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Season 1, episode 06
Season 106
1st release (U.S.): 04/07/97
Production number: 4V06
Last update: 02/28/05

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SYNOPSIS by Sally Dye

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers)
Nicholas Brendan (Xander Harris)
Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg)
Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase)
Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles)

Ken Lerner (Principal Flutie)
Eion Bailey (Kyle DuFours)
Michael McRaine (Rhonda Kelley)
Brian Gross (Tor Hauer)
Jennifer Sky (Heidi Barrie)
Jeff Maynard (Lance)
James Stephens (Zookeeper)
David Brisbin (Mr. Anderson)
Barbara K. Whinnery (Mrs. Anderson)
Gregory White (Coach Herrold)
Justin Jon Ross (Joey)
Jeffrey Steven Smith (Adam)
Patrese Borem (Young Woman)

Written by Matt Kiene and Joe Rienkmeyer
Directed by Bruce Seth Green

WB, Monday, 9pm


While enduring the annual field trip to the Zoo, Xander and several other students enter the quarantined Hyena pen and leave in an altered state. Xander begins acting strangely, sniffing Buffy and being cruel to people, including Willow; and Buffy becomes convinced that he has been possessed by the spirit of the wild animal. TVTome


This synopsis is by Sally Dye.

Buffy and her classmates are on a field trip to the zoo. Buffy is hassled by a group of four obnoxious students who taunt her about being kicked out of her last school. After the four move on, Willow and Xander rush up to tell Buffy she missed the zebras mating. They are surprised that Buffy seems bored. Xander says it's not about the animals, it's about being out of class, and Buffy agrees.

The group of four hassles a boy named Lance, stealing his notebook. They are interrupted by Principal Flutie, but Lance refuses to tell on the others. When Principal Flutie leaves, one of the boys, Kyle, tells Lance they are going to the Hyena House. Lance protests that it's off-limits, but Kyle says that's why it's fun.

The group slips under a barrier and into the Hyena House. Willow, Buffy and Xander see them go in. Buffy says she'd better go extract Lance, but Xander says he can do it since it doesn't require actual slaying. Willow and Buffy debate a moment and then decide to follow Xander, but they are stopped by the zookeeper, who says they must not go in -- the hyenas are dangerous. He tells them of the legend that says hyenas can understand human speech. They learn someone's name and then call to him to separate him from others. Then they devour him.

The mean kids get into the hyena enclosure and see some hyenas growling from the darkness. They grab Lance and start to throw him into the cage, but Xander pulls him away and tells Kyle to pick on someone his own species. The hyenas growl again, and their eyes flash with a green light. The five kids' eyes also flash green. Lance, over near the door, drops his books and scrambles to get them. The four mean kids and Xander -- the Pack -- all laugh like hyenas at him.

At the Bronze that evening, Willow wonders where Xander could be. She says he was awfully quiet on the bus ride back from the zoo. Buffy says she didn't notice, but then she's not as hyperaware of Xander as Willow is. Willow says he makes her head go tingly. Buffy says that hasn't happened to her for a while. Willow: "Not even with Angel?" Buffy admits she likes him, but he never seems to be around.

Xander finally arrives and is very hungry and seems restless. He sniffs Buffy and says she's had a bath. Buffy: "And the weird behavior award goes to..." Xander is distracted when Kyle and the others come in. Xander just watches them as they pass by the table and make another guy give up his place. Xander laughs.

Everyone is panicking in the halls at school as a piglet in a football helmet runs among them. Buffy scoops it up just as Principal Flutie runs up, out of breath. He introduces the piglet as Herbert, the new mascot for the Sunnydale Razorbacks.

Willow tries to help Xander with his geometry homework, but he is impatient and says he doesn't care about math. Willow tries to reason with him, telling him he'll flunk out of school, but he throws his book away and storms off, leaving Willow looking very worried.

Buffy is returning Herbert to his cage when Xander walks by. Herbert becomes very agitated, squealing and trying to get away. Buffy looks after Xander with a puzzled expression.

In gym class, the coach announces that it's dodgeball day. Xander and the Pack are very agressive. They turn on Lance, who is on their team, and pelt him with balls. Buffy runs over and helps him up, then looks up at Xander, who is watching her with a strange expression on his face. He and the others drift away.

Willow waits for Xander at his locker. He comes along with the Pack. She asks what's wrong. He says his feelings have been changing -- he's dropping out of geometry, and that means he won't have to look at her pasty face any more. The Pack all laugh hysterically, and Willow runs off, crushed. Buffy overhears this exchange and wants to know if Xander has anything to say to her. He and the others just laugh again and walk off.

Xander and the Pack steal some kids' lunch, but decide the hot dogs are too well done. They go into the school and into the room where Herbert's cage is located. They surround the cage: "Let's do lunch."

Willow tells Buffy that Xander has never acted this way. Buffy says that there has to be something wrong with him. She goes to talk to Giles. He doesn't take her seriously at first, but Buffy realizes that Xander has been acting strangely ever since they were at the zoo. Willow bursts in to tell them that Herbert has been eaten. Giles decides to consult his books after all.

Principal Flutie confronts the Pack, minus Xander, and tells them he knows they are responsible for Herbert's death. He takes them to his office.

Willow and Buffy discuss hyenas. Giles finds that animal possession is well-known in some areas of Africa. He says if it goes unchecked, it could be very bad for those possessed. Buffy goes to find Xander. She finds him in the room where Herbert's cage is. She tries to tell him that he needs help, but he jumps her. They fight around the room.

Principal Flutie lectures the Pack in his office. They begin to close in on him, growling. When he tries to use the phone, they grab it away. Then they all tackle him to the floor and jump on him.

Willow watches disturbing video footage of hyenas devouring prey. Buffy comes in, dragging an unconscious Xander behind her. She says she hit him with a desk. They lock him in the closet. Giles comes in and says that Principal Flutie had the others in his office. Willow: "That'll show them." Giles is somber. Buffy asks if they hurt Principal Flutie. Giles: "They ate him." Willow and Buffy are shocked, but are relieved that Xander was not with the others. Giles theorizes that they need to transpossess the Pack. They decide to talk to the zookeeper. Willow stays behind to keep an eye on Xander.

A young woman with a baby is walking in the park and comes upon the Pack, who are asleep on the ground. They wake up and growl at her. She runs away. They go back to sleep.

Xander wakes up and calls for Willow. He wants to know why he's locked up. Willow says he's sick. Xander says he wants her to help him. Willow comes closer and Xander tries to grab the keys, but she jumps back in time.

The zookeeper says there was always something wrong with the hyenas. He thinks they have enough information to transposses the Pack. He says they must get the Pack to the hyenas.

At the library, Willow is on the computer when she hears someone calling her name. She looks up just as the rest of the Pack breaks in the windows. She runs, and the Pack breaks Xander out of the closet. Then they take off after Willow. Willow hides in a classroom, but Xander finds her. Buffy and Giles arrive just in time and get Willow into another room and lock the door. They hear the Pack move off, apparently looking for easier food. Buffy tells the others to go to the zoo and she will lead the Pack there.

A family is getting into their car when it is surrounded by the Pack. They are breaking the windows when Buffy arrives and pulls them away. She runs off and the Pack gives chase.

Giles goes to the Hyena House and leaves Willow to warn them when Buffy and the Pack approach. Whe he gets into the hyena enclosure, the zookeeper comes out dressed in ceremonial garb. Giles sees that the sacred circle is painted on the floor. He realizes it would have had to be there when the kids were possessed, and that realization leads to one that the zookeeper must have planned to gain the hyena's power for himself. Before he can get away, the zookeeper knocks him out and drags his body away.

Willow hears Buffy and the Pack coming and runs to warn Giles. The zookeeper stops her and ties her hands together. Buffy runs in just as the zookeeper holds a knife to Willow's throat. The Pack also runs in a tackles Buffy to the ground. The zookeeper calls out a chant, and the power leaves the kids and goes into him. Xander sees the zookeeper about to kill Willow and jumps up, knocking the zookeeper back. Buffy fights the zookeeper and throws him into the hyena cage. The hyenas attack and kill him.

Xander is relieved that he only ate a pig. Buffy reassures him that it wasn't really him. Xander says he doesn't remember anything until he saw a guy threatening Willow. He and Willow hug. He wants to know if he did or said anything else embarrassing, and Buffy and Willow just smile and say no. They head off for lunch. Giles intercepts Xander and says he didn't read anything about amnesia being part of animal possession. Xander wants to know if he told Willow and Buffy that. Giles: "Your secret dies with me." Xander breaths a sigh of relief and walks off.


Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia) does not appear in this episode, even though she is credited in the opening titles.

The signs in the Sunnydale Zoo are written in the same font as the signs in Jurassic Park.

Fast National Rating: 2.4, Rank: 6/12 Wb shows.

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