Buffy, looking alarmed and tied to a stake

About:

Title: Buffy S3.E11 “Gingerbread” + S3.E12 “Helpless”
Released: 1999

Drinks Taken: 15
Vamps Dusted: 4

 

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Last week, we met Anya, Crazy Vampire Willow, Buffy’s Worst Bangs (ugh) and Angel at his mopiest (double ugh). Now that all of those things have been resolved–for now–we can move on to… heartbreaking betrayal! 

Yeah, you’re gonna need some booze. 

Buffy eagerly watching a pitcher of beer being poured into her glass.

The Buffy Season Three Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Cordelia says something cutting but true
Principal Snyder hates on students
Oz is ridiculously low-key cool
Spike has mad swagger
Willow gets witchy
You roll your eyes at Faith
The Mayor is a germaphobe

Drink twice every time:

We see the entrance to Sunnydale High
Giles drinks tea
Jonathan appears in a scene
There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house
Someone wears leather pants

Seriously, we could have really used some Jonathan in these episodes (and not just for the extra drinks). 

Joyce, wearing a MOO button and holding a flaming torch

3.11 “Gingerbread”

The episode opens with Joyce doing the mom-est thing possible–she brings Buffy a snack so she can watch her daughter slay. Because she just wants to understand, y’all! She’s so sweet, especially when she reacts in horror to a vampire, not simply because he’s a vamp, but because: “It’s Mr. Sanderson from the bank!” While Buffy stakes the guy (drink), Joyce wanders off and finds two dead children on the playground (Dru’s old haunting grounds, begging the question: why does anyone in Sunnydale let their kids play in the park at night?!). 

Joyce is understandably devastated and becomes obsessed after Giles speculates that this isn’t the work of a demon–these kids died at the hand of a human doing some kind of occult magic. (Side note: Joyce and Giles? Still rocking some sparks!) So of course Joyce does what all mothers do: she makes herself feel like she’s in control by organizing a pointless vigil! Where we meet Willow’s mom WHAT?!! Sheila Rosenberg is professorial and condescending and pretty much what you expect. At the vigil, the Mayor gives a speech and delivers the understatement of the year: “Sure, we’ve had our share of misfortunes.” But Joyce is having NONE OF IT and steps up to the podium to break Sunnydale’s silence, which she refers to as “this town’s disease,” by straight talking about vampires. Damn, Joyce! 

It doesn’t take a sorcerer to predict that we’re heading into the Totally ’90s Salem Witch Trials, and Amy, Willow and a goth dude (Michael?) are about to bear the brunt of it. The cops show up and raid everyone’s lockers AND the library (how dare they?), but Giles still manages to tell Snyder off: “You get out! And take your marauders with you!” While I’m opposed to censorship, I do have to point out how hilarious it is that the school administration took this long to figure out the occult contents of their library. 

Joyce forms a group called MOO, which stands for “Mothers Opposed to the Occult,” and forbids Buffy from seeing Willow, while Sheila sets the same rule for Willow and completely fails to see her own daughter. In the midst of this witch hunt, it’s a moment that still stings, because you know her obliviousness isn’t tied to this hysteria. Joyce admonishes Buffy for not having a plan, which renders her efforts fruitless, and that also hurts–until Angel reminds her: “We never win. And never will. That’s not why we fight. We do it because there are things worth fighting for.” 

Things start to make more sense when we see that the ghosts of the two dead kids are talking to Joyce and pleading with her to find their killers… and hurt them. Thankfully, Buffy realizes that we don’t know shit about these children, and after some research, the Scoobs discover that this same brother and sister died in 1949, and 1849, and then as far back as 1649. It’s the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale come to life, but really, it’s a demon that thrives on fostering hatred. 

And that demon is living his best life, because suddenly, parents are attacking their kids! Willow, Buffy and Amy get captured and then tied to the stake, with MOO followers calling for their death and books as the kindling to the flame (typical). Amy summons a demon and escapes by turning into a rat (a choice that, spoiler alert, will haunt her) while Cordelia and Giles make a potion while racing over in his car. At the same time, Xander and Oz are trying to rescue the gals by crawling through the ceiling ducts, but they get beat to the punch: Cordelia uses the fire hose to put out the flames, then Giles uses the potion to reveal the true form of these two kids: a fugly huge demon! And then Buffy impales it with her stake, and the spell is broken, and along with it, MOO. Good riddance!

While everything else is back to normal, Amy is not–Willow’s got a new pet on her hands!

How many times do I have to take a drink?

8

Vamps Dusted

1

Buffy vs. Bullies

Reason #1291 why Buffy wins that umbrella award at prom.

Oz vs. Trump MOO Supporters

Slay of the Week

Buffy, with a bloody scratch on her forehead, holding a glass vial

3.12 “Helpless”

Buffy’s 18th birthday is coming up, and to celebrate, Giles is giving her gem lessons, and she and Angel are doing some super suggestive, innuendo-laden “training” together. Most importantly, Buffy’s dad is going to treat her to their tradition of seeing an ice show! Just so the writers can prove that the whole ice skating thing wasn’t an empty plotline. Also, though, I love Buffy’s unapologetic love for something girlie. 

But that night on patrol, Buffy staggers and almost loses a fight to a vamp–and the next day, when she misses hitting the bullseye with a throwing knife, it’s clear that she’s somehow losing her Slayer powers. Then she suffers another blow: her dad can’t make it. Gahhhh it hits all of us hard, then it gets WORSE after Buffy clearly hints that she wants Giles to take her and he ignores it in favor of… hypnotizing her with a gem? And then giving her an injection?! She’s oblivious, but I’m not, so FU GILES. It has to connect with the older gentleman we see checking into the Welshly Sunnydale Arms along with two younger dudes.

Sure enough, these guys, lead by old dude aka Quentin Travers, are here for a “time honored” rite of passage for the Slayer on her 18th birthday, which Giles thinks is cruel but doesn’t stop so again, FU GILES. And damn right it’s cruel–not only does the Slayer get zapped of her strength, she then has to face a pyscho killer vampire that we shall henceforth refer to as Hannivamp Lecter. The Watcher Council dudes are keeping him drugged up and chained inside a box, but it doesn’t take long for him to trick one of the two younger guys into getting near him so he can bite him, turn him into a vamp helper, and make his escape.

Meanwhile, Angel presents Buff with her birthday gift: a book of poems (zzzzz), but she’s too busy wigging out over the possibility of never regaining her powers. “If I’m not the Slayer, what do I do? What do I have to offer? Why would you like me?” I wanna hug her so bad, but at least Angel comforts her with the knowledge that he fell in love with her the moment he first saw her, right before she became the Slayer, because he could see her heart. (I’ll buy it, just for Buffy’s sake.)

On her way home, Buffy gets hit on by two gross assholes, and she can’t do anything about it, UGH. This is really the worst. But then actually it is the worst, because Hannivamp Lecter shows up and chases her (while she’s literally wearing a red riding hood–writers, you need to calm down). Thankfully, Giles arrives via car to rescue her, but then he has to admit that he’s been giving her these injections to weaken her, and his betrayal cuts through all of us like a dull knife, especially in light of Buffy’s dad missing her birthday. 

All the Emmys for SMG!

Wearing Buffy’s hood, Hannivamp tricks Joyce and kidnaps her, forcing our Slayer to prepare for battle at the Welshly Sunnydale Arms… wearing our favorite Overalls of Vulnerability! This might be one of the times I’m most afraid for the Buffster, obviously because she doesn’t have her super strength but also because Hannivamp is a real piece of work. “I have a problem with mothers,” he tells her, after confessing to murdering his mom. “I’m aware of that.” While this is going down, Giles is telling off Quentin Travers (“Interestingly, I don’t give a rat’s ass about the Council’s orders.”) before he heads over to the Arms. 

Buffy is straight up scared by this point, and it’s SO HARD to watch. She and Hannivamp Lecter engage in a cat and mouse game, which is legit terrifying, especially when she ends up in a room with walls covered entirely with Polaroids of a tied and gagged Joyce. But she has the smarts to not only grab Hannivamp’s pills (dude is an addict) but then, after finding Joyce, to lay a trap: she fills a glass with Holy Water so when he eventually catches up with Buffy and snatches back his pills, he takes them with that water and diiiiiiies! BYE MONSTER BYE. Giles arrives in time to stake the other Council-dude-turned-vamp, but that’s not enough for Quentin: Buffy has passed the test, but Giles did not, and now his ass is fired for–get this–having a “father’s love” for Buffy. She appropriately responds, “Bite me,” then Quentin leaves and Giles tenderly cleans Buffy’s wounds.

As the episode closes, a lot of shizz is uncertain, but I’m glad that Buffy and Giles have reconciled, because that’s all that matters! 

How many times do I have to take a drink?

7

Vamps Dusted

3

Slay of the Week Season

Is Amy Still a Rat?

Yes. And Willow’s like not that sad about her new pet?

Cameo

Harris Yulin, a white, older man with silver hair, as Quentin Travers

Harris Yulin, who plays Quentin Travers, has been around. He’s had roles in ScarfaceGhostbusters IIUnbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and, of course, Law & Order.

Willow’s Series of Unfortunate Hat Events

Willow wearing a red, orange, and yellow striped knit hat with a pom-pom at the top

At first, I was like, WHY would the wardrobe department put this hat on Willow? Then I realized that it tied to the name of the episode, because her fashion sense is… wait for it… hopeless.


Man, it is truly devastating to watch Giles zap Buffy’s powers–I’m glad she forgives him but it might take me a while longer? What about y’all? I also hate seeing her so weak, but at the same time, I love this episode, because she realizes her worth is not solely tied to her Slayer strength. 

Also, does anyone else think it’s weird that the Scoobs still trust Amy even though she’s been shifty witchy?

Tune in next week when Kandis recaps “The Zeppo” (a sort of redemption for Xander?) and “Bad Girls” (whatever the opposite of redemption is for Faith). 

Sarah splits her time between Dallas and Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.