|Index||2 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Gingerbread" is about censorship. A militant parents-right's group has
taken over Sunnydale. They're searching school lockers for
objectionable materials, banning inflammatory books, persecuting people
who are different, etc... It's a monster-of-the-week that deals with
real life issues under the guise of witchcraft and fairy tales. This
isn't the best episode of the season, but it's still pretty good in
places. You could skip "Gingerbread", if you're in a hurry and watching
the season on DVD. But, really, it's worth seeing just so you can
understand the running Amy/rat joke in the seasons to come.
"Gingerbread" has Hansel and Gretel coming to Sunnydale. While out on patrol with Buffy, Joyce stumbles across the bodies of two children and is horrified. Determined to stop the violence and mysterious happenings in Sunnydale, Joyce organizes "Mother's Opposed to the Occult" or "MOO." Suddenly, everyone in town is preoccupied with avenging the deaths of the children and tracking down the witches that apparently killed them. They're confiscating Giles' books, stealing Cordelia's scented candles and questioning Willow about her wicca-ness. It soon becomes apparent that the whole town is under some sort of spell.
The dead children are really Hansel and Gretel and, to make things even more complicated they are also a demon. It hides in the guise of the children, breaking communities apart and inspiring them to persecute witches. Joyce and Willow's Mom capture their daughters and tie them up. Willow, Amy and Buffy are all soon set to be burned at the stake. Amy morphs into a rat to escape. Oz and Xander fight to save Willow and Buffy, while Giles and Cordy work on a cure for the demons spell.
There are some good parts to the episode. I like that "Gingerbread" finally addresses the dangers of living in Sunnydale. The disappearances and skinnings and "sudden neck ruptures"... There's no way that the citizens of Sunnydale could fail to pick up on the problems in their town. They have a willful, blind ignorance of the darkness that surrounds them. And Pricipal Snyder reading off the titles of the confiscated library books is hilarious. "Blood Rites and Sacrifices." I can't believe that Giles just has those books sitting on the shelves. Also, it's good to finally see Willow's mother and understand a bit more around Willow's home life. No wonder Willow wants to spend all her time at school. Lastly, I like Amy turning into the rat. Poor Amy will be stuck like that for quite a while.
Also aside from the Hansel and Gretel reference, the title of the episode has a hidden meaning. The word Gingerbread has the letters D-A-N-G-E-R in it.
On the downside, Angel's not in this episode very much. He should have been involved in the "lets-save-Buffy" plan. And did Giles' books really get burnt? He won't like that.
My favorite part of the episode: Willow's mother's rant against the patriarchal biased of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
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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