May 21, 2022

Buffy 3.6, Band Candy: 17 Again

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:17 pm by Jenn

I didn’t think Giles would own a shirt with a hole in it, but then I decided he poked the hole himself to make it look cool

Summary: Giles has joined Buffy on patrol in the cemetery, and he’s reading something about a tragic ending. It turns out he’s helping her study for the SAT. He doesn’t approve of her strategy of picking a multiple-choice answer just because she hasn’t chosen it in a while. He wants her to understand how important the SAT is. It’s a rite of passage. They take a study break so Buffy can kill a vampire with her pencil. (Giles has a backup.) She comments that they and the undead have to be the only people in Sunnydale still working at this time of night.

Well, the two of them, the undead, and the evil, at least. Mayor Wilkins is meeting with Mr. Trick to discuss an urgent, delicate matter. It’s something Mr. Trick has never handled before, but he can get Wilkins what he wants: “I know a beast who knows a guy.” Wilkins isn’t sold on using a subcontractor, but Mr. Trick says the guy is familiar with Sunnydale, and if he’s as good as his reputation says he is, chaos will reign. Wilkins is offering a tribute to a demon, which he says is what makes him different from other politicians – he keeps his campaign promises. Also, he has a bunch of creepy items in a cabinet. Actually, that might not set him apart from other politicians.

At school the next day, Buffy tells Willow and Oz about a nightmare she had where she was chased by an unproperly filled-in answer bubble that was screaming, “None of the above!” Willow hopes that wasn’t one of her prophetic dreams. Oz offers to help Buffy study; he has a trick to antonyms but doesn’t want to discuss it in public. Willow gushes that he’s the highest-scoring SAT taker to fail to graduate.

They meet up with Xander and Cordelia, who have very different opinions of the SAT. Xander thinks it’s fascist while Cordelia’s looking forward to it. She reveals that she does well on standardized tests. “What? I can’t have layers?” she asks when the others are surprised. Willow offers to study with Buffy that night, but Buffy has agreed to hang out with Joyce. She and Giles have been keeping a close eye on Buffy since she got back from L.A., which makes Buffy feel like she’s “in the Real World house, only real.”

In the cafeteria, Snyder is handing out candy bars – not for the students to eat, but for them to sell to raise money for the marching band. Yes, he’s aware that the Scoobies aren’t in the band. He doesn’t care. At home, Buffy tries to sell them to Joyce, who nicely agrees to buy half of them (possibly to hand out at her gallery). Buffy then asks when she’s allowed to take her driving test. Last year she failed the written test and wasn’t even allowed to take the road test. She thinks she’ll do better now. Joyce isn’t ready to give her a means of leaving town again, though.

Buffy has to go study and train with Giles again, and Joyce complains that he’s taking up a lot of her time. To be fair, he’s helping her with school stuff, so Joyce can’t really object. Buffy manages to get Giles to buy the rest of her candy bars before he blindfolds her and gives her a rubber ball. He wants to test her ability to track an opponent she can’t see. He has her wait five seconds, then throw the ball at him. She turns away from him, which makes him smile, but she throws the ball at a wall and it bounces off and hits him right in the forehead. And that’s a wrap on training. She has to go home to hang out with Joyce.

Buffy has actually done the classic “I’m with Mom/I’m with Dad” trick with Joyce and Giles so she can go see Angel. He’s doing shirtless tai chi, because why not? They’re slowly getting back to their old dynamic, but they’re still awkward with each other. She decides not to tell him that she and Scott split up. She’s brought him blood from a butcher shop, but he doesn’t want to eat in front of her. He makes sure she’s being careful with patrolling – he worries about her. She tells him she worries about him, too. They both pretend they’re looking forward to him fully regaining his strength and not needing her anymore.

When Buffy gets home, she learns that her lies have been discovered. Giles is there, and he’s not happy that Buffy deceived him, Joyce, and Willow. Buffy doesn’t want to tell them about Angel. The adults stress-eat candy bars while calling her immature. Buffy allows that she may be acting like a child, but it’s because they’ve been treating her like one. They’re scheduling all her time and won’t let her make any decisions on her own. Joyce points out that the last time they let her do that, she left town.

Buffy argues that she took care of herself while she was gone. She doesn’t need her mother and Watcher looking over her shoulder 24/7. Giles calls a ceasefire, telling Buffy and Joyce not to “freak out.” Buffy’s like, “Since when do you use young-people slang?” After she goes upstairs, Joyce tells Giles that she just wants to protect her daughter. Giles understands and says they should be especially careful since Buffy has a more dangerous life than most teens. While Giles opens another candy bar, a worker in the factor that packages them tries to sneak one of his own. Ethan Rayne stops him and cautions him not to eat it.

The next day, the Scoobies are all in study hall together, but the teacher hasn’t arrived. Cordelia thinks they should be allowed to leave, but Buffy knows Giles is on study-hall duty, so he’ll definitely be there soon. Cordelia thinks he needs to chill – he made her pay a huge late fine on a philosophy book. She wishes she still had it, since it was a great conversation-starter with college guys B.X. (before Xander).

At the table behind them, Xander eats a candy bar that Willow’s surprised he still has. She was easily able to sell all of hers in what she dubs “trick-or-treating in reverse.” Under the table, they’re playing footsie. They quickly separate when they think Cordelia’s caught them. She’s just annoyed that Giles hasn’t shown up: “I’m bored and he’s not here to give me credit for it.”

In the hallways, Snyder tells an older teacher named Ms. Barton that since Giles is MIA and he doesn’t want to run study hall, she has to do it. Snyder eats a candy bar and grumbles that he’s expected to do everything because he’s the principal. It’s not fair. Ms. Barton tells the students to sit quietly until they’re sure Snyder’s gone, and then they can all leave. Everyone’s thrilled except Buffy, who’s surprised that Giles didn’t show up.

She goes to his place and finds him hanging out with Joyce. They’ve agreed that they’re overscheduling Buffy, so they’re going to work out a better schedule. Joyce tells Buffy that she can drive home, so Buffy leaves as fast as she can. The second she’s gone, Giles lights a cigarette and Joyce opens a bottle of wine.

Buffy picks up Willow, who’s not a big fan of Buffy’s driving skills. Willow isn’t sure they should go to the Bronze, since the SAT is tomorrow. Buffy thinks they can balance dancing and studying. Back at Giles’, he and Joyce listen to Cream’s “Tales of Brave Ulysses” and smoke. She asks why his nickname is Ripper. He shushes her so he can hear the music. Joyce offers to order something on pay-per-view, but Giles, whose accent is slipping from upper-class to working-class, wants to go out and “tear things up.” Not at the Bronze, though – they won’t have fun there.

Other people are, and Dingoes Ate My Baby is playing for a big crowd. It’s not their usual kind of audience, though – it’s mostly adults. Even Ms. Barton is there. She assures Willow that she’s okay (“cool,” actually), then comments that Willow has the same name as a tree. “Are there any nachos in here, little tree?” she asks. The girls are a little disturbed, even more so when Snyder tries to chat with them.

Willow’s worried that one of the adults will have a heart attack. Buffy says there might be a doctor there. In fact, there is – he’s Willow’s doctor, and he’s stage-diving. “He’s usually less topless,” Willow says. Snyder tells the girls that he got a commendation from Wilkins, who shook his hand twice. He goes looking for “foxy ladies” as the girls wonder what’s making all the adults act like teenagers. At the factory, Mr. Trick checks in with Ethan, killing an employee he thinks was going to eat a candy bar. Whether or not he was, Mr. Trick tells Ethan that now no one else will try it.

Buffy, Willow, and Oz continue being disturbed at the Bronze as Snyder admires Oz’s hair. Willow’s doctor and some other guys have taken over the stage to sing “Louie, Louie.” Buffy spots a couple of adults making out and grimaces: “No vampire has ever been that scary.” A fight breaks out in the crowd and Buffy decides they need to figure out what’s going on. It has to be related to the Hellmouth. The Scoobies leave with their new BFF, Snyder, so they can confer with Giles. They realize he could be reverting to his teen personality, too.

Two candy-eating adults have a drag race as others play in a park. A mailman amuses himself by reading other people’s mail. Willow tries to convince herself that things will be okay once they get Giles involved. Oz says that even if he’s a teen again, he’ll probably be pretty together, since he’d still be Giles. Buffy tells him that teen Giles was “less ‘together guy,’ more ‘bad magic, hates the world, ticking time bomb’ guy.” Oz notes that Joyce might be in trouble.

Giles and Joyce are walking downtown, his arm around her like they’re a couple. She’s wearing a very un-Joyce-like jacket and he’s wearing an even more un-Giles-like white T-shirt and jeans. She says this feels like waking up from a dream. Things are like they’re supposed to be now. She spots a coat she likes (“very Juice Newton”) in a store window, so he breaks the window and steals it for her. She thinks he’s brave. Just then, a cop busts them.

Snyder wants to go to the school and do donuts in the football field. Buffy, bad driver that she is, doesn’t see a car driving straight at them. Giles taunts the cop, then beats him up and takes his gun. Now Joyce thinks he’s even cooler, “like Burt Reynolds.” They make out on the hood of the cop’s car. Meanwhile, the driver who hit the Scoobies runs off, and Buffy and Willow realize that all the adults in town are clueless and defenseless. Why aren’t vampires taking advantage of that? Oz guesses that something is happening somewhere else.

Snyder complains about someone stealing his candy, and Buffy finally figures out that the candy is key here. She tries to get Snyder to tell her where it came from, but he doesn’t know much. She sends Willow and Oz to get Xander and Cordelia and look into curses that might be at play here. She’ll take “rat boy” Snyder to the source.

They go to the factory, where everyone’s running wild outside. Buffy gets an eyeful of Joyce and Giles making out and breaks them up. She tells her mother to stop eating candy and go home. Joyce gives a typical stubborn teen response: “Screw you.” She’s not allowed to say anything about Buffy slaying, so Buffy doesn’t get to say anything about what Joyce wants to do. Buffy tries to snap her mother back to reality by showing her the huge dent in her car. Joyce is just distressed that she drives a “geek machine.”

Giles is amused, and he thinks he still has control over Buffy because he’s her Watcher. She rips his cigarette out of his mouth and stomps it out, then orders him to take Joyce home. Instead, the two of them and Snyder follow Buffy into the factory. It’s empty now, except for Ethan. He’s on the phone, telling Mr. Trick that he’s free to make his move now. When Ethan sees Buffy, he tells Mr. Trick to hurry. Giles and Ethan greet each other before Ethan takes off running.

In the library, Cordelia tells Willow that she enjoyed how the candy affected her parents until her mom started borrowing her clothes. Xander’s confused since he ate a ton of candy and doesn’t feel less mature. He realizes that’s because he’s already immature. He and Willow touch hands while passing off a book, but Cordelia doesn’t notice.

Buffy and Giles chase Ethan through walls of stacked candy boxes. Giles has trouble keeping up since he’s been smoking. Buffy finds Ethan by using Giles’ training about tracking an opponent you can’t see. Joyce and Snyder stay back, and he tries to flirt with her. She just rolls her eyes and walks away from him.

Buffy orders Ethan to spill what he knows, choosing to let him talk on his own before resorting to violence, even though Giles is pressuring her to hit him. Ethan says this wasn’t his idea, and Buffy needs to focus on Mr. Trick. Ethan’s just helping him gather a tribute for a demon. Giles urges Buffy to hit Ethan, thinking that since she’s his Slayer, she’ll follow his orders. When Ethan says he doesn’t remember the name of the demon, Buffy punches him. Giles jumps in the air in victory.

Ethan finally says the demon is Lurconis, and this was all just a distraction so no one would stop the gathering of the tribute. As a bonus, they’ll blame themselves when the candy wears off and they realize what happened. Buffy asks where she can find Mr. Trick, and when Ethan says he doesn’t know, Giles tells Buffy to hit him again. He grins as Buffy threatens more violence if Ethan doesn’t answer one last question: What’s the tribute? That would be newborn babies, who are currently being kidnapped from the hospital.

Buffy calls Willow so the Scoobies can look up Lurconis and whatever he might want as a tribute (Ethan claims not to know). Snyder taunts Ethan for being beaten up by Buffy and says he took tae kwon do at the Y. Joyce still isn’t impressed. Ethan grabs a crow bar and sneaks up behind Buffy, but Giles still has the cop’s gun, and just pointing it at Ethan gets him to freeze. Buffy takes it from him as Willow relays information Oz found in a book about Lurconis’ preferred offering.

Buffy tells Giles and Joyce to find something to use to tie up Ethan. Joyce sheepishly produces a pair of handcuffs. “Never tell me,” Buffy says. Good call. They head to the hospital and discover that they’re too late to prevent the kidnappings. Giles remembers something he once read about Lurconis and says they’ll find him in the sewers. Snyder decides to ditch this adventure, which makes Giles call him a coward. Buffy asks the adults to act like adults and help her stop the tribute.

She sends Snyder home and takes Giles and Joyce with her to the sewers. She also requests that they stop making out. Mr. Trick is at the tribute, where demons are chanting and waiting for Lurconis to come get the babies. Wilkins is also there, making a call about having repairs done to the sewers. Buffy, Giles, and Joyce arrive, and Buffy fights the demons while the other two save the babies.

Lurconis (basically a big snake) arrives, sees no babies, and eats a minion instead. Mr. Trick is about to go up against Buffy when Giles steps in for her. Before he can get eaten by Lurconis, Buffy breaks a gas pipe, sets the gas on fire with a torch from the ritual, and kills Lurconis with her homemade blow torch. Mr. Trick escapes, telling Buffy they’ll face off again later. She grumbles that vampires always have to say something instead of just leaving.

Joyce tells Buffy she’ll write a note to get her out of having to take the SAT the next day. Buffy decides to be responsible and take it anyway. Mr. Trick meets with Wilkins, trying to spin the tribute failure as a positive, since Lurconis is dead and Wilkins doesn’t owe him anything now. Mr. Trick did Wilkins a favor. Wilkins warns him to be careful about the amount of favors he does.

At school on Monday, Xander tries to tease Snyder about his adventures on Friday. The candy’s worn off, so Snyder no longer has anything resembling a sense of humor. He tells the Scoobies to clean up some vandalism from Friday night. Someone spray-painted “Kiss rocks” on some lockers, which makes Willow wonder who would want to kiss rocks.

Buffy tells Giles how difficult things were for her – everything she thought she understood was gone, and she felt alone. He asks if she’s talking about the math or verbal portion of the SAT. He reminds her that she can retake it if she doesn’t get a good score. Buffy notes that she could die before she can even apply to college, so what’s the point? Joyce arrives to pick Buffy up, and she and Giles are awkward with each other. He mentions the damage to Joyce’s car, and Buffy says things could have been worse. At least she got to them before they went too far. Joyce and Giles are all, “Yes, definitely,” and walk away quickly.

Thoughts: The Angel spinoff tries this same reverting-to-adolescence plot (and Angel and Cordelia get to participate in that one), and it’s fun, but not as much fun as it is here.

Clearly the show wanted us to be grateful for getting to see Angel doing shirtless tai chi, but strangely, I’m more grateful for Giles in a white T-shirt.

Giles grinning and jumping because Buffy hit Ethan is definitely a series high point.

I love that while everyone’s waiting for Lurconis, Wilkins is like, “These sewers aren’t up to code. We need to do something about this. I owe it to my constituents.”

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: