Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 4, Episode 6
406 WildAtHeart.jpg
Air date November 9, 1999
Written by Marti Noxon
Directed by David Grossman
Episode Guide
previous
"Beer Bad"
Angel:
"Rm w/a Vu"
next
"The Initiative"
Angel:
"Sense & Sensitivity"
Cast
Starring
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Seth Green Oz
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
Marc Blucas Riley
Paige Moss Veruca
James Marsters Spike
Lindsay Crouse Maggie Walsh
Uncredited
George Sarah Keyboard Player

"Wild at Heart" is the sixth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the sixty-second episode in the series. It was written by Marti Noxon and directed by David Grossman. It was originally broadcast on November 9, 1999.

Oz discovers that Veruca, the singer with whom he feels a strange connection, is also a werewolf and soon finds his relationship with Willow and his control over his wolf side called into question.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Buffy is chased by a vampire, which she fights and then stakes. Her well-thought puns are not appreciated. Spike watches from a distance and promises trouble, but he is struck by tazers and carried off by the masked and heavily armed people lurking in the Sunnydale shadows.

At The Bronze, the gang talk about college and why they're still hanging at The Bronze, and then to their surprise, Rupert Giles joins them. Veruca's band, "Shy" starts to play and all the guys are mesmerized by her singing, which distresses Willow.

Veruca performs at The Bronze.

The next morning, Willow wakes up in Oz's bed and they talk about how they'll be apart for three nights while there's a full moon keeping Oz locked up, and a Wicca group is meeting on those three nights. At school, Buffy gets a great grade on a psychology paper and Professor Walsh asks her to lead a discussion group on the topic. Willow actually feels academically envious of Buffy. Veruca invites Oz to sit with her at lunch, which he accepts since there is room for Willow and they start talking amps. Willow arrives and is lost by their terminology, leading everyone to flee the incredibly awkward situation. Buffy tells Willow not to worry about Oz.

That night Oz locks himself into a cage in a crypt, but the door isn't secure enough and he breaks free. As Professor Walsh is leaving the school that night, Oz jumps out at her. Another werewolf appears and while Professor Walsh runs and hides in the bushes, the two werewolves jump out and fight with each other. Oz wakes up the next morning to see that the other werewolf is Veruca. They sneak into the campus laundry room for clothes and Veruca appeals to the animal within him. Willow shows up at Oz's and instead of being welcomed with opened arms, Oz is closed off and so she leaves. Buffy informs Giles of the two werewolves being spotted on campus and later goes to Oz in the crypt. She finds him welding the door and asks if he got out, then mentions another werewolf. He tells her he did, but he says he doesn't remember anything about what happened when he got out. Desperate for a male perspective, Willow asks Xander Harris about Oz and he tells her that the reason he's off with her is probably because he can sense her uneasiness, and suggests they talk and work it out.

Oz and Veruca awaken together.

Oz arranges for Veruca to meet him in the crypt that night. He wants her to lock her in the cage with him so no one will get hurt. Veruca initially refuses, telling them they should be running free. Eventually, Oz loses the fight against his feelings and drags her into the cage and starts kissing her as they transform. The next morning, breakfast foods in hand, Willow arrives and is shocked to see Oz and Veruca curled up naked together. After Oz gets dressed and, in an uncharacteristic burst of anger, orders Veruca out, he tries to explain things to Willow, but she doesn't want to hear it. After furiously blasting him for choosing a solution that involved him and Veruca locked up together rather than him telling someone what was happening.Oz tells her he knows how it feels and she asks if this is supposed to be some kind of payback. He tells her it isn't but Willow questions about whether he wanted her in an animal way before he knew she was a werewolf. Oz remains silent and she runs out crying.

Walking home in a dazed state, Willow walks in front of an oncoming car, which Buffy can't save her from, but Riley Finn happens to be there and does. Riley tells Willow that he doesn't know what happened, but it's not worth hurting herself over. Riley then suggests Buffy take her home. Buffy agrees and takes Willow back to their dorm, where Willow tells the whole story. Before she leaves to find Veruca, she tells Willow that Riley was right and she shouldn't hurt herself. She tells Willow to put the blame where it belongs. Buffy then leaves, determined to take care of Veruca. Willow repeats Buffy's statement about putting the blame where it belongs and goes and opens her trunk full of magic ingredients. Buffy goes to Oz's room and asks him where Veruca is, but he tells her he doesn't know. He points out that he does know all the usual haunts so he's pretty sure he can follow her scent. When Oz tries to explain what happened, Buffy says it might be a good time for his trademark stoicism. She's obviously furious with him for not only hurting Willow so badly, but also due to the fact that he lied about knowing who the other werewolf was. Using Oz's heightened senses to lead the way, Buffy and Oz find Veruca's clothes. They realize this is just a diversion and come to the conclusion that she's gone after Willow. Buffy and Oz quickly rush back to the college, but Buffy runs into a commando. The two briefly scuffle, but Buffy grabs her gun and leaves.

Oz kills Veruca.

Willow is in one of the campus labs, conjuring a spell that will prove to be devastating revenge against Oz and Veruca. She starts to take Oz's picture and put it in the spell pot, but can't bring herself to complete it. Everything she has levitating suddenly smashes down and the fire goes out. She turns around when she hears Veruca say sarcastically that she thought for a minute that Willow actually played dirty, but she knew Willow was too weak to actually finish the spell. Veruca locks the door and tells Willow that she's going to kill her when the sun goes down. That way Willow can't stand between her and Oz anymore. Just in time, Oz breaks in and warns Veruca (as the two begin their transformation) not to hurt Willow, but Veruca refuses, believing Willow is stopping Oz from fully embracing his wolf side. She then tells Oz that they're animals at heart, and Oz agrees that they're animals and they kill. At this point, he viciously attacks Veruca, still not completely changed. The two wolves soon completely transform and continue the fight, before Oz kills Veruca by ripping her throat out. The wolf then turns its attention to Willow, and she talks to it, trying to reach Oz with rationality, but the wolf leaps in for the kill only to be stopped at the last second by Buffy. She finally tranquilizes him and then comforts a traumatized and hysterical Willow.

Buffy comforts a traumatized Willow.

The next day, Buffy tells Giles about the heavily armed man she saw while searching for Veruca, who was dressed the same way as the men she saw on Halloween, and, how because of him, she was too late to stop Oz from killing Veruca and almost wasn't able to stop Oz from killing Willow. Although they know that this is serious, both are far more concerned about Willow and Oz, and Buffy can't imagine how they're going to get through this.

Willow finds Oz in his room, packing. Unsure of what separates him from the wolf, he is leaving until he can figure it out. Oz tells Willow she is the only one he has ever loved and then walks out leaving Willow heartbroken and in tears. Oz starts up his van but, just as devastated as Willow is over the abrupt and violent end of their relationship, considers returning. However, he decides against it and drives away in his van.

Continuity[edit | edit source]

  • The episode reveals the reason for the connection Oz was feeling with Veruca, as seen in "Living Conditions" and "Beer Bad".
  • Upon Willow discovering Oz and Veruca together, Oz says he remembers "how it feels," in reference to the time he and Cordelia saw Willow and Xander kissing each other ("Lovers Walk"). Willow says she thought this was behind them, as they dealt with the betrayal and resumed their relationship in "Amends".
  • This episode features another hint that Willow might misuse magic, first seen in "Lovers Walk," which  becomes a major plot point of season 6. She performs a very hurtful spell of revenge against Oz and Veruca but cancels it at the last moment. It also sees the rise of Willow's power, especially when she is emotionally affected, as the equipment she used for the spell levitated without her intent.
  • Unlike the Lycanthropus Exterus species of werewolf, Veruca remains in her wolf state after Oz killed her.
  • Giles lives at number 4616.
  • Buffy is now interested in the commandos she keeps seeing. This is building the plot-line of the Initiative.
  • Oz's time in Tibet after this episode (and before "New Moon Rising") is seen in Retreat, Part Two.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Individuals[edit | edit source]

Organizations and Titles[edit | edit source]

Species[edit | edit source]

Locations[edit | edit source]

Weapons and Objects[edit | edit source]

Rituals and Spells[edit | edit source]

Death Count[edit | edit source]

Behind the Scenes[edit | edit source]

Buffy_Promo_-_Wild_at_Heart

Buffy Promo - Wild at Heart

Original WB Promo for "Wild at Heart"

Production[edit | edit source]

  • This episode marks the last time Seth Green appears in the opening credits. Joss Whedon had originally envisioned the love triangle between Oz, Veruca, and Willow to continue for most of Season Four. However, Seth Green abruptly left the show to pursue a movie career, explaining that "the character was always better served in a recurring capacity and Joss and I both felt it was better to revert to that status." Nevertheless, Green would only return in two more episodes ("New Moon Rising" and "Restless", both in Season Four). Whedon says losing Green so suddenly was a "heartbreaker… and so Willow got her heart broken. I took what we were feeling and put it on-screen, so everybody would be on the same page."
  • While filming a scene where Oz and Veruca have supposedly just woken up from mating as werewolves, Seth Green talked about being naked except for a "man-thong". He stated that this was incredibly uncomfortable since Paige Moss had her boyfriend visiting the set.
  • During the portion of the episode where Oz is supposed to be turning into a werewolf, Joss Whedon wrote a special direction to Seth Green in the script. He told him to imagine he was "about to come onto acid".

Deleted Scenes[edit | edit source]

  • Willow and Buffy discuss Veruca:[citation needed]
Willow: "And I don't want to be the kind of girl who freaks every time my boyfriend notices somebody else (and now cut) - even if she is throwing herself at him like a twenty dollar ho."
Buffy: "Please. Ten dollar ho. Fifteen, max."
  • Maggie is telling Buffy and Riley about the "dogs":[citation needed]
Maggie: "I know how it sounds. But crazy is my specialty. And I definitely saw what I saw."
  • Buffy discuss Maggie's "dogs" with Giles:[citation needed]
Buffy: "Clearly we need to get you kicking some monster bootie, stat."
  • Xander reacts to Veruca:[citation needed]
Veruca: "Go ahead and cry - but you should have seen this coming. You can't tame a wild thing. He's not yours anymore. He's in you, he'd be thinking about me. No. Not thinking. It's deeper than that. Why don't you just try to relax now? In a minute or two, it'll all be over."
Xander: "Love. It's a logic blocker."

Pop Culture References[edit | edit source]

  • When mocking Giles for coming to the Bronze, Buffy mentions the band The Rolling Stones.
  • When listening to Shy's concert, Buffy disdainfully compares Veruca to the singer Fiona Apple.
  • Willow is established to be a fan of Elvis Presley.

Music[edit | edit source]

International titles[edit | edit source]

  • French: Coeur de loup-garou (Wereworf heart)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): Corações Selvagens (Wild Hearts)
  • German: Wilde Herzen (Wild Hearts)
  • Spanish (Latin America): Corazón Salvaje (Wild Heart)
  • Spanish (Spain): Salvaje de Corazón (Wild at Heart)

Other[edit | edit source]

  • In 1985, Lindsay Crouse played Seth Green's mother in the ABC After School Special episode "I Want to Go Home". In "Wild at Heart", Green's character, Oz, attacks and tries to kill Crouse's character, Professor Walsh; Green laughingly called this coincidence "the circle of life".
  • This is the second of three Oz-centric episodes. Marti Noxon states in the DVD commentary that "Phases" is viewed as the first in a "Willow/Oz Trilogy." This episode is the second, with "New Moon Rising" as the last with the final actual appearance of Oz (his official last appearance is in "Restless," though he is only in a dream).
  • This episode is included in The Slayer Collection: Willow DVD.
  • The relation between Oz and Veruca is reminiscent of Angel and Darla in "Angel". Veruca, like Darla with Angel, wants to attract Oz to the dark forces by killing his lover.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

[edit | edit source]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Willow: "Oz, don't you love me?"
Oz: "My whole life, I've never loved anything else."
Willow: "How come you didn't tell me I look like a crazy birthday cake in this shirt?"
Buffy: "I thought that was the point."
Oz: "Look, Buffy, you should know that--"
Buffy: "Oz ... now might be a good time for your trademark stoicism."
Buffy: "I've never seen her like this before, Giles. It's like it hurts too much to even form words."
Giles: "But you've felt that way yourself, and you got through it."
Buffy: "Well, I ran away and went to hell ... and then I got through it. I'm kind of hoping Willow won't use me as a model."
Giles: "Fair enough."
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