The mayor and Mr. Trick hire Ethan (remember Giles' old nemesis) to provide them with poisoned chocolate. This chocolate is highly addictive and temporarily turns adults back into teenagers, intellectually and emotionally - not physically. The chocolate is distributed through the high school - even Buffy and her friends end up selling it, supposedly to support the school band. The mayor needs to make a sacrifice to a demon (now we know why he doesn't mind living on the Hellmouth and how he got into office). The sacrifice is a big one, babies. And to do it he needs the town basically incapacitated.
Soon there's scarcely an adult in town
acting like one. Even Principal Snyder is affected. And Buffy
is left having to stop the spread of the chocolate, stop the sacrifice,
and keep her mom and Giles (who in their teenage mode find each other
very attractive) away from each other.
In my review of Homecoming I voted no to the Willow/Xander coupling. But I like the Giles/Mrs. Summers relationship. These are two lonely people who have a fair bit in common. Of course, the biggest thing is Buffy. They're both devoted to her. And they both are constantly trying to control her. And they both worry about her. But they also have similar interests. Mrs. Summers works in an art gallery and clearly has some pretty esoteric artistic interests. Giles is one of the few people around who probably understands what she's talking about. And, as this episode implies, there is a definite physical compatability.
But this episode isn't about Giles and Mrs. Summers. It's about extremes of adult supervision. The adults veer from heavily controlling everyone's life - Buffy complains how her mother and Giles want to control everything she does every minute of the day, to not exercising any control at all. And while that sounds like fun to a teenager, it really isn't a good idea.
Buffy seems to have become rather dumb in this episode. Of course, Faith just disappeared so I guess things could be worse. She doesn't grow immediately suspicious when her mother gives her the keys to the car. Buffy doesn't even have a license. No way in the world would her mother let her drive unsupervised. But she's so eager to drive, she just ignores this warning sign. And she seems completely oblivious to the obvious attraction between her mother and Giles, thinking it was just some teenage fling. Maybe Buffy ate some of those chocolates.
Actually, maybe Cordelia ate some, too. She seems unaware of the growing Willow/Xander relationship. She misses the two of them playing footsies and she doesn't seem to notice Willow jump when she suggests swapping (books). Maybe she just doesn't want to see. Whatever, this theme is sure to cause problems in the future.
I was disappointed that there wasn't a mellowing between Buffy and Snyder. It should be obvious to him that he was a victim of the mayor's scheme. And I doubt even Snyder approves of giving babies to demons. Maybe we'll see some resolution of this in future episodes. On the plus side, I liked Xander realizing the chocolate left him unchanged because he was already pretty juvenile.
It's interesting that the teenagers Giles, Snyder and Mrs. Summers turned into were all so uncontrolled and flighty. Not at all like the serious teenagers the show is about. If they remember what happened to them, maybe they'll lighten up a little. Compared to them, Buffy is a saint.
In past episodes, an unappeased demon gets pretty ugly. So why is the mayor still walking free? Mr. Trick suggests he has quite a few demons on his side. But how long can he stay in power if Buffy keeps knocking them off? This explains his fear of her. Although you'd think so corrupt an official could find easier ways of getting rid of girl. I look forward to the confrontation between Trick and the Mayor. Trick is probably the cleverest vampire we have met. I think only Spike rivalled him for brains, but his obsession with Dru was a major weakness. Trick has no such weakness. As he says, he likes to let others fight his battles. He knows how to keep allies - he pays off Ethan even though things don't work out. And, so far, he's managed a rapprochement with the mayor. Trick has no obvious weakness and a lot of strengths. But I'm betting Buffy will finish him off by the end of the season.
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