Recap: Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 3 E 11 Gingerbread
Prince of Night, I summon you. Come fill me with your black, naughty evil!
Buffy and Joyce find the corpses of two children bearing what seems to be marks related to witchcraft. Sunnydale's parents vow to root out witchcraft in the town. Except the symbols on their hands belong to a protection spell
. And furthermore, they don't seem to have any kind of history. No one knows their names, who their parents are, or where they come from.And then Joyce and her new anti-occult organization, MOO, start taking things entirely too far...
- Absentee Actor: Where's Faith when Buffy needs her?
- Absence of Evidence: Willow tries to convince her mother she's a bad witch. "Do you see any goats around? No, because I sacrificed them!"
- Adults Are Useless: Subverted; now that they actually take an interest, it becomes a case of Adults Are Harmful.
- Air-Vent Passageway / The Cavalry Arrives Late: Subverted; Xander and Oz fit into the vents, but have no idea where they're going and only reach the rest of the cast after the demon is already dead. "We're here to rescue you..."
- All Myths Are True
- Animorphism: After seeing Amy turn herself into a rat, Willow and Buffy try to frighten the mob into letting them go.
Buffy: Yes! You will all be turned into vermin. And some of you will be fish! Yeah, you in the back will be fish!
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking
Mom, I'm not acting out. I'm a witch! I-I can make pencils float. And I can summon the four elements. Okay, two, but four soon. (her mother doesn't react)
A-and I'm dating a musician. Sheila: (disgusted now)
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: We hear what is supposedly the testimony of the first person to encounter Hansel and Gretel (it makes sense in context). The German in it is... let's say, erratic.
Ich, eine Geistlicher von nahe die Schwarz Wälder, tat finden das körper von das kinder meine selbst. eine wurde von die junge, die anderen von und mädchen. darauf meine eigene erforschen ich lernte... ("I, a male female priest from vicinity them Black Forests, made to find the one bodies of the childs myselves. One became from the girlboy, the others from and girl. Thereupon my own to perform research I learned...")
- Black Eyes of Evil: Amy before she transforms.
- Book Burning: Giles' Tome of Eldritch Lore are confiscated and used for the pyre to Burn the Witch!.
- Buffy Speak: Buffy describes slaying as "an alone thing".
- Bully Hunter: When a group of Jerk Jocks pick on a kid because he's a witch Amy tries to intervene. When they start on her Buffy steps in, all smiles. At the very least she's known to have burnt down the gym at her previous school, nearly killed Cordelia, has a known history of violence and been arrested for murder on more than one occasion, so the group quickly scampers.
- Burn the Witch! / Witch Hunt
- Call Back: To "The Wish" with Buffy wondering if she's making any difference in Sunnydale.
- Chekhov's Gun: The reminder that Slayers are not supposed to kill people, an issue in the upcoming "Bad Girls".
- Children Are Innocent / Think of the Children! (In-Universe): What the Monster of the Week plays upon.
- Creepy Children: The demon's form.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Concerned parents blame a murder on some trend among youth, and lash out against that trend.
- More disturbingly, as Willow Lampshades, a specific minority being targeted for their non-standard practices, especially the "killing of children", which is a lot like the "blood libel" of the Middle Ages. No wonder she's so scared.
- Don't Explain the Joke
Cordelia: If you're gonna hang with them, expect badness. 'Cause that's what you get when you hang with freaks and losers. Believe me, I know. That was a pointed comment about me hanging with you guys.
- Elephant in the Living Room: Joyce's speech to MOO.
This is not
a good town. How many of us have, have lost someone who, who just disappeared? Or, or got skinned? Or suffered neck rupture
? And how many of us have been too afraid to speak out?
- Emergency Transformation: Amy turns herself into a rat to escape the pyre. It's several years before Willow develops the skill to turn her back into a human.
- Eureka Moment: Buffy realises the dead children had no parents, and their names have never been mentioned.
- Evil Makeover / Paint It Black: Amy as a Red Herring.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: Amy the mouse.
- Felony Misdemeanor: A Running Gag with Willow in this episode.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Co-operating to save Willow ends the awkwardness between Xander and Oz.
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Cordelia comments to Giles that he was going to "wake up in a coma" on account of all the head traumas he has received. At the end of season 4 of Angel, Cordelia is left in a coma; she dies after 'waking up' to give a last message for Angel from the Powers That Be.
- Fun with Acronyms: Mothers Opposed to the Occult, or MOO.
- Glamour Failure: Giles reveals the demon with his incantation.
Demon: Protect us! Kill the bad girls!
Buffy: You know what? Not as convincing in that outfit.
- Gratuitous German: The newspaper article the gang looks up and the incantation by Giles.
- Hairpin Lockpick: Giles borrows one of Cordelia's hairpins to pick a lock.
- Hansel and Gretel
- He Who Fights Monsters: Begins with Buffy's mom finding two young children after what looks like a magical rite. She responds by organizing the other parents in Sunnydale into an organization to go after witches (and Slayers.) The episode ends with them all trying to burn their own children at the stake.
- History Repeats: The Demon’s “installation” is introduced to the public every 50 years or so.
- Hollywood Fire: Even though the 'witches' are being burnt indoors, the room doesn't fill with smoke.
- Hollywood Torches: But no pitchforks.
- Instant Sedation: Joyce knocks out Buffy with chloroform.
- Ironic Echo Cut: Buffy asking her mother to calm down after she finds the dead children. Cut to Buffy telling Giles, "Don't tell me to calm down!"
- It Has Only Just Begun: Giles vs. Snyder.
- It's Personal: The fact that Joyce finds the dead children makes Buffy eager to slay those responsible.
Like that kid in the story, (gestures) the boy that stuck his finger in the duck. Angel:
Dike. Buffy gives him a confused look. Angel smiles. Angel:
It's another word for dam. Buffy:
Oh. Okay, that story makes a lot more sense now
- Moral Guardians: What the people of Sunnydale become as a result of a demon's influence.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Principal Snyder, of course.
Xander: Aw, man, it's Nazi Germany, and I've got Playboys in my locker!
Snyder: (smugly) This is a glorious day for principals everywhere. No pathetic whining about students' rights. Just a long row of lockers and a man with a key.
- New Media Are Evil: Inverted when Giles has to resort to the internet because all his books have been confiscated.
- No Ontological Inertia / Reset Button: As soon as in the next episode the library already seems to be recovered from all the burned and confiscated books.
- Oh Crap: The Mayor gives Joyce a very wary look when she warns of dark forces in Sunnydale, before she lays the blame for the dead children at the feet of the witches in the town.
- Out-of-Character Moment — When Joyce arrives at Buffy’s nightshift scene, Buffy doesn’t try to send Joyce home despite the potential danger.
- Parental Neglect: Willow's mother, to the point of not noticing a new haircut for four months.
- Porn Stash: While Snyder and the police are checking everybody's lockers, Willow is worried because she has witch stuff in hers. Xander, on the other hand, is indignant because he has Playboy magazines in his.
- Put On A Wheel-Thingy: Amy turns herself into a rat and stays that way for 3 years.
- Red Herring: Willow, Amy and some other person are shown performing a ritual that uses the symbol of the episode. 5-10 minutes later Willow explains that it’s only a protection spell.
- Right Behind Me
- Running Gag: Giles' tendency to get a Tap on the Head is lampshaded by Cordelia.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Xander accidentally invokes this even though he's telling the truth.
Oz: I haven't seen you [Willow] all day. Where you been?
Xander: Not with me. No sir. Ask anyone.
- Giles meets Joyce and both are feeling awkward after the events of "Band Candy"
Joyce: Oh, well, it's, it's not just me, but thank you. Well, it's, uh, it's been a while.
Giles: (uneasy) Right. Not since, um... Not since... Not for a while.
Sheila: There's a rumor going around, Mr. Giles.
Giles: (suddenly worried) R-rumor, about us?
- Too Much Information: Toadstones.
- Weirdness Censor: Averted and highlighted in the beginning. Buffy’s mother gives an organising speech about all the strange murders that Sunnydale’s population tends to ignore, school administration confiscates witchcraft-related materials from students’ lockers and School Library.
- played straight at the end of the episode:
Willow: She's doing that selective memory thing your mom used to be so good at.
Buffy: She forgot everything?
Willow: (ruefully) No. She remembered the part where I said I was dating a musician.
- Who Would Be Stupid Enough: Buffy finds out about MOO and asks, "Who came up with that lame name?" Snyder smirks and says, "Its founder — I believe you call her Mom."
- With My Hands Tied: Buffy kills the demon by snapping the stake she's tied to and bending forward so the demon gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
- You Are Grounded: Willow, much to her annoyance as it's the first time she's done something bad (that her parents noticed).
- You Can Panic Now