What appears to be the series' latest examination of werewolf lore evolves into a rather ham-fisted interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Of course the two are quite closely related, but 'Beauty and the Beasts' lacks the core idea that makes Stevenson's work so compelling (that Jekyll rather enjoys being the bestial Hyde, before he eventually becomes irreversibly transformed).
Instead the episode begins as a rather limp whodunit with Oz under suspicion for a series of animalistic attacks. A great deal of time is wasted before the real story kicks in, and the focus shifts to the more intriguing relationship between Debbie and Pete. Unfortunately the rest of the episode is rather rushed, and routinely plotted.
If there is a message in Marti Noxon's script – perhaps Faith's assertion that "all men are beasts" – it's trampled in the unseemly rush for the finale. Two plot elements deserve to be singled out for special criticism: the awkward scene where Buffy discovers that Platt – a promising character who could have been built up for at least an episode or three – has been "pureed", and Angel's rapid recovery. And – like, hey! – just when did he put those trousers on!?