"Band Candy"
Written by Jane Espenson; directed by Michael Lange

In a cemetery at night, Giles reads from a book and asks Buffy if she’s ready. He gives her options for the possible answers to a practice SAT question and she chooses B, because they haven’t had a B for awhile. “This is the SATs, Buffy, not connect-the-dots,” Giles tells her impatiently. The study session is interrupted by a vampire, which Buffy stakes with her pencil. She tries to use her broken pencil as an excuse to stop studying, but Giles provides her with another and continues the session. At City Hall, the Mayor (see “Homecoming”) meets with Trick to discuss something that Trick has decided to subcontract. Trick assures him that the person they’re subcontracting to has worked in Sunnydale before and will do what they want him to do. The Mayor sure hopes so, because he promised a tribute to a demon, and he always keeps his promises. He also keeps a bunch of occult stuff in a cabinet in his office, and possibly stores Scotch inside a skull.

At school the next day, Buffy tells Willow and Oz about a dream she had in which she was being chased by an SAT answer bubble. Willow offers to help her study that night as they meet up with Xander and Cordelia. Xander is angry about the SATS (it “discriminates against the uninformed”), but Cordelia is in favor of them, because she does well on standardized tests. Buffy tells Willow that she can’t study that night because Giles and Joyce are demanding so much of her time. In the cafeteria, the Scoobies see a table full of boxes of chocolate bars and think that Snyder has suddenly had a change of heart. Instead, he instructs them to sell the candy in order to help the band raise money. That evening, Joyce points out that Buffy isn’t in the band, so she probably shouldn’t have to sell candy for them. Buffy talks her into buying twenty candy bars anyway. She bugs her mother about letting her get her driver’s license, but Joyce doesn’t want her to have easy access to transportation (see “Becoming, Part 2”). Buffy heads off to meet with Giles for a “slay-study double feature”) in the library. There, he blindfolds her to test her ability to fight in darkness, which she manages to do well. She heads off again, telling him that Joyce wants her at home and telling him to enjoy the twenty candy bars she sold him.

Buffy goes to the mansion, where Angel is doing T’ai Chi, and jokes that she had to start a fire in the prison laundry room in order to get away from Joyce and Giles without them knowing where she was going. He asks about Scott, and instead of admitting that they broke up in “Homecoming,” Buffy just tells him that Scott’s fine. He tells her that soon he’ll be stronger and won’t need her. She awkwardly replies that that will be good. Buffy returns home to a displeased Joyce, who, with Giles’ help, has pieced together that Buffy lied to both of them, as well as Willow. Joyce and Giles eat chocolate while berating Buffy for shirking her responsibilities and acting immaturely. Buffy complains that they overschedule her and she just wanted some time to be a teenager. Joyce reminds her that the last time she tried to make a decision for herself, she left town. Giles suggests that they all get some sleep and revisit the subject at a later time. Buffy heads upstairs and Giles and Joyce share some more chocolate. At the Milkbar factory, where the bandy candy is made, a worker decides to sample some of the chocolate. “You don’t want to eat that,” warns Ethan (last seen in “The Dark Age”).

In study hall the next day, Buffy and Cordelia wonder where Giles, the scheduled monitor, is while Xander and Willow secretly play footsie. In the hallway, Snyder tells a teacher named Ms. Barton to take over study hall, then complains that everyone expects him to do everything because he’s the principal. Ms. Barton tells the study hall students that they’ll wait until Snyder is gone and then split. Though the Scoobies are thrilled with this idea, Buffy is suspicious as to why Giles is MIA. She heads over to his apartment and is surprised to find Joyce there. They claim that they were discussing Buffy’s complaints about being overscheduled and are working out a more reasonable plan for her. Joyce tells Buffy to take her car home, a suggestion which Buffy is first shocked and then thrilled to hear. As soon as she leaves, Giles and Joyce break out the booze and cigarettes they were hiding, sure that Buffy didn’t suspect that they were acting strangely. (Note: the rest of this episode exhibits one of the series’ three sexiest Giles moments. See “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Fear, Itself” for the other two.)

Buffy and Willow drive through Sunnydale in Joyce’s jeep, Willow trying not to fear for her life with Buffy behind the wheel. They decide to head for the Bronze for a studying/dancing session. Giles and Joyce listen to Cream’s “Tales of Brave Ulysses” and Joyce asks why people call Giles Ripper. “Wouldn’t you like to know?” he responds. As millions of straight female and gay male fans yell, “Yes, we would!” Giles suggests that they go out somewhere. Joyce mentions the Bronze, but Giles doesn’t think that anything cool is going on there. He’s wrong - a huge group of adults has gathered at the Bronze to rock out to Dingoes and get in touch with their inner teenagers. Willow and Buffy arrive and take in the strange scene, wondering why so many adults are acting so young. They run into Ms. Barton, who is in search of nachos and is excited to realize that Willow’s name is the name of a tree. The girls are even more unsettled when they encounter Snyder, who wants to be known only by his last name and is now excited to be the principal. He heads off in search of chicks as Buffy notes that the adults are acting like “a bunch of us.” “I don’t act like this,” Willow protests.

Trick and Ethan walk through the Milkbar factory, pleased that so many people like their product. Trick kills a man for apparently sampling the chocolate, telling Ethan that now no one else will try. Still at the Bronze, Buffy, Willow, and Oz discuss the adults’ strange behavior as Snyder compliments Oz’s hair. A group of men onstage mangle “Louie, Louie” while the Scoobies comment on the grossness of a kissing couple. They split, followed by Snyder, but are unsure who to go to for help, since Giles might have been affected by whatever’s happening as well. On the way to Giles’, Buffy realizes that Giles at sixteen wasn’t exactly the helpful guy he is today (see “The Dark Age”). Giles and Joyce walk through downtown Sunnydale, talking about how their adult lives don’t seem real anymore. Joyce admires a jacket in a shop and Giles breaks the window to get it for her. However, he’s immediately confronted by a police officer. Another driver on the road is distracted by his chocolate bar and runs a red light, hitting the Scoobies in Joyce’s jeep.

Giles taunts the police officer, then grabs his gun and knocks him out. He and Joyce celebrate by making out on the hood of the police car. (For the rest of the story, see “Earshot.”) The driver of the car that hit the Scoobies takes off as the gang realizes that the streets are full of wandering adults who aren’t worrying about protecting their homes. A guy grabs one of Snyder’s chocolate bars, causing Buffy to realize that the candy must play a key role in the strange goings-on. Buffy demands that he tell her where the candy came from, then sends Willow and Oz to get Xander and Cordelia and research what might have caused a “disturbing second childhood.” Buffy and Snyder head to the Milkbar factory, running into Giles and Joyce, who are still in the throes of making out. Joyce protests that she can do whatever she wants, and when Buffy points out the dent in her jeep, Joyce is more concerned with her lame car than with the damage done to it. Buffy stomps out Giles’ cigarette and orders him to take Joyce home, but he ignores her. Buffy grabs Joyce and drags her along as she fights her way into the factory, followed by Giles and Snyder.

Buffy quickly encounters Ethan, who is on the phone with Trick, telling him that it’s time for him and the Mayor to head out to make their tribute. Ethan splits with Buffy and Giles on his trail. In the library, Cordelia tells Willow about her parents’ transformation as the Scoobies try to find information. Willow and Xander share a brief moment when their hands touch, but Willow grows nervous when Cordelia asks, “You wanna swap?” (She’s talking about books.) Buffy and Giles track Ethan through a maze of boxes while Snyder tries to find out if Giles and Joyce’s relationship is serious. Buffy interrogates Ethan, receiving encouragement from Giles to hit him. Ethan reveals that Trick is preparing to give a tribute to a demon, though he’s not forthcoming with information on which one. After a punch in the nose, Ethan finally spills that the tribute is for Lurconis, but he doesn’t know what the tribute itself is. The candy was provided as a distraction so that Trick could get to the tribute. Meanwhile, a bunch of vampires head to the hospital and start grabbing babies while all of the hospital personnel tend to their inner children instead.

Buffy calls Willow and assigns her the task of researching the tribute being paid to Lurconis. Ethan attempts to attack Buffy with a crowbar, but Giles stops him with the gun he stole from the police officer. Willow and Oz find out that Lurconis eats babies and Buffy springs to action. She tells Joyce and Giles to find something with which to tie up Ethan. She isn’t thrilled when Joyce produces handcuffs, also stolen from the police officer. “Never tell me,” Buffy says. By the time she, Giles, Joyce, and Snyder get to the hospital, the babies are already gone from the maternity ward, but Buffy isn’t sure where they might have been taken. Giles remembers something he once learned about Lurconis and announces that they can find him and the babies in the sewers. Giles and Snyder begin fighting about who’s going to go save the babies, and Buffy breaks things up by sending Snyder home and taking Giles and Joyce with her to the sewers. Waiting for the ritual to begin, the Mayor calls an assistant to schedule an appointment about sewer maintenance. Buffy arrives with a cheerful “hi,” and the fighting begins. Lurconis eats a vampire, causing Buffy to think that it’s not something she wants to fight. Giles tries to help her battle Trick but winds up too close to Lurconis. Buffy uses a gas pipe as a makeshift flamethrower and defeats Lurconis before it can eat Giles. On his way out of the sewer, Trick assures Buffy that this isn’t the last battle they’ll have.

Back in the Mayor’s office, Trick tries to convince Wilkins that everything turned out for the best, pointing out that he no longer has to pay tribute to Lurconis. “I did you a favor,” he says. “In the future…,” the Mayor replies, “I’d be very careful how many favors you do for me.” At school on Monday, Xander learns the hard way that the candy has worn off and Snyder is no longer as laidback as he was on Friday. He ropes Xander, Willow, Cordelia, and Oz into cleaning up lockers that have been spray-painted with “Kiss rocks!” “Why would anyone want to kiss…?” Willow begins to ask, before realizing what it means. Outside, Buffy tells Giles that she felt alone and that nothing made sense anymore. “Was that the math or the verbal?” he asks. They encounter Joyce, who tells Giles that, since Buffy crashed her jeep “fighting evil,” she’s allowed to pay for the damages in installments. Buffy points out that much worse things could have happened. “At least I got to the two of you before you actually did something,” she says. Giles and Joyce avoid looking at each other and pretend to agree.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Don’t eat candy, ever.

GRADE: B+ Nothing says fun like a teenaged Giles.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Buffy: “And then I was being chased by an improperly filled-in answer bubble screaming, ‘None of the above!’”
Willow: “Wow. I hope that wasn’t one of your prophecy dreams. Probably not.”
Oz: “Hey, you know, I took it last year. I could help you get ready. There’s this whole trick to antonyms, but…this isn’t the place.”

Xander: “Those tall, fuzzy hats ain’t cheap, huh?”
Oz: “But they go with everything.”

“These things are selling like hot cakes…which is ironic, ‘cause the hot cakes really aren’t moving….” - Xander

Xander: “The band. Yeah. They’re great. They march.”
Willow: “Like an army. E-e-except with music instead of bullets, and…usually no one dies.”

“Where is Giles already? I’m bored, and he’s not here to give me credit for it.” - Cordelia

Xander: “Does anyone else wanna marry Ms. Barton?”
Cordelia: “Get in line.”

“That’s the reason I love this country. You make a good product, and the people will come to you. Of course, a lot of them are gonna die, but that’s the other reason I love this country.” - Trick

“Whoa, Summers! You drive like a spaz!” - Snyder

Willow: “It’ll be okay when we get to Giles’.”
Oz: “Of course, I mean, even if he’s sixteen, he’s still Giles, right? He’s probably a pretty together guy.”
Willow: “Yeah, well….”
Oz: “What?”
Buffy: “Giles at sixteen? Less Together Guy, more Bad-Magic-Hates-the-World-Ticking-Time-Bomb Guy.”
Oz: “Well, then I guess your mom’s in a lotta trouble.”

“I don’t get this. The candy’s supposed to make you feel all immature and stuff, but I’ve had a ton, and I don’t feel any dif…. Never mind.” - Xander


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