Season 3, Episode 11 - “Gingerbread”
Original airdate: January 12, 1999
Project 310 re-watch date: Feb. 4, 2009
This is a very strange episode. That’s not to say it’s not good (it’s actually pretty fun to watch), but it’s just weird. The whole concept -- that some evil demon morphs into two little children and tricks the people of Sunnydale into turning on the supernatural -- is kind of unbelievable. In past episodes, we’ve seen that certain adults are aware of Sunnydale’s supernatural underpinnings, and we know The Mayor is actually behind some of it. So how do things get so out of control so fast?
I guess part of it is mildly explained by Giles’s reference to the demon’s “influence”, but up until that point in the episode, it seems more like the demon’s influence is mental, not supernatural in any way.
As for the whole “some fairy tales are real” concept that is introduced in this episode, it’s too bad we never see that revisited throughout the series. “Charmed” did a “fairy tales” episode at one point, and it was total garbage, so maybe this concept is best left alone (or at least in the hands of good writers).
Also, in the final burning scene, where is Angel exactly? I understand that he probably wants to lay low, given the whole anti-occult thing and his status as a vampire, but I have to think he would have heard something about the goings on at City Hall, and would have known Buffy was in danger. Meanwhile, everyone else in the group shows up to help (even if Oz and Xander do drop from the ceiling comically late).
My favorite part of this episode, by far, is the introduction of rat Amy. Amazingly, she’d be a part of the show for the rest of the way, being stuck as a rat (mostly) into Season 6, then showing up again in Season 7, and the Season 8 comic.
Xander: “I’m still spinning on this whole ‘fairy tales are real thing’.”
Oz: “So what do we do?”
Xander: “I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna go trade my cow in for some beans.”
(I laugh out loud when I hear this line, still)