Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 3, Episode 11

Gingerbread (12 Jan. 1999)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Fantasy
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,172 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

After discovering the corpses of two young children bearing a symbol linked to the occult, Joyce spearheads a campaign to rid Sunnydale of witches.



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Title: Gingerbread (12 Jan 1999)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Little Girl
Little Boy
Blake Soper ...
Michael Czajak (as Blake Swendson)


The discovery in Sunnydale park of a boy and girl aged 7-8, apparently murdered ritually as indicated by markings, soon tracked to witchcraft -as used by sorcery apprentice Willow-, has an unusual emotional effect. Buffy's mother, who was there in an attempt to bond, founds the soon influential Mothers Opposing the Occult, MOO, actually including fathers and sympathizers, which alas targets white as well as black magic, even slaying, actually urged by the two killed kids to 'hurt the bad girls'. Eagerly helped by principal Snyder, mayor Wilkins and the police, MOO manages to have the school lockers searched, Giles' books confiscated and risking to end up a stake, where they believe witches must be solved, even if this extreme 'punishment' concerns their own daughters. When the gang realize nobody ever identified the kids, they find there's more to Hans and Greta Strauss, in their dark past... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

12 January 1999 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jerome Elston Scott:  the boy led away from his locker in the opening. See more »


Buffy is tied to a stake with rope around her midriff and hips. Depending on the camera angle being shown, her right arm is either held against her hips or free from the elbow down. See more »


Xander: Everyone expects me to mess up again, like Oz. I see how he is around me. You know, that steely gaze, that pointed silence.
Buffy: 'Cause he's usually such a chatterbox.
Xander: No, but it's different now. It's more a verbal non-verbal. He speaks volumes with his eyes.
See more »


References Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Written by Nerf Herder
Performed by Brandon K. Verrett
See more »

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User Reviews

The more Joyce, the better the episode
16 February 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews


The Good; Host of good stuff, the hysteria, the fiery climax, the mislead with Willow, Amy! The Buffy/Joyce scenes are superb, great to meet Will's mum. Love the Mayor's very careful tiptoeing around MOO and Principle Snyder is a joy to behold

The Bad; A TV cliché but surely the police would take longer than 5 minutes to get a statement from Joyce and Buffy and wouldn't leave them hanging around the crime scene. Also the demon at the end with the stake through its' throat is very obviously a perspective gag.

Best line; Joyce; "Oh my god it's mister Sanderson from the bank!" just pipping Willow's; "You do doodle"

Shot; no but Giles is intimidated by a security guard with a gun

Tied up; Willow, Amy and Buffy

Knocked out; Buffy and Giles by Joyce using chloroform. Cordy asks how many times Giles has been knocked out, I figure it must be a dozen or more. Love her line about 'waking up in a coma' although it's rather ironic given the events of 'You're Welcome'.

Women good/men bad; in this case it's the women who lead the crusade/lynch-mob

Kinky dinky; Giles and Joyce are at least talking to one another now but still awkward. Willow implores the dark forces to 'fill her with their black naughtiness' which one day they will. Xander has Playboys in his locker which is surprisingly classy porn considering what we know about him. As I recall it was actually the story of the little Dutch boy with his fist in the dyke but that's probably too kinky even for Joss. Giles logs into the 'Frisky watchers chatroom' which I'm sure someone launched at some time

Calling Captain Subtext; The not so subtle implication is a rant against those who wish to censor Buffy or criticise it for it's occult features. But really it's against bigotry and mob rule anywhere. Ironically I remember this ep being censored on the BBC at the point where Buffy stakes the demon at the end. Buffy seems unaware that 'dyke' is another word for dam which makes her expression when Angel refers to having "a finger in the dyke" all the more hilarious.

Guantanamo Bay; SDH has it's civil liberties suspended, Snyder glorying in his power

Questions and observations; Where do people get chloroform, I mean can you just buy it down the chemist? This ep marks the beginning of Cordy's eventual reintegration into the Scooby gang as she helps Giles save Buff&co and Oz and Xander reconcile. The first appearance of rat Amy. Someone should tell Michael that the New Romantic era is over. When Joyce and Buffy have their talk at SDH they're standing under a poster saying 'Blood required again'. You rather wonder that no one has thought to form a vigilante group to counter the Hellmouth evil before? Joyce refers to 'neck rupture', presumably the authorities term for vampire killings. Snyder misquotes Apocalypse Now which he will appear in a parody of at the end of season 4. Once again Buffy's status as the Slayer seems common knowledge to judge by the boys reaction to her at the school. Willow claims that she's sacrificed the local goats, one day she will sacrifice Bambi.

So lovely that Joyce comes along to Buffy's Slaying patrol. You have to agree with Snyder that it's rather weird for Giles to have such a wide selection of books dedicated to the supernatural in the library. It's a great turnaround that Joyce the parent relies on Buffy the child to console her from the evils she's seen. She has a point that Sunnydale isn't getting any better, they're not running out of vampires. But as 'The Wish' and 'Dopplegangland' prove Buffy&co make a huge difference.

One wonders what Dawn makes of all this? Love Giles struggling with the computer, can't he call the Council for help?

Angel and Buffy's talk is interesting especially in light of his crisis of faith in season 2 of his own show. No Faith which is a shame, love to see where she would stand in all of this. Xander and Oz in the air ducts speaks of every cliché in every action film ever. A hint of Amy's true colours as Buffy observes "She couldn't do us first". Lovely fanfic called 'The Mayoress' based on this one where The Mayor falls in love with Joyce and gives up evil to marry her and become Buffy, Faith and Dawn's loving stepfather.

8/10 again, very good but not truly great

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