Buffy, episode 3.11




Vague storyline that bears little in common with the actual storyline... :-)


This, I feel, is one of the better stories. Primarily because it focusses on the knee-jerk reactions that clueless adults can have, and in their misguided attempts to do the right thing (the 'we are adults, ergo we are correct' concept) they screw things up royally.


So Joyce turns up with a thermos flask of some kind of drink. When Buffy is out patrolling. And, after seeing the guy from the bank as a vampire, and slain by Mr. Pointy, she witnesses two dead kids.

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Would you recognise Amy (the witch, well, one of 'em) with dark hair?

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Mom turns up at school the next day ready to blame witches for the death of the two kids. Amy and Willow squirm uncomfortably.

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And so Joyce calls a vigil, people holding signs saying "Never Again".

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This is Willow's mom. One of the few times she crops up. She's Jewish, that much we know. She's into psychology or something (can't be assed to load the script) and she commented how Willow's hair looks, Willow replying she had it cut some time ago. So, well, mom pays loads of attention to her child.

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Quick cut to Willow doing the witchy thing.

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And cut back to school. A glorious day for principals everywhere, according to Snyder, nobody bitching about freedom and liberties and the like. Just policemen and thr master key for the lockers. Mmmm, didn't a similar event happen in My so called life?
Amy and Willow are worried, as they found Amy's spellbook...

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...and Willow's 'erbs.

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notice how the Americans just don't pronounce the 'h' in herb?
We have Jill in Home Improvement talking about 'erbal tea, and we have that daft advert set in the courtroom talking about 'erbal essences. And, if it wasn't for this consistant mispronounciation by the Americans, having the "urge for 'erbal" simply wouldn't scan.

So Willow is talking to her mom, who feels it is a totally justified thing for her daughter to be a witch. After all, it is a normal teenage act of rebellion. What is sad is that Willow doesn't want to be a witch, she believes she is one. So she's grounded, like, forever.
Man, can I identify. My mom was pretty laid back (and I never claimed to be a witch), but some of my friends, jeez, their parents were scary.

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Uh-oh! Giles and the infernal dread machine.
Of course, when Giles loses his connection, he utters the classic line "Session interrupted? Who said you could interrupt, you stupid useless fad! No, I said fad. And I'll say it again.", and then he types it (fad) to ram the point home.

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Willow, grounded.

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But Oz remembers her laptop, so he chats across the Internet (what, does Willow have ISDN?) and gets Willow to look up some info on the two dead kids. Note the cute pentagram on the laptop.

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The two kids are Hans Strauss and Greta Strauss. The episode title is Gingerbread. Let the penny drop, save me explaining it. :-)

So the Scooby Gang get it, Giles gets it. But Willow's mom decides all she can do is to let Willow go with love.
Next thing, mom comes back with a bunch of other parents, and, hey presto...

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Just like the Salam witch trials, or the House Committee on Un-American Activities for that matter. If you feel you don't like something, then either bury your head in the sand or exterminate that which you do not like. Typically human.

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Giles and Cordelia come to save the day...

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...turning the two children into their proper demon form, which Buffy slays in an entirely new and original way.

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Back at home, Willow tries a spell to revoke Amy's spell, without success.

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Following this, parents enter the selective memory mode and forget most of it. In a lack of continuity, next episode the library is full of (unburnt, unsoggy) books.

The only real let-down of this episode is that the parents were whipped into this frenzy by a demon pretending to be their communal fears embodied, the parents swinging into action before they even knew the names of the children.
Such a response is very real and can happen ever so easily, without a demon guiding them. Just ask those in the aftermath of the Colombine school tragedy who didn't fit into the jocks&cheerleaders category. No everybody with a trench coat and liking for rock music brings an AK-47 to school...

But, to make a scenario like that without demons would probably be a bit too pointed a statement for the studio executives to swallow. Ah well...



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HTML and text © 2001 Richard Murray
Images digitised by Richard Murray (August 2001) from a broadcast on Sky One
Storyline and images © 1999 20th Century Fox, WB, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Television, & Kuzui Enterprises
Characters created by Joss Whedon (the man!)
This episode written by Jane Espenson and Thania St. John, and directed by James Whitmore Jr.