all night about their lives while they were apart. Tara comes by while Willow is away, and upon having Oz answer the door she gets nervous and leaves.

Buffy wakes up at Riley's but she's very distant from him. They talk about the night before in the graveyard and Riley's reaction to Oz, then Riley leaves after hearing news about Graham getting hurt. Willow shocks Buffy with the news about Oz being able to control the wolf. Buffy is even more shocked as Willow subtly explains that her relationship with Tara is now serious and that complicates things with Oz. Adam goes to Spike for his help in exchange for getting the chip out of Spike's head.

Willow tells Tara that she and Oz only talked the night before, and then they hug. Oz and Tara have a confrontation and after smelling Willow on Tara, Oz concludes that the two are romantically involved. He loses control, and starts to change into a werewolf. Werewolf Oz chases Tara into a classroom, and then Riley and the Initiative commandos take Oz away. The gang meets up and makes a plan to free Oz. Oz is kept caged at the Initiative and just as Riley is about to shoot him dead, he changes back into his human form.

Despite Riley's attempts to help, the scientists start performing tests on Oz. Spike shows up at Giles' place and offers to lead Buffy and the gang into the Initiative. Riley sneaks in, gives Oz some clothes and tries to help him escape. On the way out, they get caught. Colonel McNamara lectures Riley about betraying the Initiative on so many levels and how he will be court-martialed.

Dressed as commandos and scientists, Spike and the gang sneak into the Initiative through a back door. Adam secretly helps them by running operations through a computer and helping them shut down the power for most of the city.

Holding the Colonel hostage, Buffy gets Riley and Oz free, Riley leaving the Initiative for good. Now that his life is in danger, Riley camps out in the now derelict Sunnydale High School with Buffy at his side. He confesses that he was wrong about Oz, and then Buffy volunteers to tell him about her past, and hopes that it won't destroy their relationship. In Oz's van, Willow and Oz say their sad goodbyes, and Oz leaves town again to escape the Initiative and Willow, who unintentionally is the cause of him turning into a werewolf.

Willow goes to Tara's, bringing her a candle. Tara tells Willow that she should be with the person she loves, and Willow replies that she is. Tara blows out the candle.


  • Buffy explains to Riley about Willow and Oz's sudden break-up and his departure in "Wild at Heart."
  • Oz mentions his time in Tibet, which he will tell the Scoobies about in more detail in Retreat, Part Two.
  • Willow and Tara discuss getting a cat together, and Tara suggests the name Miss Kitty Fantastico. The cat will first appear in the next episode, "The Yoko Factor."
  • Willow finally reveals to someone, namely Buffy, that she is dating Tara. She will tell Xander and Giles in "The Yoko Factor."
  • Spike joins up with Adam, an alliance that will endure until Adam's impending defeat in "Primeval."
  • Riley leaves the Initiative but will return to military service in "Into the Woods."
  • This is the only time that Oz and Tara meet, although they do share a scene together in Willow's dream in "Restless."



Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • Willis, bitten by an unidentified demon.

Behind the scenes[]



  • "New Moon Rising" had an audience of 2.9 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Deleted scenes[]

  • A scene between Jape and Adam was cut from this episode. Nevertheless, he remained credited. The scene in question reveals that the demons shown in the episode were unleashed by Adam as a test against the Initiative soldiers. Though deadly, Adam believes that they are "not enough" for his plans.[3]

Pop culture references[]


  • When one of the soldiers is thrown against the trunk of a tree, it wobbles in a way that makes it obvious it is a prop and not a real tree.
  • As the opening scene transitions from Giles's apartment to the cemetery where Buffy and Riley are supposed to be on a walk/patrolling, Buffy can be clearly seen standing still on the right side of the screen.
  • When Buffy and Riley wake up, the bed is lying crooked, but when they stand up, the bed is straight again.
  • When Willow and Oz hug in the van towards the end of the episode, Willow leans forward, and the wireless transmitter becomes visible on her lower back.
  • After Oz says "Pretty much now" in the van and the shot shifts to Willow, after a few seconds, we can see Oz leaning in for a hug. When the shot switches to Oz the next second, he's leaning back again, then leans in for a hug again after a few seconds.
  • 25:56 minutes in, when the gang is sitting in Giles's living room, the poles from the lighting equipment are visible to the right of the screen.



  • The episode was nominated for the Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards in the category Best Special Makeup Effects in a Series.[4]

International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Երիտասարդ Լուսնի ծագումը" (The Origin of the New Moon)
  • Czech: "Nový úplněk" (New Moon)
  • Finnish: "Kuutamolla" (Moonlight)
  • French: "Un Amour de Pleine Lune" (A Love of Full Moon)
  • German: "Abschiede" (Farewells)
  • Hungarian: "Az újhold" (New Moon)
  • Italian: "Luna Nuova" (New Moon)
  • Japanese: "新しい月が昇るとき" (When the New Moon Rises)
  • Polish: "Księżyc w nowiu" (New Moon)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "A Ascensão da Lua Nova" (The Rise of the New Moon)
  • Romanian: "Lună nouă" (New Moon)
  • Russian: "Восход молодой Луны" (New Moon Rising)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "El Nacimiento de la Luna Llena" (The Birth of the New Moon)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Luna Nueva" (New Moon)



Promotional stills[]



Oz: "It was stupid to think that you'd just be... Waiting."
Willow: "I was waiting. I feel like some part of me will always be waiting for you. Like if I'm old and blue-haired, and I turn the corner in Istanbul and there you are, I won't be surprised. Because... You're with me, you know?"
Oz: "I know."
Giles: "How did you get in?"
Spike: "The door was unlocked. You might want to watch that, Rupert. Someone dangerous could get in."
Buffy: "Or, someone formerly dangerous and currently annoying."
McNamara: "You're a dead man, Finn."
Riley: "No, sir. I'm an anarchist."
Oz: "I mean, it turns out, the one thing that brings it out of me is you, which falls under the heading of 'ironic' in my book."
Willow: "It's my fault. I upset you."
Oz: "Well, so we're safe then. 'Cause you'll never do that again."


  1. "The Mortuary." Buffy.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2001.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Fourth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
  3. "New Moon Rising Script." Buffy World. Archived from the original on March 18, 2019.
  4. Rob Francis, "News - 19th February." BBC, February 19, 2001.