Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 4, Episode 19
Air date May 2, 2000
Written by Marti Noxon
Directed by James A. Contner
Episode Guide
"Where the Wild Things Are"
"The Yoko Factor"
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Marc Blucas Riley
James Marsters Spike
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
Amber Benson Tara
Leonard Roberts Forrest
Bailey Chase Graham
Robert Patrick Benedict Jape
Conor O'Farrell Colonel McNamara
George Hertzberg Adam
Emma Caulfield Anya
Seth Green Oz
Co Starring
James Michael Connor Scientist #1
Mark Daneri Scientist #2
Dorron Keeman Commando #1

"New Moon Rising" is the nineteenth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the seventy-fifth episode altogether. It was written by Marti Noxon and directed by James A. Contner. It originally broadcast on May 2, 2000.

Oz arrives back in Sunnydale, seemingly able to control his wolf side even during the full moon, and presents Willow with a difficult choice.



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. As the meeting ends, Oz shows up in the doorway, shocking everyone into silence. Oz arranges to talk with Willow later, and after Oz leaves, Tara also leaves the incredibly uncomfortable situation.

Buffy and Riley talk about how bad Willow and Oz's break-up really was, and Buffy accidentally mentions that Oz is a werewolf. Buffy goes off on him when he negatively comments on Willow dating a werewolf (he says that Willow seems smarter than to date a dangerous guy, unknowingly drawing a parallel between Willow and Oz and Buffy and Angel).

File:419 NewMoonRising2.jpg

Oz takes Willow for a walk outside during a full moon, showing her that he's not in werewolf mode. 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.

File:419 NewMoonRising3.jpg

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.

File:419 NewMoonRising4.jpg

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 underground 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 then 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.


  • This is Oz's last appearance in reality until he makes his canonical return in Season Eight. He will appear once again in Willow's dream in the Season finale "Restless".
  • Willow and Tara discuss getting a cat together, and Tara suggests the name "Miss Kitty Fantastico". In the next episode, "The Yoko Factor", they buy this cat, which will later develop a large fan following, despite appearing in only three episodes.
  • Willow finally reveals to someone, namely Buffy, that she is dating Tara in this episode.

Body Count

  • Willis, bitten and killed by a demon similar to a werewolf.

Behind the Scenes

Deleted Scenes

  • The scene between Jape and Adam was cut from this episode. Nevertheless they 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's believes they are "not enough" for his plans.

Pop Culture References

  • When Buffy says she'll "pull a William Burroughs on your leader" during the escape sequence she is referring to the accidental shooting death of Joan Vollmer in 1951. Burroughs, her common-law husband, was playing a drunken game of William Tell and she had an apple on her head.

International titles

  • French: Un amour de pleine lune (A love of full moon)


Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When Buffy and Riley wake up, the bed is lying crooked, but when they stand up the bed is straight again.
  • 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, just to lean in for a hug again after a few seconds.
  • When Willow is confessing to Buffy about her and Tara, Willow only has her makeup done only on one eye and not the other.


  • An action figure of Tara Maclay was produced based on this episode.
  • This is the first of only two Buffy episodes in which Tara and Oz appear together. The other being "Restless", in which both of them appeared in Willow's dream.
  • The New York Daily news referred to this episode as a landmark in TV history because of the implied kiss between Willow and Tara at the end of the episode.
  • After this episode was aired in America, a lot of fans were quite vocal regarding their dislike of the development of the Oz/Willow/Tara relationship. So much so, Amber Benson received a rough ride from some fans in the online community because they felt Tara was responsible for breaking up Willow and Oz.
  • This is the third and final Oz-centric episode. Marti Noxon states in the DVD commentary that "Phases" is viewed as the first in a "Willow/Oz Trilogy." "Wild at Heart" is the second, with this episode as the last with the final actual appearance of Oz (his official last appearance is in "Restless," though he is only in a dream).


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."
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