BtvS 3.06

Band Candy
© Text and musical examples: Rob Gokee

Promotional CD tracks

02. Tai chi (1'18) 64kbps / 192kbps
03. Sugar high (1'54) 64kbps / 192kbps

The cue "Sugar High" appears in the episode, broken up into parts and repeated as needed to highlight the adults descent in juvenility. This is a very playful cue, something Chris is very good at, another example being the "Dead Guys With Bombs" cue used in "The Zeppo" later in the season. The juxtaposition between the strings and percussion bring the two together in a unique and cohesive manner, as they play off each other to create tension and harmony at the same time. It fits well with the abnormality onscreen of teenage adults.

The "Tai Chi" cue utilizes a harp and strings with piano underneath to move us through the scene with Angel practicing martial arts as a method of healing. The strings swell and shrink, giving the piece a dance-like flow. The arpeggiated piano during the bridge is a lovely way to bring the piece to a close.

The episode

With the impending SAT's looming overhead, Joss uses the student's transformation to adulthood against the adults transformation (via magic chocolate bars) back to teenagers to create an amusing yet sober episode that lets Buffy use her maturity to the towns' advantage. The magic candy bars come to us from Chaos worshipper Ethan Rayne, who once again creates… well…chaos, so that the mayor can utilize infants stolen from the unguarded hospital to appease the demon Laconis to whom he owes a tribute. Buffy manages to save the day, with some help from her mother and Giles, and restore order to Sunnydale, unfortunately not in time to stop Joyce and Giles from getting intimate on the hood of a police car…

Fun quotations:
Cordy: "What, I can't have layers?"

Buffy: "Giles at 16? Less together guy, more bad-magik-hates-the-world-ticking-time-bomb guy."

The music

Finally, an episode with a promotional cue! Despite the addition, this episode clocks in a little shorter than recent others, at around 16 minutes of Chris' music. The episode is string heavy, apart from the brass used in the fight sequences and sprinkled throughout. There are some extended cues that work very well on their own (along with the "Sugar High" promotional cue), which are further discussed below in the cue notes.

Cue notes

All timings are approximate.


Piano and strings open up the episode as Buffy and Giles study for the SAT's in the graveyard. Chris uses the cue to insinuate that Giles is reading of an unspeakable evil rising nearby, and there is a pause when we are shown it is actually a practice SAT question.


Brass and percussion as we are treated to actual evil thing during the study session. This cue is short, like the fight with the vamp, but succeeds not only in accenting the fight but taking us to the mayor's office for the next scene.


Ominous synth and strings as we see inside the mayor's cabinet, filled with black magic paraphernalia; you know, the same thing every other politician has in their office…


Nerf Herder tramples into the room…]


'Blaze" by Mad Cow plays under scenes of the school, and quickly fades out.


"Tai Chi" promotional cue plays during Angel's meditation and use of Tai Chi to heal while Buffy watches unseen. Minor key strings and piano, and the bridge is well written using arpeggiated piano. The cue stops as Angel sees Buffy, picking back up with strings as the scene moves inside the mansion. The cue stops so that we can witness the uncomfortable conversation between Buffy and Angel about their relationship. Joss and Chris use this element a few times in this episode to bring the audience further into the scene when we really want to escape.


The "Season Three Love Theme" [3.04 Ex.2] reappears briefly using woodwinds as we move from Buffy and Angel's failure to find a solution to Rovello Drive.


Soft strings as Buffy leaves the room, which switches to the opening section of "Loneliness of Six," the promotional cue from the episode "Lover's Walk." This may be an embryonic version of the cue, later filled out when Chris decided it was needed again. It then moves to high strings and synth as we move to Ethan for the first time in the episode and the end of act one with a brass/percussion flourish.


Guitar and strings playing what is the "Willow and Xander Theme," [Ex.1], a simple melody which continues over the next few episodes, but starts here as Willow and Xander play footsie under the desk. It stops abruptly as Cordy jolts them back to reality.


Strings again as Buffy checks in on Giles and finds…. Joyce? We are then again treated to quiet uncomfortableness.


Tremolo strings and percussion start up the "Sugar High" cue as Buffy drives (and I use the term loosely) with Willow through town. The cue quickly becomes…


'Tales of Brave Ulysses" by Cream as Giles and Joyce reacquaint themselves with youth.]


"Violent" by Four Star Mary in the Bronze as Willow and Buffy make their way through the stream of drunk, loud and "aroused" adults.]


We jump into the cue as the scene moves back to the factory again (shouldn't someone burn this place down permanently so that it stops attracting evil?). Low string and synth effects as Mr. Trick makes an example of one of the workers in front of a noticeably uncomfortable Ethan Rayne.


"Slip Jimmy" by Every Bit if Nothing plays at the Bronze, and changes to a group of tone deaf adults killing the already dead "Louie Louie." ]


Tension builds as the scoobies and Snyder take off in Joyce's SUV, with brass and strings taking us out of the scene.


Soft, high violin plays as two adults prepare to street race, which is punctuated with percussion as they take off.


The "Sugar High" cue continues as more adults continue to act child-like.


Giles breaks and enters on strings and percussion, and we are taken back to one of the street racing adults crashing into Buffy and the gang in her mom's SUV, prompting the end of act two.


We start act three with Giles vs. the police officer's gun, and we get strings hits on Giles beating of the cop, finishing with brass and strings, moving into "love music" as Ripper begins to take Joyce on the hood of the car… We (fortunately) move back to brass and Buffy surveying the damage to her mom's car and figuring out the plot to the episode. The scene switches back to the "Sugar High" cue but stops as Buffy walks by Giles and her mother making out…


Brass and percussion as Buffy kicks vamp butt and moves into the factory, followed by soft piano and a droning violin (two notes) as we zoom in on Ethan, and back to an "actiony" cue as Ethan tries to escape.


"Willow and Xander Theme" reappears as the two touch thumbs (Good lord, where are the sensors when you need them?!)


Swirling strings and brass as Buffy chases Ethan through the maze of candy boxes. The cue ends with Buffy punching through a wooden crate to find a cowering Ethan, a Chris Beck flourish enhancing the scene's end.


Low ominous strings as Ethan divulges the plan… babies as the main course for the demon Laconis. The scene and cue move to the hospital and the vamps there to steal the infants. The cue grows in intensity with choral voices, percussion and strings as we witness the kidnapping and the end of act three (nothing like the threat of eaten babies to raise the stakes).


The cue begins as Giles knocks Ethan down and Buffy finds out what Laconis likes to snack on, and switches as we moves to the hospital with Buffy.


On Giles and Joyce's kiss, we move into the big action cue, with building strings and percussion as the mayor complains about the cleanliness in the sewers (or lack thereof), and Buffy, Giles and Joyce drop in unannounced. Big brass and strings, the motif vaguely reminiscent of some of Beck's earlier work in the season, take us through the fight. Strings rise and fall as Buffy once again beats the crap out of the undead and Laconis rears its quite ugly head. The cue pauses briefly as Mr. Trick goads Buffy into fighting, but Buffy opts for fried snake demon instead. The cue slowly winds down with big strings as the scene comes to a close.


Low synth strings on Mr. Trick's worried look, which is a short effective cue pointing out the uneasiness we feel every time we encounter the mayor, no matter how brief.


At "Kiss rocks?" we are treated to percussion and a slight reprisal of the "Sugar High" theme, moving us to Giles and Buffy outside.


And, as quickly as they came, Nerf Herder bids adieu…]

Musical examples

Ex.1 [midi] "Willow and Xander Theme"
(Piano arrangement or scoring from the episode [mp3])
Ex.1b - episode scoring