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Recap: Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 3 E 6 Band Candy
"What's happening?"
"I don't know, but it's happened to a whole lot of grown-ups."
"They're acting like a bunch of—"
"They're acting like a bunch of
us!
[indignant] "I don't act like this."
Willow and Buffy

Welcome to the debut of writer Jane Espenson! Mayor Wilkins is meeting with Mr. Trick, who says he has outsourced a job to someone who's worked in Sunnydale before, and can give the Mayor what he needs. Wilkins says he's made "certain deals" to get where he is today, and one of his campaign donors requires a tribute.

At school the next day, the Scoobies come upon Principal Snyder handing out boxes of candy. Snyder gives them each a box of chocolate bars and summarily orders them to sell it to raise money for new band uniforms. Buffy manages to talk her mother into buying half of her stock. Having gotten rid of those, Buffy says she's gotta run, as Giles is expecting her to train Joyce opines that Giles is monopolizing Buffy's time, but she's already out the door.

The library. Buffy cops out of training early, explaining that Joyce is on the warpath, and breezily exists. Giles smells a rat.

Sure enough, Buffy goes to the mansion to bring Angel some fresh blood. He says he's getting stronger.

When she arrives home, Buffy finds her mother and Giles waiting for her. Cue the fireworks. After Giles steps in to mediate (telling them not to "freak out"), Buffy is sentenced to her room, leaving the adults to munch on chocolate bars. At a factory somewhere in Sunnydale, a workman is about to do the same thing, but Ethan Rayne stops him.

"Trust me, you don't wanna eat that."

The next day, Giles fails to show up for study hall. Worried, Buffy goes to Giles's place and finds her mom sitting on the couch. Giles explains that they are rescheduling her activities to lessen her burden, and Joyce hands Buffy her car keys and invites her to drive herself home. Delighted, Buffy snatches the keys and leaves in a cartoon cloud of dust. Joyce makes a "whew" face, and wonders if Buffy sensed anything amiss. "No wai!" says Giles, lighting up a cigarette as Joyce takes a bottle of Kahlua out from hiding. Wat.

Meanwhile, Buffy and Willow arrive at the Bronze to find it largely populated by adults acting like... well, teenagers. Snyder comes up and puts his arms around the two of them (!), then snorts that the other teachers are wasted. Teen Snyder is fun, though a bit clingy to the "Scoobies. Buffy decides to find out what's going on, and Snyder tags along. They all pile back into the jeep to find Giles.

Speaking of which: Giles and Joyce are downtown, behaving like a couple of lovestruck teenagers. Joyce stops to admire a jacket in a store window ("Very Juice Newton.") Giles swings a garbage can into the window, breaking it as the alarm goes off. He grabs the jacket and A Clockwork Orange-type hat as Joyce giggles mischievously.

Buffy observes a lot of adults hanging out, and realizes that something's missing — namely, vampires. They quickly deduce that the candy is cursed, and that the whole exercise must be a diversion. Buffy grabs Snyder and asks if he knows where to get the candy, which he does. Oz and Willow head off to the library to research the problem while Buffy and Snyder head to the source, which is...

...a factory at which a crowd of people are clamoring for more candy. Buffy wins a free trip to Therapyville as she sees Giles and Joyce making out. Finally, Buffy jumps up onto the loading dock and finds Ethan inside the factory. Buffy and Giles chase him down and make the weaselly warlock reveal the plan. He says the candy was just to render the town helpless while Trick and his vampires collect a big tribute for some demon named Larconis, but he doesn't know the what. We get an answer to that question as a troop of vamps enter an unsupervised maternity ward and steal all of the newborns.

Giles has a flash of memory: Larconis is a deity of filth, so he probably resides in the sewers. Down below, the ritual is underway, where hooded vamps chant ominously while the Mayor looks on. Buffy drops in and engages Trick's vampire minions in combat while Giles and Joyce wheel the babies to safety. Wilkins beats a hasty retreat. Trick and Buffy get ready to rumble, but Giles hauls off and throw a solid left to Trick's face — but he's unfazed. He shoves Giles into the Lurconis' feeding pool, distracting Buffy long enough for Trick to make his escape. A rumbling starts, and an enormous, snake-like head emerges from a nearby tunnel. Buffy, thinking quickly, rips open a gas line, forming a jet of fire that sets Lurconis ablaze.

At school, a sober Principal Snyder commandeers Willow, Oz, Cordelia and Xander to help clean up some graffiti. Buffy puts the damage done to her mom's car in perspective by reminding Joyce and Giles, "At least I got to the two of you before you actually did something." Giles and Joyce hastily walk in opposite directions.

Tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: Snyder claims he used to study tae kwon do. Sarah Michelle Gellar was either on her brown or black belt in the Korean martial art.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: "Ripper" gets Joyce all weak in the knees.
  • All Just a Dream: Joyce feels as if her adult life was this.
  • An Aesop: "They're teenagers. [beat] That's a sobering mirror to look into, huh?"
    • Subverted just before the credits. Buffy is recounting what we are meant to think are her anxieties about having no adults to lean on... only, she's actually talking about the SAT.
  • Are You Sure You Can Drive This Thing?: Buffy drives to the Bronze even thought she failed her driving test, with Willow in the passenger's seat. Willow gets increasingly anxious, despite Buffy's relaxed-ness. They make it to the Bronze which they discover is full of middle-aged people acting like teenagers due to cursed candy; then Buffy attempts to drive to Giles' house, which results in a crash.
  • Bad Boss / Make an Example of Them: Trick accuses a worker of sampling the product, and snaps his neck. Ethan cringes, and asks Trick how he knew. Trick, offhandedly, remarks, "I don't. Now I know no one else will."
  • Blindfolded Vision: Giles tying a blindfold around Buffy to test her attack response in complete darkness.
    "Okay, you're just doing this to take funny pictures of me."
  • Brand X: Milkbars. They're cocorific!
  • Bullying a Dragon: Ripper tries to pull rank with Buffy. Buffy very coldly asks him if he really wants to fight her. Ripper suddenly realises that he needs to grab a smoke.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Buffy returns home to find Joyce waiting for her. Buffy babbles that Giles kept her, until he slowly emerges from the dining room. Buffy, call a lawyer, because you are busted. Joyce and Giles are up in arms that Buffy would try to play them off one another.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: Giles coaching Buffy on how to fight blind early in the episode later helps her find Ethan when he hides in a chocolate crate.
  • Chekhov's Gun / Benevolent Architecture: The Mayor calls his secretary regarding concerns about exposed gas pipes in the sewers. (Yeah, but the cell phone signal down there is phenomenal.) Buffy kills Lurconis via said pipes and an exposed flame.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Buffy tries to snap Joyce out of it by pointing out the damage she caused to the car."Oh my God!" — Buffy looks satisfied — "What was I thinking when I bought the geek machine?" Buffy can't believe her ears, and Giles busts out laughing behind her.
  • Container Maze
  • Continuity Nod
    • In the scenes where Giles is wearing only a tee shirt, a Mark of Eyghon tattoo is clearly visible on his left inner forearm.
    • One of Cordelia's leftover homecoming queen flyers is hanging in Xander's locker.
    • It becomes obvious that the real reason Buffy isn't allowed to drive is because Joyce doesn't want her taking off again. Buffy cracks that she could just as easily get a bus ticket. Joyce is unamused.
    • Angel asks after Scott, apparently not up-to-date on Buffy's social life. Buffy needs a moment to recall who that is, then hem and hews about everything being "fine."
    • Oz guesses that Giles was probably pretty together as a teenager, so even if he ate the candy, he should be okay. However, Willow and Buffy, who were there for "The Dark Age," quickly disabuse him of that notion. "Giles at sixteen? Less Together Guy, more Bad-Magic-Hates-The-World-Ticking-Time-Bomb Guy."
    • How does Buffy already have a talent for hearing while blind? Oh that's right, she fought an insane invisible girl.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack From Behind: Ethan notices a crowbar on the desk in front of him, and picks it up and sneaks toward Buffy, whose back is turned. Giles comes out of nowhere and presses the gun to Ethan's neck, execution style. Whoops.
  • Cowardly Lion: Snyder elects to stay behind in the hospital, "In case the babies, you know, uh... find their way back."
  • A Date with Rosie Palms:
    Cordelia: Dad, he just locked himself in the bathroom with old copies of Esquire...
  • Day in the Limelight: Not to the extent of other examples, but this episode is noticeably Giles- and Joyce-heavy.
  • Description Cut: Buffy whines that "us and the undead are the only people in Sunnydale working this late!" Cut to Mayor Wilkins thanking Mr. Trick for coming so late... well, "early," in his case.
    • Joyce suggests that she and "Ripper" watch TV, and seductively says, "I know how to order pay-per-view." Giles wants to go out, and Joyce suggests the Bronze. Giles: "Not bloody likely. That place is dead." We cut to a hoppin' Bronze, where the crowd is entirely made up of seniors.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Later cleared up in "Earshot."
    "ON THE HOOD OF A POLICE CAR?!? TWICE?!?!?"
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Xander losing his train of thought as Willow's leg creeps up his shin.
    Xander: The band. Yeah. They're great. They march.
  • Divide and Conquer: Buffy realizes something's amiss because there are no vampires about. "Soup's on, but no one's grabbing a spoon."
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Joyce and Giles, feuding parents who share custody.
    • Joyce and Giles lighting up after Buffy has gone makes it look like they were smoking dope. The adults addiction to the 'candy' and their zippy reaction afterwards resembles hard drugs.
  • Don't Come A-Knockin': The rocking police car as a Sexy Discretion Shot.
  • Double Take: Buffy peels into the candy factory parking lot in her jeep, then stomps right past Giles and Joyce, who are snogging. She does a double take so hard, it nearly sends her into another zip code.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Giles steals a coat for Joyce and a hat for himself, but then a policeman points his gun at them, yelling "Hold it!"
    • Giles uses one to threaten Ethan Rayne, who was trying to sneak up behind Buffy and clock her while she's on the phone with Willow.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Quoth Principal Snyder: "Woo, Summers, you drive like a SPAZ!"
  • Drunken Song: Willow's doctor and two other men singing an a cappella rendition of "Louie, Louie."
  • Eating the Eye Candy / Walking Shirtless Scene: Buffy stares enraptured at a naked-to-the-waist Angel doing Tai Chi. Oh Scott, you never had a chance.
  • Eats Babies: Lurconis.
  • Eureka Moment: Snyder whining about his stolen candy sends the gears in Buffy's head spinning.
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned
  • Exact Eavesdropping
  • Fauxdian Slip: Willow takes a book from Xander, and the contact of their thumbs is enough to set off the hormones again. Cordelia, thumbing through a book of her own, turns to Willow and asks, "You wanna swap?" Willow's eyes momentarily grow to the size of dinner plates.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Giles and Joyce helping themselves to some new threads.
    • A nerd running up from behind Snyder and snatching his candy bar.
  • Flat "What.": Buffy's bug-eyed response to being offered the jeep. "What. [beat] Excuse me, I meant what?"
  • Footsie Under the Table: Xander and Willow play a little footsie in the back row of the Science Lab, as The Guitar Of Infidelity twangs.
  • Foreshadowing: "C: All systems tend towards chaos." Boy, do they ever.
    • Trick's says the Mayor's request is little out of his area, but that he can subcontract it to someone who's "worked your town before."
  • Fun with Acronyms: Cordy says that she had a philosophy book that was a year overdue, and Giles made her pay the huge fine. The book was perfect for starting conversations with college boys — but, of course, that was in Year BX. ("Before Xander.") Aw.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: When Buffy tries to pull him and Joyce apart, "Ripper" gets insolent and pulls rank.
    "No, you listen to me. [points aggressively] I'm your Watcher, so you do what I tell you. Now, sod off!"
  • Got Volunteered — school vandalism, paintwork to do, all that.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: When Angel asks about Scott Buffy starts to say this, then figures it's smarter to pretend otherwise. After all, she and Angel are Just Friends now.
  • Hidden Depths: Lampshaded when Cordelia says she excels at standardized tests, which earns her looks from everybody else. "What? I can't have layers?"
  • Hoist by His Own Petard — one of the organisers of the feeding eventually falls into the water himself and gets swallowed by the demon of the episode.
  • Human Sacrifice: The entire plot occurs so that the Mayor can obtain some babies to sacrifice to Lurconis.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Mother & daughter snit a little about Buffy's summer holiday, but Buffy declares she's home to stay. ...Predictably, she then says she's got to leave, as Giles is expecting her.
  • I Meant to Do That: Saying Buffy's a bad driver is like saying Churchill was an influential leader. Willow very nervously asks Buffy if she knows that she's driving with the parking brake on. Buffy, nonchalantly: "Uh-huh!"
  • Infant Immortality / Complexity Addiction: Baby abduction and murder are presented as something so shocking that the antagonists have to compromise a whole factory of theirs and disorganise the whole city in their attempt to do that. It would’ve probably been much easier to simply brute-force their way into the hospital and kidnap the babies.
  • I Was Beaten By A Girl: Following Ethan's interrogation, Snyder cackles that Buffy kicked his ass. He tries to impress Joyce by throwing some shadow punches at Ethan, who's tied up.
  • Important Haircut: In front of a mirror, Ripper tries to muss up his hair (a tall order, considering Giles' hairline) while mumbling about getting a band together.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Giles gives Buffy a dodge ball, and tells her throw the ball at him. She lets the ball fly, and it hits the wall behind the checkout counter.
    Giles: Not that simple, is i— [the ball bounces back and hits his head] — ow.
  • Improvised Weapon: No.2 pencil.
    • Buffy ignites a gas line with one of the many Hollywood Torches that have been lit for the ritual feeding.
  • Ironic Echo: Joyce parrots her daughter's "And yet" when Buffy says she's a good mom, but the best moms let their daughters drive. Heh. Toss another candy bar to Joyce for the snark!
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Buffy asks Ethan what's going on, and informs him he's in a "talk or bleed situation." Giles shouts over to just hit him. Buffy asks which demon the "tribute" is for, but Ethan says he can't recall. Pop! Buffy hits him, and Giles jumps up and punches the air in glee.
  • Kinky Cuffs: Buffy says they'll need something with which to tie Ethan up. Joyce further traumatizes her daughter as she shyly produces a pair of handcuffs.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Snyder: “Everybody expects me to do everything around here because I'm the principal. It's not fair.” (Looks at the camera then shifts his look and walks away.)
  • Leeroy Jenkins / Idiot Ball: Tough guy "Ripper" getting between Buffy and Mr. Trick, getting himself into trouble and giving Trick his chance for escape.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Joyce and Giles tacitly agree on this regarding their teenage romance.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Trick tells Buffy that normally he lets other people do his fighting, but "I just gotta see what ya got!"
  • Linked List Clue Methodology
  • Literal-Minded: Angel remarks on how late it is for visitors, and asks how Buffy got away. Buffy snarks that she "started a fire in the prison laundry room", which Angel takes at face value. But then, he did just spend centuries in Hell.
    • Snyder orders the Scoobies to repaint a row of lockers that have "KISS ROCKS" spray-painted on them. Willow wonders why anyone would want to kiss rocks, but then her brain catches up with her mouth.
  • No Smoking: When a chain-smoking "Ripper" gets bitchy, Buffy yanks the ciggy from his mouth and stomps on it.
    • After chasing Ethan around the warehouse, poor Giles is out of breath. "That's what smoking will do to you," chides Buffy.
  • Not Himself: Giles' lapse into youth slang. His accent seems a bit off as well, as starts to slip to a rougher one.
    • Snyder tells an aged female teacher that "the big pinhead librarian didn't show up" for class. He says he doesn't want to cover for him, and orders her to do it. She rolls her eyes, and as she leaves, he whines how people expect him to do everything just because he's the Principal.
    • The teacher in question, Miss Barton, enters the classroom and gets the students' attention. She tells them to pretend to read until they're sure that "Commandant Snyder" is gone, and then "we're all outta here!"
      Xander: Does anyone else want to marry Miss Barton?
      Cordelia: Get in line.
    • Joyce happily forking over her car keys. If this isn't a clear sign that something is off, then nothing is.
  • Not so Dire: Buffy is sitting on a blanket next to a grave with Giles reading a passage that sounds like it could be demon lore. However, he then asks her which of three choices best describes the theme of the—
    Buffy: "B! We haven't had 'B' in forever."
    • And at the end of the episode, Buffy is apparently talking over last night's events with Giles.
    Buffy: It was just too much to deal with. It was like nothing made sense anymore. The things that I thought I understood were gone. I just felt... so alone.
    Giles: Was that the math or the verbal?
    Buffy: Mostly the math.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Buffy tells Giles they're going to the sewers to take on the demon Lurconis. He responds by snogging Joyce.
    Buffy: And don't do that!
  • Oh Crap: The factory's deserted except for Ethan, who's on the phone with his back to Buffy. He tells whoever's on the other end that the town is "wide open." Buffy calls his name, and he turns around while still holding the receiver. "Might wanna hurry." Gulp.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The vampire monks summoning Luconis.
  • Only One Name / Shout-Out: Snyder tells the girls to just call him 'Snyder" — "like Barbarino."
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Anthony Stewart Head speaks in his natural accent as Ripperized Giles, which incidentally makes him sound a lot like Spike, as James Marsters based Spike's accent on it.
  • Orphaned Punchline: Buffy sharing a dream she had with Oz and Willow.
    "...and then I was being chased by an improperly filled-in answer bubble screaming, 'NONE OF THE ABOVE!'"
  • Phrase Catcher: Willow tells Buffy that Oz is the highest-scoring person not to graduate in Sunnydale High history. Yes, Buffy points out, we already know that he's the quintessential smart slacker, dear. Xander and Cordelia drop in, and Oz explains he's helping the girls with SAT prep.
    Willow: [smiling proudly] He's the highest-scoring...
    Cordelia: —We know. We did the impressed thing already.
    • When Snyder foists some band candy on the Scoobies, Buffy protests that they're not in the band. "And if I'd handed you a trombone," Snyder says icily, "that would have been a problem, Summers. It's candy. Sell it." We then Jump Cut to the Summers kitchen:
    Joyce: But you're not in the band.
    Buffy: [eyeroll] And yet.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Xander sides with Buffy against the SATs, saying, "Personally, I think it, uh, discriminates against the uninformed."
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner
  • Redshirt: Buffy kicks one of the vampire mooks into feeding pool, giving us our first view of Lurconis. CHOMP.
  • Rescue Sex: Giles ends up beating the crap out of a cop and taking the gun as Joyce bats her eyes at him. The two proceed to make out (and perhaps more) on the hood of the policeman's car.
  • The Reveal: When did Ethan Rayne get into the confectionery biz?
  • Shaped Like Itself: Snyder comes across the Scoobies and ominously observes they "look like four young people with too much time on [their] hands." Sensing more KP duty coming, everyone shakes their heads in negative. "Busy as a bee, actually," says Cordelia. "Bee-like!"
  • Smash Cut: Buffy tries to use her broken pencil as an excuse to end the study session, but Giles hands her another one. D'oh. Buffy whines that only they and the undead are working that late. That might very well be true, for the Mayor is burning the midnight oil at City Hall.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Giles and Joyce assume Buffy is bunking off so she can party. Buffy plays along because she's covering up a far greater secret — she's tending a Back from the Dead Angel.
  • Tagalong Kid: Snyder was apparently one of these when he was younger.
  • Teenage Wasteland: Albeit with the "teenagers" being brainwashed adults.
  • That Didn't Happen: Joyce and Giles are embarrassed over the incident and never follow it up. After Joyce's death however Giles is seen playing "Tales of Great Ulysses" while Drowning His Sorrows.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Xander/Willow and Buffy/Angel. This is not going to end well.
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: Wilkins, whom Buffy didn't see, quickly withdraws when she shows up. Trick is anxious to test her strength, but wisely decides to split once Lurconis is toast.
  • Villainous Demotivator: The Mayor and Mr. Trick discuss this week's debacle. Trick tries to spin it that he did him a favor, as there's one less demon to pay tribute to. The Mayor warns Trick not to do him any more favors.
  • Wait Here: Buffy dragging her mom into the warehouse and giving her a stern, "STAY."
  • Waxing Lyrical: Upon seeing all the old people in the Bronze, Buffy remarks, "Let's do the time warp again!"
    • Which counts as an Actor Allusion, since Anthony Head starred in a production of The Rocky Horror Show pre-Buffy.
  • We Will Meet Again: From an open manhole, Trick yells, "You and me, girl! There's hard times ahead."
    Buffy: They never just leave. Always gotta say somethin'."
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Snyder took tae kwon do at the Y!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Ethan somehow gets away again, despite being handcuffed. Wilkins wants to know what Trick did with him; Paid for services rendered, Trick shrugs. Buffy presumably ditched Ethan at the factory, and someone released him later.
  • You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: In the factory, Ethan seems to have lost Buffy and co. Buffy asks for silence as she hones her super-hearing. She spins and kicks through a wooden crate, finding Ethan. "Look. A box full of farm-fresh chicken."
  • You Owe Me: Giles is blindfolding Buffy, and she wonders why she puts up these things.
    "Because it is your destiny. And because I've just bought twenty Cocoa-riffic candy bars."
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Averted with Ethan Rayne, whom Trick just pays off as per his contract.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Back at the main drag, "Ripper" taunts a cop. "Copper's got a gun! You'll never use it though!" He flails his arms hilariously. We see that the cop has band candy in his pocket. "Will too!", he whines.

"WOO, Summers, you drive like a spaz!!"
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