Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996–2003)
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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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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Mayor Richard Wilkins
Principal Snyder
Little Girl
Little Boy
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


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Snyder paraphrases Apocalypse Now (1979), which he will appear in a parody of in season 4. See more »


When the team looks up old newspaper articles about murdered children, a German text from 1649 briefly flashes on the screen. The text does not make any sense, and looks like an electronic word-by-word translation of an English original. See more »


Buffy: They've never been seen alive, just dead. A lot!
See more »


Featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Gift (2001) See more »


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

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User Reviews

A witch hunt in Sunnydale
21 April 2018 | by See all my reviews

Buffy's mother has decided that the time has come for her to accompany her daughter on patrol to see what being the Slayer really entails. While Buffy is dispatching a vampire Joyce finds the bodies of two young children and is understandably horrified. Buffy promises to get to the bottom of it and asks Giles about a symbol drawn of the children's hands. He fears that they could be dealing with a human foe, possibly some kind of cult involving witchcraft. When Joyce hears she believes something must be done so starts contacting other parents... soon there is a full scale witch hunt under way and anybody involved with the occult is being targeted; Willow and Amy are in real danger as they are witches and Giles has his books confiscated; the very books that might help solve the question of who the dead children are and who harmed them.

This was a rather impressive episode with some surprisingly tense moments; I liked the fact that the most obvious threat came from the parents. Not surprisingly we ultimately discover that they were being influenced but that doesn't make their actions less disturbing. The story provided plenty of great moments; most notably Willow standing up to her mother and Giles giving his opinion of Principal Snyder... not to mention Amy's spell near the end. The cast is on fine form; Alyson Hannigan stands out as Willow takes the central role, it was good to see Kristine Sutherland doing more as Joyce and recurring guest Elizabeth Anne Allen impresses as Amy. The explanation for what happened is well handled. Overall this was another solid episode.

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