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"The Pack" is the sixth episode of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show and the sixth episode in the series. Written by Matt Kiene with Joe Reinkemeyer and directed by Bruce Seth Green, it originally broadcast on April 7, 1997 on The WB network.

Synopsis[]

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE — When Buffy and the rest of Sunnydale High endure the annual field trip to the zoo, Xander and some other kids sneak into the quarantined hyena exhibit, but leave in an altered state. It's up to Buffy, Giles and Willow to discover the cause behind Xander's bizarre behavior and reverse the transformation before it's too late. Meanwhile, Xander's new aggressive demeanor doesn't play well with his old friends.[1]

Summary[]

The students of Sunnydale High are on a field trip, this time to the Sunnydale Zoo. Buffy is confronted by a group of bullies that pick on her because she was kicked out of her old school and her violent tendencies that started it. The group then targets another student, Lance, likening a visit to the zoo as a family reunion to him. When Principal Flutie interrupts, Lance doesn't denounce them, so they decide to include him in their exploration of the off-limits hyena exhibit. Buffy is met with Xander and Willow who express their enjoyment at the zoo while Buffy doesn't find it so as it was done at her old school. Xander reminds her that going to the zoo is not only fun for seeing animals, but for missing school. Buffy then changes her mind.

Upon seeing the bullies enter the exhibit with Lance, Buffy tries to intervene to make sure everything is okay but Xander offers to do it himself as it is a non-slayer related problem. Just as Xander enters, Buffy and Willow realize Xander would not be able to deal with it and try to follow but they are stopped by the zookeeper, Dr. Weirick, who tells them the hyenas are on quarantine. He also tells them that according to ancient myths hyenas would call peoples' names in order to fool and then devour them.

At the exhibit, the male half of the bully gang try to throw Lance into the pit where the vicious hyena is. Xander comes just in time and saves Lance. They are standing on a tribal hyena symbol, save for Lance. The group turns to him, laughing as Lance flees.

The next day at the Bronze, Willow is eagerly waiting for Xander. Buffy acknowledges Willow's strong infatuation with Xander, while Willow then brings up Buffy's interest in Angel, as she is currently wearing his leather jacket. Buffy admits to finding him very attractive but says she couldn't start a relationship with someone who's nearly never there and whose main interest is fighting vampires.

Willow then announces someone has just arrived, Buffy looks in the hope that it is Angel but it turns out to just be Xander. Xander is acting strangely and takes some of Buffy's food without asking, growing very hungry and is not impressed with Buffy's croissant. He also takes notice that Buffy has bathed, to which she replies that she regularly does. They see the bullies from the zoo making fun of someone a table away and Xander laughs at their cruel joke.

At Sunnydale High, Giles trains Buffy and excuses her as he needs the feelings to return to his arms. Principal Flutie chases a small pig that is running through the school halls, causing chaos until Buffy picks it up. Principal Flutie then introduces him as Herbert the Pig, the new school mascot for the Sunnydale Razorbacks. Flutie starts to reach for Herbert to take him and then pulls back suddenly, obviously timid, then indicates Buffy to follow him instead.

At the quad, Willow is tutoring Xander in geometry and, Xander grabs the textbook out of Willow's hands and throws it away. When Willow tries to talk to him about it, he gets up and throws her notebook into her lap, saying he'll never get it and he doesn't care. Willow tells him they'll finish it another time, but Xander storms off. As Flutie talks to Buffy about the students lacking school spirit, Buffy returns Herbert to his cage. Xander walks past and Herbert suddenly starts squealing. Buffy watches him walk away, confused about Herbert's reaction to Xander.

Buffy's class is at the Gym. Coach Herrold announces that, because it's raining, all regular gym classes have been postponed, meaning they have to play dodgeball. Buffy and Willow are placed on the same team while Xander is in the opposition along with the bullies. During the game, Xander and the bullies beat everyone on Buffy's team, including Willow which Xander does harshly. Buffy is the only one left, so instead of targeting her, Xander and the bullies throw their balls at Lance who is on their team, and Buffy goes over and helps him up.

Willow confronts Xander about his recent behavior. Xander says it's because he's changed and so have his feelings for Willow. As Willow looks excited, Xander rudely claims he will drop geometry so he will no longer need her tutoring, thus not having to look at her. Xander and the bullies behind him laugh as Willow becomes upset.

Buffy approaches Xander, asking if he has something to say to her, the girl he is attracted to. Xander just laughs even louder at them and leaves. Xander and the bullies are hungry. They take the hot dogs from other students. Still hungry, they enter the faculty room where Herbert is in his cage. They close the blinds, and Xander announces: "Let's do lunch."

Willow cries about what Xander said. Buffy says something is wrong with Xander but Willow thinks something is wrong with herself, telling Buffy that Xander is not as rude to Buffy as he is to her. His attitude and actions towards Buffy have mostly changed to just sniffing her. Buffy deduces something is weird and decides to consult the expert on weird.

Buffy tells Giles of Xander's change in behavior, clothing, treatment to others and his new friends. Giles, however, brushes it off as normal teenage male behavior caused by testosterone, saying he is likely to "prey on the weak." This phrase takes Buffy back to her conversation with the zookeeper and so she believes his change is the result of their trip to the zoo. Giles still doesn't believe her claim of it being supernatural which would make him "look stuff up." This changes when Willow arrives and tells them the pack has eaten Herbert, prompting Giles to finally "look stuff up."

Principal Flutie confronts the other bullies and orders them to his office. At the library, Giles believes this is the work of the Primals, an African sect that worshiped animals so much they believed they could reach a sacred state by placing the spirits of animals into them.

When Buffy goes to the faculty room where Herbert was; Xander finds her there. Buffy jumps Xander, but he rolls her over and ends the one on top, and he just makes remarks about how Buffy likes dangerous men like Angel, giving him more motivation to act violently. Buffy tries to tell him what happened, but he ignores her. She pushes him off, but he holds her back onto a vending machine. Meanwhile, the other bullies are called to Flutie's office. They corner the principal and devour him alive.

Buffy knocks Xander out with a desk and drags him back to the library, where he is locked into the book cage. Giles returns from a teachers meeting and tells them about Flutie, also stating the official theory is that wild dogs got into his office. Buffy and Giles go to the zookeeper to get information on transpossession while leaving Willow to look after Xander. Xander wakes and tries to talk his way out of the cage. As Willow comes closer, he makes a grab at her through the book slot but misses, losing any chance at getting her trust again.

The zookeeper tells Giles and Buffy he ordered the hyenas some time ago, and from day one there was something odd about them. He found out that they were a vicious breed worshiped by the Primals. He has the know-how on transpossessing them, so Buffy needs to get all the possessed students to the exhibit. They then realize that the other students will seek Xander, endangering Willow. Indeed, the pack calls out Willow before breaking into the library. They manage to free Xander but are fended off by Buffy. Outside, the pack attacks a family of three, but Buffy arrives and gets their attention, making them chase her back to the zoo.

At the exhibit, Giles meets the zookeeper, who is wearing the tribal garb. He realizes the zookeeper who wanted the hyena spirits drawn into him all along and the possession of the students was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The zookeeper then knocks Giles out. Willow arrives and, not knowing what Giles discovered, agrees to let the zookeeper hold a knife to her neck, being the necessary "predatory act."

Buffy arrives with the pack on her tail. Over the symbol, the zookeeper chants and the hyena spirits are taken out of them into him. He then tries to attack Willow, but Xander saves her while the four other students run off. The possessed zookeeper becomes aggressive and Buffy, trying to stop him from hurting anybody, accidentally knocks him into the hyena pit, where he is devoured.

The next day, Xander is shocked to have eaten a live pig, claiming to have no memory of the possession. He asks if he did anything else embarrassing, but Buffy shrugs off. As Buffy and Willow leave, Giles tells Xander that none of the research he did into animal possession mentioned memory loss. Unable to believe everything he did, Xander begs him to not tell anyone.

Continuity[]

Appearances[]

Individuals[]

Organizations and titles[]

Species[]

  • Elephant
  • Fish (Only mentioned)
  • Human
  • Hyena
  • Monkey
  • Pig
  • Vampire (Only mentioned)
  • Zebra (Only mentioned)

Locations[]

Death count[]

  • Herbert the Pig, eaten by Xander, Kyle, Tor, Rhonda, and Heidi.
  • Robert Flutie, eaten by Kyle, Tor, Rhonda, and Heidi.
  • Weirick, eaten by hyenas after he is thrown into their enclosure by Buffy.

Behind the scenes[]

"The_Pack"_Promo

"The Pack" Promo

Production[]

  • Despite being credited as a series regular, Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase) is absent from this episode. This is the first time that a series regular has been absent.
  • All sequences shot at the zoo were filmed at the Santa Ana Zoo.[2]
  • During the dodgeball game, the pack defeats the opposing team easily, leaving Buffy as the last one standing. But, instead of attacking her, they turn on Lance, their own teammate, showing how hyenas will generally avoid confronting powerful animals and prey on the weak instead.

Broadcast[]

  • "The Pack" earned itself a Nielsen rating of 2.4 on its original airing.[3]

Deleted scenes[]

  • One line was cut:[2]
Xander: "Welcome to the jungle."

Pop culture references[]

Goofs[]

  • The establishing shot of Sunnydale High is from the episode "Teacher's Pet," with Willow visible in one of the benches wearing the same clothing as in that episode. This shot will also be used in "Nightmares."
  • Xander becomes the unofficial leader of the pack, although hyena packs are matriarchal.
  • The majority of the hyena documentary footage shown in the episode is actually about African wild dogs, not hyenas.

Music[]

International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Ոհմակը" (Pack)
  • Czech: "Smečka" (Pack)
  • Finnish: "Hyeenalauma" (Pack of Hyenas)
  • French: "Les Hyènes" (The Hyenas)
  • German: "Das Lied der Hyänen" (The Song of the Hyenas)
  • Hungarian: "A falka" (The Pack)
  • Italian: "Il branco" (The Pack)
  • Japanese: "群れ" (Pack)
  • Polish: "Zwierzęcy instynkt" (Animal Instinct)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "A Matilha" (The Pack)
  • Romanian: "Haita" (Pack)
  • Russian: "Стая" (Pack)
  • Spanish (Latin America and Spain): "La jauría" (The Pack)

Adaptations[]

Other[]

Quotes[]

Kyle: "Oh, look. It's Buffy and all her friends."
Buffy: "That's a witty."
Tor: "Do you ever wonder why nobody cool wants to hang out with you?"
Buffy: "Just thankful."
Buffy: "What is it with those guys?"
Willow: "They're obnoxious. Professionally."
Xander: "Well, every school has them. So, you start a new school, you get your desks, some blackboards, and some mean kids."
Coach Herrold: (watching dodgeball) "God this game is brutal. I love it."
Buffy: "It's bad, isn't it?"
Giles: "It's terrible. Xander has finally become a sixteen-year old boy. Of course you'll have to slay him."
Buffy: "I was being serious, Giles!"
Giles: "How terribly frustrating for you that a bunch of school children could accomplish what you could not."
Weirick: "It bothered me. But the power will be mine."

References[]

  1. "The Mortuary". Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Archived from the original on June 9, 2001.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Christopher Golden, Nancy Holder. The Watcher's Guide, Volume 1 Pocket Books, October 1998.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's First Season". Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008.
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