Band Candy

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Not to be confused with The Candy Band.
"Band Candy"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Buffy 3x06.jpg
Giles and Joyce in Giles' apartment listening to music, under the influence of the band candy, causing them to act as teenagers
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 6
Directed by Michael Lange
Written by Jane Espenson
Production code 3ABB06
Original air date November 10, 1998
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"Band Candy" is the sixth episode of season 3 of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Buffy combines her slaying with studying for the SAT in the graveyard with Giles. The SATs occupy a lot of Buffy's thoughts, and Buffy complains that that, along with her slaying duties, have resulted in her being scheduled 24/7 by her mother and Giles. She then gets another duty: Principal Snyder is handing out boxes of candy to all the students, which they must sell to pay for new marching band uniforms.

Buffy sells half of her chocolate bars to her mom, and the two get into an argument because her mother refuses to let her learn to drive. Buffy then leaves for the library, telling her mother she will be studying with Giles for the night. She sells the other half of her quota of candy to Giles, then leaves, telling him her mother wants her home early. Instead, Buffy visits Angel, who is practicing T'ai chi. When she arrives home, Buffy finds her mother and Giles waiting, both of them angry that she lied to them about her whereabouts. They send her to bed and proceed to commiserate while eating the band candy. Meanwhile, at a local warehouse filled with workers packaging the candy bars, Ethan Rayne is revealed to be overseeing the operation.

The next day, Giles fails to show up for study hall, where Xander and Willow are playing footsie. Giles' substitute, Ms. Barton, behaves oddly and dismisses the study hall. Worried, Buffy goes to Giles' place and finds her mom on the couch. Giles explains that they are rescheduling her activities to lessen her burden, and Joyce offhandedly gives her her car keys to drive home, to Buffy's astonishment. When Buffy is gone, Giles lights up a cigarette and Joyce pulls out a bottle of Kahlúa. Giles, now acting like he did as a teen, when he was known as "Ripper," invites Joyce out for some fun.

Buffy frightens Willow with her driving. They find The Bronze packed with adults who are acting like teenagers, including Principal Snyder. Buffy and Willow leave with Oz and Snyder, who insists on tagging along, and decide to head over to Giles' place to find out what is going on.

At the warehouse, Mr. Trick checks up on Ethan Rayne and the production of the chocolate bars. Trick suddenly (and arbitrarily) accuses one of the workers of eating the candy, and kills him as an example. He then leaves to perform the "tribute."

Meanwhile, out on the town, Joyce and Giles are up to some hijinx. Giles robs a shop for a coat for Joyce, then he subdues the policemen who comes to stop them, stealing a gun in the process. Then he and Joyce start making out on the hood of the police car.

Buffy gets into a car accident that dents her mom's car. Buffy eventually puts two and two together and realizes that the candy is making everyone act like immature teenagers. Buffy sends Willow and Oz to the library and drives to the warehouse after Snyder tells her where the band candy comes from. Upon arrival, Buffy finds her mother and Giles kissing in the middle of the street. Buffy tries to reason with her mother, but her mother acts sullen and hostile to Buffy's authority. She enters the factory, taking Joyce along; Giles and Snyder follow. Inside, Buffy finds and catches Ethan; her threat of violence easily persuades him to reveal that Trick needs to dull Sunnydale adults in order to collect a tribute that is so valuable that they need all of the adults to be incapacitated to take it. They do not know what the tribute is, but it is intended for a demon named Lurconis.

Meanwhile, four vampires enter a now unguarded hospital to remove four newborn babies. Buffy and the wacked-out adults arrive at the hospital a little later, where Willow phones them from the library and relays to them the discovery that Lurconis eats babies. Giles remembers that the demon may be found in the sewers.

Down in the sewers, the Mayor, Mr. Trick, and the four vampires are chanting in a ceremony to summon Lurconis. Buffy, Giles and Joyce crash the party underground, and the Mayor quickly flees unnoticed. Buffy defeats the vampires while Giles and Joyce retrieve the babies to safety. Trick escapes and the huge demon appears. Buffy pulls down a gas pipe, igniting a fire that kills Lurconis.

Back at his office, the Mayor asks why Trick fled, allowing Buffy to kill Lurconis. Trick replies that he thought he did the Mayor a favor by having the Slayer kill the demon, leaving one less demon to whom the Mayor would owe tribute. The Mayor warns Trick against doing him any more such favors.

The next day, the adults have returned to their senses. Snyder, reverted to his grumpy and misanthropic self, chooses Willow, Oz, Xander and Cordelia as "volunteers" to clean up the mess in the hall. Buffy complains to Giles about the SATs. They meet Joyce, and Buffy exclaims that they're lucky she stopped them before they did more than they did. Joyce and Giles then look very embarrassed, but Buffy fails to notice.


  • Kristine Sutherland, who plays Joyce Summers, has named "Band Candy" as one of her favorite Buffy episodes, along with "Ted", "When She Was Bad" and "Innocence".
  • The Cream song "Tales of Brave Ulysses" later reappeared in the season five episode "Forever", where Giles listens to the record after Joyce's funeral, in remembrance of the events of this episode.
  • The accent used by Teenage Giles is Anthony Head's normal accent.
  • This is the first episode where script writer Jane Espenson is credited. Later on, she would love to put Giles and Joyce in front of embarrassing situations in the episodes she'd write, as a recollection of their sexual intercourse happening in "Band Candy".[1]
  • In the White Collar Season 3 episode As You Were, the character Peter Burke states that he persuaded a friend in the U.S. Attorney's office to grant him a warrant needed for the episode's investigation by buying a good deal of her child's band candy, and that he wished they had something besides "those damn chocolate bars". Jeff Eastin acknowledged on his live Twitter feed during the airing of that episode that the dialogue is a deliberate reference to this episode, and a "shout out" to Jane Espenson, who is now part of the White Collar writing staff.


Arc significance[edit]

  • Willow and Xander continue their dangerous liaison.
  • The Mayor once more shows his character, while Snyder proves to be an ignorant participant in his evil schemes.
  • The glaring implication at the end that Giles and Joyce went further than kisses is confirmed in "Earshot".
  • This is Ethan Rayne's first appearance since the previous season's The Dark Age and in Halloween.
  • The demon Lurconis is very similar to the demon the Mayor transforms into at the end of the season.
  • In the scenes where Giles is wearing only a tee shirt, a Mark of Eyghon tattoo is clearly visible on his left inner forearm. This is in keeping with his 'Ripper' backstory as presented in "The Dark Age".
  • Willow learns that although Lurconis receives a tribute every thirty years, the one prepared in this episode is late; no reason for the usually ultra-punctual Mayor's lateness is given, but it might be theorized that he delayed the tribute as long as possible in hope of Buffy dying or leaving Sunnydale in the interim, so she would not interfere with it, as she in fact does here.

Cultural references[edit]

  • Buffy says of having Giles and Joyce hound her to study for the SAT tests, "It's like being in the Real World house, only real." She refers to the reality television series Real World.
  • The candy, called MilkBar, uses the same font as the Milk Bar in the movie, "A Clockwork Orange."
  • Xander says to Principal Snyder, "You weren't visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, by any chance?"[2] This alludes to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
  • Buffy says, "I'm sure we love the idea of going all Willy Loman, but we're not in the band." Willy Loman was the titular character of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.
  • Buffy tries to deflect the anger of Joyce and Giles by suggesting that there is "a very insightful Nightline on." Nightline was a late-night news program.
  • Buffy quotes The Rocky Horror Picture Show by saying, "Let's do the Time Warp again" when she and Willow walk into The Bronze. Anthony Head starred in a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • Joyce Summers describes an outfit in a store window as "very Juice Newton" and tells Giles that he is like Burt Reynolds.


Noel Murray of The AV Club writes that the episode "shows an alternate version of Sunnydale that's grounded in the town's own dark reality. Or as Oz says, 'Sobering mirror to look into, huh?'"[3]

The website The Buffy Phenomenon gave the episode a score of 78/100 and added that it "is easily the most comedic episode" in the season.[4]

Similarly, list-maker and reviewer Jacob Hall wrote, "Season three's 'Band Candy' is probably one of the goofiest episodes of the entire series, but it's also one of the funniest, showcasing the writing staff's tremendous wit and the range of the show's supporting cast. The episode deals with a dark enchantment forcing the adults of Sunnydale to revert to their teenage mentalities, transforming the likes of Giles, Mrs. Summers and Principal Snyder into hilarious alternate versions of themselves. As awesome as it is to see Anthony Stewart Head pull off a 'bad boy' thing, the episode more than earns its place on its list for Armin Shimerman's sad, pathetic and totally endearing take on his normally cruel character."[5]


  1. ^ DVD Commentary, Season 5 Episode 15 "I Was Made to Love You".
  2. ^ Espenson, Jane (1998). "Band Candy". BuffyWorld. Retrieved November 17, 2015. 
  3. ^ Murray, Noel (June 5, 2009). "Buffy The Vampire Slayer: "Beauty And The Beasts" / "Homecoming" / "Band Candy"". The AV Club. Retrieved November 17, 2015. 
  4. ^ Buffy Phenomenon (November 12, 2012). "BAND CANDY (ep #3.06)". The Buffy Phenomenon. Retrieved November 17, 2015. 
  5. ^ Hall, Jacob (January 31, 2014). "The 10 Best Episodes of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'". Screen Crush. Retrieved November 17, 2015. 

External links[edit]