Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | November 13, 2011

Podcast #45: Gingerbread

Here’s the podcast for Season 3, Episode 11 – Gingerbread

Joyce, proud to be a MOO

Joyce, proud to be a MOO

Download: Gingerbread

RSS Feed: The Buffy Rewatch

The next podcast will appear on Monday 21st November 2011 for episode eleven of Season Three: “Helpless.” That’s the one where Buffy starts to lose her Slayer powers.

Comment on this post to get your views on the podcast.

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  1. I have couple quick comments about the podcast for Gingerbread before I get into my review. First all Robin I’d love to go skipping down the trail with you like Cordia suggested and I mean that in an non-homoerotic way (no matter how it sounds). And Sarah, I’m so happy that you are liking my comments and I gladly accept my honorary title of VP of Xander’s a Douche Club, let’s make t-shirts! Oh! And Cordia I didn’t want to seem like I was attacking your view of Amends, I just feel like there were logical explanations for some of the elements that you felt were logical fallacies, but I totally get why you didn’t like Amends. Without further ado here’s my view which I’m now just actively ripping off your format.

    After the unfortunate “Gingerbread”, season 3 appears to be back on track with “Helpless”. It’s not the one of the best Buffy episodes but it is what a monster of the week episode should be; a contained story that’s emotionally engaging, has a convincing villain and the events that will have an impact on future episodes and the characters.

    The Good Stuff:

    I saw in a Buffy reunion on YouTube that Joss and David Greenwalt would call Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jimmy Stewart due to her ability to portray pain on camera and for it resonate emotionally and that ability takes center stage in “Helpless”. In may be a bit overkill considering Buffy is either on the verge of tears or actually crying in every scene but the pain feels real.
    Hank Summers is nothing but a plot device in this episode but his involvement (or more appropriately lack of involvement) is effective in this episode because of the impact it has on Buffy. It may have been rather obvious for some that Hank wasn’t going to show up but it doesn’t make Buffy’s discovery of the note any less emotional. We have seen in prior scenes how much Buffy has been looking forward to this event so seeing her face fall and her crumple up the note is especially heartbreaking. Joyce’s earnest offers to go are also particularly effective contrasted with Buffy’s utter dejection.

    The other interesting discussion that this episode brings is we get to see Buffy deal without slayer powers and how that becomes such a huge issue for her. As much as Buffy expresses that she wants to be just a normal girl, I think it’s clear that if given the choice to be a slayer or normal teenage girl without any powers, she wouldn’t choose to be normal. The episode’s biggest feat is showing that Buffy being a slayer is central to her identity and without it she truly is lost and transforming Buffy from the strong independent hero that can be to someone who is in grave danger without making her a damsel in distress like she was back season two’s “Halloween”.

    The Bad Stuff:

    I like the fact that Giles and Buffy’s relationship is explored further in this episode but I find it rather odd why Giles didn’t just refuse to go along with this test for the beginning. I know the episode tries to explain that in these matters he has no choice and we see he is unwilling to obey but it doesn’t seem in Giles’ character given his feelings for Buffy to go along with the test. It makes more sense for Giles to outright refuse to perform his duties upfront and accept the consequences than to put Buffy in danger. When he goes to the house and finds out the vampire has escaped he could have been going to call it off but that’s just speculation. I know eventually he disobeys orders but it didn’t seem in character for him to agree to this barbaric test at all.

    The scene in library when Buffy discovers Giles has been drugging her falls flat for me. The scene comes of two melodramatic for me and that makes it lose emotional impact. This has the opportunity to be a great scene considering the fact that Buffy has not only been abandoned by her biological father but has been betrayed by her surrogate father, yet I don’t connect to this scene in the way that I should. It just felt like the show was trying to tell me this important and emotional than actually showing me that this was important and emotional. In fact it appears that they knew this scene wasn’t the strongest because almost as soon as it starts Cordelia enters and starts cracking jokes. It should be a moment of classic Buffy irony in what is supposed to be a dramatic and emotional scene Cordelia is able to come and inject humor but it feels more like they where trying to get themselves out of the scene then actually being ironic and it just seems like they were trying to Cordelia in the scene where she wasn’t needed.

    I think it’s pretty clear in this episode that the Watcher’s Council is either incredibly ineffective or is actively trying to kill the slayers they are supposed to protect. The test was apparently supposed to be controlled but I can’t see it being that much different because Travers is not concerned at all when things go out of control we can assume it wasn’t that different and that makes me believe that the test is really not worth the risk. I fail to see any kind of upside of the test and Travels never effectively describes one. This isn’t really a failing of the episode because we have learned before that The Watcher’s Council is a terribly run organization but this is the first episode where the Council has been given and a “face” and its disappointing that there is no reason given for their incompetence.

    Best Moment:

    While I have problems with what is intended to be the big emotional scene between Giles and Buffy, the most emotional moment has no dialogue at all and it’s when Giles takes the washcloth from Buffy’s hand and starts dapping her head. It’s a beautifully moment when Giles is able to show his fatherly affection towards Buffy, something she has been wanting from Giles the entire episode. The best thing about this moment though is that it proves that the show can demonstrate the relationship between Buffy and Giles and how much they mean to each other without having a big theatrical scene.

    Well there’s that and the triumphant return of Buffy’s “sad overalls” from “Ted”. Another side note on fashion Willow apparently was going through a big crazy color hat phase the week around Buffy’s birthday.

    Bottom Line: The episode has some problems but it explores Buffy and Giles evolving relationship from Watcher/Slayer to Father/Daughter and is a monster of the week episodes with a consequence setting up the interesting dynamic of Giles being around but not a Watcher.


    This episode is a turning point for both Giles and
    Buffy. She has now lived as a regular human being
    without any supernatural powers. She remembers
    what it’s like to feel afraid, to bruise after hitting
    someone, and to run instead of staying to fight.
    While in earlier seasons she just wanted to escape
    her life and would have given anything to have not
    been the chosen one, in this episode she gains a
    new appreciation for who she is.

    She actually could walk away from the life, since she
    is not the active slayer, but she no longer wants to.
    Just as chooses Giles to be her father figure, she
    chooses the life of a slayer over the life of a normal

    Also, this is probably one of the better “horror” episodes
    in the entire series. I love that Buffy goes tearing around
    Sunnydale, on a quiet residential street, just *screaming*
    for help, and not one person comes out to help her or
    opens their door. They probably hear that kind of thing
    all the time, and know enough not to come out and try
    to help.

    It’s also interesting to see Buffy experiencing ‘the
    Sunnydale life’ from the point of view of all the other
    screaming, helpless girls we’ve seen killed over the
    years. It reminds me of many horror movie chase
    scenes ( to which Sarah Michelle has participated in
    & SCREAM 2) that while you know she’s going to get
    away (in this case, Giles saves her), it’s still exciting
    to watch and you genuinely feel concerned for her

    PS – Kralik is a very creepy villain, even if he is just a

  3. “Helpless” is an intriguing and engaging episode. It’s interesting to see Giles in a role where he betrays Buffy’s trust and how that work out. It’s focused on Buffy and Giles (which I always like). It has a really powerful ending and it is a game changing episode.
    I think when Buffy is disappointed by her father, she turns to Giles even stronger (asking him to see the ice show with her) but then he betrays her as well which maybe affects her even stronger (“I dont know you”).
    My favourite scenes are the whole scene in the library when Giles reveals hat he was the one responsible for Buffy’s weak condition and the whole scene later in the library when Giles gets fired, especially the moment when Giles takes the washcloth and dabs her head.

  4. I just wanted to say congrats on a year of podcasting!! I know i have been enjoying the Buffy Rewatch since I have found it, you make my Monday mornings – not feel like Monday mornings. I agree with all that has been said above, but I wanted to comment on the transformation of Watcher to a father figure and betrayal with Giles. Since the show began Giles has slowly been replacing B’s father and the pinnacle point of this episode is when she is betrayed by both Giles and Hank proving again the “Chosen One” does have to be independent and be able to work with out the help of others albeit her domestic or slayer life. While Giles does redeem himself in the end and uses his “father’s love” to help Buffy and lose his job the dynamic between the 2 most likely will not be the same for awhile. Then again if everyone was hunky dory with each other it would make for some boring TV.

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