I’m hoping the little changes I’ve been doing to how I write the recaps is an improvement. I’m trying to be a bit funnier and summarize more and switch up the language, so the whole thing isn’t just “This happens. Cory says this. Shawn says this back. Cory then says this. Then this happens.” I’d like to say I’m working on shortening the lengths of the entries, but as it happens, I am just a very wordy writer. I know that some of the entries are super long, though, and I’m hoping the summarizing might help shorten the length of these things…
So if the original airdate weren’t enough of a clue, it becomes immediately obvious that this is a Halloween episode when Cory mentions that it is October 31. He’s writing in his journal, with a… feather quill pen… about how he’s going to turn into a horrible, terrifying animal that night, at 9 o’clock, 8 central – a joke about the air time of the show that will be made at least twice more before the end of the series. Apparently Cory is turning into a werewolf, and also he destroyed Amy’s feather duster to make the quill pens.
Shawn arrives to take Cory the Halloween party. But Cory can’t go, not even with the knowledge that Topanga – who we haven’t seen since episode 202 – will be there. It’s not safe for her. Cory is an “undead creature of the night!” Shawn astutely observes that something is troubling Cory, and Cory begins a flashback to the previous evening.
Feeny tells Cory, who is taking out the garbage, to be careful, because a wolf escaped from the local zoo. Feeny is taking his garbage back inside his house, because wolves love garbage. They always say if you live in an area with bears or raccoons or whatever that you should latch and chain up your garbage to keep the animals out, but I guess keeping the stinky garbage inside your house works, too. Well, Feeny lives alone anyway. He probably doesn’t have that much garbage to begin with, and who besides him is going to complain about the smell?
After Feeny retreats with his smelly garbage, Cory hears a rustling in the bushes. Despite the bushes appearing to be rather small, he asks first if it’s Eric making the noise, and then if it’s Eric and a girl. Turns out it was a wolf, which makes about as much sense.
Shawn stops Cory story right there and says there’s no way it was a wolf that bit him. Cory shows Shawn the bitemark to prove it, only there’s no actual mark. Cory goes on to explain that of course there isn’t, because everyone knows werewolf bites heal quickly and disappear. Shawn tells Cory he must be covered in wolf bites, then.
Cory continues the flashback, this time going back to earlier that day, when Eric and Cory were preparing for school.
Cory, who is in the bathroom, tells Eric to brave himself, because he’s about to see something shocking. Cory comes out in a plaid bathrobe, because of course it’s plaid. Eric doesn’t see anything wrong, but Cory points out that he has hair. Massive amounts of hair, on his chin, on his chest, and on “other places I don’t see where having hair on is really gonna help me.” Eric congratulates Cory on going through puberty, unless… the hair is caused by something else. Cory tells Eric not to toy with him, because he’s edgy enough, but Eric concludes that Cory is indeed turning into a werewolf. He even has a widely-read, very credible newspaper with a headline story about a teenage werewolf who was captured and probed by government scientists.
It’s totally true. Eric’s friend Jason’s cousin met a guy at a party who knows a guy who saw the thing.
Cory acts weird as he leaves for school, and his parents comment on this. Cory tells them it’s just this math problem. Sadly it’s not a problem about how fast Al and Fred can wash a car together if they take 6 and 8 minutes respectively to wash one car on their own. It’s one of those “if a train travels at X mph and another travels at Y mph”, only Cory says “If a werewolf is on a train traveling at X mph”, and then instead of asking how long before they meet, he asks if werewolves exist.
Alan says of course they don’t. Werewolves are just myths, and adults don’t believe in silly things. He says this as he’s shaking all these cans of soda, because a jewel thief made off with some diamond rings and hid them in 5 cans of soda.
Cory goes back to the present to tell Shawn about how he was watching a violent gangster movie, and instead of being into the violence, he was thinking “I wonder how cold the water is on Baywatch.” Shawn asserts that whatever’s wrong with Cory, he’s got it bad. Cory goes back to flashback mode when he says he didn’t know just how bad until he went to get some lunch.
A news report comes on the radio on the counter in the yogurt parlor – the wolf is still on the loose, and the police department is getting prank calls about people spotting wolves and even – chuckle – werewolves. Cory remarks to the frogurt vendor that werewolves are sure silly, right? Right?? The vendor, who speaks in a vaguely eastern European accent, says there are places where such things are real, and for $5 he’ll tell Cory more. Cory eagerly hands over the five, and frogurt vendor leads him to a room in the back, where a distant relative of his covers the “and some occult” the sign in the window promised.
The mystic lady, played by the late, great Phyllis Diller, knows Cory has much burdening his mind. She knows he has recently been bitten and his becoming a werewolf, and that he is recently divorced. Cory doesn’t understand that last part, and she asks him if he’s Billy Joel. Cory obviously is not, so she tells him in that case, he’s just a wolf.
Phyllis Diller explains that Cory will go through many changes. He’ll develop a taste for things he’s never eaten before, a pentagram will appear in his hand, and he will kill the girl who cares about him in a fierce and gruesome manner. First I thought she was going to talk in a parallel to puberty, but now I’m not so sure.
Cory arrives in his English class, 40 minutes late, where they’re discussing “Lord of the Flies.” Cory goes to write a Shawn a note about where he was and what happened. Turner catches him and is impressed that he’s still writing notes despite not knowing what they’re talking about. I’d be more impressed that he’s taking notes despite the fact that literally nothing is being discussed, but whatever. Cory stuffs the note in his mouth, and Phyllis Diller’s words echo through his mind, the stuff about developing new tastes and whatnot. The bell rings, and the class – FINALLY including Topanga – leave, but Turner wants Cory to stay and chat with him. Cory doesn’t think Turner would understand – and I don’t believe he would either – but Turner was a teenager once, so he wants to at least try to figure out Cory. Cory plays around with Turner’s keys, and one of Turner’s keychains leaves an impression in his palm…
Phyllis Diller’s words once again echo – “the sign of the pentagram will appear in your hand.” When Cory loudly asks if it’s supposed to be the pentagon or the pentagram, Phyllis Diller tells him “same difference.” Cory runs screaming from the room and almost bumps into Topanga. Topanga tells him if somethin’gs wrong, he can tell her, because she cares about him. DUN DUNDUNNNNNNNNNNNN.
Cory freaks out, and Topanga tells him to calm down – it’s only a Halloween party they’re going to, after all. Cory tells her sure, that’s how it starts, “and then we get married, have kids, and I eat them.” Topanga couldn’t possibly look more confused, as Cory freaks out again and runs down the hall, passing Feeny. Feeny tells him no running in the halls, because he’s not an animal. Cory howls in response.
Shawn and Cory continue the discussion in present time, Cory revealing that Shaw is the only person who knows he’s a werewolf – besides Eric, who comes in with a dog dish for Cory’s dinner. Shawn still thinks Cory’s crazy and goes to pick up Cory’s autographed Lenny Dykstra baseball, to ask if he can have it.
Shawn suggests they visit the Beauty aisle at the drug store, because if there’s a product that can take the mustache off his mother, there’s one that can help Cory as a wolfboy.
Cory then continues the flashback. He went back to see Phyllis Diller after running from school, and Phyllis Diller tells him the only way to end the curse is a silver bullet through the heart, fired by a person who loves him.
Some time later, Amy and Alan come back from shopping for Halloween candy on Halloween, and Cory is disappointed they didn’t come back with any of the stuff he asked for – wolfsbane, silver, a gun. Cory runs out into the living room to search for anything made of silver he can melt down, and Alan tries to have a talk with him about hormones. Cory still insists that he’s becoming a werewolf and not a man. Alan talks about how Cory would pretend to shave when he was little, and maybe it’s time they see about getting Cory a real razor. “It, uh, wouldn’t have to be very sharp,” Alan says. “How do you think you’d look with a beard?”
We return, hopefully for the last time, to the present, where Cory has gone back to writing about his… whatever this is. Shawn is taking all of Cory’s stuff and putting it in a pillowcase. Cory signs his final goodbye “Cory A. O. Matthews” – the A. O. stands for “aaaaaw-OOOOOOOOOOOOH”, aka howling.
Amy comes upstairs to announce the arrival of Topanga. Cory goes back to freak out mode and commands Shawn keep Topanga away from him, lest she be torn limb from limb by such a savage beast as he.
I want to make a quick note here – this show came on at 8:30 pm when it originally aired. Within the universe of the show, it’s 8:58 pm at the time this scene takes place. It’s almost 20 minutes into the episode, which means, accounting for the commercial breaks, this was basically in real time. It was 8:58 on the show, and would’ve been about 8:58 in real life. How about that.
Topanga says she’s dressed as a damsel, but one who isn’t in distress – one in charge of her own destiny. That seems like she’s just giving an excuse for why she’s dressed in a shiny pink dress. The Topanga of last year probably would’ve been dressed as a Celt, and explain the important of Samhain or something.
Cory insists Topanga leave, and then he notices the moon is full, despite it being rainy out. He fears the transformation is upon him, and is confused when Topanga doesn’t leave in fear. He asks her if she sees all the hair and teeth, and she says “No. I see Cory. The same Cory I’ve known since I was 3.” Cory is pleased – “I’m not a wolf! I’m not a wolf!” And then something crazy happens.
After they separate, Topanga says “Yes, you are.” And then Cory howls.
Oddly the audience didn’t hoot and holler the way they did in previous episodes when people kissed, or when twelve years revealed their swimsuit bodies.
During the credits, we find out from Feeny that the wolf never escaped from the zoo at all. It was in the aviary the whole time. If anything, that’s even harder to believe. I’ve heard stories of escaped zoo animals actually being in the zoo the whole time, but generally the areas with the birds are relatively small and don’t have a lot of hiding space for wolves.
This confuses Cory, though – if it wasn’t a wolf, then what was that bush-rustling beast he encountered earlier? Right then, the bushes begin rustling. It’s the creature. Out for more blood no doubt. This vicious, man-eating…
So I think the moral of this episode was to never trust Phyllis Diller.
There’s an episode of Dinosaurs that involves Robbie telling the Baby about how he got bitten by a wild caveman, and was cursed to turn into a caveman when the moon was full. Robbie visited an old mystic woman, who gave advice about being struck by silver. Robbie compromised by hitting himself with a spoon repeatedly. The tone of that episode was exactly like the tone in this episode, but without the whole puberty thing.