Buffy Ep 3.18 "Earshot"

A pretty good episode. I enjoyed it, anyway.


The episode starts when Buffy beating up a couple of demons. (NOT Deamon) They're your typical demon, except that they don't have any mouths. After a brief battle, Buffy stabs one while the other makes a run for it. Unnoticed, a bit of demon blood is splashed onto her hand. Within moments, it is absorbed...

The next scene has Willow and Buffy discussing the demons. Giles has been studying up on the Ascention, but found very little. Wesley comes in, and is generally snide about Giles lack of progress. However, when pressed, it turns out that he has nothing new to add, either. The gang walk off in disgust. This is just after the Episode where Angel was pretending to be evil, and Buffy is still a little concerned about Faith and Angel's relationship. (Of course, ASKING would be too hard...)

Willow is still tutoring Percy (the Basketball player) and it would appear that the school team in now in the championships.  Everyone is going to watch the Basketball game. Even Willow (because Percy is in it). Except Buffy.
Buffy: Right. Everyone who isn't currently Buffy....

Buffy's hand is itching, and Giles finds a reference to the particular type of demon, which can "infest the host with an aspect of the demon" Buffy is more than a little concerned.
Buffy: Part of the demon. I hope it's not the outside part.

The rest of the gang are out watching the cheerleaders practice. They comment that the School newspaper is getting a little depressing.
Oz: I don't know. I always go straight to the obits.
(Which could be a typical Oz remark. Or, this being Sunnydale, the literal truth...)

Buffy is worried about *which* part of the demon she is going to inherit. (Willow has an awful thought: "Was it a *boy* demon?") Willow tries to reassure her friend. In spite of trying to downplay it, Xander reveals in a byplay with OZ that he is still rather hung up on Cordelia.

Next scene has Buffy out patroling. She stops to check herself out in a mirror, turns around, and there is Angel. (His reflection was *not* in the mirror.)  Angel has heard of the demon in question, and says that you can't believe everything that demons say. It could just be demon-hype. (Which is a good thing to remember, sometimes)

Apparently, it was a great basketball game.
Xander: For a minute there, I thought Oz was going to crack an expression.
Oz: I must admit, I felt one coming on.

The gang try to downplay the game that Buffy missed. (Cordelia, of course, gives the game away) Then, Buffy responds to a comment from Xander... which he hasn't actually spoken! It would appear that Buffy is now a telepath!

Walking down the hallway, she hears all sorts of thoughts. Some a little concerning.

She's actually quite stoked... after all the assorted demon things she was imagining manifesting, this was actually kind of useful. (Like for picking answers out the teachers mind....)

She then goes to try out the mind-reading trick on Angel. To her surprise, it totally fails to work. Apparently, vampire thoughts are a little like vampire reflections. Interestingly, Angel is immediatly aware of her attempt. Why, and how? Inbuilt vampire ability? Conversation with Giles? In any case, they end up talking about Faith.
Angel reveals that, "in 243 years, I have loved exactly one person."
Buffy: It... is me, right?
Angel: Next time, just ask.

The next day, the gang are a bit worried about Buffy's abilities. We get some interesting insights into their thoughts.... Willow is concerned that Buffy is too powerful now, and how will they be friends? Xander apparently can only think about sex. Oz's thoughts are extremely deep and philosophical. Cordelia isn't even slightly worried... what she thinks, she says. In the end, everyone scarpers out of the library.

Buffy is learning the problems with telepathy... especially if she doesn't have an off switch. In the cafeteria, bombarded with hundreds of voices, she eventually passes out. She before she fades out, she hears a very powerful voice thinking "By tomorrow, I'll kill  you all."

When she wakes up, the gang have spirited her away from people, which makes life somewhat easier. She's worried about the what she "heard", but has no way of identifying who it was... not even which sex.

Buffy is in a bad way, however, and Giles is heard thinking "If it doesn't go away, she'll go insane." This leaves finding the killer in the hands of the gang...

The lines which got this  episode yanked:

Xander: I'm still having trouble dealing with the fact that one of us is going to gun everyone down for no reason.
Cordelia: Because, like that never happens in an American Highschool.
Oz: Bordering on trendy, at this point.

(This was due to be shown just days after the Columbine shootings, but filmed long before them)

Buffy is in bed, being waited on by Joyce... who is, never-the-less, not real keen to get to close to her. Then Buffy finds out why.
Buffy: You had *sex* with Giles? On the hood of a police car? *TWICE*???

(This is a reference back to "Band Candy")

In the meantime, the gang (organized by Willow) is interviewing everyone they think was in the cafeteria at the time, trying to get a profile on who might be the potential killer.
Cordelia's approach was: "Mr Beecham. Are you planning to kill a bunch of people tomorrow? It's for the yearbook.

Buffy is fading, but Giles and Wesley are working desperately on a cure. There is one ingredient left... the heart of the demon that got away. With the Slayer herself out of the way, this leaves Angel. We get a shot of him going toe-to-toe with the demon, which manages to break away. Angel takes off in pursuit.

An interesting interview is Xander talking with Larry.
Larry is now "so far out (of the closet) that even his grandma is fixing him up with guys."
He reckons that Xander should come out, too... possibly with a tasteful announcement in the school paper. (Way back in season 2, Xander, thinking Larry is the werewolf, forces the truth out of Larry. (That he is gay, not that he's a werewolf). He's never quite had the heart... or gumption... to disabuse Larry of the idea that *Xander* is gay, too.)

The only person they aren't able to interview is the guy who writes the school newspaper. (We see him hiding under the desk when Oz comes in to talk to him.)

In the meantime, Angel shows up a Buffy's house (steaming, because it's already daylight) with the cure.

The gang eventual track the newspaper guy down... who turns out to be hiding from Oz because he did an unfavourable review of Oz's band.
Oz: "Dingoes Ate My baby played their instruments like they had plump polish sausages tied to their fingers."
Editor: Sorry, man.
Oz: No, that's fair.

They are in depair, they haven't found the killer. Buffy shows up, recovered, and they are just going with the "evacuate the school" plan, when Cordelia picks up a letter revealing the whole plan. (It's from Jonathon)

We see Jonathon assembling a sniper rifle, in the clocktower.

Everyone scatters, searching for him. Xander gets distracted in the cafeteria by the sight of jello. (Why?)

Buffy spots him, and, in an amazing atheletic feat, goes straight up to the roof and crashes into the clock tower.

She confronts Jonathon. Basically, he feels that he's ignored, and hopeless, and can't take it any more.  Buffy makes some telling comments that *everyone* feels this way... everyone has their own pain to deal with.  He surrenders the rifle, and she makes a comment about "killing people not really the best way to make friends."
He's surprised... he wasn't going to kill anyone, he'd come up here to commit suicide.  (With a Sniper rifle? Well, I assume it's what he could get. Says something worrying about his home life...)

Xander, in the kitchen, finds the cook pouring rat poison into the Jello.... She takes a cleaver to him, but is stopped by Buffy. It was the cook all along! Buffy beats her up... (I think she used up her sympathy quotient on Jonathon. Besides, Jonathon was a lot more rational than the cook.)
Cook: They're all vermin! Always eating....  (Definitely whacko)

All ends well. Jonathon is suspended, but things are being sorted out.  Giles is arranging for a new training session, when Buffy drops her bombshell...
Buffy: Sure, that's fine.  As long as you're not too busy having sex with my *mother!*

Giles walks into a tree....

End of Synopsis

Some thoughts:

A thoroughly enjoyable episode. Fun, without being seriously deep.

A few quibbles.... I thought Xander, at least, was acting out of character. Sure, he's easily distracted... but not in a life or death situation.

I do wish this had been shown in the right order. Missing it didn't really harm the later episodes, but knowing what happened next (ie: Jonathon being still alive, and in school) did not actually help the suspense.

I actually thought that the mindreading bit was well done.  I did think that Buffy (with her experience in the generally weird) could have handled it better than she did. On the other hand, maybe she wouldn't.

Robbie Rating: Quibbles aside, I'd give this a solid 8.
Stephanie Rating: I've little hesitation about letting kids see it. (Stephanie already has. I would have thought the suicide aspect might be disturbing, but she didn't even comment. She thought Buffy finding out about Giles and her mum was hilarious, as was Xander not being able to control his thoughts.)

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