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Buffyverse Wiki

"Phases" is the fifteenth episode of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the twenty-seventh in the series. Written by Rob Des Hotel with Dean Batali and directed by Bruce Seth Green, it was originally broadcast on January 27, 1998, on The WB network.


WEREWOLF IN SUNNYDALE — When a werewolf descends upon the city of Sunnydale, it is up to Buffy and the gang to protect the mostly-human being from an evil poacher who is hunting the animal for sport. Meanwhile, much to Xander's dismay, Willow turns her romantic interests to Oz, unaware of the danger she is about to face.[1]


Willow is increasingly frustrated that Oz shows no sign of wanting to get serious — not to mention physical — with her. Cordelia is frustrated with Xander because he keeps talking about Willow, even while making out in Sunnydale's Lovers' Lane under a full moon. They are attacked by a werewolf that rips a hole in the car's roof. Giles points out that there have been quite a number of other attacks, though so far only animals have been killed. During high school gym class, we learn that at least two students have been recently bitten: Oz by a young cousin who doesn't like to be tickled, and school macho Larry by a dog.

After some research, Giles finds out that a werewolf is a wolf for three nights — the coming night, the full moon, would be the second. Since the werewolf is human the rest of the month, it would be wrong to kill him. This, however, is not what werewolf hunter Cain thinks, whom Buffy and Giles meet while looking for the animal in the woods near Lovers' Lane. Cain is out for his twelfth pelt. Though the two groups do not get along, mainly because Cain is a rampant chauvinist, Giles and Buffy do learn that the werewolf will be attracted to places where teenagers hang out — it is the "sexual heat" that draws it.

Buffy and Giles rush to the Bronze, where Cordelia and Willow are busy complaining to each other about their men when the werewolf crashes the party. Buffy tries to catch it with a chain but fails, and the werewolf escapes. Cain shows up and points out that it will be Buffy's fault if the werewolf kills anybody.

Theresa Klusmeyer, one of the students that Larry was tormenting, is walking home late at night when she senses someone is following her. She begins to rush and is startled when Angel steps out in front of her. She's suspicious at first, but when he tells her that he's a friend of Buffy's, she allows him to walk her home.

A body does turn up the next morning: Theresa's. Meanwhile, Oz wakes up in the forest, naked and confused after changing back from his werewolf state. Recalling the bite he got, he calls his Aunt Maureen and asks if his cousin Jordy is a werewolf. The answer is yes.

Oz bursts into the library with the rest of the gang, trying to figure out what happened the previous night. Xander decides that Larry is the most obvious suspect because of his "dog" bite, aggression, and "excessive back hair." When he confronts Larry alone in the gym locker room, Xander tells him he's "been there," referring to his brief stint as a hyena. It turns out that Larry really is hiding something — his homosexuality. Xander unwittingly helps Larry out of the closet, who is left with the impression that Xander is also gay. Back in the library, Buffy suggests to Willow that she might have to make the first move if she wants to speed things up with Oz.

Buffy realizes that the reports of Theresa's body didn't mention any mauling. She and Xander get to the funeral home in time to watch her rise as a vampire. Theresa passes along greetings from Angel before Xander stakes her.

Cain busies himself casting silver bullets in preparation for the hunt. Willow takes Buffy's advice and visits Oz just before sundown. Oz is about to chain himself up but lets Willow in the house. Her rant about the mixed signals he is sending is interrupted by him changing into a werewolf. She flees the house screaming, the werewolf in pursuit. Cain hears the wolf's cry and joins the hunt. The werewolf is distracted by a scent which Cain set as a trap, and Willow escapes and then finds Giles and Buffy, who are about to start the hunt for Oz with a tranquilizer gun. All parties meet in a clearing in the forest, and in the scuffle, it is Willow who shoots Oz, saving everybody. Buffy bends Cain's gun with her bare hands using Slayer strength, rendering it useless, and tells him to leave Sunnydale. Cain balks, but wisely decides not to retort, and simply (and indeed, hastily) departs Sunnydale for good.

At school the next morning, Larry thanks Xander, and Willow seeks out Oz to talk. She points out that she is not fun to be around three days out of the month either and she accepts Oz werewolf or human. Oz and Willow share their first kiss, leaving Oz saying to himself: "a werewolf in love."




Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • Theresa Klusmeyer, sired by Angel and later staked by Xander with the leg of an easel.

Behind the scenes[]


  • Marti Noxon has stated that this episode is viewed as the first in a "Willow/Oz trilogy," followed by "Wild at Heart" and "New Moon Rising."[2]
  • Rob Des Hotel stated about this episode: "'Phases' is probably my favorite episode of the five we wrote. Oz just has an ability to pinpoint what's going on and make it sound absurd. I think there's a sweetness to him. In 'Phases,' Willow comes up to him and says 'Hi,' and Oz says, 'That's what I was gonna say.'"[3]
  • Actor Jack Conley, who plays Cain in this episode, also portrays the recurring character Sahjhan on Angel.
  • Keith Campbell, who plays Oz in werewolf form in this episode, also portrays the club manager in the Angel episode "Judgment."


  • "Phases" had an audience of 4.9 million households upon its original airing.[4]

Deleted scenes[]

  • During self-defense class this exchange was cut:[5]
    Xander: (to Cordelia) "Be gentle with me."
    Cordelia: (to Willow) "You're first. I wouldn't want to be accused of taking your place in line."
    Willow: "Oh, I think you pushed your way to the front long before this."
    Cordelia: "Hey, I can't help it if I get the spotlight just because some people blend into the background."
    Willow: "Well, maybe some people could see better if you weren't standing on the auction block, shaking your wares."
    Cordelia: "Sorry, we haven't all perfected that phony 'girl next door' bit."
    Willow: "You could be the girl next door, too. If Xander lived next to a brothel!"

Pop culture references[]

  • Buffy refers to Cain as "Mein Furrier," a play with the words "furry" and "Mein Führer," one of Adolf Hitler's titles.
  • Xander mentions Robby the Robot, the robot from the 1956 film Forbidden Planet.
  • Cordelia says Xander is wearing too much "obsession for dorks." Calvin Klein has a popular cologne called Obsession for Men.


  • Willow is running away from Oz (as the werewolf) through the woods. She falls over and her dungarees get muddy. In the ensuing shots, the mud on her trousers repeatedly appears and disappears.
  • Cain uses a Bunsen burner with the collar closed (cooler, yellow flame) to melt the silver for his bullets. Even allowing for cinematic time compression (so that we imagine more time passes than we actually see between him putting the crucible in the flame and pouring out the molten silver), raising that much silver to its melting point of 962ºC with a small burner fueled by camping gas would have taken far too long for him to have sat there holding the little crucible on a stick that he uses, especially when we see just how many bullets he appears to have made in this session (they're all set out on the work bench).
  • Giles is in the library, and his glasses repeatedly disappear and reappear between shots.
  • Xander's mouth movement (at 30:46) does not match at all as he says "werewolf" to Buffy.
  • When Giles and Buffy arrive at the Bronze, you can just glimpse two men pushing Giles' car from behind.


  • Lotion — "Blind for Now"
  • Shawn Clement and Sean Murray — "Meeting Cain"
  • Shawn Clement and Sean Murray — "Werewolf Crashes Party"
  • Shawn Clement and Sean Murray — "Cain Prepares"
  • Shawn Clement and Sean Murray — "The Chase"

International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Լարեր" (Wires)
  • Czech: "Vlkodlak v Sunnydale" (Werewolf in Sunnydale)
  • Finnish: "Täydenkuun Kirous" (Curse of the Full Moon)
  • French: "Pleine Lune" (Full Moon)
  • German: "Der Werwolfjäger" (The Werewolf Hunter)
  • Hungarian: "Átváltozás" (Transformation)
  • Italian: "Notte di luna piena" (Full Moon Night)
  • Japanese: "狼たちの夜" (Night of the Wolf)
  • Polish: "Fazy księżyca" (Moon Phases)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Fases" (Phases)
  • Romanian: "Faze" (Phases)
  • Russian: "Фазы" (Phases)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Las fases" (The Phases)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Fases" (Phases)
  • Swedish: "Faser" (Phases)





Giles: "Werewolves! One of the classics! I'm sure my books and I are in for a fascinating afternoon."
Buffy: "He needs to get a pet."
Giles: "It acts on-on pure instinct. No conscience, predatory and aggressive."
Buffy: "In other words, your typical male."
Xander: "On behalf of my gender, hey."
Giles: "Let's not jump to any conclusions."
Buffy: "I didn't jump, I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were."
Xander: "Buffy, you can't blame yourself for every death that happens in Sunnydale. If it weren't for you people'd be lined up five deep waitin' to get themselves buried. Willow would be Robby the Robot's love slave, I wouldn't even have a head, and Theresa's a vampire."
Buffy: "So what's the scuttlebutt? Anybody besides Larry fit our werewolf profile?"
Willow: "There is one name that keeps getting spit out. Aggressive behavior, run-ins with authorities, about a screenful of violent incidents."
Buffy: "Okay, most of those were not my fault. Somebody else started 'em. I was just standing up for myself."
Willow: "They say it's a good idea to count to ten when you're angry."
Buffy: "One… Two… Three…"
Willow: "I'll keep looking."
Oz: "You mean, you'd still…"
Willow: "Well, I like you. You're nice and you're funny. And you don't smoke. Yeah, okay, werewolf, but that's not all the time. I mean, three days out of the month I'm not much fun to be around either."
Oz: "You are quite the human."
Willow: "So, I'd still if you'd still."
Oz: "I'd still. I'd very still."


  1. "The Mortuary." Buffy.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2001.
  2. The Complete Fourth Season on DVD: audio commentaries for "Wild at Heart." 20th Century Studios, June 10, 2003.
  3. Christopher Golden, Stephen R. Bissette, and Thomas E. Sniegoski. The Monster Book. Simon Spotlight Entertainment, August 2000.
  4. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Second Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on April 13, 2008.
  5. Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder, The Watcher's Guide, Volume 1. Pocket Books, October 1998.