About:

Title: Buffy S2.E15 “Phases” + S2.E16 “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”
Released: 1998

Drinks Taken: 19
Vamps Dusted: 2

 

Follow the whole rewatch here!

It’s going to be tough to follow up last week‘s powerful but bummer-inducing episodes, but we’re gonna try! Buffy takes a bit of a backseat as she mourns the end of her relationship, and instead we focus on Willow and Xander’s newly active love lives.  

Buffy eagerly watching a pitcher of beer being poured into her glass.

The Buffy Season Two Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Cordelia says something cutting but true
Buffy and Angel share a romantic moment
Principal Snyder hates on students
Oz is ridiculously low-key cool
Drusilla says something nutty
Spike has mad swagger

Drink twice every time:

We see the entrance to Sunnydale High
We see a scene from the credits
Giles cleans his glasses
Jonathan appears in a scene
There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house

The first episode on the docket brings us the long-awaited Willow and Oz kissage, so let’s not delay!

Oz wakes up naked in the middle of the forest.

2.15 “Phases”

We open on Willow getting frustrated over someone other than Xander! Oz is playing it cool and going slow, and while Willow appreciates it, she is so ready to move to the next level: “I want smoochies!” She goes on and on about her boy troubles until she finally—agonizingly—realizes how this must sound to traumatized Buffy, who is gracious in the face of Willow’s apologies. They move on to the safer topic of Xander and Cordelia, which has Willow disgusted, wondering what he sees in Cordy. Uh, great legs, a gorgeous face, and snappy comebacks, Wills.

Speaking of the lovebirds, Xander and Cordelia are attacked by a werewolf in her daddy’s convertible while they’re making out at Sunnydale’s very own Lover’s Lane. The next day Cordelia laments the damage to the car while Giles is practically giddy over the prospect of werewolves.

Buffy questions Giles sanity.
Giles: “I’m sure my books and I are in for a fascinating afternoon!”
Buffy: “He needs a pet.”

I, too, am always excited about the prospect of an afternoon with my books, Giles.

Giles gives the Scooby Gang (and us) a lesson about werewolves, how they are manifestations of our basest animal instincts, predatory and aggressive with zero conscience. “In other words, your typical male.” Buffy quips, and being that her boyfriend recently went full American Psycho on her, I think she’s allowed some man-hating. Giles and Xander suggest they don’t jump to any conclusions about the cruder sex, but Buffy maintains her stance: “I didn’t jump. I took a tiny step and there conclusions were.” The crux of the conversation is that they have no idea who this werewolf is, but it IS a regular person not aware of what they’re doing, so it’s important to capture them alive.

So later that night, Buffy and Giles are wandering Lover’s Lane looking for the werewolf when Buffy steps onto a Wile E Coyote net trap. They meet the trap-setter, a bonafide werewolf hunter with the teeth necklace to show off his prowess (ew). He scoffs at the fact that “a guy who looks like he’s auditioning to be a librarian” and a GIRL are trying to go up against a guy in a cheesy wolf costume, I mean, uh, a big scary monster. He’s a shoot-to-kill kinda guy since werewolf pelts fetch a pretty penny on the black market.

Werewolf hunter with a dumb look on his face.

Look at this tool.

While the Lane is a bust, Buffy does have another idea about a place where hormones run wild and the werewolf could be: The Bronze. Sure enough, it attacks Willow and Cordelia in mid-bitch about their boyfriends. I’m pretty sure this episode would not pass the Bechdel test, but I love how supportive these two are being to each other about their respective relationships. Buffy shows up in time to try and chain the werewolf, but he escapes through a window, so she gets berated by the hunter for trying to capture rather than kill. Not her most successful evening of hunting.

Buffy feels especially guilty when she learns that one of her supposed “friends”, Theresa, was murdered by the wolf (except we, the audience, know that Theresa was actually eaten by Angelus as a way to torture Buffy. Jerk.). She announces the death to the Scooby Gang in front of Oz (who woke up that morning, naked, in a forest, and realized that the bite on his finger from his little cousin, Jordie, was the cause of his beastly transformation. I love Oz’s initial reaction to his predicament. He looks around the woods and gives a little, “Huh.” (drink!)). This reveal of Theresa’s murder really shakes Oz’s zen-like nature, and he blows off Willow’s suggestion to do research together so he can freak out alone about how he’s a murderer. To be fair, Buffy had also just made an impassioned speech about how she was going to “give that wolfy something to howl about” so he is right to be panicked.

Right about now Xander has a whole subplot with Larry, a misogynistic football player who goes around pushing books out of womens’ hands so they must bend over in front of him. Xander is certain Larry is the werewolf, so he confronts him in the locker room using that age-old TV trope: vague accusations that the other person misinterprets as something else. You see, Larry is secretly gay, and all of Xander’s threats about how “he knows and understands what’s going on” leads Larry to believe that Xander is in on his secret AND also hangs out in this particular closet. He feels freer finally saying the words out loud, but Xander, being Xander, is simply horrified about this news and spends the rest of their run-ins trying to keep Larry from spilling “their” beans. It’s not the most homophobic thing you’ll see in late ‘90s TV, but Xander’s reactions still feel kinda icky, because it’s SO annoying when someone mistakes you for being GAY, amirite? Moving on.

Xander’s emphatic declaration that the wolf is NOT Larry sparks some thought in Buffy for her to check out Theresa’s neck at the funeral home. Lo and behold, they realize she was bitten, not mauled—and, WHOOPS, has also turned, as she tries to kill Buffy with compliments from Angelus. Xander stakes Vamp-resa, then he and Buffy share a very weird moment as he comforts her with a hug, and Buffy gives him “I’m sad and lonely” eyes. Reader, I DON’T LIKE IT.

Buffy pulls away from a hug with Xander and stares up at him.
GIF via FatedXDestiny

This is not a thing that is allowed to happen, so don’t even play with us, show.

Willow heads to Oz’s house to confront him about playing it so hot and cold. He’s desperate for her to leave so he can shackle himself before he turns, but it’s too late. Oz in a werewolf meatsuit chases Willow all around the neighborhood before the werewolf hunter lures him away with a trap. Willow runs straight to the school library (excellent cardio, Willow!) to tell Giles and Buffy about Oz. They show up to the woods armed with enough tranqs to “sink a small elephant”. Buffy has to engage the hunter, and then Were!Oz, in fisticuffs. Badass Willow pops out long enough for her to grab the dart gun and shoot Were!Oz with a tranquilizer.

Willow picks up the tranq gun and shoots the werewolf.

Willow saves the day!

The next morning at school, Xander and Buffy discuss Oz’s predicament, and Xander is certain Willow isn’t safe with Oz, but, like, whatever, dude. Xander’s been acting like a jealous butthead the entire episode, and Buffy calls him on it, saying the decision isn’t up to him.

And because Willow’s awesome, she finds Oz, sitting sadly on a picnic table outside, and gently rebukes him for not telling her about his were side. He admits the situation is weird and that he should probably stay out of her way for a while, but Willow boldly steps up and tells him in no uncertain terms, “I’m kind of okay with you being IN my way.”

Willow kisses Oz and then runs away.

These two? The cutest.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

7

Vamps Dusted

1

The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week

Willow and Oz talk outside.

Willow: “I like you. You’re nice, and you’re funny. You don’t smoke. And yeah, okay, and 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.”

SO TRUE, Oz. So true.

Best Call-Back

Oz looks at a cheerleading trophy in the hallway case.

Oz: “This cheerleading trophy. It’s like its eyes follow you wherever you go. I like it.”

I was tickled when they referenced the cheerleading trophy containing Amy’s crazy witch mom from last season. 

Stylish Yet Affordable Boots

Willow wearing unfortunate yellow overalls.

Willow’s kindergarten-chic overalls are doing her no favors. 

Best Grrrl Power Moment

Buffy bends a gun in half.

Buffy: “How ’bout you let the door hit you on the ass on your way outta town?” 

Giles For Life

Giles and Buffy talk outside parked cars.

Giles: “I thought we might knock on a few windows, ask if anyone’s seen anything.”

Buffy: “Giles. No one’s seen anything.”

Giles: “Oh… Yes. Of course not. Yes.”

Giles is apparently too innocent to hang out at Lover’s Lane.

Willow’s Best Worst Joke

Oz Is The Sweetest Boyfriend

Willow is horrified upon finding out there’s been a number of animal attacks lately:

Willow looks worried and Oz comforts her.

Giles: “Several animal carcasses were found mutilated.”
Willow: “You mean like bunnies and stuff?! No, don’t tell me!”
Oz: “Oh, don’t worry. I mean they might not look it, but bunnies can really take care of themselves.”
Willow: “Yeah?”
Oz, so reassuringly: “Yeah.”

Xander looks uncomfortable as people smile and stare behind him.

2.16 “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”

It’s Valentine’s Day! And that means the Scooby Gang is feeling all the feels. Some are good, like Oz and Willow making heart-eyes at each other constantly; others are bad, like the estranged Jenny and Giles, or Buffy and her hunny-turned-psycho; and then some are more complicated, like Cordelia and Xander. These two are actually…kind of happy? The making out is good, the arguing less bitter and more playful. They’re even going to a dance together!

But high school has a way of ruining everything, and the harbinger of bitchiness comes in the form of Harmony. Harmony says Cordelia has a certain reputation to maintain and reminds her that Xander is about ten rungs below her on the popularity scale—all before Cordy’s so-called friends turn their backs on her and walk away. Because Cordelia has a bit of a heart now, she does feel conflicted, but we will see, for the moment at least, that “chicks before dicks” wins out. I do wonder where these friends have been up until now, because Cordelia has been spending a LOT of time with the Scooby Gang. How has she not already been ostracized from the Plastics for that?

Now Cordelia is going to make me sympathize with Xander for a hot minute. He surprises her at the dance at the Bronze with a silver heart-shaped locket, and she seems quite touched by the gift before she blurts out, “I want to break up!” Xander is understandably confused and hurt, and leaves her with the sage advice, “Do you know what’s a good day to break up with somebody? Any day besides Valentine’s Day!”

Angelus and Spike are fighting over Dru, and some of the best parts of the second-half of this season are the jabs they trade back and forth. Spike gets Drusilla a fairly pedestrian necklace (for a vampire), whereas Angelus gifts her a still-warm human heart. If we’re going strictly by demon gift-giving standards, Angelus totally wins this round, Spike m’boy. Spike needles Angelus about just killing the damn Slayer already, but Angelus is all-in on the psychological torture. His gift to Buffy on V-Day?

A scared Buffy gets a box of roses with a note that says "Soon"

Savage.

Buffy isn’t too pleased by the gift, so to prep herself, she forces Giles to tell her all the nasty things Angelus has done on Valentine’s past. There’s something about puppies, which Buffy and I both find rightly disturbing, so let’s move on!

A Xander who feels slighted and made fun of is a vindictive Xander. He goes to Amy (remember Amy?), whom he saw work a spell on a teacher, and blackmails her into doing a love spell for him on Cordelia. He wants her to be obsessed with him, and then be humiliated when HE dumps HER. Amy says the spell needs something of Cordelia’s, so Xander marches over to Cordy and demands his locket back. Even though Cordelia did this to herself, I do feel bad for her when she puts on a show of going to get the locket from her locker, but in reality she was wearing it under her Business Lady button-up the whole time.

Cordelia secretly takes off the locket Xander gave her and pretends it was in her locker.
GIF via C-Sand

Awww, Cordy! 🙁

The day after Amy invokes the goddess Hecate to complete her spell, Xander confidently strolls up to Cordy’s table and earns himself a tongue-lashing as Cordelia is most decidedly NOT bewitched and not amused by his prickish ways. He goes to the library to pout, and Buffy is there to cheer him up. Like, WAY up. She’s rubbing herself all over him in ways Xander has only ever wet-dreamed about. He’s completely confused with her flirting yet very willing to go with it (so I guess Cordelia didn’t break his heart THAT much…). Amy interrupts and proceeds to ask him out, which Xander finds odd, being that he just, you know, blackmailed her. Suspicious behavior abounds as as another random female student asks Xander if he wants to study together.

The actress playing a high schooler looks like a 1950s housewife.

Do…the casting directors of Buffy not know what teenagers look like? What girl at Sunnydale High has that haircut?

There’s a montage of women licking their chops staring at Xander while the guys of Sunnydale High roll their eyes. Xander tries to hide out at home, but, oh no! There’s a Willow lying in wait, lounging in his bed with nothing but a button-down shirt on. She puts some serious ear-bitey moves on him, but Xander is horrified, and we are horrified on Willow’s behalf. Xander finally goes to Giles and ‘fesses up on what he did. Giles is, of COURSE, completely annoyed with him, especially when Ms. Calendar shows up to apologize to Giles and falls under Xander’s spell. Giles goes off in search for Amy, dragging a besotted Jenny with him while Xander barricades himself inside the library:

Xander pushes a card catalog against the library door but it swings open the other way and Buffy walks in wearing nothing but a trenchcoat.

Or…not. Also: YOWZA, Sarah Michelle! 

Buffy saunters in past Xander’s ineffectual door stop wearing a teeny trenchcoat and tries to undress herself for him. She gets angry when he stops her, and when Amy comes in seeking out more time with Xander, Buffy unleashes her anger by punching her in the face. Amy retaliates by turning her into a mouse. Then Oz randomly joins the fray and punches Xander, explaining, “I was on the phone all night listening to Willow cry about you. Now, I don’t know exactly what happened, but I was left with a very strong urge to hit you.” Oz is still cool even when he punches people.

Everyone splits up to find Mouse!Buffy, who scampers off to the basement and almost gets eaten by a cat and stuck in a mousetrap. The life of a Slayer. In the meantime, hormones have escalated and the ladies of Sunnydale are whipping themselves into a frenzy over Xander. Harmony and her cronies turn on Cordelia for breaking widdle Xander’s heart. Cordelia is fed up with all the mixed signals, but her anger soon turns to fear as a crowd of women attack her. Xander jumps in to save her, and they run off to find a place to hide, but not before running into a literal axe-wielding, mob-toting Willow, who declares if she can’t have Xander, then NO ONE WILL. (I love that every time we get a glimpse into Willow’s hidden psyche in these kinds of episodes she is just legit crazy-pants under that sweet exterior.)

Cordelia and Xander find brief refuge in Buffy’s house, but they forget that Joyce is also female. As they hide from Buffy’s mom upstairs, Angelus arrives (um, has anyone figured out a way to uninvite a vampire from a dwelling yet??), intent on doing more Buffy-badgering, but he also hates Xander so, yeah, he can work with this. Except Amy’s spell is so powerful it even works on demons, and so Dru saves her Xander-kitten!

Xander is saved by vampire-faced Drusilla under his magic spell.

Try to look more grateful, Xander. She just wants to offer you eternal life.

Willow’s mob arrives and unwittingly saves Xander from vampirism, but then they corner him and Cordelia in the basement. Giles and Amy reverse the spell just as Cordy and Xander are about to be suffocated by a terrifying horde. Cordelia tells the confused and no longer bespelled women that they were all on a fun scavenger hunt!

No one seems to be any worse for wear at school the next day. Cordelia was (strangely? weirdly? concerningly?) touched when she learned back in the basement that Xander’s cockamamie plan was to make her fall back in love with him. So, when Xander walks by Cordelia and her gang, and Harmony runs her mouth AGAIN, Cordelia has finally had enough. She correctly remembers that SHE is the HBIC and if she says dating nerds is cool, then it’s cool. She walks off with Xander arm-in-arm.

Cordelia takes Xander by the arm and walks him down the hallway.
GIF via C-Sand

Still kinda worrying she just commited social suicide, but, hey, one baby step at a time!

How many times do I have to take a drink?

12

Vamps Dusted

1

The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week

Giles: “I cannot believe you’re fool enough to do something like this.”
Xander: “Oh, no, I’m twice the fool it takes to do something like this.”

Stylish Yet Affordable Boots

Xander, Buffy, and Willow walk down the hall.

Buffy’s rocking the skinny scarf AND velvet. This feels very sexy french depression to me. 

Buffy wears a black shirt and leopard print skirt.

I love her later look with the leopard mini. This combo always feels timeless.

And Cordelia’s Valentine Dance dress is way cute. I love that neckline! 

Bloody Good Snark

The poetry reference fits in quite well with Spike’s former human background, although we won’t find that out for a long time.

Headlining At The Bronze

Close up of Oz and his bandmate playing at The Bronze.

The band Oz plays in, Dingoes Ate My Baby, is real-life band called Four Star Mary. Seems like playing on Buffy helped them get their name out there. 

Xander’s Worst Shirt

Xander wears a wide-collared button down.

Apparently he let Buffy dress him. (Not physically.) Why did she give him a comically large zoot-suit collar?

Nothing Fazes Oz

Not even Buffy nudity.


Would you be as cool as Willow if your significant other turned out to be a werewolf? Is there anyone you’ve ever been tempted to do a love spell on? 

After this brief breather, next week’s episodes are going to amp up the intensity yet again. We’ll see you back here with Sarah to talk about the sad but fantastic “Passions” and hospital drama “Killed By Death”!

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.