Season 2, Episode 15 - “Phases”
Original airdate: Jan. 27, 1998
Project 310 re-watch date: Jan. 16, 2009
After having such a dramatic episode arc, it’s strange to come out to something like this, which is semi-comedic and semi-serious, and results in some serious changes for the group dynamic.
This is the episode that sees Oz get turned into a werewolf. It’s also the episode in which he and Willow kiss for the first time (and to be clear, he’s human when they do that).
I kind of like Oz getting turned into a werewolf, because it gives him more of a reason to be around the entire group, not just Willow. It also sets him on the path to eventually break Willow’s heart and leave the show, which kind of sucks.
After the seriousness of the last two episodes, it’s nice to get back to some one liners. There are some particularly classic ones between Xander and Cordy, and later Willow and Cordy. Also, as always, Oz is a font of understated humor.
Now, I do have do address the HUGE problem with this episode. Part of the main plot features a werewolf hunter, who claims he’s killed and skinned 11 werewolves prior to the one he’s hunting in Sunnydale. Only, in Season 5 of “Angel” (specifically the “Unleashed” episode), we learn that a werewolf returns to human form after its death. Now, you could chalk this up to an episode vs episode continuity error, only standard werewolf lore agrees with “Unleashed”, not “Phases”. Now, if I was going to fan-wank this away, it’d be pretty easy -- Cain, the werewolf hunter, could just be lying about the pelts and the teeth, and he just hunts for the joy of it. But I’m gonna say the writers (Rob Des Hotel and Dean Batali, the executive story editors for the first two seasons) just messed up.
Willow: “Well, I like you. You’re nice, and you’re funny, and you don’t smoke. Yeah, okay, 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.”
(yes, Willow compared PMS to lycanthropy)