Synopsis: A person is found mauled in Sunnydale, and it is that time of month again for Oz, so fingers point toward the werewolf. Buffy has to visit the school psychologist, and it is his death in broad daylight that vindicates Oz--and another "beast" in Buffy’s life.
Review: I was expecting a public service announcement starring one of the show's cast directly after this episode telling abused women to contact the police. Thankfully, there was not. Beauty and the Beasts was another great example where Buffy has a message, but it does not let that message get in the way of a good story.
This episode did not take the simplistic view of its theme either. It explored a complex, multi-layered theme in all its glory. The plural in this episode’s title is important. Our protagonists are not dealing with one "beast" but with three "beasts:" our Jekyll/Hyde student, Oz as a werewolf, and Angel returned from Hell.
Faith remarks that all men are beasts. While she meant her statement to be derogatory, it is true. This episode's monster-of-the-week, a student who could do a Jekyll/Hyde routine, was a beast in that he abused his girlfriend. Since I am a male, in defense of my kind, the two good guys in this episode are also male. Both Oz and Angel fight Pete. Angel fights Pete to save Buffy’s life.
Right now I am reading Wild at Heart by John Elredge. In this book, Elredge explores true manhood. God created man to be wild, go on adventures, and rescue the beauty. Society is scared of the beast within every man, because they are scared of the men who do abuse women, but it is also the beast within every man that enables him to protect women. It is sin nature that causes a man to use his strength in an evil way.
Society has attempted to tame the beast within every man. Buffy is known for its messages of empowerment for women. This episode carries an important message for both men and women. This is my favorite Marti Noxon episode thus far. I give it 7 out of 10.
Objectionable Content: Buffy's psychologist is seen smoking, but smoking is consistently portrayed on Buffy the Vampire Slayer as bad.
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)