Oz the werewolf, played by Seth Green, was introduced in season 2 and left in season 4. The key episodes were "Phases" (series 2), in which he discovers his lycanthropy, "Beauty and the Beasts" (series 3), in which the gang fears Oz is responsible for a brutal killing, "Fear, Itself" (series 4), in which a Halloween spell brings out his fear of his own wolf side, "Wild at Heart" (series 4), in which he is strongly attracted to a female werewolf and eventually decides to leave Sunnydale, and "New Moon Rising" (series 4) in which he returns with a seemingly new-found control over his wolf-side.
|Episode Title||Air Date||Rating|
|Beauty and the Beasts||20/10/1998|
|Wild at Heart||09/11/1999|
|New Moon Rising||02/05/2000|
Werewolves are first introduced to the Buffyverse in the episode "Phases". Oz, a character who was introduced earlier this season and played by the brilliant Seth Green, is infected with lycanthropy through being bitten by his young cousin while in human form. He then stalks the streets of Sunnydale as a werewolf for three nights in a row (yup, it includes the night before and the night after the full moon) and can only be killed with a silver bullet. In this episode, a werewolf hunter named Gib Cain shows up to do exactly that. Gib is a very cool character, played excellently by experienced actor Jack Conley, but unfortunately only appears in this one episode as he's scared off by Buffy to ensure Oz's protection. He hunts werewolves with traps, hunting rifles etc., in order to sell their pelts in Sri Lanka. "Werewolves are suckers for the whole sexual heat thing," he says, explaining why the wolf shows up first at lover's lane then at the Bronze nightclub. The design of the wolf here isn't bad, although it's way too hairy which makes it look kind of like a bear at first. The suit isn't all that convincing, and it should have really been kept to brief shots. During the transformation, we see a brief shot of Oz in the process of changing, and that makeup isn't bad at all. Seth Green makes an excellent werewolf.
But alas, for the season three episode "Beauty and the Beasts", they apparently decided that the original design of the wolf just didn't suck enough, so they made a dog, instead. It doesn't look in the least bit like a wolf, and it's movement appears like exactly what it is -- some unfortunate guy scrambling around on all fours inside a wolf suit. What exactly was wrong with the original biped design? Pah! In this episode, we are introduced to that flimsy cage in the library where the scoobies lock Oz up at his time of month. It's nice that the school doesn't have a problem with the a member of the faculty keeping caged students in the library at night. But anyway, for the transformation that takes place during his scuffle with the "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" guy, we zoom in on Oz's eye as it turns black and his face morphs into wolf form, which is pretty cool.
They decided to stick with that design throughout season four, with some minor improvements. So it's better than the season three werewolf, but still not as good as the season two werewolf. Grrr. Anyway, in "Fear, Itself" we learn that Oz's greatest fear is becoming the wolf -- "Every time I start to wolf out I touch something ... deep, dark. It's not fun." And so, while in the halloween house, he begins to turn into the wolf even though it's not it's his time of month. He fears the change into a werewolf because he can't control it and is unable to embrace it. But soon after, a girl called Veruca shows up to try and teach him the latter.
Veruca is introduced in earlier episodes as one of Oz's many friends on the music scene who he appears to have some attraction to, but it isn't until Wild at Heart that we learn why. She is also a werewolf, and the two of them meet up one night when he escapes from his cage (they've now built a more sturdy cage inside one of Sunnydale's many crypts, but apparently it still isn't strong enough). The two wolves launch themselves at each other, and, well, do what you'd expect from a couple of doggies like them. In human form, Oz learns that Veruca has embraced her animal side, and has no qualms about killing anyone. He tries to control her by locking her in his cage for the full moon night itself, but Willow walks in on them in the morning. D'oh! Veruca tries to kill Willow, but then Oz shows up and they have a fight. There's a pretty cool on-screen CG transformation in this scene, which is convincing compared to some of Buffy's other CG effects. After he kills Veruca, Oz decides to leave Sunnydale to try and learn more about controlling his wolf side.
The final episode before Oz makes his grand farewell is New Moon Rising, when he returns to Sunnydale much to Willow and her new 'friend' Tara's surprise. He explains to her that he's been travelling the world and found some monks in tibet who helped him to learn about maintaining his inner cool in order to avoid the change into wolf. Oh, and some herbs and charms and stuff too. However, his new found cool doesn't last when he finds out about Willow's affection for Tara, and we get to see Oz-Wolf once more. Woo! The episode also features a werewolf attack in which a pack of them takes down a squad of those useless commandos. Mwahahaha.