Episode Title: Band Candy
Original Air Date: November 10, 1998
“I don’t get this. The candy’s supposed to make you all immature and stuff, but I ate a ton and I don’t feel any dif – never mind.” – Xander
So after the disappointing “Homecoming” this week things are much back on track with the return of the chaos loving Ethan Rayne who this time has been hired by Mr. Trick to create a distraction so that he can carry out a tribute with the mayor to the demon Lurconis. At the same time Buffy her fellow students at Sunnydale High have been tasked with selling chocolate bars to raise money for new marching band uniforms, unaware that the chocolate has been supplied by Rayne which causes adults to act like teenagers.
Unquestionably a fun episode and also one of Kristine Sutherland’s favourite episodes, perhaps because as Buffy’s mum Joyce it’s one of those episodes were she gets to be more involved than usual in this case heading off for a wild night on the town with Giles who has also reverted back to his Ripper days. Of course this bad boy version of Giles from his pre-watcher days of wild youth was briefly hinted at last season in “The Dark Age” so it was fun to essentially get a full episode of Giles as his wilder younger self, while it’s interesting that his accent is the actual accent of Anthony Stewart Head and what James Masters would use as the basis for Spike’s accent aswell. Head though manages to perfectly switch the personality of Giles, so that he’s constantly smoking, listening to Cream records and frequently more than happy to carry out any number of criminal offences including looting and even beating up a cop for his gun.
Seeing how a relationship between Giles and Joyce has frequently been hinted at throughout the series, I guess it was perhaps gives those fans who wanted to see this happen something of a treat with this episode as Giles and Joyce frequently come off as a couple in this episode with Giles playing the part of the bad boy boyfriend. While we don’t see anything actually happen between the two, the guilty look they share at the end certainly speaks volumes about what these two got up to.
With such a simple setup of adults acting like teenagers its unsurprising that a large portion of the episode is spent milking the comedic aspect of this plot line. So hence we get random drag races and the bronze being taken over the parents who soon turn it into a hive of anarchy which includes a rather drunken rendition of “Louie Louie”. Like all the adults here we also get to see a rather unique side to Principle Snyder as he becomes obsessed with trying to part of Buffy’s group, while at the same time showing a rather sad and at time endearing side to his usually cold and callous character.
While this episode could have worked well as just another Ethan Rayne plot we do get a sewer finale with Buffy taking on the large snake demon Lurconis with the distraction that Rayne creates here being used so that the Mayor’s vampire minors can steal several babies from the hospital to offer as a sacrifice to Lurconis a nice twist in the plot which comes completely by surprise as the last you expect to really see this week is some monster snake demon let alone baby sacrifices!
A great episode and while perhaps not in my top ten, it’s still none the less of an essential episode with some fun beats, while Ethan Rayne is as always an enjoyable anarchic presence on the show which makes his return here only the more welcome even if all the teenage adult antics tends to distract from the minor moments of plot development we do get such as Buffy and Angel’s relationship aswell as the secret flirting between Xander and Willow and where exactly is Faith? Still its doubtful you’ll mind to much especially when everything else is just so much fun.
Next Episode: Revelations