Episode 106

The Pack

Published on: 21st June, 2022

In the latest episode of Tabula Rasa, B!tches!, Allie and Nick discuss “The Pack.” On a school field trip to the zoo, Xander and a pack of four other students are possessed by the spirits of hyenas. Xander and his pack begin acting cruelly to Willow and other students. Although Giles initially brushes off Buffy’s concerns about Xander, he changes his mind when the school’s new mascot and Principal Flutie are eaten. Buffy, Willow, and Giles lure the pack back to the hyena enclosure at the zoo, and after a run-in with the hyena’s keeper, Buffy restores Xander and the others back to normal.

CW: This episode contains allusions to and discussions about sexual assault.


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Transcript
Intro Music:

[Intro Music]

Allie & Nick:

Welcome to Tabula Rasa, B!tches!

Intro Music:

[Intro Music begins fading out]

Allie Press:

Hello, hello!

Nick Mercer:

Hello.

Allie Press:

My name is Allie.

Nick Mercer:

And I'm Nick.

Allie Press:

And welcome to season one, episode six of Tabula Rasa, B!tches.

Allie Press:

We're so glad you are here.

Nick Mercer:

In Tabula Rasa, B!tches, you'll listen as two decades-long

Nick Mercer:

friends jump back into the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and relive

Nick Mercer:

the show that brought them close together and taught them so many of

Nick Mercer:

the values they still cherish today.

Nick Mercer:

As always, we are going to give our spoiler wording.

Nick Mercer:

We are going to be discussing this episode, spoilers and all, so if you

Nick Mercer:

haven't watched and you don't want to hear any spoilers, go ahead and go

Nick Mercer:

watch this great episode and come back.

Nick Mercer:

We will be waiting for you!

Allie Press:

Yeah!

Allie Press:

Each episode of Tabula Rasa, B!tches, we'll dive into an episode of Buffy

Allie Press:

the Vampire Slayer and discuss the lessons that can be learned from our

Allie Press:

favorite Sunnydale warriors and the supernatural creatures they use their

Allie Press:

talents and friendship to overcome.

Allie Press:

If you are wondering about our name, Tabula Rasa, B!tches, well, then you must

Allie Press:

not have listened to our first episode.

Allie Press:

So what are you doing?

Allie Press:

Go back and listen to that.

Allie Press:

And then come and join us for season one, episode six, "The Pack."

Nick Mercer:

And what an episode it is, Allie.

Nick Mercer:

I...

Nick Mercer:

can jump into the episode summary.

Nick Mercer:

I'm gonna give a little, uh, taste though.

Nick Mercer:

This episode is not my favorite, Allie.

Nick Mercer:

This episode is not my favorite.

Allie Press:

I'm so excited to talk with you about it because

Allie Press:

I actually love this episode.

Nick Mercer:

And maybe hearing your thoughts will help me relate to

Nick Mercer:

this in a different way, but I look forward to our robust discussion.

Allie Press:

Yeah, me too.

Allie Press:

So get us rolling with that summary.

Nick Mercer:

All right.

Nick Mercer:

So, Buffy and the gang are on a school trip to the zoo when Xander sneaks into

Nick Mercer:

the new hyena exhibit to help a boy that is being picked on by four bullies.

Nick Mercer:

Inside the exhibit, Xander and the four are infected by the spirit of

Nick Mercer:

the hyena and begin to act strangely.

Nick Mercer:

Buffy suspects something is wrong when Xander starts being mean to

Nick Mercer:

Willow in school the next day, but Giles shrugs it off as teenage angst.

Nick Mercer:

Giles is forced to change his mind, however, when the school

Nick Mercer:

mascot, a piglet, is eaten.

Nick Mercer:

Principal Flutie is also eaten soon after.

Nick Mercer:

Buffy, Giles, and Willow lure Xander and his pack of four possessed students back

Nick Mercer:

to the hyena cage and, after a run-in with the hyena keeper, manage to restore

Nick Mercer:

Xander and the others back to normal.

Nick Mercer:

And before we jump into our notes, we're gonna give a shout-out to

Nick Mercer:

the Complete Buffy Episode Guide from which I adopted this summary.

Nick Mercer:

What a crew of brilliant people.

Allie Press:

Yes.

Allie Press:

Yep, no shade ever in stealing as long as you give credit.

Nick Mercer:

Absolutely.

Nick Mercer:

So Allie, get us started with your notes.

Allie Press:

Yeah, so my first reaction to the episode title was, oh, yes!

Allie Press:

And then I was like, wait, whoops.

Allie Press:

Thought that was a different episode.

Allie Press:

And then I was like, wait, but also hell yes!

Allie Press:

Uh, cuz I, I think this- it's very different and interesting

Allie Press:

and I like the way that it like...

Allie Press:

definitely, definitely strong metaphor happening in this episode for sure.

Allie Press:

Um, I dunno.

Allie Press:

I just, I always thought it was kind of fun.

Nick Mercer:

Well, I look forward to hearing more about the metaphors you

Nick Mercer:

found because I find this episode boring and lacking character development.

Nick Mercer:

But what do I know?

Allie Press:

Huh!

Allie Press:

Interesting.

Nick Mercer:

I will say, though, did not love this episode, but I do love zoos.

Nick Mercer:

I love zoos a lot, so when this episode starts off at a zoo, [Allie

Nick Mercer:

laughs] that's good stuff for me.

Nick Mercer:

I love zoos.

Allie Press:

Zoos are fantastic.

Nick Mercer:

I love zoos.

Allie Press:

Um, and I, I love that zoos are improving their

Allie Press:

enclosures and stuff like that.

Allie Press:

I'm not saying that zoos are without fault, cuz there're definitely

Allie Press:

some, uh, some icky ones out there.

Allie Press:

But, yeah, I enjoy them.

Nick Mercer:

There are.

Nick Mercer:

We know that Sunnydale zoo is crushing it above all them.

Nick Mercer:

I have a question for you, but it sounds like you have a note.

Allie Press:

It did look like it had, um, some nice enclosures.

Allie Press:

That hyena area was pretty dope.

Allie Press:

Um, I was just gonna say, I like, um, Xander and Willow come in talking

Allie Press:

about, they just saw zebras having sex and, and Willow says, "It was

Allie Press:

like the Heimlich with stripes."

Nick Mercer:

[Laughing] Willow, you are a doll.

Nick Mercer:

I would die for you.

Nick Mercer:

Um, my question for you is, our Scoobies are on a school

Nick Mercer:

field trip here at the zoo.

Nick Mercer:

What was the coolest field trip you ever went on?

Allie Press:

Hmm, coolest.

Allie Press:

I think, I think it would have to be, uh, in high school with marching band

Allie Press:

when we went to - well, I guess I was part of wind ensemble and marching band.

Allie Press:

Well, we went to Disney and we got to march right down...

Allie Press:

Well, for those of you who saw Disney when the big blue magic hat was there?

Allie Press:

We walked right down that street towards the big hat.

Nick Mercer:

Neato!

Allie Press:

It was just really cool.

Allie Press:

And also, as part of the wind ensemble, um, our holding area before we went on to

Allie Press:

the stage to perform was their prop house.

Allie Press:

So I got to see like the hyenas from Lion King and like the baby from Dinosaurs.

Allie Press:

I just thought that was really cool.

Allie Press:

Um, definitely took pictures in there even though we weren't supposed to.

Allie Press:

Uh, so that was just like a really great trip and-

Nick Mercer:

Disney's gonna hear, Allie.

Nick Mercer:

Disney's gonna hear that you just confessed that and they're gonna find you.

Allie Press:

I feel like the statute of limitations has, uh, passed.

Nick Mercer:

I...

Nick Mercer:

you're probably right.

Allie Press:

I think so.

Allie Press:

I think so.

Allie Press:

I think they have better things to do with their time, but I don't know.

Allie Press:

I don't, I don't know your life, Disney.

Allie Press:

[Nick laughing].

Allie Press:

Yeah, and I just, the rest we basically, like the first day was performances

Allie Press:

and the rest of the time was all park.

Nick Mercer:

Love

Allie Press:

that.

Allie Press:

And the first day, it was pouring down rain.

Allie Press:

We were supposed to go to the water park, but ended up at Epcot instead.

Allie Press:

And it was that kind of pouring rain where like this isn't stopping, so

Allie Press:

I'm just gonna commit to being wet.

Nick Mercer:

Oh yeah.

Allie Press:

So...

Nick Mercer:

Oh yeah.

Allie Press:

That was just like us playing in the rain.

Allie Press:

I was with all the guys, cuz Caitlin couldn't make it to the trip.

Allie Press:

And we deemed ourselves The Excitement Squad and we rode every little ride that

Allie Press:

Epcot had to offer, but we would treat it like it was a big rollercoaster.

Allie Press:

So it would be like the tiniest bump and we'd like WOOOOOOOO!

Allie Press:

[Nick laughing] It was just the, it was the best day.

Allie Press:

Sometimes hanging out with guys is just, is so much fun.

Allie Press:

So shout out to my loves, Matt, David, Todd, Tim, uh, Nick Shearin.

Allie Press:

Love you all.

Allie Press:

Hope you're all doing swell.

Nick Mercer:

What a crew to go to a theme park with.

Nick Mercer:

I'm happy for you.

Allie Press:

Thanks.

Allie Press:

I wanna do it again sometime.

Allie Press:

I love amusement parks, but with COVID I've been like...

Allie Press:

that is one of the least places I think is hygienic at this point.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, everybody's screaming in each other's faces.

Nick Mercer:

Probably not ideal for a communicable airborne disease.

Nick Mercer:

Right.

Allie Press:

True.

Allie Press:

True, true.

Allie Press:

Um, what about you?

Allie Press:

What's the coolest trip you've ever been on?

Allie Press:

Uh, school trip you've been on.

Nick Mercer:

Uh, New York for sure.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, we, uh, as part of musical theater, we - We had a musical theater class.

Nick Mercer:

That's strange for high school.

Nick Mercer:

Sometimes I forget about that, Allie.

Nick Mercer:

We had that option at our high school.

Nick Mercer:

Um, yeah, we went to New York.

Nick Mercer:

We got to take some classes with Broadway actors.

Nick Mercer:

We got to see a bunch of Broadway shows, walk around New York.

Nick Mercer:

It was fun.

Nick Mercer:

It was a good time.

Allie Press:

That was pretty cool.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

It was a good time.

Allie Press:

For sure.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Okay, thanks for indulging me.

Allie Press:

Absolutely!

Nick Mercer:

The first note I have is that, so the episode starts off, the

Nick Mercer:

crew of four who later become possessed or whatever by the hyena spirit,

Nick Mercer:

start off giving Buffy some shit.

Nick Mercer:

And I wrote down that, for being a group of bitches, they don't

Nick Mercer:

seem super cool themselves.

Allie Press:

I had that thought, too.

Allie Press:

It kind of felt like, well, everybody's above somebody else?

Allie Press:

I guess?

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

But it definitely felt like, uhhhh, who are these people?

Allie Press:

Cuz they're not Cordelia's crew.

Allie Press:

But I guess they're cooler than Buffy, but probably less cool than Cordelia's crew.

Allie Press:

I guess they're-

Nick Mercer:

Higher up on the food chain...

Allie Press:

yeah

Nick Mercer:

...but not super high up themselves, yeah.

Allie Press:

I guess she just like really marked herself early

Allie Press:

being with Xander and Willow?

Allie Press:

Cause like she hasn't been at school that long.

Nick Mercer:

Right.

Allie Press:

And she's like already deemed a loser?

Allie Press:

I guess kids make up their minds really quickly.

Allie Press:

I don't know.

Nick Mercer:

Who knows.

Nick Mercer:

Very, yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Um, their insults are also not amazing.

Nick Mercer:

[Allie laughing] They are, they are, uh, they're looking at the kid in front

Nick Mercer:

of the monkey exhibit or whatever.

Nick Mercer:

And the quote I wrote down is, is one of them, the bully says

Nick Mercer:

to the kid they're making fun of, "Does somebody have a camera?

Nick Mercer:

Wha-push!"

Nick Mercer:

And they say that, they say the emote I typed out is "wha-push."

Nick Mercer:

And I wrote "LOL, what?"

Nick Mercer:

like, what is that?

Allie Press:

I think

Allie Press:

- Nick Mercer: That's not a good insult.

Allie Press:

I think they, I think the line that precedes

Allie Press:

that, though, isn't it something like, "Aww, it's a family reunion.

Allie Press:

Does somebody have a camera?"

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Which is also not a good insult.

Nick Mercer:

That's not, it's.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

I guess comparing you to a monkey, which it's like...

Allie Press:

accurate.

Nick Mercer:

And monkeys are cool.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

That's...

Nick Mercer:

what are you why?

Allie Press:

I dunno.

Nick Mercer:

You know...

Allie Press:

But you, but you know what, like

Allie Press:

- Nick Mercer: That's fine.

Allie Press:

I also, I'm the person who doesn't cave to

Allie Press:

peer pressure a lot though?

Allie Press:

Like when people would say, "Do it!

Allie Press:

You won't!

Allie Press:

No balls!"

Allie Press:

I was like, yeah, you're right.

Allie Press:

I won't do it.

Allie Press:

Good job.

Allie Press:

So I guess it's like, we won't get that because- I don't know.

Allie Press:

You'd have to do something more, more deep to insult one of us.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, we're not insulted by it.

Nick Mercer:

We're like, yeah, the monkey is, the monkey is cool.

Nick Mercer:

We are related to the monkey.

Allie Press:

Right.

Nick Mercer:

It is kind of a family reunion.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

What is your point?

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Okay.

Nick Mercer:

I see what you're saying.

Allie Press:

But yeah, they are definitely...

Allie Press:

they're neaderthals.

Allie Press:

[Nick laughs] And yeah, my first note is "Awww, Buff."

Allie Press:

Cause they're making fun of Buffy.

Allie Press:

Um, real talk, packmentality is such a thing.

Nick Mercer:

Mmm it is.

Allie Press:

Because it's - I wanna say there's even more than the four because

Allie Press:

there's at least three guys and two girls.

Allie Press:

So I think it's actually a pack of five.

Allie Press:

Um, but one of the girls isn't always there.

Allie Press:

There's that blonde chick.

Nick Mercer:

Ooohhh

Allie Press:

I wanna say I've seen - yes!

Allie Press:

Yes!

Allie Press:

Cuz there's the blonde, there's the girl with the short blonde

Allie Press:

hair and then there's the girl with the really short brown hair.

Nick Mercer:

So yeah, actually I didn't realize there were three guys.

Nick Mercer:

There's only, I thought there were only two.

Nick Mercer:

I thought, I thought it was a two and two situation.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

I have a picture right here.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

There's a two.

Nick Mercer:

Ehhh ehhh!

Nick Mercer:

Watch this space, friends.

Nick Mercer:

Watch this space.

Nick Mercer:

We'll see.

Allie Press:

[Chuckling]

Nick Mercer:

Allie is usually right about these kinds of things.

Nick Mercer:

So I'm gonna, I'm, Imma trust her.

Nick Mercer:

Imma trust her.

Allie Press:

But it is, it does vary throughout the episode because they do

Allie Press:

say like later with the pig incident and with like Principal Flutie,

Allie Press:

they say four students were seen going into the principal's office.

Nick Mercer:

Mm-hmm.

Allie Press:

So it's not the whole time.

Nick Mercer:

Well, and your point that, uh, the pack

Nick Mercer:

mentality, that really is true.

Allie Press:

So strong, so strong because it really does feel like life and

Allie Press:

death in, with those social situations.

Allie Press:

And it really does feel like, well, it's better to be in and miserable

Allie Press:

than out and completely alone.

Allie Press:

So I, yeah, I was lucky enough that I usually had a

Allie Press:

pretty solid group of friends.

Allie Press:

Um, I ditched most of the drama in middle school.

Allie Press:

Middle school was a heinous time.

Allie Press:

Was just...

Allie Press:

people...

Allie Press:

cuz everyone's just horrible.

Allie Press:

And like I said, every, every day feels like the end of the world school.

Nick Mercer:

Absolutely.

Allie Press:

And I loved it at the time, but looking back, I was like whuuuuut?

Nick Mercer:

Yep.

Allie Press:

What?

Allie Press:

There's just- Ugh.

Allie Press:

Like I, I, I definitely appreciate anyone who chooses to be a middle school

Allie Press:

teacher . Cause that's just horrid.

Nick Mercer:

Service medallions to all of you.

Allie Press:

Those are the true heroes and it is true, like,

Allie Press:

you think it's okay because...

Allie Press:

like there are things you will do with a group that you

Allie Press:

just wouldn't do by yourself.

Nick Mercer:

Well, and I remember I would, um, I remember this

Nick Mercer:

even into high school, Allie.

Nick Mercer:

Um, there was this crew of theater kids where it was like the cool theater kids.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

And there would be people who I'd be buds with,

Nick Mercer:

they would just act different around this "cool" group of kids.

Nick Mercer:

I would be like, I thought we were buds, but now you're being mean-

Allie Press:

Yep.

Nick Mercer:

-when they're around.

Nick Mercer:

What?

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, that's the packmentality, though, ain't it, Allie?!

Allie Press:

It's just the, it's just the trying to fit in and

Allie Press:

- Nick Mercer: Trying to be cool, yeah.

Allie Press:

Yeah, I remember when I first started doing shows at Drama

Allie Press:

Learning Center, I got invited to go, go to the mall with some of the cool kids.

Nick Mercer:

[Unsarcastically gasps]

Allie Press:

And I remember just like staying really quiet.

Allie Press:

And just kind of going along with like whatever they were saying.

Allie Press:

I didn't really have any problems with anybody, but I

Allie Press:

definitely remember thinking like, well, thank god they like me.

Nick Mercer:

Mmm mhm.

Allie Press:

Because I would probably never know if they didn't, but they would

Allie Press:

totally be trashing me behind my back.

Allie Press:

And that's just...

Allie Press:

it's the worst feeling.

Nick Mercer:

Ugh.

Nick Mercer:

Gross.

Allie Press:

It is the worst feeling.

Nick Mercer:

I'm so glad I'm not a teenager anymore.

Allie Press:

Ugh!

Nick Mercer:

Yikes.

Allie Press:

Yes.

Allie Press:

Oh my god.

Nick Mercer:

Um, I have another question for you.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

So at the end of one of these scenes, Xander has, um, so

Nick Mercer:

the pack, however many they are, um, brought the kid they were making fun

Nick Mercer:

of into the hyena exhibit, Xander chases them, and then at the end, they

Nick Mercer:

all like get possessed or whatever.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

And they start laughing.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Is it hard...

Nick Mercer:

you're an actor.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

Is it hard to fake laugh?

Allie Press:

Uuuuuuhhhhh...

Allie Press:

I don't think-

Nick Mercer:

They are cackling.

Nick Mercer:

They're cackling.

Allie Press:

They are cackling, but I, I don't think so.

Allie Press:

Because especially with something like that, it kind of ends up

Allie Press:

cycling into itself because you're like, wow, I'm being so ridiculous.

Allie Press:

And it makes you laugh even more.

Allie Press:

Um, also, I don't know.

Allie Press:

It's just one of those things that you, you figure out how to do.

Allie Press:

You kind of have this Rolodex in your head of These Are Funny Things,

Allie Press:

or, you know, you think of...

Allie Press:

Charlie the Unicorn or, or Salad Fingers or whatever.

Allie Press:

And, uh, you just start, you find ways to, to make yourself laugh.

Allie Press:

And also some of it is muscle memory?

Allie Press:

Like if you force yourself to yawn, you can start feeling sleepy.

Allie Press:

Or if you force yourself to smile, you start feeling happier.

Allie Press:

So some of it is like, if I just go with that muscle memory of laughing,

Allie Press:

it just kind of ends up there.

Allie Press:

So it doesn't always have to start with the thought and

Allie Press:

then go with the physicality.

Allie Press:

Sometimes it can actually go the other way.

Nick Mercer:

Actions can spark feelings, man.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Sage advice for anybody, Allie.

Nick Mercer:

It is.

Allie Press:

Speaking of the, the actor stuff, the guy who plays Kyle,

Allie Press:

the lead of the, of the dbags, other than Xander, um, I looked him up cause

Allie Press:

I was like, he looks really familiar.

Allie Press:

Is he...

Allie Press:

cause he kind of sounded like another actor from a TV show.

Allie Press:

So I looked him up.

Allie Press:

He has been doing very well for himself.

Allie Press:

So snaps, snaps to him.

Nick Mercer:

Good for him!

Allie Press:

He has had really consistent IMDB credits and he's like on real shows

Allie Press:

and things and yeah, just good for him.

Allie Press:

But this was actually his first, as far as IMDB goes, I'm sure he

Allie Press:

was in plenty of stuff before this.

Allie Press:

Um, this is his first IMDB credit.

Nick Mercer:

Wow.

Nick Mercer:

That's pretty neat.

Allie Press:

A good, pretty good start.

Nick Mercer:

And he did well here, so maybe, maybe this was

Nick Mercer:

a launching off point for him.

Nick Mercer:

Who knows?

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

What was your next note?

Nick Mercer:

Um, my next note is, okay, so at this point, Xander is infected,

Nick Mercer:

but not totally infected whatever.

Nick Mercer:

They're at The Bronze.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

Uh, Buffy and Willow are talking and then Xander walks in.

Nick Mercer:

And then I have a note that mega prowl Xander, Xander on the prowl...

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

I'm not mad about it.

Allie Press:

Okay.

Allie Press:

I have a very similar note of Buffy the Vampire Slayer proving time and

Allie Press:

time again that confidence is sexy.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

That is why bad guy- I think that is the pinpoint of why bad guys are

Allie Press:

hot because they've got all that pride, all of that attitude, all of that stuff.

Allie Press:

And that is just so fucking hot.

Allie Press:

So when he, he comes in with no self consciousness, just

Allie Press:

owning the room, that's hot!

Allie Press:

It's so hot!

Nick Mercer:

Yes, Xander.

Nick Mercer:

Keep that, keep that, Xander.

Nick Mercer:

Not the like eating people thing or the being mean to your friends, but that, that

Nick Mercer:

confident walk you, you keep struting.

Allie Press:

Right?

Allie Press:

Also, a very fun costume note.

Allie Press:

The sec, almost the second that he, I guess the first time we

Allie Press:

see him after the possession, his clothing has changed to all dark.

Nick Mercer:

It's darker!

Allie Press:

It's all dark colors.

Allie Press:

Whereas before we're seeing him in like these bright patterns, stuff like that.

Allie Press:

As soon as we see him with that and, and throughout the whole episode, it's the

Allie Press:

dark colors and like that dark jacket.

Nick Mercer:

I was gonna say my, so my note is that I'm not mad about

Nick Mercer:

Xander on the prowl, but I am a little mad about his less fun clothing.

Nick Mercer:

But I guess, whatever, whatever.

Nick Mercer:

We'll take what we can get.

Nick Mercer:

But that is a very interesting - yes, the, uh, costume people on Buffy

Nick Mercer:

really crush it, don't they?

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

I have a note about Buffy's costume later on.

Allie Press:

Cool.

Allie Press:

Um, so clearly the episode is very, in addition to, you know, pack mentality,

Allie Press:

fitting in, you know, cliques and stuff, also clearly about hormones

Allie Press:

and like the effect of testosterone.

Allie Press:

Because we do see the, like I said, we do see the girls, and that kind

Allie Press:

of factors into the whole like mean girls and packs and stuff like that.

Allie Press:

But, um, I feel like most of the actions done are from the guys of the group.

Allie Press:

Yeah, so I, I had hormones and testosterone in addition to the desire

Allie Press:

to change to be part of a group.

Allie Press:

Um, no matter how toxic that change can be.

Allie Press:

Can you, as a guy, cuz I know there's just the two of us here and I don't

Allie Press:

have, well, I, I have testosterone in me, but not to the levels as you do.

Allie Press:

So can you speak to that change or do you have any other like

Allie Press:

reflections of what you saw around you with your peers in high school?

Nick Mercer:

Ooh, Allie, that is a really question.

Nick Mercer:

Evil testosterone.

Allie Press:

Cause there are things that I've heard that factor into why, like,

Allie Press:

why guys suppress emotions and stuff because like testosterone makes you

Allie Press:

feel like angry all the time and blah, so you learn to suppress your emotions

Allie Press:

so that you don't like constantly get in fights and things like that.

Nick Mercer:

Hmm.

Nick Mercer:

I would welcome your feedback if you ever- so when you say, when I imagine

Nick Mercer:

a, like, teen guy feeling the full effects of test, like, man, hormones

Nick Mercer:

are rage - that's not a great, that does not conjure up an amazing image for me.

Nick Mercer:

It conjures up kind of a smelly image, some of like, uh, like little

Nick Mercer:

toxic, little, uh, I don't know.

Nick Mercer:

So I, uh, yeah, I hope that I - I don't know.

Nick Mercer:

Did I ever, I would have to really reflect on that, Allie.

Nick Mercer:

That is a really good question.

Nick Mercer:

I think I was always more, definitely more in tune with my emotions

Nick Mercer:

than the average teenage dude.

Nick Mercer:

Um, I never felt like, like kind of another sense that I get from this

Nick Mercer:

pack here is this like this, this feeling to conquer or feeling to

Nick Mercer:

- Allie Press: Mmmmm.

Nick Mercer:

Like that, that's like part of the bullying to me is this need to

Nick Mercer:

- Allie Press: Sure.

Nick Mercer:

I dunno.

Allie Press:

Exert dominance kind of thing?

Nick Mercer:

Exert dominance.

Nick Mercer:

Exactly.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

And I never, I don't think I ever really felt like that either.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

That's also just like, not really your personality.

Nick Mercer:

What comes to mind for you when you think of, uh, when you think

Nick Mercer:

of this pack mentality in high school?

Allie Press:

Ooh.

Allie Press:

In high school.

Allie Press:

Uhhh...I guess, I guess something that comes to mind is one, one of our close,

Allie Press:

close friends, Anna, ended up hanging out with a different group, uh, freshman year?

Allie Press:

And I was like, not a fan of those people.

Allie Press:

Uh, but like, I, it's not, like I saw Anna doing anything differently with them.

Allie Press:

I was just like, well, you'll come back to me eventually.

Allie Press:

[Nick laughs] Which is exactly what happened, by the way.

Nick Mercer:

We'll let this one work itself out here.

Allie Press:

Yeah, this is gonna work itself out.

Allie Press:

Uh, and it did.

Allie Press:

And, you know, we kept the good eggs and pitched the rest.

Nick Mercer:

That is so funny.

Nick Mercer:

There was one time, I think it was, I think it was sophomore

Nick Mercer:

or junior year of high school.

Nick Mercer:

I think it was...

Nick Mercer:

I don't know, one of the two, we'll see where this story goes.

Nick Mercer:

You can cut it out if it ends up being mad - bad.

Nick Mercer:

But, uh, I think I was starting to try to get with, hang out with

Nick Mercer:

another, another theater crew.

Nick Mercer:

And Anna was actually one of the ones who pulled me aside and was like,

Nick Mercer:

Nick, these are not- stop selling out.

Nick Mercer:

[Allie laughing] Stop.

Nick Mercer:

You need to - and I still remember that and I really respect her for doing that.

Allie Press:

That's really funny.

Allie Press:

Good on her.

Allie Press:

She, she is very, very aware with things like that.

Nick Mercer:

And she knows her values.

Allie Press:

She does.

Nick Mercer:

Goddamnit, Anna.

Allie Press:

She absolutely does.

Allie Press:

She's a gem.

Nick Mercer:

Okay, okay, so we presented a challenge to Anna to text us last episode.

Nick Mercer:

She, if she hears this, she needs to text us again this episode.

Nick Mercer:

I asked for penguin last episode.

Nick Mercer:

This episode, she needs to text...

Nick Mercer:

zebra.

Allie Press:

Zebra!

Nick Mercer:

We're in the zoo.

Allie Press:

Ooh, there you go.

Allie Press:

There you go.

Allie Press:

Um, but as far as like, I don't know, I floated, I had, I did

Allie Press:

so many activities in school.

Allie Press:

I floated among a lot of different groups.

Allie Press:

So there was definitely some feeling of detachment of like, wow, I

Allie Press:

don't really belong any one place?

Allie Press:

And there was definitely some weird feelings of like, well, I didn't

Allie Press:

quite feel like I fit in with the theater department because I

Allie Press:

prioritized shows outside of school.

Allie Press:

Because they were better quality and they gave me better roles.

Allie Press:

So [Nick chuckling], yeah, so it felt weird to like, be an actor who wasn't

Allie Press:

really part of the theater department.

Allie Press:

And so I wasn't really part of that crew, which, in turn, left me out of

Allie Press:

some drama, which was kind of nice.

Allie Press:

I like to observe and hear about drama, but I don't like to be part of it.

Allie Press:

I think that's a very distinct difference.

Allie Press:

I mean, we didn't have, at least in my classes and in the areas, we

Allie Press:

didn't really have a ton of people where I was observing bullying.

Allie Press:

I felt really bad every standardized test when they would also tack on

Allie Press:

that, like bullying survey because like, I'm sure there is bullying

Allie Press:

that needs to be called out, but I was not personally observing it.

Nick Mercer:

Hmm.

Allie Press:

But I was like, it's high school, I guarantee it's happening.

Nick Mercer:

Right, right.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, I think we did go to a mostly friendly high school overall.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

Overall, especially compared with others, others in the county.

Nick Mercer:

Um, I wrote down one of my next notes is, so Buffy's in the library,

Nick Mercer:

uh, working out with Giles or whatever.

Nick Mercer:

Um, one of these moves that she does is super dope.

Nick Mercer:

She jumps up and kicks and hits his hand with both feet.

Nick Mercer:

And I, I don't know.

Nick Mercer:

I just felt like that move needed some kudos, cuz that was pretty dope.

Allie Press:

Yes.

Allie Press:

Snaps to that.

Allie Press:

Uh, I have, my next note is, uh, we may have, I feel like we might

Allie Press:

have been the last generation to actually play dodgeball in school.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, haha.

Allie Press:

Or at least at aftercare.

Allie Press:

I know we played it at, at aftercare.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, even our generation, we did not play it during school,

Nick Mercer:

but yeah, it was an aftercare thing.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

But we definitely did play it.

Nick Mercer:

I, I saw a few times during this, I think the rules around dodgeball

Nick Mercer:

changed by the time we came along, Allie.

Nick Mercer:

I distinctly remember if you threw a ball and they caught it, you were out.

Allie Press:

Correct.

Nick Mercer:

They did not do that.

Allie Press:

Mmm.

Nick Mercer:

While, this one was just throw all the balls you want,

Nick Mercer:

catch all the balls you want, but you only get out if you get hit.

Allie Press:

Mm.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

If you caught it, they were out and you got to bring in one of your players.

Nick Mercer:

Oh, yeah, you're right!

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Allie Press:

So I don't know.

Allie Press:

I, I feel like there may have been, I don't know, for the purpose of the

Allie Press:

filming, they may have changed some things and like, maybe they didn't want,

Allie Press:

it might have had to do with the flow of the scene, like, they didn't want

Allie Press:

too many people walking off, or I dunno.

Allie Press:

There may have been some other...

Nick Mercer:

Little dose of nostalgia for us.

Nick Mercer:

Although, who doesn't remember being terrified when the dodgeball game started.

Allie Press:

I mean, we also had rules about like, you know, chest and below.

Nick Mercer:

Mm.

Nick Mercer:

Mhm.

Allie Press:

Um, I said the, the real line here where we

Allie Press:

see like, Xander's definitely different is when he hits Willow.

Nick Mercer:

Mm.

Nick Mercer:

She just looks so hurt, doesn't she?

Allie Press:

And just like baffled and yeah.

Allie Press:

I love next when she, she calls him out on it afterwards.

Allie Press:

She doesn't let time pass.

Allie Press:

She goes like, what the heck was that?

Allie Press:

Uh, and I, I have a sort of who, where the fuck is the teacher?

Allie Press:

But then we see him after and he says, "God, this game is brutal.

Allie Press:

I love it."

Allie Press:

And you're like, oh, okay.

Allie Press:

So he's, he's a dick and loves watching kids torture each other.

Allie Press:

Okay.

Nick Mercer:

You're a bad person.

Allie Press:

Yeah!

Allie Press:

Cause he wa- he- cause the pack gains up on that little guy.

Nick Mercer:

So, and

Nick Mercer:

- Allie Press: Pelting him!

- Nick Mercer:

I was curious about that.

- Nick Mercer:

I, um, so while I was doing my usual Googling for the show, I found out that

- Nick Mercer:

there, that that was a, they did that, well, of course they did it intentionally,

- Nick Mercer:

but apparently it's emblematic of hyenas.

- Nick Mercer:

They were going for the symbolism that hyenas in the wild will not go

- Nick Mercer:

for the strongest predator around

- Nick Mercer:

- Allie Press: Mhmm.

- Nick Mercer:

Which Buffy was the only remaining team member.

- Nick Mercer:

They'll instead pick off the weak, which was-

Allie Press:

That makes sense.

Nick Mercer:

their remember.

Nick Mercer:

And that was one of those, I don't like this episode.

Nick Mercer:

You are helping me relate to it more with this talk about the pack and this, like,

Nick Mercer:

this pull that we feel in high school.

Nick Mercer:

That helps me relate to a little bit more.

Nick Mercer:

But this one, this piece too, I was like, okay, nevermind.

Nick Mercer:

This isn't just a stupid episode.

Nick Mercer:

I see a little bit more of the symbolism.

Allie Press:

Well, I was, I do have a note there somewhere, um, of like,

Allie Press:

I'm curious how biologically accurate what they're talking about is.

Allie Press:

Um, cause I do like the idea that they put that thought into it, cuz I, I

Allie Press:

didn't do my Googling like you did.

Allie Press:

So that's cool that they, that they did it that way.

Allie Press:

Um, I like to think that a smart show like this would do that thing.

Allie Press:

Oh!

Allie Press:

A note I skipped over when they're, um, in the hyena, when they're in the

Allie Press:

hyena place, uh, at the beginning of the episode and they talk about the like,

Allie Press:

hyenas will learn your name and call it at night to lure you away from the pack?

Allie Press:

[Wigged out noise]

Nick Mercer:

I, so I didn't look that up, but I did wanna look up like, obviously

Nick Mercer:

hyenas don't learn your name, but I made a note for myself to follow up on that.

Nick Mercer:

Like are hyenas particularly smart predators?

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

Do they have, my...

Allie Press:

I think they are...

Nick Mercer:

Are they?

Allie Press:

Yeah, relatively.

Allie Press:

Cause I think they're, I think they're in the same realm of dogs.

Allie Press:

Like, yeah, they're not like-

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

They're not like octopi, octopuses or anything.

Allie Press:

They're not like that level of smart, but like they're not,

Allie Press:

but they're not like dumb.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, no, but the idea of a predator saying my na - that would make me go

Nick Mercer:

- Allie Press: Horrifying.

- Nick Mercer:

crazy and leave my house and wonder, and then when I leave my house,

- Nick Mercer:

they can descend upon me or something.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Allie Press:

Yeah, I thought that was, that was terrifying.

Allie Press:

So, Xander has an alpha male inside of him.

Allie Press:

Cause he does, he kind of becomes part of the group and

Allie Press:

then he's kind of the leader.

Nick Mercer:

He leads the group.

Allie Press:

Yeah, like he kind of lets Kyle feel like he's in charge, but

Allie Press:

they really are deferring to Xander.

Nick Mercer:

Mm-hmm.

Allie Press:

Which is very interesting because so clearly

Allie Press:

that is, that's in there.

Allie Press:

And when, and he's capable of some cruel things when he's letting that dominate.

Allie Press:

Cuz I think we all have some not fantastic qualities inside of us.

Allie Press:

But it's like how we choose to act or not act on those things

Allie Press:

that makes us who we are.

Allie Press:

But it's like when Xander's acting on instinct, there's some

Allie Press:

not great stuff that happens.

Nick Mercer:

Well, and we'll see that later, too.

Nick Mercer:

His, uh, leadership capabilities when there is demonic energy involved.

Nick Mercer:

I don't wanna say anything too much more and give out spoilers, but I wonder if

Nick Mercer:

we're thinking of the same thing, Allie.

Nick Mercer:

Um, it is interesting to think about how, uh, I don't know.

Nick Mercer:

That's just a, that is a theme that will come up later on.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

I'm now thinking of a, a couple different instances where we see

Allie Press:

where, where we do end up seeing some of that like mature leader side.

Allie Press:

Um, of course it's hard to be a leader when you're, when you're next to Buffy.

Allie Press:

You may think you're a leader and then you see Buffy.

Allie Press:

Um, I love a slow group walk.

Allie Press:

Love it.

Allie Press:

[ Nick chuckles] A dramatic, slow walk.

Allie Press:

Love.

Allie Press:

Um, Buffy calls them the "Dode Patrol."

Allie Press:

And I was like, what the fuck is dode?

Allie Press:

So I looked it up.

Allie Press:

And I did find, um, it means socially inept or stupid.

Allie Press:

So.

Nick Mercer:

I didn't know that either.

Allie Press:

I never, maybe that was like 90s slang?

Allie Press:

I have no idea.

Allie Press:

Or, or a carryover from 80s slang that we missed by the time in like early 2000s?

Allie Press:

I don't know.

Allie Press:

I, yeah, I didn't know that one.

Nick Mercer:

I was moved by this exchange between Buffy and Willow.

Nick Mercer:

Um, Buffy says to Willow, "I think there's something wrong with him."

Nick Mercer:

And Willow says, "Or maybe there's something wrong with me."

Nick Mercer:

In my notes accompanying that is in all caps, NO WILLOW.

Nick Mercer:

YOU'RE PERFECT.

Nick Mercer:

Goddamnit.

Nick Mercer:

You're such a good friend.

Nick Mercer:

You help with math and stuff.

Allie Press:

Yeah, that was such a sad exchange.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

For Willow.

Allie Press:

I know.

Nick Mercer:

I'm glad that it gets cleared up later on.

Allie Press:

Abso- absolutely.

Allie Press:

And, and it is sad.

Allie Press:

I can see how difficult that must be on Buffy's part, like, I'm not

Allie Press:

trying to pull Xander away from her.

Allie Press:

Like she's clearly not interested in Xander.

Allie Press:

But so hard to like, get blamed for it, but also feel it's sort of justified.

Allie Press:

Uh, it's just so hard.

Allie Press:

Um, I do have a funny quote when Buffy goes to Giles to talk about like,

Allie Press:

I think something's like actually going on here, not just teenage-

Nick Mercer:

I have one, too.

Nick Mercer:

I wonder if it's the same one.

Allie Press:

It might be.

Allie Press:

Um, "It's terrible.

Allie Press:

He's turned into a six year old boy.

Allie Press:

Of course, of course, you'll have to kill him."

Nick Mercer:

[Laughing] Giles, you are such a bitch.

Nick Mercer:

I love you.

Allie Press:

I know.

Allie Press:

Such sass.

Allie Press:

Um, but it is like low key some boys will be boys shit.

Nick Mercer:

So, there's, there's that sense in this episode, there's,

Nick Mercer:

Giles has another quote in that scene.

Nick Mercer:

"Testosterone is a great equalizer.

Nick Mercer:

It turns all men into morons."

Nick Mercer:

Which is funny.

Nick Mercer:

Also gets kind of at this idea too, this boys who will be boys.

Nick Mercer:

No, testosterone does not turn anybody into morons.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

We are perfectly capable of not being mean to people.

Allie Press:

Right.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

Like it's not, it's like blaming crazy women

Allie Press:

on, like, their periods.

Allie Press:

Now, I'm not saying that mood swings aren't a thing cuz they hundo p are.

Allie Press:

And there are times in your life where you don't have the self-awareness

Allie Press:

- and some people never develop the self-awareness - to recognize when that

Allie Press:

mood is your own versus not your own.

Allie Press:

I didn't always- like high school, I did not have that as a period symptom.

Allie Press:

I would get a little weepy during Glee.

Allie Press:

And then I would be like, oh, I'm gonna start my period tomorrow.

Allie Press:

And sure enough, I did.

Allie Press:

It happened several weeks in a row, or several, several months in a row.

Allie Press:

It was very odd.

Allie Press:

I would cry during Glee and then think like, wow, that was weird.

Allie Press:

And then I'd start my period the next day.

Allie Press:

But then I changed up my birth control in college and I started having them - not

Allie Press:

just being weepy, but sometimes the like weird giggly, which is actually

Allie Press:

scarier than the depressed mood swing.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, I bet.

Allie Press:

Um, and like the anger or like the sensitivity, it's very,

Allie Press:

very odd and I'm lucky to be a pretty self-aware person, so I know, oh, this

Allie Press:

isn't, this isn't me feeling this.

Allie Press:

This is my period making me feel this.

Allie Press:

But I can see where you might act out of testosterone-fueled rage or whatever.

Allie Press:

And it's not about that not being okay, it's about like Giles could

Allie Press:

have then sat him down and been like, I know this is what's going on, but

Allie Press:

your behavior is not acceptable.

Nick Mercer:

Right, right, right.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

The, the solution as a much older man is not to be like, well, oh, well, shrug.

Nick Mercer:

This is what they do.

Allie Press:

We were all jerks in high school.

Nick Mercer:

Take some action.

Nick Mercer:

Right.

Allie Press:

Right.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Right.

Allie Press:

Yeah, I think there's so much of things just need to be a conversation.

Nick Mercer:

Mm-hmm.

Allie Press:

Like, it's not...

Allie Press:

yeah.

Allie Press:

I don't know.

Allie Press:

Or like, I remember one of our teachers had to talk to one of the classes

Allie Press:

because like the boys weren't showering.

Nick Mercer:

Ew.

Allie Press:

I don't know if you remember this in middle school.

Allie Press:

There was a time, I think it was, I wanna say it was when we were in

Allie Press:

seventh grade and we would come into health class and it would just reek.

Allie Press:

And we said something to our teacher and she's like, I know, I'm gonna

Allie Press:

have a talk with my sixth graders.

Nick Mercer:

Ms.

Nick Mercer:

Sicaaa..

Allie Press:

I know Ms.

Allie Press:

Sica was the best.

Allie Press:

Um, and she was like, I'm gonna have a talk with the sixth graders.

Allie Press:

I, I know.

Allie Press:

Cause they don- like they, you stink!

Allie Press:

And they don't get that you, like, showering is not

Allie Press:

an optional thing anymore.

Nick Mercer:

Right.

Allie Press:

Anywho.

Nick Mercer:

Um, I wrote down, just a note for myself that this is not

Nick Mercer:

the first time and it will not be the last time that Buffy notices

Nick Mercer:

something, says something's up, somebody back to her is like, no, it's fine.

Nick Mercer:

And then it is indeed something.

Nick Mercer:

She did the same thing with "Teacher's Pet."

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

She was like, there's something wrong with them.

Nick Mercer:

And they were like, no, there's, they're just...

Allie Press:

Yeah, you're right.

Allie Press:

Ooh some Giles gas lighting.

Allie Press:

I did have this note of Giles, you fought a human-sized praying mantis and

Allie Press:

you're laughing at turning into a hyena?

Nick Mercer:

Mmm.

Allie Press:

Rude.

Nick Mercer:

That's not the strangest thing you've seen now, Giles.

Nick Mercer:

Come on.

Allie Press:

Rude.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

Um, also very interesting and I have a feeling this is one of

Allie Press:

the scenes that you have a problem with so I'm interested to talk about it.

Allie Press:

Xander able to sneak up on Buffy.

Nick Mercer:

So, okay.

Nick Mercer:

Yes.

Nick Mercer:

Do, uh, let's, let's revisit the sexual assault that either

Nick Mercer:

happens or is about to happen-

Allie Press:

mm-hmm

Nick Mercer:

-in that scene.

Nick Mercer:

We'll put that on a shelf and come back to it because man, that's problematic.

Nick Mercer:

But yeah, this, this thing Giles says later on too, I feel like, I feel like

Nick Mercer:

it's not super well established that this being possessed by hyenas also gives

Nick Mercer:

them supernatural abilities apparently?

Allie Press:

Um, it does a bit.

Allie Press:

It does, um, there, there's definitely some...

Allie Press:

well, because the, uh, the zookeeper dude or the hyena enclosure dude, he wanted

Allie Press:

it because it endows you with some power.

Nick Mercer:

But it wasn't clear to me that...

Nick Mercer:

like, as I was watching...

Allie Press:

And it is actually said in the episode.

Nick Mercer:

When Giles later on says, oh, one of them is nearly as

Nick Mercer:

strong as you, let alone in a pack.

Allie Press:

Right.

Nick Mercer:

I remember being like, I don't, when did we

Nick Mercer:

discover that they were...

Allie Press:

I think it's kind of this scene.

Allie Press:

And also the fact that they're able to like rip at flesh without tools.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, I don't know.

Nick Mercer:

It just, I, uh...

Allie Press:

They're able to eat a, eat a human person and a pig-

Nick Mercer:

I

Nick Mercer:

- Allie Press: -without tools.

Nick Mercer:

I could have used, I, I could have used a

Nick Mercer:

little bit more of a link here.

Nick Mercer:

And it seems like we learn new things about the villains we fight, we learn they

Nick Mercer:

have like abilities or whatever, but we're not surprised by them when he was able to

Nick Mercer:

sneak up on Buffy, I was like, oh, Okay.

Nick Mercer:

I guess.

Nick Mercer:

All right.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

Well, and I think-

Nick Mercer:

I guess we're doing that.

- Allie Press:

they, their powers also grew as the hyena took over them more and more.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

So I think we see a little more of it as we go through

Allie Press:

the, the episode and yeah, just the fact that he's able to pin her.

Allie Press:

She's able to push him off, but it, it's not easily.

Allie Press:

She has to fight it.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, she does.

Allie Press:

And I have this awful quote that I wrote down.

Allie Press:

Um, "The more I scare you, the better you smell."

Nick Mercer:

Ugh.

Allie Press:

So, yeah.

Allie Press:

So let's talk about thoughts on, on this sexual assault, cuz it

Allie Press:

is absolutely sexual assault.

Nick Mercer:

Um, I, it, I feel like this is one of those times where, um,

Nick Mercer:

if this were being taped today, it would be, I, I think that there are ways to

Nick Mercer:

get at the same energy of what they're saying, like this predator instinct

Nick Mercer:

that, that Xander is being overcome by.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

I think nowadays, like they would've taped this in

Nick Mercer:

a way that that's still would've been clear, but not what, like-

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

The way, the way it's shown now, it could be

Nick Mercer:

pretty triggering for somebody-

Allie Press:

Absolutely.

Allie Press:

Oh yeah.

- Nick Mercer:

to watch this.

- Nick Mercer:

I think that nowadays, like this may be one of those few times where this

- Nick Mercer:

piece just didn't age super well?

- Nick Mercer:

What do you think?

Allie Press:

Yeah, so I have a few, I have a few thoughts on it.

Allie Press:

Cuz yeah, it was definitely kind of hard to watch.

Allie Press:

And I think we kind of have to treat it in a larger context with Buffy of

Allie Press:

the things that they do don't run as deep because otherwise every, every

Allie Press:

episode is a trauma-level event.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

We've talked about that before.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

That's a good reminder here, too.

Allie Press:

We did, we did mention that.

Allie Press:

So, cause yeah, I, my first thought was going to, even though she knows

Allie Press:

that he's possessed by hyena and not himself, it is still her friend's

Allie Press:

face and voice doing those things.

Allie Press:

And I don't know how comfortable I would be afterwards with this friend.

Nick Mercer:

Mm-hmm.

Allie Press:

I can imagine that adjustment period, even, again, knowing,

Allie Press:

knowing in your head, this is not him.

Allie Press:

This is not him.

Allie Press:

Because that is again the whole thing with Buffy of like it's

Allie Press:

metaphorical, but also in the context of the show, he is possessed.

Allie Press:

It is not just testosterone.

Allie Press:

It goes way beyond that.

Allie Press:

Um, and pretty much any of us, if we were stripped to our animal instincts

Allie Press:

alone would not be great people.

Nick Mercer:

Mm.

Allie Press:

So, I can see where, in the context of the show, we're able to

Allie Press:

move on, but if it were treated like all these things are as deep as they

Allie Press:

would be, like, if this were Riverdale, this would have far more consequences

Allie Press:

that would be closer to the real life of how trauma, trauma-inducing this

Allie Press:

would be - traumatic this would be.

Allie Press:

But in the context of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I, I think we're

Allie Press:

allowed to give Xander forgiveness because he's not really him.

Allie Press:

Kind of like what we will - I guess this is a little spoilery, but like,

Allie Press:

you know, Angel versus Angelus.

Nick Mercer:

Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Allie Press:

Again, same face, but in the context of the show and this supernatural,

Allie Press:

we know that that is not him.

Nick Mercer:

Part of the difference between Angel and Angelus for me is

Nick Mercer:

that Angelus is part, part of the reason Angel is the way he is, is because he's

Nick Mercer:

racked with guilt over what he did.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

And then Xander pulls this trick at the end, this not remembering,

Nick Mercer:

which is like lol, which is like funny how they handle it because,

Nick Mercer:

but, but it's like, there's a, uh...

Allie Press:

Lack of consequences?

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

I don't...

Nick Mercer:

yeah, like there, there isn't a learning at all.

Allie Press:

But I think there - I, I think there could be learning, though,

Allie Press:

because - and this is, this is me filling things in, but I like to think

Allie Press:

that informs Xander's future decisions.

Allie Press:

Um, you know, like I feel like that maybe gives him, maybe he is racked with guilt.

Allie Press:

And actually he's obviously racked with guilt, otherwise he wouldn't

Allie Press:

pretend that he didn't remember.

Nick Mercer:

That's true.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Well, that's true.

Allie Press:

Um, so I like to think that it's a unpleasant, but a core

Allie Press:

memory, nonetheless, that does affect his choices in the future.

Allie Press:

We just don't necessarily see that, but we see him acting

Allie Press:

with gentility and chivalry.

Allie Press:

So we see his actions proving that he is a good guy.

Nick Mercer:

Uh, that's true.

Nick Mercer:

Still not thrilled with-

Allie Press:

It's still not a fun, it's still not a fun scene.

Allie Press:

For sure.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

It is an uncomfortable scene no matter, uh, however you turn it.

Allie Press:

Uh, my next note-

Nick Mercer:

I - oh, go ahead.

Allie Press:

My next note, though, is Flutie walked so Snyder could run.

Nick Mercer:

[Laughing] Oh, poor Principal Flutie!

Nick Mercer:

I love him so much.

Nick Mercer:

He's just, so what, what does he say?

Nick Mercer:

"I've seen some sick things, but a piggy!

Nick Mercer:

A little piggy!"

Nick Mercer:

Oh, you were so gonna die.

Nick Mercer:

My god.

Allie Press:

Oh, oh, from day one, you had an X on your back.

Allie Press:

Um, and I do have, quickly going back to that other scene, I do have at

Allie Press:

least Buffy recognizes it as assault.

Allie Press:

So it is not brushed off by Buffy.

Allie Press:

It is recognized.

Allie Press:

She comes in is like, oh, well he just tried to commit felony

Allie Press:

assault and she does knock him out.

Allie Press:

So.

Nick Mercer:

Uh, true.

Allie Press:

So there is kind of some ultimate good triumphing

Allie Press:

over evil kind of stuff.

Allie Press:

So there's that.

Allie Press:

The cage comes in clutch.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

That, that, that cage was a good investment on Giles's part.

Nick Mercer:

Um, the next scene after that one, I just thought it was silly, we don't

Nick Mercer:

know any, maybe there's a perfectly logical explanation, but this woman

Nick Mercer:

is just going for a casual, nighttime walk through the woods with her baby...

Nick Mercer:

I'm glad she's safe.

Nick Mercer:

I'm glad they didn't eat her, but it was like, okay, cool.

Nick Mercer:

Great.

Allie Press:

Yeah, people make some odd choices.

Nick Mercer:

Uh, this, this is a question about, uh, Principal

Nick Mercer:

Flutie, did nobody hear him screaming at the top of his lungs?

Nick Mercer:

No, they're probably used to, they've heard weirder things

Nick Mercer:

at Sunnydale High School than somebody screaming in their office.

Allie Press:

I guess?

Allie Press:

Yeah...

Allie Press:

or, or was it after school?

Allie Press:

Maybe?

Allie Press:

So most people were gone?

Nick Mercer:

Maybe.

Nick Mercer:

That's a good point too.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, that's good.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah, because the next scene we see is very late at night, so

Nick Mercer:

that would be a logical assumption to make that it's after...

Allie Press:

We'll go with that.

Allie Press:

It's after school so there weren't people nearby.

Nick Mercer:

Question answered.

Allie Press:

Um, I will say, quick story time, I have a soft spot for hyenas.

Allie Press:

So I...

Nick Mercer:

What?

Allie Press:

I do, I have a soft spot for hyenas and I'll explain.

Allie Press:

So, first of all, the comic book character Harley Quinn has pet hyenas.

Allie Press:

So there you go.

Allie Press:

There's that.

Allie Press:

Simple.

Nick Mercer:

I didn't know that.

Nick Mercer:

That's neat.

Allie Press:

One of them's named Bruce.

Allie Press:

At least in, in the movie Birds of Prey he's named Bruce.

Allie Press:

And then the other part is, so I was playing a DnD campaign - yes,

Allie Press:

I'm a full-fledged nerd.

Allie Press:

Thank you.

Allie Press:

I was playing a DnD campaign and it was a character that I sort

Allie Press:

of was inspired by Harley Quinn.

Allie Press:

Um, and at one point, I rolled a really bad role.

Allie Press:

So what was supposed to be, I think I used my crossbow or something like that, it

Allie Press:

ended up completely missing and it hit and killed a mama hyena who had cubs with her.

Allie Press:

[Nick gasps] So I, in game, took the pups with me and raised them as my own.

Allie Press:

And so for a time, my character had these pet hyenas.

Nick Mercer:

This is a, okay, okay.

Nick Mercer:

That story ends nicely, though.

Nick Mercer:

You got some pet hyenas.

Nick Mercer:

That's good.

Allie Press:

I know.

Allie Press:

It's an awful beginning right there, but for a while I had, I had some pet hyenas.

Nick Mercer:

You had some pet hyenas.

Nick Mercer:

That's so funny.

Allie Press:

I had a deep affection for them.

Allie Press:

So there's my little Allie loves hyenas story.

Nick Mercer:

I have a note here to look up, in the same way that

Nick Mercer:

I wanted to look up if hyenas are abnormally smart, are hyenas, this

Nick Mercer:

episode assumes they are evil.

Nick Mercer:

I know there's like some predation there.

Nick Mercer:

They, what, like I wanted to look up are hyenas...

Nick Mercer:

I, just, just more into their personality.

Nick Mercer:

You know, I looked up their laugh and the laugh sounds very similar-

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

- Nick Mercer:

to what we heard, which is really interesting.

Allie Press:

Um, I mean, if Lion King is to, is to be believed, they are kind

Allie Press:

of the scourge of the animal kingdom.

Allie Press:

They are thought of as like dirty scavengers.

Allie Press:

Is kind of the impression that I get from them.

Nick Mercer:

Same.

Nick Mercer:

We need scavengers, though.

Nick Mercer:

That's a good thing we need.

Allie Press:

Sure, but people still, still shit on crows and stuff like that.

Nick Mercer:

Oh, I was gonna say, I like crows.

Nick Mercer:

Maybe I'm weird.

Nick Mercer:

Who knows?

Nick Mercer:

Maybe I'm the, maybe I'm the bad person.

Allie Press:

No, crows bring you shiny things.

Allie Press:

My mom loves crows.

Nick Mercer:

Mm-hmm.

Allie Press:

My mom's a weird bird person.

Allie Press:

So.

Nick Mercer:

Um, when Buffy is chasing the, uh, when she's trying to get the pack

Nick Mercer:

of, the pack to follow her to the zoo.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

And she, she's, she's rescuing this family

Nick Mercer:

that the pack has attacked.

Nick Mercer:

She does this sick Slayer stance on top of the car.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Where she's like, look at me, come on!

Nick Mercer:

Don't you want a real?

Nick Mercer:

And it's just a badass Buffy moment that I liked.

Allie Press:

Heck yeah.

Allie Press:

After that name thing, which is ugh - awful.

Allie Press:

Um, my question that same scene continue on in that same scene.

Allie Press:

Um, how small is Sunnydale?

Nick Mercer:

I wrote this question down too, Allie.

Nick Mercer:

Okay.

Nick Mercer:

I'm glad you brought this up because I have a note about this.

Allie Press:

I mean, I know it's small, but...

Nick Mercer:

I wasn't gonna bring it up because I feel like I've been the Debbie

Nick Mercer:

Downer on this episode, but in The Bronze, Willow references Xander being a bad

Nick Mercer:

mood on the way back on the, on the bus.

Nick Mercer:

No, she says on the bus ride back.

Nick Mercer:

So at some point they have decided that it is far enough that they

Nick Mercer:

need a bus to get from the zoo back to school, wherever they're going.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

But it looks like Buffy just ran - I don't know.

Nick Mercer:

I'm suspending my disbelief.

Allie Press:

Yeah, cause she runs on foot.

Allie Press:

Cause like we, I guess we can assume that Giles and Willow drove to the zoo.

Allie Press:

Because he has a car and we see his car and stuff.

Allie Press:

Um, not yet, but like we will.

Nick Mercer:

The timing of it, we have to assume that they couldn't have it.

Nick Mercer:

They, yeah, there's no way they could have outrun.

Allie Press:

Right.

Allie Press:

So she, so she tracks them down and then has them follow her

Allie Press:

on foot all the way to the zoo.

Nick Mercer:

I'm really, I feel validated in my note taking.

Allie Press:

Totally.

Nick Mercer:

Thank you, Allie.

Allie Press:

Because I, trust me, my mom is from a small town.

Allie Press:

Like I have seen small towns that maybe you really could run from the library

Allie Press:

to the school or something like that.

Allie Press:

But towns that small don't have a zoo.

Nick Mercer:

Zoos themself are not, their footprint is large.

Nick Mercer:

They animals that need a lot of space.

Allie Press:

Right!

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

Exactly.

Allie Press:

So like Sunnydale would not have a zoo.

Allie Press:

Their, maybe their county would have a zoo or some, but yeah, I'm totally with you.

Allie Press:

Clearly Sunnydale just got, maybe they just had like somebody rich live

Allie Press:

in that town and like they funded the zoo or something like that.

Nick Mercer:

It was a pet project for that billionaire who lived there or something.

Allie Press:

They like clearly constituted some kind of like quicker transportation.

Allie Press:

Anyway.

Allie Press:

Um, is someone keeping track of how many times Giles gets knocked out?

Nick Mercer:

I hope, poor Giles.

Nick Mercer:

Um, he's savage here.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

In this exchange that he has with the zookeeper.

Nick Mercer:

When he says, this is just such a good example of, I, I don't know his, his wit-

Allie Press:

mm-hmm

Nick Mercer:

-really comes with an edge to it.

Nick Mercer:

He says, "How terribly frustrating for you that a bunch of school children

Nick Mercer:

could accomplish what you could not."

Allie Press:

Yeeaaahhh!

Nick Mercer:

Man.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

And well, and he did

Allie Press:

- Nick Mercer: Are you trying to

Allie Press:

What do you, what is your goal here, Giles?

Allie Press:

Man.

Allie Press:

He does have a mean streak.

Allie Press:

And I did have that thought earlier in the episode of like,

Allie Press:

oh, that guy must be pissed.

Allie Press:

That is not who that was supposed to happen to.

Nick Mercer:

Oh, you idiot.

Nick Mercer:

Man, you suck at your job.

Allie Press:

Okay.

Allie Press:

But then when he performs the spell or whatever, it's so quick.

Allie Press:

It's like one sentence.

Nick Mercer:

Mm-hmm.

Allie Press:

So I was just like, okay, all right.

Allie Press:

That was quick.

Nick Mercer:

He, he also has no reason- I'm thrilled that he didn't kill Giles and

Nick Mercer:

Willow, but I'm just thinking cynically from his perspective, I don't think that

Nick Mercer:

he had a great reason to not kill...

Nick Mercer:

if not Willow, then certainly Giles.

Allie Press:

You're right.

Allie Press:

He could have at least killed one of them because he did still need one

Allie Press:

of them to be there to commit the act of violence or act of aggression

Allie Press:

or whatever that the spell needed.

Nick Mercer:

Oooooohhh.

Allie Press:

But he only needs one.

Nick Mercer:

You're right.

Allie Press:

So he definitely could have killed, could have killed Giles

Allie Press:

cuz he was the strong, stronger one.

Nick Mercer:

Maybe it was more efficient to not, I don't know.

Nick Mercer:

Who knows.

Nick Mercer:

Very interesting.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

I mean there are definitely some things that don't happen just

Allie Press:

because like you can't kill Giles.

Nick Mercer:

We can't kill Giles.

Allie Press:

It's episode six.

Nick Mercer:

Um, in the next scene, Buffy's pink skirt and the

Nick Mercer:

superhero shirt she's wearing-

Allie Press:

mm-hmm

Nick Mercer:

-are everything.

Allie Press:

Yep.

Allie Press:

Fashion icon, fo sho.

Allie Press:

And I do, I do love, uh, Xander getting called out by Giles,

Allie Press:

like, I don't remember reading any memory loss in the books.

Allie Press:

And Xander's just, "Shoot me, stuff me, mount me."

Nick Mercer:

[Laughs] Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

When he, uh, yeah, he pretends to not have done anything.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

And, and-

Allie Press:

I do, and I did write down, I guess his guilt is punishment.

Nick Mercer:

Very true.

Nick Mercer:

Um, I, that end quote from Giles there, "Your secret dies with me."

Nick Mercer:

So good.

Nick Mercer:

What a guy.

Allie Press:

Cause then it's not, he's not the only one cuz that does mean

Allie Press:

that, yeah, Giles is left knowing exactly what he did and knowing that he knows.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

And true, good point.

Allie Press:

So, and we do see him going out of his way to be sweet to

Allie Press:

the girls after everything he said.

Allie Press:

Um, so I think, if we're looking at a scoreboard, I think he ends up,

Allie Press:

uh, still on the, the right side.

Nick Mercer:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Okay.

Nick Mercer:

This has, this has helped me-

Allie Press:

Did I convince you?

Nick Mercer:

-like this episode a little more.

Nick Mercer:

I don't know if I, so I think I, I think what I don't love about this

Nick Mercer:

episode and "Teacher's Pet," which are both Xander-focused episodes.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

I think what I don't love is like his, the learning that he does

Nick Mercer:

as a character, I didn't think that he did any learning after this episode.

Nick Mercer:

Your explanation has helped me.

Nick Mercer:

I think where I still land is that I don't love that his character development

Nick Mercer:

isn't because of, of him making the right choice or what- it's because

Nick Mercer:

he underwent a spell and did things.

Allie Press:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

And then got saved and then learned from it.

Nick Mercer:

Like, I don't love that part of it.

Nick Mercer:

Does that make sense?

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

Cause it's more of these things were acted on him rather than him

Allie Press:

in a situation and making a choice.

Nick Mercer:

Exactly.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Allie Press:

Like he didn't break the spell himself through shear will or

Allie Press:

what or something like that.

Allie Press:

I get what you mean.

Nick Mercer:

But that, that speaks to this idea in Buffy where,

Nick Mercer:

that he is, he's a human working through these mystical forces so.

Allie Press:

Well, and that does kind of end up being his role sort of.

Allie Press:

You know, he ends up getting attacked a lot.

Allie Press:

He ends up spells on him and...

Allie Press:

you know?

Nick Mercer:

Mm-hmm.

Allie Press:

And like mind controlled and stuff like that.

Allie Press:

So that also may kind of speak to Xander's weak will, weak mind?

Allie Press:

Um, I think he's very strong of heart, but...

Nick Mercer:

mmm, mm-hmm

Allie Press:

...the fact that, like you said, a lot of this stuff happens to him.

Allie Press:

Um, now we're treading into sounds like victim blaming,

Allie Press:

but that's not what I mean.

Allie Press:

Yeah, or just the idea like with hypnosis, you kind of have

Allie Press:

to have like a willing mind...

Allie Press:

Am I sort of making sense?

Nick Mercer:

Mm-hmm.

Nick Mercer:

Um, and, what he learns, what he goes through does certainly,

Nick Mercer:

it helped the group overall.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Like as a Scooby gang, they get stronger.

Allie Press:

And I do.

Allie Press:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Including Xander.

Allie Press:

They do evolve as a group.

Allie Press:

And I think it's third season, there's a Xander focused show where

Allie Press:

I think he has, has some really great growth, which is a very different

Allie Press:

- Nick Mercer: Well, that's

Allie Press:

Oh, okay.

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

That, that's the one that I thought of where I was like, this is an example

Nick Mercer:

of a Xander-focused episode where he is going to make some choices,

Nick Mercer:

Uhhuh and, and he, he thrives!

Nick Mercer:

He crushes it.

Nick Mercer:

And then there's like this one where yeah.

Allie Press:

That one is a really fascinating episode.

Allie Press:

I think it's a really fun thing that they did, um, kind of having a whole

Allie Press:

episode that's like a meanwhile...

Nick Mercer:

Yeah.

Nick Mercer:

Listeners just wait!

Nick Mercer:

We're so excited for that one!

Allie Press:

Just wait, like season three is for real my fave.

Allie Press:

Um, I love, I, I love it all, but of course I have my favorites.

Allie Press:

All right, Nicholas!

Allie Press:

Uhh think that about does it for this episode.

Allie Press:

Thank you so much for joining us and we hope you'll join us again for

Allie Press:

our next episode where we'll discuss season one, episode seven, "Angel."

Allie Press:

Things get steamy!

Nick Mercer:

And if you're just - Oh my god, yeah, Angel, oh, I love this episode.

Nick Mercer:

Oh, it's so good.

Nick Mercer:

Um, kiddos, if you are too excited to wait until our next episode to chat, send

Nick Mercer:

us an email at tabularasabpod@gmail.com.

Nick Mercer:

Alexandra Louise Press, where can people find you on social media?

Nick Mercer:

Should I say your full name recording like that?

Nick Mercer:

I hope so.

Nick Mercer:

I just did.

Allie Press:

You sure, sure did.

Allie Press:

It is my name.

Allie Press:

I do not deny that.

Allie Press:

You can find me, dear listeners, at Daughterpick - D-A-U G-H-T E-R

Allie Press:

P-I-C-K - on Instagram and Twitter.

Allie Press:

You can find me @futureblackcat on TikTok.

Allie Press:

And if you'd like to send a few dollars my way and learn more about my

Allie Press:

journey as an artist, you can become a member at BuyMeACoffee.com/AlliePress.

Allie Press:

That's A-L-L-I-E P-R-E-S-S.

Nick Mercer:

And luckily, all of those social media handles are

Nick Mercer:

going to be in the description.

Nick Mercer:

Allie, I hope you have an absolutely stunning evening ahead of you.

Allie Press:

You as well, my friend.

Allie Press:

Make proud choices.

Outro Music:

[Outro Music begins fading in]

Allie & Nick:

Bye!

Allie Press:

Tabula Rasa, B!tches is hosted by Allie Press and Nick

Allie Press:

Mercer with music by InflatonCult, artwork by Charlotte Fleming Design,

Allie Press:

and consultation by Evo Terra.

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About the Podcast

Tabula Rasa, B!tches!: A Buffy Rewatch Show
In Tabula Rasa, B!tches!: A Buffy Rewatch Show, you'll listen as besties Allie Press and Nick Mercer jump back into the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and bask in their love for all things Buffy. Rewatching each episode from the beginning, Allie and Nick will discuss their favorite quotes, lessons learned, new takeaways, and more. Find Tabula Rasa, B!tches! wherever you listen to your podcasts and connect on all social media at @tabularasabpod.

About your hosts

Nick Mercer

Profile picture for Nick Mercer
Nick Mercer (he/him) works as a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization. He was introduced to Buffy by his illustrious co-host when they became fast friends over the summers in elementary school. Nick credits Buffy for his early passion for social justice.

When not cheering on our favorite Sunnydale warriors in their fights against the supernatural, Nick enjoys cooking and engaging in political advocacy in his local community. Nick's favorite quote from Buffy is, "you have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave."

Nick lives in South Carolina with his partner and two perfect dogs.

Allie Press

Profile picture for Allie Press
Allie Press (she/her) is a Maryland-born actor with aspirations for all kinds of film. Her goal is to play Felicia Hardy for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Allie earned her BFA in Acting from Towson University in 2016.

Allie began watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer during its original airing at just three years old. She's taken many of Buffy's lessons to heart - perhaps none more so than Buffy's reflection that "fortune favors the brave." When not rewatching Buffy or exchanging notes with her dear co-host, you can find Allie with one of her many other hats - maybe as a costume designer, nanny, stage manager, or podcast production assistant with Simpler Media.

Allie currently lives in Baltimore with her partner and puppy. Connect with Allie on Twitter and Instagram at @daughterpick or TikTok at @futureblackcat, and support her work as an artist at buymeacoffee.com/alliepress.