45 min., 1997
Written by Matt Kiene/Joe Reinkenmeyer
Directed by Bruce Seth Green
My rating: ★★
Piggy on the menu.
* * *
A big apology to all the Buffy fans out there for spelling Xander’s name wrong.
Back in Buffyville we start at the local zoo. There are some kids bullying another kid, they almost get caught but don’t get ratted out by the other kid. The bullies take him to the hyena house where Xander follows to help. While there the hyena’s eyes glow and possess the four bullies and Xander. Meanwhile back at school there is a new mascot, Herbert, whom Principal Flutie thinks will help the school. Xander starts to act weird and treats Willow like crap. They end up eating Herbert and then Flutie, before anyone realizes that anything is up. Everyone ends up back at the hyena house where spirits are switched back and a warden is eaten. The next day everything is back to normal.
Acting is getting better, but the dialogue is getting slightly worse. Most of the cast seems to not really care about what’s going on, and are just reading their lines instead of acting, especially all of the extras. The only real exception is Nicholas Brendon who does a great job of playing both the lovable Xander and the asshole version of himself; he has a real good “evil” face.
There are almost no effects in the episode, so there’s really not much to say on that subject. One minor problem is with the actual hyenas and the sounds that they make. They tend to sound for like pigs than hyenas, with the snorts and there was even a squeal in there somewhere. Maybe there were no stock sound effects of hyenas, but they could have at least tried a little harder.
My real problem with the episode is that it takes so long before Buffy and Willow realize that something is up with Xander. Now Buffy I can understand, but Willow, her and Xander have been friends since they were kids, so I would expect her to realize this shit before it goes crazy. Friends for that long know each other and if one turns on the other in the matter of a day, they should know something’s up. I realize that if that did happen there wouldn’t be an episode, so I understand why it was done that way.
Willow: “It’s like the Heimlich, with stripes.”