Mr Chase går i barndom:
40. Band Candy
For some reason this episode didn't do it for me. At least not the in the way I expected. It's not a bad episode, but it's not a particularly good one either. I'm well aware that I'm in the minority here, since most viewers and reviewers seem to like it. But I don't know, the adults-going-teenagers thing just didn't connect with me. Maybe it was the stupid Xander/Willow thing that destroyed it for me. I'm not sure.
All right, it was funny at times to see the adults acting like irresponsible, and I might as well say delinquent, youths, but it was a bit too much of the good thing. Faster than I expected I got bored with "teenage" Snyder and Giles and Joyce just grossed me out, like it did Buffy. We all know that tweedy Giles had a chequered past but I really doubt that he would be such a rebel without a cause, smashing windows and beating up policemen. And Joyce as a vapid hangaround? Nah!
The underlying theme was one of what too much, or too less for that matter, adult supervision can bring you as a youngster. Buffy rightly feels herself controlled 24-7 and wants to break free. (That she can use that to care for the secret Angel is beside the point, well almost anyway!) But be careful what you wish for! So not only does she get out of parental and watchial supervision, she and the other Scoobies must act like substitute adults for the by now regressed adult population of Sunnydale. Well, they sort of already have since they've been saving the world a lot ever since Buffy arrived in town. But anyway...
The plot is rather weak. If the plan all along was to steal a couple of babies to sacrifice them to that snake demon, why would the bad guys go to all that trouble of poisoning all adults with regressive behavioural inducing chocolate bars? Why just not knock out the hospital staff with some gas or something? No, for plot purposes they had to make high school kids sell the bars and just hope that enough adults would eat them in sufficient quantities. Granted that most Sunnydale adults seems to be a couple of cans short of a six-pack even before they took a bite of the candy bars, but this is plainly ridiculous! Mr Trick should not have paid subcontractor Ethan Rayne. And where were all the vampires while all this happened? A fringe benefit if ever there was one, with this band candy, should have made the vamps go on an uninterrupted feeding spree, Happy Meals on legs and all that!
Speaking of Ethan, his character was way underused here. He wasn't even scary anymore. I expected a lot more from Ripper's old chum. And Ripper, well what can I say that I haven't said already. Sure he was scary when he got violent by the squad car, but not scary in a good way, like the previous glimpses we have seen of Ripper.
And alas, the clothes fluke between Xander and Willow is apparently a bit more than that in the twisted, nasty mind of Joss Whedon. I don't want to ramble on too much about this but I still find it absolutely horrible and unbelievable. I can't see the attraction. It is perhaps a bit more understandable where Willow is concerned. She did have a long crush on Xander after all. But Xander? I know he was eating from the chocolate but as he himself said: "I don't get this. This candy's supposed to make you all immature and stuff, but I ate a ton and I don't feel any diff... never mind."
No, I just can't believe it. If Xander the juvenile pod person keeps this up I'm going to say that Cordelia is too good for him anyway. But this simply isn't my Xander, no matter how clueless and dumb he can be sometimes. Still, he has a Cordelia's homecoming queen flyer taped in his locker. Feeling guilty, Xand? Poor Cordelia (and well, poor Oz as well) hasn't a clue even if she does have layers and does well on standardized tests. She's so cute with the B.X. (Before Xander) thing. She does love him, as indicated in "Homecoming". If only she'd tell him I'm sure he'd come to his senses.
Instead he's playing footsies with Willow, or rather Willow playing footsies with him since she's the one to take the initiative. Big cringe factor there. And Willow had the audacity to call Cordelia a skanky ho in a previous episode! Sheesh! If this is what the new more assertive Willow is all about then count me out. If that's the case I want the old geeky shy Willow back stat! What was Joss thinking, the bastard?
The Mayor, Richard Wilkins III, continue to creep us out. And now he has Mr Trick onboard. This is bad news. At this point we're not really sure whether Wilkins is human or not. He's no vampire though.
Mayor Wilkins: "I've made certain deals to get where I am today. This demon requires his tribute. You see, that's what separates me from other politicians, Mr Trick. I *keep* my campaign promises."
And he sure takes the politicians kissing babies to a new level. And yet he seems quite ordinary. So why is everyone around him so afraid of him?
There's also a couple of literary references in this episode. Xander says to principal Snyder "You weren't visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past by any chance?" which is a reference to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol where nasty Uncle Scrooge is treated by four ghosts. And Buffy saying "I'm sure we all love the idea of going all Willy Loman..." is a reference to the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.
Rupert Giles: "I'll be back in the Middle Ages."
Miss Calendar: "Did you ever leave?"