Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | April 16, 2012

Robin’s Review: S4, E06 – Wild at Heart

Synopsis: Spike is captured by the men in army gear. The full moon approaches and Willow is still concerned by Oz’ attraction to Veruca. Professor Walsh is then attacked by two werewolves and Oz wakes up next to Veruca. She doesn’t believe in cages and he doesn’t tell anyone about her. He does convince her to stay in his cage but ends up making out with her as they turn. Willow finds them the next morning and is heartbroken. Veruca tries to kill her by finding her just before sun rise. Oz turns and kills her. He then leaves Sunnydale.

The Good: The performances from Oz and Willow were really strong here. They had yet another adorable scene waking up together before rapidly moving through an awkward confrontation with Veruca into their breakup. Willow’s tears were superb and really conveyed the shock and pain she was going through. Oz was solid too and looked genuinely confused and upset by everything that happened.

The Veruca story was an interesting one. Oz’ temptation to stray from Willow was caused by the werewolf part of him and yet he could have told Buffy what was going on and didn’t. That sin of omission led to Willow being so hurt and I was glad she didn’t cast any spell against him as it would have felt out of character.

I liked the presentation of Giles’ character. Like Xander he is having trouble adjusting to his new life without a day job. His visit to the Bronze definitely had the feeling of a parent crashing the party. Spike’s return was surprising though no more than his capture by the army men. Their role in the story is clearly going to take over now as the actual “big bad.”

The Bad: In real life Seth Green abruptly left the show causing this story to be rushed to a conclusion. Sadly that rush was felt and the speed with which Oz and Willow break up left this feeling unconvincing.

The Unknown: Even though the Veruca story has been building it was just too much in too short a space of time. Early in the episode Oz and Willow get their cutest scene ever in bed together and yet a few scenes later things are super awkward when he leaves her sitting with Veruca. Oz’ dilemma over whether to tell anyone about Veruca is actually a good comparison with Willow’s conflicted feelings for Xander last season. However that story had so much time to sink in and take effect. Not only was this dealt with quickly but we got an odd music montage which sucked up a couple of minutes. I thought perhaps Veruca was a member of a real life band (as we’ve seen at the Bronze on many occasions) getting plugged but she wasn’t making that an odd choice.

Speaking of which Veruca was then willing to murder Willow to set Oz free. Again that just felt too rushed. She had come across as a rational (if selfish) person but suddenly was turned into just another demon-like threat to be slain. There was no way we could process what killing her would do to Oz. His decision to leave fitted the story but again it left me feeling disoriented. Forty minutes ago he was a big part of the show and now he’s gone.

What’s happened to Spike and who was the army guy who ran into Buffy?

Best Moment: Willow’s tears of anguish after Buffy puts Oz to sleep were terrific. She did a great job considering all the emotions she had to pack into the episode.

The Bottom Line: I was never a huge Oz fan because his role as super-boyfriend always felt unreal. If he had had all season (as Joss Whedon intended) to be tempted to cheat and fret about his nature then I might have come to like him. As it is this is a sad farewell and a confused episode.



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